U.S. Bombing in Libya Reveals Limits of Strategy Against ISIS
An investigative piece from the New York Times outlines the implications of the US airstrike on a training camp in Sabratha, Libya on February 19. The article, quoting US government and military officials, notes a significant limitation of the current Western approach to combating ISIS in countries like Libya and Syria; namely, military actions are not matched with successful diplomatic efforts. The UN-lead initiative to build a unity government has made little progress as the political and military relations of local factions continue to fracture, leaving the present political vacuum in Libya unaddressed.
The Friday strike, on a seaside town 50 miles west of Tripoli, targeted Noureddine Chouchane, a Tunisian militant. He had also helped arrange the arrival of Islamic State recruits into Libya, the Pentagon said in a statement confirming the strikes. Mr. Chouchane, 35, was probably killed in the attack on the compound, where up to 60 militants had been actively training for a terrorist operation, the Pentagon said.
“It is clear that the priority in Washington now is taking whatever steps are convenient to tactically weaken ISIL over the course of the next year,” said Noah Bonsey, a Syria analyst with the International Crisis Group. The political process to end the war is a lower priority, he said, and has made much less progress. “If that political track doesn’t go anywhere, it is pretty clear that there is no backup plan,” he said.
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