Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Long and Difficult Battle to Beat 'Entrenched' Islamic State in Libya (VIDEO)

I think we're getting a little "wag the dog" action from the Obama White House.

It's not like ISIS just hunkered down in Libya yesterday, or anything.

At WSJ, "Libya, U.S. Face Entrenched Islamic State":

Even with the U.S. launching airstrikes on an Islamic State stronghold in Libya, the battle to uproot the extremists from the oil-rich North African nation is expected to be long and difficult.

The U.S. began the attacks on Monday and struck again on Tuesday in support of a ground offensive to retake Sirte, a strategic port on the Mediterranean coast. But Islamic State is also entrenched in other pockets across the country, including parts of the eastern city of Benghazi, Libya’s second largest; Derna, another eastern city; and the western town of Sabratha, near the Tunisian border.

The competing militias and centers of power that have stoked Libya’s civil war complicate the fight against Islamic State. The chaos has given the group an opening to gain its first territorial foothold outside its self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

Libya has two rival governments—one that is internationally recognized in the capital, Tripoli, and another based in the east. The competing governments so far have refused to work together to defeat Islamic State or toward national unity, despite international efforts.

President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that he hopes combating Islamic State will help move Libya toward a functioning government, something he said would be “a long process.”

Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said that Mr. Obama’s authorization is limited to using U.S. air power to help Libyan forces allied with the Tripoli government retake Sirte.

In the quest to defeat Islamic State in Libya, international and regional powers have haphazardly supported competing factions, worsening the protracted civil war that allows the insurgents to thrive, said Abubaker Baira, a parliamentarian representing the eastern government.

“Unfortunately all sides of the Libyan conflict happily open their doors to this so-called military or political support, even if covertly, in the hope it will empower them against their domestic enemies,” Mr. Baira said. “What they don’t seem to realize is this only further entrenches this civil war that has gone on too long already.”

Western officials have worried that Islamic State was trying to establish Libya as a fallback alternative to its shrinking territory in Syria and Iraq, where it captured a large swath of territory in 2014...

And flashback, "Obama's Libya Intervention Created North Africa's Worst Terror State, Drug Trafficker, and Arms Exporter."