Will the international war on IS reach Libya?

Article Summary
Despite efforts at a political solution in Libya, military intervention remains an option, in particular against Islamic State forces and funding.

Threatening to use force has become a policy in Libya. What the fighting factions in Libya do not concede to through dialogue will most likely be imposed through the threat of military strikes. US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said that the United States has developed a military plan to confront [the Islamic State] (IS) even though efforts are still focused on a political solution.

Such a statement implies that all options are possible and that opening a new battlefront against terrorism in Libya is just a matter of time — unless a political solution is reached before the warplanes and missiles have the last say.

When the Libyan parties realize that the decision is no longer internal, because the status quo in the country is harming foreign interests, be they regional or international, they might be able to overcome their individual interests to settle the crisis. Placing areas under the control of one faction or another is no longer a source of pressure or method of compromise in the field. This is because the interests of Libya and Western countries are being devoured by another party. Libyans must respond to the request to form a unity government, as this is their last transitional option.

Americans are having a hard time swallowing the bitterness of the assassination of the US ambassador to Libya [Christopher Stevens], although they had previously gloated over the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi. There are certainly members of the US Democratic Party who want to achieve military victory, which would increase their chances in the upcoming presidential elections. The focus on Libya might be an attempt to distract public opinion, given the increasing criticism of US foreign policy. This is due to the image engraved in Americans’ minds of Libya before and after the fall of Gadhafi.

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Paradoxically, Libya and Iran had been the center of attention in regard to public opinion before the monstrous [IS] disturbed everyone's sleep. A military airstrike has become possible as a form of military exercise that could equally have been called by Republican President Ronald Reagan as by Democratic President Barack Obama, because the shadow of terrorism has not disappeared. Most important, the focus is on preventing [IS] from controlling the oil fields in the country.

History is repeating itself. But the question remains: How will the United States and the world be safe from the evils of people and organizations at a time when striking Libya is a message aimed at reducing complications in the normalization of relations with the Iranian regime? The Libyan parties could benefit from this situation by isolating [IS] and stripping it of any protection if the executive authority manages to impose its influence on the military and political levels from the capital, Tripoli, rather than remaining a government-in-exile.

The United States no longer views what is happening in Libya as a conflict between the struggling factions, but based on the idea of rejecting control by radical Islamist currents. In this regard, what US Secretary of State John Kerry said — that the last thing you’d want to see is a false caliphate in Libya — falls in line with what Carter said about Islamist forces’ control over western Libya. This means that Washington is distancing itself from what is being circulated about turning a blind eye to the expansion of radical Islamist groups in Iraq, Syria and Libya. The thing that promotes this orientation is that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton did not hide her desire to see the moderate Islamic experiments succeed in managing the peaceful transfer of power in North Africa and elsewhere.

Voices in Western countries, Europe and the United States are growing louder in regard to what is happening in Libya. At every milestone, voices calling for military intervention are raised. Sometimes they are raised on humanitarian grounds to limit illegal immigration and tragedies involving refugees and displaced people, particularly in the Mediterranean basin. This is while at other times they are raised under the slogan of eliminating terrorism and extremist organizations’ sources of funding and limiting the travel of volunteers and potential fighters. Yet the loudest and most convincing voices are those calling for the protection of oil wells and stripping [IS] of the source of funding that has helped the group attract fighters.

The race between a political solution and military strikes remains heated. Yet some strikes just need to be approved, and this does not necessarily have to be within the competences of the UN Security Council.

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Found in: unity government, united states, terrorism, libyan civil war, is, europe
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