Category Archives: Libya

The Islamic State Rises in Libya

Islamic State fighters launched a naval assault in northern Libya last week, dispatching three boats that fired on an oil terminal at Zueitina. Local guards repelled that attack, but it was a reminder of Islamic State’s growing capabilities and reach beyond its heartland in Syria and Iraq. Too bad Western capitals seem unprepared to stop it.

The Zueitina episode was the latest in a string of Islamic State attacks in Libya since the new year. On Jan. 8 an Islamic State truck bomb hit a police academy in Zliten, western Libya, killing 65 people. The same week Islamic State arson attacks ignited two other Libyan oil terminals. Islamic State draws much of its revenue by marketing oil from captured fields in Iraq and Syria.

Following the Zletin truck bombing, the European Union—300 miles across the Mediterranean—offered $108 million in security assistance to Libya. The aid is supposed to take the form of technical and logistical support to the newly formed Libyan unity government, currently based in neighboring Tunisia.

The problem is that the new government—the product of a shaky agreement last month between the internationally recognized government based in Tobruk and the Islamist-backed General National Congress, headquartered in Tripoli—remains a mostly notional entity. The competing governments have been at war for years, even as they both fight Islamic State, and elements of both governments have rejected the unity deal, as have some of their respective tribal and militia supporters. Whether those political divisions can be resolved is anyone’s guess, but in the meantime the jihadist threat from Libya is growing larger.

That was underscored in December when Islamic State paraded a police force in the coastal city of Sirte, where it also holds the airport. Islamic State now controls a long strip of the coastline between Tripoli and Benghazi, territory that also serves the group’s propaganda purposes in claiming to be an Islamic caliphate.

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to target Islamic State in Libya, while the U.S. last year conducted limited air strikes against jihadists. But Western leaders insist they are waiting for a political solution to the civil war before intervening directly. A negotiated settlement would be welcome but could take months if not years to materialize. That gives Islamic State and other jihadist groups ample time to profit from the chaos.

The West’s central interest in the region isn’t to salvage a Libyan state, assuming that’s even possible. It’s to ensure that the territory doesn’t become a haven for jihadists with access to oil revenues and a dangerous perch on the Mediterranean. A dedicated NATO bombing campaign, if necessary combined with limited ground forces, to destroy Islamic State in Libya would send the valuable signal that the West won’t tolerate such a threat so close to its shores. That signal might also give Libya’s factions more incentive to reconcile, but in any case it would make the world safer.

Dont forget the  Islamic State is growing in the Egyptian Sinai as well… some jv team.. Syria, Iraq, everywhere..

ISIS eyes oil as it advances to Libya interior #Hillary2016

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Monday that the Islamic State group was spreading from its stronghold on the Libyan coast to the interior of the country with the aim of getting access to oil wells.

“They are in Sirte, their territory extends 250 kilometers along the coast, but they are starting to penetrate the interior and to be tempted by access to oil wells and reserves,” Le Drian told RTL radio.

World powers are trying to convince Libya’s warring factions to lay down their weapons and fall behind a new national unity government, as IS-allied groups exploit the political chaos to take hold of parts of the country.

French planes carried out surveillance flights over Libya last week. Libya has slipped into chaos since the fall of Moamer Kadhafi in 2011 which IS has exploited. The UN believes 2,000 to 3,000 fighters are operating there, including 1,500 in the coastal city of Sirte.

Libya has had rival administrations since August 2014, when an Islamist-backed militia alliance overran Tripoli, forcing the government to take refuge in the east.

ISIS seizes UNESCO heritage site of Sabratha in Libya

Islamic State militants have seized control of the Libyan town of Sabratha, a UNESCO world heritage site and home to one of the world’s best-preserved Roman amphitheaters, The Telegraph reported on Friday.

Militants moved into the center of town on Thursday, traveling in a caravan of Toyota pickup trucks. Locals initially believed the terror group was engaging in a retaliatory raid, after two of their men were arrest nearby, however the militants set up checkpoints around the town and claimed the town as their own, said The Telegraph.

Sabratha is located 50 miles from the Libyan capital of Tripoli, which is currently facing threats of ISIS infiltration on both its eastern and western fronts.

Destruction of the Sabratha ruins would be an incredible disaster, rivaling or surpassing the devastation caused by the destruction of Palmyra in Syria.

In October, Islamic State militants blew up the Arch of Triumph, a major monument in the 2,000-year-old Roman city of Palmyra, after they destroyed two ancient temples at the central Syrian site in recent months.

Palmyra was one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world, according to cultural agency UNESCO, which has described it as the crossroads of several civilizations.

Reuters contributed to this report.

The Supreme Council of Cyberspace


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