It looks like the U.S.-led fight against ISIS is probably moving to Libya. AFP reports there are plenty of people in the Defense Department worried about ISIS’ movement into the North African country.
About 5,000 IS jihadists are now in Libya, the defense official said, approximately double earlier estimates, while the number of IS extremists in Iraq and Syria has dropped.
The updated tallies come as the administration of President Barack Obama faces growing calls for the US military to step up action against the IS group in Libya, where the jihadists have already seized the city of Sirte and an adjoining length of Mediterranean coastline.
NATO defense ministers are meeting in Brussels next week to evaluate the ongoing US-led coalition campaign against the IS group and to discuss ways of redoubling efforts.
It doesn’t appear President Barack Obama is interested in getting militarily involved in Libya, but that doesn’t mean the Pentagon isn’t pushing him. One thing The New York Times points out is not on the table is “ground troops” (emphasis mine).
But Mr. Obama, wary of embarking on an intervention in another Muslim country, has told his aides to redouble their efforts to help form a unity government in Libya at the same time the Pentagon refines its options.
Those include airstrikes, commando raids or advising vetted Libyan militias on the ground, as Special Operations forces are doing now in eastern Syria.
Covert C.I.A. paramilitary missions are also being considered, but the use of large numbers of American ground troops is not on the table.
Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, among others, say some kind of American and allied military force will be needed. But Mr. Obama has not yet made a decision, nor have the size or contours of any possible American military involvement been determined.
“The White House just has to decide,” said one senior State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “The case has been laid out by virtually every department.”
The “wary of embarking on an intervention in another Muslim country” line is beyond hilarious (or #headdesk) because Obama’s administration has intervened in more countries than George W. Bush’s administration. The U.S. has militarily attacked three countries (Iraq, Syria, and Libya) under Obama versus Bush’s two (Iraq and Afghanistan). The Afghanistan surge also happened on Obama’s watch. The type of military involvement may have been different (random bomb strikes and “advisers” vs. full scale invasion) but the fact all the Left’s anti-war activists from 2003 and 2004 don’t seem to be so anti-war these days, shows how they’re willing to sacrifice their own “principles” if “their guy” is in the White House. The fact Obama appears a little hesitant on attacking Libya (which it shouldn’t have gotten involved in in the first place) could be a sign Obama is hoping it won’t become a campaign issue for the Democrats. If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, the GOP candidate could bring up the fact Libya is a mess and remind the people Clinton was the one who pushed for involvement in the first place. If Bernie Sanders is the nominee, the GOP candidate could point out Sanders has no real strategy on ISIS and supports the current Administration’s efforts which would just drag things down even more. This depends on who the GOP nominee is to begin with. The only one who really believed in non-interventionism was Rand Paul, and he dropped out earlier this week.
But it certainly looks like the U.S. is going to do something in Libya, which brings up the question, “why did we get involved in the first place?” Yes, Muammar Gaddafi was a bad guy and it’s great he’s no longer breathing. At the same time, Libya has gone to Hel because NATO decided to unilaterally get involved in something they had no business doing so. That falls on both Obama and Clinton’s shoulders, and they have to take responsibility for it (which is laughable). If the U.S. hadn’t gotten involved in Libya, then Benghazi wouldn’t have happened and Chris Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty, and Sean Smith might still be alive. If the U.S. hadn’t gotten involved in Libya, ISIS wouldn’t be growing in power in Northern Africa. This should also cause people to really consider whether it’s worth to militarily get involved in a war against a country which hasn’t attacked the U.S. Would ISIS be as big of a problem as it is because America decided to flex it’s military muscles and get involved in Iraq and Syria? Would there be such a refugee crisis in Europe if Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain hadn’t pushed for foreign involvement in a civil war (with Marco Rubio pushing for more involvement and Bernie Sanders supporting Obama and Clinton’s actions)? It’s just things to consider as the U.S. appears to be ready to get involved in another war it shouldn’t be.