The Pentagon said that the United States was considering military action (FT) in Libya against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, amid worries that the militant group could take control of more territory in the country. Militants have established themselves in the city of Sirte and have continued to attack oil installations (Reuters) in recent months. The Pentagon also said that hundreds more trainers and advisors from the United States and its allies will need to be sent to Iraq and Syria (NYT) in the coming months as the campaign to isolate the militant group intensifies.
“This significant escalation is being planned without a meaningful debate in Congress about the merits and risks of a military campaign that is expected to include airstrikes and raids by elite American troops. That is deeply troubling. A new military intervention in Libya would represent a significant progression of a war that could easily spread to other countries on the continent,” writes the New York Times.
“Taking advantage of the chaos and large swaths of ungoverned territory caused by Libya's civil war, ISIL has established three separate wilayat or provinces there since late 2014 - Tarablus along the west coast, Fezzan in the southwest, and Barqah in the east, with the key coastal city of Sirte serving as its Libyan capital. Like its parent group in Syria and Iraq, ISIL in Libya has uploaded video proof of its atrocities to the Internet, including mass decapitations of Egyptian, Ethiopian and Eritrean Christians,” writes Martin Reardon for Al Jazeera.
“While not the biggest fighting force in Libya, IS has been growing stronger there in recent months, cementing its hold on the city of Sirte and surrounding areas. A U.S. official familiar with the intelligence recently told VOA about 500 key IS officials and fighters who left Syria and Iraq during the last several weeks of 2015 and moved to Libya in what appeared to be a calculated move. Western officials estimate IS may now have upwards of 5,000 fighters in Libya,” writes Jeff Seldin for Voice of America.
CFR-Daily News Brief