Is Libya the Next Front in the War on ISIS?

Jim Carey | The Pontiac Tribune

With tensions in Syria finally beginning to recede from global crisis levels; some Western nations are already scouting locations for the next front in the war on ISIS.

Libya Map War on ISIS


Over the past year– and especially since Russia started bombing— the chaos in Syria spiraled into such a large issue that world leaders, many of whom had played roles themselves in destroying the region, were forced to come together in a joint effort to relieve some of the pressure that previously appeared to be unstoppable.

The diplomatic negotiations for peace in Syria may be a step in the right direction, but an equally important set of talks have gone almost completely unnoticed in both the alternative news and corporate media narrative.


This past week another major meeting took place involving a country closely tied to the crisis that has not only ripped through Syria– but all of the Middle East, North Africa and essentially the world– Libya. Just in time for Christmas, The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) formally acknowledged the “coalition government” made up of multiple militant groups fighting Islamic extremists in Libya.

The talks officially recognize a coalition of former anti-Qaddafi rebels and militants based out of the eastern port city of Tobruk. This coalition may be supported by the international community but these agreements have potential to cause problems immediately.

The first problem is that Libya already has a government that was established and functioning in the official capitol of Tripoli – The General National Congress – which wasn’t even included in the UN talks. Thankfully so far the GNC has agreed to continue international efforts for peace and dialogue in Libya but to be excluded from the bargaining table over disagreements may make that an impossible goal.

ISIS-in-Libya-mapAnother major issue is that both of these governments – while not yet fighting each other – are both actively engaged in conflict with extremist groups such as ISIS throughout Libya.

Clearly the ISIS presence in Libya is what drew the attention of the world so swiftly – the UNSC gave 30 days for groups to agree to a coalition government – and makes the countries future an international topic of discussion.


The United States is surprisingly not leading the charge against ISIS in Libya; this time the UK is the one preemptively planning for the failure of a UN recognized government.

British Prime Minister David Cameron came out as the ink was still drying on the agreement to announce that the UK is willing to intervene in Libya should the government sense a “credible threat.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron assured the world that the UK is willing to intervene in Libya should the government sense a “credible threat.”

As you can probably imagine this IS NOT the top priority of the newly recognized government, in fact they have already made clear that they aren’t interested in Western bombs being dropped on the nation they’re trying to repair.


Of course as with any ally the West makes in nations in the midst of events like civil wars – the new government may oppose bombs – but they have already begun requesting weapons for themselves.

One of the first addresses by the newly appointed UN envoy from Libya included a request to loosen the current arms embargo on the nation.

The ambassador may currently be asking for arms but he still left the idea of western intervention open at “the Libyan government’s” discretion.

As stated above; Libya is a growing hot spot for radical Islamic activity, is openly fighting a civil war between countless factions and is also a huge source of refugees leaving all parts of Africa.


Western powers and media may be excited about the prospect of “curbing the threat” of ISIS in Libya but perhaps we should take time to study the full picture before we make any decision. Libya isn’t Syria but the political landscape is just as convoluted.

The West may be eager to bomb but they are also always willing to settle on first supplying a region with copious amounts of military equipment such as the initial counter-Assad strategy in Syria. Adding millions of dollars of weapons to situations like this has never lead to any other solution but the inevitable bombing in recent history.

Some analysts and journalists are claiming ISIS is on the retreat in some places and appear to be desperate– supposedly supported by the leader of ISIS al-Baghdadi’s recent denouncement of Israel and Saudi Arabia— but it could also be that the Islamic State and its leaders are actually growing more ambitious.

Just as the War on Terror has been since its conception, so too will this remain an open ended question.

Borders no longer stop the world powers from chasing ghosts and if Libyans aren’t careful, this new alliance with the West will most likely end the same way they always do.

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