Sunday, December 13, 2015

For the Glory of France

There is diplomatic progress over Libya, where ISIL is gaining strength. France should exploit this progress to decisively defeat ISIL there. I'd think that the glory of France would push Paris to want their own front in the war on ISIL. Libya is that front.

This is good news:

The United States and Italy on Sunday led an international diplomatic push to get Libya's warring factions to sign a deal to form a unity government, hoping it will stop the spread of Islamic State militancy in the North African country.

I'm sure there will be a lovely signing ceremony, with splendid wax seals and colorful ribbons that make it all official and stuff, but once that event is over and the photographers go home, what then?

Will the fractured non-ISIL forces be able to defeat ISIL?

Not anytime soon:

Western officials say more unilateral air strikes on militants are not ruled out. The United States has carried out strikes and France also conducted surveillance flights.

But with most opposing "boots on the ground", initial efforts will likely focus on training and aiding local forces.

"There won't be a Libyan army as we'd like it, but there are a number of forces, which if they worked together would have enough strength to hit Daesh," said one Western official using the Arabic term for Islamic State.

I will repeat myself. If France wants to strike back decisively against ISIL for their role in the Paris Massacre, France should stop trying to be a slightly less irrelevant force bombing ISIL in Syria and focus on defeating ISIL in Libya.

By exploiting an agreement among Libyans and organizing a coalition that would include Italy and Egypt as the major supporting players for a French-led effort to defeat ISIL in Libya and support local forces in gaining control of Libyan territory, France could actually achieve a major objective that is currently being largely ignored.

In World War II, despite defeat and occupation, the French wanted their own sector on the front in the fight against Nazi Germany. Why not now? And why not Libya?

UPDATE: Strategypage discusses Libya.