Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Into the Wilderness

ISIL in Libya has shifted to positions southeast of Tripoli after losing their Sirte stronghold:

Islamic State militants have shifted to desert valleys and inland hills southeast of Tripoli as they seek to exploit Libya's political divisions after defeat in their former stronghold of Sirte, security officials say.

The militants, believed to number several hundred and described as "remnants" of Islamic State's Libya operation, are trying to foment chaos by cutting power and water supplies and to identify receptive local communities, the officials said.

Clearly, more need to be killed. Remember that the "remnant" of jihadis in Iraq after we left in 2011 regenerated into a caliphate when left alone. Which is why we are fighting Iraq War 2.0.

Libya War 2.0, anyone?

UPDATE: Related:

Two leading Libyan rivals — the head of the U.N.-brokered government and the country's most powerful army commander — failed to meet as planned in Cairo on Tuesday to discuss a political settlement for the war-torn nation.

The army commander is Hiftar (or Haftar, or in this article's new transliteration, Hifter).

UPDATE: The Libyan government recognized by the UN wants NATO's help:

NATO's chief says he has received a formal request from conflict-torn Libya to help strengthen its security institutions and that the alliance is looking into exactly what can be done.

Part of helping must involve bringing Hiftar into the government.

Otherwise, this just opens an opportunity for Russia to send arms and advisors to Hiftar in order to keep the conflict going.

And Hiftar gains motivation to seek Russian help.

For a bonus propaganda score, Russia will claim that they are going in to fight ISIL because the West won't finish the job there.

UPDATE: Will Russian support for Hiftar collapse the UN-recognized government?

And this is interesting:

During the Tobruq meeting, Haftar secured Russian support in exchange for unspecified basing rights in eastern Libya, Al Jazeera reported on 22 January.

Also interesting is that the European Union is reaching out to encourage Hiftar's participation in the government to deflect Russian efforts to link of with Hiftar.

Like I've mentioned, bases in Libya--as the Soviets once had access to--would complement Russia's advances from Crimea to Syria to project power into the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

It's been a while since we had to worry about the security of the Suez Canal for supporting CENTCOM.

But perhaps Hiftar is just nudging the West by toying with the Russians.