Making the case to expand the war on ISIS into Libya
An anonymous source told Fox News on Tuesday the U.S. government believes a terror attack comparable to the 9/11 attack will arise from Libya.
U.S. says “targeting authority” in Libya needed to take out ISIS.
Citing the presence of Islamic State operatives in Benghazi, Derna and Sirte, the government argues it needs authority to go into Libya in pursuit of terrorists.
In late February the Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper, said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Libya is the most “troublesome” country in the Middle East.
“There are, in addition to ISIL, probably six or eight other terrorist groups that have gathered in Libya,” he said. “So it’s a magnet because, essentially, it’s ungoverned.”
“From an intelligence perspective, I think clearly we need to step up our game,” Clapper added. “I think there’s a lot of merit to partnering with the French, who have sort of staked out their claim in the Sahel region of North Africa.”
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters Libya must deal with its security issues with the help of the United States and the United Nations.
“Are we happy with the situation in Libya from a governance and security perspective? No. Absolutely not,” she said.”At the end of the day, though, this is not just a line, it’s true. This is ultimately up to the Libyan people, leaders in Libya to take the security of their country into their own hands and try to move it in a better direction with our help, the U.N. and others’ help as well.”
Current Policy Ensures Rise of ISIS in Libya
The United Nations and the U.S., however, have tied the hands of Khalifa Haftar, a general supported by the West in the ongoing battle against Libya Dawn, a coalition of Islamic militias that has taken over Tripoli and large part of western Libya.
Libya Dawn claims it is opposed to the presence of the Islamic State in the country. Jamal Naji Zubia, a Tripoli government spokesman, told The New York Times Libyans who appeared to be part of the Islamic State were Gaddafi loyalists who had “put on the mantle of the Islamic State.”
The United Nations has called for the creation of a maritime monitoring force to prevent weapons from entering and illegally exported oil from leaving the north African country.
“Current transfers to Libya are probably contributing to further onward proliferation of materiel,” a United Nations report released over the weekend said. It claims the proliferation of weapons poses “a significant security challenge for other countries in the region, particularly from a terrorism perspective.”
According to UNSC resolution 2174, weapons may only be imported into Libya with the permission of “recognized authorities” and the transfers have received approval from the Sanctions Committee which must be notified of any transactions in advance.
The U.S., the United Nations and Britain want a handpicked government installed before the current arms embargo is lifted.
U.S. Responsible for Situation in Libya
The recent State Department remarks on Libya ignore the fact the United States is directly responsible for arming Libyan militants, including al-Qaeda.
“The White House and senior Congressional members deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler Muammar Gadhafi ,” the Citizens Commission on Benghazi said in an interim report released last April.
The policy has produced “utter chaos” in Libya and has facilitated “the spread of dangerous weapons (including surface-to-air missiles), and the empowerment of jihadist organizations like al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.”
“The United States switched sides in the war on terror with what we did in Libya, knowingly facilitating the provision of weapons to known Al-Qaeda militias and figures,” said Clare Lopez, a former CIA officer and a member of a commission established by Accuracy in Media to study the Benghazi arms transfer.
“They were permitted to come in. … They knew these weapons were coming in, and that was allowed,” she said. “The intelligence community was part of that, the Department of State was part of that, and certainly that means that the top leadership of the United States, our national security leadership, and potentially Congress—if they were briefed on this — also knew about this.”