The New York Times: Warnings of a ‘Powder Keg’ in Libya as ISIS Regroups
Eric Schmitt is perfectly right with his excellent article about the “powder keg” of Libya. One must be aware that Sirte was not a battle between the internationally recognized “Government of National
Accord” (GNA) and the “Islamic State” (ISIS), but between the militias of the city of Misrata and ISIS, triggered by the expansion of ISIS towards the west of Libya, which threatened vital interests in Misrata. In the current Libyan disarray, at least one thing is certain: the GNA is in no position to counter the threat of a re-emerging ISIS and other radical Islamists like Ansar al-Sharia.
AFRICOM Commander General Waldhauser hit the nail on the head when he said, “The instability in Libya and North Africa may be the most significant near-term threat to U.S. and allies’ interests on the continent. [...] Even with the success of Surt, ISIS-Libya remains a regional threat with intent to target U.S. persons and interests.” Of note, Libya has become a threat to the stability of important American allies in the region, notably Algeria and Egypt. Via Egypt, ISIS could pose a threat to freedom of navigation and even a potential threat to Israel.
For a long time I have argued that a containment strategy is needed to safeguard America’s national interests surrounding Libya, leaving stabilization efforts to the UN and European nations. Unfortunately, this failed entirely. It became obvious that the UN/GNA approach is doomed to unrevivable failure. Now, the situation in Libya is simply too dangerous to be left solely in the hands of the UN.