• While “Allies” have eyes on Syria, Islamic State relocates forces to Libya.
By Richard Walker —
While the Western powers and the Iraqi military have been planning a strategic assault on the Islamic State (ISIS) stronghold of Mosul, leaders of the radical Islamic group have outmaneuvered them by moving thousands of fighters to war-torn Libya to consolidate their grip on large swaths of that country.
The ISIS strategy poses a major headache for Europe because Washington and its allies, aside from launching a few drone strikes and Special Forces raids against ISIS figures in parts of Libya, lack a solution for dealing with the monster they have created.
Created out of the chaos of the United States war on Iraq and intermittently aided by U.S. intelligence and the Israelis, ISIS over the years has grown into a monster.
The radical group recently warned it will bring terror to the streets of Rome and its base of operations in Libya makes that a real possibility.
ISIS can also strike directly across the Mediterranean at Greece and has begun expanding into sub-Saharan Africa.
In the meantime, Egypt has discovered that having ISIS on its doorstep has resulted in increasing instability. Egypt’s 621-mile border with Libya has allowed ISIS to move weapons to its cells in Cairo and other cities. At the same time, ISIS has opened a front against the Egyptian military in the Sinai, bordering Israel. As a consequence, Israel claims it has been secretly helping Egypt target ISIS in Egypt and Libya.
The threat ISIS in Libya poses may be greater than the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Egypt or Israel imagined when ISIS first moved into the Libyan city of Sirte in early 2015. Missing from NATO’s calculations at the time was the fact that President Barack Hussein Obama and his allies had made such a mess of the country when they overthrew Colonel Muammar Qadaffi in 2011 that they effectively created a situation ripe for takeover by radicals.
Refusing to learn the lessons of the Iraq War, NATO bombed Libya from the air for 56 days, destroying its infrastructure, its military, and its national police force. Rather than putting troops on the ground, NATO hailed its use of Islamist militias. Some of those militias were later recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington’s efforts to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. They became the backbone of ISIS and have since returned to Libya to help ISIS expand its so-called caliphate there.
In the past five years, Libya has been torn apart by infighting between warring entities. It has two governments and parliaments with a third government approved by the United Nations waiting in the wings. As a consequence, there is no national army or police force capable of going up against ISIS, which could soon control Libya’s oil fields.
This is in stark contrast to the Libya under Qadaffi, which was a stable, sophisticated, beautiful country that provided education, food, and clean drinking water to Libyans.
The ongoing crisis in Libya has increased the migrant flow from there, causing consternation in the corridors of power in Europe. Austria has even proposed building a wall in the Brenner Pass in the Alps to cut it off from Italy.
THE FALL OF LIBYA & MUAMMAR QADAFFI
Lost in the mass media coverage of thousands of migrants perishing on ships fleeing Libya is the role played by financial institutions in the assassination of Qadaffi and Libya’s subsequent collapse.
Professor Horace G. Campbell of Syracuse University has identified some of the financial culprits who wanted to control Libya’s oil riches:
“What has been kept from the citizens of the U.S. is the role of financial enterprises such as Goldman Sachs, Tradition Financial Services of Switzerland, French bank Société Générale SA, hedge-fund firm Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, and private-equity firm Blackstone Group in their dealings with the Libyan Investment Authority.”
Campbell also believes Congress has deliberately hidden the truth about Libya from the American public. He has singled out figures like Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) for concealing “the complicity of the U.S. and intelligence forces in their dealings with the most extreme militias” in Libya.
According to Russian General Valery Vasilevich Gerasimov, the U.S. occupation of Iraq and the overthrow of Qadaffi in the pursuit of “democratization” resulted in the “dispersed majority of military and political elites forming the core of ISIS.”
There is compelling evidence that the Sunnis in Iraq, who were abandoned when the U.S. invaded, have dominated the ISIS leadership in Iraq and Syria. The same now appears to be happening in Libya.
Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.