The terror group is gaining ground in Libya. But the Obama administration has said no to a Pentagon plan to go after ISIS there.
“I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.” Barack Obama Audacity of Hope, pg 261
Despite the growing threat from the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Libya, the Obama administration has turned down a U.S. military plan for an assault on ISIS’s regional hub there, three defense officials told The Daily Beast.
In recent weeks, the U.S. military—led by its Africa and Special Operations Commands—have pushed for more airstrikes and the deployment of elite troops, particularly in the city of Sirte. The hometown of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, the city is now under ISIS control and serving as a regional epicenter for the terror group.
The airstrikes would target ISIS resources while a small band of Special Operations Forces would train Libyans to eventually be members of a national army, the officials said.
Weeks ago, defense officials told The New York Times that they were crafting military plans for such strikes, but needed more time to develop intelligence so that they could launch a sustained air campaign on ISIS in Sirte.
But those plans have since been put on the back burner.
“There is little to no appetite for that in this administration,” one defense official explained.
At a press conference Tuesday, during this year’s summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, President Obama referred to United Nations efforts to help build a government in Libya, suggesting any military effort could create even more political fractures. On Sunday, a member of Libya’s Presidential Council announced that a list of 13 ministers and five ministers of state had been sent to Libya’s eastern parliament for approval.
But while the president said the U.S. would go after ISIS “anywhere it appeared,” he stopped short of saying the U.S. would expand its effort in Libya unilaterally. source