’17s Discuss Solutions for Libya

March 15, 2016: Today, the ‘17s turned their attention from the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq to its Libya branch. In recent months, much of the IS high command has moved from its traditional home in Raqqa, Syria, to Sirte, Libya. They are taking advantage of the lawlessness in Libya that still exists after the death of longtime dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. Since his death in 2011, Libya has been split into two main warring factions: Operation Dawn in the west, and Operation Dignity in the east. The constant fighting between these two groups has allowed IS to quietly thrive in Sirte. All of the fellows agreed that the United States should not largely intervene against IS in Libya and our only unilateral action should be continued air strikes on targets in Libya. Supporting one faction over another may cause political backlash and only create more divisiveness between groups in Libya when we need them to unite to defeat IS. Additionally, too much U.S. intervention in the United Nations-brokered unity government, which is internationally recognized, would merely portray that government as a puppet of the west, therefore hindering it illegitimate in the eyes of Libyans. The United States should only support a faction if it is supportive of the unity government and is willing to put its military under their control. Once this is established, the United States should provide as much logistical and intelligence help as possible, and maybe even position advisers alongside the unity force, to eventually destroy the ISIS threat. In order for this plan to be successful, Libyans must first understand that ISIS is a problem. To this point, Dawn and Dignity have been more focused on fighting each other and have ignored the insurgency of IS. Libyans must be willing to compromise to regain control of their country.

Article 1: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/libya/2016-02-07/next-front-against-isis

Article 2: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-35486158

Luke Cromwell

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