Two weeks after Algerian media for the first time reported that something dramatic was about to happen in Libya, it becomes increasingly clear that the West is indeed planning to take the fight against Islamic State in a new way in the North African country.
Digital Journal, a global digital media network with thousands of members, confirmed on Sunday that members of the coalitions fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq are preparing for an intervention in Libya where Islamic State has made significant gains over the past few months.
The media network cited General Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who last week said that he was very concerned about the spread of Islamic State in Libya and that “decisive military action to check ISIS expansion” had become very likely. Dunford said that international military action against ISIS in Libya could be expected within weeks. He warned that if nothing is done, ISIS will use Libya as a beachhead for further expansion into Arab and North African countries.
A meeting in Rome about aid to Libya was apparently used by several world powers to discuss the military options in the war-torn country, which has witnessed increasing chaos and bloodshed since the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in the summer of 2011.
The German newspaper Die Welt reported that the intervention would gain international legitimacy if the foreign intervention was requested by the new unity government that was formed last week under a UN-brokered deal.
“The only thing missing for a military intervention is the legal framework. As soon as the new Libyan unity government is formed, it can proceed. When Libya has a united and to some extent legitimate government again, then there is someone in response to whose request a western military intervention can take place within the framework of international law,” Die Welt reported.
If foreign military intervention is indeed dependent on the invitation of the Libyan National Unity Government, there is a new problem. Today, the internationally recognized current government of Libya rejected the UN-brokered deal and the forming of the unity government. 89 of the 104 members of parliament who attended the meeting of the government in the eastern city of Tobruk (where the deal was discussed) voted against the agreement and the forming of a unity government.
Libyan and other Arabic media, however, published reports that suggest that despite the decision of the MP’s in Tobruk, the foreign intervention will go ahead as planned. The Libya Observer, for example, reported on Sunday that about 500 foreign military personnel have arrived at Jamal Abdel Nasser military base, located south of Tobruk.
The intervention force is made up of Special Forces of the United States, Brittain and reportedly Russia, according to the London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. The paper wrote that French military personnel would join the intervention force soon, while the media outlet Press Solidarity reported that French soldiers had already arrived in Libya.
If the foreign intervention force will become active in Libya, it will probably operate according to the same principles as the US Special Forces in Syria and Iraq. That means that small groups of Special Forces will carry out raids against Islamic State targets in Libya. There have been no reports about an imminent air campaign against Islamic State in Libya.
Meanwhile, Europol, the policy agency of the European Union, warned on Monday that ISIS will carry out more Paris-style attacks on European soil. The warning was based on a new report about the ISIS mega-terror attack in Paris that was compiled by Europol experts.
“The so-called Islamic State has developed a new combat style capability to carry out a campaign of large-scale attacks on a global stage with a particular focus on targets in Europe,” said Rob Wainwright, the director of Europol, during a press conference in Amsterdam.
The Interpol warning coincided with the release of a new horrific video by Islamic State that contained a similar warning to European countries, especially Great Britain. The video showed prior terrorist activities by the ISIS Jihadis who carried out the assault on Paris and the training activities that took place before they carried out the deadly attacks.