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The Risks of Daesh Migrating to Libya

Friday, June 3, 2016

Jafar Ghannad-Bashi
Expert on Middle East and North African affairs

Expansion of armed activities by the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group to Libya’s port cities and encroachment by certain units of this terrorist group on areas and towns around the country’s capital city, Tripoli, have faced the new-established government of Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj with new concerns. In the meantime, Libya’s Government of National Accord has given the green light to Western military advisers for training the country’s armed forces in their confrontation with the Daesh terrorist elements. The new measure comes months after reports were released about secret deployment of units from the British, French and American armies to Libya. However, concurrent with increased military moves by the Daesh, on the one side, and the inauguration of the Government of National Accord in Libya, on the other side, British military personnel have been showing a more public presence in the coastal city of Misrata and the city has practically turned into a center for conducting attacks on positions of the Daesh.

Libyan officials have estimated that there are more than 65,000 Daesh terrorists in the country, noting that 70 percent of those terrorists are not Libyans and are mostly members of Takfiri terrorist groups operating in Syria and Iraq. As the noose is getting tighter around the Daesh forces in Iraq and Syria, these forces have been fleeing to Northern African shores and have been mostly redeployed to cities along the coastal belt of the oil-rich Libya. Of course, the Daesh offshoot in Libya pledged allegiance to the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, about two years ago, and has chosen the important port city of Sirte as a base for its activities.

Presence of the Daesh in the port city of Sirte would lead to the group’s domination over the middle parts of Libya and subsequent blockage of many transportation roads into the country’s capital city, Tripoli, which is located in northwest Libya. It will also pave the way for the Daesh to strengthen its grip on the relatively populous northeastern part of Libya, including the important city of Benghazi. Presence of the Daesh in this city would make Libya’s Mediterranean coasts insecure and also jeopardize marine trade in the southern part of Europe. This issue has stirred great concern among the Western states especially taking into account reports that show about 800,000 out of Libya’s population of 6.5 million have decided to migrate to European countries in view of the insecurity resulting from the presence of the Daesh in their country.

In fact, under this excuse and also under the pretext of restoring security to Libya, the issue of deployment of French and British forces to this country has been raised in a more serious manner. At the same time, the Western countries have been stressing the necessity of removing armed embargo imposed on Libya.

In the meantime, there are two very important and strategic issues to be taken into account here though officials in London and Washington are not very willing to talk about them. The first and very vital issue is the rich oil reserves of Libya most of which are currently under the control of the Daesh terrorist group, so that, the group has even embarked on selling oil to various oil companies on its own. The second issue is the combination of Western countries, which would be present in Libya’s political scene in the future, which has led to serious rivalries among Western states. This comes at a time that Britain and France have been taking advantage of the presence of the Daesh in Libya and under the excuse of fighting off the threat posed by Daesh are trying to lay the ground for their permanent presence in this country, even in an indirect manner. In doing so, they are trying to overtake their other Western rival country, that is, Italy.

Key WordsDaesh, Libya, Risks, Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj, Government of National Accord, Western Military Advisers, Misrata, Syria, Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Oil, Sirte, Tripoli, Benghazi, Britain, France, Italy, Rivalries, Ghannad-Bashi

Source: Iran Newspaper
http://iran-newspaper.com/
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

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*Photo Credit: Veterans Today

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