Sirte retake will help unite Libya
retaking of Sirte from ISIS (Daesh) is no less than a stra tegic breakthrough. It is a shot in the arm for the Libyan authorities, who have been at odds while running a fragmented administration. It will help further the process of not only political reconciliation between various stakeholders but also weaken the resolve of militants who had been in control of important installations for long. Sirte was acting as a fort for ISIS in Libya, and was of crucial importance after their strongholds in Iraq and Syria.
While the anti- ISIS forces fighting in Sirte are largely made up of militia brigades from Misrata, Libya’s third largest city, it is feared that a new episode of infighting could break out for the control of local resources and seaport. The Libyan security forces do not enjoy an edge, and this is where the problem lies. Although British and American forces are known to have been advising and training forces in Libya, it is little known as to what is their capability, and how effectively they can sideline the militias that are all around in the strife-torn state. The State Department’s decision to arm not only the Libyan security forces but also other rebel groups, in an attempt to defeat ISIS, has further compounded the security situation. Sirte operation has come in the wake of a successful onslaught in Fallujah, Iraq, and pushing back of the dreaded militia in parts of Syria. But the point is that there is hardly any coordination in the so-called war against ISIS that the regional states and the West had launched. This loophole has provided militants with an opportunity to regroup and stage a more powerful comeback. The Taliban, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and Al Shabab are cases in point, wherein they had retreated to bounce back with more destruction. ISIS is surely on the receiving end, but is not a spent force, yet. Until and unless the dreaded group is exterminated, by severing its financial and recruitment channels, the terror nexus will live on for another day. — Khaleej Times