Sirte re­take will help unite Libya

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -


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

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