The United States is not ruling out the possibility of military action against the Islamic State in North Africa. The issue has taken on a greater urgency in Washington D.C. following the execution of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya, but the U.S. is remaining cautious about using force while intelligence agencies assess the extent of ISIL penetration in North Africa.
CCTV America’s Daniel Ryntjes reported this story from Washington D.C.
US Cautious on possible military action in LibyaThe United States is not ruling out the possibility of military action against the Islamic State in North Africa. The issue has taken on a greater urgency in Washington D.C. following the execution of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya, but the U.S. is remaining cautious about using force while intelligence agencies assess the extent of ISIL penetration in North Africa. Read more: http://www.cctv-america.com?p=39296&preview_id=39296#ixzz3SKjzJJu3
The aerial bombardment of ISIL positions in Iraq and Syria by U.S. and coalition aircraft is a daily occurrence. But when it comes to the Libyan civil war, the U.S. disapproves of any overt external military support for either side, including factional support by Egypt, Qatar and Turkey.
However, after the release last weekend of an ISIL video showing the execution of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, diplomats appear to be drawing a distinction following retaliatory strikes by Egyptian fighter jets in Libya.
“We do believe a political solution, one that’s led by the UN, is the best path forward. We also believe that this horrific attack that happened against the Egyptian Copts over the course of the last several days is something that we understand the outcry from the Egyptians. And while we’re not going to confirm their military action, going after ISIL is a different entity than internal divisions or internal battles within Libya,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.
U.S. intelligence agencies have been monitoring the movement of fighters from North Africa into Syria and Iraq for several years, and they are now examining the extent of Islamic State operations in Africa.
“We know they want to metastasize into other places. But those other places, whether it’s North Africa or Afghanistan, it’s still a nascent effort and in some cases aspirational at best. It doesn’t mean we’re not taking it seriously and we’re not monitoring it,” Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.
The U.S. isn’t ruling out the possibility of taking military action in areas where ISIL activities have expanded to become a threat.
“No decisions have been made to expand the fight against ISIL beyond Iraq and Syria. It has been clear and we’ve been clear that we continue to have the right to engage terrorist networks wherever they are if they threaten Americans or American interests,” Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby.
But one regional expert said political leadership in Washington D.C. is failing to adjust to the rapidly shifting reality of the political and security situation in Libya.
“I think it’s going to take time because despite the horror of what we’ve witnessed I think there’s a failure to appreciate the full extent to which Libya has ceased to exist,” Director of Africa Center of Atlantic Council Peter Pham said.
This week, the U.S. has been hosting a global summit on countering extremist threats worldwide, but officials have said little about the emerging threat from Libya.
The focus on Libya is instead centered on the United Nations Security Council where the Egyptian government is pushing for international support for military action.