Friday, June 5, 2015

An Obama-Clinton Accomplishment: Islamic State’s Rise in Libya

The branch of the Islamic State that controls the city of Sirte has expanded its territory and pushed back the militia from the neighboring city of Misrata, militia leaders acknowledged Sunday.
Bulldozers removed debris in front of a damaged building 
after a suicide car bomber blew the vehicle up at a checkpoint 
in Dafniya, outside the city of Misrata, Libya, on Sunday.
In the group’s latest attack Sunday, a suicide bomber killed at least five fighters and wounded four at a checkpoint west of Misrata on the coastal road to Tripoli, according to local officials and Libyan news reports.
The continued expansion inside Libya of the Islamic State has alarmed Western officials because of its proximity to Europe across the Mediterranean.
Four years after the removal of Moammar Khadafy, the near collapse of the Libyan government has left no central Libyan authority to check the group’s advance or even partner with Western military efforts against it. Two armed factions, each with its own paper government, are fighting for control, and each has focused more on internal quarrels than on defeating the Islamic State.
How ISIS Expands: The Islamic State aims to build 
a broad colonial empire across many countries
The group’s expanding turf in Libya also gives it an alternative base of operations even as it appears to be gaining ground — in Palmyra, Syria, and in Ramadi, Iraq. The gains come despite a US-led bombing campaign aimed at rolling back the group’s original territory across the border between those countries.
Suliman Ali Mousa, an officer with the brigade from Misrata, confirmed in a telephone interview Sunday that over the past two days its forces had retreated in the face of Islamic State advances to the east, south, and west of Sirte.
Islamic State fighters have captured the Gardabya air base, about 10 miles south of Sirte; it had been all but destroyed by NATO airstrikes during the 2011 campaign against Khadafy, but Libyans describe it as a strategic foothold.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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