Tags: pentagon | white house | libya | isis

Obama Sits on Pentagon Plan to Attack ISIS in Libya

Image: Obama Sits on Pentagon Plan to Attack ISIS in Libya
Secretary Of Defense Ash Carter (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 08 Mar 2016 02:28 PM

The White House has received an extensive list of military options to battle the Islamic State in Libya, including airstrikes on training camps and other militant targets.

But for now, it is working on a diplomatic solution that form a unity government from rival factions inside the country instead, according to officials.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter presented the plans during a meeting of President Barack Obama's top national security advisers last month, The New York Times reported Tuesday, and even though the Obama administration prefers the diplomatic solution, the military is poised to carry out limited airstrikes against targets in Libya.

According to the Pentagon's plan, airstrikes delivered on 30 to 40 targets located in four different areas of the country could cripple ISIS' holds in Libya while allowing militias to fight back against the insurgents. Additional airstrikes would support the militias, according to the plan, which was described by five American officials who discussed them with The Times under the condition of anonymity.

"We will continue to use the full range of tools to eliminate ISIL threats wherever they are," Obama said on Feb. 25, after convening the National Security Council to discuss ISIS.

The military plan's scope, though, drew warnings from the State Department, saying they could jeopardize efforts being led by the United Nations for a unity government.

"Where there is opportunity to conduct operations against ISIL, to disrupt them at this point and not undermine the political process, that is where we are," Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told The Times. "At some point in the future, if I believe we are at risk with that strategy, I will certainly come back to the secretary and make some different recommendations."

The plans were named among reports that American, British, French, and possibly Italian special forces have been in Libya for months to conduct reconnaissance and gather intelligence, and as pressure grows on the United States and its allies to take military action.

But Claudia Gazzini, a senior Libyan analyst with the International Crisis Group in Rome, told lawmakers that rushing a military intervention to counter ISIS would likely backfire.

"Any such intervention should be discreet, measured and linked to a political strategy aimed at bringing Libyan factions together into a single government," she said.

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The White House has received an extensive list of military options to battle the Islamic State in Libya, including airstrikes on training camps and other militant targets.
pentagon, white house, libya, isis
386
2016-28-08
Tuesday, 08 Mar 2016 02:28 PM
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