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ISIS Has Expanded Into Libya

- December 18, 2015

ISIS "Has Expanded In Libya And Established A New Base Close To Europe Where It Can Generate Oil Revenue And Plot Terror Attacks." "Even as foreign powers step up pressure against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the militant group has expanded in Libya and established a new base close to Europe where it can generate oil revenue and plot terror attacks." (Tamer El-Ghobashy and Hassan Morajea, "Islamic State Tightens Grip On Libyan Stronghold Of Sirte," The Wall Street Journal, 11/29/15)

  • The Libyan City Of Sirte Is Now "An Actively Managed Colony Of The Central Islamic State." "When the Libyan arm of the Islamic State first raised the group's black flag over the coastal city of Surt almost one year ago, it was just a bunch of local militants trying to look tough. Today Surt is an actively managed colony of the central Islamic State, crowded with foreign fighters from around the region, according to residents, local militia leaders and hostages recently released from the city's main prison." (David D. Kirkpatrick, Ben Hubbard, and Eric Schmitt, "ISIS' Grip On Libyan City Gives It A Fallback Option," The New York Times, 11/28/15)
  • ISIS' Hold On Sirte Is So Strong That Western Intelligence Officials Worry That "The Core Group May Be Preparing To Fall Back To Libya As An Alternative Base If Necessary." "The leadership of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, is now clenching its grip on Surt so tightly that Western intelligence agencies say they fear the core group may be preparing to fall back to Libya as an alternative base if necessary, a haven where its jihadists could continue to fight from even if it was ousted from its original territories." (David D. Kirkpatrick, Ben Hubbard, and Eric Schmitt, "ISIS' Grip On Libyan City Gives It A Fallback Option," The New York Times, 11/28/15)

"This Burgeoning Operation In Libya Shows How Islamic State Is Able To Grow And Adapt" Despite The Numerous Airstrikes Campaigns And Ground Assaults. "This burgeoning operation in Libya shows how Islamic State is able to grow and adapt even as it is targeted by Russian, French and U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria as well as Kurdish and Iraqi ground assaults in Iraq." (Tamer El-Ghobashy and Hassan Morajea, "Islamic State Tightens Grip On Libyan Stronghold Of Sirte," The Wall Street Journal, 11/29/15)

  • "In Libya, Islamic State Has Fended Off Challenges From Government-Aligned Militias And Called For Recruits Who Have The Technical Know-How To Put Nearby Oil Facilities Into Operation." (Tamer El-Ghobashy and Hassan Morajea, "Islamic State Tightens Grip On Libyan Stronghold Of Sirte," The Wall Street Journal, 11/29/15)

According To The Pentagon, ISIS Has Doubled Its Presence To 6,000 Fighters In Libya Over The Last Year. “The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has doubled its presence inside Libya in the last year, the top U.S. military commander overseeing operations in the region said Thursday. The number of ISIS fighters in Libya doubled to between 4,000 to 6,000 in the last 12 to 18 months, Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez said at a Pentagon briefing.” (Kristina Wong, “Top General: ISIS Doubled Number Of Fighters In Libya,” The Hill, 4/7/16)

ISIS Has Taken Advantage Of The Turmoil In Libya Following Clinton's Failed Intervention

ISIS Militants "Have Taken Advantage Of Chaos In Libya To Establish" Strongholds In The Region. "Islamic State militants have taken advantage of chaos in Libya to establish themselves in the city of Sirte, and they have carried out several attacks on oil installations this month." ("Obama Calls For Efforts To Counter Islamic State In Libya," Reuters, 1/28/16)

  • "The Seeds Of Islamic State's Growth In Libya Were Planted After Gadhafi's Ouster." "The seeds of Islamic State's growth in Libya were planted after Gadhafi's ouster. In the almost exclusively Sunni Muslim Libya, the Sunni extremist group exploited tribal and political rifts that lingered after the strongman's death, particularly around Sirte." (Tamer El-Ghobashy and Hassan Morajea, "Islamic State Tightens Grip On Libyan Stronghold Of Sirte," The Wall Street Journal, 11/29/15)

A 2015 UN Report Warns Of ISIS Expansion In Libya

A New United Nations Report "Warns ISIS Has Built Up A Significant Presence In Libya And Could Further Expand The Territory It Controls." "A report released on Tuesday by a United Nations monitoring group examining terrorist groups in Libya warns ISIS has built up a significant presence in Libya and could further expand the territory it controls through local alliances, but will likely face a number of challenges and constraints in the months ahead." (Paul Cruickshank, "United Nations Warns Of ISIS Expansion In Libya," CNN, 12/2/15)

  • "The Report Will Increase Concerns In European Capitals About The Potential Threat ISIS Poses Europe From Libya In The Wake Of The Paris Attacks, And The Pivot By The Group Towards International Terrorism." (Paul Cruickshank, "United Nations Warns Of ISIS Expansion In Libya," CNN, 12/2/15)

"Outside Syria And Iraq, Libya Has Proved To The Most Promising Ground For ISIS Expansion With The Group Entrenching Its Control Of The Former Gadhafi Stronghold Of Sirte…" "Outside Syria and Iraq, Libya has proved to the most promising ground for ISIS expansion with the group entrenching its control of the former Gadhafi stronghold of Sirte in recent months and over a hundred miles of coastline bordering the city. The group also retains a presence in eastern Libya where it is in a pitched contest with al Qaeda affiliated groups." (Paul Cruickshank, "United Nations Warns Of ISIS Expansion In Libya," CNN, 12/2/15)

Report: "The Current Political And Security Challenges In Libya Present An Opportunity For Groups Associated With Al-Qaida," Such As ISIS, "To Opportunistically Exploit And Complicate An Already Difficult Situation On The Ground." "The current political and security challenges in Libya present an opportunity for groups associated with Al-Qaida (QDe.004), such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), listed as Al-Qaida in Iraq (QDe.115), Ansar al Charia in its various reiterations, the Organization of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) (QDe.014) and Al Mourabitoun (QDe.141) to opportunistically exploit and complicate an already difficult situation on the ground." (United Nations Security Council, " Report Of The Analytical Support And Sanctions Monitoring Team Submitted Pursuant To Paragraph 13 Of Security Council Resolution 2214 (2015) Concerning The Terrorism Threat In Libya Posed By The Islamic State In Iraq And The Levant, Ansar Al Charia, And All Other Al-Qaida Associates ," 11/19/15, p. 4)


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