Islamic State Has a Major Opportunity in Libya

By Olivier Guitta Special to IPT News

Islamic State, the supposedly almost-defunct jihadist group, is not only making a comeback in Syria and Iraq but also in a place that has recently grabbed the headlines: Libya. Unfortunately, this was ignored last weekend at a Berlin peace conference on Libya. Convened by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, world players strived to enact a ceasefire between the two main warring parties in the conflict. But that may turn out to be just the least of their worries if ISIS catches fire.

“Several thousand ISIS fighters have left Idlib in Syria through the northern border and have ended up in Libya,” Jordan’s King Abdullah recently warned. “That is something that we in the region but also our European friends will have to address in 2020.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also confirmed that concerning information.

It is quite telling that Islamic State fighters are again leaving Syria to settle in Libya. Indeed, the Islamic State’s Dabiq magazine in 2015 highlighted Libya as a major “market” for the organization, boasting of European recruits there. Reports came in of 56 French nationals, 20 British citizens and 16 Belgians having joined ISIS in Libya. It is not a coincidence that Libya had been connected to Islamic State attacks abroad, on the beach in Sousse, Tunisia, in 2015, the Christmas Market attack in Berlin in 2016, and the 2017 attacks in the United Kingdom at Manchester Arena attack and the London Bridge.

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