(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
On Tuesday, a spokesperson from the Unites States Pentagon announced that the United States is prepared to attack the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) forces that are based in Sirte, Libya with an airstrike raid.
Peter Cook, the spokesperson for the Pentagon, informed CNN that “we don’t make a decision to carry out a military strike lightly.”
The Pentagon has been following the events in Libya closely and discusses the situation with the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) on a regular basis along with other regional stakeholders.
Cook explained that for the Libyan GNA to establish stability and security in Libya they need to be supported.
“We’ve been willing to take strikes in the past in Libya targeting ISIL [ISIS] leadership,” Cook said.
He also added that the US is “prepared to do so again in the future. But this is a situation where the government is still taking shape. It is showing progress. Military forces aligned with the government are showing progress as well, particularly in the fight against ISIL [ISIS] in Sirte.”
Cook praised the GNA backed militias in their fight against ISIS, mentioning that it was an “encouraging” advancement, while also mentioning that the Pentagon realizes the threat ISIS poses to Libya’s security.
To date, the GNA has called for support from its allies, including the United States, but has refrained from requesting direct military intervention. The GNA is resolved to fight ISIS independently.
In an interview in early June, the prime minister of Libya’s UN-backed unity government has ruled out an international military intervention to fight the Islamic State group. “It’s true that we need help from the international community in our fight against terrorism and it’s true that this is something we have already received.” He added that the presence of foreign ground troops would be “contrary to our principles.”
With the significant achievement of the GNA-led operation in Sirte, with reports that the battle is in its final stages, it is debateable whether US forces are needed at this stage.