Sunday, December 13, 2015

How Are Things in Libya Today?

The state of Libya today, via New York Times reporter David Kirkpatrick. The story, from Business Insider, summarizes Kirkpatrick’s interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show:

A New York Times reporter who recently returned from covering ISIS (also known as the Islamic State and ISIL) in Sirte, a coastal city in northern Libya, told radio host Hugh Hewitt Thursday that he was “shocked and alarmed” at how much ISIS has grown there.

“I have to say I was personally shocked and alarmed at what I found on this last visit,” Times reporter David Kirkpatrick told Hewitt.

“When I had last been near Sirte earlier this year in February and March, it looked like a bunch of local militants with their own local agenda just hauled up the Islamic State flag to make themselves look tough,” he said. “When I went back this time, not only did I find that they had vastly expanded their terrain … but the city of Sirte had become a kind of actively managed colony of the Islamic State leaders in Raqqa.”

ISIS is “sending in their own administrators, many of them from the Gulf, as well as their own military commanders, often Iraqis and former officers in Saddam Hussein’s army to lead their operations there, and recruiting foreign fighters from around the region,” Kirkpatrick said.

Kirkpatrick explained that Libya is a failed state full of cities that are governed by local militias.

“Some of those militias are ideological, and increasingly, they have picked up into two big teams fighting against each other mostly for money and power, but with a sort of vaguely ideological overtone,” he said. “And into this landscape comes the Islamic State … and it’s been expanding its own empire so that it now has a full and exclusive control of 150 miles of Libyan coastline.”

The base of operations in northern Libya also brings ISIS closer to the West. Kirkpatrick pointed out that Sirte is only 400 miles away from Sicily, Italy.

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