Pentagon is certain that defeating Daesh in Libya requires more than airstrikes.
It has been officially stated by the Pentagon that US military personnel have been deployed to fight Daesh in Libya. Their initial task is to establish contacts with various forces on the ground in the North African country that are willing to fight the extremist groups, and are also willing to work with US forces.
Peter Cook, press secretary of the Pentagon told news reporters that US deployment for fighting Daesh in Libya is very small at the moment. Their aim right now is to establish contacts with different forces on the ground including militias and factions so that they can recognize who are the real players in the arena. They will also analyze which factions are worthy of US support. Cook did not comment whether the US personnel he was referring to were actual soldiers or advisors.
Cook further elaborated that the Pentagon had seen a surge activity by Daesh in Libya with increase in its members and affiliated groups. That is a cause of great concern for the US and it is prepared to everything to not only monitor the situation, but also to work with its partners on the ground so that a clear assessment of the issue can be carried out, and options can be explored for fighting Daesh in Libya.
In 2011, an air campaign carried out by America and its Western allies succeeded in toppling the dictator which resulted in a wide security vacuum that still persists after more than four years.
The Defense Secretary of the US Ashton Carter said on Thursday that America has no intention of allowing the Islamic State to sink its roots in North Africa, the Pentagon had still not decided whether US soldiers will be deployed to fight Daesh in Libya.
“You see the same kind of ambitions on their part that you see realized in full flower in Syria and Iraq,” Carter said. “We don’t want to be on a glideslope to a situation like Syria and Iraq. That’s the reason we’re watching it that closely. That’s the reason why we develop options for what we might do in the future.”
Last week, General Joe Dunford, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman stated that Washington was in the planning stages for battling Daesh in Libya. He said that the most pressing concern for the Us at this point in time was a lack of credible allies who would support the US troops and will also be able confront Daesh in Libya on their own.
The above statement implies that the US is looking for forces that would act like the Kurd Peshmerga forces in Syria. If the US succeeds in finding such a force it will be able to emulate the same pattern that it has applied in Syria and Iraq: offering support but letting the locals do the actual fighting.
The US has already carried out a few airstrikes against Daesh in Libya, however, the Pentagon is certain that without putting boots on the ground, there is no hope of winning.