While the United States has continued conducting airstrikes in the Middle East, it has been about a year since a strike was conducted in Libya itself.
On Thursday, that pause came to a close as President Donald Trump issued the order and the U.S. launched an airstrike within Libya’s borders to take out eight ISIS members, The Washington Examiner reports.
Disrupting Terrorist Activity
Libya has been involved in a civil war for the last five years. Because of that discord, ISIS was able to gain a foothold in the country, one that it has yet to relinquish completely.
In an effort to fight back against ISIS, the Libyan government allowed the United States to start conducting airstrikes within its borders in 2016.
Eventually, Libyan forces were able to retake the city and force ISIS to retreat into the desert.
Over the next two years, the United States continued to carry out airstrikes against ISIS, weakening the organization even further. Prior to Thursday, the last airstrike to have been carried out took place in November 2018.
Fighting Signs of Weakness
As it did in 2014, the civil war in Libya is offering terrorists a convenient way into the country. The U.S. simply cannot afford to allow that to happen.
While our country is trying to prevent ISIS from once again gaining a stronghold in Libya, the two sides in this fight have never been further apart.
Libyan National Army leader Khalifa Haftar has been trying to capture Tripoli for months. Haftar initiated the attack based on the premise that he was trying to liberate the city.
The Libyan Prime Minister, Fayez al-Serraj, however, accused Haftar of attempting to carry out a coup.
The United States recently met with Haftar in an effort to bring the two sides together, but as of yet, nothing has come of that meeting, nor was anything reported to be scheduled in the future.
Even so, U.S. military leaders have vowed they will not allow the ongoing civil war to provide “protection” for ISIS.