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The Next Front Against ISIS

The Right Way to Intervene in Libya

Smoke from an oil fire in Es Sider, in Ras Lanuf, Libya, January 6, 2016. Firefighters have extinguished two fires at oil storage tanks at Libya's Ras Lanuf terminal, but blazes continue at five tanks in the nearby port of Es Sider after attacks this week by ISIS militants. Reuters

In recent weeks, a succession of U.S. and European officials have warned that military operations to stop the creeping advance of the Islamic State (ISIS) in the shattered North African state of Libya are imminent. Since the summer of 2014, ISIS has exploited a governance vacuum and a factional civil war in Libya to expand what was once just a toehold into a foothold. It has clashed with, and in some areas displaced, older jihadist groups affiliated with al Qaeda. It has used Libya’s lawlessness to attract foreign recruits, conduct training, and plot operations abroad. ISIS now controls the central coastal city of Sirte and is attacking the nearby petroleum facilities to prevent much-needed revenue from reaching Libya’s central bank. And perhaps most worrisome, U.S. officials recently stated that ISIS has sent hundreds of fighters from Iraq and Syria to Libya in a calculated fallback strategy; the

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