ISIS Fuels Discord in Libya

Using Oil to Weaken the Unity Government

Smoke billows where clashes took place between various factions in Benghazi, Libya, December 23, 2014. Esam Omran Al-Fetori / Reuters

Before the West intervened in Libya in 2011 to depose former leader Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi, opponents to the campaign warned that it could become a Somalia on the Mediterranean. It appears that this prophecy is coming true.

Since Qaddafi’s fall and the civil war that followed, brutal terrorist thugs and criminal syndicates have seized territory and exploited populations. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced internally or fled to neighboring countries. In Sirte, once a popular coastal conference spot, the so-called Islamic State (ISIS)—which relocated its headquarters there after it was gradually pushed out of Derna, a coastal city east of Sirte—has targeted whole tribes for their resistance to its new order. Regular executions and disfiguring punishments occur in public squares. Although anti-ISIS forces appear to be in the process of launching an offensive to retake Sirte, ISIS has successfully entrenched itself there over the past year or so.

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