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Libya After ISIS

How Trump Can Prevent the Next War

A boy wearing a Libyan flag takes part in a celebration marking the sixth anniversary of the Libyan revolution, in Benghazi, Libya February 17, 2017. Esam Omran Al-Fetori / Reuters

Among the many crises now facing the new Trump administration, Libya poses a growing challenge. The shattered Mediterranean state is close to open civil war, which could have profoundly negative consequences for U.S. interests and allies.

Although the Islamic State (ISIS) was driven from its main areas of control in Libya last year and oil production has rebounded to a three-year high, Libya is more polarized and fragmented than ever. The United Nations-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli is failing in its basic functions and confronts an existential challenge from an eastern faction led by General Khalifa Hifter and backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and, increasingly, Russia. In addition, the economy is veering toward collapse, and jihadist militancy could still find purchase in the country’s chaos.

Now is the time for careful and robust American diplomatic leadership. The Trump administration must first school itself

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