The United States Department of Defence appears to be torn about the plan to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) that are in Libyia, considering that five years ago, Libya helped topple Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
Barack Obama and Defence Secretary Ashton Carter indicated there were ongoing discussions as to which military options could potentially be used against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Libya.
According to the White House statement: “The president directed his national security team to continue efforts to strengthen governance and support ongoing counterterrorism efforts in Libya and other countries where ISIL has sought to establish a presence.”
US deputy department spokesperson Mark C Toner during a press briefing in Washington DC on Thursday said the United States, with its allies and partners, have done a good job against al-Qaeda, and therefore will continue to degrade and destroy ISIL.
“The Pentagon did carry out a strike against an ISIL leader in Libya, and we said very clearly we’re going to go after ISIL wherever they operate, and that remains true. And so we’re – additionally, we’re working with the international community, working with and want to work, frankly, and partner with a new Libyan Government to promote stability and strengthen government – governance in Libya,” Toner said.
However, on Wednesday, the Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said “… just last week in our visit to Paris and our meetings with other members of the ISIL coalition, we are extremely worried about the metastasis of ISIL to other locations, Libya being just one of those locations”.
“We continue to monitor the situation there. Continue to work very closely with our coalition partners, with others in the region who have similar concerns about the situation in Libya. And I think it’s fair to say that we are closely monitoring the situation,” Cook added.
“It’s fair to say that we’re looking to take decisive military action against ISIL in conjunction with the political process” in Libya, General Dunford said. “The president has made clear that we have the authority to use military force.”