December 08, 2017
Fighting Forces in Libya: December 2017
The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) is rebuilding its military power and establishing a safe haven in central Libya as Libyan factions focus on securing their political interests on the populated coast. The UN action plan stalled in its first phase. The political deadlock incentivizes rival factions to pursue their objectives militarily, causing instability that draws security forces and militias to the eastern and western coasts and leaves a security vacuum in central and southern Libya. ISIS is exploiting this vacuum by establishing transportation hubs and supply bases in central Libya. It has demonstrated increased strength and freedom of movement in recent months by establishing checkpoints in central Libya and conducting attacks to fix security forces into defensive positions. ISIS leadership has called on fighters to use Libya as a gateway to Europe and will employ its renewed safe haven to facilitate more attacks in European cities. ISIS and other Salafi-jihadi groups also use Libyan safe havens to infiltrate and attack Libya’s relatively stable neighbors. Libya is headed for renewed civil conflict that will allow Salafi-jihadi groups to establish a permanent base in the country.