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Q. Islamic State in Libya: Discuss the present status, reasons and its impact due to evolution of Islamic State in Libya.
Aug 04, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

In news-

Recently USA has launched airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Sirte (Libya), previously it has conducted two standalone operations on specific IS targets in Libya. This time, American warplanes are likely to stay longer, providing air cover to the forces of the Tripoli government in the battle for Sirte.

Evolution of IS in Libya-

  • In 2011 protests broke out in Libya against Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's regime. 
  • Instead of pushing for peaceful settlements, NATO has launched disastrous war, the after-effects of which are still felt in Libya. 
  • There was little effort on the part of the invaders to reconstitute the Libyan state after Qadhafi was killed. 
  • The Islamist factions among the rebels got support from Arab countries, while the Haftar militia was backed by the West. 
  • Now the IS has influence across the country, including Benghazi and Derna in the east and Sabratha in the west. Similarly Sirte, a strategically important coastal town that has been under the control of the IS for more than a year.


Key problems-

  • Currently, the country doesn’t have a credible government. The forced ouster of Muammar Qadhafi threw it into chaos and anarchy. 
  • Presently, there are two governments in Libya, one in Tripoli and the other in Tobruk. 
  • In this background Islamic State is gaining its influence in Libya. Similarly  IS, under pressure from attacks in Iraq and Syria, now turning  its focus towards Libya.


Reasons for chaos in Libya-

  • Evolution and growth of Islamic State in Libya is major reasons for increasing chaos in Libya.
  • Similarly western forces like USA and its European allies are equally responsible for present crisis in Libya.
  • Qadhafi’s regime, despite all its problems, was a unifying force among the country’s diverse ethnic and tribal groups. These western forces made to fall Qadhafi’s regime, and never made any peaceful settlement to solve the issues.


Impact-

  • The USA’s deepening involvement points to the rising threat perception from Libya. 
  • The Libyan crisis is as complex as the Syrian and Iraqi conflicts. Increased encroachment of IS in Libya have created transit haven for IS, as it is facing major attacks in Iraq and Syria.
  • Even with U.S. air power, it may not be easy for the Libyan forces to defeat the IS. It is into this state of chaos that the U.S. is sending its warplanes.


What’s next?

  • At present, Libya needs a strong single government that can lead both the fight against the terrorists and efforts to rebuild the state.
  • The powers that bombed the country have the moral responsibility to work towards this goal. For that there is need of stability in Libya. Unless Libya is stabilised, superior air power alone won’t save it from the IS.


Conclusion-

The forced ouster of Muammar Qadhafi threw Libya into chaos and anarchy. Increasing influence of IS has become serious cause of concern. To solve the issues attacks by forces won’t suffice, there is an urgent need of efficient and stable government, which can fight these forces and can build the country again. In future western powers must avoid unnecessary involvement in internal issues of any government particularly in Africa.

 


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