Western–12 Jan 2016

Jan 12, 2016 | International actors

A high-level meeting was held on 12 January, which included the  Italian PM, defense, Intelligence and security ministers, including Italian special forces where Libya was the key agenda item. The meeting may be related to the flash incident in Mellitah complex on 12 January, where gunfire at the complex entrance forced a quick evacuation of foreign staff.

It is more likely that the meeting comes in the context of intensified western preparations to counter ISIS at the behest of the new UN recognized presidency council (PC). While plans to counter ISIS officialy rest on a formal request by the PC, more signs of western unilateral planning are evident. Italy is also reportedly hosting a Libya conference on 19th January.

Some reports this week suggest that plans are now apparently turning into implementation, reiterating previous information that British and American forces are actually inside Libya to lay the groundwork for a large allied troop intervention under Italian leadership.  Sources say that US, British and French marines will land on shore in the largest Western allied war landing since the 1952 Korean War, with the objective of securing oil installations, government institutions in the key cities, and target hubs of migrant trafficking to Europe.

One group will move west to take over Tripoli, to Libya’s central government there. The second group will move east to take control of Benghazi. According to these sources, the US will not “lead from behind” in this military campaign but will be in front, possibly becoming another reversal of President Obama’s Mideast strategy. However, the veracity of these reports are yet unconfirmed, and if true, they may spell disaster for what is left of Libyan legitimacy and local anti-IS efforts.

Meanwhile, a new set of unidentified (yet likely Western) airstrikes were reported taking place against IS On 10 January in a number of locations in Sirte, including the port. Sources report that the strikes also targeted the main Ouagadougou conference complex in the city (reportedly HQ of ISIS) and the Al- Qardabia air base. These airstrikes have reportedly forces ISIS to transfer some of the heavy weaponry and artillery near the gates of the city.