In response to the ongoing violence in Libya, the Pentagon has said it is mulling an armed intercession. "IS" jihadists have become increasingly active in the country following a period of instability.
The United States is examining options for military intervention in Libya, the Pentagon said late Wednesday. As "Islamic State" (IS) terrorists expand their reach in the oil-rich country and a unity government struggles to take hold, the US has a "significant concern" about security in the region, a spokesman said.
"We're looking at military options, a range of other options as… the situation in Libya unfolds," said Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook, adding that the "metastasis" of "IS" from outside of its strongholds in Iraq and Syria had the US Defense Department looking for ways to contain the spread of the extremists.
"We want to be prepared, as the Department of Defense always want to be prepared, in the event that ISIL in Libya becomes more of a threat than it is even today," Cook added, using an alternative acronym for "IS."
Still seeking stability
After a 2011 uprising that toppled long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi, ongoing sectarian strife has made it difficult for the North African country to establish a secure government. Rival factions of former rebels have split off into the internationally recognized parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk, and the Islamists who took over Tripoli after failing to win democratic elections.
The Tobruk government fled to the east after a 2014 coup by Islamists, who call themselves Libya Dawn
A UN-backed unity government was rejected by Tobruk earlier this week after a vote of 89 against in a legislature of 104 seats.
Taking advantage of the chaos, "IS" has tried to gain a foothold in Libya, banking on Islamist sympathies. In June, jihadists loyal to the group captured Sirte, a city 280 miles (450 kilometers) east of Tripoli, and in recent weeks have been launching attacks against oil rigs from their base in Sirte.
In December, the Pentagon was forced to admit that US special operations troops who had gone to Libya to "foster relationships" had been driven out of the country shortly after their arrival.
es/jil (AFP, dpa)