Taking the fight to Daesh in Africa: paper

ABU DHABI, 4th August, 2016 (WAM) — A UAE newspaper has said that this week, American drones and manned aircraft hit Daesh targets in Libya. It was the first time since the Nato-led intervention that toppled former president Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 that United States warplanes had carried out strikes in the country and it could not have come at a better time in the global fight against Daesh, as the group has suffered various setbacks in their strongholds.

“While the militants have ramped up attacks in Europe on civilian targets, they are under pressure in Iraq and Syria. The city of Fallujah has been wrestled from Daesh’s grip by Iraqi security forces as part of a larger bid to retake Mosul, the country’s second largest city,” said The National in an editorial on Thursday.

“There is more work to be done in weeding out collaborators, but the direction of travel is clear. On the back foot, Daesh is redoubling efforts to increase its presence in Libya.

“Senior Pentagon officials have confirmed that the United States has been planning action in Libya for some time in consultation with their French counterparts. Washington is looking to expand the model it has employed in Iraq and Syria, where US planes provide air support for allied groups fighting Daesh on the ground.

“Since the fall of Qaddafi, Libya has been a broken state at war with itself and various rebel groups. American air strikes run the risk of emboldening groups that might end up proving harmful to the long-term security of Libya and the region. That being said, the war on Daesh is a multi-faceted endeavour. The militants are trying to establish a large base of operation in the country, which could be the starting point for new attacks on European targets.

“As Turkey, a key Nato ally and critical member of the US-led coalition against Daesh, continues to rout out suspected coup plotters inside its military, it is critical for the US to send a strong message to Daesh’s leadership that the fight continues.

“President Barack Obama has tried to avoid renewed military conflict in Libya since 2011, but the reality is that America can’t turn its back on this important front in the larger war.

“The air strikes must continue against the militants but now it is time for the US and its allies to draft a realistic plan for Libya’s future. The rebuilding of the country is critical for the safety of the region and the world,” concluded the Abu Dhabi-based daily.