Mark Collins – ISIS Having Hard Time in Libya/Three French SOF Killed

The latest at Defense One’sD-Brief“–note French, British, US special forces on the ground, NATO not planning combat involvement but…

ISIS’ grip in Libya is fading fast, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday, AP reported as the militant group faces “the ‘distinct possibility’ of defeat in their last stronghold and are likely to scatter elsewhere in the North African country and the region.” He also “said in a new report to the U.N. Security Council that member states’ estimates of the number of IS fighters range between 2,000 and 7,000 from Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Mali, Morocco and Mauritania. Ban said one member state recently reported between 3,000 and 4,000 IS fighters in Sirte, the extremist group’s last bastion along Libya’s northern coast which he called ‘the most active war front’ in the country.”

And that’s a point France knows all too well, we learn this morning after France’s defense ministry acknowledged for the first time that French special forces are in Libya—and three of them died recently when their helicopter was shot down, The Wall Street Journal reports. A little bit more from AFP, here


…French special forces in conjunction with Britain and the United States have been advising forces loyal to eastern Libyan commander [Gen.] Khalifa Haftar [more here], which have been battling Islamists and other opponents in Benghazi for more than two years. French aircraft have been conducting reconnaissance flights since December…

And at Foreign Policy’sSituation Report“:

…NATO’s [Secretary General] Stoltenberg told FP that the alliance is “not looking into combat operations” in Libya. “This is more about institution building and support.” He also revealed that in early fall, he expects a Libyan “team of experts” to visit NATO headquarters to begin working through some of these issues…

Then the oil:

Libyan Dinar Slides More Amid Continued Political Deadlock

Libya’s dinar has plunged to a new low on the black market amid continued political deadlock in this oil-rich country.

Traders were selling the dinar Wednesday from between 5.0 and 5.30 to the dollar, a sharp decline from nearly 4 Libyan dinars to the dollar in March. The official rate is 1.58.

The downward spiral is rooted in the depletion of foreign currency in Libya after a sharp drop in oil production from 1.6 million barrels a day in 2011 to less than 400,000 barrels a day.

Oil is the country’s main source of revenues. Militias control oil fields, pipelines, and oil terminals. After the 2011 ouster and killing of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Libya slid into chaos, and subsequent political turmoil left the country split between two competing governments.

Even if ISIS is effectively defeated what chance for a seriously united country with a decent government?

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds


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