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The INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP’s Libya Senior Analyst CLAUDIA GAZZINI discusses the upsurge in Islamic State activity in Libya.
After the Islamic State (IS) beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya, and Egypt bombed IS camps in response, it seems clear that there is an IS problem in Libya that didn’t exist before. How did Libya get from the joy of overthrowing former Libyan Leader Muammar Qadhafi to the current state of chaos?
Libyan cities like Derna and Ajdabiya, and to a certain extent Benghazi, have a history of jihadi activity. Since the early 1990s we have seen fighters from these places joining wars in Afghanistan, in Iraq and in Syria. So the arrival of IS on Libyan shores doesn’t come out of the blue. What has changed is that, with politics being conducted through armed groups confronting each other on the battlefield, and deeply split over their vision for the country, radical groups are strengthening and winning greater freedom to operate. There is a risk, however, in associating any particular radical or jihadi group with IS. One group in Sirte and another group in Derna have pledged allegiance to IS, but it’s never clear what the command and control structure is,…
Source : Daily Maverick