Libyan Prime Minister Calls for Unity against ISIS

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Prime Minister-designate Fayez Al Sarraj has called on Libyan armies throughout the land to join the central state and combat Islamic State’s presence, according to Gulf News. ISIS entered Libya in 2011 after NATO-backed rebels ousted and murdered former leader Muammar Gaddafi. Libya’s economy has since collapsed as various factions compete for power.

The prime minister needs all the help he can muster against ISIS, but it remains to be seen if other forces will rally to his side. Libya has devolved into a fractured state where opposing forces have end-goals that run counter to the central government. Sarraj’s government has been a weak force that has failed to unify the country and has little control over certain regions.

For instance, General Khalifa Haftar is a powerful figure in eastern Libya and does not swear any particular allegiance to the central government as he enjoys widespread support among soldiers. Additionally, eastern Libya has attempted to build its own economy through the export of oil, but has been blocked by central authorities thus far.

Further, the Libyan public grows increasingly dissatisfied with a government that has failed to upgrade living standards. Many citizens also have little faith in the country’s fractured banking system, especially as banking authorities impose draconian withdrawal limits. With that, Libya’s economy is one of least pressing issues at the moment, as leaders fail to maintain a cohesive state.

Central leadership has no control over warlords and militias that wish to retain control over various regions. The prime minister is fully aware that uniting divided armies will be a difficult task, but he needs additional boots on the ground to win the fight without requesting help from the world community. Sarraj refuses to entertain the idea of foreign ground troops and has pressed for other forms of support that are less intrusive, notes Africanews.

The prime minister stated that his government receives support from foreign nations, but refuses to disclose the type of help received and which nations are involved. Foreign interventionism remains a touchy subject among governments around the world, especially as war fatigue sets in among many voters.

The ousting of Gaddafi was a mistake, but the world community made matters worse by supporting the ousting of the former Libyan leader while failing to lend support after his removal. After Gaddafi’s death, Libya devolved into a state of chaos, where the murder rate spiked over 500% from 2011 to 2013, including the ethnic cleansing of native black Libyans at the hands of NATO-backed forces.