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Africa Libya

ISIS Appears to be Regrouping in Sirte, Libya

ISIS IN ACTION
On 3 November, Zarouk Asuiti, the head of the activation committee of security services in Sirte, stated he has received information suggesting ISIS is regrouping in the valleys south of the city. The Libyan Air Force are said to be flying Mi-35 helicopters over Nawfaliyah-Bin Jawad area following reports of ISIS activity in the area.

WESTERN RESPONSE
On 30 November, Government of National Accord (GNA) Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj met with Secretary of Defense James Mattis at the Pentagon to discuss defense relationships and regional security challenges. This included concerns about how ISIS and al-Qaeda are “taking advantage of ungoverned spaces in Libya to establish sanctuaries for plotting inspiring and directing terrorist attacks.” Serraj said he was hopeful that the current UN arms embargo would be partially lifted for some military branches such as the GNA’s presidential guard and the coast guard, to allow these outfits to increase their capacity to defeat such jihadist groups.

On 1 December, Serraj and his team met with US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington D.C Trump underscored the US’s continued support for the GNA, the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) and the UN-led reconciliation efforts. He thanked Serraj for his cooperation in counterterrorism efforts, emphasizing America’s continued commitment to defeating ISIS and other jihadists in Libya.

On 4 December, the US Supreme Court allowed Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ to go into full effect by lifting two injunctions imposed by lower courts that had partially blocked the ban. The ban prevents people from Libya as well as Chad, Iran, Somalia, Syria and Yemen from entering the US. Trump believes this ban will protect the US from jihadist terrorists. The current injunctions against the ban are suspended while federal appeals courts in San Francisco and Richmond, Virginia weigh the cases.

On 3 December, UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry who reportedly reiterated Egypt’s support and appreciation for UN efforts. Shoukry also stressed Egypt’s concern over the movement of ISIS and other jihadist fighters from Libya to Egypt and the need for a stable Libyan military establishment.

Libya-Analysis is the most read independent English-language blog on Libyan affairs. It is run by Jason Pack, founder of EyeOnISISinLibya.com and researcher of World History at Cambridge University

This article was republished with explicit permission from the author.