Washington D.C. (GPA) – Jason Pack is a researcher of world history at Cambridge University and the founder of Libya-Analysis and Eye on ISIS in Libya. Mr. Pack spoke as part of a panel at the Atlantic Council this week, focusing on the origins of ISIS in Libya. Mr. Pack also offered solutions for tackling the Libyan and essentially global “terrorism” epidemic.
Mr. Pack points out that unlike typical Arab national liberation movements, jihadi groups like ISIS or Daesh gain traction rather quickly. Spreading and mutating like a virus. Specifically in Libya, ISIS was not “defeated” after being eradicated in Sirte because ISIS simply changed and mutated to fit into ungovernable spaces.
Mr. Pack also explains some of the theology behind ISIS and other jihadi actors. Where shia militias and organizations work within a specific hierarchy for a common goal, ISIS and other sunni takfiri groups place efficacy on the individual to interpret and carry out jihad how they see fit. This removes accountability and gives groups like ISIS the flexibility to mutate over time. So allegiance comes at very local levels. This flexibility in theology gives fighters from western or foreign-supported rebel groups the ability to easily “jump” to more radical organizations like al-Qaeda or ISIS.
In the video Mr. Pack explains how ISIS will not be defeated globally until they are defeated throughout all of Libya. Since many prominent jihadi actors use various areas of Libya as a place to regroup or “nest.” Since ISIS has exploited Libya’s statelessness, ISIS will not be removed from Libya until a functional government is put in place– specifically at the local level.
This is something western powers like the United States don’t see as a priority at this point.