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White House says Obama not preparing military action against extremists in Libya

Dave Boyer
Washington Times [1]
February 5, 2016

The White House downplayed reports Thursday that President Obama is considering a “second front” against the Islamic State in Libya, saying only that the president is “mindful” of the extremist group’s growth in the chaotic North African nation.

“We’ve been mindful of this risk for more than a year and half now,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. “We’re going to continue to be prepared to take action.”

In December, Mr. Obama said Libya might have turned into “another Syria” if the U.S. hadn’t participated in coalition airstrikes in 2011 that helped to topple the regime of Muammar Qaddafi. But less than two months after giving that assessment, the situation in Libya has deteriorated, with the Islamic State estimated to have doubled its number of fighters there to more than 6,000.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday he is concerned about Libya, after receiving classified intelligence briefings.

“ISIS is expanding its reach in many regions,” Mr. Ryan said, using one of the acronyms for the Islamist group. “This [Libya] is one of the most troubling ones. That is why we have to have a comprehensive strategy. This isn’t just a one-off thing. We have to have a comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS.”

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