“Libya Seeks Airstrikes Against ISIS Branch”
The New York Times, August 16, 2015, p.A4
“Libya’s internationally recognized government has asked fellow Arab states to conduct airstrikes against the Libyan branch of the Islamic State in the coastal city of Surt, a cabinet statement said on Saturday. In the past few days, the Islamic State has crushed a revolt by a rival Salafist group and armed residents who tried to break its grip on the city. Dozens of people have been killed, according to residents. Libya’s temporary government, based in the cities of Tobruk and Bayda, said in the statement that it urged ‘the Arab brother states’ to conduct airstrikes against ‘positions of the Daesh terrorist group in Surt,’ using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. The fighting began on Tuesday in Surt, a central city about 300 miles east of the capital, Tripoli. Islamic State fighters took over Surt in February, expanding their presence in the North African country by exploiting a security vacuum, as they did in Iraq and Syria. … The official government has been based in eastern Libya since losing control of Tripoli a year ago to a rival group, which set up its own administration. Neither has control of Surt, Qaddafi’s hometown. Both governments have conducted airstrikes against the Islamic State in Surt in recent days, but their capabilities are very limited, relying on outdated warplanes and helicopters from the Qaddafi era and lacking precision guns.”
Quickie analysis: At this rate, in six months, every Arab country will be launching airstrikes on every other Arab country.