For the Sake of Tunisia, Don’t Escalate the Armed Conflict in Libya
TUNIS — There are many compelling reasons why the United States and Europe — for the sake of Libya itself — should resist the momentum that seems to be building towards some kind of Western-led, military escalation in the Southern Mediterranean.
Libya is currently engaged in a concerted process to bring about national reconciliation and restore national governance — admittedly a tall order five years after NATO helped oust the country’s longtime dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.
Intervention at this sensitive moment, even if it focused on a systematic campaign against ISIS, would probably irreparably fracture the peace-building process by injecting more violence into an already violent situation and encouraging Islamists and nationalists to resist the introduction of external hard power in their own rough balance of forces.
Moreover, despite the recently revealed Pentagon plan to “cripple” ISIS in the country by scaling up American attacks on the group, roughly similar expectations promising a total victory over insurgents have all too often brought about reverse outcomes: In particular, greater violence and socio-economic collapse that pushes more people into the arms of extremists while incubating ever more determined iterations of armed movements.
One particularly compelling argument, however, for not intervening in Libya lies just next-door in Tunisia…
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