West Libya Forces Shore Up Defenses, Awaiting ISIS Offensive

ISIS Seizes Key Power Plant Outside of Sirte

ISIS is once again on the offensive in western Libya, seizing the important oil-fueled power plant on the outskirts of the city of Sirte, which had been under the control of the Tripoli-based government, which is setting up its defenses along the coast for a likely push deeper into their territory.

The likely target is Misrata. The city of Misrata is the real power base of the Tripoli government, as the Misrata militia, a key Islamist militia during the Libyan Civil War, was the force whose growing territory eventually formed the basis for that government, one of two governments in the nation.

The other government, operating out of the eastern city of Tobruk, has been under increased pressure from the UN to enter some sort of power-sharing deal with the Tripoli force, with the UN believing neither is likely a match for ISIS on their own. They withdrew from UN talks today, complaining they are the only “internationally recognized” government and won’t share power with Tripoli.

They are nominally the “real” government in Libya, but with territory that only spans a tiny amount of the east, it likely doesn’t matter, as they have little real hope of establishing a serious foothold anywhere past the oft-contested city of Benghazi, and seem to prefer being the official government to being part of a more viable one.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.