The Sunday Telegraph interviewed a number of experts on Libya this weekend, with many warning that the Western plans to launch a war against ISIS in Libya are based largely on “faulty intelligence” from US officials.
“The estimates of the number of jihadists is grossly exaggerated,” noted Atlantic Council’s Libya expert Karim Mezran, referencing recent US intelligence assessments which have claimed between 5,000 and 6,500 ISIS fighters in Libya.
Those who talked to refugees from Sirte, the main ISIS-held city in Libya, said the number of ISIS fighters was “in the hundreds, not in the thousands,” and privately US officials say they too are skeptical of the assessment’s large number.
At the same time, the US has been eager to expand the ISIS war, and Libya is a convenient place to do that, so for many policymakers, the assessment fits the narrative, and whether the assessment is true or not is very much beside the point.
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