Outgoing US commander of AFRICOM Gen. David Rodriguez today claims that the ISIS affiliate in Libya has doubled in the past year, revising previous estimates of 1,000 to 3,000 fighters and saying they have between 4,000 and 6,000.
The Pentagon has been hyping the size of Libyan ISIS for months now, with eyes on expanding the ongoing war in Iraq and Syria into Libya as well. Gen. Rodriguez conditioned this on the new “unity government” in Libya getting into power.
He predicted US airstrikes against Libya after the unity government’s installation, and said it was possible the US would also do “many other things.” He described ISIS as not just being in Sirte, their primary base of operations, but also in Benghazi.
Secretary of State John Kerry was also talking up the danger of ISIS gaining more territory in Libya, saying “the last thing in the world you want is a false caliphate with access to billions of dollars of oil revenue.” Ultimately, nobody has access to most of that oil revenue in recent years, as the fighting in Libya has kept exports down.