While Libya’s ‘unity government’ praised the US airstrikes against the ISIS-controlled city of Sirte, saying it was making their offensive a lot easier, they still insisted that the process of trying to take the city would be “gradual,” and that the troops involved are “resting” right now, with no timetable to try to take more of the city.
The US began airstrikes in Sirte on Monday, hitting several targets there throughout Monday and two more early Tuesday. US strikes have so far been launched from Jordan, and from an assault ship off the Libyan coast. Italy has offered to let the US use a Sicilian airbase for offensive operations, and this is likely to happen.
Indications are that the Sigonella Air Base is currently being used by US forces just for surveillance drone flights, and the agreement with Italy only allows its use for “defensive” operations currently, though Italian officials, who’ve been pushing this new Libya War for awhile, are eager to see it escalate further.
US officials have said there is no timetable for their operation in Libya, and the early indications are that the strikes in Sirte are just the beginning. Libya has no actual government, but three self-proclaimed governments, two with some UN backing. The US seems interested in propping one such government up, but this could be a herculean task in Libya, a nation with little national unity and a lot of local factions which violently resist outside intervention, whether it’s from abroad or from the next town over, as unwelcome.
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