11 days ago, the United States began bombing Libya as part of a request of the UN-backed “unity government,” one of several would-be governments in the country. Though the US has touted the military progress of this move, UN envoy to Libya Martin Kobler has warned that the limited support for the unity government is “crumbling,” with the public increasingly unwilling to back what was a few months ago touted as the best bet at unifying the country.
Kobler noted that claims of 95% support for the new government’s plans were long gone, saying the currency had dramatically weakened, and power outages in the capital city of Tripoli have grown dramatically since that time. The unity government has limited territory within Tripoli, as one of two extent governments in that city alone. Still, that things have gotten progressively worse during their brief existence doesn’t inspire confidence.
“Strikes by the Americans alone cannot defeat ISIS,” Kobler added. This is in stark contrast to US claims that the fighting in the ISIS city of Sirte is going particularly well. It might ultimately not matter a lot if the unity government has no backing left by the time they “win” the city.
Indeed, this could dramatically complicate the US war in Libya, as its been launched nominally at the request of the “legitimate government” of Libya, and even the pretense of the unity government being that could quickly evaporate, both hurting the official narrative and eliminating the US ally on the ground.