Key Takeaway: ISIS is executing a sophisticated, multi-front campaign against Libya’s oil facilities, demonstrating the organization’s growing capability abroad. President Obama reportedly ruled out significant military intervention against the group as of February 18. The administration opted to continue intermittent strikes against ISIS leaders in Libya instead, such as the strike on an ISIS leader in western Libya on February 19. This surgical approach is unlikely to defeat the group, which maintains more than 5,000 fighters and is reinforced by leadership sent from Iraq and Syria. Libyan ground forces are also unlikely to expel ISIS from its areas of control. ISIS’s safe haven in Libya will allow it to survive even if it is defeated in Iraq and Syria. ISIS will use its Libyan base to exacerbate regional disorder and likely to attack Europe.
Fueled by Libyan and Iraqi oil, ISIS is doing nothing but growing stronger.