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US Ready to Arm Libya to Fight Against ISIS

(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)

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The United States has expressed on Friday that it is ready to loosen the arms embargo placed on Libya to help the Government of National Accord (GNA) in their fight against ISIS.

“There is a very healthy desire inside of Libya to rid themselves of ISIL, and I think that is something we should be supporting and responding to,” said an official of the Obama administration to AFP.

Last week, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj called on the international community to assist Libya in its fight against the militant group by lifting the arms embargo.  

Speaking at the Arab league in Cairo, Sarraj stated that, “it doesn’t make sense that the international community supports our war against terrorism, and forbids us from arming ourselves.”

The United States, who have expressed their support of the GNA and its efforts at establishing unity and democracy in Libya, responded to Sarraj’s call; “if the Libyan government prepares a detailed and coherent list of things that it wants to use to fight ISIL (ISIS), and responds to all the requirements of the exemption, I think that (UN Security) Council members are going to look very seriously at that request,” a senior administration official told AFP Friday.

The United States Security Council placed an arms embargo on Libya in 2011 after toppling Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Due to the ongoing political conflict in the country between various armed and political groups fighting for control and power, ISIS militants were able to take advantage of the security vacuum and establish a base in Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown.

Discussions to loosen the embargo will take place during a meeting about Libya between US Secretary of State John Kerry and other regional powers in Vienna on Monday.

The United States will intervene on behalf of Libya’s Presidency Council to establish some exemptions to the arms embargo so that the Libyan Army can have the weapons necessary to defeat ISIS.

On Tuesday, the UN-backed GNA announced that its military forces were preparing to advance on ISIS held Sirte and asked the international community for logistical support to aid in their military campaign against the extremist group.

After ISIS forces launched a suicide attack at the Sadada checkpoint on Wednesday evening, killing 4 and wounding dozens, Libyan troops were able to successfully regain control of the checkpoint and the Commanders of the military operation announced that they were moving towards the Abu Grein checkpoint, which was overrun by ISIS forces last week

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