Thursday, January 19, 2017

In Barack Obama's probable last military action, B-2 bombers strike ISIS training camps in Libya.

Smoke rises from an airstrike in Libya last November. Reuters. 

In what is likely to be President Barack Obama's last military action, B-2 bombers have struck an ISIS training camp in Libya. Reuters. More than 80 ISIS militants, some of which were suspected of planning attacks in Europe were killed in the attack outside of the former ISIS stronghold of Sirte. The B-2 bombers dropped more than 100 precision bombs on the target. The ISIS fighters were probably survivors from the battle of Sirte, a recent defeat that left ISIS with no territory in Libya. US airstrikes were deployed in that battle and were helpful in winning the battle. 

My Comment:
Barack Obama's last military action (hopefully) is one I approve of. Of course if he hadn't authorized the overthrow of Momar Qadaffi, ISIS never would have had a chance to get a foothold in Libya in the first place... but that's a discussion for another time. The attack though is notable for that alone and will go down in the history books despite being a rather minor incident in the Libyan war. 

This action against ISIS is welcome. I have no doubt in my mind that the ISIS fighters killed in this attack were plotting further attacks, either in Europe or North Africa (targeting Europeans). ISIS fighters in Libya were responsible for the terror attacks in Tunisia and may have been involved in smuggling terrorists in with the massive migrant waves that have Libya as their last stop before Europe. 

Destroying these terrorists makes Europe and North Africa slightly safer. I am guessing multiple terror attacks were disrupted. But that is not the only benefit of this bombing. After a bitter defeat in Sirte where many ISIS fighters died to the last man, the survivors were trying to regroup and rearm. Libya is still an unstable country so it is very possible that if the pressure was let off of ISIS they would have retaken territory and expanded. 

I have to say that using B-2 bombers and 100 bombs seem like overkill. I am guessing that a few F-15's and F-16's could probably have done the same thing. Perhaps we had nothing stationed in the area? I know we didn't have any Navy assets right now. From what I understand all of our aircraft carriers are docked right now, or at the very least, aren't anywhere near the Mediterranean. Perhaps our expensive and valuable B-2 bombers were the only planes available to pull off this strike? If so that's a potential embarrassment. The most powerful nation in the world couldn't even blow up a terrorist camp without using our most expensive weapon? 

It's really amazing to me that ISIS has suffered so badly in Libya. I had not expected that they would have been beaten back so fast. I am sure Barack Obama wants to take credit for that, but I don't think he deserves full credit. Though US airstrikes did help in the battle of Sirte, and he can have some credit for that, it was the government and their soldiers that won the battle. They are the ones that won the battle, not Barack Obama. 

I have said in the past that the fate of ISIS in Libya will probably be a sneak preview of what will happen if/when ISIS is finally defeated in Syria and Iraq. In Libya ISIS is no longer a state. It is now a more traditional terrorist organization, less focused on taking territory and more focused on terror attacks. Though they don't have the credibility they once had they are still a dangerous force and will continue to be so in the future. 

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