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Quietly, a new war begins

On Aug. 1, the United States opened up a new front in the war against ISIS when it began a bombing campaign in Libya.

Now, this is far from the first time the United States has bombed Libya. Back in 2011, a large group of NATO allies, including Canada, conducted an extensive bombing campaign to help overthrow Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Front lines August 11_2
Former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2009 (L) and US President Barack Obama (R).

Since then, Libya has largely descended into chaos, with various factions controlling different parts of the country. Many critics have pointed out that the NATO bombing mission should have been followed up with another mission to help stabilize the country.

Two factors have contributed to the recent return of the American military to Libya: one is the emergence of ISIS, but a very important second consideration is that there is now a United Nations-recognized government in Libya, which has requested U.S. help in destroying ISIS.

“Today, at the request of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), the United States military conducted precision air strikes against ISIL targets in Sirte, Libya, to support GNA-affiliated forces seeking to defeat ISIL in its primary stronghold in Libya,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook in a statement. “GNA-aligned forces have had success in recapturing territory from ISIL thus far around Sirte, and additional U.S. strikes will continue to target ISIL in Sirte in order to enable the GNA to make a decisive, strategic advance. The U.S. stands with the international community in supporting the GNA as it strives to restore stability and security to Libya.”

So a new front has been opened up in the war against Islamic extremists, this time on the African continent, a place where Canadian military leaders have consistently been mentioning as a possible location for another Canadian military mission.

Chances are very good we will be hearing lots more about Libya in the near future.

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