Why You Should Care About Libya

It’s hard to believe that only three-and-a-half years ago, President Obama was trumpeting the U.S.-led ouster of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi as a major foreign policy success for his administration.

As wishful thinking goes, the president’s rosy pronouncements on Libya rank right alongside similar Obama whoppers like “Al Qaeda is on the run and nearing defeat,” “the war in Iraq is over” and his comparison of ISIS to a JV team–a minor, amateurish crew that posed no serious threat to the United States. In the end, the unmitigated disaster Obama’s actions (and inaction) have created in Libya may prove every bit as fatal.

While the West’s attention is focused on ISIS’s rampage through Iraq and Syria, Libya is fast becoming one of the world’s most dangerous and unstable countries–a hotbed of ISIS and Al Qaeda activity and ravaged by civil war. ISIS now wields a major presence in the Libyan cities of Sirte (where it recently seized a civilian airport) and Derna (where it has been battling other jihadist groups for supremacy) along the Mediterranean coast and is making further moves elsewhere in the country.

ISIS has also wasted no time extending its genocide against the Christians of Iraq and Syria to the shores of North Africa. In February, ISIS released a horrific video showing its jihadists beheading 21 Egyptian Christians on a Libyan beach. It issued a similar video in April showing the beheading and shooting of over a dozen Ethiopian Christians in Libya. And just last week, ISIS reportedly kidnapped 88 more Christians–this time, Eritreans–who were refugees traveling through Libya. These Eritrean Christians’ outlook for survival is obviously grim.

So why should you care about ISIS’s advances in Libya? For starters, Libya is rapidly becoming a terrorist safe haven–the kind of place where jihadists can train freely and plot attacks against the United States (see: pre-9/11 Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and the ISIS-held territories of Iraq and Syria). That’s bad enough. Worse still is Libya’s geographic proximity to Europe–it lies just 600 miles across the Mediterranean from Italy. And according to a recent Fox News report, ISIS is wasting no time using its Libya strongholds to transit into Europe:

Islamic State terrorists are said to be using Libya ‎as an “entry point” into Europe, with intelligence sources on the ground in Africa telling Fox News at least 30 ISIS fighters who left from the country have been “picked up” by the Italians in recent weeks.

The purported terrorists all claimed refugee status but American ‎and European agents believe this is a clear indication that ISIS terrorists have come into Europe virtually untouched.

“There is no way you can block it,” one told Fox News. “Libya is now an easy entry point into the E.U. and ultimately into the U.S. for ISIS. They are saying, this is the way to America.”

The Obama administration, which played a leading role in creating the current mess and has gone to great lengths to cover up what really went down (and where the President was) during the 2012 Benghazi attack, is loathe to talk about Libya.

But if ISIS continues to grow there at its current pace and use the country as a jumping off point to attack the West (and yet another jihadist magnet for eager foreign fighters to gravitate towards), we may all soon be talking about Libya–not as a foreign policy success, but as one of the greatest blunders in the history of U.S. foreign policy.