ASP Board Member Admiral William J. Fallon, U.S. Navy (retired) appeared last week on Fox Business’ Neil Cavuto show to provide insight and analysis on the emerging extremist threat in Libya. While he has significant concerns for the region, he also offered suggestions which have been echoed by other allies in the fight against ISIS.
Fallon, having recently returned from a security conference in Morocco, related firsthand accounts given by Libyans describing a nation plunging into chaos. Fallon feels that there has been a lack of comprehensive strategy in dealing with this issue from the beginning. Simple questions such as “What do are we gonna do?”, “How are we gonna do it?” and “What happens next?” were left unanswered, according to Fallon. This has resulted in the situation that exists today.
The recent beheadings of 21 Egyptian workers by a Libya based ISIS affiliate has revealed that extremist ideology is bourgeoning in this environment of destabilization. The consequences of this new front in the war against ISIS could be felt throughout the region. Admiral Fallon spoke of the ease with which individuals can move in and out of Libya. Neighbors of the disordered nation lack the necessary border security to ensure proper containment.
Egypt has called on its Arab neighbors as well as the U.N to take a larger stake in the security of Libya. For too long, Egypt has voiced its concerns in vain. Global attention has been fixated on ISIS atrocities in Iraq and Syria. Meanwhile, Libya has been left open for exploitation. Egypt now has the responsibility of finding a diplomatic way of saying “I told you so”.
The first step in any solution regarding Libya must be the creation and recognition of an official and inclusive Libyan government, willing to work with non-extremist contingents throughout the country. Fallon voiced this opinion which has been adopted as a prerequisite for action by the U.N and western allies.
With the recognition of an official government, action can be taken by the West and by a “Joint Arab Force” recently called for by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. This could be the stabilizing force necessary to rid Libya of the worst extremist presence.
Watch the full interview here: