Addressing what could become a significant foreign policy issue during a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni at the White House on Thursday, President Trump unequivocally ruled out the U.S. establishing a permanent presence in Libya after the Islamic State (ISIS) is defeated.
While dismissing a role in “nation building” in Libya, Trump made the point he intended to commit every U.S. military resource to crush ISIS.
Asked what his expectations from the White House were in solving the chaotic situation in Libya, PM Gentiloni responded he wished American cooperation to build a broad coalition with regional and global partners to bring about a lasting peace and a stable government in Libya.
Responding to Gentiloni’s vision for long-term stabilization in the besieged North African nation, Trump intimated the U.S. cannot act as the world’s policeman.
“I do not see a role in Libya,” he said. “I think the United States has right now enough roles. We’re in a role everywhere.”
Plunged into disarray during the 2011 Arab Spring protests, the four-decade rule of Libyan strongman Colonel Muammar Gaddafi ended with his death in October 2011. Since 2014, civil war has engulfed the oil-rich nation and contributed to the mass exodus of refugees to Europe.
A complicated political situation, Libya’s recognized government, a democratically-elected body referred to as the Council of Deputies, is acknowledged by the United Nations and led by Aguila Saleh Issa, a Libyan jurist. A second faction, the General National Congress, led by Libyan politician Nouri Abusahmain, was formed in the wake of election losses in 2014.
The two groups agreed in 2015 to abide as the Government of National Accord; however, each side maintains a military force, both of which have pursued different goals and the GNC has struggled to survive.
Since the rise of ISIS in Libya, the terror group once controlled several key urban positions along the Libyan coast, but was driven from Sirte in December 2016.
Forced from several safe seats in Libya, ISIS’ main stronghold remains in the Sinai peninsula.
[RT America] [Politico] [Photo courtesy Kevin Dietsch/UPI]