Libya’s top diplomat in Washington wants aggressive U.S. support in containing the Islamic State’s rise in her nation but strongly rejects the idea of an American-led bombing or ground offensive, saying it would just make things worse.
In an acknowledgment of how poorly some in the region see the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the charge d’affairs of the Libyan Embassy in Washington said replicating that strategy in Libya would likely draw more foreign fighters into the nation.
“We don’t want Libya to become a land for the jihadists from all over,” said Wafa Bugaighis, who told reporters during a roundtable discussion that there are already more than 5,000 fighters on Libyan soil aligned with the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL.
At the same time, Mrs. Bugaighis lamented Washington’s ambivalence toward backing what she described as the only “legitimate and democratically elected” government in Libya as it attempts to contain the Islamic State.
The government, which has operated out of the northeastern Libyan city of Tobruk since an Islamist parliament took over Tripoli last year, is in dire need of military training and hardware, as well as counterterrorism intelligence sharing from the West, she said.