Italy called on Wednesday for urgent international action to halt Libya’s slide into chaos, and pledged it was ready to help monitor a ceasefire and train local armed forces.
The U.N. Security Council is due to meet later on Wednesday to discuss Libya, where two rival governments, each backed by former rebels who toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, are battling for power.
The growing danger became apparent on Sunday when ISIS released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya.
Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni told parliament that possible alliances between local militias and ISIS militants, inspired by counterparts in Syria and Iraq, risked destabilising neighbouring countries.
“The deterioration of the situation on the ground forces the international community to move more quickly before it’s too late,” he said in a special address on the crisis.
“There’s a clear risk of alliances between Daesh and local groups,” he said, using a common Arabic name for ISIS. “The situation must be monitored with the maximum attention.”
NATO’s 2011 intervention created the devastation and chaos in Libya that enabled the rise of ISIS militants and the current crisis surrounding the killing of 21 Egyptian Christians, an American scholar told RT.
The current situation is “precisely the consequence of the kind of war NATO waged in Libya, destroying the infrastructure, collapsing the state, and allowing a bunch of different militia groups to be treated as heroes,” said Vijay Prashad, a professor at Trinity College in Connecticut, and the author of “Arab Spring, Libyan Winter.”
According to Prashad, the intervention “created the situation where today there are two governments. And in that chaos, of course, what breeds most effectively is this group that calls itself the Islamic State.”