Libya is receiving much time and intention from the US Special Operations command in trials to keep the Islamic State group (IS) away from growing more powerful in Libya, commander said.
The Special Operations chief, General Joseph Votel, said that “There is a concern about Libya”, adding “It can’t all be about Iraq and Syria.”
“In order to address this threat holistically, we do have to do activities and pursue objectives that allow us to tamp down on it”, he said, “prevent it, and destroy it in areas where it is not wholly grown or beginning to metastasize, so that we can bring that area back to legitimate local control.”
Right now, that means more on-the-ground intelligence collection and analysis of networks. In other words, the sort of advanced intelligence work we typically associate with the CIA and less with tactical superhero teams.
He said that what is tried to be done includes the understanding of the human domain, the personalities, and the leaders who carries weight in particular area
That will could mean more non-kinetic, non-combat operations, according to Votel, and one key to stopping international terror groups like the IS, or as he called them, trans-regional threats.
“What may appear as vast trans-regional threat is in many cases a series of local issues in which an external actor has taken advantage of by leveraging modern communications through contextually appropriate messaging”, he said.
Votel, who has been tapped to take over Central Command, said that the US Special Operators would continue to build up the ability of Libyan government and other partners to combat the IS on their own.
In his remarks, Votel acknowledged that building partner capacity wasn’t easy, especially in Tripoli.
“It is a challenge in Libya”, he said, “not impossible.”