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Tipsheet

Good News: The Number of ISIS Fighters in Libya Has Doubled

Add another "success" to Hillary Clinton's "accomplishment" category as Secretary of State.

During a Pentagon briefing last week, Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez revealed the number of ISIS fighters in Libya has nearly doubled in the past year. From The Hill:

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ISIS fighters in Libya are coming from within northern Africa and from Iraq and Syria, the general said. Some militants already within Libya have also switched alliances from other groups to ISIS, he added.

Rodriguez said the militants aspire to carry out external attacks against Western and U.S. targets, similar to ISIS operations in Iraq and Syria.

"That's been their aspirations all the time, and they are continuing with the same threats that ISIS main is making," he said.

More from The Institute For The Study of War

ISIS’s leadership is dedicating significant resources to Libya, as evidenced by its complex, multi-front campaign on the country’s oil production facilities. ISIS’s central leadership has deployed leaders from Iraq and Syria to Libya to strengthen governance, consolidate control, and develop operational design and capabilities. The group is currently conducting a campaign against Libya’s oil resources and security that aims to both perpetuate instability in the country and set conditions for ISIS to capture Libya’s oil wealth. ISIS likely seeks to gain access to oil revenue in Libya, as it has done in Iraq and Syria where revenue from black market oil trade is a significant source of funding for the group’s military and governance efforts. ISIS launched a campaign in early January 2016 on the oil fields east of its stronghold in Sirte in pursuit of this objective.
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As a reminder, in 2011 Clinton called the removal of Dictator Muammar Gaddafi "smart power" while having no plan to fill the power vacuum left behind in the country after his death. 

ISIS has now successfully expanded from Iraq to Libya and into European and U.S. states. The doubling of fighters in Libya alone allows easier access to western targets in Europe, where leaders are still embracing open border policies despite recent ISIS attacks in Paris and Brussels.

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