Daily Management Review

John Kerry says Libya Threatened by ISIS Despite Being Pushed Back in Iraq and Syria


John Kerry says Libya Threatened by ISIS Despite Being Pushed Back in Iraq and Syria
The Islamic State is threatening Libya and could seize the nation's oil wealth even as an international coalition is pushing back the radical group militants in their Syrian and Iraqi strongholds, U.S Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday.
The Islamic State is spreading into other countries, notably Libya after having created a self-proclaimed Caliphate across swathes of Syria and Iraq. The situation and the fight against the group was reviewed by the officials from 23 countries in Rome.
Taking advantage of the power vacuum in the North African country of Libya where two rival governments have been battling for supremacy,  the Islamic State forces have attacked the country’s oil infrastructure and established a foothold in the city of Sirte.
"In Libya, we are on the brink of getting a government of national unity. That country has resources. The last thing in the world you want is a false caliphate with access to billions of dollars of oil revenue," John Kerry told the Rome conference.
The implementation of the agreed UN backed plan for political transition between Libya's two warring administrations that is expected to form a unity government have been dogged by in-fighting even after a month of the deal agreed upon in Morocco.
Two different coalitions that are carrying out air strikes in Iraq and Syria that have targeted Islamic State is being led by the United States.
Libya has become a gateway for tens of thousands of migrants hoping to reach Europe even as the Western nations are also considering hitting the militants in Libya. However, they want a green light from the planned unity government before acting.
"We are still not at the victory that we want to achieve, and will achieve, in either Syria or Iraq and we have seen Daesh playing a game of metastasizing out to other countries, particularly Libya," Kerry said, using a pejorative Arabic term for Islamic State.
Since the time in June 2015 when the anti- IS group had last met, there has been a marked progress in the campaign.
"At the time of out last ministerial, Ramadi had just fallen and there was a pretty dark and dangerous narrative that was emerging," he said.
Since that time, Kerry said, the Islamic State has lost the city to the Iraqi forces had since lost about 40 percent of its territory in Iraq and 20 percent in Syria.
The one day Rome talks happen in the shadow of talks of trying to end the five-year-old Syrian civil war. More than 250,000 people have been killed and driven more than 10 million from their homes. The crisis has resulted in the United States and Russia being drawn on opposite sides.
While US has been for removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia believes that Assad is the legitimate leader of the country and is important for fight against ISIS.
Stabilizing areas such as the Iraqi city of Tikrit, broader efforts to undercut ISIS’ finances, stem the flow of foreign fighters and counter its messaging are some of the issues that are expected to be discussed in the Rome meeting.