ISIS and Al Qaeda Spread Extremism in Libya and N Africa

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Two of this generation’s most feared organisations, ISIS and Al Qaeda, are expanding their operations to the North African country of Libya, according to a report by Soufan, a New York City-based security consulting firm.

Libya has been a hotbed of civil war, terrorism, smuggling, and criminal activity since the overthrow of dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Terrorist training camps and recruitment operatives sprung like mushrooms in the tumultuous country, many of which are supporting terrorist activity all over the Middle East.

“Given geography, expansive territory, extensive oil reserves and its history with violent jihadist networks, a failed state in Libya could be disastrous for North Africa and Europe as well as the broader international community,” said the report from Soufan, which was led by former FBI agent and 9/11 investigator Ali Soufan.

According to the report, the possibility of democratic elections and the formation of a unity government notwithstanding, any potential leader would be immediately faced with “the monumental task of reuniting the country both socially and militarily.” This task would be a daunting prospect to anyone willing to tackle it, due to the country’s porous borders and huge tracts of land with virtually no active governance.

Securing and protecting Libya’s vast oil reserves would serve as a further challenge, as control over them “allowed violent extremist groups such as the Islamic State and al Qaeda to thrive,” the report states.

The corruption and incompetence of Libya’s governing bodies puts it in line with a list of countries where violence and chaos reign, according to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Lack of effective controls in Libya, as well as Syria and Iraq, has allowed terror groups to thrive, and to seize passports and create an industry of fake IDs, which allows them to execute acts of terror in Europe, according to a Wall Street Journal report.