Proving that recent history and the interwoven cycle of violence, western intervention and instability in the greater Middle East knows fewer and fewer borders, the regional war against the Islamic State (or ISIS) that has largely been confined to battlefields within Iraq and Syria appears to be rapidly spreading.
Following the public release of a video over the weekend which appeared to show the beheading of 21 captured Egyptians by a militant group that is reportedly aligned with an ISIS affiliate operating inside Libya, Egypt launched airstrikes aimed at the group early on Monday and vowed more would follow.
According to Reuters:
The pattern between Egypt and Libya is similar to that which took place recently when a Jordanian pilot was executed by ISIS after being captured. Citing vengeance for the pilot, Jordan responded with an elevated series of airstrikes against targets inside Syria and Iraq.
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According to reporting by Middle East Eye on Monday, many in the region viewed the “Egyptian airstrikes as playing right into [ISIS’] plans of eliciting a retaliatory response instead of a measured strategic one. The readiness that Egypt took to launch airstrikes also fuelled the belief that Libya, with all of its domestic tribulations and chaos, has fallen victim to the larger geopolitical gameplay of sowing more strife, as foreign airstrikes threaten the sovereignty of Libya.”
Meanwhile, critical observers who have followed the history and developments in Libya over recent years note that it was the U.S./NATO bombing of Libya in 2011, which allowed for the overthrow of Muhammar Ghaddafi, that led to the nation’s current state of instability and allowed ISIS militants to gain their current foothold in the failed state.
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