Despite the growing threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group in Libya, the Obama administration has rejected a Pentagon plan for an assault on ISIS's regional hub there, The Daily Beast website reports exclusively today (February 18, 2016).
In recent weeks, the U.S. military -- led by its Africa and Special Operations Commands -- has pushed for airstrikes and the deployment of elite troops, particularly in the city of Sirte. The hometown of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the city is now under ISIS control and serving as a regional epicenter for the terror group. (ISIS has boasted in the past it can use this stronghold for terrorist attacks on nearby Rome and the Vatican.)
The airstrikes -- as called for by the Pentagon -- would target ISIS resources, while a small band of Special Operations Forces would train Libyans to eventually be members of a national army, the officials said. According to U.S. military figures, there are now some 5,000 ISIS fighters in Libya -- a spike from 1,000 just a few months ago -- with an increase of fighters every day.
Unfortunately, "there is little to no appetite for this administration" to take military action against ISIS in its control of Sirte, one defense official told The Daily Beast.