Peter Millett: Libya’s ISIS ascends, Britain ready to act once GNA takes power

British ambassador to Libya, Peter Millett
British ambassador to Libya, Peter Millett

The Islamic State risks expanding its control over Libyan territory and there needs to be a much more coordinated approach if it is to be repelled, the British ambassador to Libya told The Sunday Times of Malta.

Referring to ISIS as “Daesh” – as per the instructions given by Downing Street since the acronym is one which ISIS militants do not favour – Peter Millett pointed out that the scope of the group’s attack on Libya’s eastern oil ports expanded over the past few months but Libyan forces were able to hold them back.

“There is a risk of Daesh spreading and no one really has the capacity to resist,” Mr Millett said.

“I don’t mean that nobody can resist them,” he qualified. “The Petroleum Facilities Guard [an armed force set up to protect Libya’s oil assets] did a pretty good job. But ultimately, these are militias with limited experience, limited training and strategic capabilities.

“A proper strategic campaign against Daesh requires a much more coordinated approach between the different groups, regions and forces and the armed groups in Libya.”

Mr Millett outlined what the EU could have done better following Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow and responded to recent comments by US President Barack Obama, who criticised the UK for participating in military action that removed Gaddafi but subsequently failing to stop Libya becoming a “mess” in 2011.

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