The West is crowded along the Libyan coast, increasing troops, increasing military pressure. Since Le Monde newspaper broke news of the participation of French soldiers in the fighting in Sabratha and Benghazi, Paris has dispatched its Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier off the coast of Libya’s beaches.
DEBKAfile, the Israeli military information website, revealed the carrier’s movements and its intentions to begin joint training with the Egyptian navy, whose Tahya Misr frigate, equipped with an anti-aircraft missile system, is floating in the Suez Canal. Thus returns the role of Cairo, its Libyan puppet General Khalifa Haftar and consequently the unruly Tobruk parliament.
On Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter gave Rome his blessing to lead a coalition on a new Libyan mission. Carter said Washington “will strongly support” Italy, which “offered to take the lead” — that is, to head a coalition to intervene against the advance of the Islamic State and to secure the safety of Libyan oil fields.
On this point Carter acknowledged the oil reserves. Libyans “don’t like foreigners who come in and take their oil, foreigners who come in and try to dominate their people,” he said. But the “foreigners” he was referring to are Islamic State fighters. Carter seems to believe Libyans will accept Western foreigners with open arms: “So we fully expect that when, which we hope is soon, a government is formed in Libya, it will welcome not just the United States, but the coalition.”