Islamic State terrorists are now popping up again in reported attacks on military checkpoints in Iraq, but Jordan’s King Abdullah warned this week that ISIS is reemergent and is now much closer to Europe, specifically just across the Mediterranean in Libya.
“We have to deal with the reemergence of Isis,” the king said in an interview this week with France 24 television. The longtime king which Washington sees as a close US regional ally warned that ISIS is regrouping and once again on the rise, despite the ‘territorial caliphate’ having been defeated in eastern Syria last year.
Abdullah warned ISIS is back even in eastern Syria from where it was last ousted, saying his “major concern is that we have seen over the past year the re-establishment and rise of Isis, not only in southern eastern Syria but also in western Iraq.” His comments came just ahead of attending a NATO conference in Brussels on Tuesday.
Such concerns by analysts and politicians are nothing new, but his comments related to Turkey’s role in Libya were the most explosive and interesting at a moment the latest Russian-backed ceasefire attempt between Gen. Khalifa Haftar and the Tripoli Government of National Accord (GNA) has effectively collapsed.
“From a European perspective, with Libya being much closer to Europe, this is going to be an important discussion in the next couple of days,” Abdullah said.
“Several thousand fighters have left Idlib (Syria) through the northern border and have ended up in Libya, that is something that we in the region but also our European friends will have to address in 2020.”
The king is referencing the reported covert Turkish plan to transfer Syrian ‘rebel’ fighters from Turkish-backed FSA factions to bolster pro-Tripoli forces in Libya.
We previously described this as an arms “rat line” in reverse of sorts. It must be remembered that both Turkish and US intelligence oversaw the transfer of both heavy weaponry and jihadist fighters to Syria from already war-torn Libya for the purpose of toppling Assad in the early years of the Syrian war.
And now, given Turkey’s ongoing military intervention in Libya against advancing pro-Haftar forces, possibly thousands from among the so-called Turkish Free Syrian Army (formerly the FSA), are currently being sent to Libya. There are reports suggesting Turkey is ready to pay $2,000 a month for each Syrian ‘rebel’ willing fight in Libya.
Roots of ISIS in Libya: Abdelhakim Belhadj was leader of leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a former Al Qaeda affiliate. Later he emerged as head of Libyan ISIS, according to FOX and other reports. He met with Congressional leaders, even engaging in the above photo op, and was a key US asset in the push to overthrow Gaddafi.
Clearly critical of this plan, King Abdullah appears to be saying this will fuel the escalating chaos and ‘failed state’ nature of Libya which will in turn lead to a resurgent ISIS straight across from Europe’s southern shores.
Abdullah, speaking of the recently authorized Turkish government plan to also send national army troops to fight Haftar, also said this “will only create more confusion” in the country. We should add the unspoken obvious truth that many ‘former ISIS’ terrorists are currently fighting under the Turkish proxy FSA umbrella in northern Syria.
Exclusive: 2,000 Syrian fighters deployed to Libya to support government
Anti-Turkish sentiment could grow after Ankara agrees to help fight against insurgencyhttps://t.co/8JMFySuBGH
— Ahmet S Yayla (@ahmetsyayla) January 15, 2020
A Libyan wing of ISIS did establish itself in Sirte, Libya years ago following the US-NATO military intervention against longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.