Here are two interesting possibly related stories from this past few days about US failure to act against the Islamic State in Libya, and massive gains made by them there since then. Could they be related?
There are are always more variables than we can know when it comes to geopolitical events and you can multiply that by X where X = 'a whole lot' during a war. But at the level of the painfully obvious, this deserves at least a question in the media and ideally in an American legislature and a NATO war room.
First, let's look at this headline from Feb. 18 - 2016 from the Daily Beast:
Despite the growing threat from the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Libya, the Obama administration has turned down a U.S. military plan for an assault on ISIS’s regional hub there, three defense officials told The Daily Beast.
In recent weeks, the U.S. military—led by its Africa and Special Operations Commands—have pushed for more airstrikes and the deployment of elite troops, particularly in the city of Sirte. The hometown of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the city is now under ISIS control and serving as a regional epicenter for the terror group.
And another headline from Feb. 24 - 2016. Almost 1 week later from The Daily Mail:
Extremists took over a security headquarters in the western city of Sabratha and killed the security officers before they were driven out of the area this morning.
Officials say the gunmen 'exploited a security vacuum' by deploying in the city centre as the military was occupied conducting raids elsewhere. [...] The extremist group has previously taken over the city of Darna, before being driven out, and still controls the central city of Sirte, Gadhafi's home town.
There could be variables that might explain why these things are not related or why it was tactically sound to not attack the Islamic State before they made this additional significant strategic gain. But given that Obama feels that attending conferences on 'climate change' is a "strong rebuke" to the Islamic State, and reports of pilots flying missions against them who claim that the rules of engagement made it impossible to make gains, against the kinetic branch of Islamic manifest destiny at this time, it doesn't seem unreasonable to think his decision not to attack, may have informed the result.