Wednesday, January 27, 2016

US-Russian Marines Set Up Bridgehead in Eastern Libya for Campaign Against ISIS

Following up on yesterday's "Tony Blair Calls For Ground Troops Pretty Much the Across Middle East".
We have a boilerplate heads-up on Debka's biases which we usually follow with a note they have sources on a level with many intelligence services.

To that I might have to add a clickbait warning if this story doesn't turn out to be as dramatic as they make it sound.

From Debka, Jan. 23:
President Barack Obama resolved earlier this month, much to the surprise of Washington insiders, to open a third anti-terror front in Libya to eradicate the Islamic Front’s tightening grip on the country.

This top-secret decision was first revealed by DEBKA Weekly 692 on Jan. 1.

While collaborating with Russia in the Syrian arena, and with the Iranians and the Iraqi army and Sunnis in Iraq, Obama took his close aides by surprise by another decision – to lead the Libya campaign again in conjunction with Russia, as well as with concerned Western Europe allies.

The first step in this campaign took place this weekend: A group of US, Russian, French and Italian Special Forces quietly landed at a point south of Tobruk near the Libyan-Egyptian frontier. Standing by after preparing the ground were some 1,000 British SAS troops.

The landing area is located some 144 kilometers from Darnah, the main bastion of extremist Libyan Islamic groups linked to Al Qaeda or ISIS, of which the ultra-violent Ansar al Sharia is the most powerful.

The joint US-Russian war offensive building up in Libya, the first such collaboration in many decades, may be seen as an extension of their expanding military partnership in Syria, debkafile’s military sources report.

Preparations for the campaign were assigned to two special operational commands set up at the Pentagon and at the US Central Command, CENTCOM, in Tampa, Florida.

According to the scenario sketched in advance by DEBKA Weekly, large-scale US air, naval and ground units are to spearhead the new coalition’s combined assault on the main Libyan redoubts of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Ansar al-Sharia and other radical Islamist organizations. Cruise missiles strikes will blast them from US, British, French and Italian warships on the Mediterranean.

At the peak of the assault, large-scale US, British and French marines will land on shore for an operation first billed as the largest allied war landing since the 1952 Korean War. The attachment of Russian forces was negotiated later....MORE
Probably related, at The National Interest:

Beware Biden’s ‘Trial Balloon’ on Escalation in Syria
Last Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden signaled the United States was open to military escalation in Syria. Speaking in Istanbul after a meeting with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey on the future of Syria, Biden said a political solution to the fighting was preferable, “but we are prepared. . . to have a military solution to this operation and taking out Daesh (ISIS, or the Islamic State).” If the United States desires to turn a difficult situation for the international community in the Middle East into an outright American disaster, then we should by all means pursue deeper military engagement....MORE
It would have been nice if Joe had had this brainstorm four years ago.