After capturing the world’s attention with the beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts, ISIS’s new Libyan branch is looking north across the Mediterranean to Italy. According to The Telegraph:
The Isil propagandist, who uses the alias Abu Arhim al-Libim, describes Libya as having “immense potential” for Isil. He points out with relish that it is awash with weapons from the Libyan civil war, when large quantities of Col Gaddafi’s arsenals were appropriated by rebels.[…] He writes: “It has a long coast and looks upon the southern Crusader states, which can be reached with ease by even a rudimentary boat.”He also cites “the number of trips known as ‘illegal immigration’ from this coast, which are huge in number … if this was even partially exploited and developed strategically, pandemonium could be wrought in the southern European states and it is even possible that there could be a closure of shipping lines and targeting of Crusader ships and tankers.”
Libya was a mess even before ISIS got in on the act; this is unlikely to improve matters.Here’s something else that ISIS’s rise in Libya won’t improve: the prospects of the Democratic party’s heir apparent. Hillary Clinton’s claim to be a serious, credentialed candidate largely rests on her tenure as Secretary of State; at the top of her list of accomplishments in that office are the Libya campaign (which she lobbied a reluctant President Obama to undertake) and the reforms in Burma. Now Libya is very visibly sliding from bad to worse—and Burma doesn’t look good either.Could Clinton’s 2016 chances be in greater peril than most people realize? The journalistic and foreign policy establishments increasingly are saying out loud what has been clear for some time: that the Libya intervention was a terrible disaster, poorly planned, poorly executed, poorly thought through — and abysmally followed up on. Under the circumstances, Camp Clinton has to hope that Libya will simply fade away as an issue in world politics. The appearance of ISIS in the anarchy that used to be Libya makes that outcome much less likely.One issue rarely makes or breaks a presidential campaign, but foreign policy competence is an important pillar of Hillary Clinton’s current strategy. Developments in Libya and, increasingly, Burma threaten that narrative. The Clintons are survivors, bouncing back from scandals and misfortunes that would crush lesser political figures, so we advise readers to remember that the Clintons are a force of nature in American politics. Nevertheless, Republicans and Democrats running against Clinton in 2016 now have a real issue to use on the hustings against her. It will be interesting to see what they make of it.