Our role in Libya’s plight

The awful condition of the state of Libya today is laid bare in Ruth Sherlock’s powerful reporting from that suffering country. Once Africa’s richest nation, its vital oil installations are now closing amid fighting between tribal militias. Worse, Islamist extremists are now well-established.

In and of itself, the plight of contemporary Libya is bad enough: innocent lives are being lost and political freedoms are being reversed. But Libya is not some geopolitical island. It is part of a region where murderous extremists, including the Islamic State movement, exercise persistent and worrying levels of influence. Reports that Nigeria’s Boko Haram is now in league with Isil demonstrate how easily this hateful ideology can spread into unstable states.

Theirs is not just a campaign to kill and maim those who resist them, but an attack on what they see as opposing cultures. The barbaric Isil attacks on historic sites in the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud are proof of that. How long will Roman treasures in Libya such as Leptis Magna and Sabratha be safe, given the disarray in that country?…

  Related: How battle for oil has left country close to collapse: In the first of a series of exclusive reports from Ruth Sherlock in Libya, the resource-rich country’s oil minister warns that it will run out of money in 18 months as post-Gaddafi anarchy threatens to turn it into “another Somalia”