In 2014, as the threat from ISIS was growing, President Obama dismissed the terror group as the “JV team,” an inconsequential threat compared to al-Qaeda. Fast forward two years and ISIS has become the Islamic State. It controls vast territory on both sides of the Syria-Iraq border. It now also has provinces in other countries, most notably in Libya, which has become the second-most important ISIS stronghold. Libya is now home to over 5,000 ISIS fighters headquartered in Sirte just across the Mediterranean from Italy, and they are in danger of gaining control of at least part of Libya’s vast oil reserves.
By all indications, the Defense Department is eager to act against this growing terrorist enclave. “It’s fair to say that we’re looking to take decisive military action,” General Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently said.