Some of President Obama's national security aides are urging him to approve increased U.S. military action in Libya to tackle the Islamic State's growing affiliate in the country, The New York Times reports. Several ISIS leaders have fled Syria and Iraq for the relative safe haven of Libya, Libyan security officials tell the BBC, and the Islamist militant group is threatening to seize Libya's oil fields. The options presented to Obama include U.S. airstrikes, Special Operations commando raids, or helping vetted Libyan militias fight ISIS on the ground; sending in large numbers of U.S. ground troops is not being considered. Obama is expected to decide on a course of action in the next few weeks.
Obama is reportedly wary of intervening militarily in yet another country, and also undercutting international efforts to help Libya form a unity government. Instead of a functioning government, Libya has warring tribes and factions that appear more focused on battling each other than ISIS.
U.S. national security officials say that Libya's ISIS branch is the most dangerous of its international affiliates, and there is discussion of sending an Italian-led force to help Libyan forces battle the group. Libyans aren't excited about having foreign troops in the country, even though ISIS appears to outnumber many of the militias promising to defeat the foreign insurgents. "We Libyans will fight," Mohammed al-Bayoudi, a Libyan commander in Abugrein tells the BBC. "There is no need for foreign troops."