US Ground Troops for Obama’s New anti-ISIS Front in Libya

With the Russians in charge of the war on ISIS in Syria and the US-trained Iraqi Sunni Hashid al-Ashari leading the Iraqi army to success in driving the jihadists out of central Ramadi, President Barack Obama is focusing on a new, still secret, project: A third front against the Islamic State which – much to the surprise of Washington insiders – he is planning to open in Libya and, even more surprisingly, with US ground troops deployed along with other forces.
Reporting this exclusively, DEBKA Weekly’s military and intelligence sources have learned that preparations for the new campaign are afoot at operational commands in the Pentagon and at the US Central Command, CENTCOM, in Tampa, Florida.
Their potential timeline is late February or early March 2016.
For exterminating the ISIS bane in Libya, Washington is assembling a new coalition. While collaborating with Russia in the Syrian arena, and with the Iranians and the Iraqi army and Sunnis in Iraq, Obama is counting on France, Britain and Italy to join the US in putting up the bulk of the assault force for Libya. Discussions are in train with Spain and Egypt as well.
The operational plan calls for large US air, naval and ground units to spearhead the assault on the main Libyan redoubts of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Ansar al-Sharia and other radical Islamist organizations. Cruise missile strikes will blast them from US, British, French and Italian warships on the Mediterranean.
At the peak of the assault, US, British and French marines will land on shore for an operation billed as the largest Western allied war landing since the 1952 Korean War.
According to details obtained by DEBKA Weekly’s sources, one group will be dropped ashore from the Gulf of Sidra (see attached map) to seize the town of Sirte, a city of 50,000, where ISIS has planted its central military command center in Libya.
This group will then split up into two task forces.
One will head south to take over the capital, Tripoli and its oil fields 370 kilometers away and reinstate Libya’s central government, which has been functioning in exile at the northern port of Tobruk near the Egyptian border.
On its way to Tripoli, the force will take control of three towns: Misrata, Zliten and Khoms.
The second task force will head north to capture the eastern Libyan capital of Benghazi, seizing Ras Lanuf, 200 kilometers east of Sirte, en route.
A second marine force will meanwhile land in eastern Libya to capture Darnah, a port city with 150,000 inhabitants, which radical Islamic groups linked to Al Qaeda or ISIS use as their stamping ground.
The most powerful ISIS ally is the ultra-violent Ansar al-Sharia.
The Obama administration will therefore be going into Libya for the second time in four years – only this time up front and on the ground – for three objectives:
1. Control of Libya’s oil and gas fields.
2. Stripping ISIS of its jumping-off base for terrorizing Europe from across the Mediterranean.
3. Saving Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco from the noose ISIS and Al Qaeda are pulling around them from their back yard.
If this campaign takes off, President Obama will have given up the cherished hope of winding down his presidency in 2016 with America at peace, and his long-held principle of not sending American troops into battle. Instead, he will bend every American resource to eradicate a key stronghold of the biggest Islamic terrorist menace hanging over the West and loosen its stranglehold on the African continent.
Unlike the first Libya campaign, Obama will lead the second from the front.

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