Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi has deployed his troops for all-out war on ISIS strongholds in Libya, the first Arab ruler to challenge the Islamists in a fellow Arab countryHis intiative dramatizes the spillover of the Islamist State’s threat across the Middle East, and the fading impetus of the US-led coalition effort to reverse Islamic State gains in Iraq and Syria.
Our Washington sources report that the Obama administration’s planned spring campaign to free Iraqi Mosul from the Islamic State’s occupation is stuck in the sand. Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike accuse the president of having no clear war strategy and of holding back from the US-led coalition the fighting manpower necessary for a successful operation.Answering questions in the Senate WEdnesday, Feb. 25, the coalition commander, retired Gen. John Allen, said he had no hard-and-fast timeline for the war. The influential Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California responded angrily: Your answers show one thing about the timeline defined by the White House as an enduring ground operation: “There is none.”
The Egyptian president was stirred into action by the barbaric beheading on Feb. 15 of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who had found work in Libya.
El-Sisi first launched a series of air strikes against ISIS and allied Islamist militias in one of their Libyan strongholds in Darnah, following which he has now ordered Egyptian commando and marine forces to prepare for sea landings to seize the town and destroy the terrorist elements there, another landmark operation in the war on Islamist terror.
He is also considering aerial bombardments of the Gaza Strip to target Hamas’ military arm whose active collaboration with the jihadis has been confirmed by intelligence.
Some of the militias which have divided Darnah, a town of app. 50,000, among themselves, have declared their territories provinces of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s Islamic Caliphate.
According to our military sources, Egyptian forces will be assigned to attack the town from the north after a beach landing. They plan to link up with allied Libyan militias commanded by the former Qaddafi regime general Khalifa Hifter, who will come from Benghazi to strike the town from the south. Khalif and his armed men have been pursuing a relentless war on the inroads made by al Qaeda in Libya, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood, with quiet backing from Cairo.
The London-based Arabic Alquds Alarabi, which is known for its solid sources in the Middle East, reported this week that Gen. Hafter had recently paid at least two secret visits to Cairo to collect the weapons he needs for his part in the Darnah offensive and coordination.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) has penned an opinion article in the Los Angeles Times in which he defended Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's decision to speak to Congress Tuesday, against the deal being forged with Iran.
“Imagine for a moment,” he wrote, “that your neighbor down the street was engaged in some basement science that could level your house and even kill you, if he so desired. Your best friend, who happens to live some distance away, out of harm's reach, can end the threat to your life and property but is now trying to legalize your neighbor's dangerous work. What would you do?”
“This is the situation facing Israel,” he stated. “It is clear that for more than a decade, Iran has been illicitly developing nuclear capabilities and thumbing its nose at efforts to monitor its progress in accordance with international guidelines.” .
Edelstein said that negotiations that “maintain sanctions on Iran and ensure it is free of centrifuges, heavy-water reactors, enrichment facilities and programs to develop intercontinental delivery systems” could have led to the dismantling of Iran's nuclear program. Instead, he said the agreement being formulated would “reward Iran for defying international norms and encourage other countries to do the same.”
“The speech on Tuesday is not just about Iran's nuclear race and it is not just about Israel,” he explained. “It is about whether we, as free people committed to democratic ideals, are still capable of standing together and resisting the temptation to compromise and appease our foes.”
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