General Joseph Dunford, top military adviser to President Barack Obama and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said the US could launch air strikes on Islamic State (Isis) targets in Libya.
The US strategy is to prevent the spread of the Isis further in Northern Africa and Southern Europe, apart from halting possible bids by the terrorist group to take control of the country's oil installations. Isis suffered considerable setback when a number of oil fields it had seized in Syria and Iraq were blown up in US bombings.
Dunford said the US needs "to take decisive military action" in order to curb the spread of the Daesh militant group in the North African country. The Pentagon has already started gathering information about the spread of Isis in Libya and is planning to open up a third front in the war against the terrorist group.
Libya has been in a state of political turmoil which has led to bloodshed and chaos, following the death of its dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. This paved the way for the entry of the Isis into the country in 2014.
Following UN-sponsored peace talks, a new unity government was formed last week. If the new government were to invite foreign intervention in order to curtail the spread of Isis, military action in Libya would gain international legitimacy, it is felt.
Dunford told reporters that striking Isis cells in Libya would "put a firewall" between that front and sympathisers of the group elsewhere in North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Along with the plans for Libya, Dunford is also working on sending additional US and coalition troops to help Iraqis retake the city of Mosul in the coming months.
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter told CNBC that the Pentagon was redoubling its efforts to assist local forces in Iraq and Syria. "We're looking for opportunities to do more, and there will be boots on the ground — I want to be clear about that — but it's a strategic question, whether you are enabling local forces to take and hold, rather than trying to substitute for them."