U.S. B-2 war planes bombed two camps in Libya overnight that Pentagon officials claim were housing Islamic State (ISIS) militants, concluding President Barack Obama’s time as commander in chief with another slew of deaths.
More than 80 people were killed at the camps about 25 miles southeast of Sirte, where ISIS fighters fled from last year after attacks by Libyan fighters backed with American air power. The bombing, which was reportedly requested by Libya’s Government of National Accord, comes a month after the U.S. claimed a “successful conclusion to a months-long air campaign against the militant group,” the Guardian notes.
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Obama reportedly authorized the strikes earlier this week, without congressional approval. The president committed to giving Libya air support after the U.S.-backed toppling of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. He later said the military’s lack of an action plan for the day after Gaddafi’s ouster was his “worst mistake” as a president.
The strikes appear to underscore that ISIS remains a threat in Libya, regardless of U.S. military claims.
That prospect becomes more grim as the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump approaches. As Common Dreams reported last year, Obama’s years of expanding unchecked war powers means he will hand the keys to the White House over to a man with a brash and impulsive approach to foreign policy at best.
Guardian reporter Spencer Ackerman made reference to the incoming changeover on Twitter, writing, “Massive, yuge U.S. airstrikes in Libya closing out the Obama administration.”