The Pentagon appeared to be unsure on Thursday if the US was ready to invade the northern African country again five years after it helped topple Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, leaving Libya with a power vacuum that led to civil war and terror groups gaining a foothold in the region.
However, both Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter indicated that deliberations were ongoing as to which military options could potentially be used against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) there.
“The President directed his national security team to continue efforts to strengthen governance and support ongoing counterterrorism efforts in Libya and other countries where ISIL has sought to establish a presence,” the White House statement said.
Earlier on Thursday, Carter told reporters that the US was watching the situation in Libya closely, while also developing “options for what we might do in the future.” He has not divulged any specific details on what military options might be employed.
“You see the same kind of ambitions on their [IS] part that you see realized in full flower in Syria and Iraq,” Carter said. “We don’t want to be on a glide-slope to a situation like Syria and Iraq. That’s the reason we’re watching it that closely. That’s the reason why we develop options for what we might do in the future.”