Senior lawmakers rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration that the United States has “no role” in Libya, citing the threat of regional instability to U.S. national security interests.
Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) and ranking Democrat Ben Cardin (D., Md.) said Libya’s ongoing battle over power and access to natural resources has created a permissive environment for extremist groups such as the Islamic State and al Qaeda.
During opening remarks for a hearing assessing U.S. policy options in the war-torn nation, Cardin said it is vital to U.S. security interests that the Trump administration work with the international community and local forces to craft a political solution that creates a representative government.
Cardin said, “The United States must be engaged,” adding that,”When we don’t have representative governments … it creates a void and that void is filled by ISIS, as we’ve seen in northern Africa, and it’s filled by Russia, which we’re seeing Russia’s engagement now in Libya.”
He was cited saying that I think this hearing is an important indication by Congress that we do expect a role to be played.
Last week, Trump raised concerns when he rejected calls from Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni to maintain American role in Libya.
The United States currently is working to build political consensus around the fragile United Nations-backed government in Tripoli.
During a joint press conference, Trump said with Gentiloni that the U.S. priority in Libya is counter-terrorism efforts to degrade ISIS.
Since the Libyan Revolution that overthrew the long-time dictator 2011 Muammar Gaddafi, violence has spread in Libya among the different Libyan factions.
Two rival governments operate in Libya, with self-proclaimed authorities controlling the capital of Tripoli and adjacent western areas and an internationally recognized government, based in the eastern Libyan city of Tobruk.
Moreover, a third government was formed known as the Government of National Accord(GNA) supported by many western countries. The government has so far failed to restore the country’s unity.
None of the governments has a complete dominance over Libya until now.