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Friday, June 26, 2015

ISIS just lost its Libya stronghold of Derna

Jihadi vs. Jihadi
The Obama created madhouse of Libya.

(Business Insider)  -  The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)’s affiliate in Libya lost control of its eastern stronghold of Derna after tensions with a local Islamist militia escalated into violent conflict on June 9, 2015. Gunmen from ISIS allegedly assassinated Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade (ASMB) leader Nasser al-Aker, who was a senior member of the al-Qaeda-associated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).
The Mujahedeen Shura Council of Derna (MSC Derna), an umbrella group controlled by ASMB, released a statement declaring jihad on ISIS in Derna soon after the assassination. Clashes erupted across the city. Anti-ISIS forces cleared ISIS from central Derna and captured ISIS’s headquarters on June 13, despite ISIS’s defensive deployment of multiple SVBIEDs. ISIS now holds no territory inside the city.
Social media reports from activists within Derna indicate strong local animosity towards ISIS. Derna’s residents organized demonstrations against ISIS on June 11 and 12, and according to unconfirmed rumors may have been armed by ASMB to participate in military operations against ISIS.

After ISIS’s expulsion, MSC Derna released statements announcing the reopening of a hospital, the creation of a program to return stolen cars, and plans for a municipal council, likely in an attempt to replace ISIS’s governance efforts. This development demonstrates the ability of local groups likely to capitalize on discontent within ISIS’s areas of control to undermine the organization.
ISIS’s expulsion is especially striking because Derna contains historically strong extremist networks, some of which have ties to ISIS. Records captured from ISIS’s predecessor al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) in 2007 revealed that Derna contributed more foreign fighters per capita to AQI than any other city.
Derna natives associated with ISIS in Syria returned to Libya in 2014 and formed the Majlis Shura Shabab al-Islam group, which later took control of Derna. These militants administered sharia lawconducted public executions, and provided basic services in all areas of the city. The group publicly declared its allegiance to ISIS’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in October 2014, and ISIS recognized it as an official affiliate in November 2014.
ISIS is executing a coherent global strategy that involves defending its territory within Iraq and Syria, establishing affiliates within the Middle East and North Africa, and encouraging terror attacks in the wider world.
ISIS’s regional affiliates, or wilayats, allow the organization to claim success even when it suffers losses within Iraq and Syria. ISIS also uses its regional affiliates to exacerbate local and regional conflicts in order to facilitate the organization’s expansion beyond Iraq and Syria in the long term.
ISIS’s regional efforts have been most successful in Libya, where the group controls terrain, administers governance, and operates militant training camps. ISIS’s leadership now encourages fighters who cannot travel to Iraq and Syria to fight in Libya instead.

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