February 26, 2015 | Quote

Islamic State Having Significant but Limited Impact in Libya

Some analysts likewise have been cautious in describing Islamic State’s progress in Libya.

“The extent of their gains is being overblown,” said Thomas Joscelyn with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Joscelyn, who edits The Long War Journal, believes Libya has also been a relatively easy target for the Islamic State, and not just because of the current upheaval and lawlessness.

“Libya was one of the chief recruiting pools for ISIS going back to its days as al-Qaida in Iraq,” he said. “It was easy to reverse the flow, so to speak, and send foreign fighters back to Libya to expand ISIS's footprint.”

The same types of longstanding ties also may have helped the Islamic State gain influence in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. But Joscelyn warned that replicating that same type of success elsewhere in North Africa will not be easy.

“It will be more difficult for them to grow as fast in places like Tunisia, where they have a presence currently, or Morocco. The security forces in both those countries are much better,” he said.

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