The US military is in a “period of intense dialogue” with the Libyan government and may deploy troops and equipment to the troubled North African country “any day” now, says the US military’s top general.
Marine General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the comments on Thursday, on his way back to the US from the Belgian capital city of Brussels, where he met with military chiefs from NATO nations.
“There’s a lot of activity going on underneath the surface,” Dunford said. “We’re just not ready to deploy capabilities yet because there hasn’t been an agreement. And frankly, any day that could happen.”
The general noted that some NATO members were interested in the mission. However, the specifics of the mission remain unclear at this point.
The operation will assumingly focus on training and equipping militant groups loyal to Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj, the leader of the new Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), which is backed by the United Nations.
This is while according to a Washington Post report citing unnamed US officials, some two dozen special operations troops have been positioned at two outposts in Libya since late last year.
Earlier this week, the US and a number of other states said at the Libya talks in Vienna that they were ready to supply weapons to the Libyan government.
In March 2011, a coalition of US-backed Western countries, including the UK and France, launched missile and air strikes on Libya in a bid to help oust Gaddafi following a national uprising.
Gaddafi was deposed later that year shortly after the fall of the capital Tripoli on August 20.
But the ensuing power vacuum allowed various militant groups, including a Daesh affiliate, to gain power in the country and exploit its natural resources.
Daesh controls a tenth of Libya’s coastline and reportedly has 4,000 to 6,000 militants in the country.
The terrorists have exploited the chaos in Libya and seized parts of Sirte, a city on the country’s Mediterranean coast. They have also been launching attacks on oil facilities along the country’s coast.
US President Barack Obama says his “worst mistake” in the past eight years has been the mishandling of the crisis in Libya.
He has also put part of the blame on two traditional US allies, France and the UK.