Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has said in a radio interview aired on Tuesday that creating a U.N.-backed coalition was the best course of action to rid Libya of Islamic extremists. The president has said that what has happened so far in Libya is “a crime.”
“We have abandoned the Libyan people as prisoners of the militias… The militias have to give up their arms and must work in a civil context. We have to disarm and prevent arms from falling into the hands of extremists,” el-Sissi, a general-turned-politician, told the French station in his first public comments after his country’s U.S.-made F-16s staged at least two rounds of airstrikes in Libya on Monday.
“What happened is a crime, a monstrous terrorist crime that our children have their throats cut in Libya and not to react. It’s a kind of self-defense accepted by the international community. We will not allow them to cut off the heads of our children.”
The Western alliance imposed a no-fly zone on Libya and used air power to try to prevent Ghadaffi’s forces from attacking civilian areas held by rebels. But it did little to prevent the country from sliding into anarchy and chaos. From Rome, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi also called for action from the United Nations, but did not say whether Italy itself would support any direct military operations in Libya.
“There was renewed Italian commitment for strong diplomatic action within the framework of the UN and support for an urgent initiative at the Security Council to promote stability and peace in Libya.”
Ever since Libyan dictator Muammar Ghadaffi was overthrown in 2011, the Northern African nation has been a safe haven for Islamic extremism. Fears that the unrest in Libya will spread into the country have prompted Egypt to get involved militarily for the first time in 24 years.
ISIS most recently made news when the group released a video showing the beheadings of 21 different people on a beach. Leaders in the western world — including Pope Francis — condemned the ISIS beheading of the 21 Christians in the strongest terms. The White House also issued a statement after the release of the video, however, critics are pointing out that President Obama seemed to be comparing ISIS’ brutality to that of the Crusades — which is referenced in the video made public by the group — for which he was slammed by opponents and sympathizers alike.
[Image via Egyptian president’s office/Reuters]