Egypt’s Political Interests in Libya
On Monday, February 15th, 2015, CNN reported the the Egyptian military carried out airstrikes against ISIS forces in Eastern Libya. The report states that this in retaliation for ISIS killing 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya. ISIS seems to have video taped it. In the tape, they also threaten Egypt (CNN, 2014).
Following the information of the deaths of the 21 Egyptians, Egyptian warplanes bombed ISIS training areas, as well as weapons storage facilities in the town of Derma. This is in northeastern Libya, and ISIS has recently taking control of the town. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi stated that he had the right to go after ISIS given what they did to the Egyptians in Libya.
El-Sisi has a number of interests with regards to striking ISIS. For one, the killings of the Egyptian citizens has upset not only him, but many within Egypt. Thus, he wants to end ISIS activity in the region. But along with this, El-Sisi has been concerned about the threat of violent Islamist groups not only in Libya, but also in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Thus, he has been very active to try to eliminate these organizations from the country, and from Libya. Because Egypt shares a border with Libya, El-Sisi seems to be concerned about the increase of ISIS activities with regards to Egypt.
In fact, Egypt has been supporting an ex-Libyan military official named Khalifa Hifter. Hifter has been active in the Libyan Civil War, going after Islamist forces. This is appealing to El-Sisi, given his interest in not only fighting violent Islamist groups in the region, but also going after moderate Islamists parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood in the country.