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Corker: Infighting Among Rival Militias Threatens Progress in Libya

WASHINGTON – During a hearing on the crisis in Libya, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today warned of infighting among rival militias within the country that continues to foster instability and pose risks for U.S. national security interests.

“Fighting between militias has undermined internal security, weakened government institutions, and damaged the economy,” said Corker. “It is also posing substantial risks to the U.S and to our allies. Infighting has created a permissive environment for terrorist groups like ISIS.”

Corker cautioned that while U.S.-supported military action in Sirte succeeded in expelling ISIS from the city, the conditions for terrorism to flourish in Libya continue to exist.

“The organization’s gains in Libya led to U.S.-supported military operations last year in places like Sirte,” added Corker. “We’ve had some successes there, but the conditions allowing extremists to thrive remain.”

He further described the numerous challenges for providing security and prosperity in Libya absent a legitimate, central authority capable of governing.

“Until the array of militias come under some type of central political control, no government will be able to provide essential services across the country,” said Corker. “And even then, Libya would still face enormous challenges to fix weak government institutions and turn around a struggling economy.”

The committee heard testimony today from Dr. Frederic Wehrey, a senior fellow in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and former U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah K. Jones. 

Click here for complete testimony and video footage of the hearing.