Fears are growing that post-Moammar Gadhafi Libya is becoming an incubator of turmoil, with an overflow of weapons and Islamic jihadi militants operating freely, ready for battlefields at home or abroad.One wonders if NATO and US decision makers will try another Libya intervention, and this time do a better job of it. Or if the reason Afghanistan is such a mess after so much effort is because of their difficulty in making good military and geopolitical decisions.
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More worrisome is the possibility that Islamic militants inspired by — or linked to — al-Qaida can establish a strong enough foothold in Libya to spread instability across a swath of North Africa where long, porous desert borders have little meaning, governments are weak, and tribal and ethnic networks stretch from country to country.
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Already, Libya's turmoil echoes around the region and in the Middle East. The large numbers of weapons brought into Libya or seized from government caches during the 2011 civil war against Gadhafi are now smuggled freely to Mali, Egypt and its Sinai Peninsula, the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad. Jihadis in Libya are believed to have operational links with fellow militant groups in the same swath, Libyan fighters have joined rebels in Syria and are believed to operate in other countries as well.