The effects of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s declaration of an Islamic caliphate in Iraq are already being felt in Libya. The leader of the Abu Mahjan Al-Ta’ifi Brigade, which refers to itself as ‘Al-Qa’ida in Libya’, has openly declared the group’s support for Baghdadi and sent 50 men, including fighters, doctors, and engineers, to Iraq to support ISIS. Meanwhile, there are other reports of Libyans fighting with ISIS in Iraq and in Syria. On 7 July, a Libyan, Abdel Malwa al-Libbi, was killed when he detonated a carbomb in the Shi’ite area of Qadamiyya in Baghdad. Five days later another Libyan, Abu Osama Al-Misrati, who had been assigned by ISIS to oversee the Sadia area, was killed in battle.
These latest developments in Iraq are causing serious anxiety across the region. A meeting of senior security officials from Algeria, Tunisia and Libya on 7 July reflects this anxiety. The meeting comes ahead of a a larger regional gathering to be held in Hammamat, Tunisia, which is expected to be attended by officials from Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, Chad and Niger, as well as the Arab League and African Union.