On Wednesday, Italy agreed to “positively consider” any US request to use Italian airspace and airbases for bombing missions against Isis in Libya. The move follows a series of US air strikes against Isis militants in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte on Monday. That action – which President Barack Obama declared as in the “vital national interests” of the US – is anticipated to be the first move in a sustained international offensive against Isis outside of Iraq and Syria.
The US strikes were conducted after a request from the UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA). While the attack is not the first time that US warplanes have bombed Isis in Libya (a training camp in Sabratha was attacked in February), Monday’s move could prove more significant because it signifies a deepening of Western commitment to the Libyan administration – militarily, politically and economically.