The Washington Post reports: Late last year, as Islamic State fighters battled to expand their stronghold on Libya’s coast, militants came within 45 miles of the country’s sole remaining chemical-weapons site, unnerving Libyan and American officials who feared that potentially deadly chemicals could fall into extremist hands.
In May, when the fighters struck a mile from the lightly guarded desert facility, killing two security officers at a checkpoint, they decided it was time to act.
The Islamic State’s encroachment on an installation outside the remote oasis town of Waddan, where 500 metric tons of chemical-weapon precursor materials were stored, set off a hurried chain of events culminating in a disarmament operation involving the United States, European countries and the United Nations.
The international effort, which concluded last week when a Danish ship unloaded the materials at a German port for destruction, is one of the rare successes that Western nations can claim in Libya since dictator Moammar Gaddafi’s ouster in 2011 pitched the North African country into lawlessness and civil war. [Continue reading…]