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Fact Check: Trump’s wrong on ISIS and Libyan oil

THE FACT CHECKER | Trump’s is simply wrong.

The toppling of Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi — at the hands of Libyan rebels aided by U.S. and NATO air power — has led to highly unstable governance as the country’s tribes have vied for influence and power. There are rival governments based in the capital of Tripoli and the eastern city of Tobruk, and neither has fully recognized the “unity” government established by United Nations mediators.

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) claims to be operating independently without taking orders from either of the country’s rival governments, though a rival NOC appears to have been set up in the east.

ISIS has attempted to step into the power vacuum. But not a single expert or news article that we consulted said that ISIS has grabbed a single oil field. Instead, militants appear to be trying to disrupt the flow of oil, mainly by scaring workers away.

Claudia Gazzini, a Tripoli-based senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, told The Fact Checker it was simply not true that the Islamic State has control of any Libyan oil.

“While it is true that ISIS has attacked oil fields in the Sirte basin area and destroyed key equipment there, they have not sought to keep control of the oil fields,” Gazzini said. “At the moment they appear to have adopted a hit-and-run strategy. There is no evidence that they are pumping out the crude oil and certainly no evidence that they are trading it. At the moment they just appear interested in starving the Libyan state of oil revenues.”

Incidentally, Trump also urged an intervention in Libya on his video blog in 2011. “I can’t believe what our country is doing,” Trump said. “Qaddafi in Libya is killing thousands of people, nobody knows how bad it is, and we’re sitting around we have soldiers all have the Middle East, and we’re not bringing them in to stop this horrible carnage and that’s what it is: It’s a carnage.”

Trump added: “Now we should go in, we should stop this guy, which would be very easy and very quick. We could do it surgically, stop him from doing it, and save these lives. This is absolutely nuts. We don’t want to get involved and you’re gonna end up with something like you’ve never seen before…We have go in to save these lives; these people are being slaughtered like animals. It’s horrible what’s going on; it has to be stopped. We should do on a humanitarian basis, immediately go into Libya, knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively, and save the lives.”

Real-time fact-checking and analysis of the 2nd 2016 presidential debate

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will meet on stage at Washington University in St. Louis at 9 p.m. Eastern.

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