President Obama is being pressed by some of his national security aides, including his top military advisers, to approve the use of American forces in Libya to open another front against the Islamic State.
But Mr. Obama, wary of embarking on an intervention in another Muslim country, has told his aides to redouble their efforts to help form a unity government in Libya at the same time the Pentagon refines its options.
Those include airstrikes, commando raids or advising vetted Libyan militias on the ground, as Special Operations forces are doing now in eastern Syria.
Covert C.I.A. paramilitary missions are also being considered, but the use of large numbers of American ground troops is not on the table.