More than 300 groups and salaries of reconciliation: Libyan militias

After international calls to dismantle the militias in Libya, especially after the US ambassador and the AFRICOM leadership met the Minister of Interior in the Al-Sarraj government, Fathi Pashaga, the latter promised to take over the task of merging some of them within the state or dismantling groups among the hundreds of armed militias that had until recently been fighting with him against the army Libyan.

Pashaga, who is affiliated with the militias of the city of Misrata and the Brotherhood, met on Monday with some leaders of armed groups in the capital, Tripoli, when he visited the headquarters of the “deterrent force” militia and met with its commander, Sheikh Abdel Raouf Karah, as part of a plan aimed at persuading them to restructure their militias in the official organs of the state.

However, this pictorial move drew criticism from Libyans, who wondered how a “spoiled son” of the militia could sacrifice it.

“One of the biggest militia men”

In this context, the analyst and political activist, Siraj Al-Tawarghi, considered that “Pashaga is considered one of the largest militia men in Libya and he is the leader and engineer of the operations of the dawn of Libya in 2014 that overturned the authority and the election fund and caused a real division.”

A militia member in the Libyan capital, Tripoli (Archives - France Press)
A militia member in the Libyan capital, Tripoli 

Disagreement over the spoils

He indicated in a statement to “”, that “The big differences between Pashaga and some of the Tripoli militias It will be a major impediment to his endeavors. Violently confronted if they dismantle his militia.

proven track record

Pashaga, who is described in Libya as a “militia”, recorded a record of supporting armed militias, especially those descended from the city of Misrata, where he fought in its ranks during the events of February 17, 2011, and also formed the Mursi militia that participated in the attack of the Dawn Libya militia on the capital Tripoli in 2014.

Also, the man will face great challenges regarding its implementation on the ground with strong groups that inherited wide authority after the revolution that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi and formed a strong influence and sometimes controlled the reins of government.

The paradoxes that Bashaga, who draws his strength from the protection and support of the militias, carry, would make the process of merging the militias extremely difficult.

Elements of the al-Wifaq militia in Tripoli (Archives - Reuters)
Elements of the al-Wifaq militia in Tripoli (Archives – Reuters)

For his part, Libyan political analyst Faraj Farkash said that after the failure of the presidential council to implement the provisions of security arrangements and the UN mission ignoring this sensitive issue, it became one of the priorities of Al-Wefaq to reintegrate and collect the weapons of the militias, especially after the coming of the American ambassador Richard Norland and the appointment of Fathi Pashaga as the interior minister. And the start of some kind of partnership with the United States and the start of the Libyan-American security dialogue late last year.

Farkash said in a statement to “Al,” that great challenges will face the Pashaga, as well as the chief of staff in this matter, the most important of which is how to sort the militias and determine who can be incorporated.

Muslim brothers

He believed that the biggest challenge is by those who did not recognize the government of reconciliation before the battle of Tripoli, which united them with the rest of the militias and armed brigades, and which is represented by the hawkish wing of the Muslim Brotherhood and those who ally with them, indicating that these are pushing towards the creation of a force parallel to the organs of the government of reconciliation.

Fuel smuggling and human trafficking

Moreover, militias that engage in fuel smuggling and trafficking in human beings, or those that protect and monopolize securing some civil and vital institutions and consider them a source of livelihood for them, are another challenge, according to Farkash, noting that this matter will need international weight and pressure to persuade those parties and perhaps reassure them to abandon The idea of ​​creating a parallel force, as well as to the temptations and privileges

Al-Wefaq factions in Misurata (Archives - France Press)
Al-Wefaq factions in Misurata

More than 300 groups .. and salaries from the Accord

Estimates indicate that the number of armed militias in Libya reaches more than 300 different armament groups and numbers, some of which follow people and others follow extremist currents such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and others that follow cities and regions, most of which are located in the capital Tripoli and the cities of Misurata, Zintan, Zawiya and Sabratha, many of which follow my ministry The Interior and Defense of the Al-Wefaq government gets salaries from the state, but it does not comply with its orders.

Elements of the al-Wefaq factions in Tarhuna (archive - AFP)
Elements of the al-Wefaq factions in Tarhuna (archive – AFP)

Because of its strong presence in various regions of Libya in exchange for the weakness and the absence of the official security services, political analyst Suleiman Al-Atiri believes that the task of reintegrating its members into the official body of Al-Wefaq will be one of the most difficult tasks facing the government in Tripoli.

Al-Atiri expected, in a statement to, that Pashaga would resort to assigning leadership tasks to militia leaders and princes, whether in political, military, security, or even diplomatic positions, appointing some of them as ambassadors to convince them of the necessity of giving up the militias.

Arab Observer

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