The Address | Benghazi – Libya
TRIPOLI – Associated researcher with the Foundation for Middle Eastern Studies (FEMO), Gérard Vespierre, discussed, in an op-ed published in Mondafrique news website, the role played by extremist militias in the Libyan capital Tripoli and in the west of the country.
According to Vespierre, the military operation launched in April 4 by the Libyan National Army (LNA) has “mobilized a very heterogeneous alliance of militias” which “came to rescue Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj”.
The “tacit alliance” between the militias and Al-Sarraj “has allowed them to position themselves as legitimate partners of the ruling power.”
“The problem is that many of these militias have been sadly illustrated by their central role in organizing the transit and trafficking of tens of thousands of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean. One of their leaders, Ahmed al-Dabbashi, has made himself terribly famous. He is now under the sanctions of the US Treasury. Also, this heterogeneous group of militia includes “special deterrence forces” whose prisons have been labeled “torture lairs” by the Jamestown Foundation.”
Vespierre pointed out that this militias have been operating de facto outside the authority of Al-Sarraj’s government because “they are supported by their own international sponsors, specifically Qatar and Turkey.”
“In the case of Qatar, according to Reuters, this support materialized by the direct supply of weapons. But Qatari support is not limited to the supply of weapons. Between 2011 and 2017, it is estimated that the financial support provided by Doha to these groups has exceeded 750 million euros.”
“As for Turkey, it was also illustrated by the delivery of weapons according to Reuters, and even Tramadol, the famous opioid used as a stimulant and often administered to African or Middle Eastern jihadists. It regularly happens that Turkish ships are seen off the Libyan coast.”
“These supports, as well as the actions of the militias on the ground, make the daily life of Libyans in the west of the country even more difficult. All this further undermines efforts to form a coherent central state, and endangers regional security.”
“Libya has enormous tasks to do to repair the fractures and instability caused by years of civil war. The funding provided by Qatar and Turkey to Islamist groups and militias makes this process even more difficult.”