This week has been relatively quiet from a security perspective in Libya (hence this week is confined to an overview only) with the violent backlash in the east from the Libya Shield Brigade and other militias against the moves taken by the Libyan Army to seize back control of Benghazi abating following last week’s clashes. There have been some minor attacks in Benghazi against the Police such as the targeted destruction of a police station in the Al-Hadaiq district of the city on 19th June.
Regionally there has been a great deal of coverage given to Libyan weapons reaching the Syrian rebels via a variety of routes including the auspices of the Qataris. This is also set against the context of President Obama’s recent statements about arming the rebels.
The week has continued to see momentum in relation to the Government clamping down upon the militias both in word and deed. The Prime Minister has made a number of speeches this week seeking to re-establish the Government’s primacy in security matters. He has reiterated that the power to detain citizens lies solely with the Ministry of the Interior and the Public Prosecutor and not with the militias whether they are legal or otherwise. In terms of deeds the Tripoli Supreme Security Committee handed over the prison at Mitiga airbase on 23rd June to the Military Prisons Administration. It is hoped that this will encourage other SSC and militias to do likewise but there is a long way to go according to Human Rights Watch.
There has been a great deal of rhetoric by militias against other militias in terms of their actions and respective legitimacy. This may well lead to further inter-militia clashes and violence in the coming weeks if it is allowed to continue or escalate.
This week the Prime Minister also called on the Tawerghans to delay their return to their ruined city. The Tawerghans have suffered continued hardship for their support of Gaddafi from the Misratans in particular who blame them for atrocities during the Revolution and have vowed to prevent their return to their ruined city. The Tawerghans were due to return on 26th June. The Prime Minister is keen to avoid further violence and in making his plea has also committed to doing more to resolve the Tawerghans issues. It is not yet clear whether his pleas will be heeded. If not then there will undoubtedly be clashes between the Tawerghans and the Misratans.