Libyan military insecurity is creating a Mediterranean Conundrum

(Part 2)
Libya risks of being the best example of security nightmare in the next months. The Tobruk parliament (House of Representatives) seems ready to pose former General Haftar as Commander in Chief of the Libyan Army, setting the conditions for bolstering the position of the HoR “Defender”.

However, at the same time, nationalist militias will face growing difficulties: their way of pushing back the men of Ansar Al Sharia from Benghazi is reducing the civilian population support, tired of ruins and destruction in the very heart of the town. In addition, Haftar’s desire to arrive to Tripoli and defeat the Islamists of the “Libyan Dawn” as soon as possible, implementing any method, sounds completely different from the attitude carefully studied for acquiring public support by the Islamic State in Derna, Eastern Libya.
Daesh is not the only extremist antagonist Haftar’s troops have to face; the decentralized attitude and approach adopted by Al Qaeda’s “franchising” in the very heart of Libya in order to infiltrate faithful fighters inside the ranks of Salafists, aims to create a chronical perception of instability from East to West.
Potentially, the set of Jihadist movements covering not only the coasts of Libya, but going deeper in the Southern desert of Sahara and even in the Sahel, represents a menace that could hardly be ignored. The United States and Europe, the Countries that have growing interests in Africa, such as China, and firstly, coherently, the African states themselves, have to profoundly understand how the desert could turn to be the best environment for a growing destabilizing movement from the sands of Mali to the beach of Mediterranean.
Its vastness makes nearly impossible to arrange an adequate patrolling operation in order to control the porous borders between Libya, Algeria and Nigeria. Oasis in the desert is becoming a sort of logistics and refuel  common stations, as well as training camps, even for groups that do not really share the same final idea or project. Since the end of Qaddafi in 2011, weapons flux and trade from Libya down into the Sahel has set the conditions for a growing regional vacuum. Then, the no-man’s land of the Salvador Triangle in the southern borders of Libya has seen since 2012 a trend in the opposite direction of whom had been expulsed from Mali following the uprising in the Azawad (north of Mali) by the MNLA (Mouvement National pour la Libération de l’Azawad) and the chaos spread in all the parts of the countries by the Mouvement pour l’Unicité et le Jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest (MUJAO) and, eventually Ansar al Din, without forgetting the action brought in Algeria by AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb).
Therefore, a consistent interaction has been implemented inside Libyan borders and powered by those Tuareg that were at the very center of Gaddafi’s line of defense and security. The bloody civil unrest in Libya forced Tuareg to escape in all the possible direction towards South, thus inflaming the Sahel situation and superimpose their interest of independence over the Islamist instances of who aspired to fight the Malian government. The same confusion is happening in the southwest of Libya, where ethnic and clan tensions, such as in the case of the Tebu militias against the Misrata Brigade, are exacerbate even more the fragile condition. 
A long, uninterrupted line of violence lying from the Gulf of Guinea to the shores of Libya is something that must be avoided with any measure, strategy and tactics, starting from revaluating the role of tribes, so long marginalized during Gaddafi’s era and mistakenly not calculated during the first months of the new Libya; the reason of their values is that tribes have the potential capability of breaking the barriers of jihadist localization, something that could be very useful in this moment, having in mind how many mistakes have been done by the international community and the Libyan themselves following the collapse of the Jamahiriya.


Research Fellow at “Iran Progress”


Click here to read the Part 1

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