Serraj determined to progress with “security arrangements”
By Sami Zaptia.
London, 9 January 2019:
Mohamed El-Sallak, the spokesperson for Faiez Serraj, the head of the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord, conveyed the assurance of Serraj to move forward on steps to enhance Libya’s security and stability.
During the weekly press conference held at the Media Center of the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday, Sallak explained that security and stability comes through the completion of the so-called “Security Arrangements”
This includes the implementation of agreed security plans to secure lives and property and tighten the guarding of vital facilities by various concerned organs, and the creation of a channel of communication leading to understandings to overcome all that would delay the achievement of such benefits.
The statement by Serraj on the Security Arrangements is seen as a veiled message to militias on the back of tensions between the latter and former.
This tension was reflected in statements released by Serraj’s Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha, and the recently created Tripoli Protection Force (TPF).
Its believed that Bashagha has been making attempts to reduce the power of Tripoli’s militias.
The militias don’t like this and have been trying to counter this – while outwardly playing the role of being in favour of government security policy.
The TPF, it will be recalled, is an amalgamation of a number of Tripoli’s main militias formed on 18 December 2018.
The militias are: The Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigade (TRB); Abusleem Deterence and Rapid Intervention Force; the Nawasi 8th Force; and the Bab Tajura brigade. The Rada SDF did not join the coalition.
On announcing their formation the militias had said that the amalgamation was as a result of the recent manoeuvres by other military forces (Hafter’s Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Tarhuna 7th Infantry Kani brigade) in the western region.
The amalgamation came about as a result of Tripoli’s desire to settle political matters through dialogue, whereas these other forces, which the TRB statement did not mention by name, wish to enter Tripoli and want to use force to settle political issues, the statement had said.
They had claimed that the four militias had amalgamated under the internationally recognized Faiez Serraj-led Presidency Council and Government of National Accord.
The main role of the new TPF will be to protect Tripoli and help state institutions to perform their tasks, they claimed.
It will cooperate in securing existing diplomatic missions as well as helping other missions to return to the capital. It will also help in implementing the state’s anti-corruption efforts, their statement had said.
The statement had also declared its support for the UNSMIL-led National Conference (Multaqa) planned for early 2019 and welcomed its holding in Tripoli.
The statement rejected the use of force as a means to achieving political aims and called for an end to the country’s political division.
In an ironic swipe at Khalifa Hafter and his LNA, the statement by Tripoli’s militias rejected the “concentration of Libya’s military institutions into one individual” and the use of the military to dominate politics.
The statement had also called for the reactivation of the national reconciliation efforts and it’s work to offer a national amnesty.
It called for an end to external interference in Libya’s internal affairs and called for the creation of the right environment for holding elections.
And in conclusion and with huge irony, the statement claimed that it did not follow any political ideology or any particular political stream.
It must be stressed that at the time of publishing none of the other mentioned militias had confirmed this joint statement. The Faiez Serraj Government had made no comment either.
However, it now seems more than likely that the TPF was created by the Tripoli militia for reasons of self-preservation and self-perpetuation. Tripoli’s militias were anticipating some pushback post the south Tripoli militia fighting and resultant Zawia ceasefire agreement.