Libyan armed factions: Power on the ground and influential card within political solution circles

The political parties are racing to win the favor of the armed factions that impose a fait accompli in the capital, Tripoli and the whole country, with their success in forming semi-independent security and military structures with fictitious loyalties to ministries and government institutions, enabling them to weave broad alliances internally and externally that contributed to the marginalization of state authority and disrupted projects and plans for stability.

The growing influence of these armed factions has established an increasing conviction among local parties of their pivotal importance in holding the reins of power in the capital, Tripoli, which was evident in the recent competition between the two governments of unity headed by Abdul Hamid al-Dabaiba and the Libyan government headed by Fathi Bashagha, where al-Dabaiba resorted to allocating funds to support some of the formations, through which a military force was established to “protect the elections and the constitution.”

Documents obtained by 218News showed the allocation of record amounts to support these formations, which were deducted from the emergency budget that Bashagha tried to match by holding intensive meetings in Tunisia with leaders and influential figures on the ground in the western region and Tripoli to form alliances that ensured the latter’s entry into the capital and the exercise of his duties, a venture that almost brought the country to the risk of descending into violence.

A role that has begun to be recognized by international parties that consider dealing with and containing it as one of the keys to the solution to the Libyan crisis, as the Italian Nova Agency confirmed that a number of leaders of armed factions from the east and west of the country attended a meeting organized by the Geneva-based Humanitarian Dialogue Center, on Thursday, accompanied by representatives of the Presidential Council, the House of Representatives, and the High Council of State to discuss solution scenarios, after previous calls from local and international experts specialized in Libyan affairs to involve the leaders of armed factions in the dialogue with a higher representation, in conjunction with preparations for the launch of the second round of Libyan constitution talks that Cairo will host on May 15.

The issue of integrating or containing armed factions faces real challenges related to their structural composition and the ideological backgrounds on which they are based, which impose on them different alliances and different loyalties and complicates the issue of their integration in the legitimate institutions of the state, in addition to how to deal with the files burdened with violations and abuses of these groups, which are often documented according to the reports of human rights organizations, especially Amnesty International that explicitly accused the stability support agency allied with Dabaiba of being involved in horrific violations against migrants and citizens, in addition to other semi-official agencies such as internal security and the coast guard.

Despite all this, these armed factions remain a tough stand on the Libyan map and a fait accompli that enables them to play different roles, compounded by the political failure and the ambiguity accompanying the horizon of the solution with the Libyan crisis opening to multiple tracks that meet with their goals and fall within the framework of extending the transitional stages, as well as transferring the problems that have increased in size and influence over time, producing an unlimited incursion of armed factions that threaten the future of the state.

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