Dr. Mattes is a fellow at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg.
Even though demonstrations in Tunisia led to the resignation of President Ben Ali on January 14, 2011, no Western analyst would have believed that the "days of anger" summoned in Libya on February 17 would also result in a change of political power. The ruling tribal alliance that had been in place since Muammar al-Qadhafi's rise to power in September 1969 was so well-entrenched that an ouster by mass protest seemed impossible. It consisted of Qadadfa, Warfalla and Maqarha as well as loyal security forces, primarily the Revolutionary Committees under the command of Qadhafi and the military special brigades,1 mainly recruited from members of the Qadadfa tribe. Yet, ousted it was in the wake of an eight-month civil war caused by the bloody actions of the security forces against demonstrators, in particular in Benghazi after February 17. The protest was grounded in the deep discontent of the majority of the population with political paternalism, lack of liberty, severe human-rights violations, and the absence of economic and social development.
Within a few days, the mass protests led to the liberation of Cyrenaica. As early as March 5, an opposition, the National Transitional Council (NTC), was founded, which, from its location in Benghazi, claimed to be the legitimate representative of the entire Libyan people.
There are three main reasons for the opposition's quick success in Cyrenaica:
• The perception on the part of the population of eastern Libya (the historic province of Cyrenaica) of having been systematically marginalized by the regime for decades.
• The fast desertions of soldiers, predominantly from Cyrenaica, who were doing their mandatory military service. This occurred at the onset of the protest as a result of the perception described above.
• The rapid formation of several revolutionary brigades2 on a local or tribal basis, which carried out actions against Qadhafi's security forces. They were able to seize large amounts of weaponry when they raided the arms depots of the security forces.
The attempts in mid-March 2011 to restore Qadhafi's state order in Cyrenaica deploying loyal troops from Tripolitania failed. This was due to the shift in the balance of power. International concerns about possible massacres of the eastern Libyan population3 led to the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 on March 17, 2011. This resolution implemented a no-fly zone over Libya, making military operations against Qadhafi's armed forces possible. Thus, the revolutionary brigades that were formed in eastern Libya and constituted the core of those forces challenging Qadhafi's monopoly on the use of force could advance to western Libya under the protection granted by NATO's air shield. In mid-August 2011, they united there with the local brigades from Misurata and the brigades from the Nafusa mountains in Tripolitania. Using a pincer attack, the brigades took Tripoli on August 20 after bloody battles.4
During the military operations in Sirt on October 20, Qadhafi was captured and extra-judicially killed later that day. The liberation of Libya from Qadhafi's rule was announced in an official statement issued by the political leaders of the protest movement, the NTC, on October 23. Political developments since March 2011 have predominantly been shaped by the NTC under the leadership of Mustafa Abd al-Jalil. As early as August 3, 2011, before Tripoli was taken, the NTC defined in a constitutional declaration the roadmap for the restitution of the Libyan state in the wake of liberation from Qadhafi's rule.5 According to this roadmap, a new government was to be elected within the first month after the proclamation of Libya's liberation, and a General National Congress (GNC) with 200 delegates within 240 days (eight months). The GNC was to elect its president within a month, appoint a new government within two months, and subsequently designate a 60-member-strong constitutional commission.6 While the institutional reconstruction of Libya was, by and large, implemented within the determined time frame,7 and the constitutional process is currently pending, restoring public security and mitigating the challenges to security policy have, to date, seen little progress.8
The political institutions in post-Qadhafi Libya have so far not been able to overcome the diverging interests of the various armed actors by way of a national policy of consent and have failed to enforce the state's monopoly over the use of force.9 In Libya, as in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt, the ousting of an authoritarian regime has not led to a transition to democratic structures, as envisaged by a part of the protest movement and in particular by Western states. The only result has been a transition to a less authoritarian regime.
The ongoing loss of state control over the organs of security policy and the consistent virulence of militant groups and criminal gangs have prevented the restoration of public security. This problem can be subdivided as follows:
(1) Proliferation of weapons. Up to six million small arms are in circulation, mainly from the looted depots of Qadhafi's armed forces. This proliferation occurred within Libya, in neighboring countries (Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt) and in the Sahel region.
(2) Armed revolutionary brigades, resisting demobilization as implemented by the government and creating political pressure by occupying ministries and the seat of the GNC. In May 2013, the passing of the rigid Political Isolation Law occurred under such circumstances.
(3) Assaults by the approximately 20 to 30 Islamist brigades against Sufi shrines/Marabout tombs as well as against other religious targets such as the orthodox church in Tripoli and burial sites of British soldiers in Benghazi. Unlike the majority of the Revolutionary brigades, the Islamist brigades expressly advocate an "Islamic" state order in the form of a caliphate and categorically refuse to demobilize.
(4) Armed conflicts between hostile tribes and families in Kufra (Tubu/Zuwai), Sebha (Tubu/Awlad Slimane), Mizda, Zuwara and other places, due to quarrels about territory or homicides. These conflicts have been on the increase since 2012.
(5) Stalling of transitional justice. Since late 2011, this has led to numerous attacks of vengeance, primarily aimed at Qadhafi's former security officers. As of spring 2014, at least 100 such murders had been committed. A fatwa of Grand Mufti Ghariani from August 2012 ordering an end to the murder of army officers had no effect.10
(6) Criminal gang activities. The difficult economic situation is partially the cause for the increase in smuggling and in trafficking of illegal arms, narcotics and human beings. The cross-border extension of criminal networks is facilitated by the deficient border-control regime.11
Progress in restoring public policy will not be possible in any fields if the principal armed actors (state security forces versus brigades) neutralize each other, making it impossible for the government to assert the state's monopoly on the use of force.
Since February 2011, the revolutionary brigades have been playing a central military role and hence a central role in Libya's political development. As regards their origins and their aims, the brigades can be divided into four main categories.12
As of February 2011, the "Brigades of Libyan Freedom Fighters" (Arabic: Thuwars) were formed spontaneously throughout the country by defectors from Qadhafi's armed forces and by volunteers who were ready to fight. They organized themselves according to their local and regional origins or their ideology. The size of the brigades has varied from 50 to more than 1,000 Thuwars. The Zintan Brigade, currently commanded by Mukhtar al-Akhdar, consists of at least 1,200 men; the Tripoli Brigade, approximately 1,300. Generally, the brigades from eastern and southern Libya are smaller and of a more tribal nature than those from western Libya. After the fall of Qadhafi's regime, security experts estimated that there were between 400 and 500 brigades. With a projected 250 men per unit, the revolutionary brigades would claim some 110,000 to 130,000 combatants. Given the small extent of demobilization, this estimate probably still pertains. Their fragmentation constitutes their greatest weakness; no brigade has been able to assume the lead role or gain the acceptance of all the brigades.
When fighting spread to western Libya during the civil war, the brigades correspondingly and increasingly advanced into non-local territories. After combat ended,13 they did not return to their home territories. Instead, they took over prominent sites such as ports, street junctions, airports, central administration buildings, etc. While family roots prevented problems among local brigades in their home territories, the non-local brigades (for example, the Zintanis and Misratis in Tripoli) became a burden in the wake of the proclamation of Libya's liberation on October 23, 2011. Conflicts between locals and non-locals increased, among demands for non-local brigades to return to their home territories. In early March 2012, a conference took place in Misrata with the NTC, local councils and militia representatives from all over Libya, and the return of all militias to their home territories was agreed upon. However, the agreement has yet to be implemented.
The brigades struggling for the implementation of religious aims and articulating corresponding demands14 constitute a special category within the revolutionary brigades:
• The brigades from the area of Benghazi united in the Ittihad Saraya al-Thuwwar under the influence of Ismail Sallabi and Fawzi Bukatif,
• The Katibat Ansar al-Sharia (Banghazi/Darna), Katibat Shuhada Abu Slim, Katibat Umar al-Mukhtar, Katibal Ubaida Ibn al-Jarra or the Brigade of the Imprisoned Omar Abdul-Rahman in Benghazi, originating from Jabal Akhdar.
The Islamist brigades are problematic. First, they play a special role, because their political and ideological aims and interests do not correspond with those of the majority. As a consequence, they also give rise to conflicts in the brigades' representative institutions (for example, the Higher National Council of the Revolutionaries), which have developed since 2012. Second, the Islamist brigades pose a great challenge to the efforts of the army and police to implement demobilization and integration. On the basis of their religious mission, the Islamist brigades reject demobilization and integration into the national-security forces of an "un-Islamic state," as they term it. Third, the boundaries of terrorist activities15 are fluid. However, the exact extent of cooperation with groups such as Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi or Darna, for example, or with the al-Qaeda network, is unclear.
The military councils and the local administrative councils — which were founded in 2011 in the territories liberated from Qadhafi's rule — created further military associations in addition to the already existing revolutionary brigades for the purpose of securing the territories. These so-called post-revolutionary brigades were intended to further stabilize the situation and conduct tasks involving guarding and supervision. Additionally, economic self-interest led to the formation of further brigades, as it was assumed that they could expect state support. With some 22,500 men, the post-revolutionary brigades constitute approximately 15 percent of the 150,000 men organized in non-state armed forces, as estimated in early 2012.16 In contrast to the brigades that actively fought against Qadhafi, "The cohesion in these groups and the members' allegiance to their leaders (was) weaker than in revolutionary brigades."17
While, after the liberation of Libya, the majority of the revolutionary or post-revolutionary brigades were incorporated into the newly established command structures of the military and the Ministry of Interior, several brigades refused to participate in such subordination. This applied to most Islamist brigades, and partially also to secular ones. In particular, these unregulated brigades have been responsible for severe human-rights violations committed in Libya and the development of illegal prison centers since late 2011.18 At the same time, these so-called unregulated brigades increased their income by confiscating or looting the property of Qadhafi loyalists as well as by forcing the population to pay protection money. The unregulated brigades of some 7,500 men quickly assumed a position close to those groups (militias) that were involved in crime and terrorism.
Militias Involved in Crime and Terrorism
These militias, estimated by McQuinn in 2012 at approximately 7,500 men, "are a collection of armed groups that do not fall into any of the above-mentioned categories (and) range from criminal networks to violent extremists."19 The transition to Islamist brigades involved in terrorist activities is fluid.
As of spring 2014, the presence and strength of the brigades remain considerable despite all state efforts at demobilization.20 The brigades de facto still control the largest part of Libya,21 though they no longer control locations such as the international airport in Tripoli,22 the Matiqa airport east of Tripoli, and the seaport. Some 70,000 Thuwars have been integrated into the newly formed army and the police force (Supreme Security Committee).23 Since 2012, there have been recurring reports that the brigades are leaving buildings and barracks, handing them over to the army, or surrendering control of one of the self-run prisons to the Ministry of the Interior. However, a quick integration or dissolution of all the brigades is not to be expected.
The brigades are still well-armed with light and heavy weapons as well as armored vehicles. As of spring 2014, they are still holding an estimated 3,500-4,000 prisoners of war,24 the most prominent of whom is Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi in Zintan. Representatives of Libyan human-rights organizations such as Abd al-Basit Abu Mizairiq of the National Council for Freedom and Human Rights accuse them of having committed severe human-rights violations. It is a fact that the militias, relying on their weapons, intervene when they disagree with specific developments. For example, members of the Sadun al-Sawihli brigade in Misrata abducted, interrogated and tortured the journalist Sulaiman Dugha in Tripoli on June 20, 2012, for alleged false reporting.
Given the weakness of state institutions, tribal rivalries especially in Tripolitania and Fezzan have, since 2012, increasingly involved the use of weapons. If, additionally, the aspect of "loyalty to the Qadhafi regime" played a role, these rivalries were even bloodier. One example is the conflict over meadowland that erupted between the revolutionary Zintan brigade and the formerly Qadhafi-affiliated Mashashiya tribe near Mizda/Shaqiqiya in late June 2012.This conflict has claimed over 150 lives.
Since late 2011, several revolutionary brigades have united to achieve a better countrywide representation of interests. On April 21, 2012, approximately 200 brigades from all parts of Libya convened in Tripoli — subsequent to regional/local coordination measures25 — and founded the Revolutionaries' National Supreme Council (al-majlis al-watani al-ala lil-thuwar). It is now the sole legitimate representative body of the Thuwars in negotiations with the NTC/ GNC. According to the founding charter, the primary seat of the council is Tripoli, but branches can be established. The council sees itself as an independent, nonpartisan institution whose goal is to protect the aims of the revolution of February 17 and the interests of the Thuwars.26 For the first time, several hundred Thuwars emphasized their demands with the siege of the NTC seat in Tripoli on May 1, 2012. In particular, the Thuwars demanded a better personal representation in government, compensation payments for the families of martyrs, improvement of the medical care available to people injured in the war, as well as a more consistent purge of Qadhafi loyalists from state institutions.27
Thuwar Political Pressure
The most important "achievement" of the Thuwars was the assertion of two demands that the NTC agreed to under pressure:
• First, immunity for all actions carried out during and after the war and for such actions that are defined as criminal.28 This Thuwar demand was fulfilled with Act 38 of May 2, 2012 (entered into force on May 12, 2012). Libyan (and foreign) human-rights organizations criticized the law.
• Second, compensation payments to all combatants for their war service from March to October 2011. Initially, in March 2012, the NTC had settled compensation payments (4,000 LD for a married combatant and 2,400 LD for an unmarried combatant). The deadline for the submission of an application expired on May 7, 2012. Due to the fact that many "pseudo-revolutionaries" submitted applications, payments were stopped on April 9, 2012.29 By April 2012, 450,000 (!) applications had already been submitted.30 The brigades protested against the termination of the payments. For example, combatants from Yefren and Kikla attacked the prime minister's office in Tripoli on May 7, 2012.
The Thuwars were also able to assert their demand for the "cleansing of state structures" of supporters of the ousted Qadhafi regime. After sieges and occupations of important ministries by armed brigades from the end of April/beginning of May 2013, the GNC passed, under immense pressure, the so-called Political Isolation Law on May 5.31 It prohibits broad categories of former regime loyalists from serving in high state offices for the coming 10 years. According to statements made by Libyan opposition politician Mahmud al-Jibril, the particularly strict interpretation of the law will result in 500,000 persons — including GNC President al-Maqaryaf and Chief of Staff Manqush — having to give up their current positions, which will then have to be filled by others. The Thuwars are the main beneficiaries of this regulation, which has significantly strengthened their position and influence in Libyan politics.
New Institutions and Security Architecture
The creation of new, post-Qadhafi state structures, including national-security organs, was declared a priority by the new state institutions that had already been formed during the conflict after March 2011. At the top of these institutions was the NTC under the presidency of former judge Abd al-Jalil and the government32 that he had appointed. The GNC, which was elected in July 2012, as well as the successor to Abd al-Rahim al-Kib as head of government, Ali Zaidan, both maintain this priority.
From the summer of 2011, the creation of the new Free Libyan Army, the new police force, and a new intelligence service has been set in motion. However, the completion of the new security architecture remains elusive. Foreign security analysts estimate that the required period will be up to 10 years.33 The revolutionary brigades' refusal to demobilize and to recognize the state's monopoly on force constitutes the largest impediment.
Reconstruction of the National-Security Forces
Since its formation by the NTC in 2011, the Free Libyan Army had faced the task of rebuilding the organization and recruiting personnel. The first task and the definition of the leadership structure was more easily accomplished than the recruitment of staff. During the civil war, most combatants were active in the independent revolutionary brigades. Only after Libya's liberation in October 2011, did the army, which had been formally reconstituted by the NTC, raise its claim to be the only national armed force of the new Libya. Consequently, the brigades were to be disbanded or partially integrated into the armed forces and the police. This process of integration began in February 2012 with the first 5,000 Thuwars. So far, however, the process has been sluggish. Various army officers have criticized this and demanded acceleration, as a viable army is the most essential element of Libya's security. In early July 2013, the interim chief of staff, Salem Qunaidi, publicly criticized the government in a television interview for not taking sufficient measures for building the army.34
Parts of the population demonstrated, expressing dissatisfaction with the ongoing presence of the revolutionary brigades and resentment of the brigades' actions against the rebuilding of the army. First, demonstrations with several thousand participants took place in Tripoli on May 12, 2012, with subsequent major demonstrations in Tripoli, Benghazi and Darna in the wake of the murder of the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Further major demonstrations for the quick building of the army and police took place across the country in July 2013 in the wake of the murder, presumably committed by members of an Islamist brigade, of human-rights activist Abd al-Salam al-Mismari in Benghazi.
Despite the continuous support of the population, the development of the army continues to move at a sluggish pace. On January 18, 2012, Chief of Staff Yusuf al-Manqush announced a five-step plan,35 the implementation of which was aimed at the recruitment of personnel. However, as late as June 2012, the army had only opened 32 recruitment centers for Thuwars, who had to prove that they had indeed been active combatants in a brigade.36 The government supported the recruitment measure by allocating up to 8 billion LD of the 2012 budget for the integration of Thuwars into the army/police, as well as for training.
According to a statement by Defense Secretary Usama Juwaili on May 28, 2012, the Libyan security forces (including all military services) are to comprise some 100,000 troops. As of early June 2012, there were approximately 35,000. Defense Secretary Juwaili stated in an interview on May 11, 2012,37 that the largest part of the army, in addition to new recruits, was to consist of "trustworthy" elements of Qadhafi's armed forces: "The expected number is estimated at 100,000, which is a big number. … Former soldiers will make up around 70 percent of the new army and the plan was to include 25,000 of the revolutionaries." Juwaili pointed out that, solely due to the eight- to 10-month training programs for officer cadets, the building up of the army would require a longer period.38
In the meantime, the army, air corps and air defense of the Libyan armed forces are present nationwide. However, they have not yet reached their previous strength. The navy has reopened the former bases along the coastline.
The leadership structure of the army was determined by the NTC's Act No. 11/13.2.2012. Pursuant to Article 3, it prescribes that the (future) head of state is the commander of the armed forces. In this function, he, inter alia, determines the manpower of the army, orders mobilization, and nominates the chief of staff as well as the other officers in the high command. Pursuant to Article 4, the defense secretary is responsible for the general guidelines governing defense policy, and he presents the defense budget. Article 5 defines the duties of the chief of staff.
Prior to the passing of Act No. 11, the NTC appointed by way of Directive No. 3/3.1.2012 Staff Major General Yusuf Ahmad al-Manqush as chief of staff. His promotion to the rank of major general of the national army occurred at the same time as Directive No. 4/3.1.2012. His appointment was rejected by parts of the Thuwars39 and the military council of Cyrenaica because Manqush had made his career under Qadhafi; they did not give him credit for supporting the revolution at an early stage. A central point of criticism was that this decision marginalizes the eastern Libyans in the national military leadership structures: Manqush is originally from Misrata, and then-incumbent Defense Secretary Juwaili is from Zintan. However, these were not the reasons that led to the replacement of Manqush on June 9, 2013, and the appointment of Colonel Abd al-Salam Jadallah al-Salhin al-Ubaidi from eastern Libya as new chief of staff on July 30. Instead, the application of the Political Isolation Law along with accusations that Manqush had been conducting the building up of the army too slowly and, in particular, that he had not done enough to prevent the attacks by brigades that killed 30 soldiers and civilians in Benghazi in early June 2013, were decisive in his removal from office.
Simultaneously with the appointment of the leadership personnel, the command structure was installed. Upon the decree of the chief of staff on March 25, 2012, Libya was divided into 10 military zones, each nominally under the command of an officer of the rank of colonel. This also applies to the region of Cyrenaica (Barqa). According to Libyan sources, in mid-June 2012, this region had followed its aspirations to federalism/autonomy and founded an independent Army of Barqa (jaish barqa), which was placed under the command of Colonel Hamid al-Hasi.40 In 2013, the command structure was optimized: so-called Joint Security Operation Rooms (JSOR) have been established locally, first in Benghazi, then in other towns. Inside the local JSOR all security forces are represented.
The largest handicap of the new national armed force remains its embryonic size and the fact that the government has to resort to selected revolutionary brigades to guarantee public security. These brigades, although formally subordinate to the Ministry of Defense, retain their own internal command structure. The Libya Shield Force, divided into three regional commands (east, center, west), is the main representative of such brigades. Since their founding in 2012, the units of the Libya Shield Force under the command of Wissam Bin Hamid operate mainly in the southern military zones. The Qatar Battalion guards the Banina/Benghazi airport in the name of the Ministry of Defense. Further Thurwar brigade units in the army are the Zintan Martyrs Battalion (Benghazi), the Shahati Battalion, the Ziad Bulam Brigade and the Al-Awfiya Battalion. It is problematic that among these brigades are some with Islamist alignments which — as with the Katibat Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi — are said to have contact with terrorist groups and are linked to attacks on Sufi shrines.
Non-Military Security Organs
Since the liberation of Libya, the police with their various departments (traffic, criminal investigation, etc.) have also been occupied with the process of rebuilding and reorganization. In addition to the police officers from the Qadhafi-era who were not involved in the repression of the population and will continue in service, many new recruitments are planned. The candidates for these posts are de-facto fighters from the yet-to-be-demobilized revolutionary brigades. The Ministry of the Interior announced in June 2012 that, from the 88,000-man force of the Qadhafi-era, 32,000 police officers would be taken on. The ministry aims at a preliminary police force of 50,000, which means the recruitment of 18,000 mainly Thuwar officers. Due to the lack of training capacity in Libya, thousands of the new recruits will be trained abroad, including, in 2012-14 alone, several thousand at the Jordanian International Police Training Centre in Amman. In April 2012, the first group of 2,216 future police officers (95 percent Thuwars) left the country to start their training.41 Since 2013, further groups of police are being trained in Turkey, Italy and Great Britain.
Like the military arrangement with the Libya Shield Force, the police sector will, in order to bridge the security vacuum, form and train a police unit from revolutionary brigades that will be subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior. This unit, named Supreme Security Committee (SSC), was founded as an interim organ by the NTC at the Ministry of the Interior42 in September 2011 in order to gain state control over the mainly independent Thuwar brigades. Additionally, the SSC personnel are to provisionally fill the institutional gaps. The SSC should, as a superimposed leading state organ, absorb the brigades and, at the same time, build a pool of armed and paid members to establish security. To make integration into the SSC appealing to the Thuwars, a relatively high monthly wage of 600 LD was set, and was even increased by the government on April 19, 2012, to 1,000 LD a month. The SSC has its central command structure in Tripoli43 and has branches in all the large towns; the largest outside Tripoli is in Benghazi. The black-uniformed SSC teams, estimated at the beginning of January 2013 at 70,000 (25,000 at the beginning of March 2012), are mainly concerned with patrolling and guarding public utilities.44 There are, however, reports that the local SSC were active in areas that were the responsibility of other organizations such as the secret service45 or the criminal-investigation department (responsible for pursuing drug smugglers).
At the beginning of June 2012, 14 parties and civil-society organizations such as the Revolutionary 17 February Coalition, the Supreme Youth Council and the General Police Union (trade union) demanded the disbanding of the SSC and the transfer of its personnel into the regular police force. This was to prevent a double structure and avoid competence arguments. In addition, this was also a move against SSC members who were involved in criminal acts and in some cases had supported Islamic Brigades in attacks on Sufi shrines.
However, up to now there has only been an announcement from the government (the Ministry of the Interior) at the end of 2012 stating the intent to disband the SSC and integrate qualified SSC members into the new police force. The precarious security situation in 2013-14 has prevented such a measure.
The State's Claim to a Monopoly on Force
The highest state representatives — the president of the NTC and the GNC as well as Prime Minister al-Kib and Zaidan — have stated on various occasions since the liberation of Libya on October 23, 2011, that the government wants to reinstate its monopoly on force. As Prime Minister Zaidan said: "The legitimate state may impose its will on others, not the reverse."46 It follows that the brigades have no right to impose their will on others, make arrests or confiscate assets.47
Therefore, the head of government, Zaidan, and the chief of staff, al-Manqush, as well as his successor, al-Ubaidi, threatened the brigades several times with force if they did not demobilize or integrate their members into the army or police by the end of 2013.48 However, this time limit reflected wishful thinking on the part of the government. Prime Minister Zaidan admitted in May 2013 that the Libyan state was "weak."49 It is in fact at present far too weak50 to force the brigades into this de-mobilization; neither the army nor the police are in a position to prevent or quickly stem assaults and conflicts once they have occurred, whether between tribes, revolutionary brigades and Qadhafi loyalists, regular army units and brigades, or brigades that have become enemies.51
Despite the believable will of the government to restore the state's monopoly on force by building up state security forces and demobilizing non-state brigades, it is not possible to establish when this process can be completed. An abundance of factors influence the development of security policy. The restoration of state monopoly on force is affected by inhibiting as well as by conducive factors:
Inhibiting factors are measures or developments that delay or complicate the demobilization of the brigades and negatively affect the build-up of the army and police:
• The good pay (1,000 LD per month) of the members of those brigades who, in connection with the Libya Shield Force or as members of the SSC, are placed under the command of the Ministry of Defense or the Ministry of the Interior. As they have de facto a high degree of autonomy, they have no interest in losing this position as part of the government's demobilization strategy.
• The ability of the brigades to assert their own interests. In particular, the several marches by armed brigade members on the seat of the GNC and central ministries especially in 2013 did not fail to impress. The result was that laws were passed that clearly served the interests of the revolutionary brigades. This is best shown by the passing of the very rigid version of the Political Isolation Law in May 2013 under pressure from the brigades. Even people who were for years in the opposition against Qadhafi, such as GNC President Yusuf al-Muqaryaf,52 and had served the revolution had to give up their positions under this law, as they had been state officials under Qadhafi. In particular, the army is affected by this law; many of their officers who defected to the revolutionaries in 2011 are active in their ranks. Pursuant to Article 1 (13) of the law,53 all officers who had a command function under Qadhafi must leave their posts. A specific military integration commission will oversee the purging of the officer ranks. This step weakens the army and automatically opens up prospective career opportunities for brigade members within the army. This success alone strengthened the revolutionary brigades; they reject the demobilization demanded by the government, as this is equal to a loss of potential pressure.
• The "city-state mentality" that has developed since 2012 in Tripoli, Misurata, Zawiya, Zintan, Benghazi and other cities, which is conducive to weakening pan-national thought and action. Each city-state has an interest in preserving the brigades operating in its area for the protection of its own city interests.
• The reluctance of the state to use coercive measures against the brigades that might spur armed clashes with army units. Announcements made by Prime Minister Zaidan in June/July 2013 that he intended to disband the brigades "by force" are therefore purely rhetorical.
• The government's use of the brigades in the struggle against criminality, state police personnel being insufficient for the task. In February 2013, the Benghazi members of Ansar al-Sharia, which the government actually wants to disband, were assigned the task of taking action against drug dealers. In doing so, the government confirms that the state is unable to comprehensively guarantee public safety.
Conducive factors are measures or developments that encourage the brigades to demobilize or that limit their room to maneuver:
• The support the government receives from the population and from the tribal sheikhs for its demobilization efforts and for its plans to build up the army and the police. The major demonstrations against the brigades in Benghazi (40,000 demonstrators), Tripoli and Darna in the wake of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in September 2012 are only the most visible expressions of this protest movement. It has spread across the country since 2012 and has gained support following the murder, allegedly carried out by Islamists, of the prominent civil-rights activist Abd al-Salam al-Mismari in Benghazi on July 26, 2013.54 The causes of the protests are (1) the violent acts the brigades are accused of, including the destruction of over 100 Sufi shrines, (2) the practice of extra-judicial law (including numerous acts of revenge against former Qadhafi security officers), and (3) involvement in criminal activities. Amnesty International,55 with justification, asked whether "the rule of law or the rule of the brigades" counted in Libya.
• The readiness of the government to promote the preparation of the Thuwars for demobilization with special economic and political training programs. In order to promote independent economic activity for individual brigade members, the so-called Tumuh (Ambition) Program, funded with 500 million LD, was set up at the end of 2012 with the aim of enabling several thousand Thuwars to start their own small businesses. A further scholarship program of over 3.2 billion LD was finalized in April 2013 with the aim of sending up to 30,000 Thuwars to study or be further trained in colleges abroad.56
• The readiness of foreign states from among the Friends of Libya group founded in 2011 to support the government in rebuilding the security forces and the hitherto completely inadequate border security.57 In this context, an international "Ministerial conference on support to Libya in the areas of security, justice and rule of law"58 took place in Paris on February 12, 2013, to coordinate the support measures; a further conference took place in Rome on March 6, 2014.59 The European Union also decided to form a €30 million Integrated Border Management Assistance Mission (EUBAM) in May 2013 "to help Libya to improve its troubled and disorganized border security." The foreign support for the training of Libyan officers and police is, in principle, welcomed by the government, but it has to consider resentment in the population against too much foreign involvement.
• The readiness of the Libyan government to treat the rebuilding of the national army and police as a priority and to make the necessary funds for personnel and equipment available. Prime Minister Zaidan announced on June 27, 2013, that, since the liberation, the government has spent the considerable sum of 6.192 billion LD on rebuilding the army.60 Further funding is promised.
Since 2011, Libya and the other Arab transition states have been in the middle of an extensive reformation of their security structures61 and a new definition of their civil-military relationship.62 However, the prospect of a rapid implementation of stronger state-security organs and the reinstitution of the monopoly on force is, at the moment, not particularly positive.
Despite the progress so far with the build-up of the state security organs, reconstruction is still in its early stages. Considering the lack of lower-ranking officers needed to carry out training, the only option consists in the formation of Libyan officers in foreign military academies, which is politically sensible.63 Military observers with experience in Iraq and Bosnia-Herzegovina64 estimate that the building up of Libyan state-security organs will take at least six years, if not ten.
The fact that, despite various initiatives so far, it has not been possible to significantly reduce the brigades' personnel or implement demobilization is particularly ominous. Karim Mezran from the Rafik Hariri Centre for the Middle East sums it up:
The idea of voluntary disarmament of the militias or a buy-back of their weapons is unrealistic and will not work, given the weak central government. It is important to recognize that for many of the young men who fought against Qadhafi, being a militia member and a revolutionary is a status symbol and, in the absence of professional opportunities, a permanent job.65
Reviving the Libyan economy and thereby making new employment opportunities possible is being delayed due to security deficiencies and the difficulties of exporting oil caused by strikes and protests by the brigades.
1 Including, as the most important, the well-equipped 32nd army brigade, which was commanded by Qadhafi's son, Khamis.
2 These brigades (in Arabic katiba, plural: kataib) are also often referred to as "militias."
3 Revolutionary Leader Qadhafi had conjured up the fear of massacres of the eastern Libyan population by threatening with the "extinction of the (oppositional) rats."
4 For the chronology of military engagements between February and October 2011, see CIRET-AVT, "Libye: Un Avenir Incertain," Centre International de Recherche et d'Etude s sur le Terrorisme, May 2011.
5 Christopher S. Chivvis, Keith Crane, Peter Mandaville, and Jeffrey Martini, "Libya's Post-Qaddafi Transition," Rand Corporation, 2012; and Jason Pack and Barak Barfi, "In War's Wake: The Struggle for Post-Qadhafi Libya," Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Policy Focus 118, 2012.
6 In 2013 the NTC replaced the nomination of the members by an electoral process. The election of the commission took place February 20, 2014. The commission held its first meeting in El Baida in February 16, 2014.
7 Abderrahim al-Kib's interim government was appointed on November 23, 2011; elections for the National Congress took place on July 7, 2012 and the NTC thereby dissolved itself. On August 9, 2012, Yusuf al-Maqaryaf, who had been an oppositional politician for many years, was elected as the first GNC president (and thus, de facto, as the nation's president). On October 14, 2012, Ali Zaidan was elected as the new prime minister (Zaidan and the government were sworn in on November 14, 2012). Since 2012, many personnel changes occured. Actually, as of May 2014, Nuri Abu Sahmain is GNC president and Ahmed Maatiq prime minister.
8 Mohammed El-Katiri, "State Building Challenges in a Post-Revolution Libya," U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, 2012; International Crisis Group (ICG), "Divided We Stand: Libya's Enduring Conflict," Middle East/North Africa Report 130, September 2012; and Christopher S. Chivvis and Jeffrey Martini, "Libya after Qaddafi. Lessons and Implications for the Future," Rand Corporation, 2014.
9 Jason Pack and Barak Barfi, 2012; and Paul Salem and Amanda Kadlec, "Libya's Troubled Transition," Carnegie Middle East Center, June 2012.
10 "Grand Mufti Issues Fatwa Condemning Assasinations of Qaddafi-era Officers," Libya Herald, August 15, 2012.
11 Peter Cole, "Borderline Chaos? Stabilizing Libya's Periphery," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, October 2012.
12 Brian McQuinn, "After the Fall: Libya's Evolving Armed Groups," Small Arm Survey, 2012, 17 et seq.; for the actual situation, see Chivvis 2014 and Jason Pack, Karim Mezran and Mohamed Eljarh, "Libya's Faustian bargains: Breaking the Appeasement Cycle," Atlantic Council, 2014.
13 In eastern Libya, combat ceased as early as March 2011, in western and southern Libya, between August and October 2011.
14 Caliphate as state order; Islamic law, including criminal law; Salafist social order.
15 Attacks against foreign embassies such as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, or the French embassy in Tripoli on April 23, 2013; the kidnapping of the Jordanian ambassador on April 15, 2014, etc.
16 However, some estimates, which seem exaggerated, assume that there were up to 200,000 combatants during spring 2012.
17 McQuinn, 2012, 30.
18 Amnesty International, "Libya: Rule of Law or Rule of Militias," October 2012.
19 McQuinn, 2012, 31.
20 "Brigades Everywhere," Libya Analysis, June 12, 2013; and "A Law unto Themselves: Militias Dominate the Post-Qadhafi Political Scene," al-Majalla, July 16, 2013.
21 As yet, the brigades of the "hero city" Misrata have acted rather independently. Supported by the strength of their local brigades, Misrata became a state within the state.
22 Government control since April 20, 2012.
23 This figure is valid for the beginning of May 2013, according to Vice Minister of the Interior al-Khadrawi.
24 In January 2012, a total of 8,500 prisoners; "Thousands Detained in Libya outside State Control," IRIN, September 24, 2013.
25 On March 13, 2012, most of the capital's militias/brigades convened at the Radisson Blue Hotel in Tripoli and formed the Union of Revolutionary Brigades of Tripoli. One of the union's speakers was Ahmad Hafida. Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushaqur as well as Grand Mufti Sadiq al-Ghariani, who supported the union, took part in the convention. On February 13, 2012, a similar union was formed in Benghazi. The Federation of Revolutionary Fighters in Benghazi was initially led by Colonel Mukhtar Farnana.
26 For details, see "Al-I'lan An Ta sis Al-Majlis," Al-Arab, April 22, 2012.
27 Compare list and details about demands in "Armed Revolutionaries Demand Role in Government," Libya Herald, May 1, 2012.
28 Expressly abductions, forced imprisonment of third parties, robbery, rape, and acts of vengeance.
29 At that point, 1.8 billion LD had already been paid.
30 At the end of 2011, only some 200,000 had initially entered their names in the corresponding lists of the state-run Warriors Affairs Commission (Hai'at shu'un al-muharibin) under the leadership of former militia commander Mustafa Saqizli (founder of the Tajammu' saraya al-thuwar), which was founded by the NTC in the autumn of 2011 for the registration of all combatants/Thuwars.
31 For the text of the law, see http://www.libyaherald.com/2013/05/14/political-isolation-law-the-full-….
32 Since March 2011, under Mahmud Jibril; since November 2011, under Abd al-Rahim al-Kib.
33 "At Least 10 Years Needed to Build Up Libya's Army and Police," Global Insider, May 24, 2013.
34 "Army Chief Criticizes Zeidan for Not Building Libyan Army," Libya Herald, July 14, 2013.
35 This included (1) the definition of the high command's prerogative; (2) the appointment of the supreme command; (3) the reform of the military academy; (4) the building-up of a military police for law enforcement purposes; and (5) the creation of military zones for improving the control over the security situation.
36 The list of criteria to be fulfilled is published on the Ministry of Defense website, www.defense.gov.ly (al-indimam ila al-jaish al-libi al-watani).
37 "An Exclusive Interview with Defence Minister Osama Juwaily," Libya Herald, May 11, 2012; this high proportion of recruitment of ex-Qadhafi officers was one of the reasons for the rigid form of the Political Isolation Law.
38 The first training program "23 October" with 225 participants (all ex-Thuwars) was completed on March 4, 2012, after a reduced duration of four months for training.
39 Bahlul Assid, one of their leading cadres, claimed on January 4, 2012, that, out of the six candidates, the Thuwars would only accept Colonel Salih Zaibag, hitherto commander of the Cyrenaica armed forces, for the office of chief of staff; most of the suggested persons were relatively non-descript and unknown to the public.
40 Frederic Wehrey, "The Struggle for Security in Eastern Libya," Carnegie Endowment for international Peace, September 2012.
41 In 2013, there were serious disturbances involving the Libyans in the training centers in Amman as they claimed that the training was too hard and they did not have enough free time.
42 The Ministry of the Interior will itself be reformed in line with a long-term reform plan set out in spring 2012; after the forming of the government in November 2012, the restructure should have been speeded up, but delays occurred due to the disputed appointment of Ashur Sulaiman Shuwail as minister. He resigned in May 2013 because of the Political Isolation Law and was replaced on May 26, 2013, by Muhammad Khalifa al-Shaikh.
43 The Tripoli SSC is commanded by Hashim Bishr; see October 6, 2012, interview with Bishr over the role and work of the SSC at http://w.w.w.libyaherald.com/2013/06/10/being-hashim-bishr-head-of-trip….
44 During the GNC elections in July 2012, 45,000 men were sent to the 72 constituencies to guard the polling stations.
45 On May 4, 2012, the SSC put several "Anti-Revolutionary Cells" out of action in Tripoli although this was really the task of the secret service.
46 "Security: The State Must Impose Its Will — Zeidan," Libya Herald, March 3, 2013.
47 For example, Ali Zaidan in a televised statement on June 22, 2013.
48 "Militias in Libya Given Ultimatum to Lay Down Arms or Join Army," Tripoli Post, June 12, 2013; and "Libyan Government to End Militia Problem 'by Force,'"Asharq al-Awsat, June 10, 2013.
49 "The State Is Weak and Public Must Be Patient — Zeidan," Libya Herald, May 29, 2013.
50 For a definition, see Robert I. Rotberg, "Failed States, Collapsed States, Weak States: Causes and Indicators," 2003, http://www.brookings.edu/press/books/chapter_1/statefailureandstateweak….
51 Wolfram Lacher, "Fault Lines of the Revolution. Political Actors, Camps and Conflicts in the New Libya," SWP Research Paper 2013/RP 04, 2013.
52 "Degathafication Law Shows No Mercy Even to Gathafi Dissidents," Middle East Online, May 27, 2013.
53 For the text of the Political Isolation Law of May 2013, see http://www.libyaherald.com/2013/05/14/political-isolation-law-the-full-….
54 "Libyan Protestors Call for Armed Militias to Be Disbanded," Reuters, July 7, 2013; and "Les Libyens Veulent Des Mesures Pour Mettre Fin À La Violence," Magharebia, August 2, 2013.
55 Amnesty International, 2012.
56 "Libya Seeks To Rehabilitate Thwar," AllAfrica, May 20, 2013.
57 Cole, October 2012.
58 Compare final communiqé under http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/country-files/libya/events-7697/2013/a….
59 For details, see http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/menasource/dispatch-libya-s-rome-c….
60 For details, see "Over 6.192 bn Libyan Dinars Spent on Army in Two Years," Libyan News Agency/WAL, June 27, 2013.
61 Mark Sedra, "Security Sector Transformation in North Africa and the Middle East," United States Institute of Peace, Special Report, November 2011; and Donald J. Planty, "Security Sector Transformation in the Arab Awakening," United States Institute of Peace, Special Report 317, September 2012.
62 Derek Lutterbeck, "Arab Uprisings, Armed Forces, and Civil-Military Relations," Armed Forces & Society (April 2012).
63 This also applies to external recommendations, which are too strongly inspired by U.S. examples, for the new structure of the Libyan security sector (National Security Council, National Guard). See also, Frederic Wehrey and Peter Cole, "Building Libya's Security Sector," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Policy Outlook, August 2013.
64 Robert Kaplan, "A Libyan Report Card," April 4, 2013.
65 Karim Mezran, "A Holistic Approach to Security in Libya," July 10, 2013, http://www.acus.org/viewpoint/holistic-approach-security-libya.