ISIS suicide attack on the Tripoli-based Headquarters of the High National Election Commission (HNEC) demonstrated the vulnerability of government institutions as effectiveness of the security services has been widely doubted.
Following the recent attack on May 5, the head of Government of National Accord Fayez Sarraj issued an order to reorganize ‘the Special Deterrence Force’ (SDF), the main service ensuring security in the Tripoli government-controlled territories.
It’s to become a base for a new service with greater authorities and greater challenges called ‘the Deterrence Apparatus for Combating Organized Crime and Terrorism’.
But the Libyan SDF’s weakness is not caused by only limited authorities, said the Foreign Minister Mohammed Siyala at the conference on countering terrorism and violent extremism held on May 3-4 in Tajikistan.
According to the politician, the GNA security forces have no necessary weapons to fight terrorism. Siyala demanded the international community to exceptionally lift arms sanctions against Libya.
Fighting against terrorism is a key issue demanding much more efforts of the Libyan government. The presidential or parliamentary elections scheduled on 2018 depend on ensuring the security for civilians as one of the basic items of Ghassan Salame’s road map.
At the same time the terrorist threat in Libya increases. According to Al-Sharq al-Awsat news agency, which refers to the Western intelligence service’ report, a number of ISIS terrorists operating in the country had risen from 150 to 800.
The document prepared by the group of Libyan and Western experts says a large number of Daesh terrorists came to the country running for their lives from Syria and Iraq.
Islamic State terrorist cells operate in the cities of Sabratha, Tripoli, Khoms, Misurata in the north-west of the country, and in Fezzan province.
“They are welcomed by the local radicals, provided with shelter and safe passages,” the document says.
Despite the ambitious goals to counter terrorism and even ensuring cybersecurity, voiced by the Libyan authorities, the GNA’s security forces face urgent need for getting modern weapons and equipment to fight terrorism.
Renaming and reorganization of the SDF looks like a desperate attempt to defeat terrorism in Libya just on paper.
However, the newly formed service is unlikely to be more effective than its predecessor body, especially given the fact that the arms embargo is still in effect, and it’s still too hard for Libyan politicians to convince the Western countries on this issue.