A new narrative emerges among Libya’s northwest militias
Jalel Harchaoui has written an article for the Syndication Bureau suggesting a new narrative has emerged in northwest Libya to facilitate the emergence of so-called “anti-crime” militias. The author argues these armed groups identified the public’s fatigue of conflict and pounced upon an opportunity to gain legitimacy and power through cynical opportunism more than a real desire to combat crime. Harchaoui suggests:
Tripoli’s so-called “anti-crime” militias form a powerful condominium when they coordinate against a common enemy, as was illustrated last year when they expelled several key Islamist and Misrati hard-line figures from the capital. Today, the anti-crime stance continues to be attractive to pragmatists, since it enables those previously associated with Islamists to distance themselves from the latter without having to pledge allegiance to Marshal Haftar, a polarizing strongman still unsure of his nationwide popularity.
The latest leader to jump on the bandwagon is Usama Al-Juwaili, the head of Zintan’s military council. The 57-year-old commander, who is aligned with the GNA and based 160 kilometers southwest of Tripoli, carried out the advance on Warshefana and the attempt to take control of a key border crossing with Tunisia. In both cases, Al-Juwaili emphasized the necessity to combat crime in those areas. As his men approached Tripoli in November, Haythem Al-Tajuri, an anti-crime figure at the helm of one of Tripoli’s most powerful groups, accommodated from his end.
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