Rising insecurity in Eastern Libya due to weakening of Eastern institutions
Armed violence against civilians and rivals is rapidly rising in the eastern region. The security environment in Benghazi particularly is gradually worsening as lawlessness expands and local authorities are increasingly unable to enforce law and order or control legitimate force instruments. The incident and temporary closure of Tubruq port also demonstrates that this lawlessness is starting to impact other cities in the region. The Libyan National Army (LNA) and parallel government is trying to take decisive measures to address this issue. On 16 December, the Minister of Interior in the parallel government, Ibrahim Bushnaf, led a large shakeup of security architecture in the eastern region, replacing the local Security Directorate chiefs in Benghazi, Ajdabiya, al-Marj, Sulug Geminis and Awjla al-Jkherra. Bushnaf also replaced the heads of the Border Security Directorate, Interpol Coordination office and the General Administrator of the Ministry. The increasing insecurity in the East is being driven in part by a perception that the nexus of authority and credibility created over the last few years between LNA head Khalifa Haftar, the House of Representatives (HoR) and the parallel Eastern government, is weakening. The political bodies are losing legitimacy and international clout, while Haftar’s domestic legitimacy seems to be diminishing as his international influence increases. The LNA seems increasingly unable to control the behaviour of its own fighters, as exemplified by the video* threatening Misrata.
*The video is visible on Twitter, posted around 15 December.