Tripoli: From Militias to Powerful Organized Criminal Networks
On 2 July, the Security Assesment of North Africa (SANA) Project associated with the Small Arms Survey Association issued a report untitled ‘Capital of Militias: Tripoli’s Armed Groups Capture the Libyan State’ focusing on the role played by militias in Tripoli since the beginning of the Libyan crisis in 2011. The two authors, Wolfram Lacher and Alaa al-Idrissi, demonstrate that over the past seven years, four large militias, namely the Special Deterrence Force (SDF), the Tripoli Revolutionnaries Battalion (TRB), the Nawasi Battalion and the Abu Slim unit of the Central Security Aparatus, have gradually divided Tripoli between themselves. Lacher and al-Idrissi argue that these four militias have transformed into organised criminal networks and exert an unprecedented degree of influence over state institutions and resources. The report depicts how the progressive capture of Tripoli by such powerful armed groups pose a significant threat to the political progress in Libya. Lacher and al-Idrissi provide readers with a high-quality research, depicting with clarity and precision the evolution of militias in Tripoli and the tensions resulting from their growing influence.