U.S. Plan for GPF Faces Obstacles
An accessible overview from the Washington Post about why training in the security sector in Libya is not going to be a magic bullet for Libya’s woes. The article points out how different international actors are not coordinating on training and are hence driving more unhealthy competition. In fact, as I’ve been saying for years already the majority of training must be in the civilian sectors like water, health, administration, finance, etc. As for military training it can only work if done multilaterally not bilaterally. Read the whole article here.
U.S. officials say the hope is that the General Purpose Force — a trained Libyan military organization — will start to fill the country’s festering security vacuum, initially by protecting vital government installations and the individuals struggling to make this country run. The Obama administration hopes the force eventually will form the core of a new national army.
The United States and its partners, who say they are training to “NATO standards,” are not the only ones moving to fill the security vacuum. A wealth of outside actors are rushing to bolster favored militias or to capitalize on the oil-rich country’s prevailing anarchy. Turkey is conducting military training for up to 3,000 Libyan recruits, and wealthy Persian Gulf states — as well as private companies and black-market arms dealers — are supplying favored groups. Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia also have expressed willingness to play a role in training Libya’s security forces, U.S. officials said. “We have certainly seen multiple agendas playing out in the course of multiple external partners,’’ said the U.S. defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the touchy situation and U.S. goals. For now, Libya’s government and legislature are weak and divided along a deepening fault line. On one side is a liberal-leaning coalition known as the National Forces Alliance, supported by heavily armed militias from the western mountain town of Zintan. On the other side are Islamist groups that include the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist militias.
Even as the United States is shipping Humvees to the government, a Qatari businessman, who insisted that his name not be used, said he recently completed a $14.8 million deal that would supply 100 armored Toyota Land Cruisers to Islamist militias under the umbrella of Libya’s Interior Ministry. Islamist militia leaders accuse the United Arab Emirates, Qatar’s gulf rival, of trying to counter Qatar’s influence by funneling money and training to more secular groups, particularly the Qaqaa brigade, a militia from Zintan that backs the National Forces Alliance.