9 May – 15 May: PC expand powers of Rada while fighting continues in southern Libya

May 15, 2018 | Libyan actors

On 11 May, the Presidential Council (PC) in Tripoli announced a decree that would significantly expand the powers of the Special Deterrent Forces (Rada), one of Tripoli’s most powerful Government of National Accord (GNA)-aligned militias. Under the decree, Rada will be dissolved and have all its members, weapons and resources reintegrated into a new security organization, named the ‘Deterrence Apparatus for Combating Organized Crime and Terrorism’ (DACOT). The new organization will have its own independent budget, will report to GNA’s Minister of Interior (MoI), and will have a wide-ranging mandate including the power to monitor the online activities of individuals whom it deems ‘suspicious’.

Last week, the GNA’s MoI established a new force, primarily composed of groups from Misrata and Tajoura, called the ‘Special Operations Force’ (SOF), which will be responsible for securing the coastal highway from Eastern Tripoli to Khoms. In addition, the GNA changed the name of the Anti-IS Operation Room (AIOS), the main military force currently in Sabratha, to ‘The Security Operations Room of Sabratha’, and reorganised its structure.

On 11 May, the National Oil Corporations (NOC) announced that the Libyan Air Force had conducted strikes on fuel smugglers sites on the Libyan Tunisian border. This is a part of the NOC’s anti-fuel smuggling initiative launched on April 23.

On 12 May, Tebu fighters managed to advance and take control of vital locations in south Sebha from their rivals the Awlad Suliman, including the 6th Liwa (Division) Barracks, known as the Faris camp, and the symbolic Sebha castle, forcing tribal fighters to withdraw into their own areas of the city.

On 13 May, the Southern Tribal Elders Council snubbed a request from Government of National Accord (GNA) Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj for a meeting in Tripoli, demanding that the GNA ministers come to Sebha physically, offering Sharara oil field as a possible meeting location. On 14 May, the same council organised a dialogue with the Tebu, who said they would not advance further into the city or take control of more locations.