Dabaiba creates new militia structure under his direct control as PC and others push back

Jun 6, 2023 | Libyan actors

On 6 June, Government of National Unity (GNU) Prime Minister Abdul Hameed Dabaiba ordered by decree the establishment of a new militia force called the ‘National Agency for Supporting Forces’. The HQ of the Agency, which will report directly to the Council of Ministers, will be in Tripoli. The forces will consist of ‘February 17th revolutionaries formations’ and will be led by Ahmed Ali Khalil Issa. He was appointed by the PM and hails from Misrata. The Agency will enjoy independent legal personality and financial responsibility. It will be financed by amounts allocated from the state’s budget and by any other resources the Agency is legally authorized to obtain. Branches of the Agency shall be established in all major cities throughout the country.

Several militias from Misrata rejected Dabaiba’s decree saying that they would not allow the political stalemate to be prolonged under flimsy pretexts. According to them, this initiative aims to expand the current prevailing corruption represented by the Dabaiba government. The militias warned any ‘official’ against trying to gain political advantage in their name.

Meanwhile, Presidential Council (PC) Chair Muhammed al-Menfi reportedly invalidated Dabaiba’s decree in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief. He said that the PM is not allowed to make such decisions – only the Commander-in-Chief can establish new forces.

Essam al-Jahani, a House of Representatives (HoR) member from Benghazi, strongly criticised Dabaiba’s decree, calling it legally invalid and claiming it only aims to protect his government from collapsing. The decree was also criticised by former Minister of Defence (2012-13 under Ali Zeidan) Muhammad Mahmoud al-Barghathi, who claimed this would further strengthen the position of certain militias and complicate a future Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) process. Overall, he said, the move undermines the efforts of the 5+5 Joint Military Committee.