Libya to Militias: Pledge Loyalty or Disband

Military Vows to Enforce Decision

by Jason Ditz, September 23, 2012

Libyan President Mohammed el-Megaref is using the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi earlier this month as an excuse to crack down on independent militias in the nation today, announcing that he plans to disband every single militia in the country that doesn’t swear fealty to the government.

Two of the militias have already announced that they are disbanding, including the Ansar al-Sharia Benghazi (ASB), whose headquarters was burned by pro-regime protesters on Friday.

The Benghazi military leadership vowed to use all force necessary to disband the militias in their city, while a leadership in Tripoli gave militias there 48 hours to fold before facing a crackdown of their own.

The announcement reflects a long-standing goal of the post-Gaddhafi government to force militias under their thumb, but given the number of times the Libyan military has tried to intervene in random clashes between two unaffiliated militias and gotten absolutely trounced, their ability to impose this decision on those militias remains very much in doubt.

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