Daesh presence in South Libya

adminDecember 16, 20194min

Based on the accounts of a retired military expert, Daesh has managed over the past few days to reinforce its presence in the isolated areas of the Libyan desert. Their resurfacing has spiked fears that acts of vengeance will be registered against isolated locals, as retaliation to the US bombings that have caused the death of several jihadist leaders. The retiree has pointed out that this will trigger in turn new US attacks on Libyan soil. But additional raids will not suffice for the suppression of terrorist activities in Libya, since the country has turned into Daesh’s safe haven; the troops are regrouping in the mountainous regions, taking advantage of the political instability and of the security void generated by the political atomization and by the lack of effective conflict resolution proposals.

As the expert has shown, Daesh’s regrouping in the desert areas has been facilitated by the withdrawal of the LNA troops, since political developments have reprioritized the need for their presence in the capital. Although the GNA has supported AFRICOM’s bombings of the terrorist facilities in the region, little can be achieved in the absence of internal cohesion. The security services and the armed forces need to adopt an integrated approach in order to secure the borders and other key areas, such as the oil fields. The current internal divisions however deem such endeavor unattainable. Under these circumstances, foreign intervention is necessary in order to reinstate stability and to prevent the spillover of terrorism in the neighboring countries – Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt being particularly threatened by this prospect.

In what Daesh’s leadership is concerned, the military expert has pointed out that numerous key actors have already managed to penetrate Libya, especially those who benefit from Libyan and Tunisian citizenship – although, admittedly, such claims are based on the veteran’s professional expertise and not confirmed by any factual data. He has named Jalaludin Al Tunissi as an example, who has previously operated in Iraq and who allegedly is the current leader of Daesh in Libya, as instated by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi himself before his death. The Libyan Aby Muaez and the Tunisian Abu Mussa al Tunissi are other examples provided in this sense by the interviewee. However, they are thought to have left Libya in the meantime due to some differences with other jihadist leaders over the split of looted money and goods. Lastly, the expert has named Abu Abdulrahman Al Tunissi and Abdulhadi Zarqun as low-level Daesh leaders whose presence has been confirmed on Libyan soil, although little is known about their activity.

(From A.L., our correspondent in Tunisia)

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