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In Libya, Militias Rule

The collapse of Libya’s intelligence and security sectors requires urgent reform.
Men grieve over a grave at the funerals for those killed in Saturday's clashes at the Libya Shield brigade headquarters, in Benghazi June 9, 2013. Libya's army will take control of a militia's bases in the eastern city of Benghazi after clashes in which 31 people were killed, an army spokesman said on Sunday. Fighting broke out on Saturday at the headquarters of the Libya Shield brigade when protesters demanded the disbanding of the militias, whose continued existence nearly two years after the fall of Muam
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Piles of rubble and mangled metal litter the corners of two leafy upscale neighborhoods in Tripoli. A car bomb in April destroyed half of the diplomatic offices of the French Embassy, damaging vital infrastructure in a 200-meter [656 feet] radius. The June 11 car bomb at the Italian Embassy has created an atmosphere of diplomatic tension, with many wondering when it will end. On June 9, 31 protesters died outside a military base in Benghazi during a protest. In the last few days, indiscriminate attacks against the Ministry of Defense's special forces and burning of official security offices have killed more in the east of the country. Most worrisome, commander and de facto chief of the armed forces Salim Kenidi spoke to the media, asking the attackers, “Who are you? What do you want? Let us sit and negotiate.”

Vital security questions are being asked of [Prime Minister] Ali Zeidan’s government, which threatened Libya’s long-term diplomatic prospects. How have armed groups across the country been able to assemble lethal explosive devices, transport and execute attacks against sensitive targets? Moreover, how does the most densely armed territory on earth, with one of the most porous borders in the world, lack a functioning intelligence service?

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