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Libya: Shifting sands in the militia and insurgency movements

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The North Africa Journal –  June 12, 2017: Tracking and understanding the various militias and insurgent groups involved in the Libya conflict is no trivial exercise. This is because the situation shifts quickly in reaction to the many events that force continuous changes on the ground. Take for example the so-called Rada Special Forces (RSF). They became more visible to many after they captured Hachem Abedi, the brother of the man who murdered 22 people and injured 59 others in a terror attack in Manchester, UK on May 22. Rada, which is loyal to the government of Fayez al-Sarraj, and is led by Abdel Raouf Kara, has been behind the dismantling of the Islamic State presence in the Tripolitanian region of Libya (west). The group comprises of 1,500 men, who essentially control the only airport in Tripoli, as well as the one in Matiga. But like many militias, it is highly religious and conservative, defining itself as Salafist. Yet the name was not on too many people’s minds, highlighting the complexity of the Libyan crisis.

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The North Africa Journal is a leading English-language publication focused on North Africa. The Journal covers primarily the Maghreb region and expands its general coverage to the Sahel, Egypt, and beyond, when events in those regions affect the broader North Africa geography. The Journal does not have any affiliation with any institution and has been independent since its founding in 1996. Our position is to always bring our best analysis of events affecting the region, and remain as neutral as humanly possible. Our coverage is not limited to one single topic, but ranges from economic and political affairs, to security, defense, social and environmental issues. We rely on our full staff analysts and editors to bring you best-in-class analysis. We also work with sister company MEA Risk LLC, to leverage the presence on the ground of a solid network of contributors and experts. Information on MEA Risk can be found at