Exclusive interview with Abdeslam Almassoudi, Public Affairs Director at Libya’s Stability Support Apparatus

Abdeslam Almassoudi, Public Affairs Director at Libya’s Stability Support Apparatus

Libya is a destination and transit country for migrants due to its expected job opportunities and geographical location. The number of irregular migrants in Libya reached 700,000 at the end of last year.

In recent years, Libya has become one of the important points of transition to Europe for irregular African migrants fleeing poverty and conflict.

NGOs and human rights activists, frequently point out that most of the suffering and deaths along the central Mediterranean route are preventable.

With the myriad challenges facing the Libyan national security, a successful recovery and evolution will require, in order to provide public safety to its citizens and ensure national security.

We passed along those questions to Abdeslam Almassoudi, Public Affairs Director at Libya’s Stability Support Apparatus, offered answers.

Q Kindly brief us about the Stability Support Apparatus, its specialisation, and the services that your establishment offers.

A The Stability Support Apparatus is a comprehensive security apparatus, which was established in 2021 at the direction of the Presidential Council, and is directly subordinate to it. The apparatus has powers over the entire Libyan territory.

Among the most prominent works of the apparatus are state, official and popular activities, combating the phenomenon of illegal immigration in the western region, controlling outlaws, and resolving clashes.

Q Some believe that the Stability Support Apparatus is a group of security leaders, individuals and mechanisms. Tell us about the administrative and organisational aspect of the facility.

A The Stability Support Apparatus operates according to an approved organisational structure, by which the competencies and tasks assigned to it are specified, which allows the facility to be able to perform its work professionally in accordance with administrative and legal controls within the laws and legislation in force. In addition to the departments and offices, it has five branches: Tripoli, Al Sharkia, Western, Central and Southern Libya.

Q Given the presence of several departments affiliated to the apparatus with different specialisations, is the Stability Support Apparatus considered a hybrid security apparatus or a comprehensive security apparatus?

A The Stability Support Apparatus cannot be described as a hybrid apparatus, because it relies on cadres with competence, each in its own field of work. However, due to the diversity of the tasks and responsibilities assigned to it, it is considered a comprehensive security apparatus, whose work, through its various departments, covers most of the security requirements of the state and citizens.

Q How do you deal with the issue of overlapping powers with other security services, whether in terms of tasks or in terms of geographical distribution?

A Due to the wide spectrum of tasks carried out by the stability support apparatus, which is at the core of its competence, the apparatus coordinates and cooperates with many active security agencies as needed, whether in terms of the coordination of information or from an operational aspect.

Q Some security agencies in Libya receive financial support from external forces. How does the apparatus deal with this difficulty?

A On the basis of the work of the national apparatus and its absolute loyalty to God and then loyalty and devotion to their homeland, the stability support apparatus refrains from receiving any external support under any name, in the interest of the national security of Libya. We appeal here to all security services/agencies to follow us, and for them to disengage from any foreign party that supports them under any pretext.

Q What is the danger to Libyan national security of illegal immigration, and how is this phenomenon to be dealt with, especially in light of the inaction of government institutions and international organisations?

A One of the most concerning and complex issues that the apparatus deals with is illegal immigration, as it is an area where internal and external parties overlap, and institutions and states stand behind it, not just individuals. That is why the apparatus pays great attention to this domain and harnesses all its capabilities, despite the lack of cooperation by international organisations and interested countries.

What is feared is the demographic change that threatens Libyan social structure and demographics, and consequently, the direct threat to Libyan national security.

Q How do you deal with criticism leveled against you regarding human rights issues?

A We are a government security establishment that operates professionally in accordance with Libyan laws, and this is what has crystallised our permanent and continuous cooperation with the judicial system, such as the Attorney General’s Office and other judicial bodies.

We are very keen to adhere to the principles of human rights and we work to apply them in all our work, and to implement a strict system to control and hold accountable any violations that may be carried out by any of the employees of the establishment. Our approach has been praised by Libya’s Ministry of Justice on more than one occasion.

We do not pay attention to divergent voices that try to obstruct our progress in achieving security and stability, especially if these voices have political or ideological motives.

Q How do you deal with the issue of exercising your powers in some regions of Libya, especially the eastern part, in light of the failure to develop a unified security and military map?

A Despite the division that has affected the security and military institutions, the stabilisation support apparatus provides its security services in all parts of Libya, especially since the facility is directly subordinate to the Presidential Council, and did not enter as a party to the conflict.

Q Are there current or future training programs for members of the facility in the field of human rights and international law?

A The apparatus intends to launch training courses for its affiliates, in several fields, including the field of human rights and international law. The unit also intends to hold a number of seminars, whether in the field of human rights or in the field of illegal immigration, due to the great importance of these issues at both local and international levels.

Q To conclude the interview, I would like to ask you about the apparatus’ future vision, especially as Libya seeks to move slowly towards a stage of political and security stability?

A The Stability Support Apparatus is the most prominent example of a comprehensive security apparatus based on competencies and people with different specialisations, and on scientific bases. We see it as a successful model that forms a solid nucleus for the security sector in Libya.

With its unique composition and wide range of powers and tasks, the apparatus constitutes the most important security institution that can be relied upon, in the short and long term, as one of the pillars of Libyan national security. Thank you!

The views expressed in Op-Ed pieces are those of the author and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Libyan Express.
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