Washington Denies Training Armed Groups in Tripoli under Agreement with Dbeibeh

The US Embassy describes reports regarding the mission of the company "Amotum" as false and misrepresenting the training in classrooms outside Libya for law enforcement personnel

The US Embassy denied that the company “Amotum” is training armed groups inside Libya on behalf of the United States government, describing the repeated reports on this matter as “false.”

In a statement published through its account on the “X” platform, the embassy said, “These claims are untrue and represent a misrepresentation of the training in classrooms managed by ‘Amotum’ outside Libya for law enforcement personnel.”

This statement comes following media reports in recent days about the presence of the American private security company “Amotum” in the Libyan capital with the aim of providing military training to armed groups for integration into the official forces there. This move has been previously presented to security forces in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, which former Prime Minister of the expired Government of National Unity, Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, had prepared the public opinion for when he spoke about the trend towards integrating armed groups into state institutions, considering it part of the country’s security.

A report published by the French website “Africa Intelligence” last Tuesday revealed the arrival of elements from the American security company “Amotum” in Libya under an agreement with Dbeibeh, to provide training to several armed groups in the capital Tripoli. The report explained that the mission of the joint force would be to confront Russian forces in southern Libya.

The report indicated that “Amotum” personnel would undertake the task of training elements from three specified armed brigades – Brigade 444 led by Mahmoud Hamza, Brigade 111 led by Abdulsalam al-Zubi, and Brigade 166 led by Mohammed al-Hissan.

According to the French website, training efforts are coordinated between “Amotum” and the US State Department, “with the aim of unifying these various armed factions and assigning them to secure borders and disarmament operations. This work is not carried out under the auspices of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM).”

The report also pointed out that “US support for these Libyan armed groups could provide a political lifeline for Dbeibeh, who faces calls from many Libyan politicians to step down and pave the way for a new government. Dbeibeh insists on holding onto his position, affirming that he will not leave it except after the elections.”

Observers of the Libyan situation believe that the recent American move was not surprising but came in the contexts of power struggles with Russia in both the eastern and southern regions. It is expected that in the coming period, it will lead to forming the outlines of a practical division of the country, which has been living in an unstable situation since the overthrow of the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, through direct foreign military intervention involving 40 countries and lasting for six months.

The US Embassy said in its statement that “Amotum” is an implementing partner in the International Counterterrorism Assistance Program of the US State Department, managed by the Diplomatic Security Bureau worldwide.

According to available information on the government website, the “Counterterrorism Assistance” program, affiliated with the US Diplomatic Security Bureau, provides US government training and equipment for counterterrorism to law enforcement agencies in partner countries around the world.

The embassy added that since its establishment in 1983, the program has provided counterterrorism training to over 150,000 law enforcement officials from over 150 countries.

Regarding training areas, US authorities clarify that the program assists countries in building critical counterterrorism skills through training courses, providing consultations and guidance, and providing investigation-related equipment.

The American private security company “Amotum,” active in the security field, was established in 2020 and will succeed the military company “Dyncorp,” which also worked with US authorities and previously provided training to security forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and others.

On March 7, Norland, the Interior Minister in the Government of National Unity, met with Emad Trabelsi, the Minister of the Interior, to discuss the government’s efforts to improve security in the capital and maintain peace and stability in all Libyan regions. The US Embassy’s account on “X” quoted Norland confirming to Trabelsi his country’s support for unifying the Libyan security forces and all efforts to build their capabilities and professionalism, especially along the Libyan borders, in light of regional disturbances.

Trabelsi had announced at the end of February an agreement with armed formations in Tripoli to vacate their sites and return to their camps, and the substitution of security forces belonging to his ministry in their place. His government’s determination to apply the Tripoli model to all Libyan regions was also announced.

He also announced his ministry’s readiness to form a joint force with the General Command in the southern region to secure the borders.

During a speech at a seminar organized by the Ministry of the Interior on managing Libyan borders, Trabelsi considered that “anyone who proposes his name to lead the joint force, whether from the General Command (Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s command) or the Ministry of the Interior” in the Government of National Unity, “

he is acceptable to us, and within three months, we will form a force consisting of a thousand mechanisms and five thousand policemen from the east, south, and west to secure the borders.” He added that securing the southern borders “is a comprehensive security issue, not a political one.”

These reports come as the United States prepares to restore its diplomatic presence in Libya after years of leaving the country. The American “Monitor” website revealed at the end of last March, quoting a senior official in the US State Department, that President Joe Biden‘s administration notified Congress in February of its plan to resume diplomatic presence in Libya, a process that may take from one to two years to allocate a temporary diplomatic facility in the capital, Tripoli.

According to the American website, the Biden administration has requested $57.2 million from the fiscal year 2025 budget to fund a larger diplomatic presence in Libya, covering property, travel, and security costs for the facility located in the suburbs of the capital, Tripoli.

It is noted that the United States is working to maintain the status quo in Libya until it completes its expansion of its diplomatic and security presence in the western region and establishes what can be described as the “Green Zone” in Tripoli. Therefore, it will be the most important supporter of the Dbeibeh authority during the coming period, even if it pretends otherwise, as it finds in him and his political team the best help to implement its project in the country.

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