Cablegate: Libya's National Security Council: Experiencing Growing
DE RUEHTRO #1056/01 3570956
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 230956Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2949
INFO RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0957
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 0384
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0587
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 0536
RUEHVT/AMEMBASSY VALLETTA PRIORITY 0248
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 0358
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0697
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0391
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 3389
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 001056
DEPT FOR NEA/MAG; NSC FOR RAMCHAND
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/23/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL KBIO PINR LY
SUBJECT: LIBYA'S NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: EXPERIENCING GROWING
REF: TRIPOLI 432 CLASSIFIED BY: Chris Stevens, CDA, Embassy Tripoli, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
1.(S/NF) Summary: Libya's newly-constituted National Security Council continues to experience growing pains. A shortage of skilled staff, questions about its mandate, and friction between National Security Adviser Mutassim al-Qadhafi and some senior GOL officials have limited the NSC's organizational effectiveness, although al-Qadhafi remains "ambitious" and continues to work to expand his area of influence. End summary.
2.(S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx of Libya's National Security Council (strictly protect), told P/E Chief that the NSC, formed earlier this year (reftel), was experiencing growing pains. Noting that the NSC's staff had grown in size, cited a continuing shortage of skilled, trained individuals as an impediment to greater organizational effectiveness. The NSC had to date pulled most of its staff from other GOL entities, including the External Security Organization, Internal Security Organization, General People's Committee for Foreign Cooperation and International Liaison (MFA) and Ministry of Justice. xxxxxxxxxxxx noted that training and skill sets among staff drawn from other organizations varied considerably.
3.(S/NF) Other organizations were initially more willing to provide staff, in part because they feared repercussions if they refused requests from a son of Leader Muammar al-Qadhafi; however, the NSC's policy of aggressively identifying and attempting to lure quality staff had begun to engender resentment and a sense that the NSC was pursuing its staffing needs at the expense of other GOL agencies. xxxxxxxxxxxx mentioned that the MFA had successfully resisted an attempt in late November by the NSC to request that a well-regarded MFA employee be detailed to the NSC (NFI).
NATIONAL SECURITY TRAINING ACADEMY IN THE WORKS?
4.(S/NF) Noting a lack of basic professional skills, xxxxxxxxxxxx specifically mentioned a shortage of employees who could take notes in meetings and draft memoranda of conversations. Describing National Security Adviser Mutassim al-Qadhafi as a "dynamic" individual given to holding many meetings, she complained that the dearth of qualified working-level employees meant that more senior staff members were often pressed into service as notetakers. al-Qadhafi, responding to suggestions from his advisers, is moving to establish a National Security Training Academy that would train staff for the NSC and other GOL entities with national security and foreign policy equities. Pointing to the poor quality of Libya's educational system, conceded that the NSC and other GOL entities were "suffering" from the fact that comparatively few Libyans were able to engage in critical thinking and writing of a sort that lent itself to more sophisticated exercises such as drafting analytical reports. (Note: We understand that the UK Embassy in Tripoli has discussed possible training opportunities in the UK for NSC terrorism analysts. End note.)
MUTASSIM'S AMBITION CREATES FRICTION WITH SOME
5.(S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx noted that the NSC as an organization is still trying to define its role within the GOL. It remains "a bit unclear" whether the NSC is to serve as an interagency coordinating mechanism, or as a formulator and implementer of policy in its own right. Responding to a question about whether the principal's personality might have something to do with that, she conceded that Mutassim al-Qadhafi is "ambitious" and said he is still working to "create a space" in which to work cooperatively with other senior GOL officials. xxxxxxxxxxxx implied that doubts among some senior members of the GOL's old guard about whether Mutassim was substantively qualified for his position, TRIPOLI 00001056 002 OF 002 together with his increasingly obvious desire to grow his fiefdom, had created friction with unnamed others in the leadership. Indicating that the MFA and "some security organizations" had been particularly resistant to the NSC's attempts to expand its brief, xxxxxxxxxxxx said the Ministry of Public Security (MinInterior-equivalent) and armed forces had been less recalcitrant.
6.(S/NF) According to xxxxxxxxxxxx, the NSC's membership is as follows: PM al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi (chairman); National Security Adviser Mutassim al-Qadhafi; Foreign Minister Abdulrahman Shalgham; Minister of Public Security (MinInterior-equivalent) Rajib Saleh; Minister of Economy and Trade Essawi; Minister of Finance Muhammad Ali al-Hweij; and Chief of Defense Major General Abubakr Yunis Jafr. It is believed that Jafr encumbers the seat reserved for a "representative of the Temporary General People's Committee" per Law Number Four of 2007, which established the NSC.
7.(S/NF) Comment: xxxxxxxxxxxx suggestion that Mutassim's ambitions have caused friction with others in the leadership accords with the view of some local observers that Mutassim is an increasingly important player in the political firmament. Determining how he is perceived as a potential successor to his father, particularly by key members of his father's cohort of contemporaries, remains something of an open question, however. There are reports that putative heir apparent Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi is out of favor with some segments of the leadership, due to his public participation in the messy denouement of the Bulgarian nurses' case, and his championing of economic reforms. End comment.
STEVENS 0 12/23/2007 .