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Al Haras Assauri
Revolutionary Guard

The Revolutionary Guard (Al Haras Assauri) is a new command created to control the Revolutionary Committees whose numerous misdeeds have been widely criticized by the Libyan people. The revolutionary committees introduced into workplaces and communities were not at first extended to the military. When they were later imposed, there were complaints that they were controlled by officers with insufficient revolutionary zeal.

After the early 1980s, a paramilitary wing of the Revolutionary Committees, the Revolutionary Guards, became entrenched within the armed forces. They served as a parallel channel of control, a means of ideological indoctrination in the barracks, and an apparatus for monitoring suspicious behavior. The Revolutionary Guards reportedly held the keys to ammunition stockpiles at the main military bases, doling it out in small quantities as needed by the regular forces.

The influence of the Revolutionary Guards increased after a coup attempt in May 1985. The Guards, assisted by the Revolutionary Committees, set up roadblocks and arrested thousands of individuals suspected of being implicated. In the late 1980s, the Revolutionary Guards were believed to be no more that 1,000 to 2,000 strong, but they were outfitted with light tanks, armored cars and personnel carriers, multiple rocket launchers, and SA-8 antiaircraft missiles. Most had been recruited from Qadhafi's own tribal group in the Surt region.

Recent years saw the Army undermined by the embargo, which deprived it of new weapons, and even more by the rise to power of the 40,000-strong Revolutionary Guard.

The Republican Guard is responsible for the security of Colonel Kadhafi and his family. Like King Idris's praetorian Cyrenaican Defense Force, Qadhafi's Republican Guard recruits almost exclusively from tribes whose loyalty he cultivates through economic largess. The Guard works as a shock troop to confront threats from any quarter-especially the regular armed forces-and works double duty as a bodyguard.

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Page last modified: 28-07-2011 00:53:51 ZULU