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Oil politics driving Libya closer to failure

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New tensions between Libya’s UN.backed government and the powerful NOC (Libyan National Oil Corporation), threatening recent economical recovery of oil sector. On Monday, NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla announced that the country has built its oil production up to 760,000 barrels per day and planned to go ahead with plans to expand production to 1.1 million bpd by August of this year. However, Sanalla, has openly criticised GNA policy toward global economy and Oil production on the country. He underlined that Oil will be the “lifeblood of any successful futur government in Libya”, and recalled that during Khadaffi’s time, 90% of Tripoli’s revenues was found on oil production. NOC had been closer of LNA (Libyan National Army) and general Haftar since few weeks, due to his capacity to maintain a unity in oil production.

Kobler in political discussions in Tripoli

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On Thursday, Martin Kobler, UN special envoy for Libyan crisis, was in Tripoli, for a political meeting with Serraij (Presidency Council-PC) and State Council President Abdulrahman Sewehli. Kobler has also met some deputies of HoR (House of Representatives) who are now in Tripoli. Kobler told that organization of a meeting between HoR and State Council is the main priority. He told at the end of meetings “Libya will rise again”.

Libya: with Serraj or Haftar?

Middle East - Africa di

Several influences composed the current Libyan context. The war against Daesh and the possible international military operation on the ground, under Italy leadership as attested by the US Secretary of State John Kerry and the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, are two geopolitical variables that could intersect in the near future.

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“We have no links with Mr Serraj and the Presidential Council which he leads is not recognised by the parliament (in the east),” Haftar told i-Tele news channel in an interview in Libya. “Daesh does not have the capacity to face the Libyan armed forces, but the battle could take time. ” It’s what Geneal Khalifa Haftar said in an interview on May 20 and confirmed in following ones. So, Serraj’s visit in Egypt, the main Haftar’s sponsor, on May 26 could be determining to a possible coalition between GNA and Tobruk, which are fighting ISIS nearby Sirte.

So, the Libyan context is not going anywhere. Tobruk parliament has not already voted for GNA. On the other hand, on May 17 asked International Community for help Libya by engaging with the legitimate institutions in accordance with the political agreement. While, on May 8, he said that “”It doesn’t make sense that the international community supports our war against terrorism, and forbids us from arming ourselves.”

“We are ready to respond to the Libyan government’s requests for training and equipping the presidential guard and vetted forces from throughout Libya. The government of national accord has voiced its intention to submit appropriate arms embargo exemption requests to the UN Libya sanctions committee to procure necessary lethal arms and materiel to counter UN-designated terrorist groups and to combat Daesh throughout the country. We will fully support these efforts while continuing to reinforce the UN arms embargo,” UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

Just as Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who supposed a military support only after “we will try to reinforce the political accord, to fight against ISIS, including General Haftar, but the full recognition is needed”. While, during the meeting in Rome with GNA Foreign Minister Mohamed Siala, discussed about migration control and “the possibility of reactivating the tools set out in the 2008 friendship pact as soon as possible,” Italian government said in a statement.
Military context
GNA and Misrata militias from the South and the West; Haftar’s troops from the East. The siege of Sirte, ISIS stronghold in Libya, is underway. A military context which is causing two consequences. The first one, Western countries special forces, already on the ground since at least two months, are supervising by both and monitoring Libyan progress and Haftar’s reliability if GNA will fail. The second one, the first ISIS internal divisions caused as reported by Libyan online magazine al Wasat.

So, the next few weeks will be crucial for Libyan destiny. The pressure of United States, United Kingdom and France on Italy for an immediate military operation on the ground will particularly depend from result of war of GNA and Tobruk troops against Islamic State: therefore, General Khalifa Haftar is not still out of running.
Giacomo Pratali

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Giacomo Pratali
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