The Guardian reports: Forces opposed to the UN-backed Libyan government in Tripoli appear to be making a clean sweep through the country’s “oil crescent”, seizing control of oil terminal headquarters and gaining a stranglehold over the export of Libya’s economic lifeblood.
The capture of the oil terminals through the weekend and Monday changes the balance of political forces inside Libya and makes the survival of the UN-backed, Tripoli-based government of national accord (GNA) less likely.
The oil ports were seized by forces under the control of General Khalifa Haftar, who opposes the GNA and supports the rival government in the east of the country. The victory for Haftar is likely to increase his prestige and his negotiating power in the event of Libya being carved up.
The clashes also mean that the possibility of an economic revival driven by oil production and export is further away than ever. Six western nations had issued a joint appeal in August urging that oil facilities be freed from the civil war.
The Libyan national oil corporation, one of the few technocratic bodies left in Libya, had produced a clear plan to revive oil production and exports this year.
Oil production, pipelines and terminals have been at the centre of the civil war since the collapse of the government of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Oil production has collapsed from a potential of more than 1.5 million barrels a day to just 200,000. [Continue reading…]