Libya’s Petroleum Company Envoys Column of Fuel Trucks to Handle Oil Shortage in Southern Libya

Brega Petroleum Marketing company (BPM), the state importing and wholesale fuel distribution institution of the National Oil Corporation (NOC), launched a convoy of fuel trucks to the south of Libya in order to alleviate people’s suffering caused by oil shortage in the region.

According to the BPM’s statement, the overall amount of gasoline sent to the region totals approximately 1,205 million liters, in addition to 174 thousand liters of diesel oil.

“Fuel trucks were sent under surveillance of the BPM and NOC,” read a statement, calling on the local residents in the south to inform of any suspicious activity observed during a convoy movement by reaching out to BPM’s official page on Facebook.

The southern region of the oil-rich country suffers from the lack of oil, gas and other vital necessities as electricity and water supplies that deteriorated living conditions of the locals to worst extent since the breakout of political crisis in Libya in 2011. The situation was also exacerbated by the negative impact triggered by criminal gangs, foreign militants and smugglers widely operating in the area.

Recently, the head of the state-owned NOC Mustafa Sanalla lifted the state of force majeur from the largest oil field in the south El-Sharara that was shut down in early December in 2018 and led to 1,8 billion dollars losses in oil revenues. Lifting the force majeur was preceded by a successful military operation launched by Khalifa Haftar-led LNA. Reports say that the armed forces established control over the entire south region, forcing a large number of foreign militants flee the country through the southern border to Chad.

 

Italy to Stand for Its Gains in Libya as France Is Plotting Revenge

Last week Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini once again lashed out at France and personally the French President Emanuel Macron, saying that Paris was not looking to bring calm to violence-ravaged Libya because of its energy interests which area at odds with Italy’s own.

Well known for his intransigent position of stigmatizing France, Salvini added yet another strong statement to the long list of accusations that have become more and more frequent over the past few months. However, this one was special as it provoked a verbal attack of Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio who blamed Paris for creating poverty in Africa and thus instigating migration to Europe. Criticism toward the French policy in Africa, where Paris holds a traditionally significant presence, caused an extremely swift reaction and forces French president and his Foreign Minister to summon Italy’s ambassador for clarifications.

As a war of words between two parties seems to keep going on with the focus on Africa and Libya in particular, there are growing doubts about what these two European powers are planning to do in the North-African country given a long standing context of continued failure to turn initiatives, hopes and aspirations concerning the future of Libya into reality.

Palermo conference which was designed to pull the rug out under France allowed Italy to reclaim primacy and took the lead in the Libyan issue after years of dominance marked by Macron’s Paris agreements. Although the conference was as controversial as its outcomes were vague and unclear, it has brought the two crucial points on the way of resolving the Libyan political crisis. It proved the need to convene the so-called National Conference in order to complete national reconciliation and pushed the date of presidential elections by either spring or summer with no respect for precision.

But, as it usually happens to most plans proposed by European States seeking to advance their own interests rather than to establish a solid peace in Libya, the implementation of any of stated objectives hasn’t been started yet and is unlikely to be started in the recent future. And the longer these goals remain unresolved, the less chances Italy has to continue orchestrating the Libyan deal, preventing other external actors, particularly France, of (re-)interfering in the game.

Beside of fear of losing control over Libya that took tremendous diplomatic effort to establish in the first place, Rome seems to observe with concern the latest developments “on the ground”. Sporadic deadly clashes in Tripoli and Haftar-led LNA’s anti-terrorism operation in the South have significantly altered the security landscape in whole Libya, further complicating the situation. The increase in violence in Tripoli and decisive stepping up of the Libyan armed forces deeper into Fezzan raise doubts whether Libya can pursue the peace process according to the outcomes of Palermo conference.

The Libyan Parliament – House of Representatives which enjoys the backing of LNA already voiced discontent with the reluctance of UNSMIL’s Ghassan Salame with respect to general elections and pushed for intensifying efforts to hold them as soon as possible. In turn, Ghassan Salame said afterwards that “he wishes elections more than Libyans themselves”, but the lack of constitutional basis endorsed by all Libyans through referendum creates problems that postpone them.

In addition, there are also no time limits for convening the Libyan National Conference that constitutes the main outcome of Palermo conference and an integral part of UN sponsored plan aimed to gather the Libyans despite their multi- ethnic and social grounds and give an opportunity to find out concrete ways out of political division. In light of recent developments, especially given security challenges, the precondition for successive and comprehensive National Conference are not present in Libya at the moment.

Thus, recent setbacks in achieving meaningful progress in the Libyan issue cast a shadow over Rome’s leading role and will probably push France to jump to action and to become more involved in Libya with a view of recovering its leadership in the North-African country. Taking into account that French president’s position is weakened by ‘yellow vests’ protests, Elysee needs a diplomatic victory in the international arena more than ever, and rivalry between Paris and Rome will persist and may even escalate in the coming future.

Libya’s Tripoli See Another Spiral Of Violence Amid Refusal Of Militias to Lay Down Their Arms

On Tuesday, armed clashes between rival armed groups have resumed in the area of Airport road south of Tripoli, disrupting a ceasefire agreement reached in early September. Continue reading “Libya’s Tripoli See Another Spiral Of Violence Amid Refusal Of Militias to Lay Down Their Arms”

As France-Italy Scramble Goes On, Bad Relations With Haftar Threaten To Blow Up Italy’s Conference On Libya

Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini added fuel to a growing rivalry between France and Italy over Libya and lashed out again at French President Emmanuel Macron who has earlier called himself as Salvini’s sworn enemy. Continue reading “As France-Italy Scramble Goes On, Bad Relations With Haftar Threaten To Blow Up Italy’s Conference On Libya”

الجيش الوطني الليبي يكافح المقاتلين الهاربين من سوريا والعراق

أعلن روبين ماك، ناطق باسم قيادة القوات الأمريكية في أفريقيا “أفريقوم”، خلال مقابلة مع صحيفة “ميليتاري تايمز” أن ” ألاف المقاتلين منذ عام 2014 غادروا أفريقيا الشمالية لمحاربة في العراق وسوريا. وقد يرجع الكثير منهم إذا فشلت جهود داعش في الشام”.

Continue reading “الجيش الوطني الليبي يكافح المقاتلين الهاربين من سوريا والعراق”

EU Humanitarian Politics Aggravate Internal Crisis in Libya

As Government of National Accord based in Tripoli and eastern-based Tobruk government struggle for power, modern Libya remains deeply fractured after having split into three historic areas of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan. Even in the regions of their respective influence, the two governments are not able to fully control the situation, the three areas being split into lesser districts, cities and municipalities ruled by local warlords and strongmen. Continue reading “EU Humanitarian Politics Aggravate Internal Crisis in Libya”

France Seeks to Increase its Presence in Libya

French oil company Total has strengthened its positions in Libya’s energy market after the acquisition of a 16,33 percent share in the major Waha oilfield. The cost of the deal is estimated at $450 million. A week after the agreement was signed, the French Ambassador to Libya Brigitte Curmi has met Fayez Al-Sirraj, Head of the Government of National Accord (GNA). During the meeting, which was attended by representatives of Total and the GNA-owned National Oil Corporation, the French side announced its intention to increase the investments into the Libyan energy sector due to the rising oil production and a reliable political course taken by Sirraj. In turn, the Head of GNA welcomed the partnership between Total and the National Oil Corporation, pledging to support the French company.

“This acquisition is in line with Total’s strategy to reinforce its portfolio with high quality and low-technical cost assets whilst bolstering our historic strength in the Middle East and North Africa region,” said Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne.

In the current circumstances, both sides pursue political goals aside of the economic meaning of the deal. Sirraj is interested in convincing France to choose GNA as its exclusive partner and to cancel co-operation with the so-called eastern-based government. In turn, Paris seeks to preserve the balance between the two rival Libyan powers who have split the oil production between them. The contract with GNA should not harm the relations with Tobruk, as the latter controls El-Sider port terminal necessary for exporting oil from Waha field to the global market.

With this kind of neutrality, the French authorities are able to simultaneously exert influence on GNA and the Eastern government, pursuing its economic interests in the Libyan oil market and in Northern Africa as a whole.

New Wave of Libyan Migrants Is Coming to Europe

The Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya has long been a final barrier for the illegal immigrants heading to Europe from Central, West and North-East Africa. The situation has dramatically changed after the revolution and the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, with the new Libyan authorities having completely lost control over the migrant flow. According to a report by International Organization for Migration published in the beginning of 2018, Libya housed some 704,000 migrants, the majority coming from Egypt, Mali, Chad, Niger, Ghana and other African states. Unlike the labor migrants who flocked the country before the “Arab spring”, the bulk of those who arrive today are refugees. Continue reading “New Wave of Libyan Migrants Is Coming to Europe”