Berenice Stories

Short Stories by John Oakes

LIBYA – HAFTER HAS WEAPONISED THE TRIBES (FURTHER NOTES ON FIELD MARSHALL KHALIFA HAFTER’S STRATEGY DATED 19TH FEBURARY 2020)

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It is for others to write about the Tripoli government, the Government of National Accord (GNA) as it is known. For these notes it is sufficient to say that it has resorted to an alliance with Turkey’s President who has commenced the supply of military hardware, advice and numerous Syrian mercenaries which have strengthened the GNA’s militias defending Tripoli and Misurata against Hafter’s Libyan National Army (LNA).  

Negotiations between representatives of the GNA and the LNA are taking place – or were taking place until today – in Geneva to arrange a lasting cease fire. Hafter’s LNA has effective control over most of Libya barring Tripoli and Misurata. He is able to use his high-tech weapons to attack targets in Tripoli and has fired on shipping in Tripoli’s harbour and on its only functioning airport.

The diplomatic efforts to devise a sustainable political solution to Libya’s long and brutal civil war are troubled by the divergences within the EU and the Gulf Sates involved in a proxy war in Libya. The weapons embargo placed long ago on Libya is being systematically violated.

Hafter, when confronted with Turkey’s belligerent intervention, was, in my view forced to play the tribal card. Libya is almost totally dependant on the revenue it earns from its extensive oil fields. These fields and the oil terminals though which the stuff is exported are in remote parts of Libya. Most Libyans live in the coastal cities such as Tripoli, Benghazi, Misurata, Tobruk and Derna for example. It is notoriously difficult to get people to work in the remote oil installations. The quasi military force, the Petroleum Facilities Guard, which guards them draws its recruits largely from tribesmen in whose homeland the installations are situated. I have written at greater length about this here. In effect, Hafter has used the Petroleum Facilities Guard to shut down the majority of Libya’s oil industry at the instigation, it is said, of Libyan tribal leaders. Hafter has a strangle hold on the Government of National Accord in Tripoli. He has weaponised the Libyan tribes.

According to the Libya Herald: –

In its latest information bulletin on the oil blockade of ports and pipelines released yesterday, Libya’s state National Oil Corporation (NOC) confirmed a drop in production to the current level of 191,475 b/d, as of Wednesday February 12, 2020, with losses at US$ 1,380,468,480.’l

The threat of fuel and power shortages in Tripoli, Misurata and other major cities is acute.

As I write, sheiks and notables from Libya tribes are gathering in Tarhuna for a conference. It will be interesting to see which tribes attend and what resolutions emerge from their deliberations.

Written by johnoakes

February 19, 2020 at 2:06 pm

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