Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict
General Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), is in the process of rounding up supporters of the former Ghaddafi regime in Sirte ahead of the September 1st anniversary of Ghaddafi’s coup. Previously allied (as recently as 2019 when Haftar attempted and failed to take Tripoli), they are now enemies, with Ghaddafi’s son, Saif, having competing presidential ambitions with Haftar.
This is all happening against a complicated backdrop of what appears to be progress towards stability in Libya. This week, we saw the Central Bank of Libya announce that for the first time in nearly a decade, its two rival branches (in Tripoli and Benghazi) would be unified. This has been a major sticking point for stability because the Tripoli branch controls the oil revenues, even though Libya’s east (represented by Benghazi) largely controls physical oil. Haftar had given the Government of National Accord (GNA) until August to come up with a scheme for the “fair distribution” of oil revenues, with Benghazi up in arms over not receiving the amount of oil revenues it believes it is entitled to given that it houses the oil fields and export terminals for the most part.
The back-and-forth civil war is all about this. We are skeptical that the Central Bank unification announcement will be the elixir necessary to hold elections to end political instability, and it remains unclear what sort of…