Libya: Ports Unblocked, for Now
Ports under control of rebel forces have been reopened temporarily, unlocking export capacity of around 600,000 barrels per day. Rebels agreed to the deal after the government met some of their demands, which included relocating the headquarters of its Oil Protection Force to Brega.
So far, as of 7 April, two ports have been reopened: Zueitina and Hariga, while two other ports could be reopened in the coming weeks. With the reopening of two ports now we should see the unlocking of around 200,000 barrels of per day in export capacity. The agreement also tentatively includes government payment of compensation to the rebels, the dropping of criminal charges against them and the halting of the military offensive. For now, the reopening of two ports is being considered as a good will gesture on the part of the rebels.
But the deal also shows cracks in the rebel leadership—particularly among those senior leaders who disagreed with the good will gesture ahead of clear government action on the deal. OP Tactical intelligence reports that some higher-level rebel leaders are positioning themselves against main leader Ibrahim Jadhran, who led the negotiations with the government—some say unilaterally. There are growing divisions among the rebels and this could open the doors for a swifter government response in the area. However, re-opening the ports is a temporary move that does not signal an end to the crisis. The bottom…