For complete victory in Libya, General Khalifa Haftar will need the keys to the Central Bank kingdom of petrodollars, and he’s willing to starve out Tripoli to get them.
Haftar, who controls the Libyan National Army (LNA), took 1.2 million barrels per day of Libyan oil off the market because the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) switched off the country’s foreign exchange system.
While Haftar controls the oil, he does not control the oil revenues, which go through the Tripoli-based Central Bank.
That’s made it very difficult for Haftar to fund his campaign. But in this game of economic warfare, Haftar has less to lose, and he won’t really come to the negotiating table for anything less than a sizable chunk of oil revenues, access to foreign currency at non-black-market rates, and a new caretaker government in Tripoli.
At stake is some $22 billion in annual revenues, and this is how it works: There are two Central Banks, the Haftar-aligned eastern central bank and the Tripoli-based central bank, where the GNA is situated.
The Libyan National Oil Company (NOC), based in Tripoli, is stuck between these eastern and Tripoli alignments and does its best to remain neutral. While it is technically…