Stay away from Libya, where a conflict between rebels and the government threatens to spiral into an all-out civil war for control of the country’s oil wealth and the appointment of a new prime minister, parliamentary and presidential elections promises to get very messy. Presidential elections in Egypt, which are planned for April—and for which there is really only one candidate—are not likely to present an elixir for the country’s critical energy problems.
Rebels who have control of three of Libya’s key export terminals are wrangling for negotiations with the government now that the US has stepped in to intervene with a North Korean-flagged oil tanker that was illegally loading oil at the port of Al-Sidra. The US Navy’s intervention in this matter could potentially help work towards negotiations between the rebels and the government, as the intervention signals that the US will intervene to stop illegal oil exports from Libya’s ports. At the same time, the incident has been extremely embarrassing for the government in Tripoli and has led to the sacking of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, which could also work to bring the rebels to the negotiating table.
• Illegal oil exports: Last weekend, the US Navy took control of the North Korean-flagged oil tanker from armed rebels near the coast of Cyprus, and is escorting the tanker toward Libyan territorial waters. The US Navy has promised…