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Why Did Haftar Turn Libya’s Oil Off?

Libya: Haftar Shifts Strategy from Oil ‘Protector’

Shutting off Libya’s oil was always General Khalifa Haftar’s trump card to play when the time was right. That time is now, with 800,000 bpd in exports officially off the market and the country’s entire 1.2 million bpd in production set to be shuttered in a matter of days. The Government of National Accord (GNA) will be starved to the tune of $77 million a day when that happens.

Haftar was not assured of winning a ground-based military battle against the GNA and its band of militias in Tripoli, now with Turkish troops (and Syrian mercenary) support. Haftar can cripple Tripoli with superior airpower, thanks to his external alliances, but on the ground, it would be a tough battle to gain full control of the capital - which is where all the oil revenues are. 

Haftar now has EU member Greece on his side, with Athens up in arms over Turkey’s attempt to stake territorial claims on the massive natural gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean. The Greek PM has also vowed there will be no EU deal on Libya if Turkey refuses to rip up the maritime border agreement it recently made with Libya in a less-than-subtle offshore land grab. 

Thus, Turkey’s meddling in Libya is entirely about Cyprus, and nothing at all to do with Haftar or the GNA.

There was room for alignment of Turkish and Russian interests here, too, even though technically Russia (through mercenaries)…





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