NARCO ANALYSIS: The Libya Oil Port Attack and the Origins of Opposition to Haftar

Sunday, June 17, 2018

By Jalel Harchaoui

The political dimension of Ibrahim Jadhran’s 14 June 2018 attack on Libya’s Ras Lanuf and El-Sidr oil terminals, which represent over 560kbpd worth of crude exports, is key to foreseeing the future. On the one hand, the young militia leader and former Abu Slim prisoner is trying to capitalize on eastern and central Libyan tribal and political grievances. And, on the other hand, if he sticks to his usual modus operandi, Libyan National Army (LNA) leader Field Marshal General Khalifa Haftar will use brute force to regain the terminals. Present circumstances, however, are profoundly different from the last time the oil terminals were attacked in March 2017. Then, the Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB) attacked the terminals, but no meaningful segment of the region’s dominant tribe – the Magharba – had any affinity for the offensive. Over the last 15 months, however, politics have changed in ways that cannot be ignored and that suggest that Haftar might be in for a longer fight than he anticipates.

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