NARCO Analysis: To Haftar and Haftar Not in Libya


It may not be checkmate for the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Misratans in Libya, but they certainly got played by General Khalifa Haftar, the strongman leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA, which one Facebook page has listed aptly as a “local business.”) While Misrata and the GNA were focused on defeating the Islamic State in Sirte – doubtless a worthy fight – Haftar stayed away and conserved his assets for what he sees as the bigger prize – Libya’s oil infrastructure.

NARCO RoundUp (July/August 2016)


In the July/August NARCO RoundUp, we look at Libya’s failed political process, Algeria’s aging leadership, and Tunisia’s new government. The Security section discusses the Islamic State’s defeat in Libya, Algeria’s elimination of the Islamic State within its borders, and new risks for Tunisia. Lastly, the Oil section considers the collapse of Libya’s oil sector, a strange episode in Algiers, and Tunisia’s new minister of energy.

NARCO Analysis: The US Targeting ISIS in Libya


The US initiated a bombing campaign against Islamic State targets in Sirte, Libya. The Pentagon says that the campaign is open-ended. Below is some “fast take” NARCO Analysis on the campaign, why now, what it can achieve, and what's likely to happen next.

NARCO Analysis: The State of Play in Libya


With the Democratic National Convention underway and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s pending acceptance speech as the Democratic presidential nominee, Libya and the aftermath of its 2011 revolution are hanging in the air like a noxious fog. Leaving aside the question of whether Secretary of State Clinton was the architect of the NATO campaign that contributed to Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi’s fall (answer: she wasn’t), there are certainly going to be a lot of politically charged Libya references from the commentariat in the coming days. But what really is the state of play in Libya? Short answer: it’s bad.

NARCO RoundUp (June 2016)


In the June NARCO RoundUp, Politics addresses Libya’s failing GNA, a relatively positive partial-cabinet shuffle in Algeria, and the limited prospects for a new unity government in Tunisia. Security looks at what the Battle for Sirte means for the Islamic State in Libya, an amped up counter-terrorism campaign in Algeria, and the extended State of Emergency in Tunisia. Lastly, Oil analyzes the unification of Libya’s eastern and western national oil corporations, Algeria’s new Minister of Energy, and slow but steady progress in Tunisia.

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: Algeria's Five Energy Ministers in Six Years


Algerian Minister of Energy Saleh Khebri’s time was limited from the get-go and the clocked seem to speed up last month, with the buzzer finally sounding over the weekend. Khebri will be replaced by Noureddine Bouterfa, formerly the head of Sonelgaz, the state-owned utility. Algerian political figures’ fingerprints are all over Bouterfa’s promotion, but as with all things Algerian, there were no witnesses at the scene, and it’s not at all clear where Algeria’s all-important energy sector goes from here. Is the change just more post-Tewfik règlement de comptes or will Bouterfa bring new direction to a moribund sector in troubled times?

NARCO RoundUp (MAY2016)


In the May NARCO RoundUp, Politics addresses Libya’s two and a half governments (down from three), intensifying squabbling in Algiers, and Ennahda’s “de-Islamicization.” Security looks at Libya’s ongoing civil war, new rumors about Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s ghost, and the growing foreign military presence in Tunisia.  Lastly, Oil addresses Libya’s collapsing oil sector (a theme for 2016), the Algerian Energy Minister’s challenges, and efforts by the Tunisian Minister of Energy to move contracts forward.

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: What’s the Deal with Chakib Khelil?


Chakib Khelil, the storied former Algerian Minister of Energy and Mines, is back. But to what end? Is he back to make a run for the post-Bouteflika presidency? Is he gunning to regain the mantle of the Algerian energy sector? Is he looking to get rich(er) advising foreign firms interested in investing in Algeria? Or has he simply come back to restore his reputation and make amends in his beloved country? Or is it all a ruse, orchestrated by that famous Algerian nébuleuse, precisely to distract you from whatever else the nébuleuse has up its sleeve?

NARCO CLOSEHOLD: Diplomats, the Warfighter, and Libya


In the timeless bout between diplomats and the warfighter, it appears that the diplomats have won the most recent round and the rush to insert Western (including American) troops into Libya - the so-called Libya International Assistance Mission (LIAM) - has slowed. Accordingly, in the perennial counter-terrorism debate of containment versus degradation, containment has carried the day. Overall this is good news for Libya and for its neighbors, although most Libyans may have to wait some time before this approach’s benefits are apparent.

NARCO RoundUp (MAR2016)


In March’s NARCO RoundUp, the Politics section covers the ongoing troubles of Libya’s Government of National Accord, new trajectories and challenges in Algeria, and Tunisia’s fractured politics. Security looks at the limitations of the Islamic State in Libya, renewed concerns about domestic terrorism in Algeria, and the Battle for Ben Guerdane in Tunisia. Lastly, Oil addresses Libya’s collapsing oil sector, potential new dynamism in Algeria, and efforts in Tunisia to cultivate a more realistic popular perception of the sector’s potential to alleviate labor unrest.




NARCO CLOSEHOLD is timely, actionable analysis derived from discreet sources. NARCO CLOSEHOLDs are crafted as events merit. They are available to NARCO's subscription and retainer clients and on a case-by-case basis.

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