Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Post-Khadaffi Struggle Continues in Libya

So how does the Libya suspended civil war stand now that ISIL has been dispersed after the capture of Sirte?

Bloomberg has a good map in an article that discusses Putin's new support for General Haftar who dominates eastern Libya:

The international community continues to force a national government on Libya, but the situation on the ground reflects my early Libya War assessment of the conditions for an east-west civil war.

The factions identified on the Bloomberg map, in light of my post on how the coastal populations would need to reach deep into their southern territories to make sure they control oil resources all the way to the ports in order to afford to contest for control of the country, make for an interesting board.

Haftar's (or Hiftar's) LNA in light green needs the Tebu in purple to solidify his oil for his export access.

Getting the Tebu would also help Haftar harm the GNA in tan to consolidate their oil resources.

The GNA also need the Zintanis in dark green for oil reasons.

The Tuaregs in light blue and the Benghazi Defense Brigades (my have they been driven into the wilderness, eh?) in pink seem mostly irrelevant to a civil war in regard to oil to be able to finance a civil war.

Although at least taking the BDB territory allows the LNA to push west in the interior to link up with some of their guys out by their lonesome.

It is interesting to see that control in many areas is just a line indicating control of roads in the wastelands away from the coastal strip where most people live.

Western Libya where the GNA dominates does have an electricity problem, it seems:

According to officials at Al-Zawiya oil refinery , an armed militia shut the gas pipeline that is feeding the power generator at Al-Hersha power plant, which feeds large parts of western Libya including Al-Zawiya and Tripoli.

The result?

Western Libya was plunged into darkness late on Saturday as a blackout already affecting the south spread to the capital, Tripoli, and other major cities, the national power company said.

The blackout extended from Libya's western border with Tunisia to the city of Ajdabiya, nearly 900 km (560 miles) to the east, national power company GECOL said in a statement.

The electricity grid had collapsed because a number of cities in western Libya had rejected terms for sharing out power cuts, it said.

Clearly, the GNA has a lot more work to do than the LNA to consolidate their portion of Libya before turning against the other for control of the entire territory of Libya.

And our friends the Russians who seem to be exploring options to aid (and gain favor with) the LNA could cause a problem for Europe:

A Russia-backed Libyan warlord could start a “civil war” in Libya, increasing refugee flows to the EU, Malta has warned.

The danger comes as the Libyan commander, Khalifa Haftar, advances on Tripoli, the seat of the UN-recognised government, Malta’s foreign minister, George Vella, told press in Valletta on Friday (12 January).

“Haftar with his army is moving gradually, slowly from the east to the west … and possibly, eventually linking up with his colleagues from the west, from Zintane, and advancing in a pincer movement on the region of Bani Walid, and Misrata, and Tripoli”, Vella said.

Ouch. The Zintanis are friends of Haftar? That's going to be a problem for the GNA in a civil war scenario.

Which makes the life expectancy of the BNB holding those roads between the main factions rather short, I should think.

And why we stiff-armed Hiftar is beyond my comprehension.

Of course, there is a bright spot in Russia's effort to be Haftar's friend (from the Malta article):

Haftar, on Thursday, toured Russia’s aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, as it was sailing from Syria and held a video call with Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu.

The Russians think their floating slum is impressive? Good Lord.

Italy, which would see a wave of refugees if Libya gets worse, is worried enough to re-establish their embassy in Libya. We'll see if this kind of problem can be solved by diplomats.

Strategypage has more on the situation and the oil factor.

At what point did this war stop being a shining example of "leading from behind?"

UPDATE: The Russians plan to arm Hiftar's faction, according to Hiftar.