News / Middle East

Rebel Oil Shipment Prompts Political Chaos in Libya

Rebel Oil Shipment Prompts Political Chaos in Libyai
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Henry Ridgwell
March 13, 2014 10:34 PM
Ali Zeidan was forced to stand down as Libya’s prime minister this week after rebel forces in the east successfully exported oil via a North Korean flagged tanker. There are growing fears of an escalation in conflict between rival rebel militias, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Rebel Oil Shipment Prompts Political Chaos in Libya

Henry Ridgwell
— Ali Zeidan was forced to stand down as Libya’s prime minister this week after rebel forces in the east successfully exported oil via a North Korean flagged tanker - despite assurances from the government that naval forces were in control. Zeidan’s resignation plunges Libya back into political crisis, and there are growing fears of an escalation in conflict between rival rebel militias.

Rebel forces in the eastern port of Sidra had loaded an estimated 234,000 barrels of crude, worth around $24 million, onto the North Korean-flagged tanker Morning Glory. The vessel left the oil terminal Monday and managed to evade a naval blockade.

It was a humiliation for Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, who had vowed to bomb the tanker if it left Libya. Parliament voted to oust him Tuesday.

Leadership void

Zeidan did not retain the loyalty of many members of the government or armed forces, according to Jason Pack, researcher of Libyan history at Cambridge University.

"Former Prime Minister Zeidan is actually not the commander-in-chief of the Libyan armed forces. That role would have been fulfilled by the General National Congress President, Nuri Abu Sahmein, who as an Islamist is an opponent of Ali Zeidan,” said Pack.

Zeidan’s interim successor, former Defense Minister Abdallah Al-Thinni was sworn in Wednesday. On the streets of Tripoli, the prime minister’s resignation was largely welcomed.

Abdullah Maslaty, a resident in the capital, said that Ali Zeidan did nothing for the country. “He's been in power for a year and three months, and achieved nothing."

Rival rebebl militias

Tripoli-based political analyst Salah Elbakoush said Libya’s central government is failing to function. “Government institutions performed really bad. And you see thousands of employees, they are 80 percent overstaffed,” he said.

The Tripoli government has given rebels in the east a two-week ultimatum to stop blockading the oil terminals, or face a military assault. But the rebels have faced down such government threats many times before, says Cambridge analyst Jason Pack.

"The situation is awful because sub-state actors have shown that they can undermine the resolve of the central government, and sell pirated oil on the international scene, which sets the stage for conflict between stronger sub-state actors and the weaker Libyan state,” said Pack.

The eastern rebels, led by Ibrahim Jathran, want greater autonomy for their region, known as Cyrenaica. But they face rival rebel groups and Islamist factions.

“Right now we’re seeing battles in Sirte between Jathran’s federalist forces, and Misratan and Islamist militias," said Pack. "So Jathran is likely to lose in any direct military confrontation, he does not have the forces he promises himself to have. However, there is a danger for a kind of regional war that would polarize more the east and the west in Libya.”

Nearly three years after the ouster of former dictator Moammar Gadhafi, there are growing fears the political vacuum could breed further conflict.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid