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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs