UAE’s Quest to take Control of Libyan Oil Exports cries foul

Khalifa Haftar

This post was last updated on April 15th, 2019 at 06:05 am

Libyan military commander seeking the United Arab Emirates help have engaged in the secret military talks with the gulf nation. The sole purpose of talks is to help export Libya’s oil outside of United Nations-approved channels, said the Libyan, Emirati and European officials.

Khalifa Haftar, the military commander of forcers in eastern Libya, with the UAE’s approbation last month stirred to cut off his political rivals in Tripoli, in western Libya, from 8,50,000 barrels a day of oil production, while exporting the oil through an independent company based in the country. As a result of which, the price of crude oil in international market rose close to $80 a barrel and threatened to nullify the efforts trying to reunify Libya.

However, following the international pressure, Mr. Haftar decide to do away with the plan, which would have otherwise violated U.N. National Security Council resolutions, stopping export of  Libyan oil expect from country’s National Oil Co. in Tripoli. Also, the US and Europe support the National Oil Co., as a result of which Khalifa Haftar had to face strong criticism.

Despite the fact well know that UAE is an upfront supporter of U.N. resolutions, the Gulf nation shrewdly decided to strengthen its ties with Mr. Haftar. The motive behind which, was to safeguard against regional rivals Turkey, Qatar and the Tripoli government.

The UAE though had to forcefully stall its support for Khalifa Haftar under pressure from its Western allies, and worked to counterfeit a so called compromise between Libya’s East and West, the officials said.

Mr. Haftar and the other eastern Libyan Government officials though have often complained that Tripoli has shared too little of the nation’s oil’s revenue with them, despite it servicing the East. Moreover, the U.A.E. government declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Mr. Haftar’s group of militias, which calls itself the Libyan National Army.

The following incident however, clearly depicted that foreign powers are still using Libya as a proxy battleground, and that too majorly after death of Moammar Gadhafi.

Correspondingly, the UAE has now supported Khalifa Haftar since 2014, when he first launched a campaign against the self-defined terrorists and later went onto gain control of eastern Libya.

On the other hand, supporters of Mr. Haftar say Islamist armed groups in Libya receive support of their own from Qatar, with which the GCC nations namely, UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have served diplomatic ties over the nation’s support for terrorism.

Further, the western and Libyan officials have put allegations stating, Qatar has financed eastern Libya’s warlord Ibrahim Jadhran, who fought with Mr. Haftar, for wanting to control the country’s oil export facilities. However, he gained back the control of the export hubs, which roughly handle 80% of Libya’s 1 million barrels a day of oil production.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Libya’s eastern government has been trying hard to sell its oil independently via a company called NOC East, but the success rate remains pretty minimal. The company though has successfully secured contracts to sell millions of barrels of oil, and the details show that even some of the companies were even based in UAE.

On the other hand, despite contracts the companies have often failed in their efforts. Even recently on May 19, an Emirati tanker approached eastern Libya to load the crude oil without the approval of Nation Oil Co., which was spotted by European helicopter who then engaged and forced it to retreat.

Clearly, the UAE based militia leader’s bid to take control of the Libyan oil export, as Mr. Haftar’s efforts to export oil through NOC East, continues to cry foul.

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