Libyan factions are fighting over the power to control the country’s resources and become much wealthier, UN Envoy Ghassan Salame told International Peace Institute Wednesday.
“Libya is a textbook case for what we call the war on resources. The main motivation of various parties is fundamentally the war on resources because Libya is a wealthy country,” Salame said.
Since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2001, Libya entered a viral of civil war, mainly between eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Khalifa Haftar supported by regional powers, and the Tripoli-based Government of the National Accord (GNA) in the west, led by Faiez al-Sarraj, who is recognised by the UN.
The war has been escalating since early April when Haftar moved his forces to the western region to “liberate” Tripoli from armed groups.
As for the foreign interference in the Libyan crisis, the UN Support Mission in Libya envoy said six or 10 countries are permanently interfering in Libyan problems through giving advice, monitoring the international scene, selling arms, funding or supporting proxies as for the case with Qatar and Turkey, who announce their support for Sarraj, but are also accused of assisting terrorists for years in the North African nation.
He added that the Libyan borders, including those with Tunisia, Algeria, and Chad, are “extremely porous,” referring to the war between the Chadian opposition and Chadian army in the summer of 2018 on Libyan territories although Libyan parties were not involved in that war.
“I am not sure that the permanent members of the UN Security Council are fully aware of the risks they face if they do not prevent this conflict from getting worse,” he said.
In mid-January, the LNA launched an operation in the south, where many key oil installations are located, to expel terrorists and armed groups.
The oil crescent, a coastal area containing the major exporting terminals, is already seized by the LNA.
The LNA’s military operation in the south during which it gripped its control over el-Sharara, with 300,000 barrel-per-day alone, heightened fears over the control of the eastern army on d most Libyan oil installations.
The UN-backed GNA denounced Haftar’s move and sent its own commander, Ali Kena, to secure the field, which had formally belonged to the Tripoli administration.
Yet, Kena failed to take control of it, Reuters quoted oil workers as saying.
In response to Sarraj’s government action, the LNA warplanes struck targets near the el-Feel oilfield, located near Sharara oilfield in southwestern Libya, on Saturday, a few days after Kena had been appointed as the new Commander of Sabha Military Region.