Post Qaddafi Libya: Economy in the doldrums and a steady slide to anarchy

A peculiar and complicated mess  ....

Like Iraq, Libya too is loaded with wealth, yet the Libyans fear their country might be close to bankruptcy.

Ibrahim Jahtran and his supporters are fighting against the central government in Tripoli.  Jahtran's supporters were one of the rebel groups that helped NATO to topple Muammar Qaddafi.  They are now fighting the Libyan government for regional autonomy in eastern Libya and a sizable share in the oil wealth.  Ignoring govt warnings to surrender, they have also refused to negotiate and vowed to continue their struggle.  The city of Ajdabiya in northeast Libya is the base of Ibrahim Jahtran and his fighters.  Western powers have their agreement with the central government.  Allowing any of the rebel groups to independently claim Libya's oil is a strict "no no."

Ibrahim Jahtran has occupied and blocked several oil ports in eastern Libya which can be termed a self-declared autonomous region where dissidents are attempting to export oil without the involvement of the central government.  Buyers continue to smuggle out Libyan oil from the eastern part of the country.  Washington, fearing loss of its own share, is screaming that this amounts to "theft from the Libyan government."  Plenty of furor was recently stirred, including a vote of no-confidence against the Libyan PM,  when a North Korean tanker loaded more than 200,000 barrels of crude oil from one of the occupied eastern oil ports slipped away into the Mediterranean Sea dodging the Libyan naval vessels deployed to nab it.  It was later seized by US navy seals off Cyprus and handed over to Tripoli.  That's how much the Libyan government still counts on U.S. assistance.  Jahtran rebels called it "piracy" and have been accusing the U.S. of siding with the central government, which is no doubt true.  U.S. has been training the Libyan armed forces with plenty of efforts to cajole and unite the conflicting factions within the Libyan central government, but to no avail as yet.  Infighting is just as much within the parliamentarians in Tripoli as across the rest of the country.   There is division in Jahtran's power base at Ajdabiya as well, where some are opposed to the oil blockade fearing it could lead to a complete collapse in the country's economy.

The oil blockade has been going on for more than six months.  Billions of dollars worth of export has been stalled, and the sharp fall in oil production has created a serious budget crisis.

Ibrahim Jahtran claims he represents all Libyan tribes and they have collectively agreed to take control of Libyan resources for the benefit of the Libyan people.  So, now Jahtran refuses to share the oil wealth with the West.  How stupid of him to forget, NATO's help wasn't for naught so he could build up an autonomous state in eastern Libya and have all its oil revenue. 


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