Terrorism & Insurgency

LNA’s bid to control Libyan national institutions increases risk of renewed fighting between western and eastern militias

06 July 2018
Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesperson General Ahmed al-Mismari, speaks at a news conference in the eastern city of Benghazi on 21 June 2018. Source: Abdullah Doma/AFP/Getty Images

Key Points

  • On 25 June, Haftar handed over the control of Ras Lanuf and es-Sider oil ports to the eastern National Oil Corporation (NOC), which reports to the eastern-based government, which is not recognised internationally. In response, the Tripoli-based NOC declared force majeure on loadings from Zueitina and Hariga ports on 2 July.
  • Haftar’s move is part of a broader LNA attempt to take control of key national institutions, including the Libyan Central Bank, with the aim of consolidating his position ahead of the December 2018 presidential elections.
  • Haftar’s move poses a high risk of triggering a new round of fighting between the western and eastern militias and forcing the collapsing of the ongoing attempt to achieve national reconciliation.


On 5 July, the general command of the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar set five conditions to reopen the oil export terminals in the Oil Crescent and allow oil exports to resume.

Ras Lanuf and es-Sider were recaptured by Haftar’s LNA on 21 June after the former leader of the Petroleum Facility Guards (PFG), Ibrahim Jadhran, had seized them on 14 June. On 25 June, Haftar announced the return of the two oil terminals to the eastern branch of the NOC, based in Benghazi, which is controlled by the eastern-based government – the House of Representatives – based in Bayda. Mustafa Sanalla, the chairman of the legitimate NOC that operates in Tripoli under the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), was quick to assert Haftar’s move as illegal. Sanalla first declared force majeure at Ras Lanuf and es-Sider and, on 2 July, extended the decision to Zueitina and Hariga oil ports. According to the NOC, these moves have reduced total exports by around 850,000 barrels per day from an average of about 1 million reached in May 2018, whereas the Head of the Presidential Council (PC) Mohamed El Sallak stated that the reduction of oil exports was costing Libya more than USD67 million a day.

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