Wall Street Journal: UAE supported Haftar’s scheme to seize Libya’s oil

Wall Street Journal: UAE supported Haftar’s scheme to seize Libya’s oil

July 14, 2018 - 18:30
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Written By: AbdulkaderAssad

Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Friday that the United Arab Emirates officials had engaged in secret talks with the commander of the self-styled army in eastern Libya, Khalifa Haftar, seeking the UAE’s assistance in exporting Libya’s oil outside of United Nations-approved channels, which should be the Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation (NOC).

The American newspaper said the attempts were aimed to sell Libyan oil though UAE companies, citing Libyan, Emirati and European officials as the source for this new episode of the UAE intervention in Libya.

WSJ reported the sources as saying that with the UAE’s assent last month, Haftar moved to cut off Tripoli-based NOC from 850,000 barrels a day of oil production and begin exporting the oil through a breakaway company based in his part of the country.

It revealed that the UAE tempered its support for Haftar over the weekend under pressure from the US and France, and worked to forge a compromise between Libya’s east and west.

“The U.N. last year accused the UAE of violating an international arms embargo by sending military vehicles and other equipment to Haftar.” WSJ added, reporting Jonathan M. Winer, the former US special envoy to Libya under President Barack Obama, as saying “This kind of activity threatens the destruction of Libya as a nation.”

The U.N. panel investigating suspected arms smuggling to Libya said last year it received no response from the UAE for accusation of supplying Haftar with military equipment.

According to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, NOC in Benghazi secured contracts with at least 18 companies since 2016 to sell millions of barrels of oil. Some of the companies signing those contracts were based in the UAE, the documents show.

NOC in Tripoli demanded the UN Security Council sanction 48 individuals and entities for their attempts to sell oil illicitly.

NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanallah told western countries and the UN that there had been a remarkable effort by eastern factions to market Libyan oil for sale before Haftar’s forces had controlled the oil terminals in June.

Western countries and the UN has been supporting the Tripoli-based NOC as the sole legitimate body entitled to operate, produce and export Libyan oil, warning of illicit sales as they could add to the fragmentation in the country.