General Khalifa Haftar has been at the forefront of the Libyan political set up for more than four decades. Haftar has been able to sustain the power and influence in the country with the strong backing of United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has its own interests in the country.
After Libya’s long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011, the country lost a sense of freedom and security. Since then, the governing authorities in Libya are fragile and disputed.
Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya, Fayez al-Sarraj and the leader of Libyan National Army, General Khalifa Haftar are on the conflictual end. Power vacuum in the oil-rich Libya has drawn the interest of countries, seeking to take an advantage.
The UAE authorities were involved in cutting secret deals with General Khalifa Haftar to surpass the UN-approved channels for exporting the Libyan oil, an investigation by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) disclosed.
Following the deal, Haftar’s forces took control of numerous ports in the country, curtailing exports of 850,000 barrels a day. The oil prices touched a $80 mark per barrel, which was exported via breakaway company, affiliated to the UAE.
Previously, Libya’s eastern government made several failed attempts to sell oil independently of the National Oil Corporation, channeled through a company named NOC East.
According to documents obtained by WSJ, since 2016, NOC East was dealing with at least 18 companies to sell millions of oil barrels. The documents also revealed that some of the companies securing those contracts were infact UAE-based.
The revelation spurred concerns among the international community, with the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain vowing to take immediate measures against any duplicity in selling the Libyan oil. Only the National Oil Corporation in Tripoli was licensed to do so.
Such geopolitical interference by the UAE demonstrates how vulnerable Libya is to the foreign powers, which are still using the country as a proxy battleground after the ouster of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.