Sunday, March 23, 2014

Libyan Army, Oil Rebels Clash, 16 Wounded

Throughout the night and again after dawn on Saturday, chaos rang out in Ajdabiya, Libya. Libyan rebels occupying oil ports clashed with Libyan soldiers as they attacked an army base, wounding 16 people before tribal leaders were able to intervene and put a stop to the fighting.

The fighting began hours before the return to Libya of The Morning Glory, an oil tanker seized last Sunday by U.S. commandos after it had loaded crude at one of the ports rebel leader Ibrahim Jathran's men have occupied. Despite the fighting, the U.S. embassy did confirm that the handover to Libyan control went smoothly.

Tripoli's central government gave Jathran a two-week deadline on March 12 to end his port blockade or face a military assault. Jathran's government is demanding more autonomy for his eastern region and a share of oil reserves. Deals between the federalists and the central government have failed so far.

Three years after the fall of Muammar Gadhafi, the struggle for control over petroleum resources is one of many challenges facing Libya's weak central government. (Read article HERE.)

The biases seen in the struggle for control over petroleum resources are 'divided between Jathran supporters and those who fear his oil blockade will lead to the collapse of the state.' Some questions to consider are~ the article focuses on Jathran rebels and Libyan soldiers, but what becomes of the Libyan people, those with or against Jathran? This is a far fetched question since many factors contribute to this subject, but is it possible for Libya and other war torn African countries to fully transition over to democracy? If so, do you think we will see these transition(s) during our lifetime?

The blockade by Jathran rebels are bad, of course, because 'the three ports account for around 700,000 barrels per day of Libya's oil export capacity, or around half of its total petroleum shipments', but Tripoli's central government is not in a position to threaten Jathran to end his blockade. They don't have adequate man-power to follow through with such a threat because their troops are in training with the help of western governments. Also, western governments are 'pressing factions to reach a political settlement to assure more stability.' However, this task will be hard to achieve since Tripoli's government has been fighting with Islamists, secular parties and tribes.

The conflict between the Libyan government and its warring factions delaying the country's transition to democracy relates to Somalia because the Somalian government is also in a period of transition. Somalia hasn't had a stable government, or any government, for several decades. Currently, Somalia is in the process of building a parliamentary republic. Also like the Libyan rebels stealing oil, Somalia has to deal with Somalian pirates who terrorize those at sea.

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