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Libya’s National Oil Company Faces Closure Over Violent Clashes

By Keefa Nuwahereza

Libya’s national oil company said Saturday it may face closure because of clashes close to its refinery in the country’s western port.

The NOC said in a statement that three bombs hit close to its oil storage tanks in the last 48 hours in the western Zawiya port.

Libya’s largest functioning refinery in Zawiya is located around 49 kilometers (30 miles) from the capital, Tripoli.

In April, Gen. Khalifar Haftar’s forces launched a military campaign to capture Tripoli from the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), but have so far failed to progress beyond the city’s outskirts.

On November 27, Ankara and GNA signed two separate agreements, one on military cooperation and another on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Following the military cooperation deal, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he might consider sending troops to Libya if the GNA made such a request.

On Thursday, Erdogan said a motion for military support to Libya will be submitted to parliament January 8 or 9, 2020 because Turkey was “invited” by Libya.

Libya’s Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha said the GNA will officially demand military aid from Turkey.

Since the ouster of late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the GNA in Tripoli, which enjoys the United Nations and international recognition.

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