Federalist oil blockades take Libya to the brink

Issue 261 - 03 Sep 2013 - By John Hamilton

Libyan prime minister Ali Zeidan narrowly avoided being ejected in a ‘palace coup’ in August. While he remains the only figure capable of keeping the country’s rival political forces together, he is in a weak position and has been undermined on all sides as a strengthened federalist movement, responsible for the shut-in of most oil production in the eastern province of Cyrenaica, tries to bring down the current institution-building and constitution-writing process. Together with groups in the provinces of Fezzan and in the Jebel Nafusa mountains south of Tripoli, it intends to blockade oil terminals and pipelines to prevent the domination of the government by the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Justice and Construction Party (JCP), allied to armed militias from Misratah, which emerged after the civil war as a dominant military and political player.

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