Police HQ Attacked in Libya’s Ghiryan

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The Gharyan Police HQ revealed details of an attack on its headquarters. Gunmen attacked several policemen, resulting in the injury of one.

The shooting at the police HQ reportedly was by an armed group affiliated with the former Director, who was recently replaced by the Ministry of Interior.

Recently, the Tunisian Ministry of Interior announced that Tunisian police seized large quantities of weapons and ammunition stores, believed to have been destined for terrorist groups, in Ben Guerdane, near the border with Libya.

Notably, clashes recently broke out in Tripoli between rival militias. Forces aligned with the Government of National Unity (GNU) moved to ensure control, after a failed attempt by the rival eastern-backed Prime Minister, Fathi Bashagha to take the city last week.

As the backbone of its economy, oil has been at the core of the unrest that followed Muammer Gaddafi’s overthrow. This has been a slow-burn conflict, with periodic flare-ups of intense fighting.

Control of the revenues from Libya’s main export, which currently pumps 1.22 million barrels per day, has long been the biggest prize for all the main political and military factions. Factions have used oil facilities as bargaining chips to secure financial and political demands.

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) has stated that it hoped to boost output to 2 million bpd over the next three to five years, but progress may be slowed by the country’s inability to resolve its internal political rivalries.

GNU Prime Minister, Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba is attempting to shore up control and weed out militias aligned with Bashagha. Dbaiba’s key concern now is gaining control of various armed factions within Tripoli, who have not aligned definitively with one side or the other.

Turkey could play the role of kingmaker here, with the ability to military intervene on either Dbaiba’s or Bashagha’s side. Both PM’s visited the Turkish capital last week.

Al-Monitor claimed that a quiet Turkish intervention has “tipped the balance of power in favour of Dbaiba”, and cites unnamed sources as saying that Bashagha left the meeting in Ankara “disgruntled”, though there is no independent confirmation of this.

Crude production reached a two-year low of 650,000 bpd in June, according to the latest Platts survey of OPEC+ output by S&P Global Commodity Insights, against a capacity of 1.2 million b/d.

Libya has Africa’s largest oil reserves and hydrocarbons, which account for 95% of government revenues. This makes the control of the industry a key point of contention between its rival parties.