Last week marks the first anniversary of the launch of Khalifa Hafter’s Operation Dignity from Benghazi. Speaking on the occasion Hafter pledged again his determination to uproot “terrorist groups” from Libya. Critics of Hafter point to his failure to deliver one year on. While his promise a month ago was to chase “terrorists” from Libya, his promise last week was to ensure victory in Benghazi “soon”. Hafter blames “the influential states in the UNSC for banning the export of arms to fight terrorism in Libya.” On the ground, battles rage on in Benghazi where the battle to control the Alwatya air base is considered a decisive episode in the control of Benghazi. Several outlets including those close to Tobruk have reported a delivery of arms from the UAE to Hafter. As the military and political stalemate between Tripoli’s GNC AND Tobruk’s HoR continues both camps are increasingly haunted by the prospect of the imposition of an oil-for-food programme (OIP) by the UNSC, similar to the one imposed on Iraq in 1995. Although the GNC remains in control of the Libyan Central Bank through whose accounts most companies and states trade in oil, the HoR in Tobruk has opened recently a bank account in the UAE through which it trades in spot oil sales of its version the National Oil Company set up in Tobruk. Given dwindling oil production and revenues and the pressing humanitarian crisis in many parts of Libya, the international community has signaled that an OIP scenario is not to be discarded should the political deadlock persists in Libya.
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