How is Libya–our last big adventure–doing these days?

For starters, it has become a 24/7 arms bazaar that has seriously destabilized parts of North Africa, Mali for one and in Nigeria, where its weapons have allowed Boko Haram’s to surge to new lethality.

But the country is not even doing well itself. Although almost entirely Sunni Muslim, Ghadaffi had encouraged tribalism out of some misconceived romantic idea. The eastern part of the country, around Benghazi, was problematic even in his time. Now it seems to be gradually making the country unable to do anything that requires the nation as whole: such as pumping oil and exporting it.

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Most of its oil ports are closed due to what news reports call “strikers” but are apparently rival groups who want to get their own piece of the action. Oil exports have hit a new low of 250,000 barrels/day, down from prewar 1.6 million b/d.

On Tuesday, an armed group shut down a pipeline, reducing oil to the port to a trickle. On Monday, the federal government said “it will attack and destroy any tanker illegally exporting oil after forces last week fired at a Liberian-flagged tanker close to the country’s largest crude oil export terminal.”

Some Libyans want to return to the historic three provinces, as it was before Italy wrested it from the Ottoman Empire in 1912. But even that might not be so simple: there are Tuaregs and Berbers and Arabic mixtures with these groups too.
The ethnic group / tribe lines do not fit with the old provinces either.

News reports on Libya here, here, here and here.

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