America hungry for oil, what do you want from Libya?

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Afrasianet - It has become known that the United States of America, wherever it intervenes, leaves behind only chaos.

The chaos into which Libya sank is seen as a justification for various foreign interventions, and as a result of a political failure in the face of violence and the fragmentation of the country.

The obstruction of the road to the various political initiatives in order to ensure a peaceful and consensual transition, in addition to the permanent disagreement between its elites, confirms this failure. What increased for some international powers the lure of a military solution and belief in the “strongman”.

The parties to any political dispute in the areas that revolve in the American strategic orbit wished for their intervention in the ongoing conflict, and each party wished that the intervention would be in its favour, hoping to speed up the resolution of issues.

The Libyans, and the main actors on the Libyan scene, from the allies of the United States, have conflicting interests there. Everyone is pushing for the Biden administration to take a more active role regarding the Libyan file.

American ambitions in Libya are not new, as Libya has always been a valuable target on which the US administrations have not differed on their various orientations.

Delving into the sea of analyzes of think tanks about the American role there, or reading hundreds of articles on the subject will all lead you to points of view about why you see the United States rushing into the Libyan file, as was the situation during the Obama era, which prompted the issuance of Resolution No. 1970 from the Security Council paving the way for launching war against Gaddafi. Let's go back a little bit in time. Specifically to the thirteenth of December 2018.

It was snowing heavily on the buildings and streets of Washington, DC, and warning of road closures when one of the presidential cars was plowing the snow accumulations that evening towards a specific address in the capital; 214 Massachusetts Street. A white man, with thick eyebrows and a bushy white mustache, got out of the car in front of a tall, arched facade, and had something important to say to the world on various African issues, including Libya.

During 50 minutes of continuous talk, US National Security Adviser John Bolton presented in the lecture hall of the most influential conservative think tank in drawing American domestic and foreign policies “Heritage Foundation” what was known at the time as a “new strategy for Africa” in front of 52 media outlets and 16 television cameras. Only 65 press articles were published during his speech, and the next morning his presentation of the new American strategy in Africa had garnered 20 thousand tweets on Twitter that formed the trend that day, according to Heritage's own statements.


The whole conversation revolved around three basic points that constitute the American strategy in the African continent, including Libya.


Libya... A patch in the African puzzle


It is certain that the New York contractor "Trump", who came to power in the White House in January 2017, saw the administration of American affairs with a different mentality from his predecessors. As a businessman, his policies indicate that he manages matters there with the mindset of profit, nothing for free, and minimizing expenses and thus losses.

With regard to Africa, the Trump administration has dealt with thorny issues in its foreign policy through the brown continent, as we will see later, especially since the man had warned of a struggle of titans that would begin soon if it did not actually start from an early date. The topics of the conflict are many, and its fronts are more numerous.

Washington became aware, albeit belatedly, of its importance in thorny issues on distant fronts. Libya is located in Africa, thus forming part of the great American political puzzle in Africa. From the new American strategy for Africa, which is concerned with increasing the rate of trade in the African region. Official US figures indicate that the volume of US non-oil trade amounted to $39.0 billion in total merchandise trade (import and export) with Sub-Saharan African countries during 2017.

Total merchandise exports amounted to $14.1 billion; Merchandise imports amounted to $24.9 billion.

The US goods trade deficit with sub-Saharan countries was $10.8 billion in 2017. The main US export categories were machinery ($2.3 billion), vehicles ($1.6 billion), aircraft ($1.5 billion), mineral fuels ($1.4 billion), and electrical machinery ($864 million). While it imported mineral fuels ($11.2 billion), precious metals and stone (platinum and diamonds) ($4.1 billion), cocoa ($1.2 billion), vehicles ($1.2 billion), and iron and steel ($950 million). But what about oil?

If he starts talking about oil, this means entering the world of America. Where countries and entities find themselves in front of a giant insect that does not stop sucking it until the last drop of life in it.

As any American president considers that the existence of those countries owes him, and in order to continue providing them with the reasons for existence, they must in turn give him the limit of exhaustion.

The American believes that the United States has wasted a lot of its energies and resources in caring for the world.

It is time to take care of the interests of the American House to maintain its global supremacy. In this case, the African continent at the present time produces about 11% of the world's oil, which is equivalent to about 80 to 100 billion barrels of crude oil, and it also has crude oil reserves of 10% of the world's reserves, according to the estimates of the United Nations Conference on Development and Trade.

West Africa is the richest region ever, which includes countries such as Nigeria, Togo, Ivory Coast and Cameroon among others. This sector accounts for about 70% of the total African production, and its current production volume is about 9 and a half million barrels per day, in other words more than the production of Iran, Venezuela and Mexico combined.

After the huge oil and gas discoveries in the Gulf of Guinea, which stretches between Nigeria and Angola, the oil makers prompted to name the region the African Kuwait or the new paradise, due to its small population and its extreme richness in oil and gas. However, Libya remains the holder of the largest reserves of African oil. For example, oil imported from Nigeria and Angola accounted for 5% of the total US imports last year, or $7.6 billion.


As for the volume of US-Libyan oil trade exchange in 2017, it amounted to 1.5 billion dollars, compared to 11.2 billion dollars in oil trade exchange with sub-Saharan African countries combined.

It is a country, despite the turbulence of the political situation in it, which maintained the production of one million barrels of oil per day during 2018.

That is why America cannot leave this huge amount of almost free energy and wealth to others, and it must preserve its interests well, protect them, and work to gradually increase them.

It remains that there are those who impede the flow of these resources and threaten these interests. And there are those who want to get a share of this wealth in one way or another.

The war on “terrorism” is not for humanitarian purposes, as they say The security turmoil in the region constitutes the main dilemma in the exploitation of these huge and tempting resources. Specifically, the spread of Islamic groups such as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS), in addition to the fighting between the large tribes there on the borders of this region for various reasons, including human trafficking, migration trade, and smuggling of all kinds even oil smuggling.

The United States is actively seeking to secure its oil needs and diversify its sources, especially in light of the increase in its consumption of it at a time when it suffers from a decrease in its oil production.

Because it is a country that learns from its experiences, and has seen with its own eyes that oil can be a deadly political weapon. Therefore, the United States created a special policy called the Carter Doctrine, which is based on giving the American military an important role to confront any danger, whatever its form or nature, that impedes the search for oil, securing its sources and access, and maintaining the stability of its prices.

The affairs of the African continent were attached militarily to the US military command based in Europe until 2007.

But because of the energy sector, which suddenly became very promising in the African continent, it was decided to establish an independent US military command that directly sponsors American interests there.

Thus came the establishment of AFRICOM, a unit made up of unified combat forces under the administration of the US Department of Defense responsible for US military operations and military relations with 53 African countries except Egypt, which is within the scope of the US Central Command.

The African Command officially started its activity on October 1, 2008. According to the official command website, the mission of these forces is to work with local and international partners to build their defense capabilities, enhance their ability to respond to crises, and deter and defeat cross-border threats in order to Ensure the progress of the United States, protect its national interests, enhance the regional security of the African continent, and achieve its stability and prosperity.


In other words, it is the weak point of the enemy in relation to the armed movements. Oil is a soft target, easy to attack for militants, and difficult to defend for profiteers. For example, in a non-oil African country such as Tunisia, the gross domestic product decreased from 3% in 2015 to 1% due to the attacks it was subjected to that year, and the revenue of the tourism sector decreased by 45%, or the equivalent of one billion dollars.

According to Forbes, Niger's oil production fell due to the attacks in 2016 from 2.2 million barrels per day to 1.4 million barrels per day, an average of 800,000 barrels per day. So it is a headache caused by these groups to the conflicting countries over the wealth of the brown continent. Its position in the heart of the oil oasis impedes its extraction and flow.

In some cases, it is a major competitor to large oil companies by selling smuggled crude. For example, Mustafa Sanalla, head of the Libyan National Oil Company, indicated in an interview with the German newspaper Zeit in March 2019 that smuggling Libyan oil costs Libyan state coffers $750 million annually. But besides that, the real problem is that smuggling significantly enriches smugglers, including armed jihadist groups, which means an increase in their ability to recruit new elements, improve their armament, and thus carry out more dangerous military operations against vital global interests in the African region.

That is why today there are 7,500 American soldiers on the African continent, along with 1,000 experts and security contractors to secure the sources of African oil, and to reduce or eliminate Islamic groups there, compared to the presence of 4,500 soldiers for France, the oldest colonial power in Africa, in the same region and for the same reason, according to the Intercept newspaper. American.

It is supported on the ground by several military bases, the most important of which is the drone unit stationed in three military bases in Niger in particular, as well as the US Sixth Fleet stationed in the Atlantic Ocean at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea on the one hand, and close to the oil-rich African coast.

On the other side, in the Indian Ocean, at the entrance to the Red Sea, specifically in Djibouti, the US Fifth Fleet is stationed. So in a besieged continent, and its oil is besieged, it is as if the mouth of the Americans is saying do what you like. Everything will return to Washington.

It seems that American reports have begun to pay attention to the Chinese incursion and expansion in the African continent. At a time when the United States was directing its eyes to besieging China economically in its areas of influence in Asia, Beijing was building networks of roads, railways, dams and power stations in African countries through an aid program Financial and grants in exchange for an increase in the volume of trade exchange between the two parties.

This vigorous Chinese activity prompted Washington to sound the alarm, trying to understand what China wanted from there, and most importantly to understand how it penetrated with this calm into the forgotten continent, and gnawed at it country after country without anyone noticing it properly. It seems that the US administration posed a serious question to itself:How did Beijing infiltrate the heart of Africa, deprived of everything? How did this stranger infiltrate one country after another without making any noise?


What does all of the above have to do with the Libya file?


The Libyan file is related to the thorny issues of US foreign policy from several sides.

The Arab country is the owner of the largest proven oil reserves in Africa. On the one hand, it has 2.9% of the world's proven oil reserves, in addition to being the fourth largest gas reserve in Africa, or 0.8% of the world's gas reserves. Libya is a country, despite the raging civil war in it, but it has maintained the production of one million barrels of oil per day of the best and least expensive types of oil in the world. On the one hand, it is a source that it wants to monopolize as much as possible, and on the other hand, it serves it, along with the whole of African oil, in its war on Iranian oil and to compensate for the shortage in supply that the US sanctions will cause in the global market. In 2016, US drone units participated in the battle to expel ISIS fighters from the city of Sirte, near the Libyan oil fields.

On the other hand, Libya has an important strategic location for the American AFRICOM forces, which claim that they are waging an all-out war against these organizations deep in the African Sahara, which threatens the flow of oil from the Gulf of Guinea states.

Its location near that region and its common borders with countries such as Chad, Mali and Niger, and the border with the African Petroleum Commission, constitutes an important observation point and a strategic base for the protection and care of its interests.

Therefore, the American interest in the Libyan political file has been increasing in the last two years, perhaps due to its realization of the importance of Libya in its foreign policy on more than one front. After it relied on its European and Arab agents to manage the affairs of the political file there, it seems that it is in the process of taking matters into its own hands to devote itself to its major issues.

From the announcement by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in July 2018 of the appointment of the former Chargé d’Affairs of the US Embassy in Libya as Deputy UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame, who was wanted to announce the United States’ desire to have a greater role in the Libyan political process, to the announcement of the return of AFRICOM forces To Libya this month, and the appointment of a UN envoy, who is of course American, contributed to the increase in chaos and misled the Libyans by claiming to invite the parties to find a political solution on which everyone would agree, values that in fact do not see in Libya anything other than achieving American interests, even if I spoke on the tongue of the United Nations, up to the talk of some Reports of the American desire to reopen its embassy in Tripoli are all indications of the growing interest in the Libyan situation, and the important role that Libya will play in American foreign policy in Africa.

And the American role there, as America claims, will not be limited to fighting what he calls terrorism only. It needs to end the Libyan political conflict more than ever. And it needs to put an end to its European or Arab partners and allies whose interests are constantly conflicting in Libya, which may disrupt the course of the American strategy for the African continent.


Accordingly, the US position is concerned with the political situation in Libya as much as it serves its interests in the African continent in general. Within the framework of the declared US foreign strategic goals. America will not interfere in Libya to settle the political process only at the will of friends. The Libyan situation is hindering or affecting its course in implementing its priorities in the region, which is the control of oil as an absolute priority of the US policy towards Libya.

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