Libya is in a bloody civil war where rival sides battle for control of the hugely lucrative Libyan oil terminals.
The Islamist Benghazi Defence Brigade’s captured the oil export terminals at Sidra and Ras Lanuf from the control of Field Marshal Khalid Haftar, the head of the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), a force that dominates in eastern Libya. Haftar had captured the oilfields in September, and the presence of the LNA appeared to have brought enough security to the oil crescent for production to rise from 200,000 barrels a day to close to 700,000. The oil terminals had been shut for the previous two years while under the control of the rival Petroleum Facilities Guard. Ambassadors to Libya from the UK, US, and France urged all sides to recognise that the oil installations were under the control of the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) and revenues must be sent to Tripoli and the UN-backed Government of National Accord. Haftar supports the rival Libya’s parliament, based in the eastern town of Tobruk
Mustafa Sharksi the commander of the BDB, a militia only formed in spring 2016, said in a press conference in Misrata his goal was “to rescue Benghazi from Haftar and return displaced families to their homes”. He said his militia controlled 43 miles (70km) of coast either side of Sidra and Ras Lanuf and would not press on to Benghazi until the NOC had sent another force to take over the oil ports.