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Libya's bungled oil deal

Rather than uniting Libya's feuding national oil companies and myriad rival militias, the United Nation’s clumsy attempts to restart oil exports have pushed them all into pitched battle.
Offshore oil platforms are seen at the Bouri Oil Field off the coast of Libya August 3, 2015. Oil prices lurched 5 percent lower on Monday to their lowest since January, taking global benchmark Brent below $50 a barrel as weak factory activity in China deepened a commodity-wide rout. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi MALTA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN MALTA - RTX1MWTJ

Libya's current dysfunction is more Orwellian than most realize. The so-called unity government, aka the Government of National Accord (GNA), is not actually a union of the country’s main militias. Nor does it geographically represent the country by combining power centers. It draws almost exclusively on Misratan and Tripolitanian powerbrokers. 

The supposed July 2 "merger" of the eastern and western rival National Oil Companies (NOC) is a similar exercise in linguistic creativity. The eastern Tobruk government and the western Tripoli-based GNA are still pursuing different oil policies and maintain separate NOCs. Simultaneously, each is trying to prevent the other from benefiting from the country's oil wealth. In retrospect, it appears the merger announcement three weeks ago was likely fabricated to allay Western demands for progress in the oil sphere.

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