In August 2011, as Libya’s rebels and Nato jets began an assault on Tripoli, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi delivered a speech calling on his supporters to defend the country from foreign invaders. “There is a conspiracy to control Libyan oil and to control Libyan land, to colonise Libya once again. This is impossible, impossible. We will fight until the last man and last woman to defend Libya from east to west, north to south,” he said in a message broadcast by a pro-regime television station. Nine years on, after the outbreak of a second civil war, Gaddafi’s proclamation is not far from the truth – but as the US has retreated from the role it played in his downfall, a constellation of emboldened regional powers has descended on Libya instead. At stake is Libya’s greatest treasure: the largest oil reserves in the entire African continent. The majority of the country’s oilfields are in the Sirte basin, worth billions of dollars a year. With the UN largely shut out of deliberations between Libya’s new Turkish and Russian powerbrokers, the risk of a frozen conflict, or even a partition of the country, seems to be growing.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN