“Libyan Rebels Warn of ‘War’ if Navy Attacks Oil Tanker”
Reuters, Mar. 9, 2014
“Armed protesters in eastern Libya traded threats with the government on Sunday in a tense stand-off over the unauthorized sale of oil from a rebel-held port. A North Korean-flagged tanker, the Morning Glory, docked on Saturday at the port of Es Sider and local daily al-Wasat said it had loaded $36 million of crude oil. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has said the military will bomb the 37,000-tonne vessel if it tries to leave. Officials said on Sunday that the navy and pro-government militias had dispatched boats to stop it from getting out. The rebels said any attack on the tanker would be ‘a declaration of war.’ The escalating conflict over the country’s oil wealth is a sign of mounting chaos in Libya, where the government has failed to rein in fighters who helped oust veteran ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and who now defy state authority.”
Quickie analysis: This seems to be shaping up as the make-or-break moment for eastern Libya’s separatist movement.