CIA-Backed General’s Troops Seize Key Libyan Oil Ports

Petroleum Facilities Guard Unable to Hold Off Army

The situation surrounding Libya’s various government and other factions continues to grow more complicated all the time, with reports over the weekend that Libyan Army forces loyal to Gen. Khalifa Hifter have attacked and captured multiple oil ports formerly controlled by the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) and the UN-backed unity government.

The PFG are designed wholly around protecting oil facilities, but the unity government has recently been using them in US-backed offensive operations. It appears this may be limiting their effectiveness in being able to guard facilities, though Hifter’s Army clearly is substantially armed itself. The indications are that the PFG ceded the sites more or less immediately.

This is also likely to raise questions about where US loyalties in the country lie, as the fighting is ultimately between the UN-backed unity government, which the US is supporting in Sirte, and Hifter, who himself is a longstanding CIA asset who is supposed by the UN-backed Tobruk parliament.

In ideal circumstances, Libya is a world power in oil exports, with exports of 1.6 million barrels per day. In practice, since the NATO-imposed regime change, they’ve never managed more than a small fraction of that actually exported, and no one has been able to control the entire production cycle from wells deep inland to the coastal export ports.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.