Council Members

The LBBC Business Risk Advisor

The Libyan people’s political and economic hopes following the 2011 revolution, repeatedly confirmed by several elections over the years that followed, have been frustrated by political failure and armed conflict between rival politicians, regions and militias.

LBBC Business Risk Advisor

There is no sign of an early resolution to this conflict and it may get worse before it gets better.  But the country’s tribulations will pass and the Libyan people’s aspirations for a more settled and prosperous future will be within their reach once more.  At that stage, they will look for goods, services and partnerships with overseas suppliers and, as an oil exporter, will have the financial resources to pay for the country’s needs.

No-one can predict when stability will return so it is crucial to monitor developments in-country to ensure that, when it does, LBBC members are ready to resume business. The LBBC has created this page to provide members and their clients with access to up-to-date information and analyses. The material on this page is provided by professional risk advisory companies with staff on the ground in Libya.

This is not to say that there is no business to be done in Libya even now.  Visible (and no doubt invisible) exports continue, albeit at a modest rate, and some contracts are offered.   The risk advisory page provides a valuable resource for members considering responding to these business prospects and the opportunity to consult the companies involved on the conditions affecting the viability and location of the particular business under consideration.

We are sure that LBBC members - both experienced Libyan operators and businesses new to the Libyan market - will find the information provided on this page and the more detailed advice available from the providers both interesting and a valuable input to their business strategies and decisions.

SNE Special Projects

SNE Special Projects have operated within Libya since the revolution of 2011 and are a fully licensed security provider working with our Libyan partner company. We have kept our permanent British & Libyan Country Management Team in Tripoli throughout the last few difficult months, supporting our clients staff and critical infrastructure and offering up to date, regular and accurate reporting throughout this period. We are now in a strong position to advise and support our clients as they look to plan their re-entry back into Libya as and when the current situation stabilises and allows for remobilisation and we have a vast amount of experience of supporting clients from the media, telecoms, power generation & NGO sectors. For more information on our services within Libya please email us at specialprojects@snegroup.co.uk.

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SNE Libya Security Summary - 20 January 2015

In a very positive move this week,it was agreed in the peace talks held in Geneva that Operation Dignity and Libya Dawn forces would both agree to a ceasefire from midnight on the 18 January 2015. The UNSMIL National Dialogue talks held in Geneva have been hailed as a success, with further talks planned for next week to set out a “Road-map for Libya”. 

Statements issued by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the European Union (EU) and various nations regarding the talks in Geneva were unanimous in praise of the commitment and attitudes of the participants in the UN-led dialogue. 

In a snub to the UN, the General National Congress has rejected taking part in the Geneva dialogue talks. At its regular Sunday session in Tripoli, it said that it would attend only if the talks took place in Libya. It proposed the south west border town of Ghat as the location. It also demanded that certain principles had to be accepted before it could join the dialogue. Such as upholding the objectives of the 17 February Revolution. 

The head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, Bernardino Leon, has already stated that the principle of the 17 February agreement underpins the dialogue. However, Congress also wants the UN and the delegates attending the talks to accept in advance the Constitutional Supreme Court ruling which, as far as it and its supporters are concerned, makes it the only legitimate legislature in the country. This final demand is unlikely to be accepted and may yet course the talks to break down unless the GNC are willing to compromise and come to the table with an open mind for talks. 

However taking all this into account, it is still likely that fighting will continue in Libya. Several factions within the Libya Dawn coalition refused to support the proposed ceasefire. Meanwhile, the Libyan Army has stipulated that although it has declared a ceasefire, it will continue to attack “terrorists” within the country. This means that the fighting within Benghazi is set to continue, and areas such as Derna could expect to see renewed Libyan Army military operations. 

An explosion at the Algerian Embassy in Tripoli on the 17 January injured three Security guards, IS in Libya are claiming responsibility for the explosion. The embassy itself was empty, as Algeria along with most other countries had evacuated its diplomatic staff last year. A group calling itself “The Islamic State in Tripoli” claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter, however as yet this is still not confirmed. 

Power-cuts continue daily in Tripoli, however the duration of the cuts are getting shorter which is a positive sign and are around three to five hours in duration now. 

The situation in Benghazi is looking more in hand and with Libyan National Army (LNA) Forces very much in control of the vast majority of the city. Fighters, believed to be members of Ansar Al-Sharia, launched a heavy barrage of mortars and rockets in some parts of Benghazi on Sunday evening. The areas affected were Leithi, Buatni and Shibna. The violence is thought to be a response to the Libya National Army’s announcement of a ceasefire and their statement saying that the truce will not happen in Benghazi or Derna because there they are fighting terrorism.

Due to the current ongoing unstable and unpredictable situation within Libya, SNE are recommending that clients only carry out business essential travel to Libya at present and these trips should only be undertaken within Tripoli city limits and no movement should be attempted in the hours of darkness or near the area of Tripoli International Airport and surroundings districts which have been affected by the fighting and are currently controlled by the Libya Dawn militia group. 

We are advising no movement to the western area of Libya in and around Kikla and Rujban and other surrounding areas where fighting is still ongoing between the Zintan and Libya Dawn militia groups. Sporadic fighting between rival tribal factions is also currently ongoing in the areas of Ubari, Sabha & Murzuq and we are advising our clients not to travel to these southern areas at present.

We are still presently advising NO travel should be made to Benghazi until the current situation shows signs of stability and Operation Dignity forces have full control of the city and transportation methods of entering and leaving Benghazi are open and fully operational again.

SNE are supporting our clients at present in Tripoli with business essential travel visits and are offering a full turnkey security risk management, safe transportation with secure accommodation and life support package based from our Tripoli villa. 

The British FCO and US State Department are still advising against travel to Libya and are monitoring the security and political situation before considering remobilisation plans back into Libya.

SNE remains fully operational on the ground within Tripoli, where our British Country Management Team are able to support any of our existing and additional clients requests and provide up to date accurate in-formation and analysis on the ever changing situation to those clients who are currently out of country monitoring the situation with an aim to re-deploying when the security and political situation allows. 

Before considering travel to Libya, an itinerary specific pre-travel risk assessment including mitigation measures are recommended. In-country personnel should be confident in their evacuation procedures and crisis management plans and in light of the current situation these should be checked and updated where necessary with the appropriate level of support in country to activate the plans when required.

To discuss further how SNE can support your projects in Libya please email specialprojects@snegroup.co.uk or call our Dubai office on +971 44561542 or +971 503786803

Bloxtons

Bloxtons provides fully bespoke risk management and corporate intelligence services. Through our corporate intelligence services we allow clients to make the most efficient use of their time in country, enable access to interlocutors otherwise not possible and provide thorough screening and due diligence capabilities. In Libya we have established strong relationships with government entities as well as a wide range of non-governmental actors across all regions.

Operating in any fragile environment can be challenging; Bloxtons allows companies to go about their daily business with the minimum interruption whilst ensuring complete duty of care compliance. Some of the services we offer include: full in-country security analysis and briefing; bespoke research and analysis products; re-entry planning; country wide evacuation contingency planning; 24/7 emergency response and tracking; due diligence and investigations.

For further information on the risk management and corporate intelligence services Bloxtons can provide to you and your clients please email enquiries@bloxtons.com or call our UK office +44 (0)20 3239 3363.


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Libya Weekly Strategic Update - 2 November 2014:
This week’s strategic update from Bloxtons looks at territorial gains made by forces loyal to General Hafter and the continuing and multifaceted attempts at mediation.

Regional update

Tripoli, the West and South

Whilst Tripoli has largely returned to normal (with the exception of the return of expat workers and diplomatic missions) heavy fighting has continued in Kikla (150km south of Tripoli) and the Southern areas of the Jabal Naffusah.  The fighting continues in large part to be between Zintani militia and non-Misratan elements of the Misratan-led alliance and whilst initially a fight over strategic towns and supply routes it has now become far more personal and tribal given the nature of the fighting in Kikla and the associated deaths.

The East

Forces under the control of General Hafter have in the past week made territorial gains in Benghazi. There is now a clearer east/west territorial control divide in Benghazi itself with Hafter forces solidifying gains in the east of the city, the airport and large areas of the central district (where fighting remains most intense).


Political Analysis

Pressure is building on the government of Prime Minister Abdallah al-Thinni to pursue political means of resolving the ongoing conflict between forces allied with him and Operation Dignity and those of the Misrata-led Alliance (MLA) and Operation Libya Dawn. Seemingly unable to make definitive headway in its offensive against the MLA in Benghazi and elsewhere, al-Thinni appears to be considering entering into negotiations with his opponents. Nonetheless, given the failure of previous “peace talks,” he has clearly not forsaken a military approach at this juncture.

During the course of a visit to Khartoum this week by al-Thinni, the Sudanese government said that it would launch its own series of negotiations to avert a deepening crisis in Libya. Although there was no immediate comment from al-Thinni, he subsequently confirmed that he would entertain negotiations with opposing groups. The statements from both Sudan and the al-Thinni government, however, are so vague as to suggest that little will come of the Sudanese proposal. In addition, members of al-Thinni’s government and its coalition are sceptical of Sudan and its intentions, which will prevent the Khartoum initiative from moving forward.

The alleged Sudanese proposal is just the latest attempt to find a negotiated solution to the Libyan crisis. Talks in September that were organized by the UN in Ghadames failed to gain traction because they only included members of the democratically elected House of Representatives (HoR). The talks took as their basis the legitimacy of the HoR as Libya’s only government, whereas the conflict between the MLA and the al-Thinni government and Operation Dignity is about this very issue. As a result the talks were ineffective and short-lived. Their host, head of the UN Support Mission to Libya Bernardino Leon, has subsequently warned that talks must be seriously pursued or Libya faces protracted civil war. During the recent Paris conference Leon also sought to coordinate the mediation and support being driven forward by numerous special envoys representing both states and international organisations such as the African Union and EU.

Simultaneously, Algeria’s Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra tried to launch his own initiative to resolve the crisis. Algiers first endorsed reaching out to as wide a range of stakeholders as possible, including even Ahmad Qadhafadam, a staunch Qadhafi loyalist, and Abdelhakim Belhaj, a former militant Islamist. In the face of opposition from Libyans and the international community, Lamamra has had to back away from such an aggressive agenda and is now struggling to regain momentum. Making matters worse, it appears that the Algerian initiative may be falling victim to political rivalries in Algiers itself. Algeria’s talks were supposed to have been launched this month, but that is no longer possible and now they may never happen at all.

Meanwhile, General Khalifa Haftar and his Operation Dignity campaign, which is now officially recognized by the al-Thinni government, launched a new offensive on 15 October to gain control of Benghazi. Although the campaign was more effective than previous offensives, at least in part due to winning the support of an armoured battalion and to efforts of some of city’s civilian population, Haftar is still nowhere close to being definitively in control. Even if Haftar had been able to win control of Benghazi, Tripoli is still very much out of his reach. But at this point, Dignity controls neither.

It is perhaps because of this “stalemate” that al-Thinni appears to be willing to entertain almost any proposed peace initiative. Not only does doing so allow al-Thinni to gain the moral high ground, but it also may be his only way of remaining politically relevant.

The weekly Libya oil report is now a paid subscription service. To ensure continued access and to discuss subscription options and Bloxtons' range of bespoke services please contact Sarah Price: sarah.price@bloxtons.com

To discuss how Bloxtons can support your work in Libya please contact us by email at enquiries@bloxtons.com or call our UK office +44 (0)20 3239 3363 or Australian office +61 (0)3 9028 2873. 

Salamanca Risk Management

SRM has been delivering risk management services in Libya since February 2011.  Initial operations involved logistic support to media teams reporting on the Revolution.  From November 2011, SRM capitalised on the experiences of its Country Manager and consultants and assisted a number of major international companies to re-establish their businesses.  


SRM maintains a permanent footprint in Tripoli comprising the Country Manager, an experienced Arabist operations’ team and a number of Libyan facilitators.  A separate office is retained in Benghazi.  Long-term projects in Tripoli, Khums, Birak and Sebha enable SRM to maintain excellent coverage of the nationwide security environment.  Routine enabling support is provided for a wide range of commercial sectors across Libya, including management services, construction, energy, education, media, defence and NGOs.  

SRM is fully licensed to operate in Libya and is in partnership with a Libyan security and risk management company giving strategic reach and insight into key areas of the Libyan Government at national and regional level.  

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Khalifa Hifter Briefing [Friday 23 May 2014]

1 Background 

Khalifa Hifter (‘Hifter’) was born in Benghazi and served as one of Gadhafi’s senior commanders during Libya’s disastrous conflict with Chad during the 1980s. He and several of his men were captured by Chadian forces in 1987 and subsequently disowned by Gadhafi, a policy adopted towards all Libyan prisoners of war. Hifter then went into exile in the US, where he lived for around 20 years in northern Virginia. His proximity to the CIA headquarters in Langley during this time has led to speculation he may have developed ties with the US intelligence community. 

In February 2011, Hifter returned to Libya to take part in the civil war. Although some sources named him as the commander of the rebel armed forces, the National Transitional Council, then the temporary governing authority, denied this and instead afforded the title to Abdel Fatah Younes. Hifter was nonetheless given the rank of Lieutenant General by the NTC, making him officially the third most senior rebel commander. Hifter did not play a significant role in the transitional governments following the revolution, instead returning to his tribal heartland in eastern Libya. 

2 Operation Libyan Dignity 

2.1 Background 
In February 2014, Hifter returned to the public spotlight when he made a televised announcement calling for the suspension of the General National Congress (‘GNC’). However, this action did not garner widespread support; Ali Zeidan, then the Libyan Prime Minister, dismissing his statement as “ridiculous”. However, on 16 May, Hifter re-emerged, this time with 
the backing of several Libyan army units as well as at least two Mirage air force jets, and announced the commencement of Operation Libyan Dignity. 

2.2 Benghazi Assault 
Hifter initially framed Libyan Dignity as a military operation targeting extremist groups in Benghazi - principally Ansar Al Sharia and the February 17 Brigade. The GNC quickly denounced the operation as illegal and called on all army personnel not to take part. It became apparent that the operation had broader aims when on 18 May, Zintani militia brigades stormed the GNC building and captured seven representatives who they claimed were supporting eastern extremists. Although these Zintani militia denied they were acting under Hifter’s direct orders, they did express solidarity with Operation Libyan Dignity. Over the past few days, various government and military officials have pledged their backing for Hifter and Libyan Dignity, whilst the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood has predictably condemned his actions as a military coup. 

2.3 Hifter’s Intentions 
On 20 May, Hifter gave an interview to the Washington Post in which he claimed that Operation Libyan Dignity had been planned over the past two years in response to the assassination and kidnapping of various military and security officials in Benghazi. Hifter added that the aim of Libyan Dignity was to re-establish security in the country, and that he intended to create a unified national army and police force. 

On 21 May, Hifter outlined his plans for a political transition, calling for the GNC to be dissolved and the current government dismissed. He indicated that Libya’s top judicial council should appoint a temporary government to oversee the next elections, with the 60-member constitution committee acting as the government’s legislative arm. On the same day, Habib Lamin, the Minister of Culture, announced his support for Hifter’s plan and stated he no longer recognised the GNC’s legitimacy. Similar announcements by other ministers and GNC delegates are possible over the coming days. 

2.4 Government Response 
As noted above, the government and most delegates within the Islamist and Misrata-dominated GNC have condemned Operation Libyan Dignity as illegal. However, there appears to be a recognition that the GNC in its current form is unsustainable, given the substantial public backing for Hifter. Accordingly, on 20 May, the GNC held an emergency meeting at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Tripoli to seek a solution to the political crisis, resulting in proposals to hold 
elections at the end of June for a new interim legislature and a rerun of the controversial prime ministerial vote won by Ahmed Maetiq. However, after these proposals were announced, it was reported that the GNC meeting failed to reach quorum, and it is unclear whether the measures will be enacted. 

For his part Maetiq has refused to step down, stating in a press conference that “Libyans don’t want to return to having a military body rule them”. 

2.5 Possible Consequences 
Operation Libyan Dignity has yet to develop into a large-scale conflict, despite the clear risks involved in attempting to overhaul the country’s political process. In particular, the restraint exercised so far by the Misratan brigades in not retaliating against the recent Zintani militia movements has prevented widespread clashes from occurring in Tripoli. However, the potential for further violence remains high, particular as Hifter has employed divisive rhetoric in outlining 
his vision for the political transition. Hifter has accused Islamists in the GNC of supporting extremist groups in Benghazi and fuelling the current instability in Libya. 

Hifter’s statements highlight the clear parallels with Egypt’s recent political transition, where General Sisi deposed Mohammed Morsi, the elected President, following widespread public dissatisfaction with the government, before launching a crackdown on Egypt’s Islamist groups. In an interview with an Egyptian newspaper on 22 May, Hifter praised Sisi’s actions and the Egyptian military coup, adding further credence to comparisons between the two men. 

In Egypt, Sisi’s anti-Islamist stance led to violent clashes between security forces and Muslim Brotherhood-led protestors – in Libya the Muslim Brotherhood has not yet mobilised significant street protests, however there remains the potential for future clashes. At the very least the Islamist factions in Libyan politics, led by the Misratan brigades and the Muslim Brotherhood, are unlikely to simply accept Hifter’s suggested steps for the political transition. 

2.6 Contact Details 

Tom Crooke Forward Deployed Analyst 
(Libya Office) 
Tel: +44(0)7551 154247 

Salamanca Group Libya Office 
Tel: +218(0)91 954 2006 

If you would like to contribute to this section of the LBBC website, in the first instance please contact the Secretariat at: secretariat@lbbc.org.uk or call +44 (0) 20 7152 4051