Libya: Gadaffi dead but risk of split remains – By Exclusive Analysis Ltd.
On 20 October, media reported that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s former leader, was killed by National Transitional Council (NTC) forces. If confirmed, this would not alter the risk of assassination and bomb attacks against foreigners, especially those working in oil fields in the southwestern fields of Ubari and Murzuq, and against NTC officials. Gaddafi would have been very unlikely to play an operational role in such actions. The most important people in the conduct of such operations are Abdullah Sanusi, Gaddafi’s head of intelligence and his sons, Saif al-Islam and Mu’tassim, whose capture or death has not been confirmed. Other key players are mid-level security operatives under Gaddafi and members of his Gadadfa tribe and their allies the Warfala tribe, who are likely to aspire to a role in the future of Libyan politics. These individuals would have both the networks and the technical and operational expertise to conduct such a campaign.
On 4 October, the NTC said it would form a new government after Sirte was captured, which occurred on 20 October. Elections are set to be held eight months after that. The drafting of a new constitution is then due to begin, which we expect to reveal strong differences among the rebels over the allocation of oil and gas revenue to the provinces, the power of the central government relative to provincial governments and the ability of the provinces to contract foreign firms for infrastructure and oil projects. A failure to reach agreement on these constitutional issues within a few months of elections, combined with fighting between former rebels from Tripoli and rival factions from other north-western regions such as Zintan or Misurata, would increase the likelihood of secession by eastern Libya. This region has traditionally had a separate identity to north-western Libya (known as Tripolitania) and could be economically self-sufficient.
We do not assess this to be the most likely scenario in the one-year outlook, however. Rather, we are more likely to see small-scale fighting among the rebels, preceding and following an agreement over a weak federal state that leaves significant economic and security powers with the regions. However, secession would become more likely if the former rebels in north-western Libya fight one another using heavy weaponry for two or three months and if squabbling over a new constitution drags on for many months after elections.
If eastern Libya secedes, the coastal area around Sirte, which includes the oil towns of Sidr, Brega and Ras Lannuf, would likely see most of the fighting to demark the border line and for control of the Sirte basin oil fields, such as Waha, operated by ConocoPhillips, and Raguba. It is unlikely that fighters from the east or the west would be able to reach the major population centres of the other side, indicating that risks to airports and ports in Tripoli, Misurata and Benghazi in such a scenario would not rise significantly. If Sirte falls firmly into the east’s hands, this would indicate much lower risks of collateral damage to oil fields such as Sarir, Bu Attifel and other fields around Awjala and Jalu, where companies like Wintershall, Shlumberger and Eni operate. Revisions of Gaddafi era oil contracts would be very likely under this scenario
Exclusive Analysis is a specialist intelligence company that forecasts commercially relevant political and violent risks worldwide.