ישראל קונה נפט בסתר מהאיש החזק במזרח לוב, הגנראל ח’ליפה חפתר
اسرائيل تشتري النفط من الرجل القوي في شرق ليبيا، المشير خليفة حفتر
LIBYAN OIL FINDS ITS WAY INTO ISRAEL
Please note that we decided to withhold the name of the vessel along with the dates for the time being. We have however all the AIS data and satellite imagery to support this report. #OOTT pic.twitter.com/UoaVq95P7N
— TankerTrackers.com🛢 (@TankerTrackers) April 26, 2018
It’s been widely reported that Israel has, in the past, bought Kurdish oil of dubious provenance. In fact, news reports said that much of the oil originated from oil fields controlled by ISIS. That means that Israel, which regularly rails about the supposed global jihadi campaign to turn the world into an Islamic caliphate, actually bought oil which subsidized ISIS. Nowadays, with ISIS on the run, its control of Iraqi oil fields is non-existent. So much of the oil Israel continues to buy from the Kurds may actually come from Kurdish wells.
What’s also interesting about this trade is that much of it goes through the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Which means that Turkey, which claims to be an implacable enemy of the Kurds, is actually helping Iraqi Kurds to sell their oil (and taking a cut of it, no doubt). Not to mention that despite Turkey’s dictator, Erdogan, thundering regularly about Israel’s miserable treatment of the Palestinians (he expelled Israel’s ambassador yesterday), he too colludes in a scheme to supply Israel with much-needed oil.
Israel’s western economy, not to mention the enormous needs of its military, require immense amounts of oil. In the past, Israel has also bought Iranian oil in violation of the international sanctions it supposedly supports. Israel is not above betraying its principles to get hold of this much-needed black gold.
But tonight’s post reveals something little known (until now). Israel is now buying Libyan oil from fields under control of Libyan dictator, Gen. Haftar. Tanker Tracker tweeted on April 26th about the circuitous sailings of an unnamed tanker which loaded Kurdish oil in Ceyhan, arrived at Ashdod and unloaded its cargo. Then the tanker sailed to Crete, where it remained anchored for a week or so, until it set sail for the Libyan port of Eis Sidr. There it took on another load of oil from Haftar-controlled fields and set sail for Greece. After leaving Greece, it set sail for Port Said. However, on its way it diverted course and turned again toward Ashdod, where it offloaded the Libyan crude.
This commerce is part of a much larger picture of military and intelligence support, and weapons deals from Arab states and Israel for Haftar in return for an oil concession and other benefits. I’ve reported (based on this Kuwaiti story) that IAF warplanes attacked ISIS armed formations in support of Haftar’s troops.
All of this was negotiated between Israeli intelligence officials and Haftar himself when he visited Jordan some time ago. Intelligence Online (IO) reported that these contacts were facilitated by Libyan Jews who had emigrated to Israel. Lest one worry that this might be seen as a betrayal by the internationally-recognized Libyan government which is fighting against Haftar, the Mossad is also making contacts with that side as well. As far as Israel is concerned, it will sell weapons and advanced military technology to both sides and let them use it to kill each other. They’re only Arabs, after all.
Another factor in Israel’s considerations is that ISIS elements inside Libya, according to IO, were trafficking in weapons which were shipped via Egypt to Gaza, on behalf of Hamas. So it used Haftar to try to turn off that spigot.
Though there is an UN weapons embargo against Haftar, he receives similar levels of support from the UAE and Egypt. The latter sees him as a Libyan version of Gen. al-Sisi, the Egyptian strongman. Israel generally likes Arab dictators and strongmen. Especially if the choice is them or populist democratic governments. Arab democracy scares the bejesus out of Israel’s political class.
The relationships cultivated among Haftar, the UAE, Egypt and Israel are also part of the wider Sunni-Israel axis led by Saudi Arabia. Israel is a dutiful senior partner doing its share to help its authoritarian, kleptocratic partners.
I’m not sure why Tanker Trackers refused to divulge the identity of the tanker transporting this oil. Who does it protect? The site’s mission is to make the world commerce in oil more transparent. I don’t see how this does that.