Weekly Digest – Libya (28th July 2020)

Weekly Highlights

  • Total blackout sweeps through south and west Libya
  • Libya resumes flight service starting with Turkey
  • “Oasis Oil” and the British company “Petrofac” discuss development of production reservoirs & wells
  • Bernard Levy pays a controversial visit to Libya
  • Libya conflict: US threatens Haftar with sanctions over oil blockade
  • Currency Exchange:
    • Bank exchange rate:  USD 1 – LYD 1.3834
    • Black market exchange rate:  USD 1 – LYD 5.99

Total blackout sweeps through south and west Libya

The General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) said a total blackout had hit western and southern zones of the power network, which is the second in three days after the blackout of last Saturday.  GECOL said the blackout was caused because of the lack some cities’ willingness to abide by the power load shedding and the resumption of power by 220 megawatts.  This comes after the last Saturday blackout in south and west Libya due to what GECOL described as repeated attacks on power transmission units.  Blackouts in Libya also lead to shutdown of the pumping stations in water wells at the Man-Made River in Hassawna and Jafara, thus causing water cuts depriving millions of Libyans from water supplies in Tripoli and western region.  LIBYA OBSERVER

Libya resumes flight service starting with Turkey

Ending a four-month-plus hiatus due to the pandemic, Libyan airlines resumed flights on Sunday starting with renewed service to Libya’s ally Turkey. The first of the restarted flights was by Libyan Wings Airlines to Turkey, said Misrata International Airport in a statement. Misrata is based in a coastal town of the same name some 187 kilometres (116 miles) east of the capital Tripoli. The second scheduled flight is set to be an Afriqiyah Airways flight. Turkish-Libyan relations have deep roots, and Turkey has been a strong supporter of the country’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). Last fall the countries signed pacts on military and security cooperation as well as maritime boundaries.  AA

“Oasis Oil” and the British company “Petrofac” discuss development of production reservoirs & wells

The media division of the Oasis Petroleum Company announced on Saturday 25th July, the holding of technical and engineering consultations between Oasis Petroleum and the company Petrofac, one of the leading British companies in the field of energy.  The media department said that consultations were held in the presence of the Chairman of the Management Committee of Oasis Petroleum Company, Engineer Mustafa Sana Allah.  The meeting discussed ways to develop production reservoirs and wells at the Oasis oil sites and North Gallo 3 field, as well as provide the necessary technical advice.  LANA NEWS

Bernard Levy pays a controversial visit to Libya

French personality, Bernard Levy, arrived Saturday 25th July in Libya on a private jet on an unannounced visit, whose purpose was considered mysterious by many Libyans.  Libya Alahrar TV reported a source close to the Government of National Accord (GNA) as saying that they had no knowledge of the visit of Levy to Libya and said his presence “is totally rejected”, adding that the GNA didn’t give permission to his plane to land on Libyan soil in Misrata.  The source said the people behind this visit will be held accountable for this issue, which stirred lots of angry reactions from Libyan politicians, GNA officials and ordinary Libyans after news said Levy met with Volcano of Rage Operation commanders and other senior leaders in Misrata.  LIBYA OBSERVER

Libya conflict: US threatens Haftar with sanctions over oil blockade

The US has threatened Libya’s eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar with sanctions and accused Russian military contractors with ties to the Kremlin of seizing the country’s largest oil field and export terminal, the Wall Street Journal reported.  The newspaper reported on Sunday that Haftar, who controls the bulk of Libya’s key oil infrastructure, had reneged on reopening exports since mid-June when the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organisation accused of aiding his offensive against Libya’s internationally recognised government – moved to the Es-Sider terminal.  MIDDLE EAST EYE


List of holidays in Libya 2020

Exchange rates – Libyan Dinar

According to our most recent information (26th July 2020) the Libyan Dinar has the following exchange rates.

The exchange rate from your own bank or credit card company will differ somewhat from the exchange rates as mentioned above. Your bank or credit card company might also apply additional international charges.


Crime levels in Libya remain high, including the threat of kidnapping for ransom. Westerners and U.S. citizens have been targets of these crimes.

Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Libya. Violent extremist activity in Libya remains high, and extremist groups have made threats against U.S. government officials, citizens, and interests. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, hotels, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities.

Outbreaks of violence between competing armed groups can occur with little warning and have the potential to impact U.S. citizens. The capital, Tripoli, and other cities, such as Surman, Al-Jufra, Misrata, Ajdabiya, Benghazi, Sabha, and Dernah, have witnessed fighting among armed groups, as well as terrorist attacks. Hotels and airports frequented by Westerners have been caught in the crossfire. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.

Militia groups sometimes detain travellers for arbitrary reasons, do not grant detainees access to a lawyer or legal process, and do not allow detainees to inform others of their status. U.S. citizens should carry proof of citizenship and valid immigration status at all times but having these documents does not guarantee fair treatment.

For the latest information regarding COVID-19, please visit:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC)


US military claims Russia sending military equipment to Libya

The United States military has said Russia appears to be sending more military equipment to its mercenaries in Libya, including in the flashpoint city of Sirte, in breach of an arms embargo.  The US military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) said on Friday there was mounting evidence from satellite photos of Moscow’s military cargo planes, including IL-6s, bringing supplies to fighters from Russian private military contractor Wagner Group.  

“Imagery reflects the broad scope of Russian involvement,” US Army Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, AFRICOM deputy director of intelligence, said in a statement posted on the military command’s website.  “They continue to look to attempt to gain a foothold in Libya.  “Russian air defence equipment, including SA-22s, are present in Libya and operated by Russia, the Wagner Group or their proxies. Photos also show Wagner utility trucks and Russian mine-resistant, ambush­ protected armoured vehicles are also present in Libya, the type and volume of equipment demonstrate an intent toward sustained offensive combat action capabilities.”

Egypt’s army chief of staff checks combat readiness of forces near Libya border

Egyptian armed forces chief of staff Mohamed Farid inspected on Monday the combat readiness of the forces in the western region near the border with Libya.  The inspection was “within the framework of the General Command’s plan for following up the strict measures to safeguard state borders and national security in all strategic directions, whether on land, sea or air,” according to a statement by the Ministry of Defense.  The top commander’s visit comes a week after the Egyptian parliament authorized the deployment of troops outside the country.  President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had threatened military action against Turkish-backed forces in Libya and said on June 20 that his country has a legitimate right to intervene in Libya and ordered the army to be prepared to carry out missions if necessary.

Clashes between the two main warring parties in the North African country, the Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Khalifa Haftar and the Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Fayez al-Serraj, have intensified recently.  Many foreign powers have backed different sides of the conflict with varying degrees of support, with the most prominent countries being Turkey backing the GNA and Egypt backing the LNA.  Turkish media reported a few days ago that Ankara put in place a military plan in anticipation of a possible Egyptian intervention in Libya.  “Turkey is ready to respond to any attack on its forces in Libya, whomever the attacker maybe,” Turkish Zaman newspaper reported on Thursday citing unnamed government officials.  It added: “If Egypt send military forces to Libya, Turkey has a plan to increase its forces and military equipment in Libya to confront the Egyptian forces.”


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Italy has increased its contribution to the Policing and Security Joint Programme (PSJP) initiative in Libya by Euro 1.3 million, the UNDP reported last week.  The programme is implemented by the UNDP in partnership with the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), and in coordination with the Libya’s Tripoli-based Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior.  UNDP reported that since 2018, and with US$ 1,689,402 (Euro1,498,500) of funds, the Italy has been a supporter of the programme which aims at strengthening the capacity of rule of law institutions and advancing safety, security and access to justice in Libya.  The $1,464,863 (Euro 1,299,325) top up takes the overall total funds from Italy to $3,154,265 (Euro 2,797,825).  LIBYAN HERALD

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Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry called on China to help stop Turkish support for the UN-backed Libyan government based in Tripoli, news agencies reported on Friday.  During a phone call with the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Shoukry discussed the latest developments in Libya, Egyptian Al-Ahram reported.  Shoukry spoke about the committed Egyptian position in its stance on Libya, above all, preserving the country’s unity and security through working to reach a political solution to the conflict, and to help establish the country’s national institutions.  He also stressed on the importance to fight terror and keep external interference away from the war-torn country, referring to the Turkish support for the government based in Tripoli.  MIDDLE EAST MONITOR

Egypt and Turkey are the senior rivals in the struggle for control in Libya, but they are definitely not the only ones in the battlefield, which over the past year has replaced Syria as an arena for international strife. The Arab circle of players also includes the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Algeria and Tunisia. Other participants include Russia, Italy and France, while on the side-lines is the United States, taking notes. These countries are divided into those supporting Libya’s recognized government, headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, including Turkey, Qatar and Italy, and those that are backing and funding General Khalifa Haftar, who established the Libyan National Army in trying to oust the recognized government.  HAARETZ

The Head of the Libyan Presidential Council Fayez Al-Sarraj met Saturday 25th July with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and discussed bilateral relations, developments in Libya and other issues of mutual interest.  The media office of Al-Sarraj said the discussion included reiterating the need for political solutions in Libya as per UN-led efforts and the conclusions of Berlin conference, adding that Al-Sarraj and Erdogan agreed on continuing implementation of the MoUs signed in last November.  Al-Sarraj and Erdogan also talked about economic cooperation and return of Turkish firms to work on suspended projects in Libya, in addition to cooperation in investments, response to Coronavirus and related issues.  LIBYA OBERSER


18th July – Libya’s government in Tripoli extended the current curfew for 15 days – until 02nd August, as the Coronavirus cases continued to increase across the country. The 24-hour Friday and Saturday curfew has been lifted.  As at 26th July, Libya’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported the number of COVID-19 infections in Libya has risen to 2669, with 2056 active cases.  The cases are spread across the country but with the largest numbers now concentrated in Libya’s south.  The curfew extension means Libya’s land borders and airports will continue to be shut to the outside world. Travel between cities is still barred.  

EastFrom 8pm to 6amMovement between cities is not allowed
WestFrom 8pm to 6am 
SouthFrom 8pm to 6am