U.S. Unable To Halt ISIS March Towards Libyan Oil

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Joao Peixe via OilPrice.com,

The Islamic State (ISIS) is taking on recruits faster than anyone can keep up with, and it’s heading towards Libya’s oil crescent, eyeing billions of barrels that a country at war with itself cannot protect - even with U.S. air strikes.

In mid-December, the United Nations brokered a power-sharing agreement between Libya’s rival factions, but there is no chance of implementing this. That means there is no chance that the Libyan government can fight back the advance of ISIS. Things are about to get messy, and U.S. air strikes will put only a small dent in a big problem.

According to U.S. intelligence figures, there are an estimated 6,000 ISIS fighters now in Libya, headquartered in the town of Sirte, as Oilprice.com has reported in the past. From here, they control hundreds of miles of coastline. There is nothing in Sirte they want; this is simply a strategic base.

ISIS fighters have also been tracked down to Benghazi, but here they have not solidified control yet. Still, Benghazi is an important recruitment venue. More specifically, this is where it can combine forces with it radical brethren in the form of Ansar al-Sharia and other radical factions. Benghazi is where ISIS gets bigger. And its pace of recruitment is faster than anything we’ve ever seen before. It absorbs new radical factions wherever it goes. The more successful its attacks and territory grabs, the more successful its recruiting becomes. In Libya, the former prowess of Ansar al-Sharia has quickly waned. ISIS is more brutal, and more decisive. It’s either join or be killed.

ISIS’ ability to launch attacks is not limited to Sirte, which is just the staging ground, or even to Benghazi. It can attack pretty much anywhere using hit-and-runs and suicide bombings.

So what is it after? There is a multipronged strategy here. The first is to get closer to Europe. The second is to get closer to Africa. The third is to get closer to more oil revenues to fill quickly depleting coffers in Syria and northern Iraq.

The ISIS Oil Picture in Libya

There is no oil in Sirte, but ISIS was able to take control of this area because no one was really paying attention. The tribes here are loyal to Gaddafi, but they took a backseat to Ansar al-Sharia, which in turn took a backseat to ISIS when it arrived.

ISIS has largely been allowed to run amuck in and around Sirte because the raging civil war that pits two rival Libyan governments against each other has left the country incapable of fighting off the ISIS advance. But now ISIS is targeting Libyan oil installations—and this is what invites U.S. air strikes.

Last month, ISIS attacked Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, which lie east of Sirte and beyond its area of control. Es Sider is an oil port, and Libya’s largest export terminal, with a capacity to export nearly 450,000 barrels per day. Ras Lanuf is a refining area. Ras Lanuf has storage tanks, and the tank attacked by ISIS was holding about 400,000 barrels of oil. The attack on Ras Lanuf was captured on video.

Both Es Sider and Ras Lanuf have been closed since December 2014—victims of the civil war that is largely a battle for control over the country’s oil wealth. They are perilously located right between ISIS-controlled Sirte and Benghazi in the east.

But ISIS has farther-reaching oil plans in Libya. It’s going after the producing fields in the southern desert.

(Click to enlarge)

In a video, ISIS made it clear that it had no plans to stop at Es Sider and Ras Lanuf: "Today Es Sider port and Ras Lanuf and tomorrow the port of Brega and after the ports of Tobruk, Es Serir, Jallo, and al-Kufra."

When it gets a foothold in the southern desert’s oil crescent, this will be the point of no return.

ISIS has already secured the route to the “oil crescent”, which encompasses all the producing fields in the southern desert. It’s done this by taking control of the desert town of Nufaliya, which is about 50 kilometers from Es Sider.

At stake here is Libya’s 48 billion barrels of estimated reserves—the largest in Africa. The civil war alone has shut down over three-quarters of Libya’s production, which might be good for the current oil supply glut, but it’s very bad for Libya and regional stability.

US air strikes won’t likely be enough. ISIS has already cleared a path to the oil crescent, and without a functioning, unified government in Libya, there is no chance of heading them off effectively. Air strikes are but a bandage on a gaping wound.

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Father Thyme's picture
Father Thyme (not verified) Feb 25, 2016 10:22 AM

What difference does it make?

InjectTheVenom's picture


>>>>  U.S. UNABLE

monk27's picture

No dice ! The Russians are busy in Syria. This is Hitlery's toy now; she broke it so she owns it...

giovanni_f's picture

Yes. Ask the Russians already. They turned the table in Syria with a optimal cost/measurable performance ratio. Let the inefficient and ineffective Yanks throw bombs on civilians and hospitals but kindly ask them to fucking get out of the way and let Putins pros do their job.

boink.voink's picture

What a misleading article, ISIS's official name is USUS, why would US stop it's own proxy army in the middle east. Why are these stupid articles posted on ZH, it raises questions on ZH credibility as well.

actionjacksonbrownie's picture

Well, as bad as this is, I am sure most Libyans are still eternally grateful to their u.s. benefactors for ridding them of the evil Gaddafi.


Better add this: /s

Falconsixone's picture



no GO CIA!!!


arms manufacturers are depending on you.......

DaveyJones's picture

It's almost as if... people don't trust the US

BuddyEffed's picture

This article has the aroma of it being a spin piece.  It's kind of stinky in ways.

MalteseFalcon's picture


This article is garbage.

"Vladimir Putin, please pick up the white phone!  Vladimir Putin!"


Lost My Shorts's picture

ISIS is essentially a mafia dressed in religious garb.  For its foot soldiers, ISIS is essentially a job.  It's a chance for young men with no prospects in an over-populated, resource-depleted region to get their hands on some loot and a bride, even if only for a short time, and feel righteous about it.

ISIS is also, as you noted, a key component of the Israeli-Western plan to "manage" the Islamic world.  Originally Syria was to become the garbage bin in which all those above-mentioned young islamic men with no prospects would be lured to be destroyed.  But Putin intervened and messed up the plan.  So now Libya will be the dispose-all.  Everything happening there is a feature, not a bug.  It may look superficially like a fuster-cluck, but actually it's a system.  Designed on the fly, admittedly, but still a system.  Hillary is secretly proud, not embarrassed.

Apofigei's picture

No dice, but for different reason. Russians involved in Syria, precisely to keep their hegemony as europe supplier, they should not and would not bail out Lybia and shoot themselves in the foot, by bringing competing pipeline of energy to europe online.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

My guess it suits Russia just fine that Libya's oil exports and infrastructure is being compromised due to civil war.

HowdyDoody's picture

Russia is in Syria because the Syrian government asked for its help. If the Libyan government (is there one?) asks for Russia's help, I am sure Russia would give it serious consideration.

o r c k's picture

It has an elected Gov. but the US set up another Gov. "to help everybody out". In other words to kill the elected Gov's.

East Indian's picture

Russia will not interfere in Libya even if both the Libyan governments invited Russia; my guess is Russia wants at least one standing example of American "dipomacy" for the world to see. Moreover, why should Russia clean up after Hillary?

zeroboris's picture

No way. Russia is not US' personal army.

Yellow Zookaninnie's picture

Russia be busy but if the dual govt of libya invited China in then the chinese could retreive much of their oil investments there and put their new carrier to good use bombing the spawn of Hillarity.

order66's picture

Why would the U.S. want to stop one of their best policy tools in the Mideast?

TahoeBilly2012's picture


Kirk2NCC1701's picture

<- Give ISIS Ebola

<- Give ISIS Obola

monk27's picture

Isis got Obola already. This is why they are getting wiped out in Syria...

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

The question is, as I asked regarding Syria / Iraq - who is buying it? Being in the oil and gas industry, I've said before that keeping production going in a non war environment has its challenges. The idea that these fields can be productive, and deliver oil simply says that the West is in bed with them. Period.

conscious being's picture

Israeli, Zionist, Marc Rich types are buying it, or will be when it becomes available.

Lynx Dogood's picture

Just out of curiosity, how did 6000 camel jockeys get from Syria to Libya? Walk, run, swim, slingshot, the amazing camel jockey cannon balls????


Or is the cia just training new isis crap in Libya?

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

the same way they got from libya to syria - by western intelligence.

o r c k's picture

Recently, there was video on CNN of big busses loading up ISIS killers and their families from Syria to Libya. CNN ran it as a sympathy piece.

PGR88's picture



So was this Clinton and Obama's plan when they had Khaddafi assassinated and sodomized?

NYPoke's picture

Yes, yes it was.  Funding for ISIS followed shortly there after.

Bank_sters's picture

Lay that fat, filthy whore, Hillary in front of the oil fields. That is a good start.  


We came we saw we died- Hillpig


Father Thyme's picture
Father Thyme (not verified) Bank_sters Feb 25, 2016 10:25 AM

Easy there, slick. Those comparisons are an affront to hard working whores and tasty swine everywhere.

Bank_sters's picture

You are right.  My therapist always accuses me of sugar coating my real feelings.

InjectTheVenom's picture

hey Banksters you just insulted fat filthy whores !

Croesus's picture





new game's picture

why can't the oil just be on one place, so many brown people in the way...

Urban Roman's picture

Call the embassy in Benghazi! They'll know what to do!

monk27's picture

Please leave a message...

Aubiekong's picture

When and if we decide to fight like Russia would we could end this in a matter of weeks.  As long as we play nice and try not to offend our muslim terrorist friends we will continue to see no results and waste lives and treasure...

LawsofPhysics's picture

You seem to ignore the fact that there are TWO sides to every trade.

Prolonged wars are very profittable, for some...

Aubiekong's picture

You are correct profittable for our elected republican and democrats and their money backers...

conscious being's picture

What part of bombing MSF hospitals is playing nice?

Techpriest of Mars's picture

euhhhh .............

offending your ZIONIST terrorist freinds, a big difference ;)


American Sucker's picture

When and if we decide to fight like Russia would we could end this in a matter of weeks.

Way to learn absolutely nothing from the last 15 years.

StychoKiller's picture

"It's not a bug, it's a feature!"

LawsofPhysics's picture

Thank Hillary, the CIA, and the MIC in general for ISIS/ISIL.

Blowback is indeed a bitch...

same as it ever was...

Bank_sters's picture

That is one of the reasons I like trump.  He'll tell her onstage that her policy successes are in fact unmitigated disasters and the only reason she is really running  for president is to stay out of prison.


Now that is worth the price of admission