Mustafa Sanallah Makes False Accusations as Calls for his Removal from the NOC Escalate – Al Marsad

With the growing demands in Libya for his dismissal as a condition for the resumption of oil exports, Mustafa Sanallah seems to have lost his balance in a statement issued yesterday in which he falsely accused the UAE of being behind the closure of oil whilst remaining silent on continued Turkish threats to attack oil facilities.

“The NOC was informed that the United Arab Emirates instructed Haftar’s forces to stop oil production again,” Mustafa Sanallah claimed without specifying who informed him, how, and why. On the other hand, NOC  officials told Al-Marsad, “We learned that the source of this information is the Turkish Embassy in Tripoli.”

(Libya, 13 July 2020) – Following tweets by the US Embassy, the Chairman of the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) Mustafa Sanallah issued a statement which was nothing short of lacking the minimum standards of balance and accuracy. He even implied military escalation in oil ports for the first time without considering the consequences of such language. The increasingly vocal demands for his dismissal from the almost “permanent position” has has been occupying for five years are the reason for such reckless attitude, especially after the international stakeholders started to discuss this matter.

In his statement Sanallah said Russian mercenaries were occupying the oil ports without providing single evidence to support such accusations. Al-Marsad has prove that this allegation was false when it toured the length and breadth of al-Sharara field witihn hours after the accusations were made. Al-Marsad found no trace of foreigner presence at the site.

Sanallah claimed that Syrian mercenaries with the Libyan National Army (LNA) were also occupying the oil ports.However, Sanallah attended the meeting last month with the high-level Turkish delegation and he knows exactly which party Syrian mercenaries support: the Government of National Accord (GNA) and which now total over 13,000 according to ground reports. He is also well aware that Syrian mercenaries with the GNA are waiting for payment of their salaries from the oil proceeds. This is evident from various videos published by Syrian mercenaries themselves. The closure of the oil terminals is a major cause of the payment dilemma that Sanallah faces, and one of the reasons for calls for his dismissal as head of the NOC.

Sanallah’s allegations about the presence of the Syrians, in particular, aroused the discontent of a large segment of the Libyan population who have seen Syrians only in the ranks of the Government of National Accord (GNA). The same mercenaries gathering to attack the oil ports under the banner of Turkey. It is only reports from news agencies such as Reuters and Bloomberg, for example, who claim Syrian presence with the LNA and we were yet to see material or visual evidence of any of their claims. What is telling is that these news media organisations are also the ones who are regularly approached the public relations firm hired by Sanallah through his ex-friend and current NOC’s client, the former UK ambassador to Tripoli, Peter Millett. Millet’s UK1 sterling capital company has won a contract worth thousands of pounds from the NOC.


The tribal chiefs have appeared in several videos abd issued statements since the beginning of this crisis where they claimed full responsibility for the closure of the oil terminal. The also detailed their demands notably that the revenues do not go to the previous corrupt channels that include departments in the NOC and the Central Bank of Libya (CBL). Sanallah responded months ago and threatened to prosecute the tribal leaders for the closure.

Today, however, he has repeated the narrative of the Muslim Brotherhood‘s Khaled al-Mishri, almost parrot-fashion by inexplicably accusing the United Arab Emirates of being behind the closure. Sanallah disregarded his previous accusations and threats to the tribal chiefs whom he pledged to put on trial before they escalated their demands and called for his dismissal. He toned down his rhetoric against them two months ago on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr and invoked the language of Sharia and social customs to argue for the inadmissibility of closure, which is the only effective way with the tribes to make themselves heard by the international community after almost 5 years of colossal corruption exhibited by GNA institutions.

In order to avoid taking responsibility for the corruption and abuse of oil revenues at the NOC, Sanallah accuses another country to avoid criticism. Given the level of anger among the Libyan public this will only escalate demands for his removal. His statements are in line with those of Turkey who are preparing to attack Sirte and Al-Jufra and to sign land and sea “suction” contracts provided the ruling coalition continue in Tripoli with Siddik al-Kabir, the governor of the Central Bank of Libya, and Sanallah as the key facilitators of Turkish economic expansionism in Libya.

“The NOC was informed that the United Arab Emirates instructed Haftar’s forces to stop oil production again,” Sanallah claimed without specifying who informed him, how, and why. On the other hand, NOC  officials told Al-Marsad, “We learned that the source of this information is the Turkish Embassy in Tripoli.”

Iight of the absence of any evidence for such accusations, Sheikh al-Sanusi al-Heliq, Vice-Chairman of the Council of Sheikhs and Notables of Libya, which leads the movement responsible for the closure of oil production, said, “Sanallah has no right to accuse us. He should be the last one to speak about external prescriptions. Closure stems from pure people’s will.”

It is noteworthy that Libyan have seen any of the UAE rulers and officials talk about this matter openly or secretly, whilst everyone has seen Erdogan reviewing the oil ports a month ago on a map in his palace as part of his preparation for war. Such facts support al-Heliq’s statement. Sanallah, however, has remained submissively silent in the face of Erdogan’s continued threats and declarations of war and his goal to control oil facilities

Infographic from Al-Marsad that shows the way Sanallah has been in his position since 2014 by commission rather than appointment.

In August 2014, after coup by Operation Libya Dawn and the legal authority’s exit from Tripoli, a commissioned minister “commissioned” Mustafa Sanallah to be the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Oil, then to be the Acting Chairman of the NOC for a temporary period that has surprisingly lasted for five years so far.

Through this mechanism Mustafa Sanallah has become one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s most important nodes along Siddiq al-Kabir (Governor of the Central Bank of Libya) and Khaled Shakshak (Chairman of the Audit Bureau in Tripoli) in a trinity of positions dominating the vital financial institutions of Libya. All three have been the main obstacles for any solution or dialogue to be possible towards resolving the crisis, and they usurped their expired positions as implicitly described by the former UN envoy Ghassan Salamé during the summer war of 2018.

© Al Marsad English (2020)



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