Libmonster ID: U.S.-1263
Author(s) of the publication: T. L. DEITCH


Candidate of Historical Sciences

KeywordsLibyaGaddafioilconflictNATORussiaChinaAfrican Union

Speaking about the causes and consequences of crisis situations in North Africa, analysts pay attention to the oil markets of the region, where the interests of many countries of the world collide. The share of four countries-Nigeria, Angola. Libya and Algeria account for 76% of Africa's oil production1.


Libya, which has 300 oil fields, ranks 1st in Africa in terms of proven oil reserves (according to OPEC, in 2009 - 46.422 billion bbl. 2); production is 1.6 million barrels per day, exports-1.1 million b / d3. It is estimated that 32% of Libyan oil goes to Italy, 14% to Germany, 10% to France, 10% to China, and 5% to the United States4. Natural gas reserves in Libya - 1.5 trillion cubic meters (4th place in Africa) 5.

It is worth recalling that Muammar Gaddafi, who led a group of officers who overthrew King Idris I in 1969, in 1970 achieved not only the withdrawal of American and British military bases from Libyan territory, but also put oil and gas production under control of the country, thereby infringing on the interests of Western oil companies. It is no coincidence that the Gaddafi regime has been the target of pressure from the United States and Britain from the very beginning. However, since the mid-80s, Western companies have once again begun to strengthen their positions in Libya. Almost all natural gas production and 1/3 of oil production ended up in the hands of Italian (Eni and Ajip) and Spanish (Rapsol) companies that supplied Libyan energy resources to Europe.

Currently, oil production in Libya has decreased from 1.6 to 0.5-1 million b / d6. Foreign companies are evacuating their employees and suspending their operations. Oil prices are rising, and the consequences of this growth can be negative not only for oil-importing countries, but also for countries with oil reserves, including Russia.


Experts believe that although Russian companies will benefit from higher oil prices, Russia will then start to suffer losses due to the deterioration of the economic situation in Europe. The latter will be forced to reduce the volume of oil purchases and look for alternative fuels.

Since the lifting of UN Security Council sanctions on September 12, 2003, the Libyan Government has issued more than 50 search and exploration permits to more than 40 companies, including Russian and Chinese companies.

Since the second half of the 90s of the last century, Russian companies have been taking measures to expand the geographical scope of their activities by organizing oil production in more favorable regions outside the country. In the abstract of the results of the analysis of key oil and gas producing countries in Africa, conducted by the Moscow office of Lukoil Holding's subsidiary Lukoil Overseas Service Ltd, it was noted that North Africa meets the criteria of a strategic region adopted in the company's strategic business plan, and Libya is recommended as the most suitable country in the region for the company's operation7.

Libya is the main African country of Lukoil's operations, which has a representative office here and participated in all tenders for the right to explore and develop license blocks. Tatneft also operated in the country, receiving 3 out of 14 contracts for the development of the Ghadames and Sirte oil fields put up for auction in 2006. 8 It should be noted that a total of 23 firms from 15 countries participated in the tender, including such giants as Chevron and Exxon-Mobil.

Gazprom has also made progress in Libya, implementing 10 programs in all four key oil-producing countries in Africa. In 2006-2007, it won a number of tenders for the development of oil fields on the Mediterranean shelf. Gazprom and Italy's Eni have signed an agreement on joint development of large gas reserves in the north of the country (the Elephant project). Moreover, under an agreement signed in 2008 with the Libyan Investment Fund, Gazprom was able to implement joint projects in third African countries9. Western and Arab analysts predict that in the event of regime change, the redistribution of Libya's oil and gas wealth will not be in favor of Russia.10

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In addition, Libya is one of the largest buyers of Russian weapons. A large package of arms contracts worth 1.3 billion euros was signed in January 2010 during a visit to Moscow by Libyan Defense Minister Younis Jaber. According to various sources, a contract for the supply of 12 to 15 fighter jets worth $800 million to Libya was agreed and ready for signing. With the introduction of UN sanctions, which provide for a ban on the arms trade, all contracts are suspended indefinitely. According to experts, the total losses of Russia from the reduction of arms exports to Libya will amount to about $ 4 billion. 11 However, according to the head of Rosoboronexport A. Isaikin, since the contracts have not entered into force, we can only talk about a lost profit of several billion dollars 12.

Russia had a contract in Libya for the construction of a railway, the fate of which is still unclear. The contract signed on April 17, 2008 between Russian Railways (RZD), the winning bidder, and the Libyan Railway Projects Authority provided that the Sirte-Benghazi railway line would run along the Mediterranean coast, connect major cities, and become part of the international transport corridor in North Africa. 13 At the time of the evacuation, the company was at the stage of transition to the implementation of basic works.


Even more significant are China's economic interests in Libya. According to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China, 75 Chinese companies (including 13 state-owned ones) invested in the country; 50 large-scale projects were implemented in the fields of oil production, railway and civil construction, telecommunications; almost 36 thousand Chinese workers were employed. With the outbreak of armed clashes, many projects were suspended. The State Engineering and Construction Corporation of China announced the threat of disruption of 20 construction projects worth $2.68 billion (only half of the projects are completed), the Railway Construction Corporation left unfinished projects worth $4.24 billion, the State Metallurgical Company was also forced to leave unfinished 2 projects 14.

Already in the first week since the beginning of the armed clashes, 27 Chinese office and residential buildings were attacked by rioters and looted, construction equipment, office equipment, and money were taken from employees. 15 Chinese workers were seriously injured. Under these circumstances, Beijing has taken urgent measures to evacuate its citizens. In the largest and most complex operation since the establishment of the PRC in 1949, 35,860 people were removed from Libya.15 According to Beijing officials, China does not intend to send its own people and resume operations until the situation in Libya stabilizes.


The Chinese leadership has recognized that if 20 years ago changes in Africa had little effect on China, now the situation has changed. China has become a major investor in African countries, surpassing the United States in terms of trade with them. Because of China's growing involvement in African affairs, events on the continent directly affect its interests. As for the crisis situation in Libya, An Huihou, a former Chinese ambassador to Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Lebanon, said in an interview with the Huanqiu Shibao newspaper that it is fraught with serious problems for Beijing.16

With the outbreak of the civil war, Libya's oil exports were almost completely paralyzed, and the price of oil exceeded $100 per barrel. If the situation does not stabilize, the price will rise even higher. And since China imports about 50% of the oil it consumes, and more than half of these supplies come from the Middle East, rising prices will negatively affect the Chinese economy, " the former US ambassador said. According to the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China imported about 7 million tons of oil a year from Libya, accounting for 3% of its total oil imports. According to Chinese media, enterprises and companies that invested in raw materials, as well as in infrastructure, suffered serious losses.18

However, despite the financial losses, the Chinese leadership has stated that it is not ready to interfere in the African events.19 "The United States and Iran are actively trying to influence the region," An Huihou said. "China does not interfere in the internal affairs of the countries of the region, and this position is consistent with the Chinese position." "Since we do not interfere in what is happening, we do not come into conflict with the interests of Arab countries and have mutually beneficial economic ties with them," and therefore "no matter how long the unrest lasts and which forces win in the end, our friendly cooperation with Arab countries will not be seriously threatened." The ambassador described China's future role in the region as "a peacemaking, stabilizing and mutually cooperative force," while emphasizing that "China should not and will not interfere in the internal affairs of Middle Eastern countries, despite its dependence on oil supplies from this region." 20

At the same time, the events in Libya have shown the vulnerability of China's position. On the one hand, they confirmed the recent trend of China's search for ways to cooperate with Western countries on the African continent, which has replaced the period of ideological confrontation and mutual attacks. According to a February 9, 2011 editorial in the Huanqiu Shibao newspaper entitled "Africa can become a center of cooperation", "a series of events in Africa has revealed the strong influence of the West in this region, while simultaneously demonstrating to the world that the competition between China and the West in the international arena is not as serious as it is about it." they say, and Sino-European or Chinese-

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American competition in some regions is completely different from that which took place in the past between the United States, Europe and the USSR." Thus, "events in North Africa provide China and the West with space for cooperation"; however, China should be aware that "Western interference in the affairs of the region is not only fraught with risks, but also brings benefits"21.

It should be noted that the position taken by China when discussing UN Security Council resolution 1973 (China, along with Russia and Germany, abstained in the vote), the free interpretation of which by Western countries contributed to the escalation of violence and led to civilian casualties, was criticized in Africa. On the one hand, Gaddafi's supporters expressed gratitude to China for not approving the resolution. On the other hand, they expressed regret that China did not risk vetoing the resolution, which would have prevented the bombing of Tripoli by NATO forces.22 The" restraint " of the Chinese leadership, which failed or did not want to prevent Western bombing of Libya, gave rise to statements by Africans that the crisis in Libya has undermined confidence in China in Africa. "Emerging powers are rushing to do business in Africa and remain calm in the face of mass murder," said an article in the African press, for example.23


However, the continued bombing of Tripoli by NATO forces and the growing number of civilian casualties have prompted the Chinese leadership to take a more decisive stance against Western actions. The official representative of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Jiang Yu, made a demand to stop the military actions of NATO forces at a press briefing. At the same time, as the New York Times wrote, "China's reaction to the military campaign was the strongest: China warned that the continuation of the campaign could lead to a humanitarian catastrophe." The Beijing-based People's Daily called the UN resolution "a cover-up for the West's intentions to establish its hegemony," and the Global Times (published in Beijing under the auspices of People's Daily) called for punishing Western states for "abusing" UN Resolution 24.

China called for an immediate end to the bombing campaign and expressed hope that the international community will find a political solution to the Libyan crisis.25

As the Global Times wrote in its article "The Libyan crisis is testing the strength of China's flexible diplomacy," the opposition expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that China refrained from recognizing the new regime and was in no hurry to help it. Meanwhile, according to the newspaper, the rebels were recognized as a legitimate government only by countries that carry out armed actions against the Gaddafi regime: recognition of the legitimacy of the rebels is necessary for them to justify military intervention. " 26

When Gaddafi's youngest son and three of his grandchildren were killed in a raid on Tripoli on May 1, China called for an end to actions carried out without UN Security Council authorization. "We hope that all sides will immediately cease fire and resolve the crisis peacefully, through dialogue and negotiations," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said. And the Chinese People's Daily once again reminded about the Western "double standards"27.On 11 May 2011, China's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Li Baodong, issued a strong statement on the inadmissibility of actions that lead to the death of innocent civilians. 28 While advocating a peaceful settlement of the Libyan conflict, China tried to act as a mediator, holding talks with both representatives of the official Tripoli and the opposition.


As you know, Russia abstained from voting on UN Security Council Resolution 1973. And in March 2011, in connection with the adoption of a resolution by the UN Security Council on February 26 providing for the application of a number of restrictions on Libya, President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree prohibiting Gaddafi and his family from entering Russia, as well as conducting financial transactions with funds, financial assets and economic resources owned or controlled by them. on the territory of Russia 29.

But it soon became clear that the NATO countries had gone beyond the UN mandate. This prompted the Russian leadership to criticize the actions of the Western coalition. This was first done by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who compared the operation of NATO forces to a "medieval crusade". President Dmitry Medvedev, while attending the BRICS summit in China in June 2011, accused NATO of exceeding its authority under resolution 1973 and expressed deep concern over the events in Libya and the loss of civilian life.30 A statement demanding a cease-fire was made by the State Duma of the Russian Federation. According to VTsIOM, 62% of Russian respondents opposed military intervention in Libya.31

In June 2011, Dmitry Medvedev and Hu Jintao held talks in the Kremlin. The meeting resulted in a joint statement by Russia and China assessing developments in the Middle East and North Africa, which stated that "external forces should not interfere in the internal processes in the countries of the region" and called for a ceasefire in Libya and strict compliance by all parties involved in the conflict with UN Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973. At the same time, it was pointed out that arbitrary interpretation and expanded application of these resolutions are unacceptable. At the same time, Russia, like China, tried to take on mediation functions. Russian Presidential Special Representative for Africa Mikhail Margelov was sent to Libya. He met with the leader of the Transitional National Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, and made an attempt to meet with Gaddafi, who, however, refused to see him. Nevertheless, he managed to hold talks with representatives of the current regime.

page 22

"Moscow's position and negotiations with the Libyan opposition did not come as a surprise to the Libyan authorities," Libyan Ambassador to Russia Amiral Arabi al - Gharib told RIA Novosti. "We expected Moscow to recognize the opposition in Benghazi as a participant in the national dialogue in Libya." According to him, Libya has always "supported and supports national dialogue, and the opposition forces will understand this one day and come to the same decision."32 As Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Rossiya 24 TV channel, "we do not assume the main role. The President's Special Representative for Africa, Mikhail Margelov, has been in contact with all parties, but in the context of the African Union's peacekeeping efforts. " 33

Political analysts have suggested that Russia and China, which did not dare to veto the UN Security Council resolution 1973, were trying to take a step back in order to maintain popularity and support in the Islamic world. According to Gumer Isaev, an expert at the St. Petersburg Center for the Study of the Modern Middle East, the resolution contained a number of strange wording, even from a legal point of view, and it was clear that the EU countries had decided in advance that they would act harshly. 34


However, the Western leadership carefully ignored the negative reaction of China and Russia to his actions, which prompted political scientists to express the opinion that the desire of the United States and its allies to oust China and Russia from the Mediterranean is behind the NATO fight against Gaddafi.35

Of particular interest in this regard is the statement by Republican Paul Craig Roberts, the US Undersecretary of the Treasury under President Reagan, that the US attempts to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya and Assad in Syria are allegedly dictated by their desire to oust Russia and China from the Mediterranean. "China is making large-scale investments in Libya's energy sector and is counting on it for its energy needs,"he said," and it's not just about oil, but also about Chinese expansion into Africa in general."

Referring to the IMF forecast, according to which in the next 5 years the Chinese economy will overtake the American one, since China's GDP will be $ 19 trillion by that time, and the US GDP will be $ 18.8 trillion, the former minister believes that Washington is trying to use its military-strategic capabilities supposedly to slow down the development of the Chinese economy. "This is the main reason for the CIA's activity in eastern Libya... Libya's diplomatic isolation was not the only reason for the military intervention, Roberts said. The main reason is to expel China from Libya, which is what is happening. In addition, it is Gaddafi's payback for his refusal to join AFRICOM, which was the American response to China's expansion into Africa.37 As for Syria, Russia has a naval base here, which means that the events in Syria are also directed against it. "We are coming into conflict with two major states-China, whose economy is probably better than the US, and Russia, which has a powerful nuclear arsenal. We are starting to put pressure on very strong countries, " says Roberts 38. - Probably the biggest risk, and the risk ignored, is the attitude of China. Chinese companies are losing hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of this intervention. China clearly sees the intervention as an act of aggression against it. " 39


The intervention of Western and NATO countries in the Libyan conflict caused a sharply negative reaction in most African countries. Responses to the events in Libya suggested that the participants in the military action might be seeking to divide the country's territory in order to secure access to its vast oil resources; moreover, the French military, politicians and the establishment, who were not only the first to recognize the transitional government in Benghazi, but also persistently continue the military campaign, play the role of a "skirmisher" in this actions even in the face of opposition from other NATO members, such as Germany, Greece, Spain, and Turkey 40.

Blogs appeared in which Africans called on the African Union (AU) to show more determination in its initiatives and influence the BRICS countries, urging them to put pressure on the Security Council to terminate the mandate, since France, the United Kingdom and the United States have gone beyond it, and replace NATO with AU peacekeepers who "do not want to go to the UN Security Council". they are concerned about oil interests."

In Africa, there were calls for Russia and China as permanent members of the Security Council, as well as non - permanent members Brazil, Nigeria and South Africa, to act collectively to put an end to the bombing. Bloggers expressed frustration with the AU's handling of the Libyan crisis, saying that the African Union was eliminated at a time when clarity and the ability to resist intervention were needed. They asked questions: "Where are the African leaders?", " Where is the AU, why is it not helping the Libyan people?". And even - "Can we trust the AU?" 41.

South Africa, the continent's leading state and a new BRICS member, has taken a decisive position on the actions of NATO forces. Although South Africa supported resolution 1973 at the beginning of the conflict, President Jacob Zuma strongly criticized the coalition's actions, calling for an immediate cease-fire and an end to the intervention, in whatever form it takes.42

However, the African Union, albeit belatedly, has expressed concern about the situation in Libya. There are many reasons for this concern. First, the Afro-Union expressed dissatisfaction with the attitude of the Libyan opposition to the Africans who worked in Libya: they were called traitors and subjected to persecution. In addition, Africans expressed concerns that the fire could spread to sub-Saharan countries. According to analysts, the conflict in Libya can create a crisis situation in the central Sahara and Sahel.

The fact is that the waves of refugees rushing south from the Sahara have complicated an already difficult task.

page 23

the economic situation in the region. In addition, the Tuaregs, who are part of Gaddafi's armed forces, can provide an armed and trained, but not having earnings, mass of people in the event of the collapse of his regime, which, of course, will exacerbate political instability in the region. The Sahara, analysts say, is already a region of instability. Al-Qaeda's regional branch, known as Al-Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb, operates here in particular, and there are frequent cases of abductions of workers and tourists by its members. Drug trafficking is also present here: cocaine is exported from South America to Europe.

When France organized a meeting in Paris before the bombing of Libya, the head of the AU Commission, Jean Ping, refused to participate, while the Arab League (LAS) supported the meeting. However, after the bombing began, the League's leadership changed its position, criticizing the actions of NATO. The then Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, said that the coalition had exceeded its authority: "What is happening does not correspond to the goals for which the no-fly zone was established. We want to protect civilians, not bomb them. " 43 Only Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have supported the coalition forces.

In order to find a way out of the crisis situation, the AU Peace and Security Council sent a mission to Libya in April, proposing a plan for resolving the conflict, including a cessation of hostilities, bombing, the creation of a security corridor for humanitarian aid, and negotiations. A delegation consisting of Jacob Zuma, Sassou Nguesso (Republic of the Congo), Amadou Toumani (Mali), Jean Ping and other African statesmen met with representatives of the Transitional Government in Benghazi, who rejected the AU peace plan because it did not include a demand for Gaddafi's immediate departure.

Nevertheless, the African Union has stepped up its efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution of the conflict. It has adopted a road map, which is being adjusted. At the two-day 17th AU summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, which concluded its work on 1 July 2011, relevant proposals were passed on to representatives of both the Libyan authorities and the Benghazi rebels present. An important decision of the summit was the refusal to implement the sanctions imposed by the International Criminal Court, which issued an arrest warrant for Gaddafi.44

The rebel takeover of Tripoli in August 2011 marked a turning point in the civil war. The success of the Transitional National Council has strengthened the position of Western countries in Libya, especially France and the United Kingdom. But the new authorities will have to improve relations with African states, and with China, and with Russia.

1 Hydrocarbon and solid mineral resources of Africa: opportunities for Russian business to participate in their development, Moscow, 2008, p. 25.

Ulyanova Zh 2 Gaddafi's oil will be shared by the US and France // Trud, 22.03.2011.

3 Rossiyskaya gazeta. Week, 03.03.2011.

Campbell Horace. 4 Libya must not be partitioned // Pambazuka News, Cape Town, Dakar, Nairobi and Oxford. 14.04.2011 -

5 Russia in the competitive struggle for African Mineral Resources, Moscow, 2011, pp. 47-48.

Znatnova A. 6 Assessment of events in Libya in the context of Russian oil companies: who will benefit most from the rise in the price of "black gold"? // FINAM. Scenarios and forecasts. 11.03.2011.

7 Prospects of North and West Africa as strategic regions of Lukoil Overseas, Algeria, Libya and Nigeria as countries of presence in the region. Moscow representative office of Lukoil Overseas Service Ltd. p. 32, 47.

8 Russia in the competitive struggle for African Mineral Resources, Moscow, 2011, p. 12.

9 Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 17.04.2008.

Chichkin A. 10 Maghreb redevelopment // Rossiyskaya Biznes-gazeta, 1.03.2011.

11 Live News. 2011 - http//

12 RBC Daily, 11.05.2011.

13 AK&M Online News. 17.04.2008 - http//

14 China counting financial losses in Libya // Global Times, March 4, 2011.

Ding Ying. 15 Out of Libya // Beijing Review. March 10, 2011 -

16 Huantsyu Shibao, March 10, 2011.

17 Ibidem.

18 Vesti, 25.04.2011 -

19 Africa can be a heartland for collaboration // Global Times, 9.02.2011 -

20 Huantsyu Shibao, March 10, 2011.

21 Ibid., February 9, 2011.

22 Libyan crisis tests China's flexible diplomacy // Global Times, April 24, 2011.

Campbell Horace. 23 Opposing Qaddafi's massacre and foreign intervention in Libya // Pambazuka News, 24.03.2011 -

24 New York Times, March 23, 2011.

25 China calls for efforts to end Libya crisis // China Daily, 14.04.2011.

26 Libyan crisis tests China's flexible diplomacy...

27 People's Daily, May 2, 2011.

28 Beijing called for compliance with the UN Security Council resolution on Libya / / Current Comments. 11.05.2011 -

29 News. 14.03.2011 -

30 21.06.2011

31 Libya conflict: reactions around the world // Guardian. 30 March 2011 -

32 RIA Novosti. Moscow, May 25, 2011

33 Sergey Lavrov: Russia does not seek to be the main mediator in Libya. Active comments. July 8, 2011 -

Smirnov S. 34 Russia and China united on the Libyan soil. ITAR-TASS. 16.06.2011.

35 An anti-Chinese "Desert Storm" is coming to Libya. MHTML Document 2011-05-04.

36 <url>. Finance. 26.04.2011 -

37 -kitaern-i-rossiei

38 An anti-Chinese "Desert Storm" is coming to Libya...

39 -kitaem-i-rossiei

Campbell Horace. 40 Libya must not be partitioned....

Tande Dibussi. 41 An African solution to the Libyan crisis // Pambazuka News, 24.03.2011 -; Libya: Museveni, Mugabe and Zuma condemn air strikes // BBC News, March 22, 2011.

42 Libya conflict could create crisis to the South, Analysts Say // VOA May 4, 2011 - analysts-say-U829299html

43 Coalition air strikes see waning support from Arabs, China and Russia // Guardian. 20.03.2011.

44 Rossiyskaya gazeta. 2.07.2011.


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