MAST Security Update: Libya & Yemen
No unity government agreement has been reached. Last week, a day prior to the deadline, General Hafta, military commander in the Tobruk based government, ordered a new offensive in Benghazi against Islamic militants. This offensive was cited by the Tripoli based government as a reason why they could not agree to the current terms.
It was reported in the Libyan media that Bernadino Leon, the current UN special envoy, would be replaced by Martin Kobler, an Arabic speaking German diplomat who is highly experienced in the Middle East.
Whilst the lack of any progress in unity discussions continues, Libya’s oil output has dropped even further. It is now below 300,000 barrels per day. ISIS has also been attacking local security forces at the Es Sider Oil Terminal.
Fighting continues with the Coalition taking the most southwest tip of Yemen in the Bab El Mandeb Strait. Passing vessels have been reporting artillery fire over the weekend, including Naval Gunfire Support from warships in the area.
Ben Stewart, General Manager at leading maritime security company MAST (Singapore), said:
“Tactically it is not a particularly significant area of ground. The Port of Mocha, slightly further north, would be significantly more important as this is the closest port to Somalia and likely to be the best smuggling route to bring supplies into the blockaded Northern Yemen.”
“In terms of the move for Sana’a, the Pro-Government Forces have efforts ongoing in Marib in the east and Tiaz in the south. Marib seems to be have been secured, whilst fighting for Tiaz continues. The population in the north are running very short supplies.”
“It was reported that the Houthis have agreed to a UN sponsored peace plan. It now remains to be seen whether President Hadi, can be convinced to come to the negotiating table – something he has been reluctant to do up until now.”
“Ports in Yemen are open but operations can be difficult due to the poor infrastructure after bomb damage and neglect.
“Aden is in the best condition. The refinery has reopened and cargo operations have been conducted. The container terminal is also operating but subject to delays.”
“Hodeidah is in poor condition, fuel and containers are not allowed to be discharged as per the blockade orders. Only one crane is working and the port is suffering from repeated electricity cuts and low fuel levels, there is a good chance it will close again.
“Salif is open for bulk cargos of wheat. Mukulla and Mocha are being used as the smuggling hubs for refugees, and likely contraband as well. Mukulla is open for commercial work with limited functionality.”