National Oil Corporation

Since Muammar Qaddafi was toppled in Tripoli, Saddam Hussein’s fall in Baghdad eight years ago and 1,800 miles away has framed much of the way many think about it. Global leaders, reporters, experts, and even Libyan officials have explicitly argued that Libya will not become another Iraq. This is particularly emphasized when addressing oil and natural gas, which not only dominate Libya’s economy but also are important to the global economy.

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The defection of Libyan oil czar Shukri Ghanem has reignited hope that Muammar Qaddafi’s regime is inching toward collapse. Yet this supposedly “high-level defection” was anything but. Ghanem, the chairman of the National Oil Corporation, was a marginal, American-educated technocrat recruited to ingratiate Libya with an international community suspicious of the eccentric Qaddafi and wary of his 20 years of support for terrorist groups.

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