Banks reluctant to provide letters of credit (L/Cs) for Libya's businesses may be impeding the struggle of the country's UN-backed government in Tripoli against military commander Khalifa Haftar.

His Libyan National Army (LNA) launched a surprise attack in April against Tripoli, catching armed groups in western Libya off guard.

L/C impediment

Since then, forces supporting the Tripoli government have improved coordination by reviving armouries from Libya's 2011 revolution against Muammar Gaddafi in order to equip their fighters and acquiring new equipment.

But acquiring the steel required for new equipment is becoming difficult because steelworks are finding it hard to obtain the L/Cs required for a range of critical transactions.

Foreign bank reluctance

Chairman of the Libyan Iron and Steel Company, one of North Africa's biggest steelmakers, recently underlined the difficulties when he talked to the Reuters news agency.

Foreign banks have become reluctant to open L/Cs for the steel plant, said Mohamed al-Faqih, who is in no doubt which side he is on.

"God willing we will finish the barbarian attack of the criminal Haftar," he said.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.