In 2012, after the revolution, Jadhran was named a commander of the Petroleum Defense Guards, the government force protecting the national oil facilities. Jadhran became dissatisfied with the actions of the central government, accusing it of corruption and incompetence, and demanded more autonomy for the eastern provinces that hold the rich oil fields. He declared that he opposes the Muslim Brotherhood that holds the central power in Tripoli, while detractors tried to link him to jihadists. He favors a federal relationship of the various provinces of Libya, where provinces would control their own resources, and the central government manages the military and foreign affairs.
In 2013, Jadhran set up the Cyrenaica Political Bureau and secured control of eastern ports, namely Sidra, Ras Lanuf and Zueitina. In August 2013, Jathran issued the “Ras Lanuf Declaration”, the declaration asks for the right to “govern our own affairs”. By October 2013, Jathran’s militia, the Cyrenaica Self-Defense Force, was estimated to number 17,500 men.
In 2014, Jadhran attempted to sell oil excluding the central government. The MV Morning Glory was loaded with crude oil at Sidra and broke through a weak government blockade. As a result, Ali Zeidan, the Prime Minister of Libya, was ousted by the parliament led by a Muslim Brotherhood coalition. However, Jathran’s success was short-lived. The US Ambassador, Deborah K. Jones declared Jadhran’s actions to be a “theft from the Libyan people.”  At the behest of the Libyan government, US forces took control of the ship on March 16, 2014, making it unlikely that Jadhran can sell oil without the permission of the central government.
- Margaret Coker (10-3-2013). "Ex-Rebel, With Militia, Lays Claim to Libyan Oil Patch". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014-03-21. Check date values in:
- "Libya : Rebel leader slams "corrupt government" for ports closure.". The North Africa Post. 2013-12-16. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
- Chris Stephen (2014-03-15). "Partition of Libya looms as fight for oil sparks vicious new divide". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
- David D Kirkpatrick (2014-03-17). "U.S. Navy SEALs Take Control of Diverted Oil Tanker". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-03-17.