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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Arab unrest will be a test for OPEC

-- The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own --

By Una Galani and Fiona Maharg Bravo
LONDON, Feb 23 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Arab unrest will test the limits of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. The oil cartel has enough spare capacity to cope with disruptions from Libya and elsewhere. However, the quality of crude differs, and supply could be squeezed if other member countries were to come under threat.
OPEC has around 5 million barrels per day of spare capacity, mostly in Saudi Arabia. That's twice the amount it had during the last oil price spike in 2008. In addition, members of the International Energy Agency have sufficient stockpiles to pump an extra 2 million barrels a day for two years if necessary.
These reserves are more than sufficient to cover a total shutdown in Libya, which produces around 1.6 million barrels per day, equivalent to 2 percent of global output. Even if Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen also stopped production at the same time, the total loss to world oil output would only add up to 2.7 million barrels per day.

Revolutions and riots in these countries have so far led to manageable disruption. Nevertheless, oil above $110 per barrel suggests markets are pricing in further upheaval. Turmoil in Algeria, with 1.8 million barrels per day, would really spook the market. And if unrest spread to Saudi Arabia, which accounts for about 12 percent of global oil production, a big shock would be on the cards.

What's more, not all oil is the same. Libya's high quality crude can't easily be replaced with supplies from other OPEC members. The increase in worldwide refining capacity in recent years may ease this problem. Italy, which imports about 22 percent of its oil from Libya, has enough extra capacity to process heavier oils, according to STRATFOR, a global intelligence consultancy. But the difference in quality complicates the picture. So does timing; prices react immediately, but it would take Saudi up to one month to bring extra barrels to market.
Damage to infrastructure from the current tumult could also lead to a lasting squeeze. Countries in Asia with small stockpiles may also feel more pinched. In the long run, oil-dependent countries cannot afford to turn off the taps for long. Even so, the next few months are bound to be bumpy.

-- The oil price rose above $110 per barrel on Feb. 23 as ongoing turmoil in Libya fuelled fears the unrest could choke supplies and spread to other oil-producing nations.
-- Brent for April delivery was up $4 a barrel to $109.78 by 1600 GMT. On Feb. 21 the price hit a previous 2-1/2-year high of $108.70.
-- Repsol, Eni and BASF's Wintershall have all halted operations amid violent clashes in Libya, which pumps 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd), or nearly 2 percent of global supply.
(Editing by Peter Thal Larsen and Sarah Bailey)

Hundreds back Facebook call for Saudi protest

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DUBAI | Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:43am EST

DUBAI (Reuters) - Hundreds of people have backed a Facebook campaign calling for a "day of rage" across Saudi Arabia next month to demand an elected ruler, greater freedom for women and release of political prisoners.

The page called for a "revolution of yearning" on March 11 in the kingdom, the world's biggest oil exporter and which is ruled by an absolute monarchy.

More than 460 people had endorsed the page by Wednesday morning, but it was impossible to verify how many of them were inside Saudi Arabia or whether any protest would materialize.

Arab uprisings which overthrew leaders in Tunisia and Egypt were mobilized by youths using social media, but activists in Saudi Arabia say a recent Internet call for a demonstration in Riyadh failed to bring anyone onto the streets.

A protest last month in Jeddah after floods swept through Saudi Arabia's second-biggest city was quickly broken up.

The demands included "that the ruler and members of the Shura (Consultative) Council be elected by the people" as well as calls for an independent judiciary, release of political prisoners and the right of freedom of expression and assembly.

They also sought a minimum wage of 10,000 riyals ($2,700), greater employment opportunities, establishing a watchdog to eliminate corruption and cancellation of "unjustified taxes and fees."

Other requests included rebuilding the armed forces, reforming Saudi Arabia's powerful and conservative Sunni Muslim clerics, and "the abolition of all illegal restrictions on women" in the kingdom.

Despite its oil wealth, Saudi Arabia is grappling with unemployment that hit 10.5 percent in 2009. It offers its 18 million nationals social benefits but they are considered less generous than those provided by other Gulf Arab oil producers.

Saudi state television said King Abdullah, returning home on Wednesday after months of absence for medical treatment, would grant benefits to Saudis worth billions of riyals.

The measures did not include political reforms in the absolute monarchy such as fresh municipal elections demanded by liberals or opposition groups. The kingdom has no elected parliament and does not tolerate public dissent.

(Reporting by Dominic Evans; Editing by David Stamp)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Josh Malihabadi

Son of Iran opposition leader Karoubi arrested - report

Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:48pm GMT
Print | Single Page[-] Text [+] TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian security forces have arrested a son of opposition leader Mehdi Karoubi, his website reported Tuesday, one week after his supporters took to the streets in their first demonstrations in more than a year.
"Last night security forces entered the house of Ali Karoubi and arrested him and his wife, Nafiseh Panahi" Sahamnews website said. Panahi was later released but there was no further news of Ali Karoubi, it said.

Sahamnews said there were concerns for Mehdi Karoubi himself after security forces raided his house Monday night and confiscated documents and books.

"After last night's incident and despite many efforts there is no news of the fate of (Mehdi) Karoubi and his wife," the website said. Mehdi Karoubi has been under virtual house arrest for more than a week after calling for supporters of his reformist Green movement to hold a rally on February 14, the first event of its kind since December 2009.

More demonstrations were held Sunday. The new protests were inspired by events in Tunisia and Egypt which the Iranian government has itself applauded, seeing the uprisings as part of an Islamic awakening.

The Iranian rallies were not authorised and were countered by a heavy security clampdown.

Along with Mirhossein Mousavi, the 73-year-old Karoubi heads the "Green" opposition movement which staged huge protests after the 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad which they said was rigged.

The government denies the charge and crushed those demonstrations, accusing the Green movement of trying to overthrow the Islamic system with the support of Iran's foreign enemies.

Government supporters have called for both opposition leaders to be tried and executed, but so far authorities have chosen to isolate rather than arrest them, wary of giving them greater publicity and angering their supporters.

"They are completely isolated by the people and this is enough to confront the seditionists because more confrontation could lead to a situation which brings heavier costs for the system," the ISNA news agency quoted Ali Saeedi, an aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as saying.
Two people were shot dead at the February 14 rally in Tehran, deaths that government supporters blamed on "terrorist" elements among demonstrators but which the opposition movement said were evidence of state brutality.

Police in the southern city of Shiraz denied a third man had been killed during demonstrations there Sunday.

Opposition websites said university student Hamed Nour-Mohammadi was thrown off a bridge. ISNA quoted a police official as saying there had been no protests in Shiraz and the student had died in a traffic accident.

Sahamnews said security forces were seeking another of Karoubi's sons, Hossein, who has been outspoken since his father's house arrest.

(Editing by Louise Ireland)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gaddafi son warns of civil war as turmoil spreads: Morally bankrupt and discredited US can't criticise Geddafi

Hitler wrongly invested on the Vatican but not on US politicians Israeli Hitler receives a standing ovation in US congress

The Islamists, Jihadists, Salfists and Muslim fundamentalists preach anti-USraeli sermons while they continue to implementing the ‘crusaders’ designs. The Gheddafi government persecuted the Islamic fundamentalists and forced them to either leave Libya or end up in jails. As a result, Al-Qaeda rank and files were crowded with Libyans. In Iraq the suicide attacks by Libyans were second only to those of the Saudis and the Jordanians. Right now, the bearded fundamentalists are seen training and fighting side by side with the British, US and French special-forces and the secular Libyans recruited from a number of European capitals. The Pentagon and the CIA have already warned against giving the fundamentalists a role in post-Gheddafi Libya and drafted a plan to get rid of them whenever the tide turns in NATO's favour. According to one observer, the fundamentalists get separated from the rest of the groups during prayers time. This has helped NATO-led advisors on the ground to identify them and to giving them assignments where they can be easily picked up and eliminated by the so-called ‘friendly fires’. The blind fundamentalists never learn their lessons as America will either kill them or abandon them after the need for their services was ended. Similarly, in post Mubarak Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, who has been receiving financial aids from the CIA, started to play the game by the American rules. One can easily state here that the Islamists fools will never learn.

#1 Adnan Darwash
Posted 25 May 2011 - 06:56 AM
Catholic Hitler introduced a Church Tax in order to keep the Vatican on his side while fighting the Jews who were implicated in the crucifixion of Jesus and who refuse to recognize Christianity. In this regard, Hitler was successful as his ally Mussolini became a close friend of Pope Pius XII while Jews were being killed in German-occupied territories. But Hitler's biggest mistake was in ignoring investment on the US legislators who were like him vehement anti-communist. Like Netanyhu, Hitler would have received standing ovations if he had given an address to the US congress announcing operation Barba Rossa; to invade and to destroy the communist Soviet Union and to topple Stalin, while his forces remained occupying Austria, the Czeck Republic and Poland.
Someone once said “victims of abuse tend to abuse others.” That is why one should not be surprised to seeing the Jewish victims of Nazi crimes establishing a state that carries out Nazi-style atrocities. Here are some of the similarities between German and Israeli Nazi practices:
1. The German Nazis preached the superiority of the Arian race. Similarly, the Jews believe that they are superior to others and are being preferred by God over the rest of his creatures.
2. The Germans had established the SS (Schutz Stafel/defense force) and the Gestapo (Geheimstaatpolizei/secret state police) to detain, torture and to assassinate all the 'undesirables' including Communists and Jews. The Israelis have established IDF (Israeli Defense Force), SHABAK, SHIN BEIT and MOSSAD which are known for carrying out heinous crimes against Palestinians in Israel, Jordan, Syria, Tunisia, Europe and Lebanon.
3. Germans discriminated against Jews, Israelis discriminate against Christians and Muslims.
4. The Germans developed and used sophisticated Luftwaffe, Panzers and Chemical weapons. The Israelis developed and used all kinds of weapons including cluster and phosphorus bombs.
5. The German Wehrmacht gave itself the right to attack neighboring countries. The Israeli IDF have invaded Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and the West Bank.
6. In 1947, the Irgun, Haggana and Stern gangs surrounded Deir Yassin and hanged the entire male population of (180-800) to frighten the population. That was a page taken from Himmler's book of atrocities in the former USSR.
While the German Nazi rule lasted from 1939-1945, the Israeli Nazi atrocities are on-going since 1948. The Americans fought NAZI Germany, albeit late, but are currently embracing Israeli Nazi-style atrocities and crimes.
Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times


Posted Mar26/2011, 08:51 AM
Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

The Interim National Council has lost credibility after collaborating with the Americans and their European allies. Its members will not fare better than those in Iraq who entered behind American tanks. The likes of Dr Allawi, Dr Al-Chalabi and Talabini are isolated inside the Green Zone and travels guarded by scores of foreign and local mercenaries. One day the Iraqis will make them pay for the destruction of Iraq and for the killing of thousands. The Libyan Interim Council may win but will end up losing. No-one repects traitors.

To the Libyan Interim Council: With US support you lose if even if you win!
All those who have entered Baghdad behind American tanks to topple despot Saddam, are currently isolated inside the heavily protected Green Zone. In Afghanistan, Hameed Kharzai Republic is limited one sqaure mile inside Kabul. The likes of Dr Allawi, Talibani and Dr Al-Chalabi are the most hated in Iraq and travel guarded by scores of mercenaries. The president of Iraq hasn´t travelled to see the South, West or East of the country despite serving two terms in US-occupied Iraq. I expect the same fate for the US-installed Libyan government. The Libyan people will never accept such an illigetimate birth. One can easily accuse the Interim Council of having aborted the people revolution by soliciting the support of the Americans; who are known for hating Arabs and Muslims. Let Dr Ahmad Jibril visit America and see how much humiliation he reieves, just because he has a Muslim name. He who doesn´t learn from other´s mistakes is apt to repeat them.Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

It was reported that the CIA and DIA agents entered Libya from Egypt to help preparing the uprising in Benghazi. This was followed by special-forces from Britain and foreign legionaires from France. Unlike the peaceful demonstrations against age-old ruthless dictators in other parts of the Arab world, the CIA-managed ‘revolution’ was heavily armed. During the attack on Gaddafi forces, foreign agents on the ground were directing US, French and British bombardment of ground targets. Gaddafi has been in power since September 1st, 1969 and it was high time for him to go.

To have a genuine popular revolution/uprising against a ruthless dictator one expects blood to be shed. We have seen this in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and recently in Syria. Eventually, the army will refuse to fire on the people and join the uprising. Many Libyan army units did this until the hijacking of the uprising by the Americans and their allies became public. The Arabs are absolutely convinced that the Americans will support, finance and arm anyone in order to shed Arab and Muslim blood. The rush to bombard Libya will have severe consequences. Like Saddam, Gaddafi was vehemently opposed to Al-Qaeda. Following the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003 and the killing of criminal Saddam, Al-Qaeda moved in.

It will not be too long before Al-Qaeda men, who are already active in North Africa, find home in Libya ruled by American agents. The Americans should have learned the Iraqi lesson and stayed away instead of tarnishing and insulting the revolution. Some massacres of civilians may have taken place but in the long run, Gaddafi would have been forced to hand in power.
Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

Posted 20 March 2011 - 08:22 AM

The fifth US-controlled failed state!

The common denominator between Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen is that they are controlled by the respective US embassy, infested heavily with US-hired mercenaries; supported by CIA death squads and dirty work specialists. Furthermore, these countries share an acute lack of security, ruled by corrupt ‘democratically-elected’ US-approved agents with stone-age industries, health and educational systems.

With oil and small population, Libya which has been making huge forward steps on every level except the political one where Gaddafi, his sons and inner cliques control everything.

The people of Libya, like those of Tunisia and Egypt, wanted freedom and democracy. The Western powers want to ensure that an obedient puppet follows Gaddafi and went to intervene in a hurry* in support of the non-peaceful armed rebellion. Like in Iraq, the Americans and their ‘coalition of the willing’, have the habit of killing the people in order to free them and in destroying the country in order to ‘liberate’ it. Judging on the experience in Afghanistan and Iraq, the elected puppet that follows Gaddafi, will be isolated inside a US-established green zone and worse than the autocratic half-mad Mummar Al-Gaddafi.Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

* No Western power imposed an air exclusion Zone over Israel when they went to massacres the Palestinians in Gaza in 2008. To the contrary they went to suplly Israel with arms and financial credits and dragged their feet when the UN SCO called for an immediate cessation of hostilities.

I fully agree with you that the Arab people should struggle and make sacrifices in order to obtaining their freedom and to establishing democratic systems. Unfortunately, the natural pace of attaining such goals was impeded by foreign interference mainly because the Arab countries have an abundant raw materials that the West wanted to be in the hands of friendly autocrats, kings, sheikhs and emirs.

Have you noticed the Western rush to intrevene in the Libyan internal affairs in order to ensure the installation of a friendly puppet to succeed Gaddafi. In Tunisia and Egypt, people made sacrifices until the Army and police stopped firing at demonstrators before joining them. The same would have happened in Libya. Gaddafi can't continue firing at his own people. Now, Obama and his Western stooges have added another dimension to the rebellion and gave Gaddafi an excuse that he is fighting crusaders who want Libyan oil.

Morally bankrupt and discredited US can't criticise Geddafi

What has Geddaffi done that the USraelis haven't committed, many times over?
The deranged, with limited educational background*, 27-year old, , 1st Lieutenant army officer, Mummar A.M. Al-Geddafi, led a group of army officers to topple the hapless(Luckless; unfortunate.) and aging King Idris Al-Senoussi of Libya on September 1st, 1969. Gedaffi was originally influenced by late Jamal Abdul Nasser 1952 revolution of Egypt and the call for Arab unity and freedom from colonial rule. He gave the British and the Americans six months to close down their military bases and the removal of all their military personnel. Both the UK and the US knew of Libya oil potential; went along while their oil cartels continued pumping high-grade oil at high profit.

But the free Libya under the in-experienced young officers met a number of challenges with Geddafi political and social policies moved from extreme left to extreme right with the speed of a bullet. As an example he hired US Green Beret and CIA operatives to train leftist German RAF and Italian Red Brigades men on the uses of weapons. His people revolution into which he asked all departments, schools, hospitals, plants and universities to elect a people's committee and to manage their own problems. For a time it looked like a direct form of democracy. But shortly after that, he formed another committee, called the revolutionary committee which undermined the first one with authority to accuse people of betraying the revolution and went to execute young people in public and even on campuses. His foreign policy became an embarrassment to Arabs who abandoned him and forced him to look south to Africa. On the international scene Geddafi was ready to do anything or to pay any sum as long as it gets him some attention. He will soon go, dead or a live, dreaming of an invitation to the Whitehouse. The current popular uprising in Libya is highly justified after 42 years of confusion and chaos. Geddafi has two options: either to leave the country or to die inside his Bab Al-Azizia barracks.

In the meantime, the Americans who lack credibility can't possibly send troops to Libya under any pretext as they know it will help Geddafi and making him a hero. The Americans who massacred people in Fallujah in 2004, and encouraged the Israelis to massacre Palestinians in Gaza in 2008, don't have the humanitarian credit to criticise Geddafi let alone interfere to help his people. The Americans have also tarnished the image of their European allies.
The infamous Condoleeza Rice refused calls to ask the Israelis to stop the massacres in Gaza in 2008 and went to expedite the delivery of cluster and phosphosphorous bombs to Israel.

One must mention here that Geddafi oil has kept him so long in power and kept away the long arms of the Americans and their NATO allies.

In Fallujah 2450 people were killed while the Israeli attack on Gaza killed 1300 Palestinians out of which 400 children. Adnan (IOT).

I vehemently oppose killing any human being or any animal. I am a vegetarian. For this reason I am against USraeli massacres, Hitler's holocaust or Saddam mass killings.
The untouchables of the Jewish financial mafia (e.g Fuld, Greenburg, Goldman...etc) are practically in control of US financial institutions, the media and Washington D.C. As a result, US anti-Arab and Pro-Israeli policies started to severly damage American interests in the Middle East and North Africa.
Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times
*Geddafi needed only 18-months of training at Royal Military Academy to become a 2nd lieutenant.

A Thesis is all what is needed to get a philosophy doctor degree (PhD).
The question is, can a student get a PhD from an American University writing a thesis alone?

Following the fiasco of former defence minister 'Dr' Gutenberg (Dr Googleberg) in Germany* and Gheddafi son‘s PhD from London School of Economics (LSE), dubbed as Libyan School of Economics, many started to question the validity of European graduate schools' programs. In America, a PhD program involves close to 70% graduate-level course work and no more than 30% credit is given for the thesis. It is never enough to grant a PhD in any branch of liberal arts or sciences in US universities based on writing a thesis alone; as it is the case in all universities in East and West Europe.

It is true, that certain universities offer graduate course work but never of the caliber or scope offered by the graduate schools of American universities, where a B-grade average is required. The European Universities,in general,don’t have the necessary funds to offer graduate-level courses, acquire sophisticated equipment or to increase the number of high-calibre teaching staff. Since the promotion of university staff is based on the number of publications, teaching occupies a second place to research. In general, one can safely state that the European universiteis are reserach centres with a teaching load, while the American universities are teaching institutions with a resaerch load. Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

* Many German CEOs are having PhD doctor titles too. They usually ask one of their qualified employees in their companies to write a thesis for them. Mr Saif Al-Islam Gheddafi has played the game by the European rules. It is rather unfortunate for Gutenberg and Gheddafi to be in the limelight.

The Interim National Council has lost credibility after collaborating with the Americans and their European allies. Its members will not fare better than those in Iraq who entered behind American tanks. The likes of Dr Allawi, Dr Al-Chalabi and Talabini are isolated inside the Green Zone and travels guarded by scores of foreign and local mercenaries. One day the Iraqis will make them pay for the destruction of Iraq and for the killing of thousands. The Libyan Interim Council may win but will end up losing. No-one repects traitors.

The call by Bibi Netanyahu on the Palestinians and on the world to recognise a Jewish State of Israel is totally unacceptable. It is true that the Christians and the Muslims had their own empires and the Jews want a chance to have their own. But when in power, the Holy Roman Empire was very cruel as Women were burned on the stakes as witches, while scholars (e.g. Jordano Bruno) were persecuted as heretics and tortured or killed. Furthermore, the crusaders on their way to free the Holy Land, have killed all the Jews of The Rheinland in AD 1096. The church in Yorkshire ordered the killing of Jews whom were later expelled from the country all together in AD1251. In Catholic Spain, Jews and Arabs who lived side by side for over 700 years, were expelled or killed in 1492.
Unlike Christianity and Judaism, Islam recognized 25 prophets from Adam to Mohammed passing through Moses and Jesus. Islam also considers the Torah/Talmud and the Bible as Holy Books.
By default, a Jewish state will adopt practices similar to those adopted by the defunct apartheid state of South Africa; discriminating against all other religions. furthermore, the Jews believe that they are superior to others and god preferred them over all his other creatures.
Before aspire to establishing a Jewish State, Jews must recognise Jesus Christ, Christianity and Islam.

Tell it to the supramist Jews who refuse to allow the Arabs (Christians and Muslims) an appropriate representation in the Knesset. Israel is wrongly called the only democracy in the Middle East. What a rubbish that the Americans have been spreading. Arabs, who constitute 20% of the population have only 8 members in the Israeli parliament (Knesset). To the contrary, the Iranian Parliamnet has two Jewish members although the Jewish community is too small to allow a single member. But 'dictator' Ahmedinejad had ammended the constitution in order to allow Jews to be represented.

Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

Tue Mar 29, 2:05 pm ET
Until uprising, Gadhafi’s son was on U.S. internshipBy Zachary Roth
EmailPrint..By Zachary Roth zachary Roth – Tue Mar 29, 2:05 pm ET
When unrest exploded in Libya last month, Khamis Gadhafi--the youngest son of the country's embattled leader Muammar Gadhafi--wasn't around. He was on an internship program in the United States.

Khamis, who runs Libya's special forces, quickly returned to his home country, where he has led a military unit that has brutally suppressed rebel forces.

The internship, which lasted a month, was sponsored by AECOM, a Los Angeles-based global engineering and design company that has been working with the Libyan regime to modernize the country's infrastructure. Khadis made stops in San Francisco, Colorado, Houston, Washington, and New York City, meeting with high-tech companies (including Google, Apple, and Intel), universities, and defense contractors like Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. While in the Big Apple, Khamis even took in the Broadway show "Mamma Mia."

News of Khamis's internship, which was approved by the State Department, was first reported by ABC News.

Since coming home, Khamis appears to have played a key role in helping his father's regime in its violent campaign to quell the uprising. He has led the elite 32nd Reinforced Brigade, known at the Khamis Brigade, which reportedly has been involved in brutally suppressing rebel forces.

Vice Adm. William Gortney of the Joint Chiefs of Staff described the Khamis Brigade, whose headquarters were the target of U.S. Tomahawk missiles, as "one of the most active in terms of attacking innocent people."

On Monday night, Libyan television showed Khamis dressed in his military uniform and greeting people at his father's Tripoli compound.

A spokesman for AECOM told CNN that the company was "shocked and outraged" to learn of Khamis' military role.

AECOM added in a statement: "The educational internship, which consisted of publicly available information, was aligned with our efforts to improve quality of life, specifically in Libya, where we were advancing public infrastructure such as access to clean water; quality housing; safe and efficient roads and bridges; reliable and affordable energy; and related projects that create jobs and opportunity."

This isn't the first time that Gadhafi's sons--and their ties to the west -- have hit the headlines. As we've written, the regime was embarrassed after Wikileaks cables shed light on the lavish New Year's parties that another son, Muatassim, has held on the Caribbean island of St. Barts, at which Mariah Carey, Usher, and Beyonce have all been paid to perform. And the current crisis also has spotlighted the Libyan leader's own personal eccentricities.

(Soldiers and dozens of tanks from the Libyan military's elite Khamis Brigade, led by Khamis Gadhafi. take positions and check vehicles in Harshan, Libya, Feb. 28, 2011.: Ben Curtis/AP)



One hopes that Obama and Geddafi end up losing

After staying silent about the on-going massacres of peaceful demonstrators in Yemen, Bahrain and Iraq, discredited Obama has made the best gift for Geddafi by announcing his support for the armed Libyan rebels. Most every Libyan is fed up with Geddafi, his green revolution, the green book, peoples committees and the third international theory, during the last 42 years, and went to carry arms to topple his regime.
But the initial success of the revolution may be reversed; especially since the hated US started to deploy warships close to the Libyan shores while more intervention force is ordered for Malta. Those Libyans who were ready to die fighting Geddafi regime started to re-assess their position and get ready to defend Libya against a potential raqi-style American destruction of the country and the killing of its people in order to control the Libyan oil fields. The stupid Americans don’t seem to realise the extent of the Arab hatred for their massares in Iraq and Afghanistan and for their support for Israeli atrocities . If Geddafi ever to gain the upper hand after bloody massacres, the Americans have themselves to blame. The American foreign policy has no morals and no human face. As an example, the Americans didn’t send their war ships to stop the Israeli killing of Palsestinians in Gaza in 2008. To the contrary, they continued delivering all kinds of smart bombs and missiles that killed 1400 Palestinians including 300 children. Furthermore, instead of punishing Israeli war criminals, the Americans helped to undermine Goldstone‘s report detainilng the war crimes. The position of Obama, who has failed in his Middle East policy or in forcing Netanyahu to stop building illegal settlements for 90 days, reminds me of a dirty Iraqi proverb which I may quote oneday. If the Americans and Geddafi start fighting each other, one hopes that both will end up losing. Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times

Buying and selling homelands!
Would the Jews accept to sell Israel now? Kuwait alone can pay cash in Rubels or Sheckels, for any Jew who leaves to where he/she came from. Israel is costing America and its allies just tooooo much. It is about time for the Americans to ask the Jews to behave as a small memeber of the Middle East community of nations. As no Arab will accept a Jew holding an American sword over his head. Following the current uprising in the Arb world, this sword is about to be broken.

Morally bankrupt and discredited US can't criticise Geddafi

What has Geddaffi done that the USraelis haven't committed, many times over?

The deranged, with limited educational background*, 27-year old, , 1st Lieutenant army officer, Mummar A.M. Al-Geddafi, led a group of army officers to topple the hapless and aging King Idris Al-Senoussi of Libya on September 1st, 1969. Gedaffi was originally influenced by late Jamal Abdul Nasser 1952 revolution of Egypt and the call for Arab unity and freedom from colonial rule.

He gave the British and the Americans six months to close down their military bases and the removal of all their military personnel. Both the UK and the US knew of Libya oil potential; went along while their oil cartels continued pumping high-grade oil at high profit. But the free Libya under the in-experienced young officers met a number of challenges with Geddafi political and social policies moved from extreme left to extreme right with the speed of a bullet. As an example he hired US Green Beret and CIA operatives to train leftist German RAF and Italian Red Brigades men on the uses of weapons. His people revolution into which he asked all departments, schools, hospitals, plants and universities to elect a people's committee and to manage their own problems.

For a time it looked like a direct form of democracy. But shortly after that, he formed another committee, called the revolutionary committee which undermined the first one with authority to accuse people of betraying the revolution and went to execute young people in public and even on campuses. His foreign policy became an embarrassment to Arabs who abandoned him and forced him to look south to Africa. On the international scene Geddafi was ready to do anything or to pay any sum as long as it gets him some attention. He will soon go, dead or a live, dreaming of an invitation to the Whitehouse. The current popular uprising in Libya is highly justified after 42 years of confusion and chaos. Geddafi has two options: either to leave the country or to die inside his Bab Al-Azizia barracks. In the meantime, the Americans who lack credibility can't possibly send troops to Libya under any pretext as they know it will help Geddafi and making him a hero. The Americans who massacred people in Fallujah in 1994, and encouraged the Israelis to massacre Palestinians in Gaza in 2008, don't have the humanitarian credit to criticise Geddafi let alone interfere to help his people. The Americans have also tarnished the image of their European allies.
One must mention here that Geddafi oil has kept him so long in power and kept away the long arms of the Americans and their NATO allies.
Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times
*Geddafi needed only 18-months of training at Royal Military Academy to become a 2nd lieutenant.


Q+A-How does Libya oil disruption compare with Iraq's?
23 Mar 2011 08:58

Source: reuters // Reuters

(Updates prices, paragraph 6)

By Barbara Lewis and Emma Farge

LONDON, March 23 (Reuters) - U.N.-backed military action against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has echoed the use of international force against Iraq under Saddam Hussein, but for the oil market the implications are very different.

The following looks at some of the issues at stake.


Oil prices briefly spiked to a high of $39.99 before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and then dropped back.

After Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, U.S. crude climbed above $40 in October of that year and was falling by the time of the intervention of U.N. forces in January-February 1991, which ended the occupation.

Concern about the loss of oil from OPEC member Libya and the possibility of unrest across the Middle East drove Brent futures to a two-and-a-half year of nearly $120 last month.

They remain only just below $116, but analysts said the mood was cautious as traders tackled extreme levels of uncertainty.


Iraq's oil production shrank from more than 2 million bpd to less than half a million bpd in 1991, recovering to nearly pre-1990 levels a decade later and only briefly crashing in 2003. <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Graphic on Iraq crude oil production versus rest of OPEC: http://graphics.thomsonreuters.com/F/10/CMD_IRQOIL1010.gif ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>

Before violence erupted in Libya earlier this year, the OPEC member was producing around 1.6 million bpd. [OPEC/O]

Its production has collapsed to 200,000-300,000 bpd, analysts have estimated, and exports have dried up, with many in the oil market assuming they will remain at a standstill for months to come.

Some have argued disruption will continue for the rest of this year and beyond. [ID:nLDE72K1XU]

Analysts draw the contrast between the mission statement of the 2003 invasion of Iraq when regime change was a clear U.S. objective.

This time, the United States, under President Barack Obama has adopted a low profile, and said Libyans must ultimately determine their fate for themselves. [ID:nLDE72K27G]

At the same time, the market is contemplating the possibility of much wider unrest as popular discontent reaches into Syria, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain and possibly even Saudi Arabia.

Some analysts said removing Gaddafi would be the most positive outcome for oil exports as it could mean an early end to sanctions.

The Arabian Gulf Oil Company, or Agoco, which is headquartered in rebel stronghold Benghazi, said it was making arrangements to market oil directly to foreign buyers instead of via its state-owned parent but no sales have been reported.


Apart from regime change, many commentators were convinced the Iraq war was fought to gain access to its huge oil reserves, which it said last year totalled 143 billion barrels. [ID:nLDE69100U]

Libya's reserves are smaller at around 41 billion barrels. [ID:nLDE66516D]

However, they offer enormous potential as they were under-explored during two decades of sanctions imposed on Libya beginning in the 1980s, which limited its ability to improve oil infrastructure, although they allowed it to continue to export.

Last week, the United Nations specifically named state oil company the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) in its list of entities whose assets are frozen.

At first sight the latest sanctions look draconian, analysts have said, although many predicted they would eventually prove to be leaky.

"If this lingers on, Gaddafi stays in power and it becomes a stalemate, might there be some significant sanctions leakage? Absolutely," said Harry Clark, partner at law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf, specialising in trade and investment rules.

Already it is illegal for U.S. firms to do business with the NOC, but there could be a brief window before other national governments made the U.N. resolution binding, said one lawyer who asked not to be named.

Even so any persistent, intentional breaches, could be prosecuted retroactively, as happened in the case of Iraq.

Iraq endured years of sanctions, although the United Nations oil-for-food programme deliberately allowed for some crude to reach international markets while attempting to ensure revenues were for the good of the general population.

In addition, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein demonstrated sanctions policing was lax and under his regime oil was smuggled over Iraq's land borders.

In contrast, most Libyan oil is exported via Mediterranean ports, making it easy in theory for European ports to detect embargo breaches, although Libya could find more discreet routes -- overland via its border with Sudan, for instance.

Libya's top oil official Shokri Ghanem has also said Libya was considering offering oil contracts directly to China, India and other nations it saw as friends. [ID:nLDE72I0BX]

"The leakiness of sanctions comes from their enforcement," said Saket Vemprala of research group Business Monitor International (BMI).

"There is an obvious Iraq-style split in the coalition, with Russia and China choosing not to go along with the rest."


Previous sanctions regimes against Libya and Iraq hobbled infrastructure by cutting off technology and expertise.

The impact of war and violence has also been devastating in Iraq, where repeated power cuts and sabotage attacks can still disrupt supplies.

So far, analysts thought damage to infrastructure in Libya was minimal.

"Gaddafi didn't want to shoot himself in the foot but to cut off the rebels' ability to finance a long-term insurrection he was careful not to cause irreparable damage because if he were able to regain control, he would need those facilities to come back onstream," said Vemprala of BMI.


Gaddafi forces have steadily regained control of major export terminals, with only Tobruk and Zueitina thought to be held by rebels.

Exports from these two ports amounted to around 265,000 barrels per day before the conflict, according to the International Energy Agency.

Oil trade sources said Italian oil firm Eni fixed a crude cargo last week from the Bouri offshore terminal but at least two other fixtures were cancelled and there have been none since. [ID:nLDE72H1OW]

"There are no fixtures at all. Very few owners would be willing to go there and even if they would, I'm not sure they could make it past the naval blockade," said a crude oil trader, operating in the Mediterranean.
(Editing by James Jukwey)

Elections without freedom or opposition

The communist regimes of the former USSR have failed because of lack of freedom or meaingful opposition. People went to elect those nominated by the party, similar to those held in Libya. No-one was able to criticise neither brother Geddafi nor commrade Brezhnev.

Arab support for us military interventions!!!
The Arab governments have supported the American march on Baghdad to Israeli drums, the destruction of the country and the killing of between 500,000-1,000,000. For this reason, the Arab people want to topple these regimes. These Arab Sultans, Sheikhs, Emirs, kings and military dictators didn't ask the Americans to impose sanctions on Israel after committing war crimes in Gaza in 2008. The Americans may be able to salvage some of their image if they ask the International court of Justice to put Israeli war criminals on trials. These crimes have ben stipulated by Goldstone report. I feel really sorry for the position of Obama as he sounds like a preacher leading an international criminal outfit.
Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times


Libya action could last 'a while,' official says

Reuters/Zohra Bensemra
A soldier loyal to Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi fires shots in the air in Tripoli. More photos »
EmailPrint.. AP – A Libyan boy reacts while standing on top of a destroyed military vehicle belonging to the forces of …
. Slideshow:Libya .
Play Video Video:Sporadic gunfire in Libya Reuters .
Play Video Video:Who Has The Upper Hand? ABC News .

By RYAN LUCAS and HADEEL AL-SHALCHI, Associated Press Ryan Lucas And Hadeel Al-shalchi, Associated Press – 1 hr 33 mins ago
ZWITINA, Libya – The international military intervention in Libya is likely to last "a while," a top French official said Monday, echoing Moammar Gadhafi's warning of a long war ahead as rebels, energized by the strikes on their opponents, said they were fighting to reclaim a city under siege from the Libyan leader's forces.

Burned-out tanks and personnel carriers littered the main desert road leading southwest from Benghazi, the rebel's capital in the east of the country — the remains of a pro-Gadhafi force that had been besieging the city until it was pounded by international strikes the past two nights.

Rebel fighters in Benghazi had now pushed down that highway to the outskirts of the city of Ajdabiya, which pro-Gadhafi forces have surrounded and been pounding with artillery and strikes since last week. The rebels swept into the nearby oil port of Zwitina, just northeast of the city, which was also the scene of heavy fighting last week — though now had been abandoned by regime forces. There, a power station hit by shelling on Thursday was still burning, its blackened fuel tank crumpled, with flames and black smoke pouring out.

Oil prices held above $102 a barrel after the second night of allied strikes in the OPEC nation raised fears of prolonged fighting that has already slowed Libyan oil production to a trickle.

Henri Guaino, a top adviser to the French president, said two nights of bombing runs and missile attacks had hobbled Libya's air defenses, stalled Gadhafi's troops and all but ended attacks on civilians. A cruise missile late Sunday blasted Gadhafi's residential compound near his iconic tent, and fighter jets destroyed a line of tanks moving on the rebel capital.

It was not known where Gadhafi was when the missile hit Sunday, but it seemed to show that he is not safe.

Guaino, asked how long the allied efforts would continue, replied simply: "A while yet."

The U.N. resolution authorizing international military action in Libya not only sets up a no-fly zone but allows "all necessary measures" to prevent attacks on civilians. Since the airstrikes began, the number of civilians fleeing Libya has decreased as Libyans in particular wait out the rapidly changing situation, the U.N. refugee agency said Monday.

Click image to see photos of protests in Libya

Reuters/Suhaib Salem
It was a dramatic turnaround in Libya's month-old upheaval: For 10 days, Gadhafi's forces had been on a triumphant offensive against the rebel-held east, driving opposition fighters back with the overwhelming firepower of tanks, artillery, warplanes and warships. Last week, as rebels fell back, the stream of civilians crossing into Egypt alone reached 3,000 a day.

Then, after the no-fly zone was imposed Friday, the number fell to about 1,500 a day, said UNHCR spokeswoman Sybella Wilkes.

Mohammed Abdul-Mullah, a 38-year-old civil engineer from Benghazi who was fighting with the rebel force, said government troops stopped all resistance after the international campaign began.

"They were running, by foot and in small cars," he said. "The balance has changed a lot. But pro-Gadhafi forces are still strong. They are a professional military and they have good equipment. Ninety percent of us rebels are civilians, while Gadhafi's people are professional fighters."

Rebel fighters descending from Benghazi met no resistance as they moved to the outskirts of Ajdabiya. In a field of dunes several miles (kilometers) outside the city, around 150 fighters massed. Some stood on the dunes with binoculars to survey the positions of pro-Gadhafi forces sealing off the entrances of the city. Ajdabiya itself was visible, black smoke rising, apparently from fires burning from fighting in recent days.

"There are five Gadhafi tanks and eight rocket launchers behind those trees and lots of 4x4s," said one rebel fighter, Fathi Obeidi, standing on a dune and pointing at a line of trees between his position and the city.

Ghadafi forces have ringed the city's entrance and were battling with opposition fighters inside, rebels said. The plan is for the rebel forces from Benghazi "to pinch" the regime troops while "those inside will push out," Obeidi said.

New fighting also broke out Monday in Misrata, the last rebel-held city in western Libya, according to reports from Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.

In Cairo, a group of Libyans angry at the international intervention in their homeland blocked the path of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon following his meeting at the Arab League on Monday.

Ban had finished talks with the Arab League chief Amr Moussa and left the organization's headquarters in Cairo to walk around nearby Tahrir Square, the centerpiece of Egyptian uprising that last month toppled Hosni Mubarak, when dozens of Libyan protesters converged on him and his security detail.

The Libyans, carrying pictures of Gadhafi and banners critical of the United States and United Nation, blocked Ban's path, forcing him to return to the league and leave from another exit.

The resolution makes Gadhafi's forces potential targets for U.S. and European strikes.

U.S., British and French planes went after tanks headed toward Benghazi, in the opposition-held eastern half of the country. On Sunday, at least seven demolished tanks smoldered in a field 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of Benghazi, many of them with their turrets and treads blown off, alongside charred armored personnel carriers, jeeps and SUVs of the kind used by Gadhafi fighters.

The U.S. military, for now at the lead of the international campaign, is trying to walk a fine line over the end game of the assault. It is avoiding for now any appearance that it aims to take out Gadhafi or help the rebels oust him, instead limiting its stated goals to protecting civilians.

Britain also is treading carefully. Foreign Secretary William Hague refused Monday to say if Gadhafi would or could be assassinated, insisting he would not "get drawn into details about what or whom may be targeted."

"I'm not going to speculate on the targets," Hague said in a heated interview with BBC radio. "That depends on the circumstances at the time."

A military official said Air Force B-2 stealth bombers flew 25 hours in a round trip from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and dropped 45 2,000-pound bombs.
What happens if rebel forces eventually go on the offensive against Gadhafi's troops remains unclear.

Rebels defended their support of the international intervention into Libya — apparently feeling the sting of criticism from other Libyans and Arabs who warned the country could be divided or collapse into a civil war.

"Libya will not turn into Somalia or Iraq. It will not be divided. We are battling — the Libyan people — are battling a gang of mercenaries," Mohammed al-Misrati, a rebel spokesman in the stronghold of Misrata, told Al-Jazeera on Monday.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said late Sunday that the U.S. expects turn over control of the operation to a coalition headed by France, Britain or NATO "in a matter of days," reflecting concern that the U.S. military was stretched thin by its current missions. Turkey was blocking NATO action, which requires agreement by all 28 members of the alliance.

Al-Shalchi reported from Tripoli, Libya. Associated Press writers Diaa Hadid in Cairo; Laurence Joan-Grange in Paris; and Lolita C. Baldor and Robert Burns in Washington contributed to this report.


China intensifies condemnation of Libya air strikes21 Mar 2011 03:32

Source: reuters // Reuters

* Strongest Chinese condemnation yet of air strikes

* Says Washington and allies violated international rules

* Likens strikes to 2003 U.S.-led action in Iraq

By Chris Buckley

BEIJING, March 21 (Reuters) - China's top newspaper on Monday stepped up Beijing's opposition to Western air attacks on Libya, accusing countries backing the strikes of violating international rules and risking fresh turmoil in the Middle East.

China's strongest condemnation yet of Western air assaults on the forces of Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi appeared in the People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, and it showed how the military conflict could become a fresh front of contention between Beijing and Washington.

The paper used barely veiled words to accuse the United States and its allies of violating international rules, although China refrained from blocking the United Nations Security Council resolution that effectively authorised the air attacks.

The paper likened the assault on Libyan sites to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and suggested it followed a pattern of Western overreaching in other countries' affairs.

"The blood-soaked tempests(A violent windstorm) that Iraq has undergone for eight years and the unspeakable suffering of its people are a mirror and a warning," said the commentary in the People's Daily.

"The military attacks on Libya are, following on the Afghan and Iraq wars, the third time that some countries have launched armed action against sovereign countries," it said in a reference to the United States and its allies.

"It should be seen that every time military means are used to address crises, that is a blow to the United Nations Charter and the rules of international relations."

The commentary appeared under the name of "Zhong Sheng", a penname that in Chinese sounds like "Voice of the Centre," suggesting that it is voicing top-level government opinion.

China's growing criticism of the Western air assaults on Libya has laid bare the quandaries facing Beijing in the Middle East.

The Middle East is an increasingly important source of oil for energy-hungry China. On the weekend, Saudi Arabia's Aramco announced its latest project proposal to supply crude to a refinery in the southwest of China, where Beijing is building an oil pipeline that slices through Myanmar.

About half of China's crude imports last year came from the Middle East and North Africa. China wants to diversify supplies, but Arab countries and Iran hold so much of global reserves that they are sure to remain major suppliers.

On Saturday, Libya's top oil official said Tripoli was considering offering oil block contracts directly to China, India and other nations it sees as friends in its month-long conflict with rebels.

At the same time, Beijing has had relatively limited diplomatic sway in the Middle East, and no major military role. Instead, it has tended to bow, sometimes begrudgingly(To give or expend with reluctance), to Western demands, while pursuing its commercial and energy interests.


China's handling of Libya reflects that awkward balance: both accommodating and criticising Western demands.

China, which holds the rotating chair of the U.N. Security Council, last week held back from blocking the resolution authorising a no-fly zone over Libya, as well as military action to enforce that zone. It cited the calls of Arab countries for prompt U.N. action.

But Beijing immediately began voicing "serious reservations" about that resolution. The People's Daily commentary again urged other nations to do more to seek a peaceful solution to the clash between Gaddafi and rebel forces.

"People have good reason to express misgivings about the consequences that this military action may precipitate," it said.

Russia, which also abstained on the resolution, called on Britain, France and the United States at the weekend to stop the air strikes, describing them as "non-selective use of force" against non-military targets. (Editing by Ken Wills and Ron Popeski)


FACTBOX-Military assets in play in Libya crisis20 Mar 2011 01:59

Source: reuters // Reuters

March 20 (Reuters) - Allied warplanes in a coalition led by France and backed by Arab nations have gone into action to stop Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's forces attacking the rebel-held city of Benghazi [ID:nLDE72H00K].

U.S. and British ships and submarines fired more than 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Libyan targets to take out their air defences, although no U.S. aircraft were flying over Libya.

Following are assets that are being used, or that could be used, in action against Muammar Gaddafi's troops and those belonging to his military:


France has some 20 fighter jets deployed in an initial operation in Libya, including Rafale multirole war planes, Mirage fighter jets and at least one AWACS surveillance aircraft. The target area involved is an area 62-by-93 miles (100 km by 150 km) around the rebel-controlled city of Benghazi.

The French operation is being run out of the Solenzara air base in the Mediterranean island of Corsica, around an hour's flight from Libya in a fighter jet.

France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier is on the French Mediterranean coast and will head to Libya around midday on Sunday. It could reach the Libyan coast by late Monday carrying 15 fighter jets. Its battle group includes three frigates, a fuel-supply ship and an attack submarine.

France also has air force bases near the Mediterranean towns of Marseille and Istres, about an hour and a half from Libya. Airborne refuelling tanker aircraft were ready on Friday to deploy from Istres.

France rejoined NATO's military command in 2009, reversing four decades of self-imposed exile

Britain said it participated in a coordinated strike on Saturday against Libyan air defence systems using Tomahawk missiles launched from one of its Trafalgar-class submarines. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) also confirmed Stormshadow missiles were launched from a number of Tornado GR4 jets flown from a Royal Air Force base 3,000 miles (4,800 km) away in the eastern county of Norfolk in England. It said the operation was supported by VC10 and Tristar air-to-air refuelling aircraft as well as E3D Sentry and Sentinel surveillance aircraft. The MoD said Typhoon jets were also standing by to provide support.

Britain has two frigates off the Libyan coast, HMS Cumberland and HMS Westminster, which also could be called on to support operations. Government sources earlier said destroyers could be deployed.


The United States started a "limited military action" in Libya several hours after France that included launching strikes along the Libyan coast that would target Libyan air defences.

The U.S. military deployed planes, cruise missiles and electronic attacks, the Pentagon said.

A defence official said the U.S. Navy has three submarines outfitted with Tomahawk missiles in the Mediterranean ready to participate, including attack submarines Newport News and the Providence. They were joined by two Navy ships.

Tomahawk missiles can cripple aircraft or anti-aircraft defences in a no-fly operation.

In all, the U.S. Navy has five combat ships in the Mediterranean, including at least one guided-missile destroyer, but there are no U.S. aircraft carriers close to Libya.

The USS Enterprise, which recently was stationed in the Red Sea, has been moved eastwards, away from Libya, to join the USS Carl Vinson, in the Arabian Sea to support Afghanistan operations.

Aviano, south of the Alps in Italy, is the region's only U.S. air base with aircraft assigned to it -- 42 F-16s. The Pentagon has not discussed the positioning of other planes in the region. The United States has a range of Mediterranean military bases and installations in Italy, Greece, Spain and Turkey.


Canada's HMCS Charlottetown warship has joined naval actions, including a naval blockade, taking place off Libya, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters.

Canadian fighter jets have reached the region but need another day or two of preparation before they can join the mission, a Canadian government spokesman said.


Italy has deployed dozens of combat aircraft at its base at Trapani, in western Sicily in readiness for possible involvement in airstrikes on Libya.

Tornado fighters that can be used to destroy enemy air defences and radar as well as F-16s and Eurofighters used for air-to-air defence have been moved to Trapani from bases in Piacenza in northern Italy, Gioia del Colle in Apulia.

Italy has offered the use of a NATO base near Naples for joint command centre for the joint operation, and could participate later on in military activities, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said.

Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa said in all seven bases in Italy -- at Amendola, Gioia del Colle, Sigonella, Aviano, Trapani, Decimomannu and Pantelleria -- were available and some allies had asked to use them.

Five are on the southern mainland or Sicily, making them some of the closest available bases to Libya.

19 Mar 2011 11:44

Source: reuters // Reuters


Allies launch Libya force as Gadhafi hits rebels

AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus
Libyan rebels celebrate on a captured Government tank in the outskirts of Benghazi, eastern Libya, Saturday, March 19, 2011. More photos »
. Slideshow:Anti-government protests in Libya .
Play Video Video:Fighter jet shot down over Benghazi Reuters .
Play Video Barack Obama Video:Obama OKs missile strikes on Libya, no ground troops AFP .
– 17 mins ago
BENGHAZI, Libya – The U.S. and European nations pounded Moammar Gadhafi's forces and air defenses with cruise missiles and airstrikes Saturday, launching the broadest international military effort since the Iraq war in support of an uprising that had seemed on the verge of defeat. Libyan state TV claimed 48 people had been killed in the attacks, but the report could not be independently verified.

The longtime Libyan leader vowed to defend his country from what he called "crusader aggression" and warned the involvement of international forces will subject the Mediterranean and North African region to danger and put civilians at risk.

The U.S. military said 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from American and British ships and submarines at more than 20 coastal targets to clear the way for air patrols to ground Libya's air force. French fighter jets fired the first salvos, carrying out several strikes in the rebel-held east, while British fighter jets also bombarded the North African nation.

The strikes, which were aimed at enforcing a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone, were a sharp escalation in the international effort to stop Gadhafi after weeks of pleading by the rebels, who have seen early gains reversed as the regime unleashed the full force of its superior air power and weaponry.

President Barack Obama said military action was not his first choice and reiterated that he would not send American ground troops to Libya.

"This is not an outcome the U.S. or any of our partners sought," Obama said from Brazil, where he is starting a five-day visit to Latin America. "We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy."

Thousands of regime supporters, meanwhile, packed into the sprawling Bab al-Aziziya military camp in Tripoli where Gadhafi lives to protect against attacks.

Defense officials cautioned it was too early to fully gauge the impact of the onslaught. But a senior U.S. defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the mission was ongoing, said the Americans believed Libya's air defenses had been heavily damaged by the cruise missiles.

Explosions continued to rock the coastal cities, including Tripoli, where anti-aircraft guns could be heard firing overnight.

Click image to see photos of protests in Libya

AFP/Patrick Baz
Libyan TV quoted the armed forces command as saying 48 people were killed and 150 wounded in the allied assault. It said most of the casualties were children but gave no more details.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was "deeply concerned" about civilians' safety and called on all sides "to abide strictly by the rules and principles of international humanitarian law" by distinguishing between civilians and fighters and allowing safe access for humanitarian organizations.

Gadhafi, who has ruled Libya for 41 years, said in a telephone call to Libyan state TV that he was opening weapons depots to allow his people to arm themselves in defense.

He said the international action against his forces was unjustified, calling it "simply a colonial crusader aggression that may ignite another large-scale crusader war."
He also said the U.N. Security Council and the international community were responsible for "stopping this unjust flagrant aggression against a sovereign country immediately."

His regime also acted quickly in the run-up to the strikes, sending warplanes, tanks and troops into the eastern city of Benghazi, the rebel capital and first city to fall to the rebellion that began Feb. 15. Then the government attacks appeared to go silent.

Operation Odyssey Dawn, as the allied assault has been dubbed, followed an emergency summit in Paris during which the 22 leaders and top officials agreed to do everything necessary to make Gadhafi respect a U.N. Security Council resolution Thursday calling for the no-fly zone and demanding a cease-fire, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said.

"Our consensus was strong, and our resolve is clear. The people of Libya must be protected, and in the absence of an immediate end to the violence against civilians our coalition is prepared to act, and to act with urgency," Obama said earlier.

Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, director of the Pentagon's Joint Staff, told reporters in Washington that U.S. ships and a British submarine had launched the first phase of a missile assault on Libyan air defenses to clear the way for the imposition of a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone over the North African country.

Gortney said the mission has two goals: prevent further attacks by Libyan forces on rebels and civilians, and degrade the Libyan military's ability to contest a no-fly zone.

Mohammed Ali, a spokesman for the exiled opposition group the Libyan Salvation Front, said the Libyan air force headquarters at the Mateiga air base in eastern Tripoli and the Aviation Academy in Misrata had been targeted.

About 20 French fighter jets carried out "several strikes" earlier Saturday, military spokesman Thierry Burkhard told The Associated Press. He said earlier that one of the planes had fired the first shot against a Libyan military vehicle.

"All our planes have returned to base tonight," he said, and denied a Libyan TV report that a French plane had been hit.

He would not elaborate on what was hit or where, but said French forces are focusing on the Benghazi area and U.S. forces are focused in the west.

The U.S. has struck Libya before. Former President Reagan launched U.S. airstrikes on Libya in 1986 after a bombing at a Berlin disco — which the U.S. blamed on Libya — that killed three people, including two American soldiers. The airstrikes killed about 100 people in Libya, including Gadhafi's young adopted daughter at his Tripoli compound.

Libyan regime official Mohammed al-Zwei said a large number of civilians were injured when several civilian and military sites in the capital, Tripoli, and the nearby city of Misrata were hit. He also reiterated the Libyan allegation that the rebels were linked to al-Qaida. There was no way to independently verify the claims.

The rebels said earlier that they had hoped for more, sooner from the international community, after a day when crashing shells shook the buildings of Benghazi and Gadhafi's tanks rumbled through the university campus.

A doctor said 27 bodies had reached hospitals by midday. As night fell, though, the streets grew quiet.

Libyan state television also showed Gadhafi supporters converging on the international airport and a military garrison in Tripoli, and the airport in Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, in an apparent attempt to deter bombing.

In an open letter, Gadhafi warned: "You will regret it if you dare to intervene in our country."

In Paris, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Gadhafi's government had lost all legitimacy and lied when it declared Friday it would abide by a cease-fire.

"We have every reason to fear that left unchecked, Gadhafi will commit unspeakable atrocities," she said.

Saturday's emergency meeting in Paris, which included U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa and the foreign ministers of Jordan, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates, was the largest international military action since the beginning of the Iraq war, launched almost exactly eight years ago.

"The time for action has come, it needs to be urgent," British Prime Minister David Cameron said after the summit.

Earlier Saturday, a plane was shot down over the outskirts of Benghazi, sending up a massive black cloud of smoke. An Associated Press reporter saw the plane go down in flames and heard the sound of artillery and crackling gunfire.

Before the plane went down, journalists heard what appeared to be airstrikes from it. Rebels cheered and celebrated at the crash, though the government denied a plane had gone down — or that any towns were shelled on Saturday.

The fighting galvanized the people of Benghazi, with young men collecting bottles to make gasoline bombs. Some residents dragged bed frames and metal scraps into the streets to make roadblocks.

"This city is a symbol of the revolution, it's where it started and where it will end if this city falls," said Essam Gheriani, an opposition spokesman.

At a news conference in the capital, Tripoli, the government spokesman read letters from Gadhafi to Obama and others involved in the international effort.

"Libya is not yours. Libya is for the Libyans. The Security Council resolution is invalid," he said in the letter to Sarkozy, Cameron, and the U.N. secretary-general.

To Obama, the Libyan leader was slightly more conciliatory: "If you had found them taking over American cities with armed force, tell me what you would do."

In a joint statement to Gadhafi late Friday, the United States, Britain and France — backed by unspecified Arab countries — called on Gadhafi to end his troops' advance toward Benghazi and pull them out of the cities of Misrata, Ajdabiya and Zawiya. It also called for the restoration of water, electricity and gas services in all areas. It said Libyans must be able to receive humanitarian aid or the "international community will make him suffer the consequences" with military action.

Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa said that Libyan officials had informed the U.N. and the Security Council that the government was abiding by the cease-fire it had announced Friday and called for a team of foreign observers to verify that.

In the course of the rebellion, Libya has gone from a once-promising economy with the largest proven oil reserves in Africa to a country in turmoil. The foreign workers who underpinned the oil industry have fled; production and exports have all but ground to a halt; and its currency is down 30 percent in just two weeks.

The oil minister, Shukri Ghanem, held a news conference calling on foreign oil companies to send back their workers. He said the government would honor all its contracts.

"We are still considering all our contracts and agreements with the oil companies valid," he said. "We hope from their part that they will honor their agreements, that they will send back their experts and their people to work."

He suggested future decisions on oil deals would favor countries that did not join the international force against Gadhafi: "A friend in need is a friend indeed," he told reporters in Tripoli.

Italy, which had been the main buyer for Libyan oil, offered the use of seven air and navy bases already housing U.S., NATO and Italian forces to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya.

Italy's defense minister, Ignazio La Russa, said Saturday that Italy wasn't just "renting out" its bases for others to use but was prepared to offer "moderate but determined" military support.

Warplanes from the United States, Canada, Denmark arrived at Italian air bases Saturday as part of an international military buildup. Germany backed the operation but isn't offering its own forces.

The British defense secretary, Liam Fox, said in a statement that Tornado GR4 fast jets flew 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) from Royal Air Force Station Marham in Norfolk, England, and back, making it the RAF's longest-range bombing mission since the 1982 Falklands conflict. The jets launched Stormshadow missiles, while a Trafalgar submarine launched Tomahawk cruise missiles.

HMS Westminster was off the Libyan coast and HMS Cumberland was in the region, while Typhoon aircraft were standing by, the statement said.


Al-Shalchi reported from Tripoli, Libya. Associated Press writers Ben Hubbard in Cairo; Nicole Winfield in Rome; Jamey Keaten in Paris; Ron DePasquale in New York; and Robert Burns in Washington also contributed to this report.



Iran's NITC to review sending more tankers to Libya
09 Mar 2011 13:29

Source: reuters // Reuters

(Repeats to attach to alerts)

LONDON, March 9 (Reuters) - Iran's biggest crude oil tanker operator NITC will need to review whether to send its vessels to Libya if it receives a new order, a senior NITC official said on Wednesday. An NITC tanker left the eastern Libyan port of Tobruk on Tuesday with around 1 million barrels of crude oil, said the official, who declined to be named.

"We have no programme to send more," the official told Reuters from Tehran.

"There has not been any demand for Libya. If there was any demand we will have to think about it." (Reporting by Jonathan Saul, editing by Anthony Barker)


Libya tells waiting Chinese oil tanker to leave
10 Mar 2011 06:38

Source: reuters // Reuters

BEIJING, March 10 (Reuters) - Libya has told Chinese oil trading firm Unipec that its 2.0 million barrels of Es Sider cargo has been cancelled and asked a Unipec-chartered Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) to leave the Libyan port of Es-Sidar, a trading source said on Thursday.

Unipec will send the VLCC, the "Gulf Sheba", to Algeria to load Saharan Blend for April loading, the source said.

The company will not buy any Libyan crude for April loading, he added.

On Wednesday, tanker operator Gulf Navigation told Reuters the Gulf Sheba was docked at the Libyan port of Es-Sidar but had not been able to load any crude oil. (Reporting by Judy Hua and Tom Miles; Editing by Ken Wills)


Libya clashes widen, Interpol issues Gaddafi alertFri Mar 4, 2011 5:40pm GMT
Print | Single Page[-] Text [+]
1 of 1Full SizeBy Maria Golovnina and Michael Georgy
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi's forces battled rebels on several fronts in a worsening of Libya's crisis on Friday and unrest erupted in the capital when gunmen fired to break up crowds shouting "Gaddafi is the enemy of God".

Paris-based Interpol delivered a global alert against Gaddafi and 15 members of his inner circle to help police around the world enforce U.N. sanctions aimed at ending turmoil in the world's 12th largest oil exporter.

Vowing "victory or death", eastern-based rebels pressed home a westwards push towards Gaddafi's Tripoli stronghold with an attack on the oil town of Ras Lanuf, which lies on a strategic coastal road, claiming to have taken its airport.
In the west, security forces loyal to Gaddafi launched an offensive to retake Zawiyah, a town near the capital that has for days been defying his rule, and residents said 30 civilians had been killed. Among the dead was the town's rebel commander.

The rebellion in Zawiyah -- the closest rebel-held territory to the capital and also the site of an oil refinery -- has been an embarrassment to the authorities who are trying to show they control at least the west of the country.

The government said earlier in the week it was not using military force to retake rebel-held cities, though one official did not rule it out if all other options were exhausted.


Eastern regions of the country, around the city of Benghazi, have already spun out of Gaddafi's control after a popular revolt against his four decades of rule. The rebels' grip on the coastal highway appears to be strengthening.

The uprising against Gaddafi, the bloodiest yet against a long-serving ruler in the Arab world, has knocked out nearly 50 percent of the OPEC-member's 1.6 million barrels of oil per day output, the bedrock of its economy.
The upheaval caused a humanitarian crisis on the Tunisian border where tens of thousands of foreign workers fled to safety with no means on onward transport. An international airlift is gradually reducing the number of people trapped in tent camps.

The rebels earlier told Reuters they were open to talks only about Gaddafi's exile or resignation, after attacks on civilians that have provoked international condemnation, arms and economic sanctions and a war crimes probe.

"Victory or death ... We will not stop until we liberate all this country," Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the rebel National Libyan Council, told supporters of the two-week-old uprising.

Abdullah al-Mahdi, a rebel spokesman, told Al Jazeera opposition fighters would attack the capital once a "no-fly" zone was enforced by international powers to try to shatter Gaddafi's grip on the country of six million people.
Western nations have called for Gaddafi to go and are considering various options including the imposition of a no-fly zone, but are wary about any offensive military involvement.

In developments likely to raise concern about dwindling food and medical supplies in rebel-held areas, reports from around the vast country suggested a sharp worsening of a conflict that the West fears could trigger a mass refugee exodus to Europe.

In the east, rebels were attacking a military base on the outskirts of Ras Lanuf, an oil port on the Mediterranean, which has a refinery, pipelines and a terminal, and the army responded with artillery fire and machinegun fire from helicopters.

Flashes, thuds and bangs resounded from the battlefield, along with wailing sirens and puffs of smoke in the air.

Rebels said they had captured the airport near the town and intended to push forward towards the military base after dark.
An oil facility at Zueitina, south of the rebel-held city of Benghazi, has been damaged and is on fire, Al Jazeera said, showing a video of black smoke rising from an oil plant.
In Zawiyah, about 50 km (30 miles) west of the capital, pro-Gaddafi forces fought for hours with rebels who have been holding the town centre, two residents told Reuters.

"From 11 a.m. until now Gaddafi's mercenaries, mainly from Africa, have been opening fire on people here," said a local man called Ibrahim. "Hundreds of victims are now in the town hospital."

"We have no choice but to continue our fight against this dictator."

In Tripoli, shooting rang out across Tajoura district as Gaddafi loyalists broke up a crowd of protesters seeking an end to his long rule and shouting "Gaddafi is the enemy of God!"

The demonstrators spilled out of the Murat Adha mosque after Friday prayers, and several hundred of them began chanting for an end to Gaddafi's four decades in power.

"This is the end for Gaddafi. It's over. Forty years of crimes are over," said Faragha Salim, an engineer at the protest in Tajoura.

Al Jazeera reported that up to 100 people had been arrested in Tripoli, accused of helping the rebels.

Earlier on Friday, rebel volunteers said a rocket attack by a government warplane just missed a rebel-held military base which houses an arsenal in the eastern town of Ajdabiyah.
U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday he was concerned a bloody stalemate could develop between Gaddafi and rebel forces. "Muammar Gaddafi has lost the legitimacy to lead and he must leave," Obama said.


As international efforts progressed to isolate the Libyan leader, Austria widened an asset freeze list to include a top official at the Libyan Investment Authority, Mustafa Zarti, because of possible ties to Gaddafi's inner circle.

Zarti, 40, will be questioned by Austrian authorities on Friday, interior ministry spokesman Rudolf Gollia said.

Zarti told Austrian radio he had no clue how much money the Gaddafi clan might have amassed in the Alpine republic.

Libya's main sovereign wealth fund, the LIA, controls about $65 billion, has stakes in European blue-chip firms including Italian bank UniCredit and British publisher Pearson, owner of the Financial Times.


OIL FUTURES: Crude Retreats After Report Of Libya Resolution

By Dan Strumpf

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Oil futures retreated Thursday, but held above $100 a barrel, after a report that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had accepted a plan for a peaceful resolution to the conflict there.

Light, sweet crude for April delivery fell $1.01, or 1%, at $101.22 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange gave up $1.69, or 1.5%, at $114.66 a barrel.

Crude futures lost ground after Al Jazeera reported Gadhafi had accepted a plan proposed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that called for a multinational commission to mediate the conflict with rebel groups. The violence in Libya has sent oil prices sharply higher in recent weeks amid disruption to the North African country's crude supplies.

"The market's very jittery," said Gene McGillian, a broker at Tradition Energy. "The rumors...wiped out [Wednesday's] gains."

Heavy fighting continued in Libya into Thursday, with reports of pro-Gadhafi warplanes bombing the rebel-held oil town of Marsa el-Brega. Meanwhile, the likelihood of Western intervention in the conflict appeared to dim after U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday warned of "loose talk" of a no-fly zone over the country, an idea that has been floated in the U.S. and Europe.

The International Energy Agency said Thursday the unrest in Libya had started to affect Europe's oil supplies. Europe is the main recipient of Libyan oil, and several major oil producers have announced they have suspended production and pulled staff out of Libya over the last week. On Wednesday, the IEA said between 850,000 and 1 million barrels a day of Libyan crude output has gone offline, raising its estimate from 500,000 to 750,000 barrels a day.

"The disruption is starting to have an impact, especially on European countries," IEA chief Nobuo Tanaka told Dow Jones Newswires. However, Tanaka said no country has asked the IEA to release strategic oil stocks. He added that crude prices above $100 a barrel could have a "very significant undermining effect" on global growth.

Nymex crude settled above $100 a barrel Wednesday for the first time since September 2008, propelled by the turmoil in Libya. The contract continued to hold above the psychologically significant threshold Thursday despite talk of a resolution to the conflict.

"About the only driver capable of pushing values back toward...the $95-$96 area would be a sizable (strategic reserve) release by either the U.S. or the IEA," said Jim Ritterbusch, head of the oil trading advisory firm Ritterbusch and Associates, in a report.

Front-month April reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, recently lost 3.65 cents, or 1.2%, to $2.9930 a gallon. April heating oil fell 3.49 cents, or 0.8%, to $3.0328 a gallon.

-By Dan Strumpf, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2818; dan.strumpf@dowjones.com.

Click here to go to Dow Jones NewsPlus, a web front page of today's most important business and market news, analysis and commentary: http://www.djnewsplus.com/access/al?rnd=lm5M%2BoeAAZ904HFea1yJpw%3D%3D. You can use this link on the day this article is published and the following day.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

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5Discussed3Gaddafi says protesters are on hallucinogenic drugs
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Wed, Mar 2 2011France, UK to evacuate 11,000 Egyptians from Libya
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Sat, Feb 26 2011Related NewsGaddafi strikes town, rebels call for foreign help
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U.S. warns of civil war in Libya unless Gaddafi goes
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PARIS/LONDON | Wed Mar 2, 2011 3:47pm GMT

PARIS/LONDON (Reuters) - France and Britain said on Wednesday they would evacuate thousands of Egyptian workers stranded on Tunisia's border after fleeing violence in Libya.

The two nations said they were responding to a call from the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR and others for assistance to prevent a humanitarian crisis developing as Tunisia struggles to cope with the sudden inflow of people.

"It is vital to do this, these people should not be kept in transit camps if it is possible to take them back home," Prime Minister David Cameron said.

British officials said 85,000 mainly Egyptian migrant workers were massed across the Tunisian border, with a further 40,000 waiting on the Libyan side, following the two-week-old uprising against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Britain will charter three commercial passenger aircraft to fly 6,000 people back to Egypt over the next three days. The first two planes will leave Britain on Wednesday for Djerba in Tunisia.

France will send military transport planes and a naval landing ship to evacuate 5,000 refugees within the next week, its foreign ministry said.

French Armed Forces spokesman Colonel Thierry Burkhard said a naval amphibious landing vessel should arrive in the Mediterranean within two days, as part of the operation.

Separately, two planes chartered to take medical supplies to the central hospital in the rebel-held eastern Libyan city of Benghazi had arrived in Cairo late on Tuesday and should reach their destination shortly, the French foreign ministry added.

France also was seeking to provide tents and emergency supplies for displaced people inside Libya.

Cameron said Britain had flown tents for 1,500 people and blankets for 36,000 people to the Tunisian border on Monday.

He confirmed that Britain was still considering plans for a military no-fly zone over Libya if Gadaffi "unleashes more things on his own people."

(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau and Laure Bretton in Paris and Tim Castle in London; Writing by Tim Castle and Daniel Flynn; Editing by Michael Roddy)


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6:33am GMTWRAPUP 8-Gaddafi vows to fight as opposition closes in
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Wed, Feb 23 2011Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:00pm GMT

* Some parts of Tripoli said to be under protesters' control

* Gaddafi appears in central square to rally supporters

* Witness says Zawiyah, 50 km from Tripoli, in rebel hands

* Most oil facilities reported to be under rebel control

(Adds Gaddafi son saying army to negotiate in western Libya)

By Ahmed Jadallah and Maria Golovnina

TRIPOLI, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi vowed to "crush any enemy" on Friday, addressing a crowd of supporters in Tripoli as Libya's popular uprising closed in around him.

"We will fight if they want," the 68-year-old leader declared after a day of clashes all over the capital between security forces and crowds of protesters, which Gaddafi's opponents said had left some districts in their hands.

With eastern Libya already under opposition control after a week of unrest, protesters held the centre of Zawiyah, west of the capital, a witness said, and laid makeshift defences to fend off government forces after successive fierce attacks.

The United States, whose calls for restraint have fallen on deaf ears, said it was preparing sanctions against Gaddafi and was not ruling out military action.

The U.N. Security Council also drew up sanctions including an arms embargo, travel bans and freezing top officials' assets, and threatened Libyan leaders with indictments for crimes against humanity.

But the international community has struggled to keep up with the pace of protests which have already swept away the authoritarian rulers of Egypt and Tunisia this year.

Gaddafi's own people seemed close to forcing him from power.

A string of other towns were reported to have fallen to the opposition, although Gaddafi retained the defiance he has often displayed against the West over more than four decades.

"Get ready to fight for Libya, get ready to fight for dignity, get ready to fight for petroleum!" he urged the crowd of thousands in Tripoli's central Green Square, threatening to open military arsenals to his supporters and tribesmen.

"We can crush any enemy. We can crush it with the people's will,"
he said, shouting and waving his fists

For more stories on Middle East unrest, click [nLDE71M1AF]

For news on drop in oil output, click on [ID:nRMENDE7GE]

For BREAKINGVIEWS on Libya, click on [ID:nLDE71M0NY]

For graphics click r.reuters.com/nym77r

Interactive factbox link.reuters.com/puk87r



Residents said parts of Tripoli, apparently the last major stronghold of the man who took over Libya in a 1969 coup, were already beyond his control.

"I think Tripoli is in uprising," said one man in the city centre. "When you go to Green Square you find it full of Gaddafi supporters. In the other areas, they went out after Friday prayers and they are demonstrating against Gaddafi."

"In some areas it was contained and in some other areas they are ... firing in the air to try to disperse them."

Al Jazeera television said two people had been killed and several wounded by government forces in heavy shooting in several districts. Another channel, Al Arabiya, said seven people had been killed.

Protesters controlled some roads to the city so people from towns nearby could join the fight for the capital, a Libyan in Europe in contact with relatives in Tripoli told Reuters.

"They will try to march to Gaddafi's palace. I think there could well be a Ceausescu scenario," he said, referring to the shooting of Romanian communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife by the army after a summary trial in December 1989.

A former ally of Gaddafi has said he would go down "like Hitler" after World War Two rather than surrender.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said "thousands" may have been killed or injured by Gaddafi's forces in the uprising, and called for international intervention to protect civilians. One Libyan medical charity was quoted as saying 2,000 had died in Benghazi alone.

Washington, having evacuated Americans from Libya, said it was closing down its embassy. Gaddafi, once branded a "mad dog" for backing global militants, had recently found a cautious welcome in the West, which has sought access to its oil.

Witnesses in Zawiyah, an oil refining town on the main coastal highway 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli, fought off government forces on several nights, according to witnesses who fled across the Tunisian border at Ras Jdir. [ID:nLDE71O1MQ]

"There are corpses everywhere ... It's a war in the true sense of the word," said Akila Jmaa, who crossed into Tunisia on Friday after travelling from the town.


Other reports say Libya's third biggest city, Misrata, 200 km (120 miles) east of Tripoli, was also under rebel control.

Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam said his forces were holding back in Zawiyah and another western town, Misrata, and hoped to negotiate a peaceful outcome with the "terrorists" by Saturday.

He said earlier his family had no intention of leaving.

"We have plans A, B and C. Plan A is to live and die in Libya. Plan B is to live and die in Libya. Plan C is to live and die in Libya," he told Turkey's CNN Turk television.

A Tripoli resident who asked not to be identified told Reuters in an email that pro-Gaddafi forces had opened fire on hundreds of people in the Janzour district in western Tripoli who began a protest march after Friday prayers.

Hadar, a businessman who declined to give his full name, told Reuters by telephone: "I saw two men fall down and someone told me they were shot in the head."

Ali, another businessman who declined to give his full name, told Reuters by phone that he was standing with a crowd near a mosque on a road leading to Green Square.

"They just started shooting people. People are being killed by snipers but I don't know how many are dead," he said.

The World Food Programme said first-hand accounts from people fleeing the violence indicated shortages of food, fuel and medical supplies, exacerbated by port closures. [ID:nLDE71O1N4]


Prosecutor-general Abdul-Rahman al-Abbar became the latest senior official to resign, and told al Arabiya he was joining the opposition. Libya's delegations to the Arab League and the United Nations in Geneva also switched sides. [ID:nLDE71O1DI]

State television said the government was raising wages and food subsidies and ordering special allowances for all families, a late bid to enrol the support of Libya's 6 million citizens.

Gaddafi's four decades of totalitarian rule have stifled any organised opposition or rival political structures, but in the east, ad hoc committees of lawyers, doctors, tribal elders and soldiers appeared to be filling the vacuum left by Gaddafi's government with some success. [ID:nLDE71K1UH]

There was little sign of the radical Islamists whom Gaddafi has accused of fomenting the unrest.

Instead, in Benghazi, the "Feb 17. coalition" was cleaning up, providing food, building defences, reassuring foreign oil firms and saying it believed in a united Libya. [ID:nLDE71O1IE] [ID:nLDE71O1CA]

Army and police in the eastern city of Adjabiya told Al Jazeera that they too had gone over to the opposition and a man back from the Western Mountains region about 150 km (90 miles) southwest of Tripoli said three towns there were also no longer under central control.

Libya supplies 2 percent of the world's oil, the bulk of it from wells and supply terminals in the east. Abdessalam Najib, a petroleum engineer at the Libyan company Agico and a member of the Feb. 17 coalition, said the rebels controlled nearly all oilfields east of Ras Lanuf.

But industry sources told Reuters that crude oil shipments from Libya, the world's 12th-largest exporter, had all but stopped because of reduced production, a lack of staff at ports and security concerns. A company source at Ras Lanuf said operations there had shut down. [nLDE71O19F]

A Reuters reporter saw that the other main terminal, Marsa el Brega, was in rebel control, with soldiers securing the port.

Benchmark Brent oil futures LCOc1 were steady at around $112, after a Saudi assurance that it would replace any shortfall in Libyan output brought prices back from Thursday's peak of nearly $120. [O/R]
The U.N. Security Council was expected to vote on the sanctions proposal next week, although Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for quick action. "The hours and the days ahead will be decisive for Libyans," he said.

European diplomats said the European Union was likely to agree its own sanctions early next week. [ID:nLDE71O1YH]

But NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO members had not yet discussed trying to impose a no-fly zone to protect rebel-held areas from air attacks. (Additional reporting by Alexander Dziadosz, Tom Pfeiffer and Mohammed Abbas in eastern Libya,, Ali Abdelatti in Cairo, Amena Bakr in Riyadh, Michael Georgy on the Tunisian border, Stephanie Nebehay and Robert Evans in Geneva; Writing by Kevin Liffey and Philippa Fletcher; Editing by Andrew Roche and Alastair Macdonald)


Troops kill Tripoli protesters, Gaddafi defiant

Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:33pm GMT
Print | Single Page[-] Text [+]
1 of 1Full SizeBy Ahmed Jadallah
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Government forces shot dead at least two protesters in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Friday, television stations reported, as a popular uprising against Muammar Gaddafi closed in on his main power base.

Gaddafi appeared on the central Green Square to make an impassioned speech of defiance, after witnesses described swirling clashes on streets all around the city between security forces loyal to the 68-year-old leader and crowds of protesters.

Al Jazeera television said two people had been killed and several wounded in heavy shooting in several districts. Another channel, Al Arabiya, said seven people had been killed.

By around 5 p.m. (1500 GMT), some protests had been dispersed but others were continuing, a resident from central Tripoli told Reuters. Reporters had little freedom to move around. Foreign journalists escorted in to the city from the aiport by Gaddafi loyalists were confined to hotels.

Just before 7 p.m., Gaddafi appeared to address tens of thousands of his supporters massed on the capital's central Green Square in a speech broadcast live on state television.

"We will fight if they want," he said, gesturing from a high stone wall. "We are ready to triumph over the enemy ... I am in the middle of the crowds ... We will defeat any foreign attempt, as we have defeated Italian colonialism and American raids."

Raising the prospect of wider civil conflict in Libya's tribal society, he also said he might arm tribesmen in future.

Tripoli and the surrounding area, where Gaddafi's forces had managed to stifle (interrupt)earlier protests, appeared to be his last main stronghold as the revolt that put the east under rebel control also reportedly advanced through the west. Even in the capital, resident saw opposition groups openly moving in some areas.

Zawiyah, an oil refining town on the main coastal highway 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli, fought off government forces on several successive nights, according to witnesses who fled across the Tunisian border at Ras Jdir.
"There are corpses everywhere ... It's a war in the true sense of the word," said Akila Jmaa, who crossed into Tunisia on Friday after travelling from the town.

Saeed Mustafa, who also drove through the town, said: "There are army and police checkpoints around Zawiyah but there is no presence inside."


Other reports say the third city, Misrata, 200 km (120 miles) east of Tripoli, was also under rebel control. Such reports are hard to verify, with foreign correspondents unable to travel freely around western Libya, and telephone and broadband connections poor.

But Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam said the government was in control of the west, south and centre, and that his family had no intention of leaving.

"We have plans A, B and C. Plan A is to live and die in Libya. Plan B is to live and die in Libya. Plan C is to live and die in Libya," he told Turkey's CNN Turk television.
People in Benghazi, under rebel control, said friends in Tripoli had told them protesters had demonstrated at mosques throughout Tripoli and had planned to converge on Green Square.

A resident who asked not to be identified told Reuters in an email that pro-Gaddafi forces had opened fire after hundreds of people in the Janzour district in western Tripoli started a protest march after Friday prayers,

Hadar, a businessman who declined to give his full name, told Reuters by telephone: "I saw two men fall down and someone told me they were shot in the head."
Ali, another businessman who declined to give his full name, told Reuters by phone that he was standing with a crowd near a mosque on a road leading to Green Square.

"They just started shooting people. People are being killed by snipers but I don't know how many are dead," he said.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said "thousands" may have been killed or injured by Gaddafi's forces in the uprising, and called for international intervention to protect civilians.

The World Food Programme said first-hand accounts from people fleeing the violence indicated shortages of food, fuel and medical supplies, exacerbated by port closures.


The rebels who have seized Libya's east said they controlled almost all oil facilities east of the Ras Lanuf terminal. A Reuters reporter saw that the other main terminal, Marsa el Brega, was in rebel control, with soldiers securing the port.
Prosecutor-general Abdul-Rahman al-Abbar became the latest senior official to resign, and told al Arabiya he was joining the opposition. Libya's delegations to the Arab League in Cairo and the United Nations in Geneva also switched sides.

In the first practical attempt to enrol the support of Libya's 6 million citizens since the uprising began, state television announced the government was raising wages and food subsidies and ordering special allowances for all families.

Gaddafi's four decades of totalitarian rule have stifled any organised opposition or rival political structures, but in the east, ad hoc committees of lawyers, doctors, tribal elders and soldiers appeared to be filling the vacuum left by Gaddafi's government with some succcess.
There was little sign of the radical Islamists whom Gaddafi has accused of fomenting the unrest.

Instead, in Benghazi, the "Feb 17. coalition" was cleaning up, providing food, building defences, reassuring foreign oil firms and saying it believed in a united Libya.

Army and police in the eastern city of Adjabiya told Al Jazeera that they, too, had gone over to the opposition.

The turmoil, inspired by successful revolutions in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt, has caused particular global concern because Libya supplies 2 percent of the world's oil, the bulk of it from wells and supply terminals in the east.

Abdessalam Najib, a petroleum engineer at the Libyan company Agico and a member of the February 17 coalition, said the rebels controlled nearly all oilfields east of Ras Lanuf.

But industry sources told Reuters that crude oil shipments from Libya, the world's 12th-largest exporter, had all but stopped because of reduced production, a lack of staff at ports and security concerns. A company source at Ras Lanuf said operations there had shut down.

Benchmark Brent oil futures were steady at around $111, after a Saudi assurance that it would replace any shortfall in Libyan output brought prices back from Thursday's peak of nearly


French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in Turkey, said Gaddafi "must leave", but cautioned against military intervention.

The U.N. Security Council was to meet on Friday to discuss a French-British proposal for sanctions against Libyan leaders, although a vote is not likely until next week.

French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said the draft would ask for an arms embargo, financial sanctions and a request to the International Criminal Court to indict Libyan leaders.

A German diplomatic source said the European Union was likely to agree its own sanctions early next week.

Switzerland said it was freezing any assets owned by the Gaddafi family.

But NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO members had not yet discussed trying to impose a no-fly zone to protect rebel-held areas from air attacks.

Foreign governments mostly focused on evacuating thousands of their citizens trapped by the unrest.

Chinese official media said Beijing had so far evacuated 12,000, or about one third, of its citizens from Libya. A U.S.-chartered ferry that had been trapped in Tripoli for two days by bad weather finally set off for Malta.
Britain said it was sending a naval destroyer and drawing up plans to pull out British oil workers stranded in desert camps.


Libya sanctions to hit ship activity -tanker owner09 Mar 2011 13:00

Source: reuters // Reuters

DUBAI, March 9 (Reuters) - Sanctions imposed on Libya will hamper shipping activity with the country as transactions are dollar-based and cleared in the United States, a Middle East tanker owner said on Wednesday.

Gulf Navigation Holding has a tanker docked in Libya's Es Sider port but the contract to ship crude was entered prior to sanctions, its CEO, Per Wistoft said.

Asked if sanctions would have a negative effect, Wistoft told Reuters: "Yes of course -- no one will be able to do it."

"You are being paid in U.S. dollars and any transaction in U.S. dollars would pass by New York and would be stopped there."

Wistoft said his company "would not touch" new deals with Libya.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, writing by Jonathan Saul, editing Anthony Barker)


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TRIPOLI | Wed Mar 2, 2011 12:20pm GMT

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya hopes tensions with Western countries over a popular revolt in the country do not reach the stage where the Tripoli government considers oil as a political weapon, a top oil official said on Wednesday.

Shokri Ghanem, chairman of Libya's National Oil Corporation, also told Reuters in an interview that Libya's troubles had created the country's worst energy crisis in decades and Libyan supply disruptions to world markets could push oil above $130 a barrel in the next month if troubles persist.

Oil markets will be watching closely to see if the departure of oil workers fearful of violence in Libya will further cut output in the world's 12th largest exporter.

Ghanem said crude oil output had dropped to 700,000-750,000 barrels per day after the flight of most of the foreign workers who make up about 10 percent of the Libyan energy industry's labour forces, including some in key positions. Before the crisis Libya pumped 1.6 million bpd.

Asked if Libya would resort to using oil as leverage, or a political weapon if the United States and other Western countries stepped up pressure on Libya over its handling of the revolt, Ghanem said:

"I hope we are not reaching any stage where we are talking about using this (oil) as a political force," he said.

"We hope that all things will be solved before we go into any complications of any matters."

(Reporting by Michael Georgy; editing by Keiron Henderson)

Libyan state TV showed images of Gaddafi attending a Libyan national political celebration in Tripoli in which he was surrounded by people who chanted: "You will remain great." www.reuters.com
by Reuters_IreneKuan edited by Reuters_IreneKuan at 14:52
ReplyThe head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Saudi Arabia is capable of covering any Libyan oil production outage.
by Reuters_IreneKuan at 14:25
The Iraqi foreign minister told the opening session of an Arab League meeting in Cairo the Libya crisis is an internal Arab affair and there should be no foreign intervention. www.reuters.com
by Reuters_IreneKuan edited by Reuters_IreneKuan at 14:52
Libyan state TV said Gaddafi's armed forces controlled the airport and seaport at Marsa El Brega, contradicting rebel accounts that an attack had been repulsed. www.reuters.com
by Reuters_IreneKuan edited by Reuters_IreneKuan at 14:28
Foreign powers hope threatening Libya's Gaddafi with a war crimes trial at The Hague will help drive him from office, but some worry such talk might instead leave him thinking he has no way out. www.reuters.com
by Reuters_IreneKuan at 13:46
Arab league foreign ministers at Cairo meeting stand in silence in memory of "martyrs" of reform in Arab world.
by Reuters_IreneKuan at 13:44

A Bangladeshi migrant worker holds his passport near the Tunisian gate at the Libyan and Tunisian border crossing of Ras Jdir after fleeing unrest in Libya March 2, 2011. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
by Reuters_IreneKuan at 13:36
Thousands of Bangladheshi migrant workers, desperate to leave Libya, pressed up against the gates of the Tunisian border crossing, angry at their government for sending no help. www.reuters.com
by Reuters_IreneKuan at 13:31
Protests in Bahrain are starting to make forays away from the central square in Manama and into different parts of the city, pressing the Sunni-led government for swift democratic reform. www.reuters.com

by Reuters_IreneKuan edited by Reuters_IreneKuan at 13:40
Arab League foreign ministers will meet in Cairo to discuss a draft resolution rejecting foreign military intervention in Libya, the deputy secretary general of the league said.
by Reuters_IreneKuan at 13:16
A rebel coalition spokesman said rebels are back in control of the eastern Libyan oil export terminal of Marsa el Brega and forces loyal to Gaddafi staged a "hit and run" attack on the nearby town of Ajdabiyah. uk.reuters.com

by Reuters_IreneKuan edited by Reuters_IreneKuan at 13:29
A spokesman told Reuters the anti-Gaddafi coalition in Benghazi will probably seek foreign intervention and air strikes to help topple Gaddafi.
by Reuters_IreneKuan edited by Reuters_IreneKuan at 13:29
A Libyan government spokesman said he believed reports of the counter-attack on rebel-held towns in Eastern Libya are false. www.reuters.com
by Reuters_IreneKuan edited by Reuters_IreneKuan at 12:59
Al Jazeera reports Gaddafi forces have made incursion into East Libya town of Ajdabiyah
by Reuters_IreneKuan at 12:13
An exodus of foreigners fleeing an uprising against the rule of Libya's Gaddafi has left factories empty, fishing boats idle and construction unfinished. www.reuters.com
by Reuters_IreneKuan at 12:11
Al Arabiya TV: 14 dead in East Libyan town of Marsa El Brega after reports of Gaddafi forces counter attack
by Reuters_IreneKuan at 12:10
Italy's industry minister said there is a "real possiblity" that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi might do something desperate to defend his regime. uk.reuters.com
by Reuters_IreneKuan edited by Reuters_IreneKuan at 13:28

Men hold up posters of Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi, of which several were distributed among a crowd gathered to view a burning fuel truck, in Tripoli March 2, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
by Reuters_IreneKuan at 11:40
India's government is facing criticism at home for failing to evacuate citizens swiftly out of Libya as China did. www.reuters.com
by Reuters_IreneKuan at 11:38
Al Jazeera, citing a local journalist, reports that warplanes have bombed the eastern Libyan town of Ajdabiyah.
by Reuters_IreneKuan at 11:16
Al Arabiya TV reports that Gaddafi forces have taken control of the airport in the Brega area in East Libya. www.reuters.com
by Reuters_IreneKuan edited by Reuters_IreneKuan at 11:37
Libyan state television said Muammar Gaddafi has replaced two ministers who had defected to support the uprising seeking to oust him. uk.reuters.com
by Reuters_IreneKuan edited by Reuters_IreneKuan at 11:21
The NY Times reports that rebel leaders in Libya are debating whether to ask for Western airstrikes under the United Nations banner, according to four people with knowledge of the deliberations. www.nytimes.com
by Lars_Reuters at 6:19
Also, an update from the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on the situation in Yemen, where tens of thousands of protestors flooded the streets on Tuesday in a "day of rage", calling for the end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 30-year rule: "We have seen over and over again in the past few weeks that violent responses, in breach of international law, do not make the protesters go away and only serve to exacerbate their frustration and anger," Pillay said in a statement, referring to clashes between security forces and opposition leaders in the north. www.reuters.com
by Matt Reeder at 0:00

An Egyptian man fleeing the unrest in Libya receives help from his compatriots after he fainted as they wait at the Libyan and Tunisian border crossing of Ras Jdir March 1, 2011. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
by Grant Surridge at 3/1/2011 3:16:09 PM18:16
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tells a U.S. Congressional panel that Libya could become a peaceful democracy or face a protracted civil war. www.reuters.com
by Patricia Launt edited by Patricia Launt at 19:06
The Iranian opposition website Kaleme reports clashes between opposition supporters and security forces, with police firing teargas at protesters. www.reuters.com
by Grant Surridge edited by Patricia Launt at 3/1/2011 2:41:17 PM17:41
Malta has refused to return two warplanes to Muammar Gaddafi that were flown to the island by defecting pilots last week, says Malta's Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi. www.reuters.com
by Patricia Launt at 3/1/2011 2:38:08 PM17:38
The latest Reuters wrapup of the situation in Libya: Gaddafi deploys forces as world raises Libya pressure www.reuters.com
by Grant Surridge at 3/1/2011 2:15:22 PM17:15
The European Union will hold a special summit on Libya and North Africa in Brussels on March 11, say EU diplomats.
by Patricia Launt at 3/1/2011 1:47:25 PM16:47

A convoy of 18 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid bound for Benghazi, travels past a Libyan army tank and a mural adulating Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in the Tripoli suburb of Gaser Ben Ghisher March 1, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
by Grant Surridge at 3/1/2011 1:20:50 PM16:20

A man cries during the funeral of his relative Ahmed Sati in Benghazi March 1, 2011. Sati, a 50-year-old Libyan man, died from a gunshot wound to his head on February 20 during clashes between protesters and forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, according to the local hospital. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
by Grant Surridge at 3/1/2011 12:44:45 PM15:44
China said on it hoped the crisis in Libya would be resolved peacefully though talks, and suggested it had misgivings about any military action or no-fly zones over the strife-torn north African country.

by Reuters_IreneKuan at 3/1/2011 10:58:19 AM13:58
The chairman of Libya's National Oil Corporation said almost half of Libya's oil output has been cut as a result of the departure of oil workers. www.reuters.com
by Reuters_IreneKuan at 3/1/2011 10:40:34 AM13:40
An officer was killed during clashes between separatist militants and the army in southern Yemen.
by Reuters_IreneKuan at 3/1/2011 10:39:05 AM13:39
Tens of thousands of protesters flooded Yemen's streets dedicating a fresh "Day of Rage" to the 24 people killed in demonstrations demanding an end to the president's three-decade rule. www.reuters.com
by Reuters_IreneKuan at 3/1/2011 10:08:27 AM13:08
Austria central bank said it has frozen assets of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's family and other associates subject to European Union sanctions. www.reuters.com
by Reuters_IreneKuan at 3/1/2011 9:07:14 AM12:07
Witnesses said Omani troops fired in the air, wounding one person when they moved in to disperse a crowd demanding jobs and political reforms near the northern port of Sohar. www.reuters.com
by Reuters_IreneKuan at 3/1/2011 8:49:14 AM11:49
Egypt's military rulers want elections in six months' time but political activists who ousted Hosni Mubarak fear remnants of his administration and the tight deadline for polls pose threats to an incomplete revolution. www.reuters.com
by Reuters_IreneKuan at 3/1/2011 8:28:00 AM11:28
France said humanitarian aid must be the priority in Libya rather than military action to oust Muammar Gaddafi, one day after the United States said it was moving warships and air forces closer to Libya.

by Reuters_IreneKuan at 3/1/2011 8:26:10 AM11:26
Even with Middle Eastern tumult tearing down governments and pushing up oil prices, China will stay a restrained regional player, reluctant to gamble a growing pile of economic chips for uncertain political gains, writes Reuters reporter Chris Buckley in this analysis. www.reuters.com
by Lars_Reuters at 3/1/2011 5:03:43 AM8:03
The White House says President Obama and Canada's Prime Minister Harper have agreed on the need to deter further violence by the Gaddafi government and consider other options as needed. www.reuters.com
by Lars_Reuters at 3/1/2011 12:06:56 AM3:06

Civilians carry their belongings as they leave Libya to cross into Tunisia to flee the violence in Libya at the border crossing of Dehiba February 28, 2011. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
by Reuters_Helen Cook at 2/28/2011 11:49:12 PM2:49
Gaddafi is "slaughtering his own people," unfit to lead and "disconnected from reality," U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Susan Rice said from the White House. Her comments came as the U.S. military also began moving warships and aircraft closer to Libya. www.reuters.com
by Reuters_Helen Cook at 2/28/2011 11:44:43 PM2:44
Nelly Furtado says she will give away $1 million she received to perform in Italy for the family of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. www.reuters.com
by Reuters_Helen Cook at 2/28/2011 11:34:12 PM2:34
White House calls the detention of Iranian opposition leaders "unacceptable" and urges for their release.
by Sharon Ho at 2/28/2011 9:19:02 PM0:19
Rice says the U.S. is in talks with NATO allies and others about military options on Libya, but so far they're only talking about contingencies.
by Sharon Ho at 2/28/2011 8:54:52 PM2/28/2011 23:54
Rice says there are no active discussions at the U.N. on the possibility of an oil embargo on Libya.
by Sharon Ho at 2/28/2011 8:50:02 PM2/28/2011 23:50
U.S. envoy to the U.N., Susan Rice, is waiting to see how the Libyan opposition coalesces, but it is premature to talk about any military assistance at this time.
by Sharon Ho at 2/28/2011 8:42:18 PM2/28/2011 23:42
ABC News says Gaddafi denies the air force bombed protesters, but says planes did attack military and ammunition sites. www.reuters.com
by Sharon Ho edited by Patricia Launt at 2/28/2011 8:09:07 PM2/28/2011 23:09
ABC's website says Gaddafi has invited the U.N. to conduct a fact-finding mission in Libya.
by Sharon Ho at 2/28/2011 8:07:11 PM2/28/2011 23:07
The U.S. State Department says it has encouraged Oman's government to show restraint and resolve differences through dialogue.
by Sharon Ho at 2/28/2011 7:33:08 PM2/28/2011 22:33

People burn pictures of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi inside the main prison of Gaddafi's forces in Benghazi today. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem


Libya crude oil shipments at standstill: sources
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By Jonathan Saul

LONDON | Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:58am EST

LONDON (Reuters) - Crude oil shipments from Libya are at a virtual standstill as reduced production and bad weather hamper exports from the world's 12th-largest producer, shipping sources said on Monday.

Muammar Gaddafi's forces have been trying for days to push back a revolt that has won over large parts of the military, ended his control over eastern Libya and is holding the government at bay in western cities near Tripoli.

Libya's Hamada oilfield has ceased production, and the eastern fields of Sarir, Nafoora and Misla are producing at about half their normal capacity, an official at a Libyan state-owned oil company told Reuters on Sunday.

Shipping sources said bad weather in the Mediterranean had meant at least four tankers carrying around 2.4 million barrels of crude oil were unable to either load or leave Libyan ports.

"Only Es Sider is operating. In theory, Zuetina has reopened but nothing is loading," said an oil trader in the Mediterranean.
Oil prices jumped toward $120 a barrel last week for the first time since 2008 because of the disruption in Libya. Prices have since eased to $112, partly because top world exporter Saudi Arabia has promised to meet any shortages.

The key export terminal of Marsa el Brega in the east, which is under rebel control, remained closed, shipping sources said.

"Nothing has changed since the weekend, and our vessel in Marsa is still waiting to load," a shipping source said.

Sources said continuing communications difficulties with Libya had made it hard to get complete information on port conditions, which was leading to conflicting reports. Several said disruptions were affecting shipments on Monday.

Other shipping sources said the eastern port of Zuetina was open. "We have a tanker that is berthing at Zuetina to load propane," a shipper said on Monday.

About half of Libya's 1.6 million barrels per day of production has been cut, Fatih Birol, chief economist with energy watchdog the International Energy Agency, told Reuters Insider TV, citing industry reports.
In Libya's third city, Misrata, 200 km (125 miles) to the east, and Zawiyah, a strategic refinery town 50 km to the west, rebels with military backing were holding the town centres against repeated government attacks.
Other shipping sources said the port of Zawiyah, fed by the Murzuk oilfields, was also believed to be open.
Foreign firms have been pulling staff out of Libya and China's three major state-owned oil and gas companies have evacuated all their Chinese employees, the companies said.

(Additional reporting by Alex Lawler and Jessica Donati in London and Renee Maltezou in Athens, editing by Jane Baird)


Oil price cloud has $620 bln petrodollar lining
-- The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

By Robert Cole
LONDON, March 10 (Reuters Breakingviews) - The cost of a barrel of oil has risen by $20 since the start of January. Sustained for 12 months, that would gives about $620 billion of extra revenue for the world's oil producers. Some will be siphoned off in tax. Some may be used to fund more adventurous exploration projects. A more dangerous political climate may raise the risk premia for those that finance oil production. Added desire for security may increase overheads too. But most of the top line revenue growth will drop straight through to profits, leaving the oil rich a lot richer.
Before this year's unrest, the price of the black stuff was already heading up. But it is also all too easy to see further hikes -- it's worth remembering that oil topped $140 a barrel as recently as July, 2008. Another $20 could easily be added to the price of crude if civil strife prompts more active military intervention by western powers -- through the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya, for instance. But equally, a lack of military action might lead oil prices higher if UN/U.S. reticence(The state or quality of being reluctant; unwillingness.
) denies oil producers' an armed security blanket that would comfort oil traders.
Though precise figures are hard to divine, sums measured in hundreds of billions of dollars are flowing into oil rich nations. A lot of that cash will flow out again, most likely into developed world asset markets. U.S. Treasuries, always one of the first places the newly-rich stash cash will benefit from the support of buyers. Flows of petrodollars may partly explain the relative recent strength of equity and credit in the face of the Middle East's traumas. Infrastructure, commercial property and glamorous trophy assets are also likely to be in demand.

New oil cash will not move all before it. Nor will the cash be applied evenly. But $620 billion, the proceeds of pumping 85 million barrels per day at a price elevated by $20 with no change in demand, is equivalent to about 5 percent of the market value of the S&P 500. These are sizeable sums of money which will influence market pricings.
Crucially, of course, the extra costs for oil consumers could amount to a quantitative tightening roughly equivalent to the quantitative easing some western central banks embarked on in the hope of spurring(Something that serves as a goad or incentive.
) the economy forward. Expensive oil will drag growth, in the United States, Europe and Asia, and that will knock on to asset prices. But the upside aspects to the oil price help leaven the investment story.
Leaven: An agent, such as yeast, that causes batter or dough to rise, especially by fermentation.

-- Uprisings and protests in North Africa and the Middle East, notably Libya, have pushed the price of benchmark Brent crude from $95 to $115 a barrel since Jan. 1.
-- Preqin, a lobby group for the private equity industry, estimates that sovereign wealth assets under management rose 11 percent to nearly $4 trillion in 2010. Oil revenues are an important source of finance for many sovereign wealth funds.
-- Protests/oil graphics: http://r.reuters.com/nym77r

(Editing by Pierre Briançon and David Evans)


350 Pakistanis arrive from Libya
Published: March 1, 2011
Pakistanis arrive at Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore on March 1, 2011 after fleeing from Libya. PHOTO: AFP
A chartered plane carrying 180 Pakistanis reached Lahore from Libya on Tuesday morning.

A Turkish construction company in Libya had hired two chartered airplanes to extradite its 350 Pakistani workers back home.

The first flight brought 170 Pakistanis last night, while the second one reached Lahore this morning.

The Turkish company also gave $250 to each Pakistani as travel expenditure.

The expats told the media at the airport that their countrymen in Libya are in deep trouble owing to the law and order situation.

They also complained that the Pakistani embassy did not contact them.


Gaddafi unflinching: rebel city fears counter-attackMon Feb 28, 2011 7:56am GMT
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1 of 1Full SizeBy Maria Golovnina
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan rebels awaited a counter-attack by Muammar Gaddafi's forces on Monday, after the country's leader defied demands that he quit to end the bloodiest of the Arab world's wave of uprisings.

Rebels holding Zawiyah, only 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli, said about 2,000 troops loyal to Gaddafi had surrounded the city.

"We will do our best to fight them off. They will attack soon," said a former police major who switched sides and joined the rebellion. "If we are fighting for freedom, we are ready to die for it."

Gaddafi is fighting a rebellion which has swept through his Mediterranean oil producing nation after uprisings toppled entrenched leaders in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt. His fierce crackdown has killed hundreds, triggering U.N. sanctions and Western condemnation, but has not turned the tide of protests.

Residents even in parts of the capital Tripoli have thrown up barricades against government forces. A general in the east of the country, where Gaddafi's power has evaporated, told Reuters his forces were ready to help rebels in the west.

"Our brothers in Tripoli say: ‘We are fine so far, we do not need help'. If they ask for help we are ready to move," said General Ahmed el-Gatrani, one of most senior figures in the mutinous army in Benghazi.

Analysts say they expect rebels eventually to take the capital and kill or capture Gaddafi, but add that he has the firepower to foment chaos or civil war -- a prospect he and his sons have warned of.

Monday looked likely to see nervousness in oil markets. NYMEX crude for April delivery was up $1.38 at $99.25 per barrel at 0722 GMT. Libya pumps only 2 percent of world oil and Saudi Arabia has boosted output, but traders fear turmoil intensifying in the Arab world.

Serbian television quoted Gaddafi as blaming foreigners and al Qaeda for the unrest and condemning the U.N. Security Council for imposing sanctions and ordering a war crimes inquiry.
"The people of Libya support me. Small groups of rebels are surrounded and will be dealt with," he said.

European powers said it was time for Gaddafi to stand down and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States was "reaching out" to opposition groups.

Residents of Zawiyah told of fierce fighting against pro-Gaddafi paramilitaries armed with heavy weapons.

"Gaddafi is crazy. His people shot at us using rocket-propelled grenades," said a man who gave his name as Mustafa. Another man called Chawki said: "We need justice. People are being killed. Gaddafi's people shot my nephew."
There were queues outside banks in Tripoli on Sunday for the 500 Libyan dinars the government had promised it would start distributing to each family.

From Misrata, a city 200 km (120 miles) east of Tripoli, residents said by phone a thrust by forces loyal to Gaddafi, operating from the airport, had been rebuffed with bloodshed.

But Libyan exile groups said later aircraft were firing on the city's radio station.

In the eastern city of Benghazi, opponents of the 68-year-old leader said they had formed a National Libyan Council to be the "face" of the revolution, but it was unclear who they represented.
They said they wanted no foreign intervention and had not made contact with foreign governments.

The "Network of Free Ulema," claiming to represent "some of Libya's most senior and most respected Muslim scholars", issued a statement urging "total rebellion" and endorsing the formation of an "interim government" announced two days ago.


Western leaders, emboldened by evacuations that have brought home many of their citizens from the vast desert state, spoke out more clearly than before against Gaddafi.

"We have reached, I believe, a point of no return," Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said, adding it was "inevitable" that Gaddafi would leave power.

Britain revoked Gaddafi's diplomatic immunity and said it was freezing his family's assets. "It is time for Colonel Gaddafi to go," Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

Britain's former prime minister, Tony Blair, said he had spoken to Gaddafi on Friday and told him to go. Blair helped end the Western isolation of Gaddafi after he agreed to renounce weapons of mass destruction, paving the way for big British business deals in Libya.

Three British military planes evacuated 150 civilians from Libya's desert on Sunday, after a similar operation on Saturday.

Wealthy states have sent planes and ships to bring home expatriate workers but many more, from poorer countries, are stranded. Thousands of Egyptians streamed into Tunisia on Sunday, complaining Cairo had done nothing to help them.
Malta said it had refused a Libyan request to return two warplanes brought to the island by defecting pilots last Monday.

Gaddafi, once branded a "mad dog" by Washington for his support of militant groups worldwide, had been embraced by the West in recent years in return for renouncing some weapons programmes and, critically, for opening up Libya's oilfields.

While money has flowed into Libya, many people, especially in the long-restive and oil-rich east, have seen little benefit and, inspired by the popular overthrow of veteran strongmen in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt, they rose up to demand better conditions and political freedoms.


By MAGGIE MICHAEL and BEN HUBBARD, Associated Press Maggie Michael And Ben Hubbard, Associated Press – 2 hrs 26 mins ago
TRIPOLI, Libya – The embattled Libyan regime passed out guns to civilian supporters, set up checkpoints Saturday and sent armed patrols roving the terrorized capital to try to maintain control of Moammar Gadhafi's stronghold and quash dissent as rebels consolidate control elsewhere in the North African nation.

As violence mounted, Gadhafi came under growing pressure from the international community to halt the crackdown on his people. Echoing moves by the United States, Britain and other nations, the U.N. Security Council on Saturday imposed sanctions, including an arms embargo and a travel ban, and said the International Criminal Court in the Hague should investigate.

Residents of its eastern Tajoura district spread concrete blocks, large rocks and even chopped-down palm trees as makeshift barricades to prevent the SUVs filled with young men wielding automatic weapons from entering their neighborhood — a hotspot of previous protests.
With tensions running high in Tripoli, scores of people in the neighborhood turned out at a funeral for a 44-year-old man killed in clashes with pro-regime forces. Anwar Algadi was killed Friday, with the cause of death listed as "a live bullet to the head," according to his brother, Mohammed.

Armed men in green armbands, along with uniformed security forces check those trying to enter the district, where graffiti that says "Gadhafi, you Jew," "Down to the dog," and "Tajoura is free" was scrawled on walls.

Outside the capital, rebels held a long swath of about half of Libya's 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) Mediterranean coastline where most of the population lives, and even captured a brigadier general and a soldier Saturday as the Libyan army tried to retake an air base east of Tripoli. The state-run news agency also said the opposition held an air defense commander and several other officers.

On Friday, pro-Gadhafi militiamen — including snipers — fired on protesters trying to mount the first significant anti-government marches in days in Tripoli.

Gadhafi, speaking from the ramparts(The high sides of ice wedge polygons; as the ice wedges grow, they push up the soil at the edges.

) of a historic Tripoli fort, told supporters to prepare to defend the nation as he faced the biggest challenge to his 42-year rule.

"At the suitable time, we will open the arms depot so all Libyans and tribes become armed, so that Libya becomes red with fire," Gadhafi said.

The international community toughened its response to the bloodshed, while Americans and other foreigners were evacuated from the chaos roiling the North African nation.

In New York, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to slap sanctions on the Gadhafi regime. The council imposed an arms embargo and called on U.N. member states to freeze the assets of Gadhafi and his children. The council also imposed a travel ban on the Gadhafi family and 10 close associates.
Council members also agreed 15-0 to refer the regime's deadly crackdown to a permanent war crimes tribunal for an investigation of possible crimes against humanity.

The action came after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said some estimates indicate more than 1,000 people have been killed in less than two weeks since the protests broke out in Libya.

President Barack Obama said Gadhafi has lost his legitimacy to rule and must step down immediately. Obama, who made the comments Saturday to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, signed an executive order a day earlier that froze assets held by Gadhafi and four of his children in the United States.
In Tripoli, most residents stayed in their homes Saturday, terrified of bands of armed men at checkpoints and patrolling the city.

A 40-year-old business owner said he had seen Gadhafi supporters enter one of the regime's Revolutionary Committee headquarters Saturday and leave with arms. He said the regime is offering a car and money to any supporters bringing three people with them to join the effort.

"Someone from the old revolutionary committees will go with them so they'll be four," the witness said when reached by telephone from Cairo. "They'll arm them to drive around the city and terrorize people."

Other residents reported seeing trucks full of civilians with automatic rifles patrolling their neighborhoods. Many were young, even teenagers, and wore green arm bands or cloths on their heads to show their affiliation to the regime, residents said. All spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

Tripoli, home to about a third of Libya's population of 6 million, is the center of the eroding territory that Gadhafi still controls.

Even in the Gadhafi-held pocket of northwestern Libya around Tripoli, several cities have also fallen to the rebellion. Militiamen and pro-Gadhafi troops were repelled when they launched attacks trying to take back opposition-held territory in Zawiya and Misrata in fighting that killed at least 30 people.

Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam, told foreign journalists invited by the government to Tripoli that there were no casualties in Tripoli and that the capital was "calm."

"Everything is peaceful," he said. "Peace is coming back to our country."

He said the regime wants negotiations with the opposition and said there were "two minor problems" in Misrata and Zawiya. There, he said, "we are dealing with terrorist people," hut he hoped to reach a peaceful settlement with them.

Most shops in Tripoli were closed and long lines formed at bakeries as people ventured out for supplies.

In the Souq al-Jomaa neighborhood, piles of ashes stood in front of a burned-out police station. Graffiti on the walls read, "Down, down with Gadhafi." Elsewhere, shattered glass and rocks littered the streets.

A law school graduate walking to his house in the Fashloum area said he had seen many people killed by snipers in recent days.

"People are panicked, they are terrified. Few leave their houses. When it gets dark, you can't walk in the streets because anybody who walks is subject to be shot to death," he said.

He said Gadhafi's use of force against protesters had turned him against the regime.

"We Libyans cannot hear that there were other Libyans killed and remain silent," he said. "Now everything he says is a lie."

In Tripoli's Green Square, where state television has shown crowds of Gadhafi supporters in recent days, armed security men in blue uniforms were stationed around the plaza. Pro-Gadhafi billboards and posters were everywhere. A burned restaurant was the only sign of the unrest.

Supporters in about 50 cars covered with Gadhafi posters drove slowly around the square, waving green flags from the windows and honking horns. A camera crew filmed the procession.

Taxi driver Nasser Mohammed was among those who had a picture of Gadhafi and a green flag on his car.

"Have you heard the speech last night?" he asked. "It was great. Libyans don't want anyone but Gadhafi. He gave us loans."

Mohammed, 25, said each family will receive 500 Libyan dinars (about $400) after the start of the protests, plus the equivalent of about $100 credit for phone service. State TV said the distribution will take place starting Sunday.

Gadhafi loyalists manned a street barricade, turning away motorists trying to enter. After turning around, the drivers were then stopped at another checkpoint, manned by armed men in uniform, who searched cars and checked IDs of drivers and passengers.

In Misrata, a resident said the opposition was still in control of the city, which was calm Saturday, with many shops open and a local committee running civic affairs.

But the opposition only held parts of the sprawling Misrata Air Base after Friday's attack by Gadhafi supporters, he added.

The troops used tanks against the rebels at the base and succeeded in retaking part of it in battles with residents and army units who had joined the uprising against Gadhafi, said a doctor and a resident wounded in the battle on the edge of opposition-held Misrata, Libya's third-largest city, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) from the capital. The doctor said 25 people were killed in fighting at the base since Thursday.

The resident said pro-Gadhafi troops captured several members of the opposition Friday and now the two sides are talking about a possible swap since the opposition also captured a soldier and a brigadier general. Libyan state TV confirmed that army Brig. Gen. Abu Bakr Ali was captured, although it said he was "kidnapped by terrorist gangs." The state-run news agency JANA also said regime opponents held the commander of the air defense's 2nd Division and several other officers.

State-run TV reported that the website of the JANA news agency was hacked.

A Libyan Islamist activist, Mokhtar al-Mahmoudi, was arrested in Tajoura on Thursday, according to his daughter Fatma al-Mahmoudi, who lives in Morocco. She said a neighbor also was arrested.

Al-Mahmoudi was arrested in 1998 over his ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and spent eight years in prison, she said.

The opposition also held complete control of
Sabratha, a town west of Tripoli famed for nearby ancient Roman ruins, with no police or any security forces associated with the Gadhafi regime, said Khalid Ahmed
, a resident. He added that tribes were trying to organize a march on Tripoli, although a checkpoint outside the capital would stop anyone from entering.

"All of Libya is together," Ahmed said. "We are not far from toppling the regime."

Thousands of evacuees from Libya reached ports Saturday across the Mediterranean, with many more still trying to flee the North African nation by sea, air or land.

More than 2,800 Chinese workers landed in Heraklion on the Greek island of Crete aboard a Greek ship Saturday, while another 2,200 Chinese arrived in Valletta, the capital of Malta, on a ship from the eastern Libyan port of Benghazi.

Thousands of expatriates streamed out of Libya at the bustling Tunisian border, most of them Egyptians and Tunisians.

More than 20,000 have arrived since early this week, said Heinke Veit of the European Union Humanitarian Aid group. Food, water and medical help is available, as are facilities to contact their families.


Hubbard reported from Cairo. Associated Press writers Hadeel al-Shalchi in Ras Ajdir, Tunisia, and Bassem Mroue in Cairo contributed to this story.


Gaddafi forces abandon parts of Tripoli
Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:39pm GMT
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1 of 1Full SizeBy Maria Golovnina and Ahmed Jadallah
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Poor neighbourhoods of the Libyan capital Tripoli openly defied Muammar Gaddafi on Saturday as his grip on power after 41 years of rule looked increasingly tenuous in the face of nationwide revolt.

Security forces had abandoned the working-class Tajoura district after five days of anti-government demonstrations, residents told foreign correspondents who visited the area.

The residents said troops opened fire on demonstrators who tried to march from Tajoura to central Green Square overnight, killing at least five people. The number could not be independently confirmed.

A funeral on Saturday morning for one of the victims turned into another show of defiance against Gaddafi.

"Everyone in Tajoura came out against the government. We saw them killing our people here and everywhere in Libya," a man who identified himself as Ali, aged 25, told Reuters.

"We will demonstrate again and again, today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow until they change."

The scene in Tajoura contradicted statements by Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who told reporters on Friday night that peace was returning to Libya.

Much of the east of the oil-producing country, including the second city Benghazi, is in opposition forces' hands.

Gaddafi's strongest European ally, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, said in Rome on Saturday that he no longer appeared to be in control of Libya.
Foreign powers met to discuss punitive actions against Gaddafi and expressed outrage at the tactics used to try to crush the revolt, the bloodiest of a wave of pro-democracy uprisings in the Arab world which has already swept away the longtime rulers of Tunisia and Egypt.

In Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama signed an order prohibiting transactions related to Libya.

"By any measure, Muammar Gaddafi's government has violated international norms and common decency and must be held accountable," Obama said in a statement on Friday.

Diplomats at the United Nations said a vote on a draft resolution calling for an arms embargo on Libya as well as travel bans and asset freezes on its leaders might come on Saturday after U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said it could not wait.


In Tajoura, protesters had erected barricades of rocks and palm trees across rubbish-strewn streets, and graffiti covered many walls.

Pro-Gaddafi security forces were nowhere to be seen on Saturday morning but bullet holes in the walls of the tightly packed houses bore testimony to the violence of recent days.

Several thousand people attended the funeral of one of the dead from Friday night's shooting, which quickly turned into another demonstration.

"Gaddafi is the enemy of God," the crowd chanted.
One man named Ismail, who said he was unemployed, told Reuters: "Gaddafi forces came here, they shot everywhere during a demonstration that was peaceful."

Another man said he had seen 20 dead bodies in past two days.

Gaddafi's camp took an optimistic view of the situation confronting the man who took over Libya as a young colonel in a 1969 military coup.

"Peace is coming back to our country," Saif al-Islam Gaddafi told reporters flown into Libya under close government supervision.

"If you hear fireworks don't mistake it for shooting," said the 38-year-old London-educated younger Gaddafi, smilingHe acknowledged pro-Gaddafi forces had "a problem" with Misrata, Libya's third city, and Zawiyah, also in the west, where protesters had beaten back counter-attacks by the military, but he said the army was prepared to negotiate.

"Hopefully there will be no more bloodshed. By tomorrow we will solve this," he said.


A government-escorted trip to Zawiyah for the foreign media planned for Saturday morning was called off.

Gaddafi himself vowed to "crush any enemy" on Friday before a crowd of supporters in Green Square and threatened to open military arsenals to his supporters and tribesmen.
State television said the government was raising wages and food subsidies and ordering special allowances for all families, a late bid to enrol the support of Libya's 6 million citizens.

In recent days, the flamboyant Gaddafi has made several appearances railing against his enemies as rats and cockroaches and blaming the unrest on a range of foes from the United States and Israel to al Qaeda militants and youths high on drugs.
The revolt came as a surprise to the West, which once reviled Gaddafi as pariah due to his support for revolutionary movements and incidents such as the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing but later sought a rapprochement driven by oil deals and other commercial opportunities.

Diplomats say some 2,000 or more people have been killed across the country.

Protesters in Zawiyah, an oil refining town on the main coastal highway 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli, fought off government forces on several nights, according to witnesses who fled across the Tunisian border at Ras Jdir.

"There are corpses everywhere. It's a war in the true sense of the word," said Akila Jmaa, who crossed into Tunisia on Friday after travelling from the town.

In the east, ad hoc committees of lawyers, doctors, tribal elders and soldiers appeared to be filling the vacuum left by Gaddafi's government with some success.

At Tripoli's international airport, thousands of desperate foreign workers besieged the main gate trying to leave the country as police used batons and whips to keep them out.Washington, having evacuated Americans from Libya after days of difficulties, said it was closing down its embassy.

Prosecutor-general Abdul-Rahman al-Abbar became the latest senior Libyan official to resign, telling al Arabiya television he was joining the opposition. Libya's delegations to the Arab League and the United Nations in Geneva also switched sides.

Libya supplies 2 percent of the world's oil, the bulk of it from wells and supply terminals in the east. The opposition says it controls nearly all oilfields east of Ras Lanuf.
Industry sources told Reuters that crude oil shipments from Libya, the world's 12th-largest exporter, had all but stopped because of reduced production, a lack of staff at ports and security concerns.

Q+A: How U.S. financial sanctions on Libya might workTweet Share thisLink this
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WASHINGTON | Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:39pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Friday said it would pursue unilateral sanctions on Libya in response to longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi's crackdown on political opponents.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the measures, which would accompany multilateral steps, were aimed at pressuring Gaddafi's regime "to stop killing its own people."

Following are some questions and answers on how the United States imposes and enforces sanctions, and what legal authorities would be required.

No. The last financial sanctions against Libya ended in 2004 after Gaddafi renounced his country's programs to develop weapons of mass destructions and opened Libyan territory to international weapons inspectors. A trade embargo was lifted, and U.S. companies were allowed to invest again in Libya's oil sector. The United States exported some $666 million in goods and services to Libya in 2009, with oil drilling equipment and motor vehicles as the largest segments.


Not until President Barack Obama issues an executive order imposing sanctions against Gaddafi and his regime. Various executive orders exist targeting governments that are accused of oppressing their people or that are seen as security threats to the United States, including Iran, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Myanmar. Other executive orders target behaviors such as financing of terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or narcotics trafficking.
But there are no such orders in place for Gaddafi's regime, or for that of Egypt's ousted president, Hosni Mubarak. The Treasury would need a new order to act.


Based on an assessment of the situation or threat, he could declare a "national emergency" under authorities granted by the National Emergencies Act and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. It would allow an executive order blocking transactions with targeted parties and freezing their assets.
In addition, if the U.N. Security Council were to issue a resolution ordering sanctions on a country, Obama could issue an executive order to implement those sanctions, allowing the Treasury to act.


Once an order is issued, the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control identifies individuals, companies and other entities linked to the targeted regime or that show evidence of engaging in the targeted behaviors. It puts them on a list of "specially designated nationals," which blocks Americans from engaging in transactions with them. Assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen. Financial institutions are notified to scrutinize transactions for possible links to the blacklisted individuals or entities. The aim is to deny them access to the international financial system.


They have been effective in closing off access to the financial system for certain entities, such as accused terrorist financing networks, but it not clear whether they are effective in changing governments' policies or behavior.

In 2005, the blacklisting of Macau's Banco Delta Asia shut down North Korea's main conduit to the international financial system. Both U.S. and foreign banks declined transactions with the bank, and the action became a major issue in nuclear talks with Pyongyang.

The strengthening of sanctions against Iran last year over its nuclear and missile programs has hurt Iran's economy, cutting off access to imported materials. But there is little evidence it has had any effect on Tehran's nuclear program. Iran has also been adept at creating new shell companies to conceal transactions, Treasury officials say.


Yes. The U.S. Justice Department could go to federal court to try to seize any assets, such as money or property, that the government believes are the proceeds from alleged illegal activity. It can be a particularly lengthy process to seize assets, as it is subject to challenges by the owners and appeals. The process, known as civil asset forfeiture, can be undertaken if the funds from illicit activity overseas are found in the United States, either in bank accounts or in the form of property.

For example, the Justice Department has sought to seize two properties, including a luxury Manhattan apartment, that are believed to have ties to alleged corrupt activities by the former president of Taiwan and his family.
(Reporting by David Lawder and Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing by Paul Simao)


February 25, 2011

11:16pm Prayer and Protest in Benghazi. An inspiring photo gallery from photographer David Degner.

11:06pm The Guardian newspaper reports that UK officials have told Gaddafi loyalists to defect or face war crimes. The article says that a draft resolution which circulating within the Security Council seeks to achieve the following: arms embargo on the government, travel bans and asset freezes of senior officials.The writers Patrick Wintour and Julian Borger say that the idea of a no-fly zone was removed from the Frano-British draft resolution and it was not discussed at a NATO meeting in Brussels. Meanwhile, more than 200 Arab organisations and around 30 Arab intellectuals appealed for a no-fly zone over Libya. Egyptian writer and commentator Hani Shukrallah reportedly told the Guardian:

Stopping Gaddafi and his family shopping in Harrods or on the Champs Elysées is not going to prevent him unleashing further bloodshed. It's time to stop fiddling about and get serious.

10:45pm UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the Security Council to act quickly on a proposed package of U.N. sanctions aimed at forcing Libyan leaders to end their violent crackdown in the country. "It is time for the Security Council to consider concrete action," Ban told the 15-nation council. "The hours and the days ahead will be decisive for Libyans."

10:20pm Chad's Foreign Ministry has rejected allegations that citizens were among those reportedly recruited by Gaddafi to crack down on protesters.

International media inundates the public opinion with information alleging some Chadian would be mercenaries currently acting in Libya. We want to formally and categorically deny all those allegations that are dangerous and could pose a material and physical danger to the many Chadians living in Libya for years and always in a peaceful way. There are no Chadian mercenaries, there are no Chadians being recruited on Chad territory to go to Libya as mercenaries. It is possible that some Chadians in a private capacity and for personal reasons can belong to such or such group.

9:55pm Washington is finalising sanctions against Libya; the precise plan will be outlined in "the near future" according to Washington spokesperson, Jay Carney. "The mechanics of the sanctions have not been finalised"

9:50pm Doctors without Borders (MSF) release an urgent press statement:

9:35pm The reports that protesters, armed with weapons from abandoned security installations in Beghazi, vow to march on to Gaddafi's palace in Tripoli. Writer Adrian Blomfield says that many in Benghazi are afraid of "the retribution Mr Gaddafi will unleash on them for their rebellion if they fail to complete their mission and force him from power".

9:14pm Reports coming in: The UAE will send two plane loads of humanitarian aid to Libya, where protesters are battling the regime. Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan was quoted as saying "two planes carrying humanitarian aid will leave Saturday from the UAE to Libya via Turkey in order to meet the urgent needs of the Libyan people in the circumstances they are facing."

Qatar sent a relief plane to Libya on Friday that Qatar Airways said will land in Libya's second city Benghazi, which is in the hands of the protesters.

8:35pm Al Jazeera's correspondent in eastern Libya, who cannot be named for her security, reports that while that region of the country has been mostly won by anti-Gaddafi protesters, people are anxious about what Gaddafi might do next.

People do say that they have broken the fear factor, that they have made huge territorial gains ...yet there's no real celebration or euphoria that the job has been done.

8:07pm Libyan UN envoy say he expects oil exports to stop for security reasons but the industry will not be harmed.

8:04pm The United Nations warns that Libya’s food supply network is on the brink of collapse, according to Democracy Now. More here.

8:02pm The BBC reports that UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has said that the last British flight from Tripoli will leave tomorrow.

7:47pm Save the Children, an international NGO, says that they are concerned at reports that children have been killed in a violent crackdown on anti-government protestors by Libyan security forces. They are particularly concerned that ten of thousands more could be displaced if fighting between security forces and anti-government protestors intensifies. Andrew Wander, Media Manager for Emergencies, offers an assessment of the situation.

7:45pm Watch Gaddafi's address to the Libyan people:

7:40pm Gaddafi addresses Libya at Green Square

7:30pm Tarik Yousef - Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington. tells Al Jazeera following Gaddafi's 'surprise speech' speech at Green Square, thirty minutes earlier:

I am torn between seeing this as a legitimate speech in front of crowds willing to support him, but I'm also aware of the capability of Libyan propaganda machine, so I want to wait and see what the analysts make of it ... That is not the average scene of what you'd expect from Green Square

7:14pm Several hundred people have gathered outside the Libyan embassy in Britain once more to show their support for protesters, Jacqueline Head, Al Jazeera's online reporter in London reports. However this time a small contigent appearing to represent Hizb ut Tahrir were also rallying, calling for a sharia state to be installed in Libya. The group said they were there to show their support for the Muslims in Libya. Muftah Abdelsamad, a 57-year-old Libyan living in exile in Britain for 35 years, told Al Jazeera:

We call them the nutters, because that's what they are. We are Libyans. we are Muslims... but these people don't want democracy or freedom. What do they want, dictatorship? We always lived together - Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Jews. And we're all going to live together again."

7:00pm Gaddafi has just addressed the Libyan people from Green Square in Tripoli.
We can defeat any aggression if necessary and arm the people ... prepare to defend Libya. Prepare to defend petrol, prepare to defend dignity."

6: 25pm Serbia denied media reports on Friday that its pilots or ground crews had been involved in Libyan air force bombing missions against protesters, adding that it was suspending all its arms exports to the country. The Serbian Defence Ministry were responding to reports in Arab and Maltese media that Serb mercenary pilots took part in bombing runs against protesters in the Libyancities of Tripoli and Benghazi.

6:01pm Violence flared up even before the Friday sermons were over, according to a source in Tripoli.
People are rushing out of mosques even before Friday prayers are finished because the state-written sermons were not acceptable, and made them even more angry,” the source said.

5:55pm Bloomberg reports 'Al Jazeera Enrages Dictators, Wins Viewers With Coverage'

Beaming images of the protests and interviewing key participants, Al Jazeera in particular has moved from being perceived as a Middle Eastern talk shop to a catalyst for change.

5:28pm Al Jazeera correspondent tweets: Precious scene on Libyan state TV now - kids leading pro-Gaddafi gathering, chanting 'Long live Papa Muammar'

5:01pm The Libyan envoy to the UN has told the Human Rights Council that he and others at the embassy "represent only the Libyan people" and not the regime.

4:52pm Twitter user in Tripoli reports gun fire outside his house. He reports that he had to run back into the house after witnessing a shoot out, and someone being shot in the head. He continues to give running commentary of the events outside his home. Here is a picture of a bullet hole in the wall.

Sunrise at 7:40 in direction 100° East
Sunset at 19:01 in direction 260° West
Duration of day: 11 hours, 20 minutes (1 minute, 58 seconds longer than yesterday)
Sun in south at 13:20 at altitude 48° above horizon

Civil twilight begins at 7:16, ends at 19:26
Nautical twilight begins at 6:47, ends at 19:54
Astronomical twilight begins at 6:18, ends at 20:23
Banks can do more to block dictators' money
-- The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

By Pierre Briançon
LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Switzerland may soon be as famous for its haste at freezing shady money as for its zeal for looking after it. After blocking bank accounts of the deposed Tunisian and Egyptian presidents, the country has done the same with what it calls the "possible assets" of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, whose family fortune, according to the wildest estimates, may be in the tens of billions of dollars. But the problem of corrupt dictators isn't new, and would be better addressed ahead of time. It's nice to freeze the money. It would have been better not to accept it.

Doing so is not as tricky as it sounds. Banks and governments have the financial and legal tools to clamp down on dictators' looting of their countries' resources even while they're still deemed legitimate leaders. What is missing is the will to implement internationally-recognised rules on what diplomats working on money laundering call "politically exposed persons", or PEPs.

Those rules, agreed by all countries that are part of an international body called the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), impose a duty on banks to investigate whenever they suspect unusual financial activity by a political leader with past or present responsibilities. But in the case of sitting leaders, it seems that banks haven't been looking very hard.

Bankers argue that it is hard to trace the loot and identify its ultimate owner. This may be a problem. But if it is so hard to overcome, how come it is so easy to freeze the assets once a despot has been toppled?

Another serious problem is international politics. It's easy enough to freeze out discredited regimes like North Korea and Iran. But it would have been harder for, say, a French or Italian bank to treat Gaddafi as a pariah when he was setting up his tent in Rome or Paris before shaking hands with those countries' leaders.

From Africa to Central Asia and parts of Europe, the world is still rich with corrupt potentates(One who has the power and position to rule over others; a monarch.
As long as western banks and governments deliberately look the other way and accept cash in the name of raison d'etat, there's little hope the looting will stop. But if they really wanted to change, they could start by applying the existing rules.

raison d'état

Raison d'état (much less frequently in the English reason of state) dates from arguments in international law at the time of the formation of the modern states-system in the seventeenth century. It means that there may be reasons for acting (normally in foreign policy, less usually in domestic policy) which simply override all other considerations of a legal or moral kind. Raison d'état is thus a term which fits easily into the language of political realism and realpolitik. As those doctrines have declined in acceptability the term raison d'état declined with them.

-- The Swiss government said on Feb. 25 that it had frozen "any possible assets" Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi or his family might have in the country.
-- Libya's foreign ministry then demanded a proof that "the brother leader (had) funds or bank accounts in Switzerland or in any banks around the world".
-- "Politically exposed persons", or Peps, must be particularly investigated by banks, according to the money-laundering rules agreed upon by the 36 countries members of the Financial Action Task Force. -- A 2009 World Bank report on "stolen asset recovery" and the need to strengthen preventive measures:
-- FATF website:

(Editing by Peter Thal Larsen and David Evans)

The U.S. State Department confirms that a U.S.-chartered ferry carrying hundreds of Americans left Tripoli this morning at 6:37 a.m. EST for Malta after being delayed by high winds and choppy seas. www.reuters.com
by Patricia Launt at 16:31
ReplyA Tripoli resident tells Reuters that at least 5 protesters have been killed in clashes in the Libyan capital's Janzour district.
by Patricia Launt at 16:25

The empty seats of the Libyan delegation during a Special Session of the Human Rights Council on "The situation of human rights in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva today. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
by ReutersPictures at 16:12
@thomaslydon tweets: "The boat has finally left Tripoli! Two days late, and the British govt are still hardly aware that there is 42 Brits aboard..."
by Reuters_RossChainey at 15:53
CNN reports a chartered ferry carrying Americans and other evacuees has left Libya. Bad weather had so far made it difficult for these ships to sail.
by Reuters_RossChainey at 15:52
How far will Gaddafi go to stay in power? Middle East analyst Dr Omar Ashour looks at the different scenarios over on the BBC website www.bbc.co.uk
by Reuters_RossChainey at 15:50

by Reuters_RossChainey at 15:33
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of supporters and opponents of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh are holding rival demonstrations in the capital city, Sanaa. Protesters are reportedly chanting: "The people demand the downfall of the regime."
by Reuters_RossChainey at 15:31

The Deutsche Marine (German Navy) Bremen-class frigate Rheinland-Pfalz enters Valletta's Grand Harbour February 25, 2011. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
by Reuters_RossChainey at 15:27
Egypt's Tahrir Square is packed again today, but this time for a celebration. The gathering marks two weeks since the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak, and will also serve to remind the military of the people power that ended Mubarak's 30-year iron rule. Activists are urging the military to overhaul the newly appointed cabinet and install a fresh team of technocrats. uk.reuters.com
by Reuters_RossChainey edited by Reuters_RossChainey at 15:25
The Libyan ambassador in France has resigned, according to a Libyan diplomatic source.
by Reuters_RossChainey at 15:11
Anti-Gaddafi rebels say they are in control of nearly all oilfields east of the Libyan town of Ras Lanuf ( bit.ly ), with oil fields and terminals still working at 25 percent capacity. This was announced by a petroleum engineer who is part of Benghazi's interim leadership.
by Reuters_RossChainey edited by Reuters_RossChainey at 14:57
@iyad_elbaghdadi tweets: "Libya state TV Friday Sermon: "Whoever obeys the ruler has obeyed God, and whoever disobeys the ruler has disobeyed God"
by Reuters_RossChainey at 14:54
UK Prime Minister David Cameron says his government "will do everything it can" to evacuate safely the estimated 200 British nationals stranded in Libya and recommends anyone still there should try to leave now. Cameron says the UK is pressing for asset seizures, travel bans and other sanctions on Libya through the UN.
by Reuters_RossChainey at 14:41
Now seems like a good time to sum up the latest state of affairs in Libya. Here goes:

- The U.N. Security Council is meeting to discuss a draft proposal for sanctions against Libyan leaders locked in a bloody battle for survival against a popular uprising. The Security Council meeting follows U.S. efforts to drum up international backing for ways to stem the bloodshed in Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi's forces have fought back against a rebellion in which French estimates say some 2,000 people may have died.

- NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he had called an emergency NATO council meeting for Friday afternoon to discuss the situation in Libya. He said he would also meet EU defense ministers to discuss helping those in need and evacuating foreigners from the country.

- U.S. President Barack Obama consulted the French, British and Italian leaders late on Thursday on immediate steps against Gaddafi over his bloody crackdown on the revolt.

- Two pages on the social networking website Facebook called for mass demonstrations in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, after Friday prayers.

- Government forces are fighting rebels for cities near the capital. Gaddafi's troops control Tripoli after cracking down on anti-government protests several days ago, and residents say they are staying indoors unless forced to search for supplies.

- Libyan state television said the government was raising wages, increasing food subsidies and ordering special allowances for all families, in its first practical attempt to enroll the support of citizens since the uprising began. Each family will receive 500 Libyan dinars ($400) to help cover increased food costs, and wages for some categories of public sector workers will increase by 150 percent, the television station said.

- Foreign governments focused on evacuating thousands of their citizens trapped by the unrest. Chinese official media said on Friday that Beijing had so far evacuated 12,000, or about one third, of its citizens from Libya.

- Opposition forces were already in control of major centers in the east, including the second city Benghazi. Reports of the third city Misrata, as well as Zuara, in the west also falling brought the tide of rebellion closer to Gaddafi's power base -- though information from western Libya remained patchy.

- The nature of the new ruling orders in eastern cities is still unclear. There was little sign of radical Islamists among the lawyers, doctors, tribal elders and army officers who made up committees trying to bring order. uk.reuters.com
by Reuters_RossChainey at 14:30
The defections continue. Libyan prosecutor General Abdul-Rahman Al-Abbar tells state TV that he too has resigned and joined the opposition.
by Reuters_RossChainey at 14:17

The empty seats of the Libyan delegation are pictured before a Special Session of the Human Rights Council on "The situation of human rights in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva February 25, 2011. It is the first time a Council member will be the subject of a Special Session. The picture was taken with a fisheye lens. REUTERS/Denis Balibous
by Reuters_RossChainey at 13:52
The Libyan army and police in the eastern city of Adjabiya says on Al Jazeera TV that they have joined the anti-Gaddafi protesters, and have withdrawn from their barracks. Here's a map showing the town's location. maps.google.co.uk
by Reuters_RossChainey at 13:49
@thomaslydon tweets: "There are still 42 British nationals trapped in Tripoli harbour on US boat. Been stuck for two days."
by Reuters_RossChainey at 13:38
The BBC's correspondent Jim Muir, who is on the Tunisia-Libya border, says there is still a steady stream of people crossing over into Tunisia. They are mainly Tunisians, he says, but there are also some Egyptians leaving.
by Reuters_RossChainey at 13:26
The latest from the town of Zawiyah is that there no security forces inside the town. Zawiyah had seen heavy fighting. This is based on an eyewitness report.
by Reuters_RossChainey at 13:17
The truth about Twitter, Facebook and the uprisings in the Arab world www.guardian.co.uk
by Reuters_RossChainey at 13:11

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague arrives to attend a a National Security Council meeting in Downing Street, London February 25, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
by Reuters_RossChainey at 12:49
Benghazi's interim leadership says oil deals that are "legal and to the benefit of the Libyan people we will keep."

Oil rallied more than $1 a barrel to top $112 on Friday as the revolt in Libya sparked fears of supply shortages, despite assurances by top oil exporter Saudi Arabia that it would step in to fill any shortfall. uk.reuters.com
by Reuters_RossChainey at 12:46
Baroness Ashton was talking before a meeting of EU defence ministers when she said the world must consider restrictive measures against Libya.

She said: "For the EU it's time to consider what we call restrictive measures... to ensure we put as much pressure as possible to try and stop the violence in Libya and see the country move forward.

"I don't think at this point there's any discussion about any sort of military action around Libya."
by Reuters_RossChainey at 12:11
South Korea's military has been dropping leaflets into North Korea about democracy protests in Egypt and also sent food, medicines and radios for residents as part of a psychological campaign, it has been reported. uk.reuters.com
by Reuters_RossChainey at 12:08
Time for another so-called "Day or Rage", this time in Iraq, where thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest against corruption and a lack of basic services inspired by uprisings across the Arab world.

Reports suggest these protests are well co-ordinated, with demonstrations taking place from the northern city of Kirkuk to Basra in the south.
by Reuters_RossChainey at 11:54
The EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, says the EU must consider restrictive measures against Libya.
by Reuters_RossChainey at 11:26
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he had called an emergency NATO council meeting for Friday afternoon to discuss the situation in Libya.

"I have convened an emergency meeting in the NATO council this afternoon to consult on this fast-moving situation. So I will return to Brussels in a few hours," he told Reuters during a visit to Budapest on Friday.

"Before I do so, I will meet with EU defence ministers and discuss with them how we in a pragmatic way can help those in need and limit the consequences of these events."

He said priority must be given to evacuation and possibly humanitarian assistance. uk.reuters.com
by Reuters_RossChainey at 11:07
Reuters' Christian Lowe has more on those handouts announced on Libyan TV. He writes: "It said each family will receive 500 Libyan dinars ($400) to help cover increased food costs, and that wages for some categories of public sector workers would increase by 150 percent."
by Reuters_RossChainey at 10:55
Libyan TV reports that the country's government will raise wages, increase food subisidies and order special allowances for all families.
by Reuters_RossChainey at 10:50
Britain and France plan to ask the United Nations for a Libyan arms embargo, financial sanctions and will also go to the International Criminal Court for humanity crimes. French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie told France Info radio: "There is a French-English project... we have asked for a resolution on a total arms embargo, sanctions and asking the ICC to proceed over crimes against humanity." in.reuters.com
by Reuters_RossChainey edited by Reuters_RossChainey at 10:47
The UK Foreign Office has confirmed that there are up to 220 Brits still stranded in LIbya, and Prime Minister David Cameron is due to chair two high-level meetings of the National Security Council on Friday morning. Top of the agenda will be how to get these people out, the BBC reports www.bbc.co.uk
by Reuters_RossChainey at 9:45
China has tightened control over the Internet in the wake of the unrest sweeping through the Middle East, underscoring the Communist Party's anxiety over the easy spread of information that might challenge its one-party rule. www.reuters.com
by Reuters_RossChainey at 2/25/2011 6:34:48 AM9:34
The Daily Telegraph says the British government is preparing to seize billions of pounds worth of assets Muammar Gaddafi and the Libyan regime have deposited in London in bank accounts, commercial property and a £10 million mansion. "In total, the Libyan regime is said to have around £20 billion in liquid assets, mostly in London. These are expected to be frozen as part of an international effort to force the dictator from power," it says www.telegraph.co.uk
by Reuters_RossChainey at 2/25/2011 6:31:02 AM9:31

Benghazi residents celebrate in the night-time rain as they continue to call on Muammar Gaddafi to step down. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
by Lars_Reuters at 2/25/2011 4:30:19 AM7:30
China has so far evacuated 12,000, or about a third, of its citizens from turmoil in Libya, many of them workers for Chinese-run projects and businesses in the oil-rich nation, official media said on Friday. www.reuters.com
by Reuters_Natalie Armstrong at 2/25/2011 4:03:43 AM7:03
South Korea's military has been dropping leaflets into North Korea about democracy protests in Egypt and also sent food, medicines and radios for residents as part of a psychological campaign, a legislator said on Friday. www.reuters.com
by Reuters_Natalie Armstrong at 2/25/2011 3:22:56 AM6:22
President Obama welcomes the lifting of a state of emergency in Algeria and urges the government there to do more to meet its people's demands for greater rights. www.reuters.com
by Lars_Reuters at 2/25/2011 1:20:46 AM4:20
Muammar Gaddafi's grip on power may depend on the performance of an elite military unit led by one of his younger sons, according to U.S. and European national security and intelligence officials. www.reuters.com
by Lars_Reuters at 2/25/2011 12:02:46 AM3:02
Anti-Libyan government militias took control of Misrata late on Thursday after evicting forces loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi from the Mediterranean coastal city, prompting street celebrations, a witness said. www.reuters.com
by Lars_Reuters at 2/25/2011 12:00:44 AM3:00
The White House says Obama spoke with the leaders of France, Britain and Italy and "discussed the range of options that both the United States and European countries are preparing to hold the Libyan government accountable for its actions, as well as planning for humanitarian assistance" www.reuters.com
by Lars_Reuters at 2/24/2011 11:21:11 PM2:21
There are four strategic locations that are likely to hold the key to whether Gaddafi survives or falls: the capital, Gaddafi's desert home town of Sirte to the east, and the Gulf of Sirte oil terminals Ras Lanuf and Marsa el-Brega, Reuters reporter Christian Lowe reports www.reuters.com
by Lars_Reuters at 2/24/2011 11:16:24 PM2:16
Libya's Foreign Ministry denies that Muammar Gaddafi holds banks accounts in Switzerland or in any other bank around the world www.reuters.com
by Lars_Reuters at 2/24/2011 11:04:18 PM2:04
Obama and Geithner seek to quell fears that unrest in Libya will put oil prices on a long term upward trajectory www.reuters.com
by Lars_Reuters at 2/24/2011 9:26:32 PM0:26

Foreign nationals flee the ongoing chaos in Libya by land, sea and air. Simon Hanna reports.
by Allan Shifman at 2/24/2011 8:26:36 PM2/24/2011 23:26

Tunisians hold Tunisian, Egyptian and old Libyan flags during an anti-Gaddafi protest at the Tunisian Libyan border crossing of Ras Jdir February 24, 2011. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
by Allan Shifman at 2/24/2011 8:26:04 PM2/24/2011 23:26

Muammar Gaddafi blames al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden for stirring descent in Libya. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
by Allan Shifman at 2/24/2011 8:25:20 PM2/24/2011 23:25
Algeria has lifted a 19-year-old state of emergency in a concession to the opposition designed to keep out a wave of uprisings sweeping the Arab world.
by stephanie.ditta at 2/24/2011 8:18:23 PM2/24/2011 23:18
There was no immediate indication of where the rumor had originated or any news report to substantiate it.
by stephanie.ditta at 2/24/2011 8:11:29 PM2/24/2011 23:11
Traders said oil prices fell by more than $2 a barrel in late Thursday activity on rumors Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had been shot. www.reuters.com
by stephanie.ditta at 2/24/2011 8:11:17 PM2/24/2011 23:11
Oil traders cite rumor that Gaddafi shot, pushing down oil prices
by stephanie.ditta at 2/24/2011 7:50:21 PM2/24/2011 22:50
Rumors swirling that Gaddafi is dead, but an official says the U.S. government has no reason to believe
by stephanie.ditta at 2/24/2011 7:48:45 PM2/24/2011 22:48
Meanwhile, battles rage in Libya as rebels seize towns, we report.
by ReutersZengerle via twitter at 2/24/2011 7:06:32 PM2/24/2011 22:06
$100 barrel oil is not $150 barrel -- wiser economic minds note -- consensus seems to be oil price won't delay recovery.
by ReutersZengerle via twitter at 2/24/2011 7:00:25 PM2/24/2011 22:00
Carney says U.S. has the capacity to act in the event of a major oil supply disruption
by carenbohan via twitter at 2/24/2011 6:52:58 PM2/24/2011 21:52
Gaddafi will commit suicide the way Adolf Hitler did at the end of World War II rather than surrender or flee, a former Libyan cabinet minister told a Swedish newspaper in an interview published on Thursday.
by stephanie.ditta at 2/24/2011 6:51:04 PM2/24/2011 21:51
Carney says Libya unrest is a fluid, dynamic and dangerous situation
by carenbohan via twitter at 2/24/2011 6:50:34 PM2/24/2011 21:50
State Dept spokesman @pjcrowley says options on #Libya will be presented to Obama "in the coming days"
by dcharlesReuters via twitter at 2/24/2011 6:49:33 PM2/24/2011 21:49
Three Democratic Representatives are urging President Obama to tap America's emergency oil supply to help lower prices. www.reuters.com
by Allan Shifman at 2/24/2011 6:48:48 PM2/24/2011 21:48
Carney says feasibility will be a consideration as the U.S. weighs options on Libya, doesn't rule out no-fly zone
comment by carenbohan via twitter at 2/24/2011 6:44:35 PM2/24/2011 21:44
Is a no-fly zone under consideration for Libya? Carney says he won't get into specifics but a variety of options are being looked at
comment by carenbohan via twitter at 2/24/2011 6:44:29 PM2/24/2011 21:44
Obama will speak later today or tomorrow on Libya. The need to evacuate Americans is one complication to the policy.
comment by carenbohan via twitter at 2/24/2011 6:44:26 PM2/24/2011 21:44
Why didn't Obama mention Gaddafi by name? Answer: it's not about specific leaders.
by ReutersZengerle via twitter at 2/24/2011 6:32:01 PM2/24/2011 21:32
Asked about the possibility of military options in Libya, the White House says it is not ruling anything out
by stephanie.ditta at 2/24/2011 6:30:23 PM2/24/2011 21:30
Across the pond, the Swiss government has freezed assets belonging to Gaddafi
by stephanie.ditta at 2/24/2011 6:29:38 PM2/24/2011 21:29
The White House expects to take action in near term with international community to compel Libya to stop oppressing citizens
by stephanie.ditta at 2/24/2011 6:28:39 PM2/24/2011 21:28
The U.S. says it supports expelling Libya from the UN Human Rights Council
by stephanie.ditta at 2/24/2011 6:27:11 PM2/24/2011 21:27
Obama is expected to discuss sanctions and other options with Cameron and Sarkozy during the call
by stephanie.ditta at 2/24/2011 6:24:32 PM2/24/2011 21:24
The U.S. is expecting a ferry to depart Libya in the next several hours, depending on the weather
by stephanie.ditta at 2/24/2011 6:24:02 PM2/24/2011 21:24
Obama to speak with UK PM Cameron and French president Sarkozy about Libya later today
by stephanie.ditta at 2/24/2011 6:22:38 PM2/24/2011 21:22
The U.S. State Department is saying that a U.S.-chartered ferry remains docked in Tripoli with 285 passengers on board, including 167 U.S. citizens.
by Allan Shifman at 2/24/2011 6:14:59 PM2/24/2011 21:14
The International Organization for Migration is saying at least 30,000 people, mainly Tunisian and Egyptian migrant workers, have fled Libya. www.reuters.com
by Allan Shifman at 2/24/2011 5:47:19 PM2/24/2011 20:47

Anti-Gaddafi protesters shout slogans in Benghazi February 24, 2011. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
by Allan Shifman at 2/24/2011 5:27:26 PM2/24/2011 20:27
According to cables released by WikiLeaks, the Gaddafi family is riddled by greed, jealousy and ambition, which would often destroy the careers of officials who got in the way. www.reuters.com
by Allan Shifman at 2/24/2011 5:22:57 PM2/24/2011 20:22

A Libyan army general scorns the Libyan leader, saying he has an ''inferiority complex''. Travis Brecher reports.
by Allan Shifman at 2/24/2011 5:18:44 PM2/24/2011 20:18

Residents and former soldiers of Muammar Gaddafi celebrate inside a military compound in Benghazi February 24, 2011. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
by Allan Shifman at 2/24/2011 5:04:04 PM2/24/2011 20:04
In an interview with Libyan state TV, Muammar Gaddafi blamed the revolt on Osama bin Laden, and said the protesters were fueled by milk and Nescafe spiked with hallucinogenic drugs. www.reuters.com
by Allan Shifman at 2/24/2011 4:59:39 PM2/24/2011 19:59
Here are the highlights from a telephone interview Gaddafi gave with Libyan state television www.reuters.com
by Allan Shifman at 2/24/2011 4:47:06 PM2/24/2011 19:47

A Red Cross worker watches evacuees from Libya disembark at the port of Heraklio on the island of Crete February 24, 2011. REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis
by Allan Shifman at 2/24/2011 4:12:23 PM2/24/2011 19:12
Oil industry sources are saying Saudi Arabia has been in touch with Italian and Spanish refiners to say they will consider requests for extra oil.
by Allan Shifman at 2/24/2011 3:59:04 PM2/24/2011 18:59
France's human rights ambassador believes 1,000-2,000 people have been killed in Libya
by stephanie.ditta at 2/24/2011 3:50:04 PM2/24/2011 18:50
Have a look at our interactive graphic highlighting protests and unrest in Africa and the Middle East www.reuters.com
by Allan Shifman at 2/24/2011 3:45:31 PM2/24/2011 18:45

The international community makes a massive push to retrieve nationals from Libya. Julie Noce, reports.
by Allan Shifman at 2/24/2011 3:40:25 PM2/24/2011 18:40
Here's our latest factbox giving a rundown on the makeup of Libya's military www.reuters.com
by Allan Shifman at 2/24/2011 3:39:16 PM2/24/2011 18:39
The residents told Reuters the oil and product terminals at Ras Lanuf and Marsa El Brega were being protected. Soliman Karim, a resident involved with helping administer the eastern city of Benghazi, said exports were continuing. A second resident suggested flows might have been affected. The information could not immediately be confirmed from those operating the terminals

FACTBOX-Libya evacuations by country
24 Feb 2011 21:52

Source: reuters // Reuters

Feb 24 (Reuters) - Following are details of countries and companies evacuating nationals and employees from Libya or closing operations due to the political turmoil. [nLDE71N009]

* Denotes new or updated entry:


BOSNIA: Bosnia said three planes received clearance from Libyan authorities to evacuate a first group out of up to 1,500 Bosnian nationals in Tripoli. It said the first aircraft should arrive back in Sarajevo late on Thursday.

*BRITAIN: There are about 500 British nationals in Libya including 170 workers in various desert camps. About 300 are in the capital and 70 in the eastern city of Benghazi.

A Royal Air Force C130 Hercules has left Tripoli with 51 Britons and 13 others, bound for Malta. A second C130 is deploying to Malta and will be ready to assist as required. The frigate, HMS Cumberland, left the Libyan port of Benghazi carrying more than 200 people, including Britons, French and Canadians.

BULGARIA: Around 100 Bulgarian citizens residing in Benghazi will be able to leave Libya on board a Turkish ship due to dock in Benghazi on Thursday, the Foreign Ministry said.

*CANADA: Said it would send a military cargo plane to evacuate its citizens after plans to send a chartered civilian airliner on Thursday to Tripoli fell through over insurance concerns. Almost 200 Canadians had been, or were about to be, evacuated from Libya on planes and ships arranged by other nations, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon said.

CHINA: China Daily reported that more than 30,000 Chinese citizens were living in Libya when the turmoil erupted.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said more than 4,600 Chinese citizens had been evacuated, either to China or to a "safer third country". Ma said almost 100 buses had been arranged to retrieve its citizens from the Libya-Egypt border and the first chartered plane had taken off for Beijing on Thursday carrying 200 passengers, mostly women and children.

CROATIA: Croatia said 28 Croatian workers had left Benghazi onboard an Italian military ship bound for Malta. A plane from Zagreb landed in Tripoli and Croatian officials were trying to reach the remaining workers located at three different sites. There are around 125 Croat workers still in Libya.

FRANCE: Paris sent planes to Libya earlier this week to repatriate French nationals. Defence Minister Alain Juppe said 500-550 people, mostly French, had been taken to Paris. About 200 French citizens, tourists or people not seeking to leave, were still in the country.

GERMANY: Military sources have said Germany is sending ships to the Libyan coast to help evacuate German citizens. The military is sending a supply vessel "Berlin" and the frigates "Brandenburg" and "Rheinland-Pfalz", with about 600 soldiers aboard.

GREECE: Greece will send three military planes on Thursday to evacuate Greeks from Tripoli and Sabha. The "Hellenic Spirit" with 2,037 passengers docked at the port of Heraklion. Later, the "Olympic Champion" arrived with 2,467 on board, mainly Chinese. Authorities said Greeks, Russians, Romanians, Ukrainians and Italians were among the passengers.

INDIA: India said on Thursday the government had sent a ship to Benghazi and hoped to evacuate at least 1,200 citizens to Alexandria by March 1. They will be flown to India by special flights. It is waiting to get landing clearance for planes in Tripoli, for which aircraft are on standby.

Indian companies operating in Libya have offered to help the embassy in the evacuation. There are 18,000 Indians in the country, mostly in the oil, construction and health sectors.

IRELAND: Ireland is to try on Thursday again to get a plane back to Tripoli. There are around 70 Irish people in Libya, with 54 of those in Tripoli and the majority at the airport. A plane did land on Wednesday but was prevented by Libyan security from picking up Irish nationals and it returned to Malta.

ITALY: Italy said on Wednesday it had repatriated 800 Italians from Libya and was hoping to fly back all those wanting to leave Tripoli and the surrounding area by Thursday. Italy has sent a C-130 military aircraft to evacuate Italians from Tripoli and Sebah.

*NETHERLANDS: A Dutch plane evacuated 82 people from Libya on Tuesday, 32 Dutch citizens and 50 from countries including Belgium, Britain and the United States, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

A second Dutch plane arrived in Tripoli on Thursday morning and later departed with 42 passengers, nine of whom were Dutch. About 60 Dutch nationals are still in Libya.

PHILIPPINES: President Benigno Aquino said on Thursday his government is making preparations to repatriate about half of the 26,000 Filipino workers in Libya, most of them working in the medical and oil and gas sectors.

The government has also set aside 100 million pesos ($2.3 million) to lease planes to ferry Filipinos from Libya. Philippine Airlines and Qatar's national carrier could ferry 200-300 Filipinos per trip.

ROMANIA: A plane will leave from Bucharest to Tripoli on Feb. 24 and Romania has asked its citizens in Libya to confirm their plans to leave on an emergency basis. Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi said there were 450 Romanians in Libya.

SOUTH AFRICA: South Africa on Thursday said it is arranging for a flight to evacuate some embassy staff and about 30-40 of its nationals from Libya.

SOUTH KOREA: The Foreign Ministry has advised its nationals to leave if their business was not urgent. A total of 1,300 South Koreans are in Libya working for construction companies.
SWEDEN: Sweden estimated that around 20 Swedish citizens remain in Libya after many Swedes left in recent days. Some of those remaining have made clear they do not intend to leave.

SYRIA: Syria has sent vessels to pick up Syrian nationals from different areas in Libya, in addition to continuing its flights to Tripoli. Minister of Transport Yarub Badr said two ships have been sent so far, the first of which will arrive at Benghazi Port on Thursday while the second will head towards Libya's territorial waters to be directed later.

TUNISIA: Tunisia had at least 30,000 nationals in Libya. At least 7,000 have been able to leave. Tunisia sent five flights to Libya on Wednesday and two others before that. Tunisia has scheduled a ferry to travel to Benghazi.

TURKEY: Turkey said 6,700 people had been brought to Turkey in the evacuation from Libya on two ships and 15 planes. A Turkish navy ship with a capacity of 1,500 people, escorted by two frigates and a fuelling ship, arrived at Benghazi at midday on Thursday.

UNITED STATES: High winds and seas have prevented Americans and other foreigners from leaving Libya aboard a chartered ferry for a second day, with no change in weather expected soon, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday. The ferry was due to leave Tripoli on Wednesday bound for Malta. (Reporting by Reuters bureaux; Compiled and edited by David Cutler)

Investor concerns over Libya’s SWF are justifiedFeb 23, 2011 17:54 EST
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

By Una Galani

LONDON — Libya’s $70 billion sovereign wealth fund was just starting to show some ambition before the country was plunged into crisis. Now investors who sit alongside the Libyan Investment Authority are understandably nervous. There’s no precedent for what will happen to the fund’s stakes in various Western entities if the regime falls, and there has never been much transparency around the institution’s inner workings.

Consider a world-class sovereign fund, for example Norway’s. A change of government in the fully democratic country almost certainly wouldn’t alter the strategy of the fund, which has over $500 billion in assets. That’s because it is managed mainly by the country’s independent central bank, which in turn mandates asset managers to make investment decisions.

But funds in autocratic regimes are more opaque and the government tends to be closely involved. Libya’s fund was only established in 2006. It is ultimately run by the country’s prime minister, according to the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds, scoring a transparency rating of two on the Linaburg-Maduell Transparency Index, the same score as Saudi Arabia’s and China’s sovereign funds.

This helps explain the 7 percent drop in UniCredit shares since tensions escalated in Libya. The country owns 7.5 percent of the Italian bank. In an extreme scenario, a new Libyan regime might decide to cut ties with the West and liquidate international positions — which also includes stakes in carmaker Fiat and British publisher Pearson. The fund has $8 billion held in long-term equity investments in North Africa, Asia and Europe, according to its 2009 annual report. Alternatively, a new administration might decide to shift strategy and gradually sell stakes down.

Liquidation would not be a rational policy, however. Sovereign funds are designed to be funds of last resort and Libya has an additional $80 billion in net foreign assets held by the central bank, according to the International Monetary
Fund. The oil-dependent country badly needs to diversify its finances — hence the creation of the fund in the first place. Without an urgent need for cash, there’s no reason to believe Libya would hit the sell button. But given the escalating uncertainty, banking on a rational outcome is a gamble.


'Imam Moussa al-Sadr never left Libya'
Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:15PM
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Imam Moussa al-Sadr went missing while on an official visit to Libya in 1978.An expert says that the missing Lebanese Shia leader Imam Moussa al-Sadr may be still alive given Tripoli's confession that he never left Libya, where he went missing in the 1970s.

In an interview with Press TV on Tuesday, political analyst Roula Talj from Beirut said the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had denied previous allegations that the visiting Lebanese leader had left for Italy.

“He did not admit that Imam Moussa al-Sadr was alive but … told me that they [Moussa al-Sadr and his companions] never left Libya,” Talj quoted Seif al-Islam Gaddafi as saying.

“And that all the allegations about them being in Italy were wrong,” she added.

“From my own analysis and people's reaction to this, I believe he is still alive,” the expert said in response to a question on the possibility of Sadr's livelihood.

It is widely believed in Lebanon that Imam Moussa al-Sadr, the founder of the Lebanon's Amal movement, was kidnapped on the orders of senior Libyan officials while on an official trip to Libya in August 1978.

Accompanied by two of his companions, Mohammed Yaqoub and Abbas Badreddin, Sadr was scheduled to meet with officials from the government of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

In 2008, the government in Beirut issued an arrest warrant for Gaddafi over Sadr's disappearance.


By MAGGIE MICHAEL and SARAH EL DEEB, Associated Press Maggie Michael And Sarah El Deeb, Associated Press – Tue Feb 22, 9:43 pm ET
CAIRO – A defiant Moammar Gadhafi vowed to fight to his "last drop of blood" and roared at supporters to strike back against Libyan protesters to defend his embattled regime Tuesday, signaling an escalation of the crackdown that has thrown the capital into scenes of mayhem, wild shooting and bodies in the streets.

The speech by the Libyan leader — who shouted and pounded his fists on the podium — was an all-out call for his backers to impose control over the capital and take back other cities. After a week of upheaval, protesters backed by defecting army units have claimed control over almost the entire eastern half of Libya's 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) Mediterranean coast, including several oil-producing areas.

"You men and women who love Gadhafi ... get out of your homes and fill the streets," he said. "Leave your homes and attack them in their lairs. (The den or dwelling of a wild animal.)"

Celebratory gunfire by Gadhafi supporters rang out in the capital of Tripoli after the leader's speech, while in protester-held Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city, people threw shoes at a screen showing his address, venting their contempt.

State TV showed a crowd of Gadhafi supporters in Tripoli's Green Square, raising his portrait and waving flags as they swayed to music after the address. Residents contacted by The Associated Press said no anti-government protesters ventured out of their homes after dark, and gun-toting guards manned checkpoints with occasional bursts of gunfire heard throughout the city.

International alarm rose over the crisis, which sent oil prices soaring to the highest level in more than two years on Tuesday and sparked a scramble by European and other countries to get their citizens out of the North African nation. The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting that ended with a statement condemning the crackdown, expressing "grave concern" and calling for an "immediate end to the violence" and steps to address the legitimate demands of the Libyan people.

Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel called Gadhafi's speech "very, very appalling," saying it "amounted to him declaring war on his own people." Libya's own deputy ambassador at the U.N., who now calls for Gadhafi's ouster, has urged the world body to enforce a no-fly zone over the country to protect protesters.
"This violence is completely unacceptable," added Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Click image to see photos of protests in Libya

AFP/Abbas Momani
Gadhafi's retaliation has already been the harshest in the Arab world to the wave of anti-government protests sweeping the Middle East. Nearly 300 people have been killed, according to a partial count by the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

In two nights of bloodshed, Tripoli residents described a rampage by pro-Gadhafi militiamen — a mix of Libyans and foreign mercenaries — who shot on sight anyone found in the streets and opened fire from speeding vehicles at people watching from windows of their homes.

In a sign of the extent of the breakdown in Gadhafi's regime, one of his closest associates, Abdel Fattah Younis, his interior minister and commander of the powerful Thunderbolt commando brigade, announced in Benghazi that he was defecting and other armed forces should join the revolt.

"I gave up all my posts in response to the February 17 Revolution and my conviction that it has just demands," Younis, who was among the army officers who joined Gadhafi in his 1969 coup, told Al-Jazeera, referring to the date of the start of the protests.

The performance by Gadhafi on state TV Tuesday night went far beyond even the bizarre, volatile style he has been notorious for during nearly 42 years in power. Swathed in brown robes and a turban, wearing reflective sunglasses, he at times screamed, his voice breaking, and shook his fists — then switched to reading glasses to read from a green-covered law book, losing his train of thought before launching into a new round of shouting.

He spoke from behind a podium in the entrance of his bombed-out Tripoli residence hit by U.S. airstrikes in the 1980s and left unrepaired as a symbol of defiance.

At times the camera panned back to show the outside of the building and its towering monument of a gold-colored fist crushing an American fighter jet. But the view also gave a bizarre image of Gadhafi, waving his arms wildly alone in a broken-down lobby with no audience, surrounded by torn tiles dangling from the ceiling, shattered concrete pillars and bare plumbing pipes.

"Libya wants glory, Libya wants to be at the pinnacle, at the pinnacle of the world," he proclaimed, pounding his fist on the podium. "I am a fighter, a revolutionary from tents. ... I will die as a martyr at the end," he said, vowing to fight "to my last drop of blood."

Gadhafi portrayed the protesters as misguided youths, who had been given drugs and money by a "small, sick group" to attack police and government buildings. He said the uprising was fomented by "bearded men" — a reference to Islamic fundamentalists — and Libyans living abroad.

He urged supporters to take to the streets to attack demonstrators, saying police would not interfere.

"Go out and fight them," he added, urging youth to form local committees across the country "for the defense of the revolution and the defense of Gadhafi."

"Forward, forward, forward!" he barked at the speech's conclusion, pumping both fists in the air as he stormed away from the podium. He was kissed by about a dozen supporters, some in security force uniforms. Then he climbed into a golf cart-like vehicle and puttered away.

In New York, Libya's deputy U.N. ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi, who has called for Gadhafi to step down, said he had received information that Gadhafi's collaborators have started "attacking people in all the cities in western Libya." He said those being attacked are unarmed. He said Gadhafi was using foreign mercenaries to fight protesters.

"I think the genocide has started now in Libya," Dabbashi said. "The Gadhafi statement was just code for his collaborators to start the genocide against the Libyan people. It just started a few hours ago. I hope the information I get is not accurate but if it is, it will be a real genocide."

Libyans were critical of what they saw as the lack of a forceful international response.

Dabbashi said the Security Council statement was "not strong enough" but was "a good step to stopping the bloodshed."

Gadhafi's call for a popular attack on protesters reflected the deeply unstable nature of the system he has created over his rule — the longest of any current Arab leader. He has long kept his military and other security forces relatively weak, fearing a challenge to his rule and uncertain of loyalties in a population of multiple tribal allegiances.

So far, the crackdown has been waged chiefly by militias and so-called "revolutionary committees," made up of Libyans and foreign fighters, many hired from other African nations.

Many army units in the east appear to have sided with protesters, and other more institutional parts of his regime have weakened. A string of ambassadors abroad have defected, as has the justice minister.

Protesters claim to control a string of cities, from the Egyptian border in the east — where guards at the crossing fled — to the city of Ajdabiya, about 450 miles (725 kilometers) farther west along the Mediterranean coast, said Tawfiq al-Shahbi, a protest organizer in the eastern city of Tobruk.

Ajdabiya is a key city near the oil fields of central and eastern Libya. Protesters and local tribesmen were protecting several of the fields and facilities around the city, said one resident, Ahmed al-Zawi.

Residents are also guarding one of Libya's main oil export ports, Zuweita, and the pipelines feeding into it, he said. The pipelines are off and several tankers that had been waiting in the port to load left empty, said al-Zawi, who said he visited Zuweita on Tuesday morning.

The first major protests to hit an OPEC country — and major supplier to Europe — sent oil prices to $95.42 per barrel. Only a small amount of Libya's oil production appeared to have been affected, though analysts fear that revolts will spread to OPEC heavyweights like Iran. Libya holds the most oil reserves in Africa.

Two oil companies on Tuesday suspended production in the country: Italy's Eni — the biggest energy producer in Libya, producing about a quarter of its exports — and Spain's Repsol-YPF, which produced 34,777 barrels in the country last year, about 3.8 percent of national output. A string of international oil companies have begun evacuating their expatriate workers or their families.
In the eastern cities of Tobruk and Benghazi, protesters raised the pre-Gadhafi flag of Libya's monarchy on public buildings. Protesters over the weekend overran police stations and security headquarters in Benghazi, taking control of the streets.

In Benghazi, celebratory residents organized themselves into units to protect property and manage traffic after pro-Gadhafi forces fled, said Farag al-Warfali, a banker. A committee was set up to organize and distribute the use of weapons confiscated from government warehouses, recruiting policemen and officers to carry the weapons for city protection, fearing a new attack.

"These are his dying words. He is a criminal and is ready to do anything. But we are ready for him," al-Warfali said of Gadhafi's speech. "Besides, most of his officers have deserted him anyway. He only has the mercenaries left."
Since Sunday, the fiercest fighting has been in Tripoli, the center of Gadhafi's rule.

At least 62 people were killed in violence in the capital since Sunday, according to the New York-based Human Rights Watch, but it cautioned that that figure came from only two hospitals. That comes on top of at least 233 people killed across the so far in the uprising, counted by the group from hospitals around the country.

Tripoli residents on Tuesday were recovering from the militia rampage through multiple neighborhoods that began the night before and lasted until dawn. Some resident ventured out to find stores open for food, wary of militia attacks.

One man in his 50s said residents of his neighborhood were piling up roadblocks of concrete, bricks and wood to try to slow attackers. He said he had seen several streets with funeral tents mourning the dead.

The night before, he had spent barricaded in his home, blankets over the windows — sitting with a kitchen knife on the table in front of him — as militiamen opened fire in nearby districts.

Buses unloaded militia fighters in several locations, he said. Others sped in vehicles with guns mounted on the top, opening fire, including at people watching from windows. "I know of two different families, one family had a 4-year-old who was shot and killed on a balcony in the eastern part of the city, and another lady on the balcony was shot in the head," he said.

He, like other residents, contacted by The Associated Press, spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.

One of the heaviest battlegrounds was the impoverished, densely populated district of Fashloum. There, militiamen shot any "moving human being" with live ammunition, including ambulances, so wounded were left in the streets to die, one resident said.

He said that as he fled the neighborhood Monday night, he ran across a group of militiamen, including foreign fighters. "The Libyans (among them) warned me to leave and showed me bodies of the dead and told me: `We were given orders to shoot anybody who moves in the place,'" said the resident.
He and other residents described dozens of bodies still in the street at daybreak Tuesday.

The head of the U.N. human rights agency, Navi Pillay, called for an investigation, saying widespread and systematic attacks against civilians "may amount to crimes against humanity."

In the early hours of Wednesday, several Libyan military officers held a news conference with Libyan journalists broadcast on state television in what they described as an effort to set the record straight on a number of issues.

Lt. General Jibril al-Qadiki, an air force pilot, denied reports of airstrikes on civilians and said there had been strikes but only on ammunition warehouses after "rebels" used them. He named four storage area in eastern Libya in desert areas, and insisted there were no people in those areas.

He also accused western countries, including the U.S., of providing logistics to the protesters aiming to "destroy Libya."


Associated Press writers Hamza Hendawi in Cairo; Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations; Colleen Barry in Milan, Italy; Matthew Lee in Washington; John Heilprin in Geneva; and Barbara Whitaker in New York contributed to this report.


Brent and U.S. crude at 2.5-year highs on Libya fears

Speech highlights

Shouting in the rambling speech, Gaddafi declared himself "a warrior" and proclaimed: "Libya wants glory, Libya wants to be at the pinnacle, at the pinnacle of the world".

Among the other points made by Gaddafi in his speech:

He called on the people to catch what he called drugged young people and bring them to justice.

He called on the people to "cleanse Libya house by house" unless protesters on the streets surrendered.

He warned that instability in Libya "will give al-Qaeda a base".

He cited the examples of attack on Russian parliament and China's crushing of the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising, saying that the international community did not interfere.

He said he could do the same in Derna and Bayda.

He offered a new constitution starting from Wednesday, but this would come with dialogue, not by collaboration with the enemy.

He blamed the uprising on Islamists who wanted to create another Afghanistan, and warned that those in Bayda and Derna had already set up an Islamic Emirate that would reach Benghazi.

He said that the country's youth was drugged and did not know anything; they were following the Islamists' leader and their leaders would be punished with death in accordance with the Libyan law.

Just minutes after his speech, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Cairo reported that Amr Moussa, Arab League chief, had decided to discontinue the participation of the Libya delegation in the meetings of the council and all its institutions.
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By Claire Milhench

LONDON | Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:27pm GMT

LONDON (Reuters) - Both Brent and U.S. crude oil rallied to 2.5-year highs on Tuesday on concerns the revolt in Libya could spread to other major oil producers in the Middle East and North Africa.

"It's like one of those Australian bushfires -- once it takes hold, it's very difficult to put out," said Michael Hewson, an analyst at CMC Markets. "Until the situation in the Middle East settles down, you are going to have very wild price swings."

At 1142 GMT, Brent crude oil futures for April delivery were up $1.36 to $107.10, after earlier touching $108.57. U.S. crude for April delivery was up $6.82 at $96.53 as investors and traders became increasingly nervous about contagion.
The jump in U.S. crude is partly explained by the fact that electronic trading of the contract occurred on Monday, but there was no settlement close as the exchange in New York was closed for a holiday.

Libya produces around 1.6 million barrels of oil per day, and OPEC has spare capacity of up to 6 million barrels, so even if all exports were stopped this would not create a supply shortage, said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank.

"It is more fears that this might spread to places like Algeria, Kuwait or the United Arab Emirates," he said.

Libya is the third-largest oil producer in Africa, and at least 100,000 barrels per day -- about 6 percent of the country's production -- have been shut in. At 44 billion barrels, Libya has Africa's largest proven oil reserves, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Trading sources reported that operations at Libya's ports had been disrupted by a lack of communication. "The assumption is that the ports are either already closed or are closing," said a trader with a company that buys Libyan oil.

Fighting has spread to the capital Tripoli. Amid reports that African mercenaries are being used to crack down on protesters some army troops have switched sides to the opposition.

European oil and gas firms such as Shell have evacuated staff and German company Wintershall has wound down production as a precautionary measure.

The Arab League plans to hold an emergency meeting in Cairo at 1500 GMT to discuss the Libyan revolt.

World leaders have condemned the use of force against protesters in Libya, where at least 233 have been killed, according to Human Rights Watch.

Cracks are now appearing among Gaddafi's supporters, with some ambassadors resigning and the Libyan mission to the United Nations calling on the army to "move towards Tripoli and cut the snake's head.

U.S. crude for March delivery, which expires on Tuesday, was up $7.22 at $93.42 after also earlier touching a 2.5-year high at $94.49.

Hewson thought U.S. crude could rally further when New York opens this afternoon. "Brent has broken above a key level at $105, so the bias will remain to the upside while Libya is in flames," he said.

Analysts and investors have been growing increasingly concerned that tensions in Bahrain could spill over the border into Saudi Arabia.

"It's like one of those Australian bushfires -- once it takes hold, it's very difficult to put out," said Michael Hewson, an analyst at CMC Markets. "Until the situation in the Middle East settles down, you are going to have very wild price swings."

Saudi Arabia is hosting the International Energy Forum in Riyadh today and attendees have been voicing their concern about rising oil prices.

The talks aim to narrow the gap between producer and consumer nations, but the turmoil in Libya has overshadowed the event, forcing ministers to send messages of reassurance to the market.

James Zhang, oil analyst at Standard Bank Commodities said that although OPEC and the IEA are likely to act in the event of severe supply disruption, they are likely to be behind the curve. "Therefore, we expect a volatile market for oil in the near term," he said.

(Additional reporting by Francis Kan; Editing by Alison Birrane)


Defiant Gaddafi vows to die as martyr, fight revolt

Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:40pm GMT
Print | Single Page[-] Text [+] TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi vowed to die in Libya as a martyr in an angry television address on Tuesday, as rebel troops said eastern regions had broken free from his rule in a burgeoning revolt.
"I am not going to leave this land, I will die here as a martyr," Gaddafi said on state television, refusing to bow to calls from his own diplomats, soldiers and protesters clamouring in the streets for an end to his four decades at the helm.

"I shall remain here defiant," said Gaddafi.

Earlier, witnesses streaming across the Libyan border into Egypt said Gaddafi was using tanks, warplanes and mercenaries in an effort to stamp out the growing rebellion.

In the eastern city of Tobruk, a Reuters correspondent there said sporadic blasts could be heard, the latest sign that Gaddafi's grip on the oil and gas exporting nation was weakening.

"All the eastern regions are out of Gaddafi's control now ... The people and the army are hand-in-hand here," said the now former army major Hany Saad Marjaa.

The White House offered its condolences for the "appalling violence" in Libya and said the international community had to speak with one voice on the crisis.

The U.N. refugee agency meanwhile urged Libya's neighbours to grant refuge to those fleeing the unrest, which was triggered by decades of repression and popular revolts that toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt.

On the Libyan side of the border with Egypt, anti-Gaddafi rebels armed with clubs and Kalashnikov rifles welcomed visitors. One man held an upside-down picture of Gaddafi defaced with the words "the butcher tyrant, murderer of Libyans", a Reuters correspondent who crossed into Libya reported.

Hundreds of Egyptians flowed in the opposite direction on tractors and trucks, taking with them harrowing tales of state violence and banditry.
In the eastern town of Al Bayda, resident Marai Al Mahry told Reuters by telephone that 26 people including his brother Ahmed had been shot dead overnight by Gaddafi loyalists.

"They shoot you just for walking on the street," he said, sobbing uncontrollably as he appealed for help.

Protesters were attacked with tanks and warplanes, he said.

"The only thing we can do now is not give up, no surrender, no going back. We will die anyways, whether we like it or not. It is clear that they don't care whether we live or not. This is genocide," said Mahry, 42.

Human Rights Watch said 62 people had died in clashes in Tripoli in the past two days, on top of its previous toll of 233 dead. Opposition groups put the figure far much higher. U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay said the killing could amount to crimes against humanity and demanded an international probe.

The revolt in Libya, the third largest oil producer in Africa, has driven oil prices to a 2 1/2 year high above $108 a barrel, and OPEC said it would produce more crude if supplies from member Libya were disrupted.

With no end in sight to the crisis, refugees fled to Egypt.

"Five people died on the street where I live," Mohamed Jalaly, 40, told Reuters at Salum on his way to Cairo from Benghazi. "You leave Benghazi and then you have ... nothing but gangs and youths with weapons," he added. "The way from Benghazi is extremely dangerous," he said.

Libyan guards have withdrawn from their side of the border and Egypt's new military rulers -- who took power following the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak on February11 -- said the main crossing would be kept open round-the-clock to allow the sick and wounded to enter.
Groups of rebels with assault rifles and shotguns, waved cheerily at the passing cars on a stretch of desert road, flicking the V-for-victory sign and posing with their guns, a Reuters correspondent reported.

Libyan security forces have cracked down fiercely on demonstrators across the country, with fighting spreading to Tripoli after erupting in Libya's oil-producing east last week, in a reaction to decades of

As the fighting has intensified some supporters have abandoned Gaddafi. Tripoli's envoy to India, Ali al-Essawi, resigned and told Reuters that African mercenaries had been recruited to help put down protests.

"The fall of Gaddafi is the imperative of the people in streets," he said. The justice minister also quit and a group of army officers urged soldiers to "join the people". Two pilots flew their warplanes to nearby Malta.

Gaddafi's son Saif on Sunday vowed his father would keep fighting "until the last man standing" and the Libyan leader appeared on television after days of seclusion to dismiss reports he had fled to the Venezuela of his ally Hugo Chavez.

"I want to show that I'm in Tripoli and not in Venezuela. Do not believe the channels belonging to stray dogs," said Gaddafi, who has ruled Libya with a mixture of populism and tight control since taking power in a military coup in 1969.
World powers have condemned the use of force against protesters, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon accusing Libya of firing on civilians from warplanes and helicopters. The Security Council met in closed session to discuss Libya.

Washington and Europe have demanded an end to the violence and Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said: "A ruling family, threatening its people with civil war, has reached the end of the line."
Demonstrations spread to Tripoli from the second city Benghazi, cradle of the revolt that has engulfed a number of towns and which residents say is now in the hands of protestors.

Residents said anxious shoppers were queuing outside stores to try to stock up on food and drink. Some shops were closed.

Spain's Repsol suspended all operations in Libya and sources said operations at cargo ports at Benghazi, Tripoli and Misurata had shut due to the violence.

Trade sources said Libyan oil port operations had also been disrupted and others said gas supplies from Libya to Italy had slowed since Late Monday, though Italy said they had not yet been interrupted..

Shell said it was pulling out its expatriate staff from Libya temporarily and a number of states were seeking to evacuate their nationals.


Defiant Gaddafi vows to fight on
In televised speech, Libyan leader blames youths inspired by region's revolutions for unrest and vows to die a "martyr".
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2011 17:32 GMT
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Gaddafi is facing the most serious challenge to his four-decade rule as a bloody uprising shakes Libya [Reuters]

Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, has vowed to fight on and die a "martyr", calling on his supporters to take back the streets from protesters demanding his ouster, shouting and pounding his fist in a furious speech on state TV.
Gaddafi, clad in brown robes and turban, spoke on Tuesday from a podium set up in the entrance of a bombed-out building that appeared to be his Tripoli residence hit by US air raids in the 1980s and left unrepaired as a monument of defiance.

"I am a fighter, a revolutionary from tents ... I will die as a martyr at the end," he said.

"Muammar Gaddafi is the leader of the revolution, I am not a president to step down ... This is my country. Muammar is not a president to leave his post."

"I have not yet ordered the use of force, not yet ordered one bullet to be fired ... when I do, everything will burn."

He called on supporters to take to the streets to attack protesters. "You men and women who love Gaddafi ...get out of your homes and fill the streets," he said. "Leave your homes and attack them in their lairs ... Starting tomorrow the cordons will be lifted, go out and fight them."

Gaddafi said "peaceful protests is one thing, but armed rebellion is another".

"From tonight to tomorrow, all the young men should form local committees for popular security," he said, telling them to wear a green armband to identify themselves. "The Libyan people and the popular revolution will control Libya."

The speech, which appeared to have been taped earlier, was aired on a screen to hundreds of supporters massed in Tripoli's central Green Square.

At times the camera panned out to show a towering gold-coloured monument in front of the building, showing a fist crushing a fighter jet with an American flag on it - a view that also gave the strange image of Gaddafi speaking alone from behind a podium in the building's dilapidated lobby, with no audience in front of him.

Speech highlights

Shouting in the rambling speech, Gaddafi declared himself "a warrior" and proclaimed: "Libya wants glory, Libya wants to be at the pinnacle, at the pinnacle of the world".

Among the other points made by Gaddafi in his speech:

He called on the people to catch what he called drugged young people and bring them to justice.

He called on the people to "cleanse Libya house by house" unless protesters on the streets surrendered.

He warned that instability in Libya "will give al-Qaeda a base".

He cited the examples of attack on Russian parliament and China's crushing of the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising, saying that the international community did not interfere.

He said he could do the same in Derna and Bayda.

He offered a new constitution starting from Wednesday, but this would come with dialogue, not by collaboration with the enemy.

He blamed the uprising on Islamists who wanted to create another Afghanistan, and warned that those in Bayda and Derna had already set up an Islamic Emirate that would reach Benghazi.

He said that the country's youth was drugged and did not know anything; they were following the Islamists' leader and their leaders would be punished with death in accordance with the Libyan law.
Just minutes after his speech, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Cairo reported that Amr Moussa, Arab League chief, had decided to discontinue the participation of the Libya delegation in the meetings of the council and all its institutions.

Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:44am GMT
Print | Single Page[-] Text [+]
1 of 1Full SizeTRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's Muammar Gaddafi will fight a popular revolt to "the last man standing," one of his sons said on Monday, after protests broke out in the capital for the first time following days of unrest in the city of Benghazi.
Anti-government protesters rallied in Tripoli's streets, tribal leaders spoke out against Gaddafi, and army units defected to the opposition as oil exporter Libya endured one of the bloodiest revolts to convulse(To shake or agitate violently:) the Arab world.

Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi appeared on national television in an attempt both to threaten and calm people, saying the army would enforce security at any price.

"Our spirits are high and the leader Muammar Gaddafi is leading the battle in Tripoli, and we are behind him as is the Libyan army," he said.

"We will keep fighting until the last man standing, even to the last woman standing ... We will not leave Libya to the Italians or the Turks.

Wagging a finger at the camera, he blamed Libyan exiles for fomenting the violence. But he also promised dialogue on reforms and wage rises.

The cajoling(To persuade by flattery, gentle pleading, or insincere language.
) may not be enough to douse the anger unleashed after four decades of rule by Gaddafi -- mirroring events in Egypt where a popular revolt overthrew the seemingly impregnable President Hosni Mubarak 10 days ago.

"People here in Benghazi are laughing at what he is saying, it is the same old story (on promised reform) and nobody believes what he says," a lawyer in Benghazi told the BBC after watching the speech.

"He is liar, liar, 42 years we have heard these lies."

The United States said it was weighing "all appropriate actions" in response to the unrest.
"We are analysing the speech ... to see what possibilities it contains for meaningful reform," a U.S. official said.

Libya's ambassador to India told the BBC he was resigning in protest at the violent crackdown that has killed more than 200. Ali al-Essawi also accused the government of deploying foreign mercenaries against the protesters.

In the coastal city of Benghazi, protesters appeared to be largely in control after forcing troops and police to retreat to a compound. Government buildings were set ablaze and ransacked.

"Security now it is by the people" the lawyer said.

In the first sign of serious unrest in the capital, thousands of protesters clashed with Gaddafi supporters. Gunfire rang out in the night and police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators, some of whom threw stones at Gaddafi billboards.

South Korea said hundreds of Libyans, some armed with knives and guns, attacked a South Korean-run construction site in Tripoli, injuring at least 4 foreign workers.

Human Rights Watch said at least 223 people have been killed in five days of violence. Most were in Benghazi, cradle of the uprising and a region where Gaddafi's grip has always been weaker than elsewhere in the oil-rich desert nation.

Habib al-Obaidi, a surgeon at the Al-Jalae hospital, said the bodies of 50 people, most of them shot, were brought there on Sunday afternoon. Two hundred wounded had arrived, he said.

"One of the victims was obliterated after being hit by an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) to the abdomen," he said.
Members of an army unit known as the "Thunderbolt" squad had brought wounded comrades to the hospital, he said. The soldiers said they had defected to the cause of the protesters and had fought and defeated Gaddafi's elite guards.

"They are now saying that they have overpowered the Praetorian Guard and that they have joined the people's revolt," another man at the hospital, lawyer Mohamed al-Mana, told Reuters by telephone.


If Gaddafi had hoped to dismiss Benghazi as a provincial problem, he faced an alarming development on Sunday night as crowds took to the streets of Tripoli.

One resident told Reuters he could hear gunshots and crowds.

"We're inside the house and the lights are out. That's what I hear, gunshots and people. I can't go outside," he said.

An expatriate worker said anti-government demonstrators were gathering in residential complexes.

"The police are dispersing them. I can also see burning cars," he said.

Support for Gaddafi, the son of a herdsman who seized power in 1969, among Libya's desert tribes was also waning.
The leader of the eastern Al-Zuwayya tribe threatened to cut oil exports unless authorities halted what he called the "oppression of protesters."

Speaking to Al Jazeera television, Shaikh Faraj al Zuway said: "We will stop oil exports to Western countries within 24 hours" if the violence did not stop.

Libya is Africa's fourth biggest oil exporter. It produces 1.6 million barrels of oil a day of which 1.1 million barrels are exported, according to Libyan data.

Oil jumped by more than $1 a barrel to $103.5 a barrel on fears the unrest could disrupt supplies.

Akram Al-Warfalli, a leading figure in the Al Warfalla tribe, one of Libya's biggest, told Al Jazeera: "We tell the brother (Gaddafi), well he's no longer a brother, we tell him to leave the country."

The Libyan uprising is one of series of revolts that have raced like wildfire across the Arab world since December, toppling the long-time rulers of Tunisia and Egypt and threatening entrenched dynasties from Bahrain to Yemen.
The West has watched with alarm as long-time allies and old foes have come under threat, appealing for reform and urging restraint.


Gaddafi has been one of the most recognisable figures on the world stage in recent history, reviled by the West for many years as a supporter of militants and revolutionary movements while at the same time cutting a showmanlike figure with his flowing robes, lofty pronouncements and bevy(A group of animals or birds, especially larks or quail. See synonyms at flock1.
) of glamorous female assistants attending him in his Bedouin tent.

Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan once called him "the Mad Dog of the Middle East" and in 1986 unleashed air raids against Tripoli in response to the bombing of a Berlin disco frequented by U.S. servicemen, an attack the United States blamed on Libya.

The 1988 destruction of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, by Libyan agents in which 270 people were killed brought him fresh notoriety and led to U.N. sanctions.

But recent years have seen a rapprochement with the West as countries such as Britain and Italy sought a slice of its oil wealth and other lucrative commercial deals.

Though portrayed overseas as a ruthless despot, Gaddafi has enjoyed some popular support at home. After toppling King Idriss in 1969, he forged a middle road between communism and capitalism and oversaw rapid development of the poor country.
While using ruthless tactics against dissidents, he also spent billions of oil dollars to improve living standards.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara and Christian Lowe; Writing by Angus MacSwan; Editing by Matthew Jones and Robert Birsel


Unrest spreads to Libyan capital as Arab protests simmer
Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:43am GMT
Print | Single Page[-] Text [+]
1 of 3Full SizeTRIPOLI/MANAMA (Reuters) - Violent unrest against Libya's Muammar Gaddafi spread to the capital Tripoli on Sunday and his son vowed to fight until the "last man standing" after scores of protesters were killed in the east of the country.
Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam said in an address on state TV the army stood behind his father as a "leader of the battle in Tripoli" and would enforce security at any price. His comments were the first official reaction from the Libyan authorities since the unrest began.

As he spoke, police used tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters in Tripoli, where gunfire was heard, vehicles were on fire and protesters threw stones at billboards of Gaddafi, who is facing the most serious challenge to his four-decade rule.

Revolutions which deposed the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt have shaken the Arab world and inspired protests across the Middle East and North Africa, threatening the grip of long-entrenched autocratic leaders.

In the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, thousands of protesters gathered in a square in Manama, calling for political change and awaiting promised talks with the island's Sunni rulers.

After days of violence, the mood among the mainly Shi'ite protesters appeared to be more conciliatory.

Libya, however was witnessing the bloodiest episodes yet in two months of unrest convulsing the Arab world.

A resident in Tripoli told Reuters by telephone he could hear gunshots. "We're inside the house and the lights are out. There are gunshots in the street," he said. "That's what I hear, gunshots and people. I can't go outside."

An expatriate worker said: "Some anti-government demonstrators are gathering in the residential complexes. The police are dispersing them. I can also see burning cars."

Al Jazeera television said thousands of protesters clashed with supporters of Gaddafi in Tripoli's Green Square.
The violence spread to Tripoli after days of protests in Benghazi, Libya's second largest city, in which at least 233 people have been killed, according to Human Rights Watch.

Communications are tightly controlled and Benghazi is not accessible to international journalists, but the picture that has emerged is of a city slipping from the grasp of security forces in the biggest challenge to Gaddafi's rule since the "brotherly leader" seized power in a 1969 military coup.

Habib al-Obaidi, head of the intensive care unit at the main Al-Jalae hospital in Benghazi, said the bodies of 50 people, mostly killed by gunshots, had been brought there on Sunday afternoon. The deaths came after scores were killed on Saturday.

Two hundred people had arrived wounded, 100 of them in serious condition, he said.

Members of an army unit known as the "Thunderbolt" squad had come to the hospital carrying wounded comrades, he said. The soldiers said they had defected to the cause of the hundreds of thousands of protesters in the streets and had fought and defeated Gaddafi's elite guards.

"They are now saying that they have overpowered the Praetorian Guard and that they have joined the people's revolt," another man at the hospital who heard the soldiers, lawyer Mohamed al-Mana, told Reuters by telephone.

A Libyan tribal leader threatened to block oil exports to the West within 24 hours if the government does not stop the "oppression of protesters." Another tribal chief told al Jazeera Gaddafi had to leave the country.


Saif al-Islam, who has in the past pushed a reform agenda in Libya with only limited success, said the protests threatened to sink Libya into civil war and split the country.
He said reports of hundreds killed were an exaggeration, but acknowledged the police and army made mistakes in dealing with the protests.

The General People's Congress, Libya's equivalent of a parliament, would convene on Monday to discuss a "clear" reform agenda, while the government would also raise wages, in an apparent attempt to address some of the protesters' demands, he said.

The clamour for reform across a region of huge strategic importance to the West and the source of much of its oil began in Tunisia in December. The overthrow of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali then inspired Egyptians to rise up against strongman Hosni Mubarak, overthrowing him on February 11.

The tide has challenged Arab leaders, including many who have long been backed by the West as vital energy suppliers and enemies of Islamist militants. While each uprising has its own dynamics, from religion to tribalism, all protesters seem united by frustration over economic hardship and a lack of political freedom under entrenched elites.

Unrest also hit Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco, Oman, Kuwait, Algeria and Djibouti over the weekend as people took to the streets demanding political and economic change.

In Iran, thousands of security personnel deployed in the streets of Tehran and other cities to prevent protesters rallying in spite of a ban, opposition websites said.


The United States said it was "gravely concerned" by the situation in Libya and warned its citizens to delay trips there.

In Bahrain, the main opposition party said it wanted the crown prince to show signs of addressing opposition demands before any formal dialogue could start.
Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, of the ruling Sunni Muslim dynasty, made conciliatory moves after days of violence in which at least six people died.

"All political parties in the country deserve a voice at the table," he told CNN. "I think there is a lot of anger, a lot of sadness...We are terribly sorry and this is a terrible tragedy for our nation," said the prince, who is seen as a reformist.

Ibrahim Mattar, a lawmaker of the main opposition Wefaq party, said protesters, thousands of whom were camping out in Pearl square, wanted more than words.

"We are waiting for an initiative from him, with a scope for dialogue," he said, adding that the prince should "send a small signal he is willing to have a constitutional monarchy."

Shi'ites, who make up 70 percent of the population, complain of unfair treatment in Bahrain, an ally of the United States, whose Fifth Fleet is based there.

The opposition is demanding a constitutional monarchy that gives citizens a greater role in a directly elected government. It also wants the release of political prisoners.

Speculation was growing that Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, in office since independence from Britain in 1971, would be replaced by the crown prince.

In Tunisia on Sunday, security forces fired into the air as tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered downtown to call for the replacement of the interim government -- a sign that problems are not all swept away with the removal of a dictator.

In Yemen, shots were fired at a demonstration in the capital Sanaa on the ninth consecutive day of unrest. Thousands were demanding the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who called for dialogue with the opposition.
But the coalition of main opposition parties said there could be no dialogue with "bullets and sticks and thuggery," or with a government "which gathers mercenaries to occupy public squares ... and terrorise people."

At least 2,000 protesters gathered in a square in Morocco's capital on Sunday to demand King Mohammed give up some powers.

(Reporting by Reuters bureaux; Writing by Diana Abdallah; Editing by Matthew Jones)


BREAKINGVIEWS-Libyan chaos would threaten Mediterranean economy
21 Feb 2011 09:57

Source: reuters // Reuters

(Adds story link)

By Una Galani

LONDON, Feb 21 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Major disruptions in the oil-rich North African country would present serious strategic challenges for Western governments and corporate titans that recently embraced the former pariah state. But Italy looks set to bear the brunt of a fall-out if Libya descends further into chaos.

Full view will be published shortly.


Get Breakingviews alerts directly to your inbox three times a day. To sign up click here: http://online.thomsonreuters.com/3000XtraBVRegistration



-- Gaddafi son warns of civil war as turmoil spreads [ID:nLDE71K01F]

-- Reuters story: Unrest spreads to Libyan capital, Arab protests simmer [ID:nLDE71J05Y]

-- The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own --

-- For previous columns by the author, Reuters customers can click on [GALANI/]

(Editing by Pierre Briançon and David Evans)


Gaddafi under threat as revolt hits Tripoli

Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:54pm GMT

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's four-decade-old rule appeared in increasing jeopardy on Monday when days of anti-government protests reached the capital for the first time and security forces killed dozens of people.
Military aircraft fired live ammunition at crowds of anti-government protesters in the capital Tripoli, Al Jazeera television said on Monday quoting witnesses. No independent verification of the report was immediately available.

Residents said several cities in the east appeared to be in the hands of the opposition as protests spread from Benghazi, the cradle of a popular uprising that threatens to overthrow one of the Arab world's most entrenched governments.

One of Gaddafi's sons said the veteran leader would fight the revolt until "the last man standing".

Protesters rallied in Tripoli's streets, tribal and religious leaders spoke out against Gaddafi, and army units defected to the opposition in a revolt that has cost the lives of more than 200 people.

Some analysts suggested Libya was heading for civil war.

"Libya is the most likely candidate for civil war because the government has lost control over part of its own territory," said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Centre in Qatar.

"I think what's going to happen is going to be much more chaotic than what we saw in Egypt or Tunisia. Gaddafi and his sons don't have anywhere else to go...They are going to fight," said North Africa analyst Geoff Porter, contributor to political risk consultancy Wikistrat.


Output at one of Libya's oil fields was reported to have been stopped by a workers' strike and some European oil companies withdrew expatriate workers and suspended operations. Most of Libya's oil fields are in the east, south of Benghazi.
Anti-government protests have also broken out in the central town of Ras Lanuf, the site of an oil refinery and petrochemical complex, Libya's Quryna newspaper said on its website on Monday.

A Libyan man, Soula al-Balaazi, who said he was an opposition activist, told the network by telephone that Libyan air force warplanes had bombed "some locations in Tripoli".

An analyst for London-based consultancy Control Risks said that indicated the end was approaching for Gaddafi.

"These really seem to be last, desperate acts. If you're bombing your own capital, it's really hard to see how you can survive, " said Julien Barnes-Dacey, Control Risks' Middle East analyst.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said earlier that Gaddafi might be heading for Venezuela, which is ruled by his friend President Hugo Chavez, but a senior government source in Caracas denied that.

In signs of disagreement inside Libya's ruling elite, the justice minister resigned in protest at the "excessive use of violence" against protesters. In India, Libya's ambassador said he was resigning in protest at the violent crackdown.

Two Libyan fighter jets also landed unexpectedly in Malta on Monday, witnesses said. The office of Malta's prime minister said it was not clear whether the two pilots intended to ask for asylum. They initially had asked to refuel, it said.

European nations watched developments in Libya with a growing sense of alarm after the government in Tripoli said it would suspend cooperation on stemming the flow of illegal immigrants across the Mediterranean.

A coalition of Libyan Muslim leaders told all Muslims it was their duty to rebel against the Libyan leadership because of its "bloody crimes against humanity".
The building where the General People's Congress, or parliament, meets in Tripoli was on fire on Monday, as was a police station in one of the eastern suburbs.
Al Jazeera television quoted medical sources as saying 61 people had been killed in the latest protests in Tripoli.

It said security forces were looting banks and other government institutions in Tripoli, and protesters had broken into several police stations and wrecked them.

A Reuters reporter in Tripoli said there were long queues for food and fuel as residents stocked up on essential goods, apparently anticipating new clashes after nightfall.

Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi appeared on national television on Sunday night in an attempt both to threaten and to calm people, saying the army would enforce security at any price to put down the revolt.

"We will keep fighting until the last man standing, even to the last woman standing," he said on Sunday.
But people in Tripoli expressed anger at the speech.

A Libyan woman who gave her name as Salma, said: "The speech was very, very bad."

"The speech was very disappointing because he threatened the Libyan people with killing, hunger and burning. He did not offer mercy for the souls of the martyrs who were killed."


Gaddafi supporters were in central Tripoli's Green Square on Monday, waving flags and carrying his portrait.

Saif al-Islam's cajoling is unlikely to be enough to douse the anger unleashed after four decades of rule by Gaddafi -- mirroring events in Egypt where a popular revolt overthrew the seemingly impregnable President Hosni Mubarak 10 days ago.

In the eastern city of Benghazi, protesters appeared to be largely in control after bloody clashes with troops and police.

"Youths with weapons are in charge of the city. There are no security forces anywhere," University of Benghazi professor Hanaa Elgallal told Al Jazeera International television.

Salahuddin Abdullah, a self-described protest organiser, said: "In Benghazi there is celebration and euphoria...The city is no longer under military control. It is completely under demonstrators' control."

There were reports that soldiers who refused to fire on civilians were executed by commanding officers in Benghazi.

"We have buried today 11 bodies of soldiers who refused to fire on civilians and were executed by Gaddafi officers.. The bodies were cut, heads in one side and legs in the other...it is a crime what is happening here," said Elsanous Ali Eldorsi, a retired judge in Benghazi.

At least nine towns in the east, including Benghazi, Zuara and Zlitan, were under the control of protesters loyal to tribal groups, the president of the International Federation for Human Rights in France told Reuters.
Human Rights Watch said at least 233 people had been killed in five days of violence, but opposition groups put the figure much higher. Most were in Benghazi, a region where Gaddafi's grip has always been weaker than elsewhere.

Support for Gaddafi, who seized power in 1969, among Libya's desert tribes was also waning. The leader of the Al-Zuwayya tribe in the east threatened to cut oil exports unless authorities halted "oppression of protesters".

Libya is Africa's fourth biggest oil exporter, producing 1.6 million barrels a day. The oil price jumped $3 to $89.50 a barrel for U.S. crude on fear the unrest could disrupt supplies.


survival would test foreign governments
-- The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own --

By Una Galani
LONDON, March 16 (Reuters Breakingviews) - The survival of Muammar Gaddafi would be a big test for foreign governments. Tough decisions will have to be made if the Libyan leader regains control of the country, as now looks likely. Sanctions will need tightening to stop the flow of oil revenue and discourage Gaddafi's success from emboldening other despots. This could strain the current consensus that made Libya an international pariah.
It is still possible that Gaddafi might be forced to settle on a split from the East. Then foreign governments could help support the stronghold by buying oil from the rebellion. But considering the current battle lines, that might not amount to much more than 100,000 barrels per day -- or roughly 6 percent of Libya's normal daily output.
As Gaddafi advances and the prospect of a no-fly zone fades, the United States has already extended its sanctions to blacklist a number of companies, including National Oil Corporation, which partners with most foreign producers. That comes on top of sanctions imposed earlier by the United Nations Security Council and European Union on the country's cronies, central bank, and sovereign wealth fund.

Western powers know how to boycott Libya -- they did it for many years before Gaddafi was deemed respectable when he renounced weapons of mass destruction. But an oil embargo would add another dimension to the sanctions. And it is not clear that Europe -- a relatively big importer of Libyan oil -- would have the stomach to go ahead with it. That would hurt European companies like Italy's ENI, Repsol of Spain, and Austria's OMV, which operate in Libya. And it would also put pressure on global oil prices, potentially wiping out some 2 percent of the world's output over the long term.

In typical divide and rule tactics, Gaddafi is now warning he will cut ties with Western powers -- excluding Germany which has been reluctant to support a no-fly zone -- in favour of Russian and Chinese firms. As permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, either country would have the power to veto an oil embargo.
Gaddafi's victory over the rebellion could encourage other authoritarian regimes to take a more brutal approach to suppression, as witnessed in Bahrain. But the prospect of strong sanctions could also make them think twice before they embark on a bloody consolidation of the status quo.

-- Libya will honour existing contracts with Western oil companies said the head of the country's National Oil Corporation on March 16 as forces loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi advanced on rebel-held territory. -- Over the weekend, the United States extended sanctions on Libya by blacklisting key firms in the country's oil, banking, aviation and investment sectors, including National Oil Corporation which is a partner to many foreign producers. -- The move went further than sanctions imposed in the recent weeks by the United Nations Security Council and the European Union that already include a freeze on the assets of the central bank and the Libyan Investment Authority.
-- Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam told France-based TV channel Euronews that "everything will be over in 48 hours".
(Editing by Pierre Briançon and Sarah Bailey)


US jet crashes in Libya, pilot received by locals

EmailPrint.. Play Video FOX News – Air Strikes Successful in Libya
. Slideshow:Crew rescued after U.S. jet crashes in Libya .
AP – This undated photo provided by the U.S. Air Force Air Force shows an F-15E Strike eagle in-flight over …
By RYAN LUCAS, Associated Press Ryan Lucas, Associated Press – Tue Mar 22, 7:34 pm ET
BU MARIEM, Libya – The U.S. pilot who ejected from a fighter jet that crashed in eastern Libya found himself surrounded early Tuesday by curious locals who served him juice and thanked his country for bombing forces loyal to ruler Moammar Gadhafi.

The rare exchange — after locals found the pilot hiding in a pen of sheep — is likely the closest yet between Western pilots dropping bombs from high-tech aircraft and the Libyan civilians they seek to protect.

U.S. and Europeans planes have been striking sites across Libya since Saturday night, following a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing international action to stop Gadhafi from harming civilians.

Gadhafi's response to the Libyan uprising seeking his ouster has been the most violent in the revolts sweeping across the Arab world. His troops nearly succeeded in taking back rthe rebels' de-facto capital of Benghazi before the allied airstrikes began targeting his forces.

The rebels — who have more enthusiasm than organization or military might — have welcomed the allied action, though direct interaction between the international force and the rebel government in Benghazi is limited.

Which is what made Tuesday's meeting in a rocky field near this village about 24 miles (38 kilometers) east of Benghazi so remarkable.

U.S. officials said the F-15E Strike Eagle jet was hitting Gadhafi's air defenses Monday night when an apparent equipment glitch caused the plane to crash.

Local resident Mahdi el-Amruni, 30, said he saw the jet fall from the sky at around midnight.

"I saw the plane spinning round and round as it came down," he said. "I thought it had been hit by pro-Gadhafi people."
Click image to see photos of protests in Libya

Reuters/Suhaib Salem
He and other villagers rushed to where the jet's remains burned in a field of winter wheat and thistles.

"It was in flames," he said. "They died away, then it burst in to flames again."

The two crewmen ejected before the jet crashed and drifted down to different locations, Africa Command spokesman Vince Crawley said. They were lightly hurt.

One of them landed in a rocky field behind the home of Hamid el-Amruni. The pilot, presumably not sure if the locals were hostile, hid in sheep's pen, where about 15 villagers came looking for him after finding his parachute.

"We started calling out to the pilot, but we only speak Arabic," el-Amruni said. "A villager came who spoke English and he called out, 'We are here! We are with the rebels!' And then the man came out."

A while later, an officer from the rebel government in Benghazi came to pick him up.

"He was very relaxed," el-Amruni said of the pilot. "We greeted him and brought him a doctor as well as water and juice, which he took with him in the car."

The villagers kept his helmet and orange, white, green and beige parachute.

The U.S. military dispatched six aircraft — two MV-22 Ospreys, two AV-8B Harrier jets to provide cover and two CH-53E helicopters carrying a 46-person "quick reaction force" — to retrieve the pilots, said a senior Marine Corps officer at the Pentagon.

The jets dropped two 500-pound bombs to provide cover while one of the Ospreys, hybrid helicopter-airplanes, landed to pick up the pilot. He was flown to the USS Kearsarge in the Mediterranean, the officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the event is still under investigation.

El-Amruni's farm now bears traces of the bombs, with pockmarks from the blast marring a metal gate in the courtyard and parts of his house.

El-Amruni was hit in the blast and received shrapnel wounds in his leg and back. But he could still walk, using an old broomstick as a crutch. He said he didn't hold a grudge against the Americans, assuming the incident had been a mistake.

"They bombed us randomly to bring the mercenaries out, because they wanted to rescue the pilot. Then they pulled out the pilot but we understand (why they did this)," he said. "We thank the forces of the coalition, the United States and France."

Pauline Jelinek and Robert Burns in Washington, Cassandra Vinograd in London and Maggie Michael in Cairo contributed to this report.


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ANALYSIS-Obama struggles to contain Libya backlash22 Mar 2011 22:36

Source: reuters // Reuters

* Democrats, Republicans complain about Libya action

* Tough questions for Obama

* What is the endgame? (Adds Obama quote, early return from Latam)

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON, March 22 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is struggling to contain a political backlash over the U.S. military role in Libya and is facing sharp questions over how the United States can extract itself from yet another war.

The president is returning to Washington from Latin America a few hours earlier than planned on Wednesday, needing to tamp down criticism that has mounted during his absence on a five-day foreign tour that began the day U.S. missiles were sent flying into Libya.

Many of the president's fellow Democrats and some Republicans complain they were not properly consulted before the U.S.-led assault on Muammar Gaddafi's forces began and have questioned the legal basis for the conflict.

The lawmakers are demanding answers: What is the precise goal of the mission? How long will it take and how much will it cost? What are the vital U.S. national security interests?

"Call this what they will, we are waging war -- while still engaged in two other fronts -- which will likely require substantial resources over a long period of time," Representative John Larson, chairman of the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives, said in a commentary on CNN.com.

"The full Congress should have been more informed and involved in this decision."


For full coverage of Libya, click on [ID:nLDE72H00G]

For unrest in N. Africa/Middle East [ID:nLDE71O2CH]

Graphic http://link.reuters.com/reh68r


Each of 161 cruise missiles fired into Libya by Tuesday evening cost $1 million, expensive ordinance to deploy when budget cuts are being negotiated in Washington and Obama is trying to wind down lengthy and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It'll be another disaster. We have to stop spending the treasure of the United States in these military adventures and start taking care of things here at home," liberal Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich told Fox News.

Obama defended the operation at a San Salvador news conference.

"Events happen around the world in which the United States, with our unique capabilities, has to respond as a leader in the world community," he said.


The uproar appears to have caught the administration off guard and with Obama out of position to offer a sustained counter-argument.

Obama and his aides have sought to assure Americans the U.S. role will be limited in scope and duration, no ground troops will be deployed, and the United States will transfer its lead role to U.S. allies in a matter of days.

But critics question whether the United States can really recede into the background as Obama desires, particularly if Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi remains in power.

The U.N. resolution for Libya does not demand he leave, and while Obama has said he wants Gaddafi ousted that is not the ostensible goal of military action.

"The president needs to pull together some solution to get us out of this mess," retired General Barry McCaffrey told MSNBC. "What are the political objectives? What are we doing there? What's the endgame?"

Americans so far are going along with Obama. Julia Clark, a pollster at the Ipsos polling firm, said her review of recent polling showed about 50 percent of Americans approve of Obama's handling of the situation.

"If the intervention is short-lived and especially if it's successful, I think it will be a boon to Obama politically," Clark said. "But if it does become a bit of a quagmire, the financial burden very rapidly will be deemed unacceptable."

Americans will be supportive as long as the U.S. role is short, said Democratic strategist Bud Jackson.

"Right now most Americans see this as a limited, well-structured effort hopefully to save lives. If this becomes more protracted, I think the Americans' level of anxiety will go up," he said.

Aides traveling with Obama have insisted in briefing after briefing -- and privately -- that he and his administration consulted widely with Democrats and Republicans before he authorized a U.S. role in the military strikes.

Mindful of the risk of a new foreign entanglement, Obama and his aides believed it was important to stop Libya from becoming a slaughterhouse and avoid a potential repeat of the Bosnian and Rwandan massacres of the 1990s.

"It was a damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario," one member of Obama's traveling delegation said.
(Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick, Alister Bull and Susan Cornwell, Editing by John Whitesides and Cynthia Osterman


Western air strikes fail to dislodge Gaddafi armour24 Mar 2011 03:03

Source: reuters // Reuters

* Western planes strike for fifth night

* NATO fails to agree its role in campaign

* Govt assault on Misrata resumes

* Journalists shown bodies of military personnel, civilians

(Adds charred bodies, paragraph 7)

By Maria Golovnina and Michael Georgy

TRIPOLI, March 24 (Reuters) - Western warplanes hit Libya for a fifth night on Thursday, but have so far failed to stop Muammar Gaddafi's tanks shelling rebel-held towns or dislodge his armour from a strategic junction in the east.

Gaddafi's tanks rolled back into Misrata under the cover of darkness and began shelling the area near the main hospital, residents and rebels said, resuming their attack after their guns were silenced in daylight hours by Western airstrikes.

Government snipers in the city, Libya's third largest, were undeterred by the bombing raids though and had carried on firing indiscriminately throughout, residents said. A rebel spokesman said the snipers had killed 16 people.

"Government tanks are closing in on Misrata hospital and shelling the area," said a doctor in Misrata who was briefly reached by phone before the line was cut off.

It was impossible to independently verify the reports.

A loud explosion was heard in the Libyan capital Tripoli early on Thursday and smoke could be seen rising from an area where a military base is situated.

Libyan officials took journalists to a Tripoli hospital early on Thursday to see what they said were the charred bodies of 18 military personnel and civilians killed by Western warplanes or missiles overnight.

The U.S. military said it had successfully established a no-fly zone over Libya's coastal areas and had moved on to attack Gaddafi's tanks. The allies flew 175 sorties in 24 hours, with the U.S. flying 113 of those, a U.S. commander said.
French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said France had destroyed some 10 Libyan armoured vehicles over three days.

The U.N. Security Council resolution he said, "stipulates that the coalition has all means available to protect the civilians. What's threatening the population today is the tanks and artillery," he said in an interview with Le Figaro.


More on Middle East unrest: [nTOPMEAST] [nLDE71O2CH]

Libya Graphics http://link.reuters.com/neg68r


The Libyan government denies its army is conducting any offensive operations and says troops are only defending themselves when they come under attack.

But a resident in Zintan, southwest of Tripoli said Gaddafi forces were bringing up more troops and tanks to bombard the rebel-held town. Rebels forces in the east meanwhile were still pinned down outside the strategic junction at Ajdabiyah after more than three days of trying to recapture it.

Libyan state television said Western planes had struck in Tripoli and in Jafar, southwest of the capital.

"Military and civilian targets were attacked by colonialist crusaders," the television said.
Libyan government officials have accused Western powers of killing dozens of civilians, but have not shown reporters in the capital any evidence of such deaths. U.S. military officials deny any civilians have been killed in airstrikes.

While the fighting raged, NATO again failed to agree to take over command of the military operations from the United States, chiefly because of objections from Turkey, diplomats said.

The United States, with its forces already tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan, said it wants to give up its lead role in Libya in a "matter of days" and wants NATO to play an important role in the command of the operation, though the exact structure of its role was still under discussion.

"I think this is going to be a matter of days in which you see a movement toward the transition with regard to command and control," a top aide to President Barack Obama told reporters.

Washington, London and Paris agreed on Tuesday that the alliance should play a key operational role, but the assent of all 28 NATO states is needed. Objections from Muslim NATO member Turkey have held up agreement on the alliance's role for three days and a fourth day of talks in Brussels is due on Thursday.

Turkey said it did not want NATO to take responsibility for offensive operations that could cause civilian casualties or be in charge of enforcing a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone while coalition aircraft were simultaneously bombing Libyan forces.

France wants an ad hoc steering group of coalition members, including the Arab League, to exercise political control. All nations are welcome to join, a French presidential source said.

"We need to have a place where all those who want to commit to help Libyans build a future can meet and discuss a political framework," he said. "It's about accompanying the military process with a political one."

The group is due to meet in London next Tuesday.

"We've launched the idea of a contact group and apparently it's a big success," the French source said. (Reporting by Mohammed Abbas and Angus MacSwan in Benghazi, Maria Golovnina and Michael Georgy in Tripoli, Hamid Ould Ahmed and Christian Lowe in Algiers, Tom Perry in Cairo, David Brunnstrom in Brussels, Phil Stewart in Moscow, Andrew Quinn in Washington, Catherine Bremer, Emmanuel Jarry and Yves Clarisse in Paris; writing by Peter Millership and Jon Hemming; editing by Jon Boyle and Jodie Ginsberg)


Obama's Libya War Challenge: Limit U.S. Military Mission
EmailPrint.. Play Video AP – Libya Crisis: Fifth night of airstrikes
. Slideshow:Anti-government protests in Libya .
Play Video Video:International Coalition Crumbling Over Skies of Libya? FOX News .
Play Video Barack Obama Video:Palin on 'Obamacare': 'Just Repeal the Thing!' FOX News .
Reuters – Rebel fighters ride in vehicles as they drive in the desert along the Benghazi-Ajdabiyah road, near Ajdabiyah …
By FAREED ZAKARIA Fareed Zakaria – 1 hr 41 mins ago
Call it the Goldilocks military plan: Not too much, not too little, not too unilateral, not too American. The operation against Muammar Gaddafi's regime in Libya mirrors the moderate temperament of its architect, Barack Obama. But will it work in the rough realities of international politics? That's the question that will be tested in the weeks ahead as high-tech images of cruise missiles hitting their targets give way to a mess on the ground in Libya.

President Obama has launched an operation that has two distinct qualities, one highly unusual and the other familiar. At its broadest, Obama's diplomacy has tried to redefine the exercise of American power. It is an effort at a distinctive form of multilateralism, deeper than anything any President has tried before. At the same time, Obama is proposing a limited military intervention for a problem in which U.S. interests are limited. That's something Presidents in the past have promised but mostly been unable to deliver as events on the ground forced them to escalate for fear of being humiliated. However wise his multilateral instincts, it is how Obama handles this latter problem that will determine the mission's success - and duration. (See a TIME photographer's dispatches from Libya.)

So far, Obama seems to have pleased almost no one. For those who had been urging military action from the start, Obama dithered and remains too cautious. For those wary of another open-ended U.S. commitment in the Muslim world, Obama suddenly turned from restraint and became reckless.

But more than anything else, what appears to have infuriated many American politicians is Obama's unwillingness to put the U.S. in the driver's seat. "We have a Spectator in Chief instead of a Commander in Chief," fumed Newt Gingrich. Senator Lindsey Graham criticized Obama for acting as if "leading the free world is an inconvenience." And Rick Santorum levied the ultimate insult, noting that the French - the French! - had been leading the charge.

They are right, in part: Obama does not want to be seen as the ringmaster. The diplomacy of the past few weeks has broken a tradition born in the Cold War. For decades, U.S. Presidents unilaterally identified crises, articulated responses, determined actions and then persuaded, bribed and threatened countries to join in the "collective action." The U.S. ran the show with little interference from others but paid all the prices and bore all the burdens. Countries that would benefit from a military intervention rarely stood up to request it. They didn't need to. America would act, and they could free-ride.

Take a recent example. In the spring of 2003, George W. Bush refused both to give international inspectors more time to do their work in Iraq and to try to get a fresh U.N. resolution through, each of which he saw as an obstacle to attacking Iraq as quickly as possible. The result was a war that was tainted from the start, without a single Muslim ally and with few major countries invested in success. When things started going badly, criticism mounted; the U.S. was left in virtual isolation and, as Iraqi casualties piled up, was painted as the enemy of Arabs around the world. (See pictures of surreal life in Libya's no-fly zone.)

America has always done better in the role of the reluctant imperialist. The simple fact is that the world does not like its leading military power to be overly eager to intervene in foreign lands. In fact, until the Cold War, the U.S. had a very different image from European great powers precisely because it had few expansionist impulses. America entered World War I after three years of bloody fighting just in time to tip the balance. It entered World War II only after Japan attacked it and Hitler declared war. The U.S. had the capacity to be an imperial power but chose not to be one. Yet during the Cold War, Washington developed the habit of intervening early and often in far-flung places, worried about communist takeovers. As a result, America was seen in much of the Third World in the same light as the European colonial powers, forfeiting a crucial moral and political advantage. (Comment on this story.)

In the Libyan crisis, the Obama Administration made clear from the start that it was not enthusiastic about military action and would support it only if it were requested by the Libyan opposition and the Arab League - and with Europe doing much of the heavy lifting. This led to a remarkable turn of events in which on March 12 the Arab League officially requested that the U.N. impose a no-fly zone over Libya. This shift has not gotten the attention it deserves. In the 66 years since its founding, the Arab League has served as a shield for dictators and rarely produced anything but windy rhetoric about Arab solidarity and Palestine. The idea that it would act against one of its members - and because of human-rights violations! - was unimaginable one month ago. Five days later, the U.N. Security Council passed resolutions authorizing action against Gaddafi's forces. France and Britain were positively itching for military action.

See more about Obama's strategy in Libya.

See "Splits Emerge in Libya Coalition."

It is highly unlikely that any other countries would have pressed forward in the way they did had they felt Washington was going to plunge in anyway. The Obama Administration made clear that other countries had to be invested in the Libyan operation, which meant they had to offer public support and military or economic assistance, before the U.S. would get involved. So we now have the prospect of a Libyan undertaking that will be operated and financed in significant measure by countries like Britain, France, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, all of whom are far more affected by instability in the region than the U.S. is. Yes, France and Britain have squabbled over who will lead, but in this new kind of multilateralism, coalition management will be a constant challenge.
Answering that challenge depends in part on how one defines leadership. Harvard's Joseph Nye once observed that press accounts of the first Gulf war invariably described it as a great weakness that America had to ask its allies to pay for the war. But, Nye suggested, isn't it an even greater sign of power that you can get your friends to foot your bills? More important, if we want a world in which the U.S. is not the only country fighting every battle, we will have to allow other countries to have lead roles and real responsibilities. The U.S. cannot always do the cooking and tell its allies to do the dishes. (See pictures of the scene in Tripoli.)

Thus far, this whole discussion has been about process, not strategy. And strategy is more worrying. President Obama has repeatedly stated a goal - regime change in Libya - and yet outlined quite limited means by which to achieve it. The coalition has launched air attacks against Gaddafi's regime, but they are mainly designed to prevent him from attacking his own civilians. What if Gaddafi actually abided by a cease-fire? There is little evidence that the rebels can topple him. He would still control most of his country, his army and his many resources. You know your strategy is flawed if your problems mount when it succeeds.

Over time Gaddafi could slowly regain power. The military imbalance between him and the opposition forces remains vast. So does Washington expand the military means it is using in Libya or live with goals unfulfilled?

These concerns led me to suggest a different course in the lead-up to the implementation of the no-fly zone. I share the view that with all that is happening in the Arab world, the U.S. and other nations could not abandon the Libyan opposition as it faced a massacre. But I believed helping that opposition was a wiser course than direct military intervention. In the past, America has been able to fund guerrilla wars quite effectively, providing guns, food, fuel and intelligence to locals who wanted to fight for their country. Almost always, we successfully destabilized the old regime. Most important, this prevented Washington from getting onto a slippery slope of military escalation.

But the task at hand is to define how best to execute the strategy being pursued. The coalition could get lucky and Gaddafi could fold or be killed. His army could turn against him. But hope is not a strategy. So the coalition needs to get active putting all the pressure it can on Gaddafi, economic and political, to get him to quit. The people around him should be given inducements to defect. And those incentives cannot be all sticks. Gaddafi retains loyal support in most African countries, a product of his generosity over the decades. Those countries could be intermediaries and potential retirement homes. Gaddafi will have to see some kind of exit strategy that doesn't end at the war-crimes tribunal in the Hague. If he ends up living a lavish life in South Africa and Libya is free of his madness, it's a small price to pay. (See the challenges of Obama's first war.)

At the same time, we should arm the Libyan opposition forces. Now that we have tied ourselves to their fate, we certainly need to help them more substantially. The arms embargo, which applies equally to Gaddafi and the opposition, will have to be circumvented. A genuine rebel army would put further pressure on Gaddafi, who would know that he faced death at its hands, and would push him toward some kind of exit.

In a wise book, How Wars End, Gideon Rose points out that American policymakers have often entered war with little thought given to the endgame - the political order they wish to see at its close - hoping that military action would create some kind of positive momentum and things would work out. Maybe that happens, but often things only get more messy. What we need to decide is, What is the realistic outcome we are working toward in Libya? We are not committing enough force to actually destroy Gaddafi's regime. Do we want a partitioned Libya, with Tripoli held by Gaddafi and Benghazi by the opposition, the latter sheltered by a permanent no-fly zone? That is the likely outcome given the resources we are currently putting to bear. (Comment on this story.)

In the final analysis, however, the most significant challenge for Barack Obama is to keep America's military involvement limited. If Gaddafi does not fall immediately, it will take just a few days for people in Washington to start claiming that Obama lost, Gaddafi won, and America has been humiliated. The response should not be to escalate. The U.S. used its military in Libya for a specific, limited mission: to destroy Gaddafi's air defenses. That goal will be achieved; others might not. Gaddafi can be placed in a quarantine of sorts, isolated and ostracized until he quits. Slobodan Milosevic survived the interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo. There were Presidents who managed to keep military missions limited - Dwight Eisenhower - or even withdraw them when they were not working and live to fight another day: Kennedy with the Bay of Pigs; Reagan in Lebanon. They lived with partial success, stayed focused and husbanded America's power and global position. Those who didn't want to be seen as "losing a country" often ended up losing a lot more. See how Libya has given Russia's Medvedev a confidence boost.

See TIME's exclusive pictures of Libya's rebels.

View this article on Time.com



US and EU Tighten Sanctions As Oil Market Adjusts To Libyan Absence

Industry / Libya

Pressure continues to build on Tripoli with the US Treasury announcing sanctions against 14 companies owned by Libya's state-run National Oil Company (NOC).

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As sanctions against Tripoli tighten, it is increasingly clear that Libya's re-entry into the international oil market will be slow, regardless of whether Qadhafi or the rebel forces ultimately wrest control of the nation.

Pressure continues to build on Tripoli with the US Treasury announcing sanctions against 14 companies owned by Libya's state-run National Oil Company (NOC).

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control announced the measures on March 22 2011, pursuant to executive order E.O. 13566 signed by US President Barack Obama on February 25.
US entities can no longer deal with NOC or any of its affiliates or subsidiaries, making Libya's NOC as much of a pariah from a US perspective as any of Iran's state-run energy firms.

Clamping Down

The executive order proscribes transactions with Libya's NOC, the country's central bank and its sovereign wealth fund (LIA), and encompasses all government agencies.

Consequently, any oil- or gas-related trade between US entities and Libya is unlawful for an indefinite period.

The treasury said that it would adjust its sanctions should Tripoli reorganise the activities of Libya's NOC. These measures concord with those passed by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN).

The EU agreed on March 23 to extend sanctions against Libyan state entities to Libya's NOC, while the UN earlier added the company to the list of entities whose assets were frozen.

On March 22, Germany threw its weight behind a move to proscribe all European oil and gas-related trade with Libya.

The rapid advance of pro-Qadhafi forces across eastern Libya in early-March initially suggested that the insurrection was to be short-lived, suggesting a possible eventual return to 'normality'.

This was supported by statements by Shokri Ghanem - the head of Libya's NOC - who said that oil contracts with international oil companies were still valid and that foreign oil workers ought to return to Libya.

However, the apparent subsequent change in Western policy towards Libya, exemplified by the UN-authorised military intervention, has clouded this outlook.

This leads BMI to take the view that the North African country will not rejoin the international oil market anytime soon.

Several scenarios could unfold, although we caution that the situation remains too fluid to ascertain outcomes with certainty.

Scenario One: The End Of The Regime

If Western military air cover helps the rebel movement overthrow the regime of Muammar Qadhafi, this could lead to the rapid withdrawal of US and EU sanctions against Libya - thus removing the obstacles to normal oil and gas operations.

However, a new government in Tripoli would probably be accompanied by a bureaucratic purge, and we could see a new regulatory and fiscal regime for foreign oil operators.

Additionally, a power vacuum may result in a security breakdown, thus presenting the risks of sabotage and theft at oil and gas installations, and safety risks for foreign personnel.

Scenario Two: A Tale Of Two Libyas

The Libyan rebel movement in Benghazi - as represented by the Transitional National Council (TNC) - said on March 19 that it would establish a new oil company (called the 'Libyan Oil Company') and designate the Central Bank of Benghazi as its monetary authority.

Should we see the emergence of a long-running civil war in Libya, or a de facto split of Libya along pro-Qadhafi/anti-Qadhafi lines ( à la 1990s Kurdish Iraq), eastern Libya could theoretically continue producing and exporting oil from fields formerly operated by NOC subsidiary Arabian Gulf Oil (AGOCO).
France has already recognised the TNC as the legitimate government of Libya, and we could see more countries follow suit.

However, even with this legitimacy, the risk profile for foreign operators would still be very high, suggesting that any re-entry would be slow and tentative.

Scenario Three: Iran On The Med

Should the rebel movement fail and the Qadhafi regime remain in power, current sanctions would maintain Libya's status as a no-go zone for Western oil and gas companies.

Libya's government has already said that it would 'retaliate' against the West by offering oil contracts to Chinese, Indian and Russian companies.

However, much as with Iran, companies in these countries would have to decide if they were willing to trigger US and EU sanctions in order to do business in Libya.

The success that the US and EU have had in curtailing oil and gas trade and investment in Iran suggests that operators from China, India and Russia may face similar obstacles.



FACTBOX-Western military assault on Libya's Gaddafi
25 Mar 2011 18:53

Source: reuters // Reuters

March 25 (Reuters) - Below is a synopsis of military activity in Libya in the past day.

FRIDAY, March 25

* Western warplanes bombed Muammar Gaddafi's tanks and artillery in eastern Libya to try to break a battlefield stalemate and help rebels take the strategic town of Ajdabiyah.

* Britain said British and other coalition aircraft hit seven Libyan tanks which had their weapons trained on Ajdabiyah on Thursday. The British Ministry of Defence showed video of two of the tanks being blown up.

* NATO planned for a three-month no-fly operation over Libya but could make it longer or shorter if necessary, an alliance official said of a mission due to start early next week.

* Britain said it expected NATO to take full command of Libyan operations within days despite a failure so far to reach final agreement.

* Western warplanes flew over Ajdabiyah on Friday and rebels said they had bombed government forces holding the strategic eastern town.

* Government forces had kidnapped and beaten up residents of Zawiyah since recapturing the city near the capital Tripoli two weeks ago, a rebel spokesman said.

* Libyan rebels were massing near Ajdabiyah on Friday for a new push after Gaddafi's forces there rejected a ceasefire offer. A Reuters reporter arriving near the front line passed four trucks carrying multiple rocket launchers and many pick-ups mounted with heavy machineguns after British Tornado planes struck government military vehicles in Ajdabiyah overnight.

* Civilians, including women, were among those killed in the latest Western air strikes in the Libyan capital Tripoli, officials and hospital workers said. Libya said late on Thursday the civilian death toll from five days of coalition air strikes had reached almost 100 and accused Western governments of fighting on the side of the rebels.


-- A NATO official says an alliance no-fly mission expected get under way early next week will involve between five and 10 AWACS surveillance planes, 10-15 refuelling tankers and dozens of fighters.

-- NATO says allies have offered 16 ships to implement an arms embargo on Libya, including a command-and-control ship from Italy, 10 frigates including four from Turkey and one each from Britain, Spain, Greece, Italy, Canada and the United States, submarines from Spain, Italy and Turkey and auxiliary ships from Italy and Turkey.

-- The United Arab Emirates will send 12 planes to help enforce the no-fly zone. Another Gulf state, Qatar, has contributed two fighter planes and two military transport aircraft.

-- The United States has positioned 11 ships and submarines in the Mediterranean to support Libya operations, according to U.S. figures. That includes three submarines, two amphibious assault ships and two guided-missile destroyers.

-- French carrier Charles de Gaulle arrived in the Mediterranean on Tuesday.

-- Britain has two frigates off the Libyan coast. Government sources have said destroyers could be deployed.

-- Canada has sent one warship to the Mediterranean, officials say, along with six CF-18 bombers deployed to Europe.

-- Italy has 11 ships supporting the Libya operations in the Mediterranean, including an aircraft carrier.

-- Norway sent six F-16 fighters to a base in Crete, while Denmark deployed six fighter planes to Sicily.

-- Spain said it was providing one tanker plane, an F-100 frigate, a submarine, a maritime patrol aircraft and four F-18 aircraft. (For the main story, click [ID:nLDE72O004]) (Editing by Andrew Dobbie)


FACTBOX-Western military assault on Libya's Gaddafi
27 Mar 2011 13:15

Source: reuters // Reuters

March 27 (Reuters) - Below is a synopsis of military activity in Libya in the past day.

SUNDAY, March 27

* NATO states could agree in hours for the alliance to take over command of military operations in Libya from coalition forces, a NATO official says.

* Libyan rebels pushed west on Sunday to recapture more territory abandoned by Muammar Gaddafi's retreating forces, weakened by Western air strikes.

* Libyan rebels took back control on Sunday of the town of Bin Jawad, 525 km (330 miles) east of the capital Tripoli, and said they planned to push on towards Muammar Gaddafi's stronghold of Sirte.

The advance puts the rebels back in control of all the main oil terminals in the eastern half of Libya, namely Es Sider, Ras Lanuf, Brega, Zueitina and Tobruk.

* Rebels said on Sunday forces loyal to Gaddafi had retreated westwards and may be heading back towards the Libyan leader's stronghold of Sirte, which is about 375 km (230 miles) away from Tripoli.

* Pope Benedict called on Sunday for the "suspension of the use of arms" in the Libya crisis and expressed concern for civilian populations, an appeal that appeared to include the use of outside force.

* Libyan rebels have entered the oil-exporting town of Ras Lanuf after routing Gaddafi's troops further east, a rebel fighter told Reuters on the road to Ras Lanuf.

* Italy will propose that it and Germany back a joint plan on Libya that involves a ceasefire, a humanitarian corridor and exile for Gaddafi, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said.

* Libyan rebel fighters have pushed west to Uqayla after they routed Gaddafi's forces from the strategic town of Ajdabiyah, Al Jazeera television reported on Sunday.

* U.S. intelligence reports suggest that Gaddafi's forces have placed the bodies of people they have killed at the sites of coalition air strikes so they can blame the West for the deaths, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says.


-- A NATO official says alliance no-fly mission expected get under way early next week will involve between five and 10 AWACS surveillance planes, 10-15 refuelling tankers and dozens of fighters.
-- NATO says allies have offered 16 ships to implement an arms embargo on Libya, including a command-and-control ship from Italy, 10 frigates including four from Turkey and one each from Britain, Spain, Greece, Italy, Canada and the United States, submarines from Spain, Italy and Turkey and auxiliary ships from Italy and Turkey.
-- The United Arab Emirates will send 12 planes to help enforce the no-fly zone. Another Gulf state, Qatar, has contributed two fighter planes and two military transport aircraft.

-- The United States has positioned 11 ships and submarines in the Mediterranean to support Libya operations, according to U.S. figures. That includes three submarines, two amphibious assault ships and two guided-missile destroyers.
-- French carrier Charles de Gaulle arrived in the Mediterranean on Tuesday.

-- Britain has two frigates off the Libyan coast. Government sources have said destroyers could be deployed.

-- Canada has sent one warship to the Mediterranean, officials say, along with six CF-18 bombers deployed to Europe.

-- Italy has 11 ships supporting the Libya operations in the Mediterranean, including an aircraft carrier.
-- Norway sent six F-16 fighters to a base in Crete, while Denmark deployed six fighter planes to Sicily.

-- Spain said it was providing one tanker plane, an F-100 frigate, a submarine, a maritime patrol aircraft and four F-18 aircraft. (For the main story, click [ID:nLDE72O004])


French Foreign Legion
There is a fundamental paradox to the Legion: a polyglot collection of refugees, roués, romantics, and the rootless, united to form one of history's toughest fighting units. France had long maintained Swiss regiments, and when they were disbanded in 1830 their soldiers joined the numerous foreign refugees in the country. At the same time Algeria began to develop an appetite for French manpower (see Algeria, French conquest of). The connection was obvious, and on 9 March 1831 Marshal Soult, war minister, signed a decree establishing ‘A legion of foreigners to be known as the Foreign Legion for service outside France’. It comprised seven battalions, recruited in homogenous national groups, a scheme which was eventually abandoned. Sent to Algeria, the Legion was not sufficiently trusted to be given a proper role in the war against Abd al-Qadir until it had proved itself by repulsing several raids in 1832.

After further fighting the Legion was sent to Spain to help Queen Cristina against the Carlists, supporters of her uncle Don Carlos. Sorely tried by being ceded en bloc to Spain, the Legion fought a bitter campaign marred by atrocity and counter-atrocity, with pay and rations in short supply. In 1837 it met the Carlist Foreign Legion at Barbastro. ‘Men in the conflicting ranks recognised each other, ’ recalled a witness, ‘called out to each other by their bruder namen, and proceeded to disembowel each other with the bayonet.’ Gen Conrad, the French commander, was killed rallying his men. The survivors found their bravery rewarded by disbandment in December 1838.

In 1835 the French had begun to raise a new Legion for service in Algeria, and in 1837 it took part in the storm of Constantine. In 1841, reinforced by survivors of the old Legion, who had volunteered to serve on, it was divided into two regiments. Thereafter its history becomes more complex, with individual regiments, and sometimes separate battalions or companies, fighting in different campaigns. In 1843 the Legion began work on what became its depot at Sidi bel Abbes, south of Oran. Légionnaires repeatedly proved themselves as adept with pick and shovel as with rifle and bayonet. In 1849 Gen Pelissier congratulated them: ‘Out of an encampment you have made a flourishing city, from desolation a fertile township, an image of France.’

Abd al-Qadir surrendered in 1847, but fighting continued, and the 2nd Regiment took part in the capture of the oasis of Zaatcha in 1849. It went on to the Crimean war, losing 118 killed, including its colonel, and 480 wounded in a single attack. Returning to Algeria, in 1857 it struck the decisive blow at the battle of Ischeriden, advancing without deigning to return fire. In the 1859 Italian campaign the Legion stormed into Magenta, the battle that gave MacMahon, its corps commander, his ducal title, and went on to take the cemetery at Solferino.

When the Legion was not sent on the Mexican expedition its junior officers petitioned Napoleon III....


Rebels say Qatar ready to market east Libyan oil
27 Mar 2011 15:19

Source: reuters // Reuters

* Rebel official sees oil shipments within a week

* Says rebel-held eastern Libya has no money problems

(Adds detail on oil sales, wealth fund)

BENGHAZI, Libya, March 27 (Reuters) - A senior Libyan rebel official said on Sunday that Gulf oil producer Qatar had agreed to market crude oil produced from east Libyan fields which are no longer in the control of Muammar Gaddafi.

"We contacted the oil company of Qatar and thankfully they agreed to take all the oil that we wish to export and market this oil for us," said Ali Tarhouni, a rebel official in charge of economic, financial and oil matters, in the rebel-held eastern city of Benghazi.

"Our next shipment will be in less than a week."

State-owned Qatar Petroleum said it had no comment on the report.

Tarhouni, speaking to reporters, also said output from east Libya oil fields that rebels controlled was running at about 100,000 to 130,000 barrels per day (bpd), and that it could be increased to 300,000 bpd.
The comments from Tarhouni, designated last week by the Benghazi-based national council to steer its financial and oil policy, could not immediately be confirmed from Qatar.

The small, energy-rich Gulf state became the first Arab nation to begin patrolling a U.N. backed no-fly zone on Friday and has urged Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to quit to avoid more bloodshed.

Tarhouni said the rebel leadership had set up an escrow account monitored by auditors that would be used to receive revenues from oil sales.
The rebels also plan to take out loans backed by Libya's sovereign wealth fund, he said.

"We would keep the fund frozen until the entire country is liberated," said Tarhouni. "Instead, what we will do is take loans backed by the sovereign fund."

He said he saw no serious liquidity problems for the rebels, who were well placed in terms of foreign currency reserves. (Reporting by Alexander Dziadosz; Writing by Edmund Blair and Tom Pfeiffer in Cairo; Editing by Elizabeth


Swift sweep west gives Libya's 2 major oil centers

By RYAN LUCAS, Associated Press Ryan Lucas, Associated Press – 31 mins ago
RAS LANOUF, Libya – Libyan rebels regained two key oil complexes in a high-speed advance west on Libya's coast on Sunday, retracing the steps of their first march toward the capital with their path cleared by the world's most powerful air force.

Now that they have the oil, the rebels are making tentative plans to exploit Libya's most valuable natural resource. But production is at a trickle, the foreign oil workers and their vital expertise have fled the country, and even talk of a marketing deal with Qatar seems murky at best.

The coastal complexes at Ras Lanouf and Brega were responsible for a large chunk of Libya's 1.5 million barrels of daily exports, which have all but stopped since the uprising that began Feb. 15 and was inspired by the toppling of governments in Tunisia and Egypt.

On the eastern approach of Ras Lanouf, airstrikes hit three empty tank transporters and left two buildings that appeared to be sleeping quarters pockmarked with shrapnel. Like oil port of Brega and the city of Ajdabiya before it, Gadhafi's troops appear to have left in a hurry, abandoning ammunition and disappearing without a fight.

"There was no resistance. Gadhafi's forces just melted away," said Suleiman Ibrahim, a 31-year-old volunteer, sitting in the back of a pickup truck on the road between the two towns. "This couldn't have happened without NATO. They gave us big support."

In Washington, Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged that the Libya operation could last months, as the Obama administration tried to bolster its case for bringing the United States into another war in the Muslim world.

The U.N. Security Council authorized the operation to protect Libyan civilians after Gadhafi launched attacks against anti-government protesters who demanded that he step down after 42 years in power. The airstrikes have crippled Gadhafi's forces, allowing rebels to advance less than two weeks after they had seemed at the brink of defeat.

Click image to see photos of protests in Libya

AFP/File/Marwan Naamani

"As they move round the coast, of course, the rebels will increasingly control the exit points of Libya's oil," British Defense Secretary Liam Fox told the BBC. "That will produce a very dynamic and a very different equilibrium inside Libya. How that will play out in terms of public opinion and the Gadhafi regime remains to be seen."

The agreement with the tiny Gulf nation of Qatar could allow the rebels to exploit Libya's vast oil reserves — most of which are in the eastern territory they control. With no ships coming or going, Libya's tanks are full to the brim. Until they are emptied, there's nowhere to store any oil that is pumped from the ground.Qatar, which has conducted at least one sortie over Libya, is the only Arab country known to have actively joined with the international force.

"We trust them, so basically they are the ones who are going to market our oil for us," Ali Tarhouni, the rebel finance official, told The Associated Press on Friday. "For Qatar there's no words to describe what they've done for the Libyan cause."
Officials at Qatar's ministry of energy and industry could not be reached for comment. Executives with the Arabian Gulf Oil Co., the National Oil Co. subsidiary in the east that broke free from its parent company, also could not be reached. Repeated calls to Libya's oil minister went unanswered.
Eastern oil officials said over a week ago they were still producing about 100,000 barrels per day from two key fields. But it was unclear whether such levels were sustainable given the security problems across the country and the exodus of foreign workers from the vital sector.

The Paris-based International Energy Agency said recently it believed that Libyan oil production had "slowed to a trickle" while exports had "ground to a halt." The IEA said it believed it could take months for Libyan oil to reappear on the world market.

Gates said the international action appeared to be a success, with the no-fly zone was in place and sustainable with "a lot less effort than it took to set it up." He said the Pentagon was planning how to draw down resources that will be assigned to European and other countries pledging to take on a larger role.

But asked on ABC's "This Week" if that would mean a U.S. military commitment until year's end, Gates said, "I don't think anybody knows the answer to that."
The Gadhafi regime on Saturday acknowledged the airstrikes had forced its troops to retreat and accused international forces of choosing sides.

"This is the objective of the coalition now, it is not to protect civilians because now they are directly fighting against the armed forces," Khaled Kaim, the deputy foreign minister, said in the capital, Tripoli. "They are trying to push the country to the brink of a civil war."
The rebel turnaround is a boost for President Barack Obama, who has faced complaints from lawmakers from both parties that he has not sought their input about the U.S. role in the conflict or explained with enough clarity about the American goals and exit strategy.

Obama was expected to give a speech to the nation Monday, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday defended the administration's decision.

Libya, she told CBS, "had a leader who used military force against the protesters from one end of his country to the other, who publicly said things like "we'll show no mercy," "we'll go house to house," and the international community moved with great speed in part because there's a history here."
Pentagon officials are looking at plans to expand the firepower and airborne surveillance systems in the military campaign, including using the Air Force's AC-130 gunship armed with cannons that shoot from the side doors, as well as helicopters and drones.

Fox, the British foreign minister, ruled out supplying arms to the rebels. "We are not arming the rebels, we are not planning to arm the rebels," he


Mother "offered cash" if Libya woman changes story

29 Mar 2011 03:42

Source: reuters // Reuters

LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) - The mother of a Libyan woman who said she had been raped by pro-government militiamen said she had been asked to convince her daughter to retract the allegations in return for her freedom and cash or a new home.

Eman al-Obaidi burst into a hotel full of foreign journalists in Tripoli on Saturday and told them, weeping, how she had been held for two days and raped by 15 militiamen loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. [ID:nLDE72P06L]

After being intimidated by security men and hotel staff, who also beat journalists trying to interview her in the restaurant of the hotel, she was bundled into a car and driven away.

Her allegations have not been independently verified. The government said on Sunday Obaidi had been released and she was with her family. [ID:nLDE72Q0OA]

Her mother, Aisha Ahmad, told journalists she had been contacted by the authorities about her daughter and how she could be freed.

"Last night at 3, they called from Gaddafi's compound and asked me to convince my daughter Eman to change what she said, and we will set her free immediately and you can take anything you and your children would ask for," she said, according to Britain's Sky News, which broadcast her interview with an English translation late on Monday.

"Money, new home, just ask your daughter to change what she has said. I told my daughter, keep silent," she said, holding a picture of Obaidi to the camera.

It was not immediately clear when the interview was filmed.

Ahmad said Obaidi had been "mistreated by those criminals and cheaters, Gaddafi and his followers".

"Eman was kidnapped in front of the camera," she said.

"She was trying to appear to the world, she wanted to tell them what was happening in Misrata, in Benghazi and the east. She wanted to reveal that."

Wadad Omar, who said she was her cousin, said on Sunday that Obaidi was first arrested after taking part in a protest in the early days of the uprising in the western city of Zawiyah. The revolt erupted in mid-February.

Residents in Benghazi, bastion of the insurgency against Gaddafi, staged a demonstration in support of Obaidi on Sunday.

(Additional reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Writing by Alison Williams; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)


Bruises are seen as she is escorted
Bruises are seen on the face of Libyan woman Eman al-Obaidi as she is escorted by a Libyan official from a hotel in Tripoli March 26, 2011. The weeping Libyan woman made a desperate plea for help on Saturday, slipping into the Tripoli hotel full of foreign journalists to show bruises and scars she said had been inflicted on her by Muammar Gaddafi's militiamen. As reporters gathered to hear her story, security guards grabbed the woman, bundled her into a car and drove her away following a brawl in which several journalists were beaten.… Read more »

FACT CHECK: How Obama's Libya claims fit the facts

By CALVIN WOODWARD and RICHARD LARDNER, Associated Press Calvin Woodward And Richard Lardner, Associated Press – 2 hrs 38 mins ago
WASHINGTON – There may be less than meets the eye to President Barack Obama's statements Monday night that NATO is taking over from the U.S. in Libya and that U.S. action is limited to defending people under attack there by Moammar Gadhafi's forces.

In transferring command and control to NATO, the U.S. is turning the reins over to an organization dominated by the U.S., both militarily and politically. In essence, the U.S. runs the show that is taking over running the show.

And the rapid advance of rebels in recent days strongly suggests they are not merely benefiting from military aid in a defensive crouch, but rather using the multinational force in some fashion — coordinated or not — to advance an offensive.

Here is a look at some of Obama's assertions in his address to the nation Monday, and how they compare with the facts:


OBAMA: "Our most effective alliance, NATO, has taken command of the enforcement of the arms embargo and no-fly zone. ... Going forward, the lead in enforcing the no-fly zone and protecting civilians on the ground will transition to our allies and partners, and I am fully confident that our coalition will keep the pressure on Gadhafi's remaining forces. In that effort, the United States will play a supporting role."

THE FACTS: As by far the pre-eminent player in NATO, and a nation historically reluctant to put its forces under operational foreign command, the United States will not be taking a back seat in the campaign even as its profile diminishes for public consumption.

NATO partners are bringing more into the fight. But the same "unique capabilities" that made the U.S. the inevitable leader out of the gate will continue to be in demand. They include a range of attack aircraft, refueling tankers that can keep aircraft airborne for lengthy periods, surveillance aircraft that can detect when Libyans even try to get a plane airborne, and, as Obama said, planes loaded with electronic gear that can gather intelligence or jam enemy communications and radars.

The United States supplies 22 percent of NATO's budget, almost as much as the next largest contributors — Britain and France — combined. A Canadian three-star general was selected to be in charge of all NATO operations in Libya. His boss, the commander of NATO's Allied Joint Force Command Naples, is an American admiral, and the admiral's boss is the supreme allied commander Europe, a post always held by an American.


OBAMA: "Our military mission is narrowly focused on saving lives."
THE FACTS: Even as the U.S. steps back as the nominal leader, reduces some assets and fires a declining number of cruise missiles, the scope of the mission appears to be expanding and the end game remains unclear.

Despite insistences that the operation is only to protect civilians, the airstrikes now are undeniably helping the rebels to advance. U.S. officials acknowledge that the effect of air attacks on Gadhafi's forces — and on the supply and communications links that support them — is useful if not crucial to the rebels. "Clearly they're achieving a benefit from the actions that we're taking," Navy Vice Adm. William Gortney, staff director for the Joint Chiefs, said Monday.

The Pentagon has been turning to air power of a kind more useful than high-flying bombers in engaging Libyan ground forces. So far these have included low-flying Air Force AC-130 and A-10 attack aircraft, and the Pentagon is considering adding armed drones and helicopters.

Obama said "we continue to pursue the broader goal of a Libya that belongs not to a dictator, but to its people," but spoke of achieving that through diplomacy and political pressure, not force of U.S. arms.


OBAMA: Seeking to justify military intervention, the president said the U.S. has "an important strategic interest in preventing Gadhafi from overrunning those who oppose him. A massacre would have driven thousands of additional refugees across Libya's borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful — yet fragile — transitions in Egypt and Tunisia." He added: "I am convinced that a failure to act in Libya would have carried a far greater price for America."

THE FACTS: Obama did not wait to make that case to Congress, despite his past statements that presidents should get congressional authorization before taking the country to war, absent a threat to the nation that cannot wait.

"The president does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation," he told The Boston Globe in 2007 in his presidential campaign. "History has shown us time and again ... that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the legislative branch."

Obama's defense secretary, Robert Gates, said Sunday that the crisis in Libya "was not a vital national interest to the United States, but it was an interest."


OBAMA: "And tonight, I can report that we have stopped Gadhafi's deadly advance."

THE FACTS: The weeklong international barrage has disabled Libya's air defenses, communications networks and supply chains. But Gadhafi's ground forces remain a potent threat to the rebels and civilians, according to U.S. military officials.

Army Gen. Carter Ham, the top American officer overseeing the mission, told The New York Times on Monday that "the regime still overmatches opposition forces militarily. The regime possesses the capability to roll them back very quickly. Coalition air power is the major reason that has not happened."

Only small numbers of Gadhafi's troops have defected to the opposition, Ham said.

At the Pentagon, Vice Adm. William Gortney, staff director for the Joint Chiefs, said the rebels are not well organized. "It is not a very robust organization," he said. "So any gain that they make is tenuous based on that."

OBAMA: "Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as president, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action."

THE FACTS: Mass violence against civilians has also been escalating elsewhere, without any U.S. military intervention anticipated.

More than 1 million people have fled the Ivory Coast, where the U.N. says forces loyal to the incumbent leader, Laurent Gbagbo, have used heavy weapons against the population and more than 460 killings have been confirmed of supporters of the internationally recognized president, Alassane Ouattara.

The Obama administration says Gbagbo and Gadhafi have both lost their legitimacy to rule. But only one is under attack from the U.S.

Presidents typically pick their fights according to the crisis and circumstances at hand, not any consistent doctrine about when to use force in one place and not another. They have been criticized for doing so — by Obama himself.

In his pre-presidential book "The Audacity of Hope," Obama said the U.S. will lack international legitimacy if it intervenes militarily "without a well-articulated strategy that the public supports and the world understands."

He questioned: "Why invade Iraq and not North Korea or Burma? Why intervene in Bosnia and not Darfur?"

Now, such questions are coming at him.


Associated Press writers Jim Drinkard and Robert Burns contributed to this report.


Libyan rebels flee as Obama authorizes covert support

30 Mar 2011 22:26

Source: reuters // Reuters

* Insurgents pushed back to Ajdabiyah

* Humanitarian concerns mount over Misrata

* Western officials say no decision yet on arming rebels (Adds White House spokesman)

By Mark Hosenball and Alexander Dziadosz

WASHINGTON/AJDABIYAH, Libya, March 30 (Reuters) - As Libyan rebels fled in headlong retreat from the superior arms and tactics of Muammar Gaddafi's troops on Wednesday, U.S. officials said President Barack Obama had signed a secret order authorizing covert support for the rebels.
While the United States, France and Britain have raised the possibility of arming the rebels, they have all stressed that no decision had yet been taken.

As Gadaffi's army pushed back the rebels, their lack of heavy weapons and feeble fighting capabilities exposed the vulnerability of their forces in the absence of Western air strikes to tip the scales in their favor.

Despite some dissent within the Western military coalition attacking Gadaffi's forces, news that Obama had given the covert authorization surfaced as he and other U.S. and allied officials began speaking openly about the possibility of sending arms to the rebels.

Obama signed the order, known as a presidential "finding," within the last two or three weeks, according to four U.S. government sources familiar with the matter.

Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the CIA. This is a necessary legal step before such action can take place but does not mean that it will.

"As is common practice for this and all administrations, I am not going to comment on intelligence matters," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.

"We're assessing and reviewing options for all types of assistance that we could provide to the Libyan people, and have consulted directly with the opposition and our international partners about these matters." The CIA declined to comment.

It took more than five days of allied bombardment to destroy Libyan government tanks and artillery in the strategic town of Ajdabiyah before rebels rushed in and chased Gaddafi's troops 300 km (200 miles) west in a two-day dash along the coast. Two days later the rebels have been pushed back to close to where they started.

While Gaddafi's forces were on the offensive the international face of his government, foreign minister Moussa Koussa, suddenly arrived in London on Wednesday to seek refuge after quitting the government in protest against the attacks by Gaddafi's forces on civilians.

"Koussa is one of the most senior figures in Gaddafi's government and his role was to represent the regime internationally -- something that he is no longer willing to do," a British government spokesman said. <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ More on Middle East unrest: [nTOPMEAST] [nLDE71O2CH] Libya Graphics http://link.reuters.com/neg68r Interactive graphic http://link.reuters.com/puk87r ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>

The Libyan army first ambushed the chaotic caravan of volunteers and supporters outside Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte, then outflanked them through the desert, a manoeuvre requiring the sort of discipline the rag-tag rebels lack.

The towns of Nawfaliyah, Bin Jawad and Ras Lanuf fell in quick succession to the lightning government counter-strike.
Rebel spokesman Colonel Ahmad Bani said fighting was going on at Brega, the next town east along the narrow coastal strip that has been the theatre of most of the fighting. But many rebels had pulled back further to the strategic town of Ajdabiyah and regrouped.


"We thought it better to make a tactical withdrawal until we can think of better tactics and a strategy to face this force," said Bani, adding: "One of the defence points will be Ajdabiyah, not the only one."

He appealed for more allied air strikes and heavier weapons. "We are seeking weapons that will be able to destroy the heavy weapons they are using against us such as tanks and artillery."

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Obama administration had made no decision yet on whether to arm the Libyan rebels and some lawmakers questioned the wisdom of such a move.

The chairman of the House of Representatives intelligence committee, Republican Mike Rogers, said he opposed supplying arms to the Libyan rebels "at this time."

"We need to understand more about the opposition before I would support passing out guns and advanced weapons to them," Rogers said in a statement.

In town after town along the Libyan coast, Gaddafi force's have unleashed a bombardment from tanks, artillery and truck-launched Grad rockets which has forced rebels to flee.

"These are our weapons," said rebel fighter Mohammed, pointing to his assault rifle. "We can't fight Grads with them."

Without Western air strikes, the rebels seem unable to make advances or hold their positions against Gaddafi's armour. Western arplanes flew over the battlefield on Wednesday, but there was no evidence of any bombardment of government forces.

Rebel forces lack training, discipline and leadership. There are many different groups of volunteers and decisions are often made only after heated arguments.

"Whether we advance 50 km (30 miles), or retreat 50 km ... it's a big country. They will go back the next day," rebel spokesman Mustafa Gheriani told reporters in the opposition stronghold of Benghazi.

"This revolution really is only five weeks old. On the political front it is very organised," he said. "Normally it takes six months to train a soldier ... We are talking about citizens who picked up guns to protect their homes."

Libya's official Jana news agency said air strikes by forces of "the crusader colonial aggression" hit residential areas in the town of Garyan, about 100 km (60 miles) south of Tripoli, on Tuesday. It said several civilian buildings were destroyed and some people wounded.


U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 sanctions air power to protect Libyan civilians, not to provide close air support to rebel forces. That would also require troops on the ground to guide in the bombs. Without forward air controllers, intervening from the air in such a fluid battle space is fraught with risks.

Russia has already accused the allies of overstepping their U.N. remit by carrying out strikes on Gaddafi's ground forces and on Wednesday warned the West against arming the rebels.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said it was obvious Libya was "ripe for reforms," but Libyans themselves must decide without influence from outside.

"I find it hard to see how the coalition can agree politically to arming the rebels, but without arms I can't see how the rebels can win," said Daniel Keohane of the Institute for Security Studies in Washington.

Aid agencies are increasingly worried about a lack of food and medicines, especially in towns such as Misrata where a siege by Gaddafi's forces deprives them of access.

But a blockade of Misrata's Mediterranean port by pro-Gaddafi forces has now ended, allowing two ships to deliver humanitarian aid and evacuate people wounded in the fighting.

Oil shipments from Africa's third-largest producer have been blocked for weeks due to heavy fighting and western sanctions. A source at Qatar Petroleum said it was struggling to work out how to market Libyan oil on behalf of the rebels. (Additional reporting by Adrian Croft, Maria Golovnina, Angus MacSwan, Edmund Blair, Ibon Villelabeitia, Lamine Chikhi, Hamid Ould Ahmed, Marie-Louise Gumuchian. Writing by Andrew Roche and Christopher Wilson. Editing by Jackie Frank)


Gaddafi tells West war could spin out of control
31 Mar 2011 15:55

Source: reuters // Reuters

* World threatened by "crusader war", says Libyan leader

* Gaddafi not seen in public for several days

TRIPOLI, March 31 (Reuters) -
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi warned the Western powers mounting air strikes on his country they had unleashed a war between Christians and Muslims that could spiral out of control.

Western states intervened in Libya after the United Nations authorised them to protect civilians it said were under attack by pro-Gaddafi forces, but Tripoli says the military intervention in an act of unwarranted aggression.

"If they continue, the world will enter into a real crusader war. They have started something dangerous that cannot be controlled and it will become out of their control," said a text from Gaddafi, read out on state television.

"The leaders who decided to launch a crusader war between Christians and Muslims across the Mediterranean and who ... killed... huge numbers of civilians in Libya, they have been made crazy by power and they want to impose the law of strength on the strength of the law," it said.

"They have also destroyed the shared interests of their people and the Libyan people and undermined peace and wiped out civilians and they want to return us to the Middle Ages," Gaddafi was quoted as saying.

Gaddafi gave regular televised speeches in the first days of the conflict but he has not been seen in public for several days. Officials say he has been forced to change his routine after an air strike hit the heavily-guarded compound in Tripoli where he has his main residence. (Reporting by Isabel Coles in Cairo; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Andrew Roche)


Qatar oil deal to help meet basic needs - Libya rebel01 Apr 2011 12:09

Source: reuters // Reuters

BENGHAZI, Libya, April 1 (Reuters) - Qatar will provide fuel, medicine, food and other humanitarian needs to rebels as part of a deal to market oil from rebel-held eastern Libya, a top rebel finance official said on Friday.

"The Qataris agreed they would market crude oil for us, and we would put the money in an escrow account. We will receive what we need in fuel, medicine, food and humanitarian needs from them," Ali Tarhouni told a news conference.

"Our demands are simple and clear, our top priority is lifting the sanctions that stop us exporting our oil," he said, adding that the issue of lifting sanctions had been raised with a visiting U.N. envoy, Abdelilah al-Khatib.

He also said rebels had set up a "quasi-ministry of oil" and oil staff were now working under that body or for the east-based Arabian Gulf Oil Company, which has said it has cut ties with its parent, state-owned National Oil Corp. (Reporting by Angus MacSwan; Writing by Edmund Blair in Cairo)


Our man in Washington helped with Gaddafi son's 'dodgy' PhD: Ex-Blair aide 'collaborated' with tyrant's family

By Michael Seamark
Last updated at 1:48 AM on 2nd April 2011
Comments (7) Add to My Stories
Sir Nigel Sheinwald showed 'profound interest' in Saif Gaddafi's studies

Colonel Gaddafi's son was given help with his 'dodgy' PhD thesis by Britain's ambassador to the United States.
Last night's extraordinary revelation provides further evidence of the close links between the Blair government and the Libyan tyrant's murderous regime.

His son Saif, 38, has become notorious for tirades and threats against Libyan rebels.

The doctorate awarded him by the London School of Economics was already thought suspect because he followed it with a £1.5million donation.
Curious: Sir Nigel Sheinwald (left), who was handed his Washington post by Tony Blair, offered Saif Gaddafi (right) 'active assistance' with his 429-page PhD thesis during his time at LSE

And now the Mail has learnt that Sir Nigel Sheinwald, who was handed his Washington post by Tony Blair, offered Gaddafi junior 'active assistance' with the 429-page work.
Sir Nigel was at Mr Blair's side for the first meeting with Colonel Gaddafi in 2007 that resulted in a massive BP oil contract. When the Mail asked him whether he had had a hand in Saif's PhD his staff replied on his behalf that the idea was 'ludicrous'.

However, a senior source at the London School of Economics confirmed that Sir Nigel had shown a 'profound interest' in Saif's academic studies and offered 'active assistance' in his work.
More...Gaddafi envoy 'visits Britain for secret Government talks' just a day after leader's closest aide flees crumbling regime
'Put the Lockerbie murderer on trial': U.S. families tell 'soft touch' Britain it must bring Gaddafi defector to justice

Disgraced academic who mocked Lara Logan over Egypt sex assault forced to quit top new job at Gaddafi's favourite UK university
The source said the assistance was informal and legitimate, adding: 'Saif was simply using his impressive contacts to make sure the work he produced was of the highest quality.'
Approached again about the thesis, an embassy spokesman conceded: 'Sir Nigel Sheinwald did meet Saif Gaddafi during the time he was studying at the LSE, and was therefore aware that he was preparing a thesis.
'But Sir Nigel had absolutely no role in the writing of any part of the thesis, made no suggestions about it to Saif Gaddafi or anyone else, and suggested no changes.'
Questionable links: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair with Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi in Tripoli in 2004
Daniel Kawczynski, Tory chairman of the Parliamentary all-party Libya group, said: 'If a senior official like that was prepared to assist him with his thesis it does really pose some quite serious questions about the propriety of what was going on.

'That would have serious consequences and is something that the Foreign Office should really investigate and get to the truth of.

'It's a highly serious allegation and completely flies in the face of what Robin Cook famously coined an ethical foreign policy.'
Saif in London in 2002, while a student at LSE. One British economist urged to give him extra tuition quit in despair when he realised he was working with someone with 'absolutely no academic ability'
The authenticity of Saif's work already forms part of Lord Woolf's investigation into the LSE's damaging and embarrassing financial links with Libya which forced the resignation of director Sir Howard Davies.
There are now calls for the former Lord Chief Justice to examine Sir Nigel's role.

Robert Halfon, the Tory MP for Harlow who called the LSE donation blood money, said: 'This seems to me to be yet another example of the British establishment not just cosying up but actually collaborating with the Gaddafi family.
'I have called for an inquiry into the last government's relationship with the Libyan regime and I think Sir Nigel's alleged involvement with Saif Gaddafi's thesis shows the need for an inquiry is more urgent than ever.

'This definitely should be part of Lord Woolf's inquiry.'

Tory MP Patrick Mercer said: 'The kindest thing you can say about the contacts between the Labour government and Colonel Gaddafi's regime is that it was curious.

'I have no doubt that Lord Woolf's inquiry will reveal lots of interesting things but I would be especially interested to know exactly what the foreign policy adviser to Tony Blair's involvement was in Saif Gaddafi's thesis.'

Major doubts have been raised about Saif's thesis amid allegations that he used Libyan academics as ghost-writers and that large chunks were plagiarised.(To use and pass off (the ideas or writings of another) as one's own.

One British economist urged by the Libyan ambassador in London to give Colonel Gaddafi's 'thick' son extra tuition quit in despair when he realised he was working with someone with 'absolutely no academic ability'.
Conflict: Libyan rebels run for cover yesterday after coming under heavy artillery fire from pro-Gaddafi forces along the frontline near Brega
A study of the research paper shows that Tony Blair gave an interview for the thesis which Saif attributes as a 'private communication'.

But there is no mention of the help provided by Sir Nigel, 57, Blair's foreign policy adviser for four years until 2007.
Saif lived a playboy's lifestyle during his time in London but gained a master's in philosophy, policy and social value from the LSE in 2003 and a PhD in philosophy in 2008 for his thesis, The Role of Civil Society in the Democratisation of Global Governance Institutions.Bruiser who helped broker infamous deal in the desert
Our man in Washington has the reputation of a tough taskmaster and even as a bruiser and a bully.

Educated at Harrow – the county grammar, not the public school – and Oxford University, the 57-year-old is at the pinnacle of his 35-year Foreign Office career.
He has served in Moscow - which he had to leave in a hurry after the car he was driving hit and killed a pedestrian - the U.S. in the 1980s and Brussels.
Desert deal: Sir Nigel Sheinwald (centre), with Tony Blair and Colonel Gaddafi in Libya in 2007 in a negotiation that resulted in a massive BP oil contract
But it is his four years as Tony Blair’s foreign policy adviser that stand out in his CV.

Between 2003 and 2007, he became very close to the prime minister and was given a series of delicate missions to Baghdad, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Khartoum and dozens of other cities.
CIVILIANS DIE IN NATO AIR STRIKESeven civilians were reported to have been killed in a Nato air strike as efforts to cripple Muammar Gaddafi's military and diplomatic power base continued.

The casualties - including three girls from the same family - happened when planes targeted a convoy in the eastern village of Zawia el Argobe.

Shrapnel was sprayed into nearby houses after a truck carrying ammunition was hit, according to the BBC.

However, local doctors said the girls' family bore 'no anger' towards coalition forces because there would have been a 'massacre' if tanks had reached nearby Ajdabiya.

Nato said it was still trying to verify the reports.
The apparent tragedy emphasised the dangers of trying to help the rebels from the air as they struggle to hold off Gaddafi's better-armed and trained forces.
One of the opposition leaders, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, has offered a ceasefire if the dictator's troops withdraw from siege positions around key cities.

The US has announced that from today its warplanes will no longer carry out air strikes, although they will be available if assistance is requested by the Nato commander.
That will leave the UK, France and Canada responsible for hitting targets on the ground.

Tall and imposing, he once snapped: ‘Are you in favour of suicide bombers?’ at a Middle East expert in a meeting at Number Ten.

In 2007, he held telephone negotiations with Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran’s national security council, in which he brokered the release of 15 British sailors captured on a routine patrol in Iraqi waters.
But it was clandestine negotiations in 2003 that marked his biggest success in Downing Street.

He orchestrated a meeting at the Traveller’s Club in London’s Pall Mall – for decades the secret haunt of spies – between MI6 officers and three Libyans, including recent defector Musa Kusa, that led to Colonel Gaddafi abandoning his nuclear weapons programme and coming in from the cold.

In his memoirs, Labour peer Lord Levy revealed that in February 2004 he and Sir Nigel enjoyed a lunch of smoked salmon and Dover sole with Saif Gaddafi at the House of Lords.

That same year, Sir Nigel was alongside Mr Blair for his first meeting with Gaddafi in his desert tent and in 2007 the prime minister and his foreign policy adviser were back in the Libyan desert with Gaddafi, this time hammering out the infamous ‘deal in the desert’ that was to lead to a £550million oil contract for BP.
That second desert rendezvous left Sir Nigel at the centre of controversy during last year’s Gulf oil spill when furious Americans claimed the release of the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbasset Al Megrahi was linked to the BP oil deal.

Sir Nigel married Dr Julia Dunne, an internationally renowned paediatrician in 1980 and they have three sons.

A contemporary at Harrow of Michael Portillo and Clive Anderson

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1372520/Gaddafi-sons-given-help-dodgy-PhD-Britains-ambassador-US.html#ixzz1IKscQIJc


How I fought Gaddafi's goons to try to rescue raped woman: Sky TV's Lisa Holland on encounter with henchmenBy Lisa Holland

Last updated at 8:21 AM on 3rd April 2011
Comments (25) Add to My Stories At first, I thought it was a suicide bomber. A screaming woman burst into a restaurant packed with Western journalists, her arms flailing.(To wave or swing vigorously; thrash: flailed my arms to get their attention.
) She was clearly in a heightened emotional state.

But it quickly became apparent she had come not to harm us but to plead for help. This was Iman al-Obeidi, the woman who wanted to tell the world she had been tortured and raped by Colonel Gaddafi’s henchmen.

I sat down next to Iman to try to calm her and talk to her, but the reaction of the government minders was shocking and deeply disturbing. One threw himself on top of her shouting abuse and calling her a ‘dog’.

Flashpoint: Lisa Holland (circled) talks to Iman al-Obeidi as a Gaddafi official pounces
Hotel employees surround Iman Al-Obeidi, right, who said she spent two days in detention after being arrested at a checkpoint in Tripoli, Libya, and was sexually assaulted by up to 15 men while in custody
I tried to pull the minder’s arm off her. The room descended into a mass brawl as minders rounded on journalists, smashing a TV camera. At one point a gun was pulled and our Sky News cameraman was punched in the face.

Even the waitresses showed their true colours. One threatened Iman with a table knife. Another tried to physically stifle her, grabbing a jacket and shoving it over her head like a bag. Could these women really only be trained in waiting tables?
Iman was dragged off to a waiting car and taken to who knows where. I dread to think what has become of her for daring to speak out.
More...Libya's 'torturer-in-chief' offered asylum in Britain in return for help toppling Gaddafi
Nato 'friendly fire' strike kills 13 rebels and wounds seven, but leaders say air support must continue against defiant Gaddafi
Will Gaddafi's son betray him? British spies claim Saif has approached them for talks
Britain's U.S. ambassador helped with Gaddafi son's 'dodgy' PhD: Ex-Blair aide 'collaborated' with tyrant's family
BEN WALLACE: We've always dealt with rats - but we shouldn't do a deal with a rat the size of Moussa Koussa
The now-famous footage of the scuffle provided a rare public glimpse of how the brutal regime reacts to dissent. But after a month in the alternate universe of Libya, the violent repercussions came as little surprise to me.

The following day, I spoke privately to someone close to the heart of the government. He is an intelligent, articulate man but could not understand why Iman’s story was so much more than a criminal case. It was a telling insight into the way the regime thinks.

The face of the regime: Saif as-Islam Gaddafi may be positioning himself as an interim leader
I have now returned from Tripoli, where I was one of the first international correspondents allowed in. One of my first interviews there was with Saif Gaddafi who, compared to his father, is the articulate face of the regime, courted by Prince Andrew and Lord Mandelson in the years when Libya was being brought in from the cold. During our lengthy discussion, he said the West’s claims that the regime was bombing its own people to subdue them were all lies. I challenged him to take us around Tripoli to prove it – and he promised he would.

I believed he would conveniently forget, but two days later we got a call saying we would be picked up in five minutes outside our hotel.

He came himself. Relaxed and dressed in his usual casual clothes, he leapt out of the front seat of his bullet-proof SUV as it pulled up. ‘Where do you want to go?’ he beamed.

The international journalists allowed into Tripoli had been summoned to a parliament building where Colonel Gaddafi was due to speak. As usual, the event would be broadcast live on state television. It felt like waiting in a greenhouse for the Messiah. Tajura and Fashloum, we replied, the areas we believed had an underbelly of discontent and where Gaddafi’s henchmen had reportedly intimidated potential ringleaders of an uprising.
‘Have you got a gun?’ Saif asked me as I got into his car with Sky producer Lorna Ward and cameraman Nathan Hale. He was grinning from ear to ear. ‘No,’ I replied. ‘Do you think I need one?’

On arriving in Fashloum, Saif leapt from the back seat, waving at the young men who instantly gathered round, cheering and shouting his father’s name. Supremely confident, he said cheerily: ‘The sound of our people is very, very clear and loud. Welcome to Fashloum.’

Our trip revealed no evidence of attacks by the Libyan air force – though our exploration was far from forensic. But it showed the determination of the regime to prove the world had got it wrong; that Muammar Gaddafi is not the figure of hate the West portrays.

A day earlier I had met Colonel Gaddafi at a rally in Tripoli. I say met – he had greeted me as if I was some kind of groupie at a pop concert.

The international journalists allowed into Tripoli had been summoned to a parliament building where Colonel Gaddafi was due to speak. As usual, the event would be broadcast live on state television. It felt like waiting in a greenhouse for the Messiah. Packed into the heaving hall were thousands of loyalists, police and hangers-on.

Eventually – in contrast to Saif’s casual style of travel – came Gaddafi’s entourage. Sandwiched in a convoy of more than 20 SUVs was ‘The Leader’. Dressed in swirling robes, he arrived driving himself – in a golf buggy. One hand was on the wheel, with the other Gaddafi punched the air as if he were a champion boxer.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi waves in Tripoli before making a speech which he sought to defuse tensions last month
As he made his entrance, the specially invited crowd went crazy. I pushed my way to the front, trying to gesture to him to come over to our camera. He knows how to work the crowd and quickly clocked the signals. He grabbed the hand I’d held aloft. He clearly thought I was there to cheer him on – as if he had never known anything but orchestrated adulation.

After several long hours of blaring(Marked by extremely high volume and intensity of sound:) rhetoric, it was time for him to leave. I gambled on taking another door out of the hall and finding Gaddafi’s golf buggy. Like the Pied Piper, he emerged with the Press pack in tow – and came straight towards me. ‘Is it true your army is deserting you, Colonel Gaddafi?’ I said.

‘I don’t understand your language,’ he replied. I repeated the question. He glared at me, climbed into the buggy and drove off.

We frequently heard odd clicks during phone calls. Several times, people ringing our room heard a strange male voice answer the phone. Once we even heard a ringing tone coming from the wall. This was, after all, the government’s hotel of choice. Ordinary people in Libya are too afraid to publicly criticise Gaddafi’s regime. I have been told that people have been arrested for even speaking to foreign journalists. Repeatedly we listened to government officials sounding as if in denial – including Moussa Koussa, the foreign minister who has now defected.

As journalists, our movements were completely restricted. You might wonder why we didn’t attempt to break free. Those who did were picked up; at best detained for a few hours and returned to the
hotel like stray cats. Others felt the sinister slap of the regime – subjected to abuse and mock executions. The regime didn’t want us reporting on their brutal powers of suppression.

The Hotel Rixos was home. We didn’t choose where to stay. Even going for a coffee was forbidden without a government minder. Anyone whose reporting fell foul of the regime got a talking-to; one got a middle-of-the-night knock on the door and was ordered out of the country.

There was inevitably paranoia about the lengths the regime was going to to eavesdrop. We frequently heard odd clicks during phone calls. Several times, people ringing our room heard a strange male voice answer the phone. Once we even heard a ringing tone coming from the wall. This was, after all, the government’s hotel of choice.

Fightback: Libyan rebel fighters gesture and flee as incoming shells from Gaddafi forces land nearby on the road between Brega and Ras Lanuf, Eastern Libya
The night the military intervention began, I was inside Colonel Gaddafi’s Tripoli compound. We had been taken there to hear The Leader’s defiant message to the world.

But as word spread of explosions and missile strikes around the city, we learned that Gaddafi would not be speaking after all. He was opting to lie low. This was not the maverick(One that refuses to abide by the dictates of or resists adherence to a group; a dissenter) Muammar Gaddafi we were used to. The next night the compound was hit by a missile.

How this will end, no one knows, although Saif – the only man anyone thinks has any real influence on his father – is clearly positioning himself as some kind of interim negotiator or leader.

Early on, he told me he would ‘live in Libya and die in Libya’. I’m not so sure any more.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1372832/How-I-fought-Gaddafis-goons-try-rescue-raped-woman.html#ixzz1ISJHWpcc


218 NATO strikes hit Libya in 4 daysMon Apr 4, 2011 1:42AM
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A satellite image of the town of SirteNATO has conducted 218 aerial strikes on Libya since it assumed control of military operations on Thursday amid concerns that the death toll among civilians is rapidly increasing.

According to NATO, warplanes belonging to to the military alliance carried out 184 sorties on Saturday alone, 70 of which were airstrikes as part of the mission, codenamed Unified Protector, aimed at "enforcing a no-fly zone and protecting civilians," Xinhua reported on Sunday.

The Saturday aerial strikes killed at least 13 Libyan opposition forces and several civilians were killed on the outskirts of Brega, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) east of Tripoli.

Since the onset of NATO's military operations, a total of 547 sorties, including 218 strike sorties, have been conducted, the Western alliance added.

According to the report, 21 naval vessels under NATO command are also patrolling the Central Mediterranean to enforce arms embargo on Libya.

US, British, French, Canadian, Danish and Belgian warplanes have launched several strikes on Libya since March 19 under UN Security Council resolution 1973 that authorized "all necessary measures" to protect civilians.

According to US military officials, more than 350 aircraft from the US and twelve EU countries are participating in the US-led campaign of military airstrikes against Libya.

A blast of Tomahawk and Storm Shadow missiles fired from submarines in the Mediterranean, bombs dropped by B-2 stealth bombers and an array of fighter jets mounting military strikes over several Libyan cities show no signs of nearing an end as battles between pro-Gaddafi troops and revolutionaries remain unabated.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says some 351,600 people have fled the crisis-hit Libya for fear of violence and around 1,500 to 2,000 are making their way to Egypt each day.

Speculations are rife about the real motive behind the war in Libya, with many analysts saying that under the guise of protecting civilians, as enshrined in the UN Security Council resolution 1973, Washington and its Western allies are basically after the North African country's vast oil reserves.


BRICS powers criticise Western strikes in Libya-source14 Apr 2011 04:04

Source: reuters // Reuters

(Adds details throughout)

SANYA, China, April 14 (Reuters) - Leaders from the five "BRICS" emerging powers joined in criticising the Western air campaign in Libya, a government source at the summit said on Thursday, when Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa met in southern China.
"They all condemned the bombings," said a government source who participated in the meeting of the BRICS country leaders. The source said the leaders voiced concern about the effects of the air strikes on Libyan civilians.

The source spoke on condition that his country not be identified.

He said that South Africa, which voted for the United Nations Security Council resolution authorising the "no fly" zone over Libya was among the countries that joined in the criticism.

Western warplanes began striking Libya last month, but embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi has refused to yield to calls from rebel groups and other governments for him to step down, and his forces remain locked in combat with the rebels.

The comment came ahead of a final statement from the summit of the five big emerging powers, which will reject the use of force in the Middle East and North Africa at a summit on Thursday, urging instead dialogue and non-intervention, according to a draft statement. [ID:nL3E7FD2PG]
In the context of the Middle East and Northern Africa, specifically Libya, the BRICS "share the principle that the use of force must be avoided", according to the draft statement, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

China, Russia, India, Brazil and other developing countries have condemned the U.S.-led air strikes on Libyan forces.

South Africa, on the other hand, voted in favour of the United Nations Security Council resolution authorising the strikes. But during a visit to Tripoli on Sunday, South African President Jacob Zuma called for NATO to stop air strikes. [ID:nLDE7390JP]

The BRICS summit, in the southern Chinese resort of Sanya, has also given the world's big rising economies a venue to coordinate views on global financial reforms, commodity prices and other shared concerns. (Reporting by Ray Colitt; Editing by Ron Popeski)

China Dev Bank ready to pump 10 bln yuan to BRICS
14 Apr 2011 07:47

Source: reuters // Reuters

(Corrects first sentence to clarify the figure as 10 billion yuan, not $10 billion yuan)

SANYA, China, April 14 (Reuters) - China Development Bank , which just signed a local currency credit deal with its BRICS counterparts, is ready to pump up to 10 billion yuan as loans into Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, the bank's governor said.

Chen Yuan, the bank's head, said the yuan loans, as part of the BRICS efforts to reduce the use of U.S. dollar in bilateral trade and investment, would focus on big projects in oil, natural gas and infrastructure fields.

The development banks of the five BRICS nations agreed in principle on Thursday to establish mutual credit lines denominated in their local currencies, not in dollars. [ID:nL3E7FE0AV]

He told a press conference that the bank aims to deepen cooperation with Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras following the existing $10 billion loan arrangements.

Chen's bank, a state bank created to support large infrastructure projects at home and to back Chinese businesses venturing abroad, has lent $141.3 billion in overseas markets as the end of 2010, in which $38 billion worth loans were made to BRICS markets.

Chen said the non-performing loan ratio in its overseas loans was less than 1 percent. (Reporting by Zhou Xin and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Ken Wills)


China warns Britain over Libya advisers23 Apr 2011 03:31

Source: reuters // Reuters

BEIJING, April 23 (Reuters) - China has warned Britain over plans to send military officers to advise Libyan rebels struggling against the forces of Muammar Gaddafi, saying that Beijing opposes any steps that go beyond the mandate of a United Nations resolution.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei stopped short of directly accusing Britain of violating the U.N. Security Council resolution on the Libyan conflict, but he left no doubt that China is unhappy about Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to send about a dozen officers to Libya to help insurgents improve their fighting capabilities.

"China believes that the United Nations Security Council has primary responsibility for protecting international peace and security, and the various sides should strictly abide by the Security Council mandate in handling matters," Hong said on the Foreign Ministry's website (www.mfa.gov.cn) late on Friday, in answer to a question about the British decision.

"China disapproves of taking any actions that exceed the mandate of the Security Council," said Hong.

China has now joined Russia in opposing London's decision to send advisers. Both countries are permanent members of the Security Council, and could have used that status to veto the resolution authorising air strikes against the forces of Gaddafi.

But Moscow and Beijing abstained from that vote, letting it go into force, but have since voiced growing misgivings about the Western military campaign in Libya.

Beijing's main fear appears to be that Libya could eventually be carved up into divided states, anathema to China's traditional views about the primacy of sovereignty in resolving security crises.

With the Libyan conflict risking getting bogged down in a stalemate, Western powers are seeking ways to bolster the rebels, whose military campaigns have been disorganised.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Tuesday the decision to send military advisers conformed with a United Nations resolution aimed at protecting Libyan civilians. [ID:nLDE73I1A7]

The leaders of the United States, Britain and France pledged last week to continue the military campaign until Gaddafi leaves power. (Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Robert Birsel)


Gaddafi survives air strikes, son killed-govt

01 May 2011 03:19

Source: reuters // Reuters

* NATO destroys house occupied by Gaddafi, family - govt

* Youngest son killed

* Libyan officials speak of 'assassination attempt' (Adds NATO denial that it targeting Gaddafi)

By Lin Noueihed

TRIPOLI, May 1 (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi survived a NATO air strike on a Tripoli house that killed his youngest son and three grandchildren, a government spokesman said on Sunday.

Libyan officials took journalists to the house, which had been hit by at least three missiles. The roof had completely caved in in places, leaving mangled rods of reinforcing steel hanging down among splintered chunks of concrete.

"What we have now is the law of the jungle," government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim told a news conference. "We think now it is clear to everyone that what is happening in Libya has nothing to do with the protection of civilians."

NATO denied targeting Gaddafi, or his family, but said it had launched air strikes on military targets in the same area of Tripoli as the bombed site seen by reporters.

"NATO continued its precision strikes against regime military installations in Tripoli overnight, including striking a known command and control building in the Bab al-Aziziyah neighbourhood shortly after 1800 GMT Saturday evening," the alliance said in a statement.

NATO's commander of Libya operations, Canadian Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, said the target was part of a strategy to hit command centres that threaten civilians.

"All NATO's targets are military in nature ... We do not target individuals," he said in a statement.

Ibrahim said Gaddafi's youngest son, Saif Al-Arab, had been killed in the attack. Saif al-Arab, 29, is one of Gaddafi's less prominent sons, with a limited role in the power structure. Ibrahim described him as a student who had studied in Germany.

The grandchildren killed were pre-teens, Ibrahim said.

The appearance of an assassination attempt against Gaddafi is likely to lead to accusations that the British- and French-led strikes are overstepping the U.N. mandate to protect civilians.

"I am aware of unconfirmed media reports that some of Gaddafi's family members may have been killed," said Bouchard. "We regret all loss of life."


Gaddafi, who seized power in a 1969 coup, is fighting an uprising by rebels who have seized much of eastern Libya. He describes the rebels as religious extremists and Western agents who seek to control Libya's oil.

Inside one part of the villa hit late on Saturday, a beige corner sofa was virtually untouched, but debris had caved in on other striped upholstered chairs. The blasts were heard across the city.

A table football machine stood outside in the garden in a wealthy residential area. Glass and debris covered the lawns and what appeared to be an unexploded missile lay in one corner.

It appeared to be the second NATO strike near to Gaddafi in 24 hours. A missile struck near a television station early on Saturday when the Libyan leader was making an address in which he said he would never step down and offered talks to rebels.

The rebels insist they cannot trust Gaddafi. The last few days have seen fierce shelling of rebel outposts in the west. A rebel spokesman in the mountain town of Zintan said government forces has showered the city with up to 30 powerful Grad missiles late in the evening.

Tripoli has also declared a sea blockade on the western outpost of Misrata, potentially robbing the rebels of a vital aid link to their eastern heartland.


Celebratory rifle fire and car horns rang out in the rebels' eastern capital of Benghazi as news of the attack spread.

"The leader himself is in good health. He wasn't harmed," Ibrahim said. "His wife is also in good health.

"This was a direct operation to assassinate the leader of this country. This is not permitted by international law. It is not permitted by any moral code or principle."

The announcement of the attack was made live on state television which later showed Tripoli residents marching on the streets, chanting "the martyr is the beloved of God". Some fired guns into the air.

U.S. White House press secretary Jay Carney said the White House was aware of Libyan media reports Gaddafi's son had been killed and was monitoring the situation.

Gaddafi's daughter was killed in a U.S. air strike in 1986, ordered after a bomb attack on a West Berlin discotheque killed two U.S. servicemen. Washington linked Tripoli to the attack.

"We will fight and fight if we have to," Ibrahim said. "The leader offered peace to NATO yesterday and NATO rejected it."

Fighting in Libya's civil war, which grew from protests for greater political freedom that have spread across the Arab world, has reached stalemate in recent weeks with neither side capable of achieving a decisive blow.

Libyan forces had reached the gates of Benghazi last month when Gaddafi appeared on television declaring he would crush the rebellion, showing "no pity, no mercy". Days later the United Nations passed its resolution allowing the air strikes and saving the rebels from defeat. (Additional reporting by Tarek Amara and Abdelaziz Boumzar in Dehiba, Deepa Babington and Michael Georgy in Benghazi, Matthew Tostevin in Tunis, Justyna Pawlak in Brussels; Writing by Ralph Boulton; Editing by Jon Hemming and Robert Birsel)


Gaddafi's wife, daughter in Tunisia - source

18 May 2011 20:36

Source: reuters // Reuters

* The women are on the Tunisian island of Djerba - source

* Daughter Aisha defended her father's role

* Reason for trip unclear

(Adds background on Aisha)

By Tarek Amara

TUNIS, May 18 (Reuters) - The wife and daughter of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi crossed over the border into Tunisia several days ago, a Tunisian security source said on Wednesday.

Gaddafi's wife Safia and his daughter Aisha came to Tunisia with a Libyan delegation on May 14 and are on the island of Djerba in the south, the source told Reuters.

"It was expected that they would leave yesterday but they are still at Djerba," the source added.

It did not appear that the two women had been travelling with Shokri Ghanem, Libya's top oil official, who is believed to have also crossed into Tunisia and appears to have defected.

Libyan officials in Tripoli were not immediately available for comment.

Since the revolt began in February against Gaddafi's rule, Aisha Gaddafi has made several public appearances backing her father and attacking the rebels and Western powers trying to overthrow him.

A month ago she appeared at her father's Bab al-Aziziyah compound in Tripoli and addressed cheering crowds of supporters in an event broadcast live on Libyan state television.

"Talk about Gaddafi stepping down is an insult to all Libyans because Gaddafi is not in Libya, but in the hearts of all Libyans," she said.

A lawyer by training, Gaddafi's daughter runs a charitable foundation and in 2004 joined a team of lawyers defending former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. (Additional reporting by Christian Lowe, Writing by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Maria Golovnina)


China meets Libya rebels in latest blow to Gaddafi

03 Jun 2011 23:50

Source: reuters // Reuters

* France says talking to Gaddafi associates about endgame

* Bodies of Africans fleeing Libya found off Tunisia

* U.S. Congress prepares to vote on Libya strategy

By Peter Graff

TRIPOLI, June 3 (Reuters) - China made its first confirmed contact with Libyan rebels in the latest diplomatic setback for Muammar Gaddafi and France said it was working with people close to the veteran ruler to persuade him to leave power.

The meeting in Qatar between a Chinese diplomat and the leader of the rebel National Transitional Council follows a spate of defections by high-profile figures this week, including senior oil official and former prime minister Shokri Ghanem.

Libyan rebels and NATO have made Gaddafi's departure a condition for agreeing a ceasefire in the conflict but he emphatically told visiting South African President Jacob Zuma this week he would not leave Libya.

A NATO-led military alliance extended its mission to protect civilians in Libya for a further 90 days this week, and France said it was stepping up military pressure as well as working with those close to Gaddafi to try to persuade him to quit.

"He is more and more isolated," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told Europe 1 radio. "There have been more defections around him and we have received messages from his close entourage which has understood that he must leave power."

In Beijing, a terse Chinese Foreign Ministry statement said Beijing's ambassador to Qatar, Zhang Zhiliang, had met and "exchanged views on developments in Libya" with Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the chairman of the rebel council that is trying to offer itself as a credible temporary alterative to Gaddafi.


More on Libya [nLDE72H00G]

More on Middle East unrest: [nLDE73H1UN] [nTOPMEAST]

Libya graphics http://link.reuters.com/neg68r


The ministry gave no details of the talks but the meeting itself was an indication that Beijing wants to keep open lines of communication with the rebel forces.

In Tripoli, government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said he had no immediate comment on China's meeting with the rebels.


Now in its fourth month, the Libyan conflict is deadlocked, with rebels unable to break out of their strongholds and advance towards Tripoli, where Gaddafi appears to be entrenched.

Rebels control the east of Libya around Benghazi, where the rebel council is based, and a mountain range stretching from the town of Zintan, 150 km (95 miles) south of Tripoli, towards the western border with Tunisia.

In London, Major General John Lorimer said British warplanes destroyed two tanks and two armoured personnel carriers on Thursday in Yafran, 100 km (60 miles) southwest of Tripoli, where he said Gaddafi's forces were continuing to attack rebels.

A rebel spokesman in the Western Mountains town of Nalut, Kalefa Ali, said rebels had been fighting forces loyal to Gaddafi in Trumeet to the south of Yafran and in Bir Ayyad.

The rebels took over Bir Ayyad, a road junction which controls access to Yafran from the north, and replaced the green Libyan flags there with the red, black and green rebel flag, a Reuters cameraman said.

"Bir Ayyad is under rebel control," a rebel called Mohammed told Reuters by telephone. He said no rebel fighters were wounded in the fighting.

In Misrata, rebel leader Abdelsalam reported fighting in Dafniyah to the west of the city. "It started at 10 am and Gaddafi's forces have been shelling Dafniyah since then, using mortars and heavier rockets," he said.

He said revolutionaries in Zlitan had been supplied with weapons and telecommunications equipment from Misrata and Benghazi, and had been waging attacks at night, "but not on the scale that threatens Gaddafi's forces' iron grip on Zlitan".

Zlitan is the next town to the west of Misrata, and one of only three between there and Tripoli. A rebel spokesman there, Mabrouk, said security in the town was tight.

"The brigades have a heavy presence," he said. "They are going around with a special scanner that tracks satellite phones. They know revolutionaries use those. Today they also blocked the main road to Tripoli."


In Tunisia, a U.N. official said the bodies of 150 African refugees fleeing turmoil in Libya had been recovered off the Tunisian coast after the vessels carrying them illegally to Europe got into difficulty.

Tunisian authorities rescued 570 people, but many others went into the water when a stampede to get off the small fishing boats -- combined with the effect of rough seas -- capsized some of the vessels, a Tunisian official said. In all about 250 people were reported on Thursday as missing from the vessels.

The United Nations has said government-held parts of Libya were running out of food and the capital Tripoli this week saw the first big protest in months against Gaddafi's 41-year rule.

Gaddafi says the rebels are armed criminals and al Qaeda militants, and has called the NATO intervention an act of colonial aggression designed to grab Libya's plentiful oil.

Western governments say they believe they are wearing down Gaddafi's ability to control Libya through a combination of diplomatic pressure and military action, although the U.S. role in the conflict in particular has been controversial at home.

The House of Representatives prepared to vote on differing approaches to U.S. involvement in Libya, one directing President Barack Obama to pull U.S. forces out of NATO operations and a second that demands more information about U.S. strategy.

The resolutions are a response from U.S. lawmakers in both main parties who are unhappy the United States is now in a third conflict after Iraq and Afghanistan. (Additional reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed in Algiers, Zohra Bensemra in Misrata, Edmund Blair, Isabel Coles and Sarah Mikhail in Cairo, Sherine El Madany in Benghazi, Abdelaziz Boumzar in Bir Ayyad, Libya and Joseph Nasr in Rabat; writing by Christian Lowe, Jan Harvey and William Maclean; editing by Angus MacSwan)


FACTBOX-Aid to Libya's rebels

09 Jun 2011 14:28

Source: reuters // Reuters

June 9 (Reuters) - Western and Arab nations met Libyan rebels in Abu Dhabi to focus on what one U.S. official called the "end-game" for Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya's rebels need $3 billion to cover salaries and assure food supplies for the next four months, Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham, the country's former foreign minister said on Thursday at a new meeting of the contact group in Abu Dhabi.

Here are some details of aid so far given to the rebels:

* ANTI-GADDAFI CONTACT GROUP: A coalition of Western and Arab countries agreed on May 6 to provide Libyan rebels of the Transitional National Council (TNC) with millions of dollars in aid to help them in their campaign to drive out Muammar Gaddafi, in power since 1969.

-- Ministers from the United States, France, Britain and Italy, Qatar, Kuwait and Jordan, agreed in Rome to set up a non-military fund to help the rebels.

* ITALY: Italy said in May, as host to the contact group, that a temporary special fund would be set up to channel cash to the rebel administration in its stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya.

-- Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said on Thursday at the meeting of the group in Abu Dhabi, it would provide Libya's rebels with up to 400 million euros ($586.1 million) of cash and fuel aid backed by frozen Libyan assets,

* QATAR: Qatar, an OPEC member in the Gulf region, has sold 1 million barrels of crude at $100 million on behalf of the rebels and said in April it had shipped four tankers full of gasoline, diesel and other refined fuels to the rebel-held city of Benghazi.

-- Qatar was the first Arab country to contribute planes to police the U.N.-backed no-fly zone over Libya. Simultaneously, hundreds of millions of dollars began to flow from the Qatari capital Doha to Benghazi from early March.

-- As part of the contact group, Qatar had promised $400 million to $500 million.

* KUWAIT: Mustafa Abdel Jalil, head of the TNC said on April 24 that Kuwait would contribute 50 million Kuwaiti dinars ($177.2 million) to Libya's rebel council to help pay salaries.

-- Foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammad al-Salem al-Sabahi said on Thursday, Kuwait would immediately transfer $180 million to Libya's rebel TNC, making use of a newly agreed mechanism for channelling them funds. * FRANCE: France sent two aid planes to Benghazi in late February before the onset of coalition air strikes, marking the start of a major humanitarian mission. After the no-fly zone was imposed by Western allies in March, France was the first country to send a plane carrying aid -- 10 tonnes of medical equipment -- to Benghazi at the request of the TNC. -- France is ready to deliver 290 million euros ($423.6 million) to the TNC within a week, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Thursday.

-- Earlier this month, Admiral Pierre-Francois Forissier, the head of the French Navy, said the military would likely be used to provide humanitarian relief to Libyans after the conflict's end.

* SPAIN: Spain recognised the TNC as the country's legitimate representative, Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez said during a visit to rebel-held east Libya on June 8. Spain has provided humanitarian aid, including food and medicine.

* UNITED KINGDOM: London said in April it would send military officers to bolster its diplomatic team in Benghazi and advise the TNC on how to better protect civilians.

* UNITED STATES: The United States authorised $25 million in medical supplies, radios and other aid that would not include weapons, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on April 20.

-- On Wednesday, a bipartisan group proposed that President Barack Obama use frozen Libyan government assets to pay for humanitarian aid for Libyan people caught up in the civil war.

-- The United States is holding more than $34 billion, under sanctions on Gaddafi and close aides imposed in late February.

-- U.S. officials also on Wednesday announced delivery of the TNC's first U.S. oil sale, part of a broader strategy they hope will get money flowing to the cash starved group.

-- U.S. oil refiner Tesoro said in May it had brought 1.2 million barrels, which U.S. officials said was due to arrive in Hawaii on Wednesday on a tanker chartered by Swiss trader Vitol. (Writing by David Cutler of London Editorial Reference Unit)


British operations in Libya cost 250 mln pounds - BBC

22 Jun 2011 21:39

Source: reuters // Reuters

LONDON, June 22 (Reuters) - Britain's military operations in Libya have cost 250 million pounds ($405 million) so far, the BBC reported on Wednesday, citing government sources.

It said details were expected to be announced in a written ministerial statement on Thursday.

Britain has been contributing to NATO's operation in Libya to enforce a no-fly zone since March. The government originally said it would cost tens of millions but last week Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander said it could run "into the hundreds of millions" of pounds.

Earlier this week Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain could maintain its military campaign in Libya as long as needed, responding to doubts voiced by senior British military officers about how long the country could sustain its involvement.

British military leaders have complained about the pressure of fighting on two fronts, in Afghanistan and against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's forces, while facing cuts in military spending to rein in a national budget deficit. ($1 = 0.618 British Pounds) (Reporting by Jodie Ginsberg)


US slams Gaddafi threat to attack Europe

02 Jul 2011 23:05

Source: reuters // Reuters

Jul 3 (Reuters) - * U.S.'s Clinton calls on Gaddafi to step down

* Gaddafi threatens attacks on Europe

* Rebels pinned down southwest of Tripoli

* Gaddafi official: 'rebels plan oil facilities attack'

By Arshad Mohammed and Lamine Chikhi

MADRID/TRIPOLI, July 3 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stepped up Western calls on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to quit, brushing off his threat to attack Europeans in their homes and offices.

"Instead of issuing threats, Gaddafi should put the well-being and the interests of his own people first and he should step down from power and help facilitate a democratic transition," Clinton told reporters on a trip to Spain.

In an address relayed to some 100,000 supporters in Tripoli's Green Square on Friday, Gaddafi urged NATO to halt its bombing campaign or risk seeing Libyan fighters descend on Europe "like a swarm of locusts or bees".

"Retreat, you have no chance of beating this brave people," Gaddafi said.

"They can attack your homes, your offices and your families, which will become military targets just as you have transformed our offices, headquarters, houses and children into what you regard as legitimate military targets," he said.

NATO announced it had stepped up strikes on Gaddafi forces in west Libya including the capital Tripoli, saying it had carried out more than 50 attacks since Monday.

Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez said the alliance stance was unchanged.

"Spain's and the international coalition's response is to maintain the unity and determination with which we have been working these past months," she said.

Libyan rebels who had advanced to within 80 km (50 miles) of the capital were stopped in their tracks on Friday by a barrage of rocket fire from government forces, underlining the dogged resistance of Gaddafi troops to a five-month revolt.

"(It) was obviously a strategic withdrawal because of the battlefield situation and the amount of bombardment that the revolutionary forces were receiving," said rebel spokesman Ahmed Bani. "But we hope to counter that within the next 48 hours."

In Tripoli, a senior source in Gaddafi's government said there was reliable intelligence indicating the rebels were planning to attack oil export terminals in the eastern towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf.

"The Libyan government will do whatever (possible) to prevent such attacks," the source, who did not want to be identified, told Reuters.

"It urges international oil companies as well as international insurance companies to put pressure on their governments to force the rebels, who are supported by NATO, to stop their destructive operations,"


Coalition military officials refuse to characterise the situation on the ground as a stalemate after a 104-day bombing campaign that has strained alliance firepower and tested unity, with internal divisions over strategy surfacing.

Analysts say part of NATO's strategy is to use the attacks to hinder efforts by authorities to put down any future uprising in Tripoli.

Britain's Defence Ministry said Apache helicopters hit three tanks and a bunker firing position in an attack on an army camp west of Tripoli late on Friday. Libyan state TV said NATO also bombed the central Al-Jufrah region on Saturday.

A document seen by Reuters showed African Union leaders had agreed on Friday that member states would not execute the arrest warrant for Gaddafi, leaving open the possibility that he could go into exile in one of the African Union's 53 nations.

The grouping also offered to host talks on a ceasefire and a transition to democratic government, but did not call on Gaddafi to step down and left open whether he had a future role.

Mansour Sayf al Nasr, the rebels' representative in France, told reporters at the summit in Equatorial Guinea: "We understood that the spirit of the document is that Gaddafi will not have a role to play in the future of Libya."

Abdel-Hafiz Ghoga, vice president of the Benghazi-based rebel council, told Reuters:

"We reject the African Union proposal because it includes nothing concerning our demands. We are only demanding one thing: Gaddafi's resignation ... We can gain freedom and democracy only if Gaddafi steps down.

"I think we can obtain freedom only through military operations and we will be able to do this."

In Tripoli, government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim did not comment on whether any AU-hosted negotiations should start on the assumption that Gaddafi would step down, saying only: "We have been saying for months that we will have talks with all parties." (Additional reporting by Maria Golovnina in Benghazi; Lutfi Abu-Aun in Tripoli; Tarek Amara in Tunis; Mike Holden in London; Pete Harrison in Brussels; and David Lewis in Malabo; Writing by Mark John; Editing by Angus MacSwan)


Libya says eyeing new investors for ENI projects

07 Jul 2011 13:29

Source: reuters // Reuters

(Adds background)

TRIPOLI, July 7 (Reuters) - Libya's government has begun negotiations with Russian and Chinese energy firms on taking over ENI's projects in Libya after the Italian firm withdrew its staff, a senior Libyan government official told Reuters on Thursday.

"This withdrawal happened without warning and the Libyan state has started negotiating with big Russian and Chinese oil companies to enter into a partnership in these investments," said the official, who did not want to be identified.

The official did not identify the firms with which the Libyan government was negotiating.

ENI is the biggest foreign oil company in Libya. It withdrew its international staff earlier this year after violence broke out when thousands of people rebelled against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The firm has since establised contacts with anti-Gaddafi rebels based in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.
(Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by William Hardy)