Monday, October 31, 2011
28 October 2011 | By Agnes T. Crane
There’s a growing chorus among U.S. legislators to get the government out of the housing business. That’s understandable given the possible $311 billion bill that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may rack up for taxpayers, according to a Federal Housing Finance Agency estimate on Thursday. But the recent failure of PMI Group’s mortgage insurance business is a reminder that chunks of housing’s private sector need fixing, too.
PMI, like its rivals Radian and MGIC, was once a highflier in the mortgage boom. It even sported a $4 billion market capitalization. Last week, PMI was effectively seized by the Arizona Department of Insurance. The state regulator took over its mortgage-writing unit after prohibiting it from issuing new policies. That’s a death knell in an industry that needs new premiums to counterbalance claims delivered by the housing bust.
And PMI is hardly alone. Only one of the six major home loan insurers has an investment-grade credit rating. A few are dangerously close to breaching their risk-to-capital limit of 25 to 1 - the minimum required to ensure they have enough firepower to pay claims. It took just one quarter for PMI to race through this threshold, moving from 24.4 to 1 to 58.1 to 1 by the end of June, according to CRT Capital.
The duration of the housing crisis has made life hard for mortgage insurers. They make their money by insuring lenders against future losses on mortgages that don’t come with a 20 percent down payment from the borrower. As home sales have slumped and banks become loath to lend to borrowers who don’t deliver chunky down payments, the business has suffered.
But bad practices prevalent in the good years bear a good part of the blame. For instance, as lenders loosened their credit standards during the boom, many mortgage insurers felt compelled to give banks a share of their premium income. That left the insurers with a smaller cushion to weather losses from claims during the housing collapse.
If the government ever hopes to extricate itself from the business of housing finance, it needs to ensure private sector backstops are well fortified and well regulated.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
October 30, 2011 9:56 PM EDT
It's all in the mind - at least, being a successful property investor is. Rob Farmer of RUn Property explains five ways to make sure you're in the right frame of mind to achieve your goals.
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Have you ever read about a 24-year-old on an average salary who owns four investment properties? Or the single mum who bought her first property out of desperation for a better life and accumulated a $5 million portfolio within a few years?
How are some people able to achieve what so many others can't? Why have they been successful beyond the wildest dreams of many in the same situation? Have they been gifted a large sum? Or earn a huge salary?
Chances are, their circumstances probably give them no unfair advantage, but there are several factors which create a successful investors' mindset.
Data from the Australian Tax Office shows that more than 1.2 million people own an investment property, but the number of investors who own five properties drops dramatically to less than 14,000 and a few own more than 50 investments.RUN Property is Australia's largest metropolitan real estate agency managing properties valued at more than $10 billion. Surveys of our database show that investors own an average of 1.2 properties each.
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Despite more than 90 per cent of investors saying they thought property was a good investment for them, most have been unable to focus on expanding their portfolio. Why?
How do I avoid being average?
1. Create a burning desire
Whether you are an aspiring Olympic athlete, an artist or property investor, desire is an intriguing aspect of the ability to achieve greatness. Some people are born with extraordinary natural talents, but on the whole, I believe that if the desire is strong enough, anything is possible.
I love the saying, "Necessity is the mother of all invention" and I think this can be applied to wealth creation. If your need is strong enough you will find a way to change your circumstances.
The reverse is also true. If you are comfortable in life with a fair paying job and food on the table, it can be difficult to create a strong desire to get out and take action.
Many people I speak with who have successfully built large property portfolios have either had, or been able to create, a burning desire for success. It might have come from a need to urgently generate enough money to retire comfortably, from hating their 9-to-5 job or because something rumbling within them wants them to be able to buy an expensive house or a fancy car.
Many people who have successfully built large property portfolios have either had, or been able to create, a burning desire for success.
The first and most important step in setting a path to create wealth is to determine what will fuel your desire. You must be able to clearly visualise and describe what success looks like for you and not let go of that picture. The stronger your emotional responses to this vision, the greater chance you have of being able to break through and achieve it.
2. Get a support network
Years ago there was shame associated with seeking support. It might have been seen as failing or being unable to achieve success on your own. Today, personal trainers, business coaches and counsellors help people achieve their goals every day.
A professional property mentor or simply someone who you know can support and encourage you and keep focus on your goals is invaluable. Make sure they understand what is driving your desire and how you will measure success. Your mentor will also need to be able to get tough with you if you veer off course.
3. Develop a plan
To fail to plan is to plan to fail.
More than 1.2 million Australians own investment properties. Many of them are what I call "accidental investors." You could argue they are not investors at all - they just happen to own an investment property. It is remarkable how many Australians own an investment due to circumstances. For example, they may have got married and their partner also owns a property so they rent out one and live in the other. Or they might have inherited the property.
There is nothing wrong with being an accidental investor. In fact, it can be a great opportunity to turn one property into many more. But if you plan to use property as a vehicle to create wealth then you need to develop a plan to achieve your investment goals.
The plan needs to cover:
What is your current reality? (i.e. what is your current net wealth, passive cashflow, lifestyle and how much time is devoted to aspects of your life?)
What is your desired outcome? (i.e. what is your desired net wealth, passive cashflow, lifestyle and how much time is allocated to achieving your goal?)
What actions do you need to take to move from your current reality to your desired reality? These need to be specific, measurable, realistic and set against timeframes.
How are you going to measure and report on your overall success?
What support, education and resources do you need to meet your plan?
4. Enliven your strategy
Investors with large portfolios follow their investment strategy vigorously. Some go for capital growth properties and others prefer positive cashflow properties or a blend of both. Whatever your approach, stick to it.
Buy on mathematics, not emotion. Do the numbers on each potential investment and be prepared to walk away if the property does not match your criteria. There is a saying in real estate, "The deal of a lifetime comes up every week."
Hold properties long term. Do not be pushed into a short-term decision that could damage your portfolio. Hasten slowly, but be flexible enough to move quickly if the right opportunity comes along.
Learn from your mistakes. Consider them not as a cost but as an investment in your future success. Be determined to make up for mistakes with future decisions that will more than compensate for the earlier failure.
View finance as a tool, not a burden. Property is a product and financial arrangements and the ability to leverage through equity help you to use it to maximise your advantage.
Work to your strengths. If you find a property sector that works for you, stick with it and don't listen to the doomsayers if your experience says what you are doing works for you.
Exploit your risk profile. If you are an aggressive investor, maximise your borrowings with a clear conscience, but make sure the "sleep at night" factor is balanced with the reality of your cashflow.
Look and listen. Not all successful investors were a success when they started but they learned how to improve their chances of winning while reducing their risks.
5. Get off the couch and take action
Too often I hear phrases such as: "I would never invest in the current property market," "interest rates are going up," "I don't have enough time," "some people have all the luck" and "I should have bought that property five years ago."
These phrases are commonly used by people who don't really want to take action and like to blame everything other than themselves.
Some of my favourite sayings are: "There is no time like the present," "Nothing ventured nothing gained," "If you want something done, give it to a busy person," "Create your own luck," "You miss 100 per cent of the shots you never take" and "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."
If there is one action I urge you to take, it is to set some time aside each week to focus on your property investing activities. Ensure you block out this time in your diary. If something totally unavoidable comes up, make sure you reschedule. View property investment as a business, not a spare time hobby.
The only person who can create the life you want is you. There is no magic or massive secret. The only thing between you and a property portfolio that can provide you with financial freedom is you.
About the author
Rob Farmer is the CEO of RUN Property. For more information visit www.run.com.au
October 28, 2011
In an interview with Bloomberg, the new CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) said the state-run company looking at more opportunities in Iraq, and aims to exploit the synergy in its oil, gas and power businesses.
Last week the company agreed to invest $46 million in WesternZagros Resources, acquiring a 19.9 percent stake in the Calgary-based explorer, which has permits to seek deposits in two blocks in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Carl Sheldon, 53, said:
“We could do power there too; we’re looking at an opportunity there now. We’d like to see power businesses next to the oil and gas businesses, and oil and gas businesses next to the power businesses. As we begin to focus much more on the Middle East and Africa, our ability to deliver power and water solutions into those markets is powerful.”
Founded in 2005, Taqa inherited control of several United Arab Emirates power and water plants from its majority owner Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority and expanded into oil and gas.
Taqa’s profit more than doubled to 435 million dirhams ($118 million) in the second quarter as it benefited from a 47 percent advance in Brent crude prices to an average of $116.99 a barrel. The company will release third-quarter results on Nov. 15.
Sheldon expects to see an increasing presence of regional banks funding Taqa as international banks become more capital constrained and devote more of their resources to their home markets. The company owes about $10 billion in public bonds and another $10 billion in bank debt, he said.
Shares in TAQA have lost 21 percent so far this year.
“You may see things like WesternZagros, small, long-term investments for the future in that sort of $50 million scale,” said Sheldon. “You won’t see a big step-out acquisition. But we don’t rule it out. As we develop our portfolio, you’re always asking yourself, ‘should I build it, or buy it’?”
WesternZagros Resources has received payment for its first sale of crude oil to the domestic market in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. First oil production from the Sarqala-1 extended well test was achieved on October 18, 2011, and first lifting occurred by truck on 27th October.
“Production start-up marks a new chapter in the Company’s history, as WesternZagros takes its first steps to become an exploration and production company, rather than a pure exploration company,” said Simon Hatfield, Chief Executive Officer of WesternZagros.
“We are appreciative of the process established by the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Natural Resources, which requires pre-payment directly to WesternZagros for the contracted volumes. We also appreciate the close coordination with the Ministry in starting the test. Thanks to the diligence of our in-country operations personnel, the start-up was conducted in a safe, responsible manner and ahead of schedule.”
Production started at approximately 2,000 barrels of oil per day (“BOPD”) and is anticipated to increase towards 5,000 BOPD in the near future. WesternZagros has signed an initial sales contract for delivery of approximately 33,500 barrels of oil priced in the range of US$50 to US$60 per barrel. WesternZagros plans to use the information gathered from the extended well test in determining future appraisal and development activities, including the potential for increasing production beyond 5,000 BOPD. Horizontal completions may be considered to take advantage of the demonstrated high deliverability of the Jeribe reservoir.
Mil Qasim-1 Exploration Well Update
WesternZagros has successfully set 13-5/8″casing at 1,615 metres at Mil Qasim-1, the Company’s third exploration well. The rig is currently drilling ahead at 1,800 metres in the targeted Upper Fars Reservoir. Following a delayed spud date, drilling is now proceeding on time and on budget. The mean estimate of the gross unrisked prospective resources for this reservoir is 106 million barrels of oil. Further updates will be provided as operations progress. WesternZagros is the operator of the Mil Qasim-1 well.
Kurdamir-2 Exploration Well Update
WesternZagros reports that the Kurdamir-2 exploration well has spudded on October 25, and is anticipated to be completed by June 2012. The well is being drilled on the flank of the Kurdamir structure approximately two kilometres from the Kurdamir-1 discovery well. The combined mean estimate of the gross unrisked prospective resources for the Oligocene, Eocene and Cretaceous reservoirs being targeted by the Kurdamir-2 well is over 585 million barrels of oil. Talisman (Block K44) B.V. (“Talisman”)is the operator of the Kurdamir-2 well.
On today’s date, WesternZagros’s operations celebrate having worked one full year without a lost time incident. The dedication to safety demonstrated by all of the Company’s employees and contractors has produced a work safety culture ranked as world class.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Source: Reuters // Reuters
KABUL, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Saturday's attack by a suicide car bomber in Afghan capital Kabul killed 13 service members from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), an ISAF spokesman said.
The attack was the deadliest against foreign troops in Kabul for many years.
Earlier, the Afghan interior ministry said three civilians and a police officer were killed in the strike against a convoy of foreign troops in the west of the city. (Reporting by Christine Kearney; Writing by Daniel Magnowski)
14 foreign troops killed in suicide attack in Kabul
By Nasir Khan - Oct 29th, 2011 (No Comment)
Kabul: At least 14 foreign troops were killed including Nato forces in a suicide car bomb attack on a Nato convoy on Saturday.
The attack on the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) convoy took place in the Darulaman area in the west of the Kabul, near the national museum.
“I can confirm a suicide attack on Dar-ul-Aman road of Kabul on a convoy of foreign forces,” said a spokesman for Kabul’s police chief, Hashmat Stanikzai, adding that casualties were not yet known.
“Several ISAF members are recorded as casualties and there are also several local Afghan casualties,” a spokesman for the NATO-led force said, without specifying whether the victims had been killed or wounded.
One eyewitness said he saw six dead NATO soldiers inside the bus, while a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of the Interior, Sadiq Saddiqi, said that the dead included one Afghan policeman and three civilians, believed to be students who had been passing by. Mr. Saddiqi said he could not provide information on the NATO casualties.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Ads by Google
Qantas chairman Leigh Clifford says the airline has not had any takeover approaches from private equity firms.
Mr Clifford also said that other Australian icon businesses were not resticted by foreign ownership caps.
At the company's annual general meeting in Sydney on Friday, chief executive Alan Joyce said Qantas had no choice but to reject the unions' current demands.
Mr Joyce also said that Qantas International was losing $200 million a year, and that was likely to get worse, and he didn't want to cut back on fleet expenditure.
On remuneration, Mr Clifford said the current board remuneration was appropriate.
Qantas has been embroiled in disputes on several fronts, with pilots, engineers and ground staff taking industrial action over pay and conditions.
More than 10,000 Qantas passengers face delays on Friday, with almost 70 flights delayed as workers walk off the jobs at airports around the country.
Industrial action by baggage handlers and other ground staff on Friday, coinciding with the airline's AGM in Sydney, has renewed calls for federal government intervention to end the ongoing battle over pay and conditions.
Qantas estimates about 70,000 passengers have been affected by the recent months of industrial action.
© 2011 AAP
Date posted 2011-10-18 11:49
Votes for this Posting Voted 248 times.
This note details some of the discussion at Manchester. Further background and my thoughts are captured within the paragraphs bounded in parentheses thus [ ].
This post has been a bit slow in the making as I am currently on extended vacation in Portugal. Hence further posts will be limited for a while.
NOTES AND COMMENTS FROM PRESENTATION
Slide 5 Company Highlights
"We will probably sell our AB interests to raise some more money." [Have to be careful here whether the “probably” qualification used by CG is significant or whether he just means subject to an acceptable bid. This is discussed later in the post presentation chat section.]
Slide 6 Company Forward Growth Strategy
10-12 geologists, engineers and facilities staff have been hired. [On a project this size this is just the initial team, more staff will be required as the project ramps up.]
Slide 7 2011/12 Work Program
[In the London Proactive presentation in August Ewen said we would see a new phase of exploration on both Akri Bijeel and Sheikh Adi and the extent of this was revealed in slide 7. He also mentioned a development program which I took to be an EWT=Extended Working Time in the Akri Bijeel block but this was not mentioned in the Manchester presentation.]
Chris indicated that in March next year GKP could have 7 rigs running in Kurdistan in which it has an interest.
[OMG this should have been one of the highlights of the evening. 7 rigs FFS=fee for service, no one else in Kurdistan comes close to this. Some of the majors in the south will exceed this but they are drilling close spacing in fill wells and working over wells in mature fields. All of GKPs wells are essentially exploration wells as they are so far apart. IMO there is not a single operator in the UK Nth Sea that will be involved with 7 wells drilling concurrently, perhaps Statoil in the Norwegian sector but no one else. I suppose the proposed sale of Akri Bijeel has undermined this but don’t be surprised if negotiations on the sale are not complete until end 2Q/early 3Q. IMO the price could be rising by $100m+ per month as wells progress and encounter new oil discoveries.]
Sh-2 is testing [further discussion Slide 14] and is nearing completion after which the Weatherford rig will move to the far east end of anticline to drill Sh-6 (location shown in Slide 10). It is sufficiently far down dip at Jurassic level that it offers the best opportunity of finding the OWC. [Even if the well does not find the contact, which would be the case if the interval around -2230m SS is not a reservoir quality rock, IMO it should find oil sufficiently deep to raise the P50 close to the “filled to spill case”.]
SA-1 is complete. Mikey Admin’s note covered the use of the workover rig for testing. The Discoverer-1 rig is currently rigging up at Sh-5.
Chris mentioned a bigger rig may be needed for Sh-7 in order to drill to the Permian. This was mentioned in my post of 5th Sept “Conversation with John G re Sh2, 4 and More”. Chris later mentioned that although Shaikan 7 is shown as contingent and they have not yet contracted a rig, he felt they are committed to drilling the well.
The MOL rig has reached TD and just getting ready to start the testing program.
[Bekhme-1 was spudded on 25th Mar and was said to be “approaching TD” in the GKP mid year report of 14 Sept.]
The rig will go to Aqra-1. It is an exploration well in the shallow part of the section and an appraisal of Bijeel in the deeper part.
[This is an interesting comment in that you rarely have this scenario. Usually it is the deeper part of the section that is the exploration target because a discovery has already been made at a shallower depth. But we are dealing with MOL here and they appear to do many things *rse backwards lol! The other point of interest is that the Aqra surface location is shown between the two main surface anticlines marked on Slide 19. On the face of it not an obvious place to drill for a shallow exploration target. However if you look at the surface terrain depicted in the link below Aqra is a surface anticline.
It will be interesting to see if they find water or oil in the shallow section. If oil is found that could suggest Bekhme and Bakrman are connected and really one humongous field. If water is found they could obtain one or more aquifer pressure points for comparison with oil pressure points which hopefully they will obtain in Bekhme and Bakrman if discoveries are made. It should be possible to get an approximate estimate of the oil water contact in each anticline. The issue would be obtaining an uncontaminated water sample to measure/estimate the water composition and density to predict the water pressure gradient.]
At Bakrman-1 MOL has made progress on getting the location ready and it will bring in a second rig.
EWT(Extended Working Time) upgrade and expansion: eng work is done and the mods and upgrade are out to tender.
The pipeline is to be worked with the KRG, possibly with other operators. [Not clear what this means in practice.]
[Missing from this slide is the time line for the 3D interpretation and processing/reprocessing. The London presentation indicated interpretation continuing through end November. A few folk seem to be getting hot and bothered about a perceived delay this but IMO it is not a big issue. We have heard the most important piece of news coming out of the 3D seismic, i.e. the size of the Shaikan container has, if anything, increased slightly. Yes they will reprocess the seismic but that’s not uncommon. The Geos have to try different processing options to try to extract the maximum info from the data set. There is not a lot of past experience in the region that will have established the best techniques and optimum processing parameters to provide the ideal processed data set. Geos are never satisfied which is a good thing as long as they do something positive with what they have.
The full benefit of the 3-D will be seen when it is matched to the well results from Sh-2 through Sh-6. It should then be possible to place the Sh-7 well and pick development well locations with some confidence. IMO there is no point in trying to revise the Shaikan OIP now purely on the basis of the 3-D. It does not predict a number of the factors that drive OIP e.g. oil saturations, porosity and oil formation volumes factors. For that we need more wells and oil samples and they are on the way. Having said all that, I am sure it would be appreciated if GKP would demonstrate to its shareholders that it is deriving benefit from money it has spent on the 3-D.]
Section is still the old 2-D data, the 3D data looks better.
Slide 13: Shaikan
Shaikan 1 tested 18-55 API oil. The range of APIs and rates seen in Sh-1 has been confirmed by Sh-2. They have found 53 API and 16 API in Sh-2. [We know the KC-C tested 36API and the lower KC-B tested 40 API so either the upper KC-B or more likely the KC-A has tested 53API.]
GKP has completed testing of the Triassic and is now working its way through the Jurassic Butmah. In Sh-1 only the upper part of the Butmah was tested although there were shows all the way through it. In Sh-2 the bottom and middle have been tested and the top is going to be tested.
[IMO this is good news. According to DGA and RSC, the Butmah has the highest OIP of any single formation and so it is important that as much of it as possible is tested to confirm just how much of it is pay. The 5 Sept RNS stated that there would be up to 5 additional tests so this would indicate testing is nearing completion. There may also be a Mus interval test to conduct before testing is complete although that would probably be a sixth test since 5th Sept and would contradict the RNS. In any event we can look forward to a mega RNS on testing results.]
Chris recalled the story of how the flare and smoke from the flare from Sh-2 could be seen from Erbil some 200km away and why they had then to put out the press release quickly because everyone would know (there was a major field extension) before GKP wanted to make an announcement.
[There is still a misunderstanding about this by some folk who appear to think GKP were trying to delay news or hide something. IMO the intent would have been to wait until the test was complete and a reliable/representative well rate was achieved after clean up of fluids lost to the reservoir. However the widespread visibility of the flare meant that it would have been an open secret in Kurdistan that the major step out of Shaikan had been successful which could have led to a “disorderly market” in the shares.]
CG described Sh-2 as being under engineered to take the pressure in the Triassic.
Sh-4 is in the Triassic. 9-5/8” casing has been set at the bottom of the Triassic Kurre Chine B and the well has been logged. The top part of the Jurassic looks very good [as previously announced] and the bottom part “is still being analysed”. Chris indicated the well is probably going to be drilled to the KC-C. [Further comments in Post Meeting Chat section.]
Shaikan 5 will be more crestal. [It will still add to the OIP by increasing the proven area but is unlikely to increase the depth of lowest known oil.]
Slide 14 Shaikan 1 and 3 EWT
Chris briefly discussed the thorny issue of production without revealing much.
[IMO the lack of a clear explanation why production has been so low is the most contentious issue at present.
Initial problems with export were discussed in my post of 5th Sept “Conversation with John G re Sh2, 4 and More”. Here is the relevant extract.
“There have been two main reasons for the delay in establishing continuous exports. The first is as discussed by Ewen at Proactive i.e. the requests by the KRG for domestic production. The second has been problems trying to achieve export spec oil by chemical means. The first H2S scavenger did not perform according to the chemical company’s assurances which I assume were based on lab tests. The scavenger was incompatible with the crude. This resulted in a batch of oil having to be sold in small quantities over a period. Meanwhile the topsides upgrade project to achieve pipeline spec is going ahead full speed.
JG advises that they will announce export when it is on a regular, sustained basis.“
My interpretation of this is that they had a storage tank full or part full of off spec crude. In an FPSO=FPSO - Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessel
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/oil-field-acronyms#ixzz1c0BjfzIJ
you could route crude to an off spec tank but in this scenario there is only one tank and the crude in that tank had to be sold in small batches as far as export is concerned. There was also a political element that GKP has no control over and which obviously is sensitive.
What is not clear is why production to the domestic market is low. You would think that when the KRG agreed to resume exports this would have led to a shortfall in supplies to the domestic market. It is not clear why this did not lead to a domestic contract with consistent demand for Shaikan crude. One would expect GKP to be able to report monthly production by this stage but it does not appear to be happening leading to distrust on the part of PIs which can’t be good. ]
The dev well plan is what it says it is “Conceptual” so the picture should not be taken too literally. An extensive fracture analysis has been done. Decisions have to be made regarding vertical, horizontal and inclined wells and the direction of deviation relative to the axis of the anticline((A fold with strata sloping downward on both sides from a common crest.
)). [If you recall one of the key findings of the Mirabaud report was that the principal fracture orientation at Shaikan is not parallel to the axis of the anticline reducing the risk that fracture intensity will reduce away from the spine of the field. In other words, provided the orientation of the wells is optimised, there is a chance wells will have good productivity over most of the structure.]
A second well will be drilled in SA to the north of the first one.
Slide 18: Ber Bahr
[This is the standard Ber Bahr slide that has been around for a while but with the updated reduced OIP estimate from Genel. Please note how Lake Dohuk is represented in the surface map. One would think that the lake could play a large part in any development as it appears to be about 10 km from E to W and 7.5km from N to S at its widest points. This would suggest land access for drilling BB appraisal and development wells would be severely constrained and that one or more drilling platforms might be required. Now go to slide 16 and blow it up to 200% (or better still go to slide 15 of the Sept forward strategy presentation) which shows a satellite view of the lake. Note that Lake Dohuk is only about 1km from E-W and 3km from N-S! The BB slide is completely unrepresentative of the Lake, fortunately! Perhaps it served as a useful ruse to deter bidders lol!]
Slide 19: Akri Bijeel
Chris said the Akri Bijeel Block is highly prospective.
[Did anyone else notice the significant emphasis on HIGHLY in the tone of his voice? A reflection of the Bijeel discovery but perhaps also of Bekhme-1 findings? He rarely used that change of emphasis elsewhere in the presentation.]
Slide 20: 3 Year and 6 Mo Share Price Performance
This slide is one that Ewen used in London but Chris made the point that the GKP sp has held up very well since the beginning of August in comparison with many AIM oil stocks which have dipped 40% [as the market reacted to Greece etc.] whereas the GKP price has only fallen by 4% .
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Most of the questions have been covered but for the benefit of those at the back of the room I want to mention that when Chris summarised this question to the room he omitted the political element contained within the full question.
The person responsible for drilling the BB well (TH) that could have a big impact on GKPs value is someone that probably covets GKP. We have just seen the TD reduced by 1000m in BB but when compared with Shaikan the equivalent horizons in BB are about 600-800m shallower. This means that the pressures in the Triassic are likely to be lower and the chance of getting through the Triassic and seeing the full extent of the new oil potential it has shown, which we have not been able to do in Shaikan (and Sheikh Adi), should be higher. Yet the revised well TD reduces the chance of extending the known oil bearing horizons deeper in the Triassic section and reaching the elusive Triassic dolomite.
CG indicated that 2100m is the commitment depth. He also said he is not the operator but in his view if we are swimming in oil at 2100m are we going to stop?
[IMO there is a potential conflict of interest here. Genel can elect not to explore the full potential of the Triassic thereby not proving the full potential of BB. Any bid for GKP in the event of BB success would only have to factor in oil discovered down to the upper part of the Triassic leaving the Triassic dolomite and anything below as exploration upside thrown in for free.
The PSC commitment does not appear to be depth dependent, it is cost dependent. From memory the PSC commitment is to spend a minimum of about $13.5MM. If there is a depth commitment this must have been reached in licence management meetings presumably with GKP in attendance and with GKPs concurrence which frankly would be good to confirm.
We have tried twice unsuccessfully to get to the Triassic dolomite and now it looks like a major commitment in the shape of a new rig will be required to get there which won’t be until 4Q 2012 in Shaikan 7. It would seem that an opportunity should be taken to get there much sooner in BB-1 where nature has conspired to make it easier to do so. The dolomite is predicted to be at 2300m in BB-1 whereas it was not reached after drilling to 3300m in Sh-2 and 3780m in Sheikh Adi.]
Chris later indicated that the seismic (from which the formation tops will have been picked) is probably the old DNO seismic. [I am not sure if this would call into question the predicted depths. SA-1 is an example of how depths can be different from predicted. The well encountered a repeat section due to faulting that caused tops to be deeper than predicted.]
In response to being asked when investors can see the 3D seismic Chris indicated he doesn’t see any problems with producing some cross sections for the next meeting.
One of the other presenters asked CG “What is the Proven Developed Producing reserves on sustained production?” He explained that the numbers in the public domain are OIP. [GKP is relatively unique for an AIM explorer at this stage in proceedings in that does not speak in terms of 2C Contingent Resources or Reserves. This appears to be deliberate strategy until more information is obtained. ]
POST PRESENTATION CHAT
This has been covered very well by MrAverage1 and Dragon_Ventures. (He should have called himself The Inquisitor lol!) A few more Q&As and thoughts are included below.
GKP decided to drill another well in SA to define the structure as soon as possible. The 3D seismic will be used to pick the location. [Note full extent of the possible eastern extension of BB into the Sheikh Adi Block may not be completely covered by the 3D, refer slide 15 of the Forward Strategy Presentation which shows the 3D outline does not cover the northern part of the SA Block. (It is also shown as a blue line in the top left picture of the BB compilation in a link further on in this post)]
Does core analysis and well test results support good matrix permeabilities?
There is no doubt it is fractured and that is the reason for high rates but there is also matrix porosity. CG also said he did not have the core analysis at his fingertips but certainly some of the matrix has permeability and some is tight .
You are implying that you will not go to the Lower Triassic dolomite in Sh-4?
Shaikan 4 well is designed like the others and we can’t take the chance to go to the dolomite.
[This was followed by some banter regarding John G’s hope that there may be a pressure trend that leads to lower KC-C pressures in the west and hence perhaps an ability to go to the deeper dolomite.]
The new seismic, is it as expected?
3D you get a very good resolution clear picture on flanks where you have tertiary cover. On the crest have a tertiary limestone but also Cretaceous in places [Tertiary has been eroded on parts of the crest.] and have to shoot with dynamite. The picture is not as clear. That is still the case with the 3D but it has filled in a lot of the gaps. [The 2D line spacing was about 5km. I didn’t check the 3D line spacing. Offshore it would be every 12.5 or 25m but I am not sure if that would have been practicable on the Shaikan anticline. Nevertheless it will have been a much, much closer spacing than the 2D.] The structure has not changed.
Is Vallares going to bring anything to the picture? [Like $10Bn lol!]
Anastasia “They will have their own perspective.”
There was some discussion about the release of data from BB during which CG indicated they do get daily reports from BB-1 which is standard industry procedure. Hence GKP will be kept very up to date with progress. The spud announcement was released simultaneously.
At what point would they test northern structure in SA that could be an extension of BB?
SA2 will be within the 3D and within the same structure. It is probably slightly north east. “We need to test the Jurassic in the hanging wall.”
Is it designed to investigate the high pressure?
I think the rig is adequate to test this well. [This still leaves open the question of whether SA2 could reach the Triassic dolomite. As the rig schedule stands Sh-7 would spud about 1 month after SA-2. If it were to make better progress than SA-2, because say the Cretaceous is less troublesome, then Sh-7 might reveal the dolomite pressure regime and give an indication if it could be drilled safely at SA-2.]
In Ber Bahr the 2D seismic covers only the south of the block. The Surface anticline looks like it has been eroded in the north of the block and was a bigger structure at one time. You guys indicated that BB may be 1.5x the size of Shaikan. Was this was based purely on seismic in the south?
Chris initially passed on this indicating he had not worked on it. When pressed further about the 3D perspective presentation he stated “That was based on the seismic we had” and inferred it was the data shot by DNO [prior to the break up of their former mega block].
[What I was getting at without explaining myself very well is illustrated in the attached link which is a Ber Bahr compilation.
In the Nov 10 presentation (top right picture) an anticline is depicted in the northern part of the BB block and north of the seismic (top left picture). I am not clear if this is:
a) A surface anticline that is expressed also at subsurface level and is therefore another subsurface target or
b) The remaining part of a much larger surface anticline that has been eroded at the surface to leave three separate present day surface anticlines but one very large anticline at the subsurface level
c) Simply the surface expression of a fault.
The terrain view in the link below shows three possible anticlines in the BB block. The two southern expressions are covered by seismic in the BB block but not the northern one. There is some coverage of the northern one in the adjacent block to the west (Murphy’s Dohuk Central Block).
The above discussion illustrates that the seismic in BB from which the GKP interpretation was made is pretty sparse. There is probably room for more than one interpretation and it is no surprise that pre drill estimates by Genel should be on the conservative side.]
Anastasia said he appointment of extra NEDs linked to the move to the main market but not surprisingly would not be drawn on a date. Chris is not on the Board so he felt he could not comment on the roles of the two additional NEDs yet to be appointed.
Have they finished the special core analysis?
We just got a specialist petrophysicist who has taken over the program. [Without that and insights from a spell of continuous production the question of what is the optimal way to produce Shaikan remains open. Chris said that everything is on the table.]
The Triassic was meant to be gas!
There is definitely some oil there. Chris explained that what they originally called the Triassic dolomite is quite thick in an offset well (Jabal Kand). DGA were able to use that information to calculate a rough volume at Shaikan. He said that hasn’t gone away it is just that GKP has found some more pay that they are calling the Kurre Chine C and they haven’t yet reached the dolomite.
[BTW the attached link indicates the Lower Triassic Geli Khana contains a gas generative source rock in the Jebel Kand area which would explain why DGA made a gas estimate for Shaikan Lower Triassic and Permian.
But note an earlier post of mine dated 22 August which indicated there is cause to believe the source rocks in the Shaikan Lower Triassic area should be in the oil temperature window. The question is whether the rocks are oil prone, oil and gas prone or gas prone.]
At what point will a reserves report be produced?
Not until we have a development report and some production.
Chris said GKP will use the 3-D to pick the best place for Sh-7 to get to the Permian
Anastacia said that Tony Hayward will be attending the conference that GKP is sponsoring in Erbil in November and she expects this may generate few stories. [Oh to be a fly on the wall at that one!]
The Inquisitor asked whether Genel would drill-test-drill on BB or drill to TD and test. Chris explained GKPs approach. GKP have had lot of problems with open hole testing and have had to repeat the tests. They know now that they can case and test. “We know we can treat the formation damage because have had success acidizing. “
[The reason for OH testing=((OH - Openhole Log
)) was to conduct a test before too much formation damage occurs from drilling. It was not clear to me which route Genel will chose. There tends to be more pressure to test as you go on a discovery well but it remains to be seen whether Genel will adopt that approach.]
For those of you who are also invested in PCI (or who might be thinking of do so) I asked Chris what he thought of the Dinarta Block immediately north of Akri Bijeel.
HKN have struck in an anticline to the north of Shaikan (Swara Tika) and he doesn’t see any reason why the Dinarta Block should not work for Petroceltic.
I had a concern as to whether the prolific Sargelu is missing in Sh-2 based on a DGA slide shown at the strategy presentation which suggested the top interval was the Alan formation. However Chris assured me that is not the case, and the Sargelu is present.
Finally we discussed the AB sale. He indicated that he did not know anything about a possible change in GKPs timeframe for the sale but did say that the longer GKPs stays in the block then assuming they make discoveries probably the value is going to go up.
As far as the presentation went you lot were the investor equivalent of a hostile northern working men’s club where the audiences had a reputation for taking no prisoners lol! I think Chris was in the wrong place at the wrong time i.e. after a period of sp stagnation.
There was a fair smattering(Superficial or piecemeal knowledge:) of good news coming out of the Dublin/Manchester presentations. The overall activity level (up to 7 concurrent wells) is immensely impressive. Bekhme-1 will definitely be factored into the Akri Bijeel price. If MOL gets its act together there will be an opportunity for any new discoveries at Aqra-1 and Bakrman-1to be factored in also. Both wells should be drilling the Jurassic during Q2 2012. Although the well results may not be in the public domain, if the Jurassic has been logged GKP will be in possession of the logs and bidders will be made aware of the nature of any discovery under a confidentiality agreement.
Shaikan-7, although currently classed as contingent looks as though it will get the go ahead and with a larger rig and the appropriate well design we should get to the Permian picking up the Triassic dolomite on the way.
We did not learn much more about Sh-2 and Sh-4 it was rightly held tight by CG. Sh-2 may turn out not to have as much pay as Sh-1 but we already know it is prolific and has at least one Jurassic interval with a higher gravity oil than Sh-1. We already know Sh-4 is a spectacular well.
Chris made the comment that Shaikan 1 was the best well he had ever seen.
However this statement from the mid year report suggests he may have to revise this when Sh-4 is complete. Well logs and core data thus far in the mid to upper Jurassic show a massive oil column with net pay intervals of 278 metres, even better than those seen on Shaikan-1.
The continued delay in establishing consistent production remains a significant concern and importantly a lost opportunity to be acquiring production data from Shaikan. GKP has installed EWT equipment but an EWT is not being conducted! The key questions appear to be?
Has a suitable temporary chemical solution (H2S scavenger) been found to enable export?
Why would the KRG not permit a modest amount of export to proceed, e.g. 3-5000 bbl/d ? It is small beer in comparison to the total exports that have been permitted. Is it part of a strategy that no new fields will be placed on production to exert pressure on Baghdad?
Why hasn’t a modest continuous production to the domestic market been established?
Chris indicated that they are working within the parameters given to them. [It is safe to conclude that if they were allowed to produce every day there is no doubt GKP could do it.]
That’s all. I’m off to enjoy Gramacho and the Algarve
Regards and GLA,
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
posted by Editor on October 26, 2011 at 4:41 am
Russia’s RIA Novosti reports that the country’s largest private oil firm, LUKoil, has started exploration drilling on the giant West Qurna-2 oilfield in Iraq.
Company head Vagit Alekperov said on Tuesday, “we have launched drilling, well borers are already there”.
In 2009, a consortium comsisting of LUKoil and Norway’s Statoil won a tender to develop one of the world’s largest oilfields West Qurna-2, whose recoverable reserves are estimated at 12.9 billion barrels of oil.
(Source: RIA Novosti)
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Sirte: At least 100 people were reportedly dead in an oil depot explosion in Sirte city, home town of Libya’s former leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
A fuel tank exploded in Sirte, killing more than 100 people less than a week after the deposed dictator was captured and killed there, National Transitional Council commander Leith Mohammad said.
He said the scene was “a heart wrenching spectacle with dozens of charred bodies.”
Sunday, October 23, 2011
A photograph of former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and his wife Nusrat Bhutto. PHOTO: TMN/FILE
DUBAI: Nusrat Bhutto, widow of former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and mother of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, passed away in Dubai on Sunday.
The federal government to announce one day of mourning due to her demise. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has announced the suspension of all political activity in the wake of the former First Lady’s death.
Begum Nusrat Bhutto was 82 years old at the time of her death.
She outlived three of her children Murtaza, Benazir and Shahnawaz Bhutto. Of the immediate family, only Sanam Bhutto, daughter of Nusrat and ZA Bhutto remains.
Sources said that arrangements are being made to bring her body back to Karachi for a funeral scheduled for Tuesday.
Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar said that her body will be taken for burial to Garhi Khuda Bux, the ancestral graveyard of the Bhutto family.
Bhutto had been recovering from a stroke while simultaneously battling Alzheimer’s disease.
She had functioned as a political hostess and accompanied ZA Bhutto on overseas visits.
In 1979, after the trial and execution of her husband, she succeeded him as leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party as chairman for life.
In 1982 she was given permission to leave the country by the military government of General Ziaul Haq for medical treatment in London at which point her daughter, Benazir Bhutto, became acting leader of the party and by 1984 Benazir became party chairman.
Source: Reuters // Reuters
Rescue workers try to save people trapped under debris after an earthquake in Tabanli village near the eastern Turkish city of Van October 23, 2011. REUTERS/Abdurrahman Antakyali/Anadolu Agency
(Adds quotes, details)
By Jonathon Burch
HAKKARI, Turkey, Oct 23 (Reuters) - A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6 shook southeastern Turkey on Sunday, Turkey's Kandilli Observatory said, triggering the collapse of buildings and killing many people, according to a local mayor.
State-run media reported 50 people had been injured, while the prime minister's office said the earthquake had caused a loss of life and damage. No figures were available on the death toll.
"A lot of buildings collapsed, many people killed, but we don't know the number. We are waiting for emergency help, its very urgent," Zulfukar Arapoglu, the mayor of Ercis district, which was hit badly, told the news broadcaster NTV.
"We need tents urgently and rescue teams. We don't have any ambulances, and we only have one hospital. We have many killed and injured," he said.
Emergency teams were trying to rescue people believed to be trapped in a building in Van, near the Iranian border, state-run news agency Anatolian said. It said 50 injured people had been taken to hospital in Van, but did not give details on how serious their injuries were.
The Kandilli Observatory said the earthquake struck at 1041 GMT and was 5 km (3 miles) deep. The U.S. Geological Survey earlier reported that the magnitude was 7.6.
Television pictures showed damaged buildings and vehicles, crushed under falling masonry, and panicked residents wandering in the streets.
Turkish media said phone lines and electricity had been cut off. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was heading to Van to see the damage, media reported.
Aftershocks continued after the initial quake, whose epicentre was at the village of Tabanli, north of Van city, the agency said.
In Hakkari, a town around 100 km (60 miles) south of the city of Van in southeastern Turkey, a building could be felt swaying for around 10 seconds during the quake.
There was no immediate sign of any casualties or damage in Hakkari, around two and half hours drive through the mountains from Van, around 20 km from the epicentre.
Major geological faultlines cross Turkey and small earthquakes are a near daily occurrence. Two large quakes in 1999 killed more than 20,000 people in northwest Turkey.
Two people were killed and 79 injured in May when an earthquake shook Simav in northwest Turkey. (Additional reporting by Seda Sezer and Daren Butler; Editing by Alison Williams)
Friday, October 21, 2011
By Katrina Jones - Oct 22nd, 2011 (No Comment)
Washington: Saudi Crown Prince and Defence Minister Sultan bin Abdul –Aziz has died at the age of 86, sources said on Saturday.
He had been on a visit to the United States for medical tests.
Saudi Royal Family and U.S. Relations
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William Browning – Sat Oct 22, 5:58 pm ET
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Saudi heir to the throne Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz died after an illness today. He had been suffering from colon cancer and had been in New York being treated since June. He was 80 years old. Sultan was next in line to the throne of Saudi Arabia in the event that King Abdullah dies or abdicates.
President Barack Obama called Crown Prince Sultan a "valued friend " who served as the country's defense minister for more than 50 years. Throughout his time in the Saudi government, Sultan procured arms deals with the United States and was a key ally in the war on terror.
Ties between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia run deep. Here's a look at U.S.-Saudi relations over the past several decades.
U.S.-Saudi relations began in 1933 under the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, several years after King Abdel Aziz bin Saud unified the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia following a series of military conquests. PBS states oil ties began that same year when Standard Oil dug an oil well in 1938 and Saudi Arabia's oil production began.
The country was also vital to the Allied victory in World War II. Roosevelt deemed Saudi Arabia necessary to the defense of the United States and initiated a lend-lease program for foreign aid. The U.S. then used Saudi Arabia as a way to defend the world against Communism and the Soviet Union. The Project on National Security Reform states President Dwight Eisenhower visited the nation in 1956 to shore up ties and foster security in Saudi Arabia.
Royal Family and Oil
The next ruler of Saudi Arabia took over in 1953 as Crown Prince Saud became king after his father's death. He was forced to abdicate in 1964, seven years after turning over day-to-day operations of the government to his half-brother Faisal. It was under Faisal's leadership that OPEC was founded.
Saudi Arabia became increasingly more modern thanks to the royal family and oil money. As oil exports became increasingly profitable, eventually Saudi oil interests took over the country's economy. Originally, Standard Oil and Saudi Arabia split oil profits down the middle. By 1980, Saudi Arabia gained full control of the oil wells in a series of legal agreements. By this time, the Middle Eastern country was vital to the world economy.
Ties with the United States were tested from 1991 onward. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the United States used land bases in Saudi Arabia to launch attacks against troops of Saddam Hussein. BBC reported about 5,000 to 10,000 U.S. troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia until 2003. Part of that force was used to support operations in the Iraq War of 2003.
Relations became strained in September 2001 when former Saudi national Osama bin Laden was blamed for the terrorist attacks against the United States. Salon.com reported his family's company had huge loans and financial backing from Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. Because of the oil industry, the United States has always had to rely on Saudi interests no matter how strained they might become.
Most recently, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia both condemned an apparent assassination plot on Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir in mid-October. Although not a member of the royal family, Al-Jubeir is a trusted member of the Saudi government appointed to his post by King Abdullah.
William Browning is a research librarian specializing in U.S. politics. Born in St. Louis, Browning is active in local politics and served as a campaign volunteer for President Barack Obama and Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill.
World waits for Saudi king to announce new heir
By Asma Alsharif | Reuters – 43 mins ago
Security guards make a human chain blocking people as the airplane carrying the body …
Saudi Arabia's Interior Minister Prince Nayef attends a news conference in Mecca …
Article: Prince Sultan, the man behind Saudi defense
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RIYADH (Reuters) - The world's eyes are on Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on Wednesday to make the widely expected choice of veteran Interior Minister Prince Nayef as his new heir, a decision that would emphasize stability in the top oil exporter.
The funeral of Crown Prince Sultan on Tuesday set the stage for the high-profile appointment in Saudi Arabia, a major U.S. ally with an aging leadership trying to reconcile conservative traditions with the needs of a modern economy and a young, increasingly outward-looking population.
"In the political system this is an important event, but the system is designed to ensure continuity," said Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economist at National Commercial Bank in Jeddah.
Prince Nayef, born in 1933, is sometimes described by Saudi liberals as an anti-reform conservative who is likely to take a cautious approach to social and political change, while viewing foreign policy through the lens of national security.
However, former diplomats to Riyadh and some analysts say the man who has served as interior minister since 1975 may show a more pragmatic side as crown prince -- and eventually as king.
In his six-year-old reign, the octogenarian King Abdullah has pushed changes aimed at creating jobs by liberalizing markets and loosening the grip of religious hardliners over education and social policy.
The Sunni Arab country holds a vital position on the world stage as it dominates oil markets, holds profound influence over Muslims through its guardianship of Islam's holiest sites in Mecca and Medina, and faces turbulence in its neighbors and a regional rival in Shi'ite Muslim Iran.
The funeral for Sultan, who died of colon cancer in New York on Saturday, took place in Riyadh's sprawling Imam Turki bin Abdullah mosque.
The Royal Court said it would be open to accept condolences for three days. A U.S. delegation headed by Vice President Joe Biden is expected in Riyadh on Thursday.
King Abdullah was chief mourner at the mosque, where Saudis in red-and-white headdresses were crammed between dozens of pillars behind the kneeling Grand Mufti as he led prayers.
The monarch, who left hospital on Saturday night after a back operation last week, remained seated for the prayers and wore a surgical mask over his face.
Among the mourners who went forward to greet King Abdullah after the prayer recital was Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
King Abdullah, who is in day-to-day charge of Saudi Arabia despite his old age and back trouble, must also name a new defense minister -- a post held by Sultan.
One possible candidate is Prince Khaled bin Sultan, a son of the late crown prince who headed Saudi forces during the 1991 Gulf War and has been a deputy defense minister for 10 years.
The job could also go to Riyadh governor Prince Salman, seen as the next most senior royal after the king and Prince Nayef.
Given Sultan's long illness, Prince Nayef, born in 1933, has for many years been seen as the likely new crown prince.
"We need young blood," said a Jeddah resident in his 50s. "If they appoint another crown prince from (this generation) we will find ourselves in the same position in a few years because they are all old and we worry that the young ones may later struggle over power."
Nayef's conservative credentials as head of a ministry that has arrested political activists have caused disquiet among liberal Saudis.
He was also quoted soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States as doubting that any of his compatriots had been involved when 15 of the 19 hijackers were in fact Saudis.
But Saudi-watchers said they anticipated few immediate national policy shifts if Nayef becomes crown prince.
"We do not expect any major or sudden changes in Saudi oil or foreign policy simply because the Saudi monarchy appears extremely cognizant of domestic challenges and their dependence on hydrocarbons to meet these challenges," said a research note issued by RBS.
During the long illness of Sultan and absences of the king, Nayef stood in for his elder brothers, meeting world leaders and managing the kingdom's day-to-day affairs.
"I don't think there will be a substantial change of direction," said Hossein Shobokshi, a Saudi columnist. "The country has always opted for the non-surprising method. So we don't see any big decisions in policy."
(Editing by Ralph Gowling)
Prince Nayef named crown prince
Updated at: 0658 PST, Friday, October 28, 2011
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's powerful interior minister, 78-year-old Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, was named the new heir to the throne in a royal decree read out on state television Thursday.
Nayef -- who has been interior minister for nearly four decades and led a crackdown on Al-Qaeda in the kingdom -- succeeds prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, who died last week in New York and was buried Tuesday in Riyadh.
The decree called on King Abdullah's inner circle to recognise Nayef's new status.
The prince was also appointed deputy prime minister, but there was no mention of who would take over the post of defence minister, left vacant by the death of Sultan.
Nayef was widely seen as the most likely candidate for the appointment even before the decree was announced.
Seen as more conservative than the 87-year-old king, he likes to describe himself as a soldier under the command of the Saudi monarch.
Observers are now waiting to see who eventually gets the defence portfolio, and in particular to see if it will go to a younger member of the royal family.
For the moment, the key ministerial posts are occupied by the sons of the kingdom's founder King Abdul Aziz, all of whom are in their 70s or 80s and some of whom have health problems.
King Abdullah himself only left hospital in Riyadh on Saturday after a back operation and appeared tired and frail at Tuesday's funeral.
In November 2010 he underwent surgery for a debilitating herniated disc complicated by a blood clot that put pressure on his spine, and he underwent further surgery in December.
Prince Nayef had tried in vain to persuade the king not to attend the funeral because of his concern for his health, the official Spa news agency reported. (AFP)
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Unlike good wines, aged ‘revolutions’ get devalued
Source: Reuters // Reuters
* Gaddafi captured alive
* Former strongman said hiding in drainage pipe
* NTC said no order given to kill him (Adds comment from Gaddafi bodyguard)
By Tim Gaynor and Taha Zargoun
SIRTE, Libya, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Disturbing images of a blood-stained and shaken Muammar Gaddafi being dragged around by angry fighters quickly circulated around the world after the Libyan dictator's dramatic death near his home town of Sirte.
The exact circumstances of his demise are still unclear with conflicting accounts of his death. But the footage of the last chaotic moments of Gaddafi's life offered some clues into what happened.
Gaddafi was still alive when he was captured near Sirte. In the video, filmed by a bystander in the crowd and later aired on television, Gaddafi is shown dazed and wounded being dragged off a vehicle's bonnet and pulled to the ground by his hair.
"Keep him alive, keep him alive!" someone shouts. Gaddafi then goes out of view and gunshots ring out.
"They captured him alive and while he was being taken away, they beat him and then they killed him," one senior source in the NTC told Reuters. "He might have been resisting."
In what appeared to contradict the events depicted in the video, Libya's ruling National Transitional Council said Gaddafi was killed when a gunfight broke out after his capture between his supporters and government fighters. He died from a bullet wound to the head, the prime minister said.
The NTC said no order had been given to kill him.
Gaddafi called the rebels who rose up against his 42 years of one-man rule "rats", but in the end it appeared that it was he who was captured cowering in a drainage pipe full of rubbish and filth.
"He called us rats, but look where we found him," said Ahmed Al Sahati, a 27-year-old government fighter, standing next to two stinking drainage pipes under a six-lane highway near Sirte.
On the ground, government fighters described scenes of carnage as they told stories of Gaddafi's final hours.
Shortly before dawn prayers, Gaddafi, surrounded by a few dozen loyal bodyguards and accompanied by the head of his now non-existent army Abu Bakr Younis Jabr, broke out of the two-month siege of Sirte and made a break for the west.
They did not get far.
France said its aircraft struck military vehicles belonging to Gaddafi forces near Sirte at about 8:30 a.m. (0630 GMT), but said it was unsure whether the strikes had killed Gaddafi. A NATO official said the convoy was hit either by a French plane or a U.S. Predator drone.
Two miles (3 km) west of Sirte, 15 pick-up trucks mounted with machine guns lay burnt out, smashed and smouldering next to an electricity substation 20 metres from the main road.
They had clearly been hit by a force far beyond anything the motley army the former rebels has assembled during eight months of revolt to overthrow the once feared leader.
There was no bomb crater, indicating the strike may have been carried out by a jet fighter.
Inside the trucks still in their seats sat the charred skeletal remains of drivers and passengers killed instantly by the strike. Other bodies lay mutilated and contorted strewn across the grass. Some 50 bodies in all.
Mansour Daou, leader of Gaddafi's personal bodyguards, was with the former strongman shortly before his end. He told al Arabiya television that after the air strike the survivors had "split into groups and each group went its own way".
"I was with Gaddafi and Abu Bakr Younis Jabr and about four volunteer soldiers." Daou said he had not witnessed his leader's death because he had fallen unconscious after being wounded in the back by a shell explosion.
"MY MASTER IS HERE"
Fighters on the ground said Gaddafi and a handful of his men appeared to have run through a stand of trees and taken refuge in the two drainage pipes.
"At first we fired at them with anti-aircraft guns, but it was no use," said Salem Bakeer, while being feted by his comrades near the road. "Then we went in on foot.
"One of Gaddafi's men came out waving his rifle in the air and shouting surrender, but as soon as he saw my face he started shooting at me," he told Reuters.
"Then I think Gaddafi must have told them to stop. 'My master is here, my master is here', he said, 'Muammar Gaddafi is here and he is wounded'," said Bakeer.
"We went in and brought Gaddafi out. He was saying 'what's wrong? What's wrong? What's going on?'. Then we took him and put him in the car," Bakeer said.
At the time of his capture, Gaddafi was already wounded with gunshots to his leg and to his back, Bakeer said.
Other government fighters who said they took part in Gaddafi's capture, separately confirmed Bakeer's version of events, though one said the man who ruled Libya for 42 years was shot and wounded at the last minute by one of his own men.
"One of Muammar Gaddafi's guards shot him in the chest," said Omran Jouma Shawan.
There were also other versions of events. NTC official Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters Gaddafi had been finally cornered in a compound in Sirte after hours of fighting, and wounded in a gun battle with NTC forces.
He said Gaddafi kept repeating "What is the matter? What's going on? What do you want?" and resisted as NTC fighters seized him. He added that Gaddafi died of his wounds as he was being transported in an ambulance.
"He was bleeding from his stomach. It took a long time to transport him. He bled to death (in the ambulance)," he said.
Another NTC official, speaking to Reuters anonymously, gave a violent account of Gaddafi's death: "They (NTC fighters) beat him very harshly and then they killed him. This is a war."
Some video footage showed what appeared to be Gaddafi's lifeless body being loaded into an ambulance in Sirte.
One of the fighters who said he took part in the capture brandished a heavily engraved golden pistol he said he had taken from Gaddafi.
Fallen electricity cables partially covered the entrance to the pipes and the bodies of three men, apparently Gaddafi bodyguards lay at the entrance to one end, one in shorts probably due to a bandaged wound on his leg.
Four more bodies lay at the other end of the pipes. All black men, one had his brains blown out, another man had been decapitated, his dreadlocked head lying beside his torso.
Army chief Jabr was also captured alive, Bakeer said. NTC officials later announced he was dead.
Joyous government fighters fired their weapons in the air, shouted "Allahu Akbar" and posed for pictures. Others wrote graffiti on the concrete parapets of the highway. One said simply: "Gaddafi was captured here." (Additional reporting by Rania El Gamal in Sirte and Samia Nakhoul in Amman; Writing by Jon Hemming; Editing by Maria Golovnina and Matthew Jones)
Gaddafi killed in hometown, Libya eyes future
21 Oct 2011 02:05
Source: Reuters // Reuters
Anti-Gaddafi fighters show the media what they claim was the golden pistol of Muammar Gaddafi, near Sirte October 20, 2011. REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani
* Gaddafi due to be buried in undisclosed location
* Formal "liberation" expected to be declared Saturday
* New leaders, Western backers hail dawn of new Libya
* Challenge now to impose order on array of armed groups (Adds comment by Gaddafi bodyguard)
By Rania El Gamal and Tim Gaynor
SIRTE, Libya, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi was killed after being captured by the Libyan fighters he once scorned as "rats", cornered and shot in the head after they overran his last bastion of resistance in his hometown of Sirte.
His bloodied, half naked body with trademark long curls hanging limp around a rarely seen bald spot, was delivered, a prize of war, to Misrata, the city west of Sirte whose siege and months of suffering at the hands of Gaddafi's artillery and snipers made it a symbol of the rebel cause.
A quick and secret burial was due later on Friday.
"It's time to start a new Libya, a united Libya," Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril declared. "One people, one future."
A formal announcement of Libya's liberation, which will set the clock ticking on a timeline to elections, would be made on Saturday, Libyan officials said.
Two months after Western-backed rebels ended 42 years of eccentric one-man rule by capturing the capital Tripoli, his death ended a nervous hiatus for the new interim government.
U.S. President Barack Obama, in a veiled dig at the Syrian and other leaders resisting the democrats of the Arab Spring, declared "the rule of an iron fist inevitably comes to an end".
But Gaddafi's death is a setback to campaigners seeking the full truth about the 1988 bombing over Lockerbie in Scotland of Pan Am flight 103 which claimed 270 lives, mainly Americans, and for which one of Gaddafi's agents was convicted.
Jim Swire, the father of one of the Lockerbie victims, said: "There is much still to be resolved and we may now have lost an opportunity for getting nearer the truth."
"That's for Lockerbie," said the front-page headline in The Sun, Britain's best selling daily newspaper.
Confusion over exactly how Gaddafi died was a reminder of the challenge Libyans face to now summon order out of the armed chaos that is the legacy of eight months of grinding conflict.
The killing or capture of senior aides, including possibly two sons, as an armoured convoy braved NATO air strikes in a desperate bid to break out of Sirte, may ease fears of diehards regrouping elsewhere - though cellphone video, apparently of Gaddafi alive and being beaten, may inflame his sympathisers.
More on Libya
As news of Gaddafi's demise spread, people poured into the streets in jubilation. Joyous fighters fired their weapons in the air, shouting "Allahu Akbar".
Others wrote graffiti on the parapets of the highway outside Sirte. One said simply: "Gaddafi was captured here".
Jibril, reading what he said was a post-mortem report, said Gaddafi was hauled unresisting from a "sewage pipe". He was then shot in the arm and put in a truck which was "caught in crossfire" as it ferried the 69-year-old to hospital.
"He was hit by a bullet in the head," Jibril said, adding it was unclear which side had fired the fatal shot.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who spearheaded a Franco-British move in NATO to back the revolt against Gaddafi hailed a turn of events that few had expected so soon, since there had been little evidence that Gaddafi himself was in Sirte.
But he also alluded to fears that, without the glue of hatred for Gaddafi, the new Libya could descend, like Saddam Hussein's Iraq, into bloody factionalism: "The liberation of Sirte must signal ... the start of a process ... to establish a democratic system in which all groups in the country have their place and where fundamental freedoms are guaranteed," he said.
NATO, keen to portray the victory as that of the Libyans themselves, said it would wind down its military mission.
"KEEP HIM ALIVE"
The circumstances of the death of Gaddafi, who had vowed to go down fighting, remained obscure. Jerky video showed a man with Gaddafi's distinctive long, curly hair, bloodied and staggering under blows from armed men, apparently NTC fighters.
The brief footage showed him being hauled by his hair from the hood of a truck. To the shouts of someone saying "Keep him alive", he disappears from view and gunshots ring out.
"While he was being taken away, they beat him and then they killed him," a senior source in the NTC told Reuters before Jibril spoke of crossfire. "He might have been resisting."
The leader of Gaddafi's personal bodyguards said the former strongman had survived an airstrike on his convoy.
"I was with Gaddafi and Abu Bakr Younis Jabr (head of Gaddafi's army) and about four volunteer soldiers," Mansour Daou told al Arabiya television. He said he had not witnessed the final moments of his leader because he had fallen unconscious from a wound.
Officials said Gaddafi's son Mo'tassim, also seen bleeding but alive in a video, had also died. Another son, heir-apparent Saif al-Islam, was variously reported to be surrounded, captured or killed as conflicting accounts of the day's events crackled around networks of NTC fighters rejoicing in Sirte.
In Benghazi, where in February Gaddafi disdainfully said he would hunt down the "rats" who had emulated their Tunisian and Egyptian neighbours by rising up against an unloved autocrat, thousands took to the streets, loosing off weapons and dancing under the old tricolour flag revived by Gaddafi's opponents.
Mansour el Ferjani, 49, a Benghazi bank clerk and father of five posed his 9-year-old son for a photograph holding a Kalashnikov rifle: "Don't think I will give this gun to my son," he said. "Now that the war is over we must give up our weapons and the children must go to school.
Accounts were hazy of Gaddafi's final hours, as befitted a man who retained an aura of mystery in the desert down the decades as he first tormented "colonial" Western powers by sponsoring militant bomb-makers from the IRA to the PLO and then embraced the likes of Tony Blair and Silvio Berlusconi in return for investment in Libya's extensive oil and gas fields.
There was no shortage of fighters willing to claim they saw Gaddafi, who long vowed to die in battle, cringing below ground, like Saddam eight years ago, and pleading for his life.
One description, pieced together from various sources, suggests Gaddafi tried to break out of his final redoubt at dawn in a convoy of vehicles after weeks of dogged resistance.
However, he was stopped by a French air strike and captured, possibly some hours later, after gun battles with NTC fighters who found him hiding in a drainage culvert.
NATO said its warplanes fired on a convoy near Sirte about 8:30 a.m. (0630 GMT), striking two military vehicles in the group, but could not confirm that Gaddafi had been a passenger. France later said its jets had halted the convoy. (Additional reporting by Taha Zargoun in Sirte, Barry Malone, Yasmine Saleh and Jessica Donati in Tripoli, Brian Rohan in Benghazi, Jon Hemming in Tunis, Edmund Blair and Yasmine Saleh in Cairo, Samia Nakhoul in Amman, Christian Lowe in Algiers, Tim Castle, Peter Apps and William Maclean in London, David Brunnstrom in Brussels, Alister Bull, Jeff Mason and Laura MacInnis in Washington and Vicky Buffery in Paris; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Giles Elgood and Matthew Jones)
Gaddafi on display in freezer as row rages over killing
Rami Al-Shaheibi and Kim Gamel
October 22, 2011 - 12:14PM
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Gaddafi's body on show in meat locker
Libyans line up to view Muammar Gaddafi's body as new video surfaces of his final moments.
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World reacts to Gaddafi's death
Muammar Gaddafi's blood-streaked body was on display in a commercial freezer at a shopping centre on Friday as Libyan authorities argued about what to do with his remains and questions deepened over official accounts of the dictator's death.
New video emerged of his violent, chaotic last moments, showing fighters beating him as they drag him away.
Nearly every aspect of Thursday's killing of Gaddafi was mired in confusion, a sign of the difficulties ahead for Libya.
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Last moments of a tyrant: Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi after his capture by NTC fighters. Photo: REUTERS/GlobalPost
Its new rulers are disorganised, its people embittered and divided. But the ruling National Transitional Council said it would declare the country's liberation on Saturday, the starting point for a timetable that calls for a new interim government within a month and elections within eight months.
The top UN rights chief raised concerns Gaddafi may have been shot to death after being captured alive. The fate of his body seemed tied up in squabbles among Libya's factions, as fighters from Misrata - a city brutally besieged by Gaddafi's forces during the civil war - seemed to claim ownership of it, forcing the delay of a planned burial on Friday.
Also muddled was the fate of Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, the only Gaddafi son who stayed in Libya and reportedly survived after his father's August 21 removal.
Men take pictures of Muammar Gaddafi's corpse displayed at a house in Misrata Photo: Reuters
It appeared on Friday he was still at large: some government ministers had said he was wounded and in custody in a hospital in the city of Zlitan, but a military official at the hospital, Hakim al-Kisher, denied he was there.
In Misrata, residents crowded into long lines to get a chance to view the body of Gaddafi, which was laid out on a mattress on the floor of an emptied-out vegetable and onions freezer at a local shopping centre. The body had apparently been stowed in the freezer in an attempt to keep it out of the public eye, but once the location was known, that intention was swept away in the overwhelming desire of residents to see the man they so deeply despised.
Men, women and children filed in to take their picture with the body. The site's guards had even organised separate visiting hours for families and single men.
"We want to see the dog," some chanted.
The body of Gaddafi, 69, was stripped to the waist, his torso and arms streaked with dried blood. Bullet wounds in the chest, abdomen and left side of the head were visible.
The bloody siege of Misrata over the summer instilled a particularly virulent hatred of Gaddafi there - a hatred now mixed with pride because he was captured and killed by fighters from the city.
New video posted on Facebook showed revolutionary fighters dragging a confused-looking Gaddafi up the hill to their vehicles after his capture and less than an hour before he was killed. The young men scream "Moammar, you dog!" as their former leader wipes at blood covering the left side of his head, neck and left shoulder.
Gaddafi gestures to the young men to be patient, and says "What's going on?" as he wipes fresh blood from his temple and glances at his palm. A young fighter later is shown carrying a boot and screaming, "This is Moammar's shoe! This is Moammar's shoe! Victory! Victory!"
In Tripoli, joy over Gaddafi's end spilled into a second day as thousands converged on central Martyrs' Square for Friday prayers and celebrations. Men danced and hoisted the country's new red-green-and-black flag.
"It's the start of a new era that everybody hopes will bring security and freedom," said Tarek Othman, a computer specialist. "I hope democracy is the path we take so all of these Libyans who have sacrificed will really feel free."
He stood with his wife - who wore a cap in the revolution's colours over her all-encompassing black niqab - in the square, which was formerly known as Green Square and was used by Gaddafi to stage rallies against the uprising.
Khaled Almslaty, a clothing vendor, said he wished Gaddafi had not been killed after being captured.
"But I believe he got what he deserved because if we prosecuted him for the smallest of his crimes, he would be punished by death," he said. "Now we hope the NTC will accelerate the formation of a new government and ... won't waste time on irrelevant conflicts and competing for authority and positions."
It is a tall order after nearly 42 years of rule by one man, who often acted according to whims and brooked no dissent. Libya's new leaders have stressed the need for reconciliation, but many factions are eager to have their say after years of repression.
The NTC said interim leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil will formally declare liberation on Saturday in the eastern city of Benghazi, where the revolution began in mid-February. Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril has promised to resign, saying he will not be part of any new government and will instead turn his attention to fighting corruption.
The transitional council has asked the UN "to play a significant role" in helping them write a constitution, hold elections and build democratic institutions, said UN envoy to Libya Ian Martin.
"No one should underestimate in this moment of celebration in Libya how great are the challenges that lie ahead," he said. He also warned of "a major challenge in the future of those of the fighters who don't wish to return to previous civilian occupations".
Authorities have promised to bury Gaddafi in accordance with Islamic traditions calling for quick interment, but Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam said the burial was delayed because officials were debating "what the best place is to bury him".
Gaddafi's family, most of whom are in Algeria or other nearby nations, issued a statement calling for an investigation into how Gaddafi and another of his sons, Muatassim, were killed. In the statement on the pro-Gaddafi, Syria-based TV station Al-Rai, they asked for international pressure on the NTC to hand over the bodies of the two men to their tribe.
Gaddafi was captured alive and there have been contradictory accounts of how and when he received his fatal wounds. Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the images of his last moments were very disturbing.
"More details are needed to ascertain whether he was killed in some form of fighting or was executed after his capture," Colville said.
According to most accounts from fighters on the ground and their commanders, Gaddafi and his loyalists were in a convoy trying to flee when NATO airstrikes hit two of the vehicles. Then revolutionary forces moved in and clashed with the loyalists for several hours.
Gaddafi and his bodyguards fled their cars and took refuge in a nearby drainage tunnel. Fighters pursued and clashed with them before Gaddafi emerged from the tunnel and was grabbed by fighters.
Most accounts agree Gaddafi died from wounds 30 to 40 minutes later as an ambulance took him to Misrata. But accounts differ over how he suffered those wounds.
Most commanders and fighters at the scene with whom The Associated Press has spoken say that when he was captured, Gaddafi already was fatally wounded. In the videos of his capture, however, he has blood on his head, but none on his chest or abdomen. At one point, his shirt is pulled up to his chest, but no wound is visible.
Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam said Gaddafi was wounded after his capture. "It seems like the bullet was a stray and it could have come from the revolutionaries or the loyalists," Shammam said.
Other fighters, commanders and witnesses have not spoken of any such crossfire or further clashes. Siraq al-Hamali, a 21-year-old fighter, told AP that he rode in the vehicle carrying Gaddafi as it left Sirte. He did not mention coming under fire and said Gaddafi died en route of wounds he already had.
Even reports of the coroner's conclusions were confused over which wound was fatal - some said it was the shot to the head, others said it was a shot to the liver.
Muatassim, who had been his father's feared national security adviser, was captured alive separately in Sirte, and how he died also remains unknown.
In a video aired Friday on Al-Rai, the 34-year-old Muatassim, wearing a bloodied undershirt, sits on a mattress in a room with fighters around him. He takes a swig of water and smokes a cigarette as he argues with at least one man who accused him of robbing the country and abusing its sons.
The fighter then orders Muatassim to say "Allahu Akbar" or "God is great" before the video cuts to a segment with Muatassim lying subdued on the mattress with his forearm on his forehead. He also appears to check for an injury on his collar bone.
The last scene is of Muatassim lying dead, apparently in a hospital, with a huge gash in his chest.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/gaddafi-on-display-in-freezer-as-row-rages-over-killing-20111022-1md9x.html#ixzz1bU6a7SJ9
Oct. 22, 2011 1:20 AM ET
TV: Saudi crown prince dies abroad after illness
Saudi TV says heir to throne Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz has died abroad after illness
Oct. 22, 2011 1:09 AM ET
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Oct. 14, 2011 12:09 PM ET
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi TV says the kingdom's heir to the throne Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz has died abroad after an illness. He was 85 years old.
The TV says Sultan died in the early hours Saturday morning. He was the half brother of the Saudi king, the kingdom's deputy prime minister and the minister of defense and aviation.
Sultan has had a string of health issues: He underwent surgery in New York in February 2009 for an undisclosed illness and spent nearly a year abroad recuperating in the United States and at a palace in Agadir, Morocco.
The report did not say where outside the kingdom he died or elaborate on Sultan's illness.
TIMELINE-Gaddafi's 42 years in power
23 Oct 2011 11:10
Source: Reuters // Reuters
Visitors to Newseum in Washington on October 21, 2011, view front pages of newspapers on display showing news of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's death on Thursday. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang
Oct 23 (Reuters) - - Here is a timeline of Muammar Gaddafi's rule as Libya declares an end to its civil war against his 42 years of eccentric one-man rule.
1969 - Gaddafi seizes power on Sept. 1 in a coup against King Idris.
1980 - Demonstrators sack U.S. embassy in Tripoli.
1981 - U.S. fighter planes shoot down two Libyan jets over the Gulf of Sirte, which Libya claims as territorial waters.
April 1984 - Shots fired from Libyan embassy in London kill policewoman Yvonne Fletcher, guarding demonstrators protesting against Gaddafi. Britain cuts diplomatic ties. Gaddafi said "we are sorry" for the killing in Oct. 2009.
Jan 1986 - U.S. President Ronald Reagan orders halt to economic and commercial relations with Libya, freezes Libyan assets in the United States.
-- April - Libya is blamed for bombing a West Berlin disco used by U.S. servicemen, killing three.
-- April - U.S. aircraft bomb Tripoli, Benghazi and Gaddafi's home. Libya says more than 40 people are killed, including Gaddafi's adopted baby daughter.
Dec. 1988 - Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York is blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people.
Sept. 1989 - Bomb explodes on a French UTA airliner over Niger, killing 170 people. In 1999, France convicts six Libyans in absentia, but Tripoli denies responsibility.
Jan 2001 - Judges unanimously find Abdel Basset al-Megrahi guilty of murder and acquit Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima over the Lockerbie bombing. Megrahi given mandatory life sentence.
Sept 2003 - U.N. Security Council votes unanimously to lift sanctions imposed on Libya in 1992 after Libya accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing.
-- Dec - Libya says to abandon weapons of mass destruction programmes and allow in international weapons inspectors.
Jan 2004 - Lawmakers arrive on the first visit by a U.S. congressional delegation to Libya since Gaddafi came to power.
-- March - British Prime Minister Tony Blair meets Gaddafi.
May 2006 - The United States says it will restore full diplomatic ties with Libya.
Aug. 2008 - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi signs a deal in Benghazi under which Italy will pay $5 billion in compensation for its colonial misdeeds.
Sept. 2008 - Condoleezza Rice meets Gaddafi in Tripoli in the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state since 1953.
June 2009 - Gaddafi makes a controversial first visit to former colonial power Italy. The next month Gaddafi and U.S. President Barack Obama shake hands during a G8 summit in Italy.
-- August - Megrahi is set free on compassionate grounds and arrives home to a hero's welcome. The next day, Britain condemns the celebrations in Tripoli.
Feb. 17, 2011 - Activists designate Feb. 17 as a day of rage, a day after first riots in Benghazi.
Feb. 22 - A defiant Gaddafi vows to die "a martyr" in Libya and says he will crush a revolt which has seen eastern regions break free from four decades of his rule.
Feb. 26 - The U.N. Security Council imposes sanctions on Gaddafi and his family, and refers the crackdown on rebels to the International Criminal Court.
March 5 - The rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) in Benghazi declares itself Libya's sole representative.
March 17 - The U.N. Security Council votes to authorise a no-fly zone over Libya and military action to protect civilians against Gaddafi's army.
Sept. 16 - The U.N. Security Council eases sanctions on Libya and the U.N. General Assembly approves a request to accredit interim government envoys as Libya's sole representatives at the U.N., effectively recognising the NTC.
Oct 20 - Gaddafi is captured and killed as NTC fighters take his hometown of Sirte. (Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)
Gadhafi's Heirs: Dead Dictator's Sons Speak Out
By JEFFREY KOFMAN and KEVIN DOLAK | ABC News – 13 hrs ago
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's most prominent son, Saif al-Islam, speaks during …
Women celebrate the liberation of Libya at Martyrs' Square in Tripoli October 23, …
Just one of Moammar Gadhafi's eight children is still unaccounted for following the Libyan dictator's death last week, and although he is currently wanted by the International Criminal Court, Libya's former heir apparent is still trying to reclaim his father's glory.
Saif Al-Islam Gadhafi, the London-educated son who was to succeed his father and carry on the dynasty is possibly still at large. Libya's interim government had said he was captured this weekend, but at the very same time the 39-year-old appeared on Syrian television.
"We continue our resistance. I'm in Libya, alive, free and intend to go to the very end and exact revenge," Saif Al-Islam Gadhafi was heard saying on Syrian TV. "I say go to hell, you rats and NATO behind you. This is our country, we live in it, and we die in it and we are continuing the struggle."
[Related: Gadhafi's wealth is scattered across globe]
The short message was broadcast on Syrian TV station Al-Rai on Sunday and was soon uploaded by several users onto YouTube. It's not clear if the audio-only message was broadcast live or was a recording. The Al-Rai station broadcasts into Libya, and in the past has broadcast messages from Moammar Gadhafi.
As the hunt for Saif intensifies, his brother Saadi Gadhafi, who escaped the country in September as rebel forces began to close in, has publicly lashed out about the death of his father and brother.
Under house arrest in Nigeria, Saadi issued a blistering condemnation of the way his father was treated after capture.
"These barbaric executions and the grotesque abuse of the corpses make it clear that no person affiliated with the former regime will receive a fair trial in Libya," he said through his publicist.
As news and video footage of his death surfaced, the United Nations' High Commission for Human Rights called for an investigation into the events surrounding his death; though video seems to show him in rebel custody, he allegedly died in "crossfire."
Libya's acting Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said that he would not oppose a full investigation under international supervision into his death, according to The Associated Press.
The fate of one of Gadhafi's other sons, Moutassim Gadhafi, is quite clear however: his body now lies with his father's on display in a meat refrigerator for all of Libya to see.
"This is his destiny because of all the evil he has done," one Libyan spectator said after lining up to see for himself the body of the man who ruled Libya for 42 years and his fifth son.
All of the dictator's eight children lived their lives as lavishly and as ruthlessly as their father.
Three of the Gadhafi children -- Moutassim, Khamis and Said al-Arab -- have been killed in the revolution. Three more, Hannibal, Mohammed and Gadhafi's only daughter Aisha – once called the Claudia Schiffer of North Africa -- are now living in exile in Algeria with Gadhafi's wife Safia.
Across Libya there is little sympathy for anyone in the Gadhafi family. The interim government officially declared the country liberated this weekend, and has promised to bring democracy.
While celebratory gunshots rang out across the capital of Tripoli, it has been one non-stop party as Libya begins its transition to democracy. A new interim government is expected to be declared within a month, with elections for a constitutional assembly expected within eight months.
Gaddafi body handed to NTC loyalists for burial
Fuel tanks blast kills more than 50 in Libya's Sirte
Oil pumped to north Libya from south Repsol field
Timeline: Gaddafi casts deathly pall over liberated Libya
Analysis & Opinion
Libya’s revolution pushes democracy forward
Gaddfi body removed for burial
Mon, Oct 24 2011
Sirte residents return home
Fireworks mark Tripoli celebrations
Fuel depot blaze in Sirte, cause unknown
Gaddafi: The money trail
By Barry Malone
TRIPOLI | Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:39am EDT
(Reuters) - Two loyalists of Libya's interim government were handed Muammar Gaddafi's body to bury secretly deep in the Sahara desert on Tuesday after a cleric prayed over his decomposing corpse, a Libyan official said.
With their Western allies uneasy that Gaddafi was roughed up and shot after his capture on Thursday, NTC forces had put his body on show in a cold store while they argued over what to do with it until its decay forced them to shut the doors on Monday.
"The process leading to his burial is taking place now," NTC official Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters by telephone. "Only two trusted people were assigned to this secret mission. These are not guards, but very trusted NTC people."
Other NTC officials said Gaddafi had already been buried, but Mlegta said the reports were premature. "Trust me, it takes time, and the burial will take place far from the media."
Final Muslim prayers were said over the bodies of the former leader and his son Mo'tassim by Gaddafi's personal cleric Khaled Tantoush, who was arrested with him, before they were removed from the Misrata compound where they had been on display.
The rites were also attended by two of Gaddafi's cousins, Mansour Dhao Ibrahim, once leader of the feared People's Guard, and Ahmed Ibrahim, who were both captured with Gaddafi after their convoy was attacked in a NATO air strike near Sirte, Gaddafi's home town, just after it had fallen.
"The NTC officials were handed the body after the sheikh completed the early morning ceremony and are taking him somewhere very far away into the desert," Mlegta said.
The killing of the 69-year-old in Sirte ended eight months of war, finally ending a nervous two-month hiatus since the NTC's motley forces overran the capital Tripoli.
But it also threatened to lay bare the regional and tribal rivalries that present the NTC with its biggest challenge.
NTC officials had said negotiations were going on with Gaddafi's tribal kinsmen from Sirte and within the interim leadership over where and how to dispose of the bodies, and on what the Misrata leaders in possession of the corpses might receive in return for cooperation.
"No agreement was reached for his tribe to take him," another NTC official told Reuters.
With the decay of the body forcing the NTC leadership's hand, it appeared to have decided that an anonymous grave would at least ensure the plot did not become a shrine.
An NTC official told Reuters several days ago that there would be only four witnesses to the burial, and all would swear on the Koran never to reveal the location.
NTC fears that Gaddafi's sons might mount an insurgency have been largely allayed by the deaths of two of those who wielded the most power, military commander Khamis and Mo'tassim, the former national security adviser.
Mo'tassim was captured along with his father in Sirte and killed in similarly unclear circumstances. Khamis was killed in fighting earlier in the civil war.
SAIF AL-ISLAM "NEAR BORDER"
An NTC official said Gaddafi's long-time heir-apparent Saif al-Islam was in the remote southern desert and set to flee Libya, with the NTC powerless to stop him.
"He's on the triangle of Niger and Algeria. He's south of Ghat, the Ghat area. He was given a false Libyan passport from the area of Murzuq," the official added.
He said Muammar Gaddafi's former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi who, like Saif al-Islam, is wanted by the International Criminal Court, was involved in the matter.
"The region is very, very difficult to monitor and encircle," the official said. "The region is a desert region and it has ... many, many exit routes."
The death of the fallen strongman allowed the NTC to touch off mass rejoicing by declaring Libya's long-awaited "liberation" on Sunday in Benghazi, the seat of the revolt.
But it also highlighted a lack of central control over disparate armed groups, and the jockeying for power among local commanders as negotiations begin in earnest to form an interim government that can run free elections.
"Leaders from different regions, cities, want to negotiate over everything -- posts in government, budgets for cities, dissolving militias," said one senior NTC official in Tripoli, though he defended this as a healthy expression of freedom.
"Is that not democracy?" he asked. "It would be unusual if they did not (negotiate) after Muammar favored only a few places for 40 years. There is no reason why it cannot be peaceful."
Until the public was finally denied access to Gaddafi's body on Monday, fighters were still ushering sightseers into the chilled room where the bodies of Gaddafi, his son Mo'tassim and his former army chief lay, their flesh darkening and leaking fluids.
The killings near Sirte, after mobile phone video footage was taken showing the captive Gaddafi being beaten and mocked by fighters apparently from Misrata, are also a matter of controversy -- at least outside Libya. The United Nations human rights arm has joined the Gaddafi family in seeking an inquiry.
NTC chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil told a news conference on Monday that the NTC had formed a committee to investigate.
He also indicated that the interim authorities still held to an official line that Gaddafi may have been killed in "crossfire" with his own men, a view many NTC officials themselves seem ready to discount.
"Those who have an interest in killing him before prosecuting him are those who had an active role with him," said Abdel Jalil, who like many of the new leadership held positions of authority under Gaddafi.
Adding to concerns about Libya turning over a new leaf on respect for individuals, New York-based Human Rights Watch called on the NTC to probe an "apparent mass execution" of 53 people, apparently Gaddafi supporters, whom it found dead, some with their hands bound, at a hotel in Sirte.
Few Libyans seem troubled either about how Gaddafi and his entourage were killed or why their corpses were displayed for so long in what seemed a grim parody of the lying-in-state often reserved for national leaders.
"God made the pharaoh as an example to the others," said Salem Shaka, who was viewing the bodies in Misrata on Monday.
"If he had been a good man, we would have buried him. But he chose this destiny for himself."
(Reporting by Taha Zargoun in Sirte, Barry Malone and Jessica Donati in Tripoli, Rania El Gamal and Tim Gaynor in Misrata, Christian Lowe, Jon Hemming and Andrew Hammond in Tunis, Hamid Ould Ahmed in Algiers, Samia Nakhoul in Dubai and Matt Falloon in London; Editing by Alistair Lyon; Alastair Macdonald and Kevin Liffey; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
We must admit, he was Better than Zardari..!
What you say about this person???
here are some fact in the ruling time of Gaddafi
Libya and Libyan "dictator" Muammar Gaddafi:
1. There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is free
for all its citizens.
2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are
state-owned and loans given
to all its citizens at 0% interest by law.
3. Home considered a human right in Libya –
Gaddafi vowed that his parents
would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a
home. Gaddafi’s father has
died while him, his wife and his mother are still living
in a tent.
4. All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 Dinar (US$
50,000 ) by the government
to buy their first apartment so to help start up the
5. Education and medical treatments are free in
Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25%
of Libyans are literate. Today the figure is 83%.
6. Should Libyans want to take up farming career,
they would receive farming
land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and
livestock to kick- start their farms
– all for free.
7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical
facilities they need in Libya,
the government funds them to go abroad for it –
not only free but they get US
$2, 300/mth accommodation and car allowance.
8. In Libyan, if a Libyan buys a car, the government
subsidized 50% of the price.
9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0. 14 per liter.
10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves
amount to $150 billion – now
11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after
graduation the state would
pay the average salary of the profession as if he or
she is employed until
employment is found.
12. A portion of Libyan oil sale is, credited directly to
the bank accounts of all
13. A mother who gave birth to a child receive US
14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $ 0.15
15. 25% of Libyans have a university degree
16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation
project, known as the Great
Man-Made River project, to make water readily
available throughout the desert
Libya's Saif al-Islam bids to escape father's fate
29 Oct 2011 03:10
Source: Reuters // Reuters
(Adds ICC prosecutor comments)
* ICC prosecutor in touch with Gaddafi son
* Saif al-Islam may consider surrender safest option
* Possible refuge in Sahara
By Aaron Gray-Block
THE HAGUE, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is expected to try to surrender to the International Criminal Court or seek refuge in a friendly African country as he races to escape his father's fate.
The Hague-based ICC said on Friday the 39-year-old had been in touch. It urged him to turn himself in, warning it could order a mid-air interception if he and his mercenary guards tried to flee by plane from his desert hideout for a safe haven.
The ICC's comments offered some corroboration of reports from Tripoli's new National Transitional Council (NTC) leaders and African neighbours that he has taken refuge with Tuareg nomads in the borderlands between Libya and Niger.
"Through intermediaries, we have informal contact with Saif," ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said in a statement.
"We have learnt through informal channels that there is a group of mercenaries who are offering to move Saif to an African (state) not party to ... the ICC. The Office of the Prosecutor is also exploring the possibility to intercept any plane within the air space of a state party in order to make an arrest."
In Beijing on Saturday, Moreno-Ocampo said Saif al-Islam was saying he would prove he was innocent of alleged crimes against humanity.
NTC officials told Reuters earlier this week that monitoring of satellite calls and other intelligence indicated Saif al-Islam was considering turning himself in to the ICC, and trying to arrange an aircraft to get him there and out of reach of NTC fighters, in whose hands Muammar Gaddafi was killed a week ago.
However, surrender is only one option. The Gaddafis made friends with desert tribes in Niger, Mali and other poor former French colonies in West Africa, as well as farther afield in countries like Zimbabwe and Sudan, some of them also recipients of largesse during the 42-year rule of Muammar Gaddafi, a self-styled African "king of kings".
France, a key backer of February's revolt, reminded Africans of obligations to hand over the surviving ICC indictees - former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi and Saif al-Islam.
"We don't care whether he goes on foot, by plane, by boat, by car or on a camel, the only thing that matters is that he belongs in the ICC," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero. "We don't have many details, but the sooner the better."
Niger, Mali, Chad and Burkina Faso, a swathe of arid states to the south of Libya, are all signatories to the treaty that set up the ICC, established to give a permanent international tribunal for crimes against humanity after ad hoc bodies set up for Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone.
"If we reach agreement, logistical measures for his transfer will be taken," ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah said. "There are different scenarios, depending on what country he is in."
Without its own police force, the ICC depends on cooperation from member states, which do not include world powers the United States, Russia and China.
Algeria, which took in Saif al-Islam's mother, sister, brother Hannibal and half-brother Mohammed, is not a signatory. Nor are Sudan or Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe.
As well as enjoying protection from Tuareg allies who traditionally provided close security for the Gaddafis, Saif al-Islam may still be in the company of mercenaries from elsewhere in Africa, including possibly South Africa, NTC officials say.
A South African newspaper, in an unconfirmed report, said South African mercenaries were working to fly him out.
A bodyguard who saw Saif al-Islam as he fled last week from one of the Gaddafi clan's last bastions near the capital told Reuters that he seemed "nervous" and "confused". He escaped even though his motorcade was hit by a NATO air strike as it left Bani Walid on Oct. 19, the day before his father died in Sirte.
Three of Saif al-Islam's brothers were killed in the war. Another, Saadi, has found refuge in Niger.
The arrest or surrender of Saif al-Islam would bring a new prominence for the nine-year-old ICC, whose highest profile suspect to date is Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who remains defiantly in office, defended by many fellow Africans.
Following the killing of Muammar Gaddafi, most probably at the hands of fighters who filmed themselves battering and abusing him, Western allies of Libya's new leaders urged them to impose respect for human rights.
NTC leaders would like to run their own trials, but acknowledge that their writ barely runs in the deep south.
Their NATO allies, now winding up a mission that backed the revolt, have expressed little enthusiasm for hunting a few individuals across a vast tract of empty continent -- though French troops based in West Africa might be best placed to step in with transport if Saif al-Islam did choose to surrender.
The ICC's Moreno-Ocampo said in his statement: "If he surrenders to the ICC, he has the right to be heard in court, he is innocent until proven guilty. The judges will decide.
"If the judges decide that Saif is innocent, or has served his sentence, he can request the judges to send him to a different country as long as that country accepts him."
Saif al-Islam was once seen as a liberal reformer, architect of a rapprochement with Western states on whom his father waged proxy guerrilla wars for decades. But he responded with belligerent rhetoric after the revolt erupted in Libya.
The ICC accuses him of hiring mercenaries to carry out a plan, worked out with his father and Senussi, to kill unarmed protesters inspired by "Arab Spring" uprisings elsewhere.
Niger's government in the capital Niamey has vowed to meet its ICC commitments. But 750 km (400 miles) north in a region where cross-border allegiances among Tuareg nomads often outweigh national ties, the picture looks different.
For now, some of the tens of thousands of people who eke out a living in the deepest Sahara, an expanse roamed by smugglers and nomadic herders, say there would be a welcome for the younger Gaddafi.
"We are ready to hide him wherever needed," said Mouddour Barka, a resident of Agadez in northern Niger. "We are telling the international community to stay out of this business and our own authorities not to hand him over -- otherwise we are ready to go out on to the streets and they will have us to deal with."
Mohamed Anako, president of Agadez region, the size of France, said: "I am ready to welcome him in. For me his case is quite simply a humanitarian one.
"Libya and Niger are brother countries and cousins ... so we will welcome him in." (Additional reporting by Sara Webb and Aaron Gray-Block in Amsterdam, Samia Nakhoul in London, Mark John in Dakar, Ibrahim Diallo in Agadez and Barry Malone in Tripoli; Editing by Myra MacDonald and Ralph Gowling)
Saif Gaddafi 'hires South African mercenaries to spirit him away to friendly nation'
Colonel Gaddafi's eldest son reportedly hiding with Tuareg desert nomads close to the Niger border
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Last updated at 5:43 PM on 29th October 2011
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Colonel Gaddafi's eldest son Saif has hired a group of South African mercenaries to smuggle him out of Libya and into a friendly African country, according to information received by the International Criminal Court.
The Court, based in the Hague, said Saif, 39, whose current whereabouts are the source of much speculation, had been in contact with them through intermediaries to discuss the possibility of surrendering for trial.
Saif escaped even though his motorcade was hit by a Nato air strike as it left Bani Walid on Oct. 19, the day before his father died in Sirte.
Praying for salvation: Saif Gaddafi has allegedly hired a team of South African mercenaries to smuggle him to safety
Three of his brothers were killed in the war.
Sources this week reported he had taken refuge with Tuareg nomads, who his family had helped financially in the past, in the borderlands between Libya and Niger.
Elite commandos storm lawless Somali war zone to snatch tribal leader
The Gaddafis befriended desert tribes in Niger, Mali and other poor former French colonies in West Africa. Other African countries received Libyan largesse during the 42-year rule of Gaddafi, a self-styled African 'king of kings'.
U.S. military and government representatives held security talks in neighbouring Niger with local officials in Agadez, which has been a way station for other Libyan fugitives, including another son of Muammar Gaddafi, Saadi.
Justice: The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is keen to bring Colonel Gaddafi's eldest son to the Netherlands for trial
A U.S. military plane has been spotted at Agadez airport.
A top regional official declined to say what the talks with the Americans were about, but spoke of escape plans by Saif al-Islam and former Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, both wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity.
'Senussi is being extricated from Mali toward a country that is a non-signatory to the (ICC) convention. I am certain that they will both (Senussi and Saif al-Islam) be extricated by plane, one from Mali the other from Niger,' said the official, who asked not to be named.
He said there were at least 10 airstrips in the north of Niger near the Libyan border that could be used to whisk Saif al-Islam out of the country.
However, a member of parliament from northern Mali, Ibrahim Assaleh Ag Mohamed, denied Senussi or Saif al-Islam were in his country and said they would not be accepted if they tried to enter.
The arrival of the U.S. delegation followed remarks by Mohamed Anako, president of Agadez region, who said he would give Saif al-Islam refuge. 'Libya and Niger are brother countries and cousins ... so we will welcome him in,' he said.
The ICC has warned Saif al-Islam, who is understandably anxious not to be captured by Libyan interim government forces in whose hands his father was brutally killed last week, that it could order a mid-air interception if he tried to flee by plane from his Sahara desert hideout for a safe haven.
ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said: 'There are some people connected with him that are in touch with people connected with us ... it's through intermediaries,'
'We have some information that there is a mercenary group trying to help him to move to a different country, so we are trying to prevent this activity,' said Moreno-Ocampo.
'We are also working with some states to see if we can disrupt this attempt. Some of them are South Africans allegedly.'
On the run: Saif al-Islam gestures to reporters in Tripoli on August 23. The ICC said he was in 'informal contact' with them about the possibility of surrenering to stand trial
Moreno-Ocampo said the ICC was not making any deal with Saif al-Islam but was explaining through the contacts that he had to face trial because he had been indicted for war crimes. 'He says he is innocent,' said the prosecutor.
France, a backer of February's revolt against Gaddafi, reminded African states of their obligations to hand Saif al-Islam over to the international court.
'We don't care whether he goes on foot, by plane, by boat, by car or on a camel, the only thing that matters is that he belongs in the ICC,' said Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero.
Niger, Mali, Chad and Burkina Faso, a swathe of arid states to the south of Libya, are all signatories to the treaty that set up the ICC. Algeria, which took in Saif al-Islam's mother, sister, brother Hannibal and half-brother Mohammed, is not a signatory. Nor is Sudan or Zimbabwe.
Leaders of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) would like to run their own trials, but acknowledge that their writ barely runs in the deep south.
Nato countries, now winding up a mission that backed the revolt, have expressed little enthusiasm for hunting a few individuals across a vast tract of empty continent.
Saif al-Islam was once seen as a liberal reformer, architect of a rapprochement with Western states on whom his father waged proxy guerrilla wars for decades. But he responded with belligerent rhetoric after the revolt erupted in Libya.
The ICC accuses him of hiring mercenaries to carry out a plan, worked out with his father and Senussi, to kill unarmed protesters inspired by 'Arab Spring' uprisings elsewhere.
Niger's government in the capital Niamey has vowed to meet its ICC commitments. But 750 km (400 miles) north in a region where cross-border allegiances among Tuareg nomads often outweigh national ties, the picture looks different.
Some of the tens of thousands of people who eke out a living in the Sahara, roamed by smugglers and nomadic herders, say there would be a welcome for the younger Gaddafi.
'We are ready to hide him wherever needed,' said Mouddour Barka, a resident of Agadez.
'We are telling the international community to stay out of this business and our own authorities not to hand him over - otherwise we are ready to go out on to the streets and they will have us to deal with.'
A U.S. military aircraft flew 25 wounded NTC fighters out of Tripoli on Saturday for medical treatment in the United States. Britain has also taken in wounded fighters.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2055072/Saif-Gaddafi-hires-South-African-mercenaries-spirit-away-friendly-nation.html#ixzz1cEaNb7R7
Libya and Iraq: Mirror Images in the Grip of Big Oil
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New America Media, Commentary, Behrouz Saba, Posted: Oct 25, 2011
The U.N. Security Council’s mandate, which authorized NATO’s military operations to “protect civilians” in Libya, was just as specious as the one that allowed the Bush administration to invade Iraq to destroy stockpiles of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. Just as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were focused on securing Iraq’s oil for their Big Oil cronies, U.S. and NATO forces attacked Libya to take out Muammar Gaddafi, who preferred to sell his oil to Russia and China.
Saddam Hussein went into hiding after Baghdad fell and was subsequently looted. His capture and eventual execution came many months later. In the immediate aftermath of Gaddafi’s fall, amid all of the chaos, the only clear move was made by Tripoli to favor NATO allies as the new customers for Libyan oil.
Today, NATO gloats of “no collateral damage” in its Libyan operations. Yet, an estimated 10,000 mostly civilians it meant to protect are dead, while entire cities lie in ruin.
After nine years of U.S. occupation, Iraq’s economy remains in shambles amid rampant official corruption, with every sign of greater instability when the last of the U.S. troops are gone. Libya will likely remain a near-failed state for the foreseeable future as competing political and tribal forces fight for ascendancy.
Big Oil is in no hurry to see those two countries, or other oil-producing nations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), become stable, prosperous and productive. In fact, the more they remain mired in misery the easier it will be to exact from them better oil concessions. Sudan is spared the “Arab Spring” treatment simply because that country is sufficiently corrupt and dysfunctional to be putty in the Big Oil’s hands.
America currently imports the largest portion of its oil from Canada’s ecologically disastrous shale oil extractions. Massive MENA oil reserves are earmarked for long-term exploitation when this and similar sources reach depletion.
The United States and its European allies have removed such despots as Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddafi, while clamoring for the leaders of Syria and Yemen to step down under the spurious “Arab Spring” banner. Yet they have no fear that MENA nation states, in the wake of dictatorial rules, would become sufficiently strong to control their own oil reserves and to pose a serious threat to America’s regional hegemony.
The Pentagon’s planners know very well that after many decades of abject dictatorship, in lands long beset by tribal, ethnic and sectarian rivalries, the preconditions for strong civil societies are dim at best. The idea of a Marshall Plan for MENA has been toyed with, mainly to deflect from real regional intentions. Yet even a sincere rescue package is bound to fail.
The United States initiated the Marshall Plan in 1947, infusing a war-ravaged Western Europe with more than $12 billion (about $107 billion today). As late as 1964, a German confided in the Polish writer Wiltold Gombrowicz, “We needed America so badly after the debacle . . . and its spirit even more than its military force and dollars. America slid over us like a steamroller, leveling, democratizing, simplifying.”
East Europeans were less receptive of the “velvet revolution”—presumably the model for the “Arab Spring”—which ensued after Mikhail Gorbachev as the last Soviet leader and President Ronald Reagan agreed on a geopolitical blueprint to replace the Soviet Union and its satellite nations. Yet after faltering starts, Europeans who had long suffered under communism, proved sufficiently educated, skilled and foresighted to embrace their emancipation.
MENA, however, largely lacks both German clarity and Eastern Europe’s enlightened receptivity. Tunisia, which held successful elections over the weekend, is small, geopolitically insignificant and holds negligible oil reserves. It may be just lucky enough to support a nascent civil society. Achieving the same will be appreciably more difficult in larger North African countries and harder still in the Middle East.
While autocrats have fallen in the African countries of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, despots in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain have proven more resilient, partly due to a growing sense in the immediate region that years of sanctions, followed by “liberation,” have inflicted far more damage on the lives of Iraqis than Hussein’s years of tyranny ever did.
Bombs a spring do not make, nor will civil societies flourish from the arid soil of hatred, ignorance and poverty.
It is up to the people in the region to realize that they have to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. This is not going to be easy for nations long under the thumb of dictators, torn by internal divisiveness and haunted by the long shadow of colonialism.
Oil rush aids new Libya govt, but challenges ahead
10 Nov 2011 19:34
Source: Reuters // Reuters
By Alastair Macdonald
TRIPOLI, Nov 10 (Reuters) - As Libya's new prime minister tries to build a government this month, he can take heart from a faster-than-expected resumption of oil and gas exports but faces tougher economic challenges, a leading ally said on Thursday.
Oil output by June should be back close to levels seen before the February uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, said Ali Tarhouni, who has run oil and financial affairs in the outgoing interim administration now being replaced by a transitional government under prime minister-designate Abdurrahim El-Keib.
"Things are going very well in the oil sector," Tarhouni told journalists in Tripoli. "We are way ahead of our own expectations, of anybody's expectations."
Though a report on Thursday by the International Energy Agency saw a full restoration of output only in 2013, Tarhouni noted that in any case Libya had no shortage of funds. He saw the near-term challenges as building security and managing expectations among citizens hoping for more state benefits.
"The most important challenge ... is the security issue, the rebuilding of the national army, the Interior Ministry ... and justice system," he said. "Also meeting the high expectations of people about basic things -- services, healthcare, education."
Tarhouni, an economics professor in the United States before he headed home to join the revolt against Gaddafi, also outlined longer-term strategies he would push for. These included diversifying the economy away from oil and gas into financial services, tourism and alternative energies like solar power, as well as reducing state subsidies and promoting private business.
However, Tarhouni, who is running the outgoing government following the departure of wartime prime minister Mahmoud Jibril, said he was still considering whether to be part of Keib's cabinet. Tarhouni had been tipped as a successor to Jibril, but Keib won widespread backing among other leaders.
"KEEP FUNDS FROZEN"
Keib, who on Wednesday said he was anxious for Western governments to unfreeze Gaddafi-era accounts in order for him to pay former rebels demanding salaries, told reporters on Thursday that he needed another "10 days, two weeks" to announce his cabinet -- within what he called a "soft constraint" set by a timetable agreed by the National Transitional Council.
Tarhouni said he saw no difficulty in covering whatever budget was drawn up by the incoming government for next year, given the tens of billions of dollars Libya has in foreign accounts frozen as part of sanctions against Gaddafi.
But he cautioned that Libya should not seek to unblock more than it required for immediate use, since it lacked the means to monitor assets which, under the ousted administration, had been routinely pillaged by a corrupt leadership.
"We don't want this wholesale unblocking or unfreezing of assets," he said. "We cannot control and monitor these assets. These are huge assets. So, what we want to do is to have a targeted type of unblocking based on the identified needs that we have. So that's what we have been talking about.
"I don't think we'll have a problem of accessing funds, based on what we've been told so far."
Many major decisions, including on infrastructure spending and granting new oil concessions, may wait until after elections produce a government with a popular mandate, he said. That would also probably go for any possible currency peg for the dinar.
Tarhouni's influence over future economic policy remains to be seen but he said he would be strongly recommending a move away from an economy in which, he said, he had been surprised to find on his return home how many Libyans received state funds.
Since many of the six million population now seemed to expect their oil-rich government to increase, rather than reduce, the level of subsidies and welfare payments, the new leadership faced a challenge of managing those expectations.
"The private sector should be the engine for the future economic development of Libya," he said.
"The challenges will be to decrease the size of government and to give the private sector more room ... What makes it challenging is that right now the level of expectations of the people are very high -- and that the government will deliver more rather than less ... So it's a challenge. But Gaddafi's dead, so everything else can be managed."
On oil output, Tarhouni put current output now at "about 570,000" barrels per day (bpd), somewhat higher than the IAE estimate of 530,000 bpd.
"My expectation is that we will soon pass about 700,000 (by the end of this year, easily. So I think we're on target to get back closer to the previous levels by June of next year," he said, referring to pre-war production of 1.6 million bpd.
The IAE estimated that by the end of 2012 Libyan output would be around 1.2 million bpd.
Existing contracts with foreign firms would be honoured, he said -- though those found to have been awarded corruptly might be reviewed. But major new concessions were unlikely to be given until the incoming transitional government had given way to an elected administration, scheduled to take place in eight months.
"I don't anticipate that this transitional government will make major decisions," Tarhouni said. "It's a short time, it's eight months. And most of these infrastructure projects most likely will be delayed until you have a constitution and you have an elected government.
"I don't expect, for example, that this transitional government will give concessions, new concessions, for oil." (Editing by Susan Fenton)
19 Nov 2011 12:47
Source: Reuters // Reuters
Nov 19 - Muammar Gaddafi's eight children led lives ranging from security chief and U.N. goodwill ambassador to playboy and professional footballer, often earning reputations for extravagance and violence to rival their father's.
One son, Saif al-Islam, was detained in Libya's southern desert, the interim justice minister and other officials said on Saturday.
Below are details of Gaddafi's children.
Once national security adviser, Mo'tassim was killed on Oct. 20 near Gaddafi's last stronghold of Sirte. Mo'tassim's body was put on display, naked from the waist up, and a doctor who examined it said he had apparently died after his father.
During the uprising against Gaddafi senior, Mo'tassim kept out of the public eye and was not believed to have had a formal role, although there were reports he was involved in efforts to put down the rebellion.
Khamis was reported killed at least three times during the conflict. However, a Syrian-based television station that supported Gaddafi confirmed last month that he had been killed in fighting southeast of Tripoli on Aug. 29.
Khamis was wounded in a 1986 U.S. bombing of Tripoli, but he still became commander of the 32nd Brigade, one of Libya's best equipped units, which played a leading role in Gaddafi's effort to crush the revolt.
Around the time of his death, the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court said Khamis might be put on the wanted list after the brigade he commanded was accused of killing dozens of detainees in Tripoli.
Saif al-Arab was killed in a NATO bombing raid on Tripoli. As a four-year-old, he was wounded in the 1986 air strike on his father's compound ordered by U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
The spoilt son of an indulgent father, he studied in Germany and was reported to have been involved in a scuffle at a Munich nightclub. In U.S. diplomatic cables, Saif al-Arab was said to have spent "much time partying".
Saif al-Islam and several bodyguards, but no other senior figures from the ousted administration, was taken near the town of Obari by fighters based in the western mountain town of Zintan, the interim justice minister and other officials said.
They said the 39-year-old was not wounded.
Once seen as the acceptable face of the Libyan regime, Saif al-Islam, like his father, was wanted by the International Criminal Court at The Hague for crimes against humanity.
English-speaking Saif al-Islam, who studied at the London School of Economics, had been considered a possible heir-apparent. His bellicose rhetoric during the rebellion forced Libyan analysts to rethink views that he was a reformer.
Saadi fled to Niger. Earlier this month, Niger said he would remain in the West African country until a United Nations travel ban on him was lifted, despite Tripoli's request for his return.
Interpol has issued a "red notice" requesting member states arrest Saadi with a view to extradition if they find him on their territory.
Saadi had attempted to negotiate with Libya's National Transitional Council in late August after its fighters swept through Tripoli.
He had a brief career as a professional in Italy's Serie A soccer league between 2003 and 2007, though he had little time on the field. He also had business dealings with Juventus, a club in which one of Libya's sovereign wealth funds owned a stake. He played for the Libyan national team. Libya's former Italian coach, Francesco Scoglio, was quoted as saying he was fired for not picking Saadi to play.
A Libyan prosecutor said the NTC had approved a request for an investigation to be opened into Saadi's role in the murder of a Libyan soccer player in 2005.
Hannibal fled with Gaddafi's wife and daughter, along with another son, Mohammed, to Algeria in August.
An incident involving Hannibal in a Geneva hotel caused a diplomatic row with Switzerland. In 2008 Swiss police arrested Hannibal and his pregnant wife on charges of mistreating two domestic employees. They were soon released and the charges dropped. Within days, Libya withdrew millions of dollars from Swiss bank accounts and halted oil exports to Switzerland.
In Libya, two Swiss expatriates were not allowed to leave the country for two years. Libyan officials said their case had nothing to do with Hannibal's arrest but supporters of the businessmen said they were innocent victims of a Libyan vendetta against Switzerland.
Gaddafi's son from his first marriage, Mohammed was in the family group that fled to Algeria in August. A president of the Libyan Olympic Committee, he was also effectively in charge of the country's telephone network, which was used to eavesdrop on anti-Gaddafi activists and put them in jail.
A lawyer by training, Aisha also fled to Algeria in August. She largely stayed out of politics but appeared at pro-Gaddafi rallies in Libya after the uprising began.
Gaddafi's daughter, in her mid-30s, ran a charitable foundation and in 2004 joined a team of lawyers defending former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. She said in an interview last year with a British newspaper: "I would say that now the future of Libya is very promising, bright and optimistic. It is taking its rightful place in the international community and everyone is seeking good ties with us."
Her glamorous image led some to describe her as the Claudia Schiffer of North Africa. Her role as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations did not survive the onset of the popular uprising in Libya in February.
Algerian sources said she gave birth to a daughter shortly after arriving in the country. (Writing by Christian Lowe, David Stamp and Elizabeth Piper)
Posted Today, 05:11 AM
22 Nov 2011 07:58
Source: Reuters // Reuters
(Repeats story first published Nov 21, text unchanged)
* Army took over from Mubarak to widespread support
* Anger grows at lax secuity, perceived army power grab
* 'Silent majority' backing army may be shrinking
By Edmund Blair and Marwa Awad
CAIRO, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Sameh Attallah was among Egypt's "silent majority" who trusted the army to make way for civilian rule after protesters ousted Hosni Mubarak in February. For nine months, he stayed home when others hit the street demanding swifter reform.
That has changed. Now convinced that the ruling military council wants to cling to power, he joined protests on Friday that led to violence which has cost 33 lives.
"I was among those who did not protest after Mubarak stepped down and the army promised to protect the revolution. But I must say now the army looks to be robbing people of their revolution," the 29-year-old said in Tahrir Square, surrounded by debris and the whiff of teargas after three days of clashes.
For many, trust in the army has evaporated. Security has not been restored and unrest has blossomed, with Egypt's first free parliamentary election for decades due to start on Nov. 28.
Instead of standing above the political fray, the army-picked cabinet has enraged politicians by proposing principles for the new constitution that would shield the army from civilian oversight and give it broad national security powers.
Plenty of Egyptians still give the army the benefit of the doubt. Some even rue Mubarak's fall. Yet the army's support may be eroding, even as it seeks to manage its exit from government while retaining its privileges and political influence.
"It's a fierce struggle for power along ideological, religious and social lines, and the military is trying to play the game to maintain its privileges. It's a struggle for power, resources, turf and authority," said Fawaz Gerges, a Middle East expert at the London School of Economics.
"What has happened in the last few days represents the end of the honeymoon between the military and many Egyptians."
Friday's protest began as a largely Islamist affair, with demonstrators demanding the army scrap the constitutional principles. Youths broadened it to target the ruling military council and its leader Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.
What incensed many ordinary Egyptians was the sight of army-backed police baton-charging protesters in Tahrir Square -- just as the police did during the anti-Mubarak revolt.
'TANTAWI IS MUBARAK'
"Right after Mubarak's ouster, we all felt the military council was supporting and protecting us, but the injuries and deaths we're seeing now, which they are condoning, means they are complicit," said 26-year-old Ahmed Hassan.
"The people want to topple the Field Marshal," is a common protester refrain. Walls are scrawled with "Tantawi is Mubarak."
The army says it was only trying to protect the nearby Interior Ministry, not to clear protesters from Tahrir, and that it will stick to the transition timetable, holding elections on time and returning to barracks once a president is elected.
But calls for a speedier timetable are growing louder. The military agenda suggests a presidential election may not take place till late 2012 or early 2013, leaving the army with sweeping executive powers until then.
Many politicians and many in Tahrir Square want a presidential election by April, immediately after elections to the upper and lower house of parliament are completed.
So far the army has not budged. Instead, it seems to be betting that it can ride out the protests.
"The army will not interfere with the protesters in Tahrir and neither will elections be delayed. This violence and havoc will die out on its own, gradually," said one army officer said, dismissing the impact violence could have on public opinion.
This sanguine approach may rely too heavily on support for the army beyond the hotbeds of Cairo and other cities. Yet, the mood may be shifting in these smaller towns and rural areas, typically places where politically conservative views prevail.
Mohamed Fadl, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party in the agricultural town of Mutubis, said the army had broadly played a "good role, with some reservations" but said he feared it now wanted the kind of influence the Turkish military once enjoyed. "We don't accept that," he said.
One Western diplomat said the military had three core interests to protect: ensuring its leaders would not end up in court like Mubarak, shielding army economic interests that range from arms factories to plants making household goods, and guaranteeing the military's privileges and status.
"Leaving power would be the best means of preserving those interests, but leaving power without the right guarantees would leave those interests exposed. That is their big problem: their interests will always be vulnerable," the diplomat said.
But he said the army needed to quit before anger "pollutes the relationship" with the public more generally.
Despite the unrest, few expect the army will delay next Monday's vote, in part because that would likely inflame the public further, angering the influential Muslim Brotherhood and other parties demanding that the transition proceed.
Political analyst Ammar Aly Hassan said postponing the vote was a "poisoned chalice" for the army council.
Egypt's political dynamics are likely to change after the new parliament is elected. So far, the only place Egyptians have been able to make their voices heard is on the street.
But parliament's powers are limited. It will choose the assembly that draws up the constitution and will have a legislative role, but the army council will still exercise its "presidential powers" to appoint the prime minister and cabinet.
Nevertheless, the assembly will carry a moral weight that the army council might find hard to ignore, if it can muster the unity to speak with one voice.
"We cannot underestimate the fragmentation and the huge division among political factions which allowed the military to do what they did over the last few days and weeks," said Khalil al-Anani, an Egyptian analyst at Britain's Durham University.
Modern Turkey has often been held up as a possible model for Egypt. For decades, the Turkish military intervened in politics, seeing itself as the guardian of the secular constitution. Only in recent years have the army's powers slowly been rolled back.
Egypt's protesters want their army to return to barracks far more swiftly. But the struggle may take time.
"Institutions were almost ruined during the Mubarak regime. Now, various political and social groups are positioning themselves and turmoil will be the name of the game in the next 10 years," said Gerges of the London School of Economics. (Additional reporting by William Maclean in London and Jonathan Wright in Mutubis, Egypt; Editing by Alistair Lyon)