I wish, I wish, I wish it weren’t so but the truth is that things can and seem determined to get considerably worse in the world. What has the past week brought us? More shooting in the North African Region as our infamous no fly zone now includes on the ground troops. Sudan and Syria are both on trending towards even more violence. The Egyptian ‘revolution’ appears to have been hijacked by the military and Bahrain has been slaughtered into submission, or almost. The turmoil is seems to be getting worse…not to mention the disaster in Japan!
It is almost as if the Libyan uprising and no fly zone took all of the steam out of the reporting in the mid east/n. africa (assuming we can call what we have seen reporting from the main stream media). Bahrain was and is a very interesting case to me since the U.S. 5th fleet is stationed there and it just didn’t take long for the Saudi’s to come to their cousin’s rescue…you know those Shiites are some terrible folk…yeah right.
So on the one hand you have the Saudi’s acting in our best interests, keeping the ‘radical Islamic’ elements out of power in Bahrain so the 5th fleet can continue on as before, not missing a beat. On the other hand you have the ‘allies’ coming to the rescue of the people of Libya! That is pretty rich. All of the bruh haha over why we aren’t more engaged is something of a mystery isn’t it.
However, when one looks at the history of ‘colonialism’ in that area you find that the French, British, Italians and Spanish have all been heavily involved in this region for a very long time! So on that point alone it is no wonder the Prez is letting them ‘haul most of the water’!
At the end of the day no matter how you look at this particular issue, the motives were all wrong even though everyone, from the Prez down, continue to try and make this look like a humanitarian mission…far, far from it! This has everything to do with oil and the interests of the developed nations of NATO, less the U.S. our interests are closely tied to the Mid East and less in N Africa.
Tune in tonight as Darren and I share more intel on the regional conflicts.
There are a lot of balls up in the air right now and I have to keep reminding myself what they are. There are so many that the normal person, like me, just can’t remember them all, at least at once. Correct me if I wrong, or feel free to write and add to the list:
1. This week at number one, at least in my mind, Nuclear Emergency in Japan is not looking too much better. Radiation continues to show up in very high concentrations in short periods of time and is becoming chronic, i.e. high doses constantly over time.
2. Perhaps even more significant, at least for all of us here in the good ole U.S.A, radiation has now arrived. Honestly, I can’t tell you how much or where at this point. I do know the government has confessed to WA, CA and CO (where I live) so logically you would assume that every state between CA and CO is probably seeing increased levels of radiation. I am taking more Enerfood, Bladderwrack and/or ThyRobust now. What we don’t know is when or if the really nasty by products such as cesium will show up and even minute amounts are fatal.
The problem with the #2 issue is we don’t really know what the isotopes are that are showing up or in what concentrations. Is it 100,000 times smaller than a 1 day or 1 year dose that we get naturally? Is it 100,000 times or 100 times or what? I don’t know about you but I don’t really get that warm trusting feeling when our illustrious government tells us anything.
3. Libya. Well the Pres had gone and done what the previous President excelled at, going to war without congressional approval! Ron Paul has it right on this one! Right now I feel as if we are headed in a direction that will not prove too fruitful over the long term.
On the one hand we have Quaddafi killing his own citizens and the Arab nations all wanted a ‘no fly’ zone until they realized what that meant exactly (as if they didn’t know to begin with). Yet at the same time we have the Saudis sending in troops and fighting the Bahrain citizens along with the Bahrain forces, with some deaths being recorded yet underreported. I don’t know about you but this seems a bit hypocritical if you ask me. What makes a Libyan citizen ‘worth more’ than a Bahrain citizen? This becomes even more incredible as you look around the world at the various forms of barbarism/ugliness that is happening as I write and I am only going to mention the countries outside of the Mid East: Somalia has had a huge ‘humanitarian crisis’ happening for the past 20 years but with no oil-no outside ‘assistance’, Zimbabwe is another nation suffering from grave ‘humanitarian crisis’ yet little has been done to ‘help’ them out either (I am using the word help very loosely here), Darfur is yet another along with the Sudan that have suffered severe ‘humanitarian crisis’ and all of these are not by any means all inclusive and they all can be compared to the intense slaughter in Rwanda some years back while everyone knew about it yet did nothing….Why is this you might ask? Easy answer: OIL, THEY DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TO SPEAK OF!
Make no mistake about it these undeclared ‘wars’ are for nothing more than ‘protecting’ our American way of life. The question remains what the heck is that? Is it the special interests that require profits and oil to make the machinery run? Is it the average citizen here that requires oil to make the products and autos run that the special interests made and sold to us? How much is all this worth to the average human being in this country and world? Is it worth the risk and lives of our young people who will have to fight these wars?
4. Geo Political imbalances are caused when our country and others engage in actions in the Mid East. Do you really think that China and Russia will let NATO and/or the U.S. and/or Europe (in the collective) get by without any consequences? I believe that is a very naive presumption in the current environment!
5. More weird, very bad, weather is predicted to be coming our way in all areas of the world. Earthquakes, Floods, Hurricanes etc, more of them and worse. So this can inconvenience you, well it can do a lot more than that. There are already crop shortages in several areas and I think that this will only get worse. Some of the bloggers on the net think it will get MUCH, MUCH worst to the point where food will become as precious as gold, even more so as you can’ t eat gold!
6. Then we have the deteriorating economies throughout the world. The news isn’t too great here in the U.S. and can be said to be even worse in the E.U. with Portugal on the brink of financial disaster. With the phrase financial disaster the precursor to financial bailout…further weakening the weakened fabric of the world economy. As the events unfold in the world today we cannot help but see the interconnectivity of all peoples and countries in the world.
The above list is again by no means all inclusive but certainly enough to get your juices going eh? Don’t become a victim of the news cycle…there is always something else to move onto and shift your attention to or from. Stay focused here and please, the cost of minimal preparation is so much less than the potential for great suffering it is a shame not to at least buy some food and water to store-your survival may be at stake.
Folks, no matter how this fight turns out we are in for escalating oil and gas prices and fast! If Qaddafi wins we all lose, the people on the ground in Libya and everyone else as he will hold his oil hostage-for a price, and not always in dollars. If he loses there does not appear to be any cohesive plan for a unified governing body, which again translates into supply issues-how to pay how to collect etc., and higher prices.
Again, the oil dominant way of life we have all become accustomed is fast becoming history.
Tune in tonight on www.survive2thrive.net for some practical ways that we can go about rebuilding our communities, beginning with techniques for constructive conversations…without judgment.
Qaddafi Forces Battle Rebels for Control of Libya’s Oil
By Ola Galal, Mariam Fam and Alaa Shahine – Mar 2, 2011 12:45 PM MT
Libyan forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi counterattacked rebels in the coastal region where much of the country’s crude is refined or shipped abroad, while Qaddafi asserted that he still controlled the oil fields.
Rebels regained control of an oil facility in Brega, on the Gulf of Sidra today, driving away government forces, according to a local oil official. Qaddafi’s warplanes bombarded the area around Ajdabiya, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northeast of Brega, where rebels took over a military camp, a witness said.
Qaddafi, speaking on state television, said his government retains control of oil fields though output has fallen to “the lowest level” after workers fled. He said Chinese and Indian oil companies can fill the gap if Western producers leave. In a speech lasting almost three hours, Qaddafi warned of piracy in the Mediterranean and sabotage of gas pipelines if Libya becomes unstable.
Western powers are debating how to stop the violence as two U.S. Navy warships head toward Libya for possible humanitarian operations. U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke with a rebel commander, General Abdul Fattah Younis, today about the military situation and possible imposition of a no-fly zone, according to a press release from Hague’s office.
Crude Tops $100
Crude oil for April delivery climbed $2.08, or 2.1 percent, to $101.71 a barrel at 12:06 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Yesterday, the contract surged 2.7 percent to $99.63, the highest settlement since September 2008. Prices are up 28 percent from a year ago. As much as 1 million barrels a day of Libyan output has been shut, the International Energy Agency said today. Total SA said output at its Mabruk onshore field in Libya is likely to halt, though output at the offshore al-Jurf field continues.
Saudi Arabia’s main stock index fell 3.9 percent, taking its loss this week to 15 percent, and the Bloomberg GCC200 regional benchmark fell 3.3 percent. Dubai’s index dropped to the lowest in almost seven years.
Fighting over Brega began in the early hours of today. Rebel forces regained control of the town’s oil facility, Ahmed Jerksi, a manager at the chairman’s office of Sirte Oil Co., said by phone from Benghazi. Al Jazeera earlier reported fighting over the town with both sides claiming control. At least five people were killed, and opposition forces were running short of ammunition, the Benghazi-based Yosberides newspaper said. The Washington Post reported at least 14 were killed in and around Brega.
The refinery at Brega has an effective capacity of about 8,400 barrels per day, and the town also has a gas liquefaction plant with an effective capacity of 2.5 million cubic meters a day and an export terminal for crude oil and refined products, according to the Arab Oil and Gas Directory for 2006.
Northeast of Brega, fighter jets bombed an area near Ajdabiya, said Irham Ali, an electrical engineer at a project based 27 kilometers from the town. Ali said he heard the sound of bombing at dawn and again at 11 a.m., coming from the area where rebels have taken control of a military camp.
“We heard the sound of aircraft flying over and then a loud sound of an explosion,” he said by phone today. “We went outside to see what’s going on but there was dust and wind, so we couldn’t really see anything.”
Al Arabiya television reported that 16 people were killed in Ajdabiya.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said yesterday that discussions about a no-fly zone over Libya, to prevent Qaddafi forces from carrying out air strikes against the rebels, are continuing with North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies. He said there is “no unanimity” within NATO about the use of force.
Imposing a no-fly zone would require an attack on Libya “to destroy the air defenses,” Gates told a House appropriations subcommittee today. “That’s the way we would do a no-fly zone.” The effort would require more aircraft than are stationed on a single aircraft carrier, he said.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said military action against Libya is “not appropriate” at this time, as he repeated his call for Qaddafi to step down.
The Arab League said that it could impose a no- fly zone over Libya in cooperation with the African Union if fighting continues in the country, according to a statement issued in Cairo by the group.
Opposition leaders in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, are discussing a possible request for UN-backed air attacks on Qaddafi’s military installations, the New York Times said citing four people with knowledge of the debate.
Qaddafi said “thousands would die” in a NATO or U.S. attack on Libya. He said loyalists have surrounded opposition forces, though they aren’t firing on them, and said rebel leaders may be allowed to escape to Egypt or Tunisia while their young supporters who were “misled” will be pardoned.
Nouri el-Mismari, Qaddafi’s former protocol chief who left the country in November, argued against foreign military intervention, and predicted a drawn-out conflict.
“Bombings would kill lots of innocent people, and foreign troops wouldn’t be accepted,” he said at a press conference in Paris today. Qaddafi will fight to the end because his supporters “still think they will win” and also “have committed lots of crimes that won’t be forgiven,” he said.
The city council running Benghazi has called for mass protests later today to “show that the people have regained their rightful position,” said Fathi Baja, a council member, in a phone interview. A military council of ranking officers who sided with the protesters has been formed in the city to protect Benghazi and other eastern cities from a Qaddafi counterattack, he said by phone today.
In the west of the country, rebels in Zawiyah, 28 miles west of Tripoli, held the city yesterday after an attack by pro- Qaddafi forces who also targeted Misrata, 115 miles east of the capital. Loyalists reclaimed control of Libya’s western border with Tunisia on Feb. 28.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague said today it concluded a preliminary investigation into possible crimes in Libya during the uprising, and will announce the names of suspects tomorrow.
More than 150,000 people have fled Libya to neighboring Egypt and Tunisia since Feb. 19, the UN refugee agency said yesterday. China has evacuated more than 35,000 nationals, Xinhua news agency said. Thousands of foreign workers are stranded in Benghazi and on the Tunisian border, New York-based Human Rights Watch said today, adding that “evacuation efforts have not adequately included the plight of African workers.”
World Food Program Director Josette Sheeran said she saw tens of thousands of Libyans fleeing the country and massing on the border with Tunisia, according to a statement emailed by the agency today that called for “increased humanitarian action to prevent a disaster inside Libya.” The WFP is launching a $38.7 million emergency operation to provide food assistance to 2.7 million people in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, she said.
U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead said the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge and amphibious transport ship USS Ponce are expected to transit the Suez Canal today and arrive in position for humanitarian operations within two days.
Roughead said the ships, which will have Marines aboard, are carrying food, water and other supplies for humanitarian relief. He also said the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in Norfolk, Virginia, is preparing for a scheduled deployment to the Middle East region. “They could go today if they had to,” he said.
The Navy currently has two aircraft carriers in the region, including the USS Enterprise and the USS Carl Vinson.
The Libyan revolt follows the ousting of longtime rulers by protest movements in Tunisia and Egypt in the past two months. Anti-government demonstrations have also erupted in Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Algeria, Morocco, Iran and Iraq.
Governments throughout the region, including the royal family in Saudi Arabia, holder of the world’s biggest oil reserves, have announced increased spending on social programs, such as food and energy subsidies and job creation plans, to assuage the unrest. The protesters are demanding moves toward democracy as well as higher living standards.
Watch as oil, gold and silver prices soar along with most other commodities and inflation takes off. I hope that everyone is prepared for what is certain to come now.
Gas heists will become more common as gasoline prices continue to rise. Coupled with high unemployment and virtually zero public transportation and you have the near perfect storm for thieves to become more common and brazen!
As you can tell I am not convinced that the ‘unrest’ in the Mid East will subside anytime soon. The Saudis are sending tanks to Bahrain so these despotic rulers are not done yet!
Gas thieves drilling holes into tanks of parked vehicles
By Jeff Rivenbark – email
FORT MILL, SC (WBTV) – Police are looking for thieves who are stealing gasoline by drilling holes into gas tanks of parked vehicles.
The York County Sheriff’s Office says there have been five incidents reported in the Baxter Village and Bailiwyck areas of Fort Mill.
The thefts are taking place at night. Some of the victims did not realize that someone had drilled into their gas tanks until the vehicle was at a repair shop.
The incidents have occurred on Camber Woods Drive, Jones Wade Court, Stafford Run Drive, Lower Assembly Drive, and Glenn Allen Way.
Peter Dressel told police between 4 p.m. on Jan. 21 and 10 a.m. on Jan. 22, someone went underneath his gray 2006 Ford F-150 and drilled a hole in the tank. The estimated damage to his truck was about $1,400. The thief stole a half tank of gas valued between $42-$48.
Between Jan. 21 and Jan. 23, someone did the same thing to Ron Pulis’ 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 truck. Pulis said it cost him $950 to repair the truck.
On Feb. 13, Kevin Knape reported that someone punched a hole into the tank of his 2005 Ford F-150.
Kathy Tuttle called police on Feb. 14 and reported that as she was filling up her truck at the gas station, she noticed gas was running out from under the vehicle. She took the truck to a repair shop and they advised that it appeared someone drilled a hole in the tank.
Most of the vehicles targeted have been pickup trucks, but James Walters’ 2010 gray Honda Civic was also targeted.
Walters said someone drilled a small hole in the gas tank of his car between Feb. 18 and Feb. 20. He said it would cost about $1,000 to repair the tank. Walters had the vehicle towed to the dealership to be repaired.
The sheriff’s office says drilling into a tank filled with gasoline is dangerous and could result in a fire or explosion. If you see anyone acting suspicious around vehicle, you should note the description of the person as well as the license tag of the vehicle they are driving.
I don’t know anyone that is storing gas at their homes, too dangerous considering the size of tank required to do any good at all. However, getting food stocks stored up and looking at your community with different eyes, eyes for survival, might be in order.
The political situation in Libya is very complicated as we are beginning to gather from the trickle of information hitting the news. What does it all mean? I again say that the sum total of these complex parts is continued ‘instability’ in the region as the people a. throw out the despot rulers b. begin to try to figure out what is best for them, as a people and c. continue to defend the revolution against the ‘usurpers’ which are inevitable.
These days there are plenty of people that think they can ‘rule’ better. Unfortunately, I believe that this is the wrong conversation…no one needs a ruler, we need ethical human beings that identify with their all of their peoples, community, country, region and world.
I hope and pray that this conversation is the one that gets the most attention in the days, weeks, months and years to come.
Libya’s Tribal Revolt May Mean Last Nail in Coffin for Qaddafi
By Caroline Alexander – Feb 24, 2011 5:01 PM MT
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi spent most of his 41 year-regime trying to sideline the country’s tribes. That may be something he’s now regretting as his power unravels.
Akram al-Qarfalli, a senior member of the Warfalla tribe, on Feb. 20 announced it was withdrawing support from Qaddafi, saying “he is no longer a brother.” The Al-Zawiya tribe threatened to halt the flow of oil if Qaddafi doesn’t stop killing protesters. By Feb. 23 most tribes were united in their opposition, says former interior minister, Abdul Fattah Younis.
“The tribes are powerful, especially outside urban centers,” said Charles Gurdon, a Libya analyst and managing director of the London-based Menas Associates political risk consulting firm, in a phone interview. “The fact the majority of them are now opposed to Qaddafi is probably the last nail in the coffin.”
Tribal loyalties form the bedrock of Libyan society. While Qaddafi says the patchwork of more than 100 tribes makes a slide into civil war inevitable if he’s ousted, academics and opposition members say they have been key in uniting Libyans against the regime and will help shape the country’s political future.
“If this movement continues to gain speed and it overturns the regime, the tribes will try to create a new political system,” said Ronald Bruce St. John, author of “A Historical Dictionary of Libya,” in a telephone interview.
Protests calling for the ouster of Qaddafi, now into a second week, have been met with a brutal crackdown. Almost 300 people have died, according to Human Rights Watch, that has also driven oil prices to a 2 1/2-year high. Libya holds North Africa’s largest oil reserves.
Of the 20 largest tribes with real political influence, the Warfalla is the biggest and originates from the eastern region now under rebel control, said Faraj Najem, author of “Tribe, Islam and State in Libya.” It has about 1 million members, compared with Libya’s population of 6.4 million. The Al-Zawiya tribe stems from the south east. The Tuareg tribes in southern Libya on Feb. 25 joined the call for a free democratic Libya.
Muhammad bin Sayyid Hasan as-Senussi, whose great-uncle King Idris was overthrown by Qaddafi in 1969, urged all tribes to continue to fight the Libyan leader in a Feb. 24 interview with Al Arabiya.
Tribal leaders are likely to support honoring all Libya’s outstanding treaties, says Luca Venturi, a spokesman for the Democratic Libya Information Bureau, a group of regime opponents composed of bankers, lawyers and former diplomats.
“The tribes are a very significant part of the population and stakeholders in the political and economic scenarios,” he said.
Before Libya’s independence from Italy in 1951, the tribes operated as autonomous political, economic, and military entities. They lived mostly in the deserts and oases, with loyalty extending in a hierarchy from immediate family through to a tribal confederation.
Tribes are now no longer confined to specific regions as marriages and city life has changed that. They spill over borders into neighboring Egypt and Tunisia, which has helped those fighting mercenaries hired by Qaddafi, said Najem.
“The tribesmen during World War II did much like what has been happening in the past few days, they were weeding out mercenaries, supplying people with goods and shelter, and providing a very sophisticated network so that people could communicate and relay messages,” he said.
Qaddafi came to power with the backing of his Gadhadhfa tribe, from central Libya. He suspended the constitution and later outlined his political and economic philosophy in the Green Book, which combines socialist and Islamic theories and rejects parliamentary democracy and political parties.
The Libyan leader consolidated his grip with the help of the Warfalla and the Maqariha, originally from the south west. The two tribes later joined members of the Gadhadhfa in taking key positions in Qaddafi’s armed forces, police and intelligence services, according to Najem.
“Originally Qaddafi wanted to create a socialist economy and a new society, not based on the kingdom of Libya,” Gurdon said. “He recognized that tribes could be a threat and so the tribal structure was deliberately weakened.”
He undermined tribal leaders by ignoring them, strangling the flow of money to their regions or through assassinations, Gurdon said. This only changed in the last few years when Qaddafi faced opposition to the idea of his second-eldest son, Saif Al-Islam, taking over, he added.
Qaddafi is now scrambling to cobble together some support among the tribes. The Gadhadhfa tribe still backs him and is “afraid to find out what’s going to happen” if they withdraw support, said Robert Baer, a former case officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, in a phone interview.
On Feb. 20, he met in Tripoli with several tribal elders to listen to their demands, Al Arabiya reported. Members of the Awlad Ali tribe in western Egypt, which traces its roots back to Libya, has accused Qaddafi of trying to recruit members with offers of money, the Doha-based broadcaster said.
Without Qaddafi’s leadership, the tribal country will splinter and “there will be civil war,” his son, Saif, said in a speech the day after the Warfalla withdrew its support.
For now, opposition groups and some analysts reject that assertion, saying they will act as a cohesive rather than anarchic force in any new Libya that emerges.
“It is not going to be like Afghanistan where the tribal leaders are the only structure,” said Venturi. “But they will be key players along with a rising educated, middle class of professionals.”
Again, I hope that there are ethical individuals whose first allegiance is to all the people and that the ‘common good’ for everyone is clear to everyone! I am not saying that there aren’t any of these individuals, I only wonder where they are as they certainly aren’t in the forefront in most countries…but there are several exceptions like Bhutan…
The horror grows as Qaddafi refuses to step down…not since Cambodia have we seen such horrific violence enacted by a leader upon it’s peoples.
As the social revolution continues to spread in the Mid East, I feel it is only a matter of time before Europe and then the U.S. is also affected. There could be many, and probably will be, independent events that will in hindsight be viewed as the tipping point(s).
Food scarcity and/or food price increases beyond the ability of the people to pay, fewer and lower paying jobs, increases in foreclosures and homelessness, declines in housing prices wiping out savings of millions, refusal of banks to lend to small businesses, increase in catastrophic events such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. In sum a huge increase in suffering by a very large segment of the population and the government’s inability to limit said suffering….Big Brother has shown us time and time again that he is either unwilling or incompetent, or both, to ‘take care’ of you in times of crisis.
Are you walking around in a daze, confused about what to do next? That is just what is required of sheep being led to the slaughter, so to speak. It is time that We the People wake up, refuse to believe that the status quo is a. a good thing and b. will continue on…
Folks the facts will led you to some pretty startling revelations. I am sure the peoples of Libya thought things were ok, especially if you were a part of the ruling class…much like here…do you think they had enough? As Gerald Celente puts it, When people have nothing left to lose, they generally lose it and this axiom apparently will work anywhere with any people.
Qaddafi Vows New Crackdown as Violence Spreads
By Alaa Shahine, Ola Galal and Nayla Razzouk – Feb 22, 2011 5:12 PM MT
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi vowed to fight a growing rebellion until his “last drop of blood,” as parts of the capital, Tripoli, resembled a war zone and some of his followers defected to the opposition.
In Tripoli, bodies were left in the streets after an attack on protesters by pro-Qaddafi gunmen, the opposition National Front for the Salvation of Libya said. In the eastern city of Benghazi, where the protests began, the flag of the constitutional monarchy overthrown by Qaddafi in 1969 flew on streets and over several buildings and there were no security forces in evidence except traffic police, witnesses said.
“In my opinion, the regime is over,” former Interior Minister Abdel Fattah Younes, one of those who defected, said on Al-Arabiya television. “Most of the towns and tribes have said they back the revolution.”
The United Nations condemned the violence and U.S. officials were seeking to build international pressure to dissuade Qaddafi from unleashing the full might of his military. While Middle East rulers have tried to put down grassroots uprisings, which have overthrown leaders in Tunisia and Egypt and have spread to Bahrain and Yemen, none used as much force to quell protesters as the Libyan ruler.
“Qaddafi has unequivocally declared his intention to massacre his own people,” said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar. “Time for the international community to intervene. For starters, NATO should enforce a no-fly zone over Libya” to prevent Qaddafi’s aircraft from attacking, he said.
Qaddafi’s crackdown on a week-long uprising has already left more than 200 dead, according to Human Rights Watch, and driven oil prices to a 2 1/2-year high. Persian Gulf shares extended their losses yesterday.
Libya, holder of Africa’s largest oil reserves, is the latest nation to be rocked by protests ignited by last month’s ouster of Tunisia’s president and fanned by the Feb. 11 fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. While violent unrest has also spread to Bahrain, Iran and Yemen, none of those regimes has used as much force to quell protesters as Libya.
In Yemen, the poorest country on the Arabian peninsula, there were clashes in the capital, Sana’a, for a 12th straight day between supporters and opponents of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled for more than 30 years. At least two people were killed and ten others wounded yesterday, the media committee of the protesters said in a statement.
Bahrain’s Peaceful Protest
In Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, opposition groups, mostly Shiite Muslims, yesterday held their largest demonstrations so far, with tens of thousands marching peacefully in the capital, Manama, to call for more democracy and an end to discrimination by the Sunni Muslim royal family. A government spokeswoman yesterday put the death toll from more than a week of protests at seven, after security forces attacked the protesters last week. The island kingdom’s largest opposition group said it is looking for “significant steps” by the government before agreeing to join in a national dialogue.
Qaddafi, in a television address that lasted more than an hour, said continued protests “will lead to civil war.” He called the rebels “rats” and “microbes” who will face death penalties for taking up arms against the state. The “masterminds” of the revolt are abroad, he said, speaking from the ruined house in Tripoli where he was targeted by U.S. bombs in 1986 that killed his adopted daughter.
‘Kill More People’
“The regime is probably willing to kill more people than other Arab regimes to maintain its position,” Charles Cecil, who served as the U.S. Charge d’Affaires in Libya from 2006 to 2007, said in an interview.
In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Obama administration is watching events with “grave concern.” She said the U.S. will take “appropriate steps,” which she did not describe.
The U.S. and other nations are seeking to evacuate their citizens from Libya. The U.K. will re-deploy a Royal Navy frigate to near Libya in case it’s needed to help with evacuations, Foreign Secretary William Hague said.
Libyan diplomats in several cities abandoned the Qaddafi regime in protest, including Libya’s ambassador to the U.S., Ali Aujali, a native of Benghazi. “The regime is killing our people in a very brutal way,” he said on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” program.
It is unclear what degree of control the Libyan leader has over his military. Two Libyan warships arrived yesterday off the coast of Malta after refusing to carry out an order to attack Benghazi, Al Jazeera reported. Earlier, two jet fighters landed in Malta and their pilots said they had been ordered to attack protesters.
Human Rights Watch said 62 people have died in fighting in Tripoli in the past two days, based on reports from two hospitals.
Protesters in the Fashloum district of Tripoli, where fighting was heaviest, are “completely besieged” by government forces, Mohammed Ali Abdallah, deputy secretary-general of the National Front, said by phone from Dubai, citing his contacts in the city. In the Eastern part of the country, he said, defectors from the army who joined the protesters have taken control of the area near Libya’s border with Egypt.
Libya’s former deputy ambassador to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, who quit in protest, said after the Security Council meeting that the regime’s forces were attacking cities in western Libya in what he called “genocide.” He said Qaddafi’s speech was the signal to launch attacks.
Qaddafi said he hasn’t yet ordered the use of force, and giving that order would “burn everything.” It was unclear whether that would include Libyan oil facilities.
The Libya ruler cited actions by other governments, including China’s at Tiananmen Square in 1989, as examples of repression of civil unrest that the world accepted. Qaddafi also said he expects new “popular rule” committees to be formed and said he’s open to a new constitution, without giving details.
A risk for Libya is that an end to Qaddafi’s rule may not be enough to stabilize a country lacking state institutions or a succession mechanism, said Charles Gurdon, an expert on Libya and managing director of Menas Associates, a political risk consultant, in London.
“The transition will be difficult because there are no political parties in Libya, there are only opponents of the regime,” he said.
Without a clear alternative to Qaddafi, said Edward Walker, a scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, the country could easily slip into a civil war.
“There is this split between the West and East, Tripoli and Benghazi, and the Tripoli people have a vested interest in keeping control,” said Walker, a former Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. “I’m not really sure it’s about democracy. It’s about tribes.”
Libyan planes carried out air strikes Feb. 21 that weren’t aimed at civilians and targeted ammunition stores in “remote areas” to prevent rebels seizing the weapons, Qaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, told the official JANA news agency earlier yesterday.
Libya, with a population of about 6.3 million, pumps 1.6 million barrels of oil a day, selling most of it to Europe, according to Bloomberg estimates. That’s about 1.8 percent of world supply. It’s the third-biggest producer in Africa after Nigeria and Angola, while Libyan reserves of 44.3 billion barrels are the continent’s largest according to BP Plc’s Statistical Review of World Energy.
Crude for March delivery gained $7.37 to $93.57 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since Oct. 3, 2008. Futures have risen 17 percent in the past year. The March contract expired at the close of floor trading today. The more-active April contract increased $5.71, or 6.4 percent, to settle at $95.42 a barrel.
Persian Gulf shares extended losses, with Dubai’s main index dropping 2.4 percent to a six-month low, and Qatar’s measure plunging 3.6 percent. Libya’s credit rating was cut one notch by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, which predicted that the violent unrest will persist.
Shares in airlines plunged as oil prices rose, and Italian stocks such oil producer Eni SpA and builder Impregilo SpA, were also hit on concern the violence in Libya may hurt their profits.
To contact the reporters on this story: Alaa Shahine in Dubai at email@example.com; Ola Galal in Cairo at firstname.lastname@example.org; Nayla Razzouk in London at email@example.com
Read this article and weep. Far too many governments will stop at nothing to retain power…where do you think ours lies in the spectrum?