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Regime change via Western bombing : Libya on the brink

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            • WASHINGTON, March 2, 2011 (Reuters) -- A prolonged disruption in Libyan oil exports could force the United States to compete more for supplies as Europe buys Algerian crude normally sent to the American market, the U.S. energy forecasting agency said on Wednesday. Most of Libya's oil output goes to European countries so they would have to replace oil of a similar quality that can be processed by their refineries. "Unlike Libyan production, more than a third of Algeria's light, sweet crude (a possible substitute from fields relatively close to Libya's) is shipped to U.S. refiners, which sometimes use it as a blending stock to lighten heavier crude grades," the Energy Information Administration said in its weekly review of the oil market. "Should those volumes find a stronger market in Europe, U.S. end-users would have to look for alternate supplies," the agency said. Oil from Nigeria, which is now the fourth biggest foreign oil supplier to U.S. market, could also find new buyers in Europe that would compete with the American market, the EIA said. The agency said the one good thing about the current supply disruption is that it is occurring at a time of year when oil demand is relatively low and crude maintenance in the North Sea and elsewhere is low during the first quarter. "Should it be prolonged, it could conflict with a seasonal ramp up in refinery production ahead of the peak summer driving season," the EIA warned. U.S. oil prices settled at the highest level since August 2008 on Wednesday at more than $102 a barrel after an airstrike near Libya's oil infrastructure.

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              • March 3, 2011 -- The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday (March 4th) is expected to announce a formal investigation into alleged crimes against humanity in Libya. In a statement from The Hague on Wednesday, chief ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said the court would present "an overview of the alleged crimes committed in Libya since Feb 15, 2011" and identify "entities and persons who could be prosecuted". According to The Guardian, the Libya investigation is the first time for the U.S. to openly back the court, and only the second time since Darfur for the UN Security Council to initiate a case. In other news from the Netherlands, the defence ministry said Wednesday that three Dutch marines are being held by the Kadhafi regime. The marines were captured Sunday in Sirte while attempting a helicopter evacuation of several Europeans. Their warship was bound for an anti-piracy operation off Somalia when it dropped anchor off the Libyan coast late last month, BBC reported.

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                          • March 3, 2011 -- Morocco dispatched three planeloads of medical supplies and medical teams to the Tunisian-Libyan border on Wednesday (March 2nd), MAP reported. The shipment includes 20 tonnes of medicine and medical equipment, an ambulance and all the components of a military field hospital. The initiative aims to help local authorities in Ras Jedir handle the flood of refugees from Libya. Morocco plans to send more airplanes to Tunisia in the coming days.

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                            • March 3, 2011 -- The World Food Program (WFP) on Wednesday (March 2nd) launched an emergency food relief programme for Libya. In partnership with the Red Crescent and other humanitarian relief organizations, the WFP will distribute $38.7 million in food assistance to some 2.7 million people in Libya and the border regions of Egypt and Tunisia. "We are planning for a three-month emergency operation that will help shore up Egypt and Tunisian food safety nets and will also purchase food from the region to help ensure that recovery from the disruption can begin immediately," WFP head Josette Sheeran said in a statement. Distribution of high-energy biscuits began Monday at border crossings, the WFP said, adding that shipments of wheat and wheat flour had already been redirected to both Benghazi and the Tunisian border region. "We call for safe humanitarian access, especially to western Libya," the WFP chief said. "Cutting off food supplies must not be used as a weapon."

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                              • Hakim Arous :


                                Jeudi 3 Mars 2011 -- Alors que les rebelles libyens ont essuyé ce jeudi 3 mars une frappe aérienne de l'armée à Brega, un site pétrolier mais aussi un des verrous contrôlant l'accès à Benghazi, fief de l'opposition dans l'est, Mouammar Kadhafi a accepté le principe d'une médiation du président vénézuélien Hugo Chavez. Hugo Chavez avait proposé lundi de créer une mission de paix formée par plusieurs pays amis qui puisse faire office de médiateur entre le dirigeant libyen et les insurgés. Son gouvernement a affirmé ce jeudi 3 mars que le régime de Kadhafi et la Ligue arabe sont intéressés. Le secrétaire général de la Ligue arabe a simplement indiqué que les pays arabes "étudiaient" cette offre.

                                Au-delà du Venezuela, la communauté internationale, soucieuse d'aider l'opposition mais consciente des conséquences néfastes d'une trop grande implication, a une marge de manoeuvre limitée. L'Otan ne prévoit pas d'intervention mais se prépare "à toute éventualité", a affirmé le secrétaire général de l'Alliance atlantique, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Paris et Londres veulent apporter des "propositions audacieuses" au prochain sommet européen sur la Libye. Pour la première fois depuis le début le 15 février de cette révolte contre le colonel Kadhafi, des soldats étrangers, trois Néerlandais, ont été capturés par des hommes loyaux au régime, lors d'une opération d'évacuation dimanche à Syrte, selon les Pays-Bas.

                                À Tripoli, Mouammar Kadhafi a menacé dans un discours qu'il a prononcé hier que "des milliers de Libyens mourront en cas d'intervention de l'Amérique ou de l'Otan", prévenant que la Libye pouvait devenir pour l'Occident "un enfer (...) pire que l'Irak ou l'Afghanistan". Son fils Seif al-Islam a affirmé aujourd'hui que son père obtiendrait 80% des voix si des élections étaient organisées. "La Libye n'est pas la Tunisie ou l'Egypte et je me moque d'Al-Jazira (la télévision satellitaire), de la VIe Flotte (américaine) et de l'Otan", a-t-il déclaré.

                                Selon la Ligue libyenne des droits de l'Homme, la répression a fait 6.000 morts depuis le début des violences il y 17 jours. La situation a atteint un niveau de "crise" à la frontière tuniso-libyenne, selon le Haut commissariat de l'ONU pour les réfugiés. Plus de 80.000 personnes sont arrivées au poste-frontière de Ras Jedir depuis le 20 février, et "plus de 20.000 attendent du côté libyen", selon le chef des pompiers tunisiens sur place. Les organisations humanitaires et la communauté internationale ont engagé une course contre la montre pour évacuer des milliers de personnes vers l'Egypte. Un pont aérien a été mis en place jeudi, et l'Union européenne a annoncé une aide de 30 millions d'euros. L'Organisation internationale pour les migrations a commencé aussi à évacuer les premiers des quelque 5.500 immigrés bloqués dans le port de Benghazi, originaires pour la plupart du Bangladesh, de l'Inde ou du Soudan.

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