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Regime change via Western bombing : Libya on the brink

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  • #31

    February 20, 2011 -- Deadly clashes erupted between anti-government protesters and Libyan security servicemen in the eastern city of Benghazi on Saturday (February 19th). Security forces reportedly opened fire at a funeral procession for victims of previous riots. While no official death toll has been reported, Human Rights Watch on Sunday claimed that at least 104 had been killed nation-wide since the onset of the Libya protests. "We were demanding the improvement of our living conditions and level of education. We just want freedom and decent life," Libyan resident Yosra Haddar told Magharebia. "I call on Libyan young people to preserve our nation and national solidarity. We won't leave this place until all our demands have been met." Demonstrations in support of Benghazi residents took place on Sunday in Misrata, 200km from Tripoli. Meanwhile, a group of 50 Libyan Muslim clerics launched an appeal to security forces to stop the killing.

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                      • #41
                        Samir Allam :


                        Lundi 21 Février 2011 -- Un massacre à huis clos. Depuis le début des mouvements de révolution dans le monde arabe, la répression menée par le régime de Mouammar Kadhafi apparait comme la plus violente. Elle a déjà fait près de 400 morts selon des ONG internationales comme la FIDH et Human Rights Watch. Pour la seule journée de lundi, 61 personnes ont été tuées à Tripoli, selon la chaîne Al Jazeera. La chaîne satellitaire a annoncé vers 17h qu’une répression farouche est menée actuellement contre une manifestation qui devait réunir un million de personnes à Tripoli. Les forces de sécurité utilisent des balles réelles et des avions ont bombardé les manifestants dans la capitale libyenne, affirme Al Jazeera qui cite des sources concordantes. C’est la première fois depuis le début des manifestations que les émeutes atteignent la capitale libyenne. Des postes de police et des locaux des comités révolutionnaires ont été incendiés, tandis que les sièges d'une télévision et d'une radio publiques ont été saccagés, selon les agences d’informations. Le pays est presque entièrement coupé de l’extérieur : Internet et téléphone ont été mis hors service par les autorités. La réception des chaînes d’information, notamment Al Jazeera, est perturbée. Mais la chaîne a diffusé aujourd’hui en exclusivité des images d’affrontements violents entre manifestants et forces de sécurité libyennes. Curieusement, les pays occidentaux, notamment les Etats-Unis, ne condamnent que très timidement ce massacre. Sur la chaîne Al Jazeera, un opposant libyen a accusé le gouvernement italien d’avoir fourni des armes et des mercenaires au régime libyen.

                        Le pouvoir en difficulté

                        Selon la chaîne Al Jazeera, au moins une grande tribu, forte d’un million de personnes, a décidé de rejoindre la contestation. D’autres tribus du pays ont critiqué la répression des manifestations. Dans une allocution télévisée diffusée dans la nuit de dimanche à lundi, Seïf Al Islam Kadhafi, un des fils du dirigeant libyen, a usé d’un langage surprenant à l’égard des manifestants. «En ce moment, des chars se déplacent dans Benghazi, conduits par des civils ivres», a-t-il dit. Il s’est également montré menaçant à l’égard des Libyens. Selon lui, ces affrontements sont provoqués par des éléments libyens et étrangers visant à détruire l'unité du pays et à instaurer une république islamiste. «Nous allons détruire les éléments de la sédition», a-t-il mis en garde.

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                        • #42

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                          • #43

                            February 21, 2011 -- Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi may be heading to Venezuela, [British] Foreign Secretary William Hague has suggested, citing "information that suggests he is on his way." Leaving talks in Brussels after agreeing an EU statement demanding restraint and an end to violence by the Libyan regime, Mr Hague said he had no firm knowledge but went on: "I have seen some information that suggests he is on his way there at the moment." British officials indicated the Foreign Secretary was not referring to any media speculation but other sources.

                            The Foreign Secretary spoke to reporters after a meeting of EU foreign ministers focused on the revolts sweeping across Libya and other countries in North African and the Middle East. During a day of talks on an EU response to the Libyan crisis, all EU foreign ministers were being kept updated, but only Mr Hague seemed confident enough to volunteer a likely bolthole for the Libyan leader. Several media had also reported rumors that Gaddafi was headed to Venezuela. Chavez and Gaddafi have visited each other and enjoy warm political relations. But a senior source in the Venezuelan government denied the reports. A source told Reuters that the Caracas government "denies such information".

                            Protesters have taken control of several Libyan cities, sacking symbols of Muammar Gaddafi's hardline ruler and forcing pro-regime figures to leave the country. Gunfire crackled on the streets of Tripoli, while protesters set government buildings ablaze, overran police stations and attacked the offices of the state broadcaster. The eastern city of Benghazi fell to demonstrators after military units deserted their posts on Monday, the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights said. Sirte, Tobruk Misrata, Khoms, Tarhounah, Zenten, Al-Zawiya and Zouara, were also reported to have fallen to protesters. More than 400 people have been killed so far, the IFHR said.

                            Two Libyan fighter jets with four military personnel on board landed in Malta, saying they had fled Benghazi after it was taken over by protesters. Two civilian helicopters also landed on the Mediterranean island around the same time, carrying seven people who said they were French nationals working on oil rigs near near the city. In Cairo, Libya's Arab League envoy said he had resigned to "join the revolution." Tripoli's ambassador to Delhi also quit, as did a lower-level diplomat in Beijing who said Gaddafi may have left the country, Al-Jazeera television reported. Libya's justice minister, Mustapha Abdeljalil, resigned in objection to "the excessive use of force" against demonstrators, the Quryna newspaper website reported.

                            William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said that he had information that Colonel Kadhafi had left for Venzuela, though it was unclear if he had fled the country. Kadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam Kadhafi, appeared on television to warn that the north African country faces civil war. "Libya is at a crossroads. If we do not agree today on reforms... rivers of blood will run through Libya," he said in a fiery but rambling televised speech that betrayed a note of desperation within his father's regime. Seif al-Islam Kadhafi, 38, who holds no formal government post but wields vast influence as heir apparent, suggested that Benghazi was out of government control. "At this moment there are tanks being driven by civilians in Benghazi," he said, insisting that the uprising was aimed at installing Islamist rule and that it would be ruthlessly crushed.

                            Government television also carried a broadcast by a prominent religious leader, saying the protests were being instigated by foreign forces. The United States said on Monday that it was analysing Seif al-Islam's speech, and that President Barack Obama was "considering all appropriate actions" on Libya. UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for "the non-use of force and respect for basic freedoms."

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                            • #44

                              February 21, 2011 -- Brent oil prices soared above $105 per barrel on Monday, striking a fresh two-year peak as deadly violence in Libya fuelled concerns over spreading unrest in the Middle East and north Africa region. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April surged to $105.15 per barrel, the highest level since late September 2008, before pulling back slightly to $105.02, up $2.50 from Friday's closing level. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for March, known as West Texas Intermediate, jumped to $90.52. It later stood at $90.35, up by a hefty $4.15 from Friday.

                              Angry Libyan protesters ransacked the state broadcaster and set government buildings ablaze on Monday, as the son of leader Moamer Kadhafi warned the country faces civil war and "rivers of blood". With gunfire crackling in the streets of Tripoli, and Human Rights Watch putting the death toll at 233 since Thursday, Saif al-Islam Kadhafi vaguely promised reforms as he condemned the revolt as a foreign plot. Moamer Kadhafi, 68, the longest-serving leader in the Arab world, remained out of sight.

                              "Brent crude oil hit a new high above $105 a barrel, following news of the strike at a Libyan oil field today, and the fear of oil field disruption looms large," said analyst Rebecca Seabury at UK energy consultancy Inenco. OPEC member Libya is Africa's fourth largest oil producer after Nigeria, Algeria and Angola, boasting production of 1.8 million barrels per day and estimated reserves of 42 billion barrels. Libya exports most of its oil to European countries, including Italy, Germany, Spain and France. "Violence in Libya is the main driver of the price rise," added Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch. "An influential tribal leader has threatened to cease oil shipments to the West within 24 hours if the violence against protesters does not end."

                              The market had breached $104 last week on escalating tensions in the key oil-supplying Middle East and North Africa area, following the ousting of presidents in Egypt and Tunisia. Elsewhere on Monday, Bahrain's Sunni Muslim ruling family came under increased pressure to open in-depth negotiations with the Shi'ite-led opposition as protesters erected more tents on the capital's Pearl Square. Experts warned that oil prices could rocket to record levels beyond $147 per barrel - if the unrest spreads to Saudi Arabia. "The market will be most concerned over the protests spilling into Saudi Arabia. So far we have only seen low key, small scale protests there," added Seabury. "However, as Saudi Arabia is the world's largest oil exporter, if the situation escalates this could take oil prices ... higher than the $147 a barrel we saw in 2008." On Tuesday, the International Energy Forum will meet in Saudi Arabia as the geopolitical tensions and economic recovery drive prices back to levels last seen before the 2008 global financial crisis. The IEF groups the world's top oil producing and consuming nations.

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                              • #45

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