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Regime change via Western bombing : Libya on the brink

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  • May 17, 2011 -- Libyan Oil Minister and National Oil Corporation (NOC) chief Shukri Ghanem defected to Tunisia on Monday (May 16th), AP reported, citing a Tunisian official at the Ras Jedir border crossing who spoke on condition of anonymity. There has been no official confirmation of the report. Libya's National Transitional Council (TNC) Oil Minister Ali Tarhouni, however, said on Tuesday that Ghanem had resigned, Benghazi-based rebel newspaper Brnieq reported.

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            • Zineb Benzita et Samir Allam :


              Mercredi 18 Mai 2011 -- Cheikh Hamad Ben Khalifa Al‑Thani, l'émir du Qatar, est arrivé ce mercredi 18 mai en fin de matinée à Alger pour des entretiens avec le président Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Aucune indication n’a été fournie côté algérien concernant cette visite. «Il est encore trop tôt pour commenter la visite», a indiqué une source diplomatique algérienne en réponse à une question de TSA. Mais selon une source proche des milieux diplomatiques qataris, les entretiens devraient porter sur la situation en Libye et en Syrie. Le Qatar est le seul pays arabe qui reconnaît officiellement le Conseil national de transition (CNT). Il est également l’un de ses principaux soutiens financiers et diplomatiques. Il abrite la chaîne de télévision Libye Libre qu'il finance en partie. Alger et le CNT, après une période marquée par des relations tendues, ont décidé récemment d’enterrer la hache de guerre. L’émir du Qatar devrait tenter de rapprocher les deux parties. Mais pas seulement : Alger est également l’un des rares pays arabes à maintenir un contact avec Mouamar Kadhafi. Il pourrait servir de canal pour transmettre un message au président libyen ou une proposition de sortie de crise, estime notre source. Sur le dossier syrien, les deux pays partagent les mêmes vues. Avant les révoltes arabes, les trois pays étaient réunis au sein de l’axe Alger‑Damas‑Doha, opposé à l’axe Le Caire‑Riyad. Les Algériens maintiennent un contact très fort avec le président syrien Bashar Al‑Assad, contesté par son peuple. Les relations entre Doha et Damas sont un peu moins bonnes, notamment à cause du rôle joué par la chaîne Al Jazeera dans la médiatisation des troubles en Syrie. Mais les deux pays devraient réfléchir à la meilleure manière de venir en aide au président syrien, plus que jamais menacé.

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                            • May 19, 2011:


                              Those members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation who are involved in what is now a war on Libya in all but name are starting to face multiple embarrassments. Militarily, their decision not to send in ground troops requires them to intensify their air attacks far beyond the protection of civilians. For example, the British military are now bombing not only President Muammar Qadhafi's troops and artillery but also buildings and infrastructure, including police stations and government offices. Secondly, the presence on the ground of NATO's so-called special forces has not prevented civilian deaths in aerial bombardment. As the British analyst Simon Jenkins points out in the Guardian, the escalation is reminiscent of the U.S. General Curtis LeMay's vow to bomb Vietnam back into the Stone Age. In political terms, the European wing of NATO is increasingly isolated. Washington is keeping strangely quiet about Libya; the Arab League, whose support was actively sought for the United Nations Security Council Resolution that enabled the original intervention, has disappeared from the picture.

                              NATO may find it extremely difficult to get out of the political and military quagmire into which it has launched itself, but even greater embarrassment lies in the extent of Western financial involvement with Libya over many years. About $32 billion that the Qadhafi regime holds in the U.S. is not in bank accounts but in legitimate business holdings like shares and real estate. Appropriating even $150 million, as mentioned by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, would require legislation, which could take months. Tripoli also has about $20 billion in the United Kingdom, $9 billion in Germany, and $1.7 billion in Austria, again as a result of legitimate business activity. Western institutions such as leading colleges and universities have willingly accepted Libyan money. As for the expropriation of Mr. Qadhafi's own accounts, it will probably contravene international law as long as he is in power; in addition, Russia and China have both stated that they would veto any more anti-Qadhafi resolutions in the Security Council. NATO's major member-states can no longer hide the fact that they have long records of lucrative dealings — including trade in oil, weapons, and other commodities — with a dictator they have demonised for decades. It has now become clear that the western project is regime change and little else — and the intensification of the war against Libya has stretched international law to breaking-point.

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