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Posts Tagged ‘Libya’

NATO bombs hit hospital in Libya’s Sirte

In World News on October 9, 2011 at 10:24 pm
NATO has carried out a new round of airstrikes against Libya, targeting a hospital in the northern town of Sirte, Press TV reports.

NATO warplanes bombed the medical center in Sirte, located 400 kilometers (250 miles) east of the capital Tripoli, on Thursday. The number of possible casualties remains unknown.

The strike comes as the houses of tribesmen loyal to the fugitive Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi have been looted in the south of the city.

Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday set out conditions for the termination of the NATO campaign in Libya.

Speaking at a meeting of NATO defense chiefs in Brussels, Belgium, Panetta said that a decision to cease the bombing of Libya will depend on whether forces loyal to Gaddafi are still able to attack civilians, and whether the Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) forces are able to provide security for the North African country.

NATO has carried out more than 9,300 airstrikes on Libya since its campaign started in March, according to the Associated Press.

Hundreds of Libyan civilians have lost their lives since NATO took…

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Britain leaps to secure Libya contracts

In Europe News, World News on September 29, 2011 at 7:42 pm

By PressTV

The UK government has dispatched its economic authorities to Libya to be the first to win lucrative deals to rebuild the ruins of NATO aerial campaign.

Britain, as the perpetrator of a Western-led attack on Libya under the guise of protecting the country’s civilian population, is seeking to secure more business contracts with the new Libyan government.

British Trade Minister Stephen Green launched business talks in Libya, claiming UK firms are eager to participate in the rebuilding of the North African country.

Green said that he had several meetings with the Libyan businessmen and members of National Transitional Council (NTC) and talked about future contracts between the two countries.

However, he told reporters in Tripoli that Britain will not take strategic decisions with Libya until the country creates a new constitution and an elected government is chosen by the Libyan people.

Britain formerly sent a team of negotiators to Tripoli to begin talks with the NTC officials and to sign lucrative oil deals.

The news was then confirmed by Senior Whitehall officials, revealing that British Trade and Investment was planning to renew its oil contracts in Libya quickly, amid rising fears that…

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Tony Blair’s six secret visits to Gaddafi

In Europe News, World News on September 26, 2011 at 4:47 pm

By Robert Mendick

Tony Blair’s close relationship to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has come under fresh scrutiny after it emerged he had six private meetings with the dictator in the three years after he left Downing Street.
Five of those meetings took place in a 14-month period before the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber.

Mr Blair is coming under increasing pressure to make public details of all his meetings and discussions with Gaddafi. It follows the disclosure in The Sunday Telegraph last week that on at least two occasions Mr Blair flew to Tripoli on a private jet paid for by the Libyan regime.

Among the new meetings uncovered by this newspaper is a visit to Gaddafi in January 2009, when JP Morgan, the US investment bank which pays Mr Blair £2  million a year as a senior adviser, was trying to negotiate a deal between the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) and a company run by the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a friend of Lord Mandelson. The multi-billion dollar deal, which later fell through, would have seen the LIA provide a loan to Rusal, the world’s largest aluminium producer.

JP Morgan’s involvement in the deal is revealed in an email sent to the LIA by the bank’s vice-chairman, Lord Renwick, in December 2008, in which he sought to “finalise the terms of the mandate concerning Rusal before Mr Blair’s visit to Tripoli”.

JP Morgan said Mr Blair had no knowledge of the Rusal proposal. A spokesman added: “JP Morgan declined to participate on such a transaction and thus Mr Blair was never involved, and it was never discussed with him.”

A spokesman for Mr Blair said: “Neither Tony Blair nor any of his staff raised any issue to do with a Russian aluminium company.” He added that the “bulk of the conversations” with Gaddafi had been about Africa and how Libya could develop infrastructure. While Gaddafi raised the issue of Megrahi’s release, Mr Blair always repeated that…

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Libya: Hundreds of missiles go missing from regime’s abandoned arms dumps

In World News on September 9, 2011 at 6:52 pm

By Kim Sengupta

The long metal crates strewn on the grounds of the warehouse were empty. Hundreds of surface-to-air missiles, craved by terrorist groups and “rogue states”, had disappeared in the past few days, looted from one of Libya’s overflowing arms dumps.

Among the missiles taken away were 480 Russian-built SA-24s, designed for use against modern warplanes, which the US had been attempting to block from falling into Iranian hands, and the older SA-7s and 9s, capable of bringing down commercial airliners, which al-Qa’ida has been striving to obtain.

As Libya’s bloody civil war reaches its conclusion, myriad bunkers and barracks containing the regime’s weaponry, from Kalashnikovs to missiles, armoured cars and tanks, have been left unguarded, many to be stripped bare by militia fighters and the public.

The numbers involved are far larger than the caches that armed the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. And in Libya there are even fewer guards at these sites. Unlike those two fronts of the “war on terror”, there are no foreign troops present in Libya, and the opposition forming the new government has its resources tied up attempting to subdue the remaining loyalist strongholds and repairing infrastructure to safeguard the arsenals.

The ransacking of the depots containing missiles has set alarms ringing among security agencies in America and Europe. The SA-24 “Grinch” surface-to-air missile targets fighter-bombers, helicopter gunships such as Apaches, and even Cruise missiles, and can strike at as high as 11,000ft. Washington had lobbied the Russians to block sales to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and to Tehran. The SA-7s and 9s are older but can destroy civilian jets or be used against military targets such as the drones increasingly employed by the US. Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director for Human Rights Watch, charting the arms depots, said: “The problem is pretty huge. There are…

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Libyan rebel commander demands apology over MI6 and CIA torture

In World News on September 6, 2011 at 12:36 am

By The Guardian

One of Libya‘s senior rebel commanders has demanded an apology from the British and American governments following the discovery of secret documents which show MI6 and the CIA were involved in a plot that led to his capture and torture.

Abdul Hakim Belhaj, the security commander in Tripoli, told the Guardian he was considering suing over the episode, which raises further damaging questions over Britain’s knowledge of the rendition and ill-treatment of prisoners.

One document found in a treasure trove of abandoned papers shows a senior MI6 officer boasting to the Libyans about how British intelligence led to Belhaj being captured on 6 March 2004.

Then a leading dissident member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Belhaj was seized in Bangkok and handed over to the CIA, who he alleges tortured him and injected him with truth serum before flying him back to Tripoli for interrogation.

Documents show that five days before he was taken back to Tripoli, MI6 gave Libya Belhaj’s French and Moroccan aliases, and told them he was in detention in Sepang, Malaysia.

Belhaj told the Guardian that British spies were among the first to interrogate him after he was returned to Tripoli, and that he was very “surprised that the British got involved in what was a very painful period in my life”.

“I wasn’t allowed a bath for three years and I didn’t see the sun for one year,” he told the Guardian. “They hung me from the wall and kept me in an isolation cell. I was regularly tortured.”…

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World Bank ready to help Libya

In World News on August 24, 2011 at 7:17 pm

By Enda Curran

As rebels entered the center of Tripoli in what could be their final battle with the regime of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, a senior World Bank official said the bank is ready to offer a new regime financial support if asked.

Sri Mulyani Indrawati, one of three managing directors at the World Bank, told Dow Jones Newswires on Monday that it will use its vast experience in post-conflict rebuilding “to deal with Libya when the situation is right and when it is demanded by the people there.”

An uprising that began in February has reached the center of the capital Tripoli after months of fighting and air strikes by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, signaling that the government of Col. Gadhafi could be on the brink of collapse. A rebel victory would likely put added downward pressure on oil prices, which are already falling amid concerns about the slowing global economy.

“The World Bank will stand ready in supporting the people in Libya,” said Ms. Sri Mulyani.

In 2010, the country, which has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa, produced 1.8 million barrels a day of crude oil and other petroleum products, according to the U.S. government. As recently as 2009, it exported 1.5 million barrels a day, ranking it 12th in the world, according to the U.S.

“It will create more stability on the price, but whether that means it will be lower than the past six months remains to be seen,” said said Ms. Sri Mulyani. The onset of fighting helped drive oil…

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EU oil companies get set to return to Libya

In World News on August 23, 2011 at 11:57 am

By Andrew Rettman

EU oil firms are preparing to return to Libya amid good will generated by Nato support. The military alliance has also carried out “prudent planning” for a potential peacekeeping mission.

Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini on Monday (22 August) said energy company Eni has sent a delegation to meet rebel leaders in Benghazi after opposition forces entered Tripoli at the weekend, signalling the end of the Gaddafi regime.

“I won’t be revealing any secrets if I say that Eni technicians have already been called to Benghazi to reactivate plants … The facilities were made by Italians and therefore it is clear that Eni will play a No. 1 role in the future,” he told Rai TV.

Eni spokesman Cesaro Fabio declined to comment on the Benghazi trip. He told EUobserver that Eni’s oil and gas licences in the country are valid until between 2042 and 2047, however. The firm’s pre-war oil output in Libya was 270,000 barrels a day. It also operated the 10-billion-cubic-metre-a-year Greenstream gas pipeline.

Stefan Leunig, a spokesman for Germany’s Wintershall, previously on 100,000 barrels a day, said: “Starting up production could be done within several weeks under standard technical conditions. This of course depends on the state of the export infrastructure as well as a stable security situation.”

A spokeswoman for French firm Total said: “We are monitoring the situation closely to see when we can restart operations.” A spokesman for Austria’s OMV said it last had contact with rebel leaders in…

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Qaddafi warns of carrying out attacks in Europe

In Europe News, World News on July 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm

By Associated Press

A defiant Muammar al-Qaddafi threatened Friday to carry out attacks in Europe against “homes, offices, families,” unless NATO halts its campaign of airstrikes against his regime in Libya.

The Libyan leader, sought by the International Criminal Court for a brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters, delivered the warning in a telephone message played to thousands of supporters gathered in the main square of the capital Tripoli.

It was one of the largest pro-government rallies in recent months, signaling that Qaddafi can still muster significant support. A green cloth, several hundred meters long and held aloft by supporters, snaked above the crowd filling Tripoli’s Green Square. Green is Libya’s national color.

Qaddafi spoke from an unknown location in a likely sign of concern over his safety. Addressing the West, Qaddafi warned that Libyans might take revenge for NATO bombings.

“These people (the Libyans) are able to one day take this battle … to Europe, to target your homes, offices, families, which would become legitimate military targets, like you have targeted our homes,” he…
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Lawmakers sue president Obama over Libya

In Americas on June 15, 2011 at 6:43 pm

By Reid J. Epstein

A bipartisan group of House members announced on Wednesday that it is filing a lawsuit charging that President Obama made an illegal end-run around Congress when he approved U.S military action against Libya.

“With regard to the war in Libya, we believe that the law was violated. We have asked the courts to move to protect the American people from the results of these illegal policies,” said Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who led the 10-member anti-war coalition with Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.).

he White House is expected on Wednesday to deliver to Congress a much-anticipated report detailing military activity in Libya.

According to Kucinich, the suit will challenge the Obama administration’s “circumvention of Congress and its use of international organizations such as the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to authorize the use of military force abroad.”

It also will ask a judge to prohibit the White House from conducting a war without…

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RAF to get ‘bunker busters’ for Libya mission

In World News on May 31, 2011 at 5:35 am

By BBC

The Royal Air Force is to get 2,000lb “bunker busting” bombs to boost its mission in Libya.

The Ministry of Defence said the Enhanced Paveway III bombs were capable of penetrating the roofs of reinforced buildings.

The MoD said this would enable the RAF to attack command centres and communications nodes in Libya.

Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: “We are not trying to physically target individuals in Gaddafi’s inner circle.”

The MoD said the bombs had been prepared and could be used in Libya in a matter of hours and would help to…

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