Sunday, February 27, 2011

Libyan Chronology February 2011

Green Square Tripoli

Sunday, 27 February, 2011: The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted an arms embargo against Libya, a travel and assets ban on Moamer Gaddafi's regime and ordered a crimes against humanity investigation into the bloodshed. The council made a new demand for an immediate end to attacks on civilians by Mr Gaddafi's loyalists which it said had been incited "from the highest level of the Libyan government." The UN says more than 1,000 people have been killed in the unrest. The travel ban and assets will target the 68-year-old Libyan leader, seven of his sons and daughter Aisha, other family members and top defence and intelligence officials accused of playing a role in the bloodshed. [New York Times]

Sunday, 27 February, 2011: Paying $200 for a government-sponsored taxi ride to the Tunisian border sounded like a bad deal. But Tunisian laborer Amr Soltan had no idea just how bad until he and his friends were driven instead to a prison, locked up for five days, robbed of their cellphones by police and beaten by guards. "It's a miracle that I am alive," he said after arriving in his own country as one of the thousands who have been brutalized by Libyan security forces during the uprising against Moammar Kadafi's 41-year rule. "They accused us of being traitors because our people revolted against dictators." [Los Angeles Times]

Sunday, 27 February, 2011: More than 150 workers were dramatically rescued from the Libyan desert as two RAF Hercules aircraft – backed by the SAS – pulled off a high-risk evacuation of British and other citizens. As world leaders united to demand that Muammar Gaddafi face the full consequences of what Barack Obama called the "brutalisation" of his people, the defence secretary, Liam Fox, confirmed that the rescue had been a success, so far. It is believed that units of British special forces secured runways south of Benghazi to allow the Hercules aircraft to land safely. A statement from the Foreign Office said that the rescued workers had been met by consular officials and Red Cross staff when they landed in the Maltese capital, Valletta. [Guardian]

Sunday, 27 February, 2011: UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council moved as a powerful bloc Saturday to try to halt Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's deadly crackdown on protesters, slapping sanctions on him, his five children and 10 top associates. Voting 15-0 after daylong discussions interrupted with breaks to consult with capitals back home, the council imposed an arms embargo and urged U.N. member countries to freeze the assets of Gadhafi, his four sons and his daughter. The council also backed a travel ban on the Gadhafi family and close associates, including leaders of the revolutionary committees accused of much of the violence against opponents. Council members additionally agreed to refer the Gadhafi regime's deadly crackdown on people protesting his rule to a permanent war crimes tribunal for an investigation of possible crimes against humanity. [Chron]

Sunday, 27 February, 2011: Reporting from Umm Saad, Libya — Suleiman Zjailil is a modern-day town crier. He spends his days driving his battered car back and forth across the border with Egypt, smuggling out grainy cellphone videos so the world can see the news from his quarantined land. Zjailil, an engineer in the Libyan coastal city of Tobruk, is determined to deliver visual proof of President Moammar Kadafi's bloody tactics against a mounting populist rebellion. Armed only with thumb drives and CDs, he downloads videos taken by Libyans and makes the 95-mile trip from Tobruk to Egypt. "I don't even know how to fire a gun, but I have the most powerful weapon of all: the media," Zjailil said Friday as he rested with a glass of hot sweet tea after another punishing trip. [Lo Angeles Times] More

Sunday, 27 February, 2011: Anti-government forces in Libya have decided to form an interim government in preparation for the eventual ouster of the country's strongman Muammar Gadhaffi. The interim government is lead by the former justice secretary of Libya who resigned a few days ago in protest of the mass killing of the people who are helpless and unarmed. Justice Minister Mustafa Mohamed Abud Al Jeleil who resigned Monday for what he termed as the "use of excessive force against protesters" by forces loyal to Gadhaffi, is being groomed as head of the interim government. Reuters/Yahoo news reports, "The formation of the interim government followed a meeting in Benghazi of "interim local leaderships in the eastern region," he said. [Digital Journal] More

Sunday, 27 February, 2011: About 100 people rallied near CNN’s downtown Atlanta headquarters Saturday to draw attention to violent efforts to put down the popular uprising in Libya. Libya’s strongman, Moammar Gadhafi, is accused of ordering brutal retaliations in the civil war, using mercenaries, military aircraft and anti-aircraft guns. Some foreign diplomats have said at least 1,000 people have been killed in the uprising. In Atlanta, Libyan-Americans and others waved the red, green and black Libyan flag and chanted “Down, down, with Gadhafi. Support human rights.” Drivers in passing cars honked their horns. “I’m here because this is not a struggle for Libya. It’s a struggle for everybody,” said Sameh Abdelaziz, who came to the United States from Egypt in 1988. “It’s very brave, people facing these airplanes and these guns.” [Atlanta Journal] More

Sunday, 27 February, 2011: ROME—Italy has suspended a treaty that forbids it from participating in any military action against the regime of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, according to Italy's defense minister, making it easier for Rome to participate in any potential peace-keeping mission to the North African country. "The treaty is de-facto no longer operational," Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa said in a phone interview on Saturday. Mr. La Russa said Italy no longer considered the treaty enforceable, because the popular uprising in Libya had weakened Col. Moammar Gadhafi's regime to the point that it could no longer uphold its end of the accord. "A treaty is in force if a counterpart exists," Mr. La Russa said, adding: "That doesn't seem to be the situation in Libya at the moment." [Wall Street Journal] More

Sunday, 27 February, 2011: In case there were any remaining question that Seif al-Islam Qaddafi, the scion of Libya's fast-fading leader, is not exactly the brightest star in the galaxy, he dispelled those doubts today by appearing on the Al-Arabiya satellite channel to declare that "everything is normal" in Tripoli even as news outlets reported on growing signs that the Qaddafi family is losing its grip on Libya. Earlier this week, Seif had invited foreign journalists to the Libyan capital so they could see for themselves just how wonderfully the Qaddafis were handling what he downplayed as the work of foreign-backed, pill-popping Al Qaeda terrorists bent on Libya's destruction. But correspondents for both Al Arabiya and the New York Times, two news outlets that took up his invitation, managed to break away for their minders and report that all was not, in fact, under control. [Foreign Policy] More

Sunday, 27 February, 2011: After 42 years of Gaddafi's brutal dictatorship, no one seemed to be in control of anything, yet somehow in Tobruk everyday life continues. Last month Faisal Hassan was an insignificant labourer, eking out a meagre living in Colonel Gaddafi's Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and resigned like everyone else to the colonel's crushing control of everyday life. Today, a revolutionary armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle, he is in charge of an ammunition dump on the outskirts of Tobruk, ready to defend it with his last breath if Colonel Gaddafi launches an attack. "We expect him to send warplanes to bomb us and we are ready!" he said, pointing his gun at the sky to show how he would shoot at the colonel's jets. By the chaotic standards of "Free Libya", as the anti-Gaddafi forces call the massive expanse of their nation that is now out of the dictator's control, Mr Hassan's little unit was relatively well organised. [Telegraph] More

Sunday, 27 February, 2011: Unrest continues to spread across the Middle East and North Africa, toppling governments in Egypt and Tunisia. Still, those countries have maintained stability and security after the fall of their respective leaders. But, Libya’s post-revolutionary landscape might be very different if Moammar Gadhafi follows the same forced exit of his counterparts in Tunis and Cairo. Mr. Gadhafi has ruled Libya since 1969, which, by any standard, is pretty impressive staying power. But such longevity raises the inevitable question: what happens when such a ruler is toppled? In countries like Egypt and Tunisia, where popular street power led to the ouster of rulers there, the military stepped in afterward to keep things stable and secure. However, Kamran Bokhari, director of Middle East and South Asia for the private intelligence firm Stratfor, says Mr. Gadhafi kept the military weak out of fear that it might challenge him. [VOA] More

Sunday, 27 February, 2011: February 26, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- People marched and chanted Saturday for Libya's government to fall and for peace and democracy in the country. The protest against violence by Libyan authorities took place near Michigan and Congress. Some people stood on pictures of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Protestors accuse him of heading a regime of oppression and fear. Others in the crowd waved Libyan flags. Protest leaders urged the U.S. to strongly condemn attacks on demonstrators in Libya. [ABC] More

Sunday, 27 February, 2011: Yasmeen Esaklul had run out of breath Friday afternoon after chanting continuously into a large microphone at a traffic corner in the Galleria area. The University of Houston student had helped organize support for uprising in her father's native country of Libya and to condemn the deadly response by Col. Moammar Gadhafi. About 250 people joined the protest. "I want Americans to realize what's going on," said 19-year-old Esaklul. "My objective is to point out that Gadhafi is a horrible dictator that is murdering people without a second thought." Esaklul and her family visited Libya last summer. Her mother, Vickie Esaklul, said that things were generally peaceful at the time. "Things were available in the stores," said the 54-year-old woman, who also attended the protest at Westheimer and Post Oak. "It was pretty much prospering, but I think that was Gadhafi recognizing that he had to give his people some freedom or he would end up like some other Arab leaders, and lose his hold on the people." [Chron] More

Sunday, 27 February, 2011: In January of 2009, accused ponzi scheme financier Allen Stanford and his girlfriend, Andrea Stoelker, boarded one of Stanford's private jets for an exotic yet fateful trip. First stop: Tripoli, Libya. The global financial crisis was at its worst, and Stanford, like nearly every other banker in the world, was trying hard to keep his empire afloat. Libya, which had only recently won fully normalized relations with the U.S., would throw Stanford a major lifeline, according to court filings: The Libyan government's sovereign wealth fund invested some $500 million with Stanford, who left Libya the next day along with Stoelker and an unidentified third person, bound for Zurich, Switzerland. [CNBC] More

Sunday, 27 February, 2011: ROME — Italian central bank governor Mario Draghi, a favourite to succeed Jean-Claude Trichet as head of the European Central Bank, on Saturday warned that the crisis in Libya could slow growth in Italy. "The dramatic events we are witnessing may undermine investment in the oil industry in the area and raise energy prices, with repercussions for world growth," Draghi said at an economic conference in Verona in northern Italy. "For the Italian economy... a 20 percent rise in oil prices would shave half a percentage point off growth over three years," he said in a speech distributed by organisers. World oil prices have risen sharply in recent days amid persistent worries that escalating unrest in the region might choke supply. [AFP] More

Sunday, 27 February, 2011: On February 21, 2011, Peru surprised the international community by formally suspending its diplomatic ties with Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, insisting that they would not be restored until the violence against the civilian population was halted. While other Latin American nations responded in various ways to Gaddafi’s flagrant and erratic behavior, Peru is the lone hemispheric nation that has officially cut off relations with Libya. Peruvian President Alan García declared diplomatic links “suspended” as a means of protesting the unprecedented violence that Gaddafi has unleashed on his own people. Furthermore, García posted on his official website that his intentions were to speak with UN Security Council officials in order to create an internationally-mandated air exclusion zone over Libya. This would prevent the use of Libyan warplanes to carry out raids against the civilian population. [Scoop] More

Sunday, 27 February, 2011: LONDON — From exile in London, Muhammad al-Senussi, the heir apparent in Libya's overthrown monarchy, hails the "heroes" of the uprising and urges the international community to oust Moamer Kadhafi. In more than two decades in the British capital, the successor of the deposed King Idriss has found his proclamations falling on deaf ears. But with an uprising tearing through Libya and Kadhafi's authority shaken to its core, he hopes his voice will be heard. "My message to the international community is to put pressure on Kadhafi and ask him to stop killing his own people immediately. And ask him to leave, himself and his children and all the regime. This guy has to leave," he told AFP in an interview Friday. For al-Senussi, a 48-year-old with the neat appearance of a besuited businessman who styles himself the "exiled prince", Kadhafi is his bete noire. [AFP] More

Sunday, 27 February, 2011: Benghazi, Libya--“Your beginning was in Benghazi and you will be finished in Benghazi.” The walls of Libya’s second largest city are covered in graffiti that may be prophetic. It was in Benghazi 42 years ago that Colonel Muammar Qadhafi started the military coup which brought him to power. In the same city last week his security brigades were defeated by anti-regime protestors in bloody battles that could prove fatal for one of the longest-serving rulers in the world. Signs of the people’s victory are boldly emblazoned across Benghazi. Spray-painted slogans celebrate liberation and urge citizens to oust the regime and safeguard their streets. Hated symbols of the dictator's ruthless authority--police stations, interior ministry buildings and the city’s main security compound--have been badly damaged by fires. [Almasry Alyoum] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: Washington: The United States closed its embassy in Tripoli on Friday and imposed unilateral sanctions against Libya, including the freezing of billions in government assets, as the Obama administration made its most aggressive move against Col. Muammar el-Gaddafi since his security forces opened fire on protesters. Just minutes after a charter flight left Tripoli carrying the last Americans who wanted to leave Libya, officials markedly toughened the administration's words and actions against Colonel Gaddafi, announcing that high-ranking Libyan officials who supported or participated in his violent crackdown would also see their assets frozen and might, along with Colonel Gaddafi, be subject to war crimes prosecution. [NDTV] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: WASHINGTON — The Obama administration froze assets of the Libyan government, leader Moammar Gadhafi and four of his children Friday, just hours after it closed the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli and evacuated its remaining staff. U.S. officials said announcements of the steps were withheld until Americans wishing to leave the country had departed as they feared Gadhafi might retaliate amid worsening violence in the North African country. The measures announced Friday ended days of cautious U.S. condemnation of Gadhafi that had been driven by concerns for the safety of U.S. citizens in Libya. They struck directly at his family, which is believed to have amassed great wealth over his four decades in power. [Chron] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: Protesters demanding Muammar Gaddafi's ousting came under a hail of bullets when pro-regime militiamen opened fire to stop the first significant anti-government marches in days in the Libyan capital. The Libyan leader, speaking from the ramparts of a historic Tripoli fort, told supporters to prepare to defend the nation. Witnesses reported multiple deaths from gunmen on rooftops and in the streets shooting at crowds with automatic weapons and even an anti-aircraft gun. "It was really like we are dogs," one man who was marching from Tripoli's eastern Tajoura district said. He added that many people were shot in the head, with seven people within 10 yards of him cut down in the first wave. Also, troops loyal to Mr Gaddafi attacked a major air base east of Tripoli that had fallen into rebel hands. [UK Press] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: (Ras Ijdir, Tunisia) - Libyan security forces and pro-government groups in the western city of Zawiyah have violently attacked anti-government protesters and Egyptian migrant workers, Human Rights Watch said today. Hundreds of Egyptian migrants crossed the border into Tunisia on February 25, 2011, joining thousands of other migrants who had been stranded there for three days awaiting assistance, Human Rights Watch said. "West of Tripoli in Zawiyah city, government security forces firing on demonstrators are causing bloodshed and chaos," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "Pro-Gaddafi thugs have terrorized Egyptian migrant workers, causing hundreds to flee to Tunisia." [HRW] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: OTTAWA - While politicians here scramble to evacuate Canadians from Libya, some are wondering what role, if any, the international community should play in helping Libyans throw off the yoke of a megalomaniacal dictator. Reports suggest up to 2,000 Libyan protesters have been killed in the past few days, some reportedly bombed by their own air force. But Defence Minister Peter MacKay told a group of defence experts Friday not to expect Canadian troops -- or even United Nations peacekeepers -- to intervene in Libya anytime soon. When asked about the UN's Responsibility to Protect resolution, which allows for quick action by the Security Council to intervene militarily in cases where innocent civilians are being brutalized, MacKay said the resolution is a "very important concept," but it isn't applied evenly. [Toronto Sun] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: On Jan. 19, 2007, my wife, Rosemary, and I spent several hours with Col. Moammar Gadhafi in his tent in the Libyan desert, sipping tea and discussing sociology and political theory. It was a strange encounter at the time, and after the horrific events of the past week in Libya, it seems stranger still. Several months earlier a former student of mine, working for an international consulting firm that was advising the Libyan government on economic and political reform, had called to see whether I might be interested in traveling to Libya to discuss my research on civil society and democracy, particularly "Making Democracy Work," my book on why democracy functions well in northern Italy but not in the country's south. My hosts were willing to pay my standard consulting fee, and to be honest, I was curious. Col. Gadhafi fancied himself an intellectual, I was told, and considered his own "Green Book" an original contribution to political philosophy. [Wall Street Journal] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: MEXICO CITY—Most of the world's leaders have condemned Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi for unleashing a brutal repression that has killed hundreds of his fellow countrymen. But he is still being supported by Latin America's most autocratic leftist leaders, with whom he has longstanding ties. Cuba's retired dictator Fidel Castro said this week it was too early to criticize Libya's government and warned of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization invasion of Libya he claimed was being orchestrated by U.S. "imperialism." Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, the former Sandinista revolutionary, has been telephoning Mr. Gadhafi to express his solidarity against Libyan rebels. The normally voluble Hugo Chávez, a longtime friend of Mr. Gadhafi, has been quiet on the Libyan situation—even as neighboring leaders like Peru's president condemned Mr. Gadhafi's actions. [Wall Street Journal] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: After a day when Moamar Gadhafi pledged to "crush any enemy" and seemed to untether from reality after protesters were shot at, the White House is fearing he has become so unstable that he may "burn down the house with him," an official said. In another troubling speech today, the Libyan dictator said that he would "open up the arsenals" and that "life without dignity has no value." "A lot of his speeches over the last years have been increasingly surreal," said Dirk Vandewalle, an associate professor at Dartmouth College. "This is very much a man who has a kind of apocalyptic vision of how politics takes place." [ABC] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: The son of Libya's strongman Muammar Gadhaffi has denied reports that his father will destroy oil supply facilities in Libya in the wake of violent confrontation between government security forces and anti-government protesters. Saif al-Islam Gadhafi told CNN-Turk on Friday, "We will never demolish the sources of oil. They belong to the people," Saif said in an interview translated from English into Turkish on the CNN-Turk website. He said the Gaddafi family had no intention of fleeing Libya, and the government was in control of the west, south and centre of the country. "We have plans A, B and C. Plan A is to live and die in Libya. Plan B is to live and die in Libya. Plan C is to live and die in Libya," Saif said. [Digital Journal] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: The U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or Fincen, warned banks on Thursday to watch out for the “increased movement of assets” from Libya as the uprising there takes hold. In a bulletin, the agency said U.S. financial institutions needed “to take reasonable risk-based steps with respect to the potential increased movement of assets that may be related to the situation in Libya.” Fincen said financial institutions should closely screen for private banking accounts held by or for senior foreign political figures and to scrutinize transactions that could represent “misappropriated or diverted state assets, proceeds of bribery or other illegal payments.” [Wall Street Journal] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: As violent protests continue across Libya, activists in Washington took a stand against the country's leader, Moammar Gadhafi. Libyan anti-government activists, including many women, chanted Friday for a free Libya as they raised the country's flag of independence at the residence of the Libyan ambassador to the U.S., who has resigned. The red, black and green flag with a crescent moon and star, a sign of Islam, was displayed by activists in place of the green flag that has marked the four-decade long rule of Gadhafi. Ali Aujali, who resigned as Gadhafi's ambassador to the U.S. earlier this week, made a brief appearance in front of his home to pledge his support for a liberated Libya. [VOA] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: Regarding the situation of civil war faced by Libya, Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez wrote on his Twitter account @chavezcandanga: "Nicolás (Chávez's foreign affairs minister), teach another lesson to the (Venezuelan) extreme right-wing/pitiyanquis/! Long live Libya and its independence! Qaddafi faces a civil war!" The Venezuelan president wrote this as his Foreign Affairs Minister Nicolás Maduro was giving a speech at the National Assembly (Venezuela's Parliament). "In Libya, the first steps towards secession and division have been taken," pointed out Maduro, who also warned that "the first steps towards a process of civil war have been taken to get oil out of this OPEC nation." [Black Star] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: Libya’s ambassador to the United Nations appealed to the Security Council today to “save” his nation from the violence unleashed on protesters by leader Muammar Qaddafi and to impose sanctions on the regime. “Please UN, save Libya,” Ambassador Mohammed Shalgham said at a meeting of the Security Council. “I tell my brother Qaddafi, leave the Libyans alone.” Shalgham, a former Libyan foreign minister, was embraced by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Deputy Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo and other diplomats following his speech. He hugged Libya’s Deputy Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi, who denounced the regime earlier in the week and was crying as Shalgham’s speech ended. After the speech, Britain and France circulated a draft resolution that would freeze the assets and ban foreign travel of Qaddafi, his seven sons, his daughter, two cousins and 11 other government officials. [Bloomberg] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: In an apparent bid to mitigate swelling anti-government protests that have resulted in the Libyan regime losing control over large swaths of land to demonstrators in recent days, Libyan state TV announced on Friday that the government will give Libyan families $400 each. The broadcast, aired as demonstrators were reported to be gearing up for massive protests to try to oust embattled Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi from power, also said that the government pledged to increase salaries for state employees by as much as 150%. Media reports say it's the first time the Kadafi regime has offered incentives to Libyans in an attempt to keep their loyalty, and suggested that the government is making use of its large oil earnings to try to retain public support. [Los Angeles Times] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: Libya's government, clinging to power after a popular revolt, has ordered massive cash handouts include wage increases, food subsidies and allowances, state television reported on Friday. It said each family will receive 500 Libyan dinars ($400) to help cover increased food costs, and that wages for some categories of public sector workers would increase by 150 percent, the television station said. The announcement came after a former Libyan minister told Al Jazeera he feared Libyan Leader Muammar Gadhafi may resort to using biological and chemical weapons as a last resort amid the country's escalating and violent unrest. [Haartz] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: BENGHAZI, Libya, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Rebels in eastern Libya said on Friday they now controlled most of the oil fields east of the town of Ras Lanuf, and said they would honour oil deals as long as they were in the interest of the people. [ID:nLDE71M1AF] The eastern Libyan town of Brega and its oil terminal are under rebel control, and soldiers who have defected are helping the rebels to secure the port, Reuters witnesses said on Friday. "This area is controlled by the people," said Mabrook Maghraby, a lawyer from Benghazi who is now involved with the local committees defending Brega. If oil contracts were unfair or based on corruption, however, the interim leadership of Libya's second city Benghazi said they reserved the right to renegotiate them. Many of Libya's key oil producing areas and terminals are located in the east of the OPEC member state, large chunks of which have fallen to rebels seeking to oust veteran leader Muammar Gaddafi. [Reuters] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: Abdurrahman Shalgam, an ally of Gaddafi since the pair were teenage radicals in the late 1950s, compared the leader's actions to those of Pol Pot and Hitler and backed the protesters in Tripoli. In an emotional speech to the UN Security Council in New York, Mr Shalgam, who had previously remained loyal, said: "Muammar Gaddafi is telling the Libyans 'either I rule you or I kill you'." He told the 15 members of the council, who are considering an Anglo-French plan for sanctions against the Gaddafi regime: "We need a courageous resolution from you". Outside the chamber, he gave another speech in which he pleaded for the outside world to do something "within hours, not days" to stop the bloodshed in the country. [Telegraph] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Libyan Prince Muhammad bin Sayyid Hassan as-Senussi said that the country’s tribes are united against Muammar Qaddafi, who ousted Senussi’s great-uncle in a 1969 coup, and that there is no risk of civil war. “The Libyan people and the tribes have proven they are united,” and talk of civil war has been “created by the regime to spread fear,” as-Senussi said in a telephone interview from London today. He said massacres are being carried out by pro- Qaddafi forces. Qaddafi bolstered defenses in the capital, Tripoli, today after rebels seized much of the rest of the country. Security forces opened fire in Tripoli to prevent a demonstration after Friday prayers by Qaddafi’s opponents, Al Jazeera television said. The death toll since the uprising began last week has reached several hundred and foreign governments are seeking to evacuate their citizens. [Businessweek] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: Despite Qaddafi's claim that al Qaida is behind the protests in Libya, the jihadi organization has had little to do with the revolutions spreading throughout the Arab world, and they don't like being excluded from the spotlight. In fact, Der Spiegel opines, the unrest has put al-Qaida in a tricky position: while they've called for the overthrow of secular leaders, many of the revolutions—like the one in Egypt—occurred "because the regime was only outwardly democratic," not because it was too democratic. So al-Qaida leaders are scrambling to put the right spin on things. Top al-Qaida officials publicly praised Egyptians for ousting their "godless" president, and in a statement yesterday, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb described the unrest in Libya as "jihad," characterizing Qaddafi as an "enemy of God." (In a moment of candor, Libyan jihadist Attiyah Allah granted, "it is true the revolution is not entirely what we had envisioned.") What the protests have demonstrated most clearly, Der Spiegel writes, is that jihadists just don't have the power to mobilize the people. "It isn't al-Qaida that has proven to be a vanguard, but the secular, Internet-savvy youth of the Arab world." [Slatest] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: PARIS — Libya's ambassadors to France and to the U.N. cultural and education organization resigned Friday, condemning police violence against protesters and joining a wave of others abandoning Moammar Gadhafi's regime. Protesters camped out in the Libyan Embassy in Paris overnight and replaced the flag with that of Libya's old monarchy. Libya's ambassador to France, Mohamed Salaheddine Zarem, and the ambassador to UNESCO, Abdulsalam El Qallali, emerged from the Libyan Embassy on Friday afternoon to speak to the crowd of protesters. "We condemn the repression taking place in Libya and the extreme violence carried out by militia security forces against peaceful protesters who only demand freedom and dignity," El Qallali said. [CP] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: (Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Libya's deputy ambassador to the UN says thousands of people have been killed during protests, as unconfirmed reports have come in claiming the regime has used poison gas on demonstrators. Ibrahim Dabbashi, who has turned against the Gaddafi regime, said the death toll is expected to rise as Muammar Gaddafi continues his bloody crackdown against the opposition. "There are already thousands of people who have been killed, we expect more. They are gathering all the bodies and they are taking them to the desert or somewhere. No one knows where are the bodies of the victims," AFP quoted Dabbashi as saying. His comments came ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on the crisis in Libya. Dabbashi said the "psychologically unstable” Gaddafi has the choice between being killed or committing suicide. “He might seek to send some of his family members abroad but I believe he prefers to die in Libya because of his narcissistic character, he wants to act like a hero." [Abna] More

Saturday, 26 February, 2011: Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Libya’s ambassador to the United Nations compared leader Muammar Qaddafi to Adolf Hitler in appealing to the Security Council yesterday to “save” his nation from violence being unleashed on protesters and impose sanctions on the regime. “Please United Nations, save Libya,” Ambassador Mohammed Shalgham said at a meeting of the Security Council. “I tell my brother Qaddafi, leave the Libyans alone.” Shalgham, a former Libyan foreign minister, was embraced by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Deputy Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo and other diplomats following his speech. He hugged Libya’s Deputy Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi, who denounced the regime earlier in the week and was crying as Shalgham’s speech ended. After the speech, Britain and France circulated a draft resolution that would freeze the assets and ban foreign travel of Qaddafi, his seven sons, his daughter, two cousins and 11 other government officials. [Businessweek] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: BEYIDA, Libya -- Rebels holding Libya's third- and fourth-largest cities Thursday repulsed tank-backed assaults by Moammar Gadhafi's forces as the embattled dictator struggled to reclaim areas outside the capital and fresh high-level defections further fractured his regime, residents and news reports said. President Barack Obama and other Western leaders worked to firm up responses to halt a crackdown that is widely feared to have killed more than 1,000 people over the nine-day revolt. The U.S. and its NATO allies were actively considering the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya to stop regime airstrikes on civilians. In his latest diatribe over state-run television Thursday, Gadhafi claimed that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden had instigated the rebellion, and admitted that his forces were losing control of Zawiya, 30 miles west of Tripoli. [Miami Herald] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: Critics howled with derision at the UN Security Council's response to the bloodshed in Libya this week. An emergency session produced no action, not even a legally binding resolution: only the Council's weakest form of expression, a press statement. Here at the UN, however, Western diplomats were flush with the triumph of finally getting the Council to address at least one of the revolts in the Middle East. One called it the "strongest statement in years". 'Protecting peace' That difference reflects the enormous gap in perception between the public and the diploma [BBC] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: On walls across Libya's second-largest city are the same scrawled graffiti: Game Over. Days after protesters took control of Benghazi after fierce attacks by Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi's militia and alleged mercenaries left many dead and injured, demonstrations continued at the courthouse where they began a week ago. People called for Kadafi's resignation and expressed support for anti-government efforts in the capital, Tripoli, and other cities. "From the first day, from the 17th, there was no more fear. We fought fear; the revolution's youth taught us courage," said Abdulmutalib Bashir, 51. "We are a people who won't surrender; either victory or death." [Los Angeles Times] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: OTTAWA — While it's not a major United Nations player with particularly strong economic ties to Libya, Canada has a role to play in the debate over sanctions against the North African country, experts say. While many countries, as well as the United Nations, have chimed in with suggestions on how the world might apply pressure on Col. Moammar Gadhafi, who turned the air force against his own people in the wake of massive antigovernment protests, Canada has remained mum on the issue. The government has maintained its priority is to get Canadians out of Tripoli. On the subject of sanctions, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon's office said only that Ottawa was "examining our options." [Vancover Sun] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama on Thursday promised to "coordinate on possible multilateral measures on Libya," Mr Cameron's office said in a statement. "The prime minister spoke to President Obama this evening," Mr Cameron's Downing Street office confirmed. They "agreed to coordinate on possible multilateral measures on Libya, including at the UN Human Rights Council on Monday." The leaders also "agreed to work together closely on the swift evacuation of nationals," during Thursday's phone call. Mr Cameron also stressed "the importance of seizing this moment of opportunity for change in the region," according to the Downing Street spokesman. [Telegraph] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: SNC-Lavalin has confirmed it has a contract to build a detention centre in Libya, a country currently gripped by violence as pro-democracy protesters clash with hardline government forces. The Montreal-based engineering giant has said the facility will be the "first to be built according to international human rights standards." "We think this is an important step forward for this country and an opportunity for us as a company to share values that we think are essential to all citizens of the world," Leslie Quinton, the company's vice-president of global communications said in an email Thursday. Quinton denied reports that SNC-Lavalin was concealing the project. "It is one of the thousands of projects we work on yearly, not all of which are announced by press release." [CBC] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: As nongovernmental organizations from all regions of the world working in the field of human rights, we call upon the United Nations General Assembly to immediately suspend the rights of membership of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). The General Assembly contemplated the possibility that suspension of a member's rights in the Human Rights Council might be necessary in the event of serious deterioration in the human rights situation that state. Resolution 60/251, which created the Council, provides, in operative paragraph 8, that "the General Assembly, by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting, may suspend the rights of membership in the Council of a member of the Council that commits gross and systematic violations of human rights." [HRW] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: When Omar Shibliy Mahmoudi exchanged sweet nothings on the Muslim dating site Mawada, it wasn't for love but for liberty. To avoid detection by Libyan secret police, who monitor Facebook and Twitter, Mahmoudi, the leader of the Ekhtalef ("Difference") Movement, used what's considered the of the Middle East to send coded love letters to rally the revolution. It was "for the freedom, not for the marriage," he told ABC News. The Libyan businessman turned opposition leader said he was never politically active before, but as he watched revolutions topple governments in neighboring countries, he knew he needed to act. [ABC] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the alliance has no plans to intervene in the unrest in Libya. Speaking in Ukraine Thursday, Rasmussen said NATO has received no request for such an intervention, and stressed that any action NATO does take should be based on a United Nations mandate. Rasmussen said the situation in Libya does not threaten NATO or any NATO allies, but he added it could cause a refugee crisis. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is facing international pressure over his government's violent crackdown against protesters. [VOA] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: It took a little too long, but Barack Obama finally spoke about Libya yesterday. Now, what should the US do? The temptation is to demand intervention to stop the violence. But at what exact point are we within our rights to do so? By what mechanism? And what's the potential blowback? Fareed Zakaria had an interesting column in the Wash Post today, not about Libya per se, but about what's happening in the region, and he (once a champion of GWB's democracy promotion) had good things to say about the Obama administration's somewhat aloof approach to events so far: Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama deserve some credit for what has happened. [Guardian] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: TOBRUK, Libya -- Before going live for the first time since this eastern Libyan city broke free from Moammar Gadhafi's rule last week, staff members of the local radio station took a moment to calm their nerves. They agreed to speak in sober and reassuring tones, but Anwar Sherif, the station's main announcer, couldn't contain himself once he took the microphone to deliver the city's first free broadcast in 42 years. "There was a fear barrier broken that day. I sounded sentimental, even hysterical," Sherif, 36, recalled Thursday. "We let loose all the words we could never say. I said, 'Down with the tyrant!' and then all the other suppressed words came spilling out." [Miami Herald] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that his national security team is working on ways to respond to Libya’s bloody crisis. Meanwhile, an impatient punditry has undertaken its own discussion of options. “What has been strikingly lacking in the Obama administration’s response,”William Kristolwrites, “is a sense of the [Miami Herald] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: Anti-government uprisings have spread from an initial revolution in Tunisia to countries across the region, including Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, and Yemen. Could the revolutionary fervor be migrating outside of the Arab world as well? In Cameroon, activists used the recent Mideast turmoil to rally protestors this week against President Paul Biya, who was ruled the African nation with total authority for the last 28 years. Opposition groups charge that he has rigged elections to keep himself in power and human rights groups, including Amnesty International, accuse authorities of stifling political dissent with extreme violence. [TPM] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: With the world watching, Muammar Gadhafi’s conspiracy theories about what’s causing the chaos in his country are becoming more outlandish. Gadhafi says that al-Qaeda is responsible for the uprising in Libya, according to a report in Al Jazeera. “It’s obvious now that this issue is run by al-Qaeda..No one above the age of 20 would actually take part in these events. They are taking advantage of the young age of these people [to commit violent acts] because they are not legally liable,” Gadhafi said in a speech on Libyan state television. As he’s lost grip on much of eastern Libya, Gadhafi has become more vocal (though his speeches include more rambling than any clear messages) and appears on state television more often. [Forbes] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: WASHINGTON — The US military has been "fully involved" in high-level talks on Washington's response to the crisis in Libya and is assessing options to be presented to the White House, a senior US official said Thursday. "We have a wide range of tools -- financial, sanctions, multilateral actions -- and we are considering all of them," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters. "The military is fully involved in these discussions and doing its own thinking about options that can be presented to the president" and commander-in-chief Barack Obama. Crowley said a multitude of US agencies and departments have been meeting "constantly on this since last week when the events began to unfold in Libya (and) the military has been a full participant in these discussions." [AFP] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: Muammar Gaddafi doesn’t think much of reporters. He has made passes at women interviewers, he called them dogs recently. And now, Libya has said, foreign journalists illegally present in Libya will be treated as al Qaeda collaborators. Libyan officials told US diplomats that journalists from CNN, BB C Arabic and Al Arabiya would be allowed to report on the current situation. But those that are already in, illegally, are in trouble. “These same senior officials also said that some reporters had entered the country illegally and that the Libyan government now considered these reporters al Qaeda collaborators,” the US department of state said on Thursday. “Be advised, entering Libya to report on the events unfolding there is additionally hazardous with the government labelling unauthorised media as terrorist collaborators and claiming they will be arrested if caught,” the state department said in a statement. [Hindustan Times] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: Feb 24 (Reuters) - Oil production in Libya is expected to shut down completely and could be lost for a prolonged period of time, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said on Thursday. "We expect Libyan production to be shut down completely and we might lose sweet crudes from Libya for a prolonged period of time," Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Sabine Schels told Reuters. Schels said that the world faced the prospect of real supply shock in which the loss of 1.6 million barrels per day of sweet oil could potentially trigger a steep rise in prices and force a sharp reduction in demand to balance the system. [Reuters] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: (Reuters) - Libya's secretive sovereign wealth fund has $32 billion in cash with several U.S. banks each managing up to $500 million, and it has primary investments in London, a confidential diplomatic cable shows. The cable, obtained by WikiLeaks and revealing the details of a January meeting between the head of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) and the U.S. ambassador in Tripoli, comes as the United States and European governments explored the possibility of freezing assets belonging to the Libyan government. LIA, the umbrella body for Libya's sovereign funds managing oil windfall revenues, is estimated to manage assets of around $70 billion with stakes in European bluechips such as Italian bank UniCredit and British publishing group Pearson. [Reuters] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: Inside Libya – A Photographer reports: After days of media blackout and unconfirmed reports of a bloody, but successful, uprising against Col. Moammar Gadhafi in Libya, David Degner’s photographs provide a view of the aftermath of fighting in Baida, eastern Libya. n Baida, as in many cities in Libya’s east, flags flew from the era before Gadhafi Wednesday. The days-long fight for Baida began in the first days of anti-Gadhafi protests last week. [Wall Street Journal] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: Both the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas government have called on neighboring Arab countries to intervene to prevent Gaddafi from carrying out “massacres” against Palestinians in Libya. The number of Palestinians living in Libya is not known. But various Palestinian sources have estimated their number at several thousand. The PA on Thursday welcomed Israel’s decision to allow 300 Palestinians who fled Libya recently to return to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. “President Mahmoud Abbas appreciates this step and considers it a move in the right direction,” a senior PA official in Ramallah said. The PA was “deeply concerned” about the fate of thousands of Palestinians who are still in Libya, the official said. [Jerusalem Post] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: Libya is the latest nation to experience the violent civil unrest that has swept North Africa since December. But in August, things were much different. In fact, the country was making steps to rectify its long-sullied international image. One of these steps was devising a youth conference, to be held in Tripoli. We wanted to get inside the country for a long time, so when Vice founder Shane Smith learned of the event, he submitted his credentials and was invited to take part in the festivities. [CNN] More

Friday, 25 February, 2011: WASHINGTON — The United States Thursday stepped up the drive for sanctions and other measures against Libya, consulting Britain, France and Italy on how to "immediately" respond to Moamer Kadhafi's crackdown. Washington also called on the UN Human Rights Council to dump Libya and nervously awaited the weather-delayed sailing of a chartered ferry set to carry 285 Americans and other foreigners from violence-wracked Tripoli to Malta. The Obama administration had been accused of reacting too slowly to the onslaught of violence against civilian demonstrators in Libya, but sought Thursday to frame an international response to the Libyan leader's purge. President Barack Obama called British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, to seek urgent ways to ensure "appropriate accountability" for the Libyan government. [AFP] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: SHAHHAT, Libya — Opponents of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi held a former state radio station in this town on Wednesday, which they had renamed Free Libya and clearly intended to keep. Stationed in front of the gate were burly guards with enormous machines guns and ammunition belts slung over their shoulders. Not far away, other armed men guarded an airport, and throughout the rebellious eastern half of this country, the protesters set up checkpoints and flew the old Libyan flag. But at the radio station, Hamdi Zaidy, a former Libyan ambassador to Nigeria who has joined the antigovernment protesters, asked that any conversations about the state of the country be conducted outside of the building. [New York Times] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: BAIDA, LIBYA - Moammar Gaddafi tightened his grip on Libya's capital, Tripoli, on Wednesday, flooding the streets with militiamen and loyalist troops, as rebels consolidated their control of key eastern cities and continued advancing west across the coastal strip, where most of the country's population is clustered. By Wednesday evening, Libya appeared dangerously fractured, with Gaddafi's regime intent on fighting but its authority beyond Tripoli in doubt. In the capital, witnesses said regime loyalists roamed the streets, shooting opponents from SUVs. The opposition has called for a large protest Friday. Oil prices hit $100 a barrel because of the turmoil in the North African oil exporter, a peak not reached since 2008. In Washington and other capitals, attention turned to the possible responses, including economic sanctions or imposition of a no-flight zone over Libya to prevent the use of aircraft against civilians. [Washington Post] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: Barack Obama has warned the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi that he faces the prospect of international sanctions over violence against demonstrators, and condemned Gaddafi's actions as outrageous and unacceptable. Obama is sending secretary of state Hillary Clinton to Europe to discuss what actions can be taken to stop the violence, and to take part in a meeting of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The US president took care to maintain balance in his pronouncements over the uprisings in Egypt. By contrast, this statement was unequivocal in its criticism of Gaddafi's actions. Obama promised that the Libyan leader would be held accountable. "The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous and it is unacceptable. So are threats and orders to shoot peaceful protesters and further punish the people of Libya. These actions violate international norms and every standard of common decency. This violence must stop," Obama said. [Guardian] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: BAIDA, Libya—A day after the last forces loyal to besieged Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in the country's east were defeated, this coastal town's elders met to begin rebuilding. Masouda al-Alamy, a distinguished professor of animal science at the city's Omar Mukhtar University, called the meeting to order on Wednesday, her voice cracking with emotion. "Today, we meet and can speak freely for the first time," she said. "For the first time we feel we are free." Around 200 locals, including tribal sheikhs, university professors and prominent businessmen, met in a town meeting hall with green plush seats. It was built in the time of the monarchy to house the Libyan parliament, but more recently it was the meeting place for the town's Revolutionary Peoples' Committee, the closest thing Libyans have had to representative government under Mr. Gadhafi. [Wall Street Journal] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: (CNN) -- The Swedish tabloid Expressen reported Wednesday that Libya's former justice minister has accused Moammar Gadhafi of ordering the 1988 bombing of a jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people. "I have evidence that Gadhafi ordered the Lockerbie," Mustafa Abdul Jalil is reported to have told the newspaper, though the article cited no specifics. The tabloid said the interview lasted about 40 minutes and was carried out Wednesday by Expressen reporter Kassem Hamade in Libya "in the local parliament in a major city." In the December 21, 1988, incident, Pan Am Flight 103 exploded in the air carrying 259 people. Everyone aboard and 11 people on the ground were killed. An investigation concluded that a bomb had been placed on the plane. [CNN] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — China will attempt to rescue more than 30,000 nationals from Libya in the wake of the violent struggle that has gripped the North African nation, Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post reported Thursday. A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Tripoli reportedly said Chinese nationals, mostly construction workers, as well as other staff working for companies with operations in Libya, had been attacked as protests erupted there in the struggle against Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s regime. At least 15 people were seriously injured and were taken to a hospital, the report said. The newspaper also published a picture of the first batch of 83 Chinese workers to be rescued arriving in Egypt from Libya by bus. [Market Watch] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: “It’s an excellent signal that the council was able to react in real time to a situation,” US Ambassador says as violence spreads through country. For the first time in its five-year history, the UN Human Rights Council has called for a special session on Friday to slam one of its own members – Libya. “It’s an excellent signal that the council was able to react in real time to a situation,” US Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe said. In a strong stance against the violence that has engulfed Libya in the last eight days, at least 53 UN states signed their name to the call, including 31 nations who are not among the 47 members of the Human Rights Council. [Jerusalem Post] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed Thursday as surging oil prices, violence in Libya and a weak finish on Wall Street kept markets on edge. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average lost 0.7 percent to 10,506.16. A strong yen pressured exporters, whose repatriated profits from abroad decline in value as the yen appreciates. Honda Motor Co. fell 0.9 percent, and Sony Corp. was down 1.1 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.5 percent to 4,823.30. Benchmarks in Singapore and New Zealand also declined. Meanwhile, other markets managed to post modest gains. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.4 percent to 22,997.26, and the Shanghai Composite index added 0.4 percent to 2,874.76. Shares in South Korea and Taiwan also rose. [AP] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: TRIPOLI: Snipers from Libya's government forces fired on mourners attending a funeral for slain protesters Saturday, killing at least 15 people as demonstrations calling for the ouster of President Moammar Gadhafi continued for the fifth straight day. Snipers targeted the thousands of people who were attending a mass funeral in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and the site of violent protests. The mourners had gathered to honour the 35 protesters who were shot by government forces on Friday. Dozens of mourners were also injured, with many of the victims suffering from gunshot wounds to the head and chest. "Many of the dead and the injured are relatives of doctors here," an official at the local hospital told The Associated Press. "They are crying and I keep telling them to please stand up and help us." [The News] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: U.S. military and intelligence officials are closely watching Libya‘s stockpiles of mustard gas and their precursor chemicals as the North African country descends further into civil war. Proliferation analysts generally assess that Libya has close to 14 tons of mustard gas that it has not destroyed despite the announcement in 2003 that it would dismantle its weapons of mass destruction program. “Obviously, the security of the Libyan stockpile of chemical weapons is a concern,” a U.S. intelligence official told The Washington Times. “You could see a scenario where [Libyan dictator Moammar] Gadhafi takes troops away from these [stockpiles],” a Senate aide monitoring the situation in Libya said. [Washington Times] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: ON THE EGYPT-LIBYA BORDER—Tens of thousands of fearful Egyptians streamed into this lonely desert border post Tuesday, fleeing violence in Libya and carrying whatever they could manage. “Everybody is leaving,” said Mohamed Saad, 28, a lean, curly-haired construction worker who had spent roughly 12 hours on the road through northern Libya on an overnight drive from Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city. More than 1 million Egyptians live and work in Libya, and tens of thousands have fled the country overland in the past three days — by far the largest component of a mounting exodus of foreign nationals from the country, where dictator Muammar Gadhafi is fighting to hold on to power in the face of huge public resistance. [The Star] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: On Tuesday, the Libyan-Egyptian border was throbbing with traffic. One Egyptian soldier said it was the busiest day he's seen yet; but it had been consistently busy — with thousands crossing — for the past few days. The traffic consists mostly of Egyptian workers, many of whom express outrage over the atrocities of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi that they witnessed as they fled. "This man is a war criminal!" cries one Egyptian who had just crossed back into his country. "They were firing on people from planes." "We left at 5 a.m. this morning, we saw a lot of gunfire; a lot of killing," says another returnee, a construction worker who had arrived in a packed car full of his fellow countrymen from Tobruk, the Libyan city about 100 miles from the border. They had come from all parts of Libyan but car-pooled the final leg back home. "I saw them firing in Benghazi [Libya's second-largest city about 500 miles west of the border]. [Time] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: Unrest in Libya continues to wreak havoc on world oil markets, with prices soaring and European nations weighing how to offset disruptions in gas and crude imports from the North African country. As much as a quarter of Libya's oil production is now offline, along with all gas exports, according to reports. Most analysts expect interruptions to increase, especially with Muammar Qaddafi’s threat to blow up energy pipelines. While analysts agree that global oil and gas supplies are hardly at risk, as Libya accounts for only 2 percent of world oil output, countries like Italy, France, and Spain relied on Libya in 2010 for as much as 22 percent, 16 percent, and 13 percent of total crude consumption, respectively – a supply not easily replaced on short notice. Europe receives over 85 percent of Libya's crude exports. [Christian Science Monitor] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: Everyone has heard of the “Fog of War,” where rumor and fact and suspicion all swirl together in a blinding confusion. It seems there is a “Fog of Revolution,” too. A case in point is the mystery of which members of the Gaddafi family have fled Libya. Mr. Gaddafi himself had to appear on Libyan TV to show he had not fled to Venezuela. The latest is his daughter Aisha. A Libyan Arab Airlines ATR 42 turbo-prop aircraft with 14 people on board arrived in Maltese airspace Wednesday, but was denied permission to land because it was determined that Aisha was one of the passengers. Al Jazeera reported the crew had to circle for 20 minutes while the diplomatic questions were addressed. The flight crew requested permission to land saying they were low on fuel. ATR 42 twin turboprop short-haul airliner coming in for a landing [Aquapour] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: Italian authorities have raised concerns about the current crisis in Libya, saying the exodus of Libyan migrants will endanger the safety of the European country. "The immigration situation in Libya, which had been stopped or slowed down in recent years, could resume dramatically if the current situation leads to a collapse of the system," Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said on Wednesday, Reuters reported. Italy has called on the European Union to establish a "special solidarity fund” to deal with the large influx of Libyan migrants. Frattini also warned that not only Italy but also all Europe should brace for this potential humanitarian disaster. He estimated that about 300,000 Libyans could seek refuge in Italy. Italy is also vulnerable to aftermath of the revolution in Libya since the African country provides about 25 percent of Italy's oil needs and is a major supplier of gas to the European country. [Press TV] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: Up until now, I have been inclined to give the White House the benefit of the doubt for the Middle East message difficulties that they have been having. But they are stretching that doubt almost to the breaking point. Today's press briefing by White House Spokesman Jay Carney was excruciating. He clearly had nothing to say about Libya and was determined not to say it. I am not expecting the White House spokesman to make policy from the podium, but I did expect the White House to be further ahead of the curve today than they were yesterday or the day before, thus giving Carney more material to work with. I can think of only two plausible explanations for the weak White House response thus far: * Perhaps the Gaddafi regime is blocking the evacuation of U.S. citizens so as to intimidate the White House into making only muted statements -- and this intimidation is working (note to President Obama, this is closer to what real hostage-taking feels like). [Foreign Policy] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: New America Media, News Analysis, Yoichi Shimatsu, Posted: Feb 23, 2011 In what country have Americans fought more wars than in any other? The runners-up include the two wars in Iraq, a pair for Germany, Britain, twice in the revolution and 1812, and Cuba, a double-header if the covert Bay of Pigs operation is included. The invasions of Canada don't count since it was still a British colony. These worthy foes fall short by half. The U.S. Marine Corps ditty about the "shores of Tripoli" provides a clue. The answer was given away by Moammar Gadhafi in his defiant comeback speech on Feb. 22, accusing the United States of instigating the current rebellion against his regime. His head wrapped in a saffron turban, he gave a rousing, if rambling, account of surviving dozens of U.S. bombs that blasted his desert encampment, wounding him and killing dozens of his aides in 1986. [New America Media] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: Tobruk is a name that history has written in blood. This small port on the Mediterranean coast of Libya was ‘liberated’ three times during the desert war of Montgomery and Rommel. Each was an epic of resistance and sacrifice. Now, during this convulsion of democracy-hungry revolts which have come to be known as the Arab Spring, Tobruk has been liberated again. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi might still cling on to power in the distant capital, Tripoli. But in the eastern half of Libya his 41-year regime has been cast off. Since last week the streets here have been controlled by civilian militias and soldiers who have mutinied against Gaddafi’s often eccentric but always ruthless tyranny. I stood on the peaceful harbour front of Tobruk last night. There was no sound of even distant conflict, only that of local dogs. [Daily Mail] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: TEHRAN: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday expressed outrage at what he said was “unimaginable” repression in Libya, urging world leaders to listen to their people. “It is unimaginable that someone is killing his citizens, bombarding his citizens,” Ahmadinejad said on state television when asked about the situation in Libya. “How can officers be ordered to use bullets from machine guns, tanks and guns against their own citizens?” “This is unacceptable. Let the people speak, be free, decide to express their will. Do not resist the will of the people,” the hardliner said as he told world leaders to “listen, hear and talk” to their people. A popular uprising against Moamer Kadhafi’s regime in Libya erupted on February 15, after the rulers of neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt were ousted in similar revolts. [Daily Times] More

Thursday, 24 February, 2011: Despite vowing to fight to the "last drop" of his blood, pressure mounted on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi Wednesday, following a double whammy of condemnations from the international community and mass resignations by his senior officials. Gaddafi's government Wednesday set the official death toll of the nine days of riots at 189 civilians and 111 soldiers. However, the International Federation for Human Rights has put the toll at 640. Ahead of a meeting late Wednesday in Brussels, EU officials said the bloc was ready to impose sanctions on Libya, and the union had suspended all arms trade with the African country. The sanctions could include an assets freeze, a visa ban and the legal pursuit of top figures in the Libyan government, an EU diplomatic source told AFP. [Global Times] More

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011: ROME — Governments around the world scrambled Tuesday to evacuate their citizens from an increasingly chaotic Libya, chartering military and civilian planes and, in the case of Britain and Turkey, mobilizing military ships. The British foreign secretary, William Hague, said in a statement that many of the hundreds of British citizens inside Libya were stuck “in Tripoli airport without immediate flights out of the country, following flight cancellations, closures of airspace and difficulties securing permits from the appropriate authorities.” Mr. Hague said that landing clearances were urgently being sought for a charter flight within 48 hours and that the frigate Cumberland had been sent toward Libya from the eastern Mediterranean “in case it is required to play a role in assisting British nationals.” [New York Times] More

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi says anti-government protests will not force him out, and that he expects to die a "martyr" in Libya. Mr. Gadhafi spoke on Libyan state television Tuesday in his first detailed address to the country since the bloody wave of demonstrations began. He urged his supporters to help defend Libya against people he called "gangs" and "terrorists." Clenching a green book that appeared to be a guide to his political philosophy, he threatened the death penalty for anyone who takes up arms against Libya or engages in espionage. Also Tuesday, one of Mr. Gadhafi's closest associates, Interior Minister Abdel Fattah Younis, announced his defection and support for the "February 17 revolution." [VOA News] More

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011: As Libya spiraled further out of control today, WikiLeaks posted two new cables from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli detailing the family squabbles of strongman Muammar al-Gaddafi's family. Both are from March 2009, and both are signed by U.S. Ambassador Gene Cretz, the United States' first ambassador in Libya since 1972, who lost his job last month following the release of the infamous "voluptuous blonde" cable (and/or other more serious dispatches) he had signed. The cables date from an eventful period in the life of the Gaddafi family. The previous July, Hannibal al-Gaddafi, the Gaddafi son best known for getting in trouble in Europe on a semi-regular basis, had been arrested in Switzerland for beating his servants at a Geneva hotel. Meanwhile, Saif al-Islam, Muammar's heir-apparent and the best-regarded Gaddafi outside of Libya, was fuming over the growing closeness between his father and his brother Muatassim (above, with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in April 2009), [Foreign Policy] More

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011: President Obama's advisers are keeping him informed on developments in Libya. The president has made no additional remarks on Libya since a written statement last week condemning violence against peaceful protesters, but he continues to monitor the situation closely. As with political upheaval in Egypt and Tunisia, and demonstrations in other countries in the region, administration statements continue to call for an end to violence against peaceful protesters, and stress the importance of respecting universal rights and freedoms. President Obama has received regular updates on Libya, and the situation in other countries, from his National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. [] More

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011: (RTTNews) - Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro has prophesied in his latest write-up that the US may well order NATO to invade Libya, reports said on Tuesday. The octogenarian leader who led the Communist nation for close to half-a-century before illness forced him to step down, said in a column published in state-owned media that the US was far more interested in Libya's vast oil reserves than ensuring lasting peace there. According to Castro, it was too early to pass judgment on what was actually happening in the north African nation. Castro argues in his article titled 'Reflections' that Washington's ultimate aim is to gain overall control of global oil supplies. [RTT News] More

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011: As if his 22-second “umbrella” appearance on television wasn’t bad enough, the leader of Libya has provided an equally bizarre follow-up, in the form of a nearly two-hour, rambling diatribe against his people, and the world. The international media has felt comfortable in the past labeling Moammar Gadhafi as “crazy,” using terms such as madman and megalomaniac; today we are hearing a more serious line of discussion about the colonel: the butcher of Libya comes to mind, as terms like war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide increasingly dominate the coverage. Not only does Gadhafi’s regime have blood on its hands, its leader has done the equivalent of waving these bloody hands in the air and declaring that he is far from satisfied with the murders he has committed so far. [Daily Star] More

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011: As Libya's leader Muammar al-Qaddafi vowed today to escalate his campaign to crush the popular uprising that threaten his rule, the country's cadre of once loyal foreign envoys began offering up resignations and challenging the strongman's decision to crack down violently on civilians. In the past 24 hours, Libyan diplomats posted in the United States, the United Nations, the Arab League, Australia, Bangladesh, and Indonesia have either stepped down or broken ranks with what one Libyan envoy called the "dictatorship regime." But one prominent Libyan diplomat, Abdurraham Mohamed Shalgam, Libya's U.N. envoy, stood up for Libya's self-styled Leader and Guide of the Revolution even as he acknowledged his government's role in killing civilians. "I am still with Qaddafi. He is my friend," Shalgam, an old schoolmate of Qaddafi's and member of his inner circle, told reporters. "I am not one of those who would kiss his hands and his feet in the daytime and denounce him at night." [Foreign Policy] More

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011: (NEW YORK) -- As the closing bell tolled Tuesday, the effects of the violence in Libya’s streets were evident on Wall Street. The board stock market measure -- the S&P 500 -- was down by more than two percent for the day. Unrest in oil-producing Libya has helped push energy prices higher during the past several days, giving traders concern that increasing costs could cut into corporate profits, and, if the rising prices continue for weeks or months, might knock the American consumer back into a penny-pinching recession mode. Investors moved out of corporate stocks and into traditional safe havens like U.S. Treasuries and gold in an attempt to protect their portfolio values. [WTMA] More

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011: LONDON — The Times newspaper said Wednesday it had footage of severely wounded and dead protesters in a Libyan hospital which proved that heavy weapons were being used to crush the uprising. Shocking footage of corpses with bodies blasted off and patients with almost completely severed torsos provided "incontrovertible evidence" that heavy artillery was used, Martin Fletcher, the newspaper's associate editor said. "It's not entirely clear how these men were killed, it could have been by fighter jets, it could have been by helicopter gunships, it could have been by mortar, it could have been by heavy machine guns," Fletcher said. [AFP] More

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011: (Reuters) - A burgeoning revolt in Libya led to a call from Senator John Kerry, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for all oil companies to cease operations in the country immediately. Many U.S. oil companies have interests in Libya. The following are details of their exposure, based on their latest annual reports: CONOCOPHILLIPS: ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil company, holds a 16.3 percent interest in Libya's Waha concessions, which encompass nearly 13 million gross acres. Net oil production from Libya averaged 45,000 barrels per day in 2009 -- or 2 percent of worldwide output -- down from 47,000 bpd in 2008. [Reuters] More

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011: UNITED NATIONS, Feb 22, 2011 (IPS) - If besieged Libyan leader Muammar el-Gaddafi survives the widespread revolt in his turmoil-plagued country, will he be the second sitting head of state to be charged or indicted for war crimes? The killings of over 200 civilian protestors in Libya over the last seven days have triggered strong condemnation not only by the United Nations but also by human rights groups and governments worldwide. "I have seen very disturbing and shocking scenes, where Libyan authorities have been firing at demonstrators from warplanes and helicopters," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon told reporters. [Ips News] More

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011: Cairo - The Arab League on Tuesday suspended Libya from its sessions in light of violent crackdowns on anti-government protests, regional news network Al Jazeera reported. The decision came at an emergency meeting held by the Arab League in Cairo to discuss the situation in Libya. Earlier on Tuesday, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa spoke of 'Arab anger about what is happening to civilians in Libya.' The announcement came after Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi gave a televised speech saying he had no intention of stepping down and that 'any use of force against the authority of the state will be sentenced to death.' [M&C] More

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011: Britain is to send a Royal Navy frigate to Libyan waters to support efforts to evacuate Britons from the troubled country and has chartered a plane to fly to Tripoli to rescue stranded nationals. William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said that as the Libyan state was collapsing it was necessary to have a military component to the rescue efforts. Foreign Office diplomats were trying to get permission last night for the chartered plane to land. Mr Hague said British nationals in Libya were facing "significant difficulties" in leaving the country. He said HMS Cumberland would be sent to international waters near Libya to assist and added: "We are making arrangements of a charter plane to travel to Libya in the next 48 hours. We are urgently seeking landing clearances and permissions from the Libyan government." [Telegraph] More

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011: HOUSTON (Dow Jones)--Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB) Chief Executive Andrew Gould warned investors Tuesday that civil unrest in Libya and turmoil in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia could weigh on the company's first-quarter earnings. In Libya, where the world's largest oilfield services company derives 1% of its revenue, "our operations are shut down" and "all our efforts are concentrated on trying to repatriate our employees," Gould said during the company's analyst meeting in Boston, according to a transcript of his speech. Schlumberger's activity in Egypt and Tunisia is recommencing, Gould said. Shares of Schlumberger closed down 2.24%, or $2.13, at $92.91 Tuesday but were up at $93 in after-hours trading. [Wall Street Journal] More

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011: A prominent member of the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Council has called on anti-government protesters to be, in his words, defiant and keep up the pressure on embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, adding there is need to get rid of the “mad dictator.” Esam Alarian, spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, told VOA the international community should support the ongoing “revolution” in Libya to bring about what he described as democracy and freedom for all Libyans. “We ask that the Libyan people (should) continue in their revolution to expel this dictator and that (they) should sacrifice and they will have the victory and win. And also, we appeal to all free men in all places in the world to be on the side of, and support, the Libyan people,” said Alarian. [VOA News] More

Wednesday, 23 February, 2011: TRIPOLI, Libya, Feb. 22 (UPI) - A cleric called for a fatwa Tuesday against embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, saying fighting his citizens "is not heroism." Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi, head of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, issued a fatwa on live television, urging the Libyan army to kill Gadhafi, the Los Angeles Times reported. [UA Port] More
Tuesday, 22 February, 2011: SANAA, YEMEN - Libyan warplanes and helicopters fired from the air and loyalist militias fatally shot protesters in the streets as the government of Moammar Gaddafi fought back viciously Monday against demonstrations that appear to be fast eroding the autocrat's four-decade-long hold on power. In Tripoli, the capital, residents reported seeing heavily armed mercenaries hunting down demonstrators as buildings burned, looters ransacked police stations, and fighter jets and helicopter gunships rained ammunition from the skies. Senior Libyan officials and diplomats resigned in outrage over the attacks against civilians, while soldiers fled their units and joined the opposition. Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, accused Gaddafi of killing his own people and urged the international community to act against the regime. [Washington Post] More

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011: Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi said he hadn’t fled the country as diplomats resigned and soldiers deserted in protest over a crackdown on anti-government protesters that has left hundreds dead. “I am here in Tripoli and not in Venezuela,” the Libyan leader said in comments broadcast on state TV. “Don’t believe the dog news agencies,” he said, leaning out of his car to speak into a microphone, while holding a white umbrella over his head. Qaddafi’s remarks came after his son threatened “rivers of blood” amid an eruption of violence that the International Federation for Human Rights says has killed more than 300 people. As oil prices surged to the highest in more than two years, Libya’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations accused his government of “genocide.” [Businessweek] More

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011: Bahrain and Libya’s sovereign credit ratings were cut as the two Arab countries struggle to contain anti-government protests. Persian Gulf and North African stocks declined. Bahrain’s long-term rating was reduced by one level to A-, the fourth-lowest investment grade, and the short-term rating lowered to A-2 at Standard & Poor’s Ratings. Libya’s long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings were cut to BBB, two notches above non-investment grade, from BBB+ at Fitch Ratings. The MADEX Free Float Index in Morocco tumbled 3 percent, the most in two years, at the 3:30 p.m. close in Casablanca. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of Gulf stocks lost 0.4 percent, bringing the seven-day drop to 5.3 percent. [Bloomberg] More

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011: European governments are coming under pressure to explain ears spent courting Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi—and signing scores of lucrative business contracts with Tripoli—despite the country's oppressive human-rights record. On Monday, top European officials stepped up their condemnation of violence that has claimed hundreds of lives. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron called Libya's actions "completely appalling and unacceptable." Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi voiced alarm over "the unacceptable use of violence against the civil population," echoing words by the French government which also condemned the regime's "disproportionate and unacceptable use of force." Yet many critics say the hard words against Libya come too late. [Wall Street Journal] More

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011: The federal government is considering evacuating Australians from Libya as the violence there intensifies. Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Tuesday said the estimated 80 Australians believed to be in the North African country should get out. "We are starting to canvass evacuation options should that be necessary," she told reporters in Canberra. Advertisement: Story continues below The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has lifted its Libya travel warning to the highest "Do No Travel" level as deadly clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces rage into a second week. "Australians are advised to avoid all travel to Libya because of the volatile and uncertain security situation," DFAT said. [SMH] More

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011: European countries sent planes and ferries to Libya on Monday to evacuate their citizens, and some oil and gas companies pulled their foreign staff out and suspended operations, as anti-government protests spread to Tripoli for the first time. Passengers returning Monday night to Rome aboard an Alitalia aircraft from Tripoli said they had heard gunfire through the night in the Libyan capital, but an eerie silence had blanketed the city as they drove to the airport in the morning. “We had civilians with guns on every corner, so it is not safe at all,” said Zoran Siljak, a Serbian working in Libya for a paint company. “Last night, there were shots through the night, there was fighting in the streets.” Italy hadn’t ordered any evacuations for the estimated 1,500 Italians in Libya, but state-owned Alitalia was sending in larger aircraft on its routes to accommodate increased demand, a spokesman said. [Wall Street Journal] More

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011: The United States has condemned the violence against anti-government protesters in Libya and called on Moammar Gadhafi's government to stop the "unacceptable bloodshed" taking place in the North African nation. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday the world is watching events unfold in Libya "with alarm." Her statement came amid reports from the Libyan capital, Tripoli, that helicopters and warplanes were besieging parts of the city and foreign mercenaries had begun to open fire on protesters. Qatar's prime minister told the satellite television channel Al Jazeera the international community must act immediately to end the crackdown. Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabr al-Thani called for an Arab League meeting Tuesday to discuss the crisis in Libya. [VOA] More

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011: CAIRO — Deep cracks opened in Moammar Gadhafi's regime Monday, with Libyan government officials at home and abroad resigning, air force pilots defecting and a bloody crackdown on protesters in the capital of Tripoli, where cars and buildings were burned. World leaders voiced outrage at the tactics used against the demonstrators. The mercurial leader appeared on Libyan state television for less than a minute early today to dispel rumors that he had fled. Sitting in a car in front of what appeared to be his residence and holding an umbrella out of the door, he told an interviewer that he had wanted to go to the capital's Green Square to talk to his supporters, but rain stopped him. “I am here to show that I am in Tripoli and not in Venezuela. Don't believe those misleading dog stations,” he said, referring to the media reports that he had left the country. [Courier-Journal] More

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011: LOS ANGELES (AFP)--The U.N. Security Council will meet Tuesday to discuss the crisis in Libya, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, noting he had spoken to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and urged restraint. Gadhafi violently crushed anti-regime protests raging across his country Monday. Some reports say hundreds have been killed in the oil-rich African nation. [Wall Street Journal] More

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke with longtime Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi on Monday, Reuters reported. Ban had an extensive discussion with Kadafi, condemned the escalating violence in Libya and told him it "must stop immediately," a U.N. spokesman told Reuters. Meanwhile, Libya's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Ibrahim Dabbashi, condemned Kadafi, saying that his regime has declared war on Libyans and was committing genocide, according to CNN reports. Dabbashi did not step down, saying he was at the U.N. to serve the Libyan people and not the regime. The whereabouts of the head of Libya's U.N. mission was not immediately clear, according to CNN. [LA Times] More

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011: Two high-ranking Libyan air force pilots have who fled to Malta in their aircraft are reported to have told officials they escaped rather than carry out orders to bomb civilians. The officers defected as Libyan diplomats in several countries and international organisations resigned in protest at the regime's violent response to the deepening crisis. They included Muammar Gaddafi's ambassadors to China, India, Indonesia and Poland, as well as Libya's representative to the Arab League and most, if not all, of its mission at the United Nations. Omar Jelban, head of the London People's Bureau, flatly denied an al-Jazeera report he too had quit. Jelban was earlier called to the Foreign Office to hear what William Hague, the foreign secretary, called "our absolute condemnation of the use of lethal force against demonstrators". [Guardian] More

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011: As my colleague Colin Moynihan reports, on Monday in New York members of Libya’s mission to the United Nations denounced Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi for his bloody response to protests and called on him to resign. In an interview with Al Jazeera English, Libya’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Ibrahim Dabbashi, called the killing of protesters “genocide” and said that he and his colleagues “don’t agree with anything the regime is doing; we are in the service of the people.” Asked what message he wanted to send to Colonel Qaddafi, Mr. Dabbashi said, “The only thing I tell him on the air now is he has to get out — either he gets out or the Libyan people will kick him out… and I think he knows it, he knows it and I think he is just trying to delay his fate.” He added: “I think it is the end of the game… the whole regime is crumbling, and we will soon see the fall of this regime.” [The Lede] More

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011: The Libyan government has cut off Internet access in the country. The General Post and Telecommunications Company, Libya's main provider of internet access, has ceased to function. It was shut down in response to the accumulation of citizen protests demanding the ouster of the country's president Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, who has been in power since 1969. Their government follows in the footsteps of Egypt, which also cut off internet trying to quell public protests against the regime. Despite the governments efforts, Egyptians who took to the streets for two weeks were able to oust the nation's president Hosni Mubarak, after 30 years in office. Limited access to the Internet makes it difficult to get information from the country. Libya is a country smaller than Egypt, and has fewer service providers, which has apparently made the task of disconnecting everything a little easier. [Wiki News] More

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011: SEOUL, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Major South Korean builders put their construction projects in Libya on hold amid a bloody revolt against authoritarian rule by its leader Muammar Gaddafi, as construction shares in Seoul fell sharply. Last year alone, South Korea won nine contracts worth $2 billion in Libya, making it one of the biggest foreign players outside of the oil market which produces most of the country's wealth. A total of 24 South Korean builders are working in Libya, hiring 22,000 employees including 1,300 Koreans. A foreign ministry official told Reuters the South Korean government was advising its nationals in Libya to leave as soon as possible if their business was not urgent. [Reuters] More

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011: Long one of the Arab world's most perplexing personalities, Moammar Gadhafi has traveled the globe with a tent, warning against foreign intervention while polishing his image at home as the father of the revolution. But the unrest sweeping the tribal nation is a sign that after four decades in power, Gadhafi has lost the support of key clans and loyalists and has steadily relied on repression to stay in power. "Gadhafi's biggest mistake was that he built his whole regime on pure fear," said Omar Amer, a member of the Libyan Youth Movement, a protest group that spreads its message through Facebook. "He totally abandoned civilizing Libya. He neglected education and development projects. He left the majority of his people in the dark ages and built his might on fear through torturing and killing political dissidents in public. [Seattle Times] More

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011: As we watch protests and violent crackdowns unfold in Libya, it is important to keep in mind key differences between Egypt and Libya, and that we should not expect an identical course to unfold there. One important distnction is how very difficult it is to get information out of Libya about what is really going on. Few journalists are in the country reporting on the events at the moment. And so we must rely on information from Human Rights Watch and other human rights activist groups, along with what we've heard in radio reports from doctors at various hospitals. To understand what is happening in Libya, we rely on these snippets, as in Libya, but even the social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, has been much less active than it was in Egypt during the height of its protests. [ABC] More
Monday, 21 February, 2011: 9.03am: An eyewitness tells Reuters that Tripoli is calm after the protests in the Libyan capital last night. When I spoke to anti-Gaddafi protesters outside the Libyan embassy last week, one told me that the key would be if protests spread to the capital from the east, where anti-Gaddafi sentiment has never been far from the surface. A Tripoli resident, who did not want to be identified, told Reuters the streets of the capital were calm early on Monday morning but that there was no sign of police, which is unusual for the city. He said that late on Sunday night anti-Gaddafi protesters had been replaced by his supporters, who rallied in the centre of the city around Green Square until about 5 a.m. (0400 GMT). [Guardian] More

Monday, 21 February, 2011: The State Department says the United States is gravely concerned about reports that hundreds of people have been killed or injured during anti-government protests in Libya. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley says the U.S. has raised strong objections with Libyan officials, including Foreign Minister Musa Kusa, about the use of lethal force against demonstrators. Crowley says the U.S. reiterated "the importance of universal rights, including freedom of speech and peaceful assembly." Protests against the longtime rule of Moammar Qadaffi reached the Libyan capital of Tripoli on Sunday, and protesters seized military bases and weapons. Forces loyal to Gadhafi have responded with violence, and medical officials, human rights groups and exiled dissidents say more than 200 have been killed. [Fox News] More

Monday, 21 February, 2011: Feb 21 (Reuters) - European Union foreign ministers will condemn the repression of anti-government protests in Libya, according to the draft of a joint statement to be agreed at their meeting later on Monday. "The Council condemns the ongoing repression against peaceful demonstrators in Libya and deplores the violence and the death of civilians," said the draft statement made available to Reuters. "Freedom of expression and the right to assemble peacefully are fundamental rights of every human being which must be respected and protected." [Reuters] More

Monday, 21 February, 2011: Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd has called on Australians in Libya to leave the country as violent protests continue on the country's streets. Demonstrators have reportedly taken control of much of the eastern city of Benghazi in violent protests against Moamar Gaddafi, who has led the north African country for 41 years. Hospitals are struggling to cope with the number of casualties, with reports suggesting the number of dead has reached 200. Mr Rudd says almost 100 Australians are registered to be in Libya. [ABC] More

Monday, 21 February, 2011: SEOUL, Feb. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korean builders are moving to boost security at their construction sites in Arab countries following protesters' looting of three construction sites in Libya last week, a trade association said Monday. According to the International Contractors Association of Korea (ICAK), a total of 70 South Korean builders have been conducting construction projects in such countries as Libya, Yemen, Iran, Morocco and Bahrain in which pro-democracy demonstrations have been intensifying since late January. Of the builders, 61 have advanced into Libya, where the most violent protests in the five Middle Eastern countries have taken place, the ICAK said. [Yonhap News] More

Monday, 21 February, 2011: (Reuters) - BP PLC (BP.L) has suspended preparations for exploratory drilling for oil and gas in western Libya due to growing unrest in the north African country, a spokesman for the British energy giant said on Monday. The company does not produce any oil or gas in Libya but has been readying an onshore rig to start drilling for fuel in the west of the country. "We are looking at evacuating some people from Libya, so those preparations are being suspended but we haven't started drilling and we are years away from any production," the spokesman said. [Reuters] More

Monday, 21 February, 2011: New Delhi: Reports suggest that Libya's ambassador to India and a senior Libyan diplomat to China have resigned in protest at their government's violent crackdown on demonstrators calling for the ouster of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The BBC on its Arabic service website has reported that Ali al-Essawi, the Ambassador to India, has also accused the government of deploying foreign mercenaries against the protesters. There has been no immediate response from the Libyan embassy in New Delhi or the Ministry of External Affairs. [NDTV] More

Monday, 21 February, 2011: Turkey sent a relief team and foodstuff to the Libyan city of Benghazi Monday to help Turks living there as unrest swept the country, local media reported. A plane, which carried a five-member team sent by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including two doctors and a nurse, and food aid from Turkish relief agency Red Crescent, was scheduled to take off from Istanbul's Ataturk Airport early Monday morning, the semi-official Anatolia news agency said. Turkey has evacuated 581 of its citizens from Libya and additional flights will be sent to bring back some 3,000 Turks, the foreign ministry was cited as saying. [People Daily] More

Monday, 21 February, 2011: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, has warned that civil war could hit the country. His comments came in a lengthy TV address to the nation broadcast as anti-government protests spread to the capital Tripoli. He offered significant political reforms, and admitted that the police and army had made "mistakes", but said the death toll was lower than reported. Human Rights Watch says at least 233 people have died since last Thursday. It urged governments to tell Libya to stop the unlawful killing of protesters amid accounts of authorities using live ammunition against them. Earlier reports said Col Gaddafi had fled Libya, prompting crowds to come out on to the streets of Tripoli to celebrate, but his son told state TV viewers that his father remained in Libya "leading the battle". On Sunday evening, witnesses spoke of tear gas and live ammunition being used against protesters by the security forces. [The Nation] More

Monday, 21 February, 2011: CAIRO, Feb 21 (KUNA) -- The General Union of Egyptian doctors affirmed Monday its coordination with the World Health Organization, other associations and unions to provide humanitarian and medical assistance to the Libyan people during the present political unrest there. The Secretary-General for humanitarian aid commission to the union Abdulqader Hijazi said in a statement that they prepared a medical convoy packed with medicines and other medical equipment for medical assistance. The union coordinated with Egyptian armed forces to insure the arrival of the medical delegation. The convoy to head to Libya in hours from now. The medical delegation accompanying the convoy include surgeons, orthopedics, plastic surgery, brain and nerves as well as anesthesia specialists. [Kuna] More

Monday, 21 February, 2011: A former senior diplomat has said political reform in Libya was "long overdue". Ex-Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch-Brown, who was previously deputy secretary general of the United Nations, said: "I wish this had happened years ago." Lord Malloch-Brown, who served in the Foreign Office under Gordon Brown for two years, said he was surprised repression and inequality under Colonel Gaddafi's 41-year rule had not sparked a popular uprising earlier. But he added: "The resistance of Gaddafi - the terror state and security state he has established - explains why not. To be an opponent of his has been an almost suicide sentence to put on oneself, so he has survived through terror and suppression of his citizens." [Guardian] More

Monday, 21 February, 2011: LONDON (AFP) – British energy giant BP was on Monday making preparations to evacuate some of its staff from Libya amid escalating unrest in the country, a spokesman told AFP. "We're just monitoring the situation and making preparations to evacuate some of the families, and some non-essential staff in the next day or two," said the spokesman. The company has about 140 staff in the country, about 40 of whom are expatriates, he said.

Sunday, 20 February, 2011: There are reports at least 15 people have been killed after Libyan security forces opened fire at a funeral, as the regime struggles to suppress an uprising against veteran ruler Muammar Gaddafi. It brings the estimated death toll in the country since the unrest began to almost 100. The brutal crackdown comes as a wave of protests sweep through the Arab world, including Bahrain, Yemen, Iraq, Alergia, Tunisia and Kuwait. With foreign journalists banned from entering Libya and internet and mobile phone communications frequently cut, reports on the violence have been sketchy, with some protesters relying on YouTube to publish images of the clashes. [ABC] More

Sunday, 20 February, 2011: TRIPOLI, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Libya forces have killed dozens of protesters in the eastern city of Benghazi in the latest violence to threaten Muammar Gaddafi's authority, with national Muslim leaders appealing for an end to the growing death toll. Before the latest reports of deaths, Human Rights Watch said 84 people had been killed over three days in a fierce security crackdown mounted in response to anti-government protests that seek to emulate uprisings in neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia. Britain's Independent on Sunday said the body count in Benghazi may be as high as 200. "Dozens were killed ... not 15, dozens. We are in the midst of a massacre here," a witness told Al Jazeera television. The man said he helped take the victims to hospital in Benghazi, Libya's second city. [Reuters] More

Sunday, 20 February, 2011: Libyan authorities have arrested dozens of members of a "network" of Arab nationals allegedly seeking to destabilise the country, as up to 120 people die in clashes. The state controlled Jana news agency said those detained in several cities were members of a "foreign network (and were) trained to damage Libya's stability, the safety of its citizens and national unity." Sources close to the investigation, quoted by the agency, said the group included Tunisian, Egyptian, Sudanese, Palestinian, Syrian and Turkish citizens. However international observers see the claims as being a way to divert dissatisfaction with the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Exiled Libyan opposition groups estimate the number of deaths in Libya as 120, with up to 1,000 injured in clashes. [SKY] More

Sunday, 20 February, 2011: The government has revoked 44 licences for the export of arms to Bahrain amid concern over the suppression of anti-government protesters. Eight licences authorising arms sales to Libya were also revoked amid a review of exports to the wider Middle East including Yemen. The licences are thought to cover items that could be used for repression, such as teargas. The Foreign Office said it had no evidence of British equipment being used in the unrest in Bahrain. Alistair Burt, the minister for the Middle East and north Africa, said that an immediate review of UK export licences was being conducted as a result of the changing situation in Bahrain. "All export licence applications are considered on a case-by-case basis against the consolidated EU and UK export licensing criteria and in the light of prevailing circumstances, paying particular attention to allegations of human rights abuses," he added. [Guardian] More

Sunday, 20 February, 2011: Washington (CNN) -- About 200 people demonstrated in front of the White House on Saturday challenging President Obama to help end recent violence in Libya. The group was responding to reports of bloody clashes between protesters and soldiers in the isolated North African nation. Malik Sahad, who helped organize the event outside the White House, said Libyans are now smuggling stories to the outside world via social media, essentially creating their own news coverage in hopes that the international community will step in. "We have people that are risking their lives, who are finding ways to send their messages, their videos, their recaps, their recounts of what's been going on," Sahad said. "They're asking us, 'Where is the media? Where is the rest of the world? We don't have cameramen down here. We don't have Anderson Cooper down here. We don't have people on the ground level to give us support and to show the rest of the world what we've been going though.'" [CNN] More

Sunday, 20 February, 2011: At least 15 people were killed on Saturday when snipers reportedly opened fire at the crowd of mourners in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, bringing the overall death toll in six days of protests to 100. A doctor at a Benghazi hospital told Al Jazeera that his hospital received at least 15 dead bodies bearing "bullet injuries from high-velocity rifles." The shooting took place during a funeral procession. "All are very serious injuries, involving the head, the chest and the abdomen. All are civilians aged from 13 to 35, no police or military injuries," he said. "Absolutely a shoot-to-kill policy." Sky News said, however, that the number of deaths might be at about 120. "Exiled Libyan opposition groups claim up to 120 people have been killed in Libya," the channel said. [RIAN] More

Sunday, 20 February, 2011: Embattled Libyan leader Muammar Kadafi has flown in hundreds of mercenaries from sub-Saharan Africa to quash protests threatening his 41-year-old regime, the Al Arabiya network reported Saturday, quoting witnesses to the arriving foreign recruits. Protesters in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and an anti-Kadafi stronghold, captured some of the imported gunmen, the news agency said. The captured French-speaking mercenaries admitted to having been recruited by Kadafi's son, Khamis, to confront the unrest threatening to topple one of the region's longest-reigning regimes, Al Arabiya reported. The agency said witnesses reported seeing four planes carrying mercenaries land in Benina International Airport near Benghazi. The British-based website reported earlier that several planes carrying foreign recruits in Libyan army uniforms landed at a military airport near Tripoli. The crackdown on anti-Kadafi demonstrators has resulted in at least 84 deaths, the New York-based Human Rights Watch reported from sources in the region. [LA Times] More

Sunday, 20 February, 2011: About 300 sign-waving protesters calling for the ouster of Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi gathered this afternoon at the main entrance to Arden Fair mall along Arden Way in Sacramento. Chanting and waving both American and Libyan flags, the protesters were boisterous but peaceful, only occasionally presenting an obstacle to motorists gingerly turning into the crowded mall parking lot. The group called for an end to Gadhafi's more than 40-year hold on power, and they expressed outrage at what they called Gadhafi's hiring of mercenaries to gun down like-minded protesters in the African nation. On Saturday in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city, regime forces fired on protesters marching in funeral processions for those previously killed, according to news service reports. An unknown number were killed in the latest violence. [Sacramento Bee] More

Sunday, 20 February, 2011: On 25 February 2004, Tony Blair stood up in the Libyan capital Tripoli and shook hands with an eccentric dictator who until then had been regarded as an international pariah for his involvement in sponsoring terrorism. That man was Muammar Gaddafi, who, Blair announced, had joined Britain in the fight against terror. Asked if he was queasy about meeting Libya's leader, Blair replied: "It was strange, given the history, to come here and do this and, of course, I am conscious of the pain that people have suffered as a result of terrorist actions in the past." What Blair meant, to be explicit, was Libya's involvement in downing a US airliner over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, and the shooting of a British police constable, WPC Yvonne Fletcher, by a gunman who fired from inside the Libyan embassy in London. [Guardian] More

Sunday, 20 February, 2011: Libyan protests demanding an end to the four-decade rule of Muammar Qaddafi may end in a “bloodbath” unless the international community intervenes, a leading member of an exiled opposition group said. Libyan special security forces are preparing attacks on Benghazi and other cities in the eastern part of the country that have been taken over by protesters, Mohammed Ali Abdallah, deputy secretary general of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “We are expecting a massacre,” Ali Abdallah said. “We are sending an SOS to the international community to step in.” Without international efforts to hold back Qaddafi, “there were be a bloodbath in Libya in the next 48 hours.” [Bloomberg] More

Sunday, 20 February, 2011: The government of Libya, responding to protests in recent days with alarming violence, pays three prominent Washington lobby shops to improve relations with Congress and the White House. Livingston Group, White & Case, and Blank Rome are all on record as representing the regime of Muammar Abu Minyar Al-Qadhafi. Livingston Group also represents Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, a charity headed by Qadhafi’s son. Foreign agent records show that the firms collected more than $8 million in 2008 and 2009 for lobbying and legal services. The Livingston Group, headed by former Louisian Congressman Robert Livingston, also represented Mubarak’s government in Egypt. [Muckety] More

Sunday, 20 February, 2011: TRIPOLI, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Libya forces have killed dozens of protesters in the eastern city of Benghazi in the latest violence to threaten Muammar Gaddafi's authority, with national Muslim leaders appealing for an end to the growing death toll. Before the latest reports of deaths, Human Rights Watch said 84 people had been killed over three days in a fierce security crackdown mounted in response to anti-government protests that seek to emulate uprisings in neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia. Britain's Independent on Sunday said the body count in Benghazi may be as high as 200. "Dozens were killed ... not 15, dozens. We are in the midst of a massacre here," a witness told Al Jazeera television. The man said he helped take the victims to hospital in Benghazi, Libya's second city. Read more on Muslim Leaders Urge End to 'Massacre' in Libya Important: Do You Support Pres. Obama's Re-Election? Vote Here Now! [New Max] More

Saturday, 19 February, 2011: Cairo/Tripoli - Renewed protests turned violent across Libya on Friday, with opposition activists saying dozens were shot dead during funerals and marches for those killed in anti-government demonstrations earlier this week. The protests against the rule of Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi had spread to the capital Tripoli by late Friday night. Witnesses reported people taking to the streets in a number of western neighbourhoods. Sources from northeastern city of Benghazi told the German Press Agency dpa that 25 protesters were killed there Friday. There was no independent or official confirmation. Residents of Benghazi also reported that police there had been replaced with military troops. [M&C] More

Saturday, 19 February, 2011: In response to rising anti-government protests in Libya, leaders have started to cut off citizens' access to Facebook and other Internet sites. The folks over at Center Networks pose an interesting question: what happens to all those companies that have no business in Libya but use the .ly suffix in their domain names? Link-shortening service is probably the most prominent one, but there are others like, which shortens links so they can be posted on Tweetdeck, and, which turns links into more interesting embeddable content by putting images and other material around them. [SF Gate] More

Saturday, 19 February, 2011: LONDON — Britain on Friday warned its nationals against all but essential travel to Bahrain and parts of eastern Libya amid violent anti-government protests in both countries. The Foreign Office advised against all non-essential travel to Bahrain after security forces opened fire on anti-regime demonstrators in the capital Manama, with reports of dozens wounded. "In light of recent developments, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has changed its travel advice to advise against all but essential travel to the Kingdom of Bahrain," said a Foreign Office statement. The decision was taken "in response to reports of live fire in the capital Manama," it said. "The risk of further dem [AFP] More

Saturday, 19 February, 2011: DUBAI, Feb 18 (Reuters) - The Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera said on Friday its signal was being jammed on several frequencies and its website had been blocked in Libya. Al Jazeera, whose coverage of the political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa is widely watched in the Arab world, reported the jamming on its website where it offered alternative frequencies on the Arabsat, Nilesat and Hot Bird satellites. Al Jazeera has closely followed events in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen, contacting protesters and government backers by telephone and often using footage of events sent via the Internet. [Reuters] More

Saturday, 19 February, 2011: AFP - Moamer Kadhafi's regime vowed to crush any challenge to the Libyan strongman after an opposition "day of anger" turned into a bloodbath and two policemen were reported hanged by protesters. According to a toll compiled by AFP from different local sources, at least 41 people have lost their lives since demonstrations first erupted on Tuesday. That toll does not include two policemen who were killed on Friday. Oea newspaper, which is close to Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam, said they were lynched after being captured in the eastern city of Al-Baida. [France 24] More

Saturday, 19 February, 2011: TRIPOLI, Libya, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Libya worries unrest in the Middle East will create problems for an Arab summit next month as dozens were reported dead in anti-government protests in Tripoli. Libya, which holds the rotating presidency of the Arab League, suggested postponing next month's Arab League summit in Iraq because of ongoing political turmoil in the Middle East, the official Jana news agency reports. The concerns come as unrest at home claimed the lives of at least 24 protesters demanding Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi step down after four decades in power. [UPI] More

Saturday, 19 February, 2011: A leadership congress controlled by Muammar Gaddafi has pledged a change in government administrators, trying to ease demonstrations demanding the longtime leader be ousted. Protesters battled with security forces for control of neighbourhoods in eastern Libya where dozens have reportedly been killed in two days of clashes. Residents in the eastern city of Al-Baida said security reinforcements had been bused in, including what they said where foreign African mercenaries, to put down protesters who burned police stations. But local police, who belong to the same tribe as the residents, were battling alongside protesters against security forces, two witnesses in the city said. A hospital official in Al-Baida said on Friday that the bodies of at least 23 protesters slain over the past 48 hours were at his facility, which was treating about 500 wounded - some in the parking lot for lack of beds. [Sky News] More

Saturday, 19 February, 2011: LIBYA: Four prisoners were killed trying to escape a Tripoli prison, while inmates of a Benghazi succeeded in doing so before burning a bank, prosecutor's office and police station, local press said, after protests against Libyan leader Moamer Gadhafi have led to at least 28 deaths in three days. [Vancouver Sun] More

Friday, 18 February, 2011: CAIRO/TRIPOLI: Libyan security forces were expecting violent demonstrations Friday, a day after an estimated 45 people were killed in clashes across the country. Online postings by opposition groups called for demonstrations against the country's ruler of 41 years Muammer Gaddafi to start after Friday prayers. Violent clashes erupted between demonstrators and security forces across the country Thursday in what opposition organisers had billed as a "Day of Anger". Videos posted online appeared to show the bodies of several young men in different locations, and hundreds of demonstrators tearing down a monument in honour of Gaddafi's Green Book in the eastern coastal town of Tobruk. [Times of India] More

Friday, 18 February, 2011: CAIRO — Libyan security forces killed at least 24 people in a violent crackdown on anti-regime demonstrations during a "Day of Anger" against strongman Moamer Kadhafi, Human Rights Watch said Friday. The New York-based rights group, citing witnesses, said 24 protesters were killed and scores injured during Thursday's assaults on protests in two Libyan cities. "The authorities should cease the use of lethal force unless absolutely necessary to protect lives and open an independent investigation into the lethal shootings," HRW said in a statement. [AFP] More

Friday, 18 February, 2011: LONDON, Feb 17 (Reuters) - BP Plc (BP.L), recovering from last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill, plans to begin offshore exploration drilling in Libya by the end of June, later than previously expected. Spokesman Robert Wine said on Thursday that BP expected to drill offshore in Libya in the first half of this year and that work on an onshore well would begin sooner. The company had previously planned to begin offshore drilling in 2010. "We postponed it to do extra checks following the oil spill and also the rig we had lined up we decided wasn't suitable, so we've got another rig," he said. "Onshore, we've got a rig in place and they are getting ready, so that should get under way shortly." [Reuters] More

Friday, 18 February, 2011: A Korean-run construction site in the Libyan city of Derna has been broken into and taken over by some two-hundred locals. Seoul's foreign affairs and trade ministry said Friday that the intrusion took place at around 12:30 a.m., local time, Thursday, adding that part of the site was set on fire. The ministry said the attack is believed to have been instigated by homeless local residents who are unhappy with the Libyan government's housing policy. The same construction site was attacked and looted by locals last month…causing around 15 billion wonor 13.5 million US dollars in property damage. [Arirang] More

Friday, 18 February, 2011: A Google maps user has posted an interactive map outlining the locations and details associated with protests in Libya. Users select icons on the map to separate reports of protests, police violence and death tolls. “All electricity and gas has been cut off in the city of Zintan (and also Gala). A report that Zintan is surrounded by over 4000 armed soldiers,” wrote someone posting a report of violence at 10:20 p.m. local time. “A report of revolutionary guards in the main square of Al Birka in Benghazi shooting anyone in sight,” wrote another user about the same time. [LA Times] More

Friday, 18 February, 2011: TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) – Mohamed Saleh, a Libyan man who resides in Toledo, is passionate about freedom for the people of his native land. Saleh credits the internet with giving citizens the power to unite in protest against dictators after being isolated from other parts of the world for centuries. However, Saleh says changes in technology have allowed folks to glimpse freedom. As a result, Saleh says many young Libyans are fighting for freedom after what they watched take place in Egypt. Saleh uses his computer and cell phone to keep up-to-date with his friends in Libya. In fact, one man called Saleh Thursday to show a glimpse of what conditions are like in the country. [WTOL] More

Thursday, 17 February, 2011: (New York) - Libyan Internal Security forces have arrested at least 14 people as protests began in connection with peaceful demonstrations planned for February 17, 2011, Human Rights Watch said today. The Libyan authorities should immediately free all activists, writers, and protesters detained solely for their role in preparing for the February 17 protest and allow Libyans the right to protest peacefully, Human Rights Watch said. On the evening of February 15, authorities used teargas and batons, as well as attackers in street clothes, to disperse protesters in Benghazi, Libya's second largest city, injuring 14 people, the online daily Quryna reported. Sources in Libya told Human Rights Watch that one person was killed in the ensuing violence. [HRW] More

Thursday, 17 February, 2011: CAIRO -- The anti-government protest wave unleashed in Tunisia and Egypt swept into Libya, where demonstrators battled security forces in a rare public outpouring of anger at longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, according to news reports and Internet posts and videos Wednesday. The tumult in Bengazi, Libya's second largest city, came as anti-government protests grew in the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain and in Yemen, where one person was killed in a clash with police in the southern port of Aden. In Egypt, meanwhile, scattered labor unrest flared five days after the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak. Activists called for major protests Friday to maintain pressure on the ruling military council to enact promised reforms. [Miami Herald] More

Thursday, 17 February, 2011: Muammar al-Gaddafi is under pressure as the wave of protests occurring across the Middle East is sweeping towards Libya. As one of the longest serving rulers in history, he has held his post as the north African country’s leader since 1969. In his first speech since Egyptian protesters made news around the world as Hosni Mubarak resigned, Gaddafi asserted his support for Palestinian refugees. "All Arab states which have relations with Israel are cowardly regimes." He also expressed his disapproval of the Western powers. "The white color has decided to get rid of the green color," Gaddafi also said, referring to the Western powers of the US, Europe and allies as “white” and the Muslim world as “green.” [Thirdage] More

Thursday, 17 February, 2011: ROME (AP) — Italy's Eni oil and natural gas company has reached a deal to hand over half of its 33 percent stake in Libya's Elephant oilfield to Russia's Gazprom. Eni says the deal worth $170 million was signed in Rome Wednesday by Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni, in the presence of Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The deal is still to be approved by Libyan authorities. The two companies also agreed to sign by Feb. 28 a sale agreement for gas production in the Siberian fields of Severenergija. The Italian-Russian partnership includes the launch of South Stream pipeline, which will carry gas from Russia to the European Union. [Bloomberg] More

Thursday, 17 February, 2011: A FORMER British ambassador has accused the previous Labour government of "flagrantly contravening" United Nations resolutions over its decision to allow the Lockerbie bomber to apply for release back to Libya. Sir Brian Barder, who served as British High Commissioner to Australia, writes in The Scotsman today that the so-called "deal in the desert" between the then prime minister, Tony Blair, and Libyan leader Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi in 1997 was a clear breach of a UN resolution which stipulated the bomber should see out his sentence in the UK. At the meeting, Mr Blair agreed to a Libyan request to sign a Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA) for Libyan prisoners in the UK. At the time, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the only man convicted of the Lockerbie atrocity, was the only Libyan in a UK jail. [Scotsman] More

Thursday, 17 February, 2011: Amnesty International is calling on the Libyan government to end its clampdown on peaceful political activists after violence erupted at demonstrations in the city of Benghazi following the arrest of activists ahead of a protest planned for Thursday. Hundreds of people took part in demonstrations on Wednesday following the arrests of Fathi Terbel and Fraj Esharani, both members of the Abu Salim families’ organising committee set up by relatives of victims of a prison massacre in 1996, and three other activists. They were leading calls for a major demonstration on 17 February in support of calls for far-reaching political reforms, inspired by similar protests in Tunisia and Egypt. [Amnesty] More

Wednesday, 16 February, 2011: The four-decade-old regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi faces rare internet calls for protests this week by activists buoyed by the ouster of veteran strongmen in neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia. The demonstrations are being called on Thursday to commemorate the deaths of 14 protesters in 2006 in an Islamist rally in Libya's second city of Benghazi. But they are being fuelled by the wave of protests that has swept through the Arab world, rocking regimes that have long seemed unmovable. Like protest movements elsewhere in the region, the dissidents have been using the internet in a bid to rally support in a country where the media are tightly controlled by the state. Advertisement: Story continues below Under the banner "The February 17 Intifada (Uprising): A Day of Strikes in Libya", a Facebook group urging a popular uprising had garnered more than 5000 members by Tuesday. [SMH] More

Wednesday, 16 February, 2011: There are reports of protests in the Libyan city of Benghazi. Eyewitnesses told the BBC that the unrest had been triggered by the arrest of a lawyer who is an outspoken critic of the government. The lawyer was later said to have been released, but the demonstrations reportedly continued. Pro-democracy protests have swept through several Arab countries in recent weeks, forcing the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt from power. There is no independent confirmation of the protests in Benghazi, but eyewitnesses say that at one stage some 2,000 people were involved. [BBC] More

Wednesday, 16 February, 2011: TRIPOLI — Libya on Tuesday announced the nomination of Canada's Philippe Kirsch, a former president of the International Criminal Court, to head a tribunal to arbitrate a diplomatic dispute with Switzerland. "The representatives of the Great Jamahiriya and Switzerland, after consulting the (designated) judges of both parties, agreed on the nomination of Canadian expert in international law Philippe Kirsch to preside over the tribunal," a foreign ministry statement said. Relations between Bern and Tripoli were deeply strained after the July 2008 arrest of a son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, Hannibal, in Geneva. Hannibal was later released, but the move sparked a series of reprisals from Tripoli. Two Swiss citizens were blocked from leaving Libyan territory until last year. The tribunal, which will sit in Berlin, will focus on the circumstances of Hannibal's arrest. [AFP] More

Wednesday, 16 February, 2011: Russian energy giant Gazprom will join the Elephant oilfield in Libya in an asset-swap deal with Italian energy company Eni on Wednesday, Russian presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko said on Tuesday. Under the deal, Gazprom is to take half of Eni's stake in the deposit or a total of 33% in the project. In exchange, Eni will be allowed to take part in projects to develop northwest Siberian assets owned by the Arctic Gas company. Prikhodko said the document will be signed in Rome during the visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. The Elephant oilfield, which has recoverable reserves of around 700 million barrels, is located in Murzuq Basin in the southwestern Libyan desert, about 800 km (465 miles) south of Tripoli. The deposit, also known as the El Feel oilfield, was discovered in 1997. [RIAN]

Tuesday, 15 February, 2011: CHICAGO -- A Libyan national who was wanted on a rape charge out of Glendale, Colorado is in custody after attempting to fly home, federal authorities said. On Feb. 12, Ali Ahmed Abooedella, 35 departed the United States on a flight bound for Libya, via the United Kingdom. An arrest warrant out of Glendale was issued that same day, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “CBP quickly alerted the authorities in London of his arrest warrant and, upon landing, Abooedella was denied entry to the United Kingdom and returned to the United States,” spokesman Brian Bell said in a statement. “As Abooedella stepped off the airplane in Chicago, he was taken into custody by CBP officers at O’Hare Airport where he was processed and turned over to the Chicago Police Department to await extradition back to Glendale.” [KDVR] More

Tuesday, 15 February, 2011: JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi called on Palestinians to mass on Israel's borders until their demands are met. "Fleets of boats should take Palestinians ... and wait by the Palestinian shores until the problem is resolved," Gaddafi said in a speech Sunday night on state television, his first public remarks since Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down. "This is a time of popular revolutions." "This is not a declaration of war. This is a call for peace," he added, according to reports. Israel has rejected a Palestinian right of return, saying that all but a symbolic number of Palestinian refugees should be absorbed in an independent Palestinian state, formed as part of the terms of an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty. Gadhafi also called Arab states that maintain relations with Israel "cowardly regimes." [JTA] More

Tuesday, 15 February, 2011: TRIPOLI Feb 14 (Reuters) - Libya said it had agreed with Switzerland on the appointment of a chief arbitrator to help repair relations that were stretched to breaking point by a diplomatic dispute last year. Libya's foreign affairs ministry said representatives of the two countries "have mutually agreed to appoint Canadian international law expert Philippe Kirsch ... to chair the Arbitration Tribunal sitting in Berlin" after consultation with arbitrators appointed by the two countries. The spat began two years ago when Swiss police briefly arrested Hannibal Gaddafi, a son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, though he was later released without charge. Soon after the arrest, Libya withdrew millions of dollars from Swiss banks, halted oil exports to Switzerland and barred two Swiss businessmen working in Libya from leaving the country. [Reuters] More

Tuesday, 15 February, 2011: Five pregnant Nigerians have so far been confirmed dead in Libyan detention after suffering miscarriage. This happened just weeks after seven Nigerians were declared dead. P.M. NEWS learnt that apart from the pregnant women who were said to have encountered complications resulting from the conditions they encountered in detention, five other Nigerians are currently having mental challenges due to the emotional torture they experienced over the years in detention. According to the Destiny Makers Community Christian Campaigns and Action Network (DCCCAN) headed by Adams Makinwa, in a save-our-soul letter to Nigerian government, “just last week, report reached us of the gruesome death of five pregnant Nigerian girls that have suffered from miscarriage while in detention. [PM News Nigeria] More

Tuesday, 15 February, 2011: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was "dismayed" by criticism in an article by Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Last week he talked to activist Gaeda al-Tawati, who in an interview with Radio Netherlands Worldwide had described how she had been the victim of smear tactics by the foreign intelligence service. Out of desperation she had threatened to set herself on fire. Activist Gaeda al-Tawati, together with journalist Sharifa Al-Efsay, became the target of a smear campaign by a known member of the intelligence service. The journalist was fired from her job at Libyan daily Qurina last year because of her critical articles. The two women went on to publish their articles on rights abuses in Libya on opposition websites based abroad. The Libyan regime blocks such sites, though it allows social media like Facebook, albeit under tight control. [RNW] More

Tuesday, 15 February, 2011: THE Libyan Day of Rage will take place on 17 February. Muammar Gaddafi gears up for the protests modeled on events in Tunisia and Egypt by trying to deflect any protest away from himself. He wants Muslims to fight the West: Gaddafi also issued a call for Islamic nations to join its strength against the Western powers and said that the world is split into white – a reference to the United States and Europe and their allies – and green – a reference to the Muslim world. He said that white has decided to get rid of the color green and that these countries must unite against the White because all of them white, he said is the enemy of Islam. [Anorak] More

Monday, 14 February, 2011: (TRIPOLI, Libya) -- After weeks of protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square led to the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, reports say Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi fears his country may soon face similar protests. Last week, Gaddafi used his security forces to detain political opponent Jamal al-Hajji for posting a message online urging people to protest the government. The message told the public to begin peacefully protesting on March 2. Gaddafi has been in power for over 40 years after assuming control in a military coup during the 1960s. Al-Hajii's call is similar to that which began the revolution in Egypt. A call for protesters to take to the streets began online, especially on Twitter using the hashtag #Jan25, denoting the first day of the protests. [Wall Street Journal] More

Monday, 14 February, 2011: In the wake of the resignation of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, online activists are threatening to test one of the Arab world's most repressive regimes: Col. Moammar Gadhafi's Libya. Expatriate activists and an amorphous group of bloggers and social-network users—it isn't clear how many of them are in Libya—are calling for protests across the oil-rich North African nation on Thursday. They are hoping to draw momentum from the revolts in Egypt and Tunisia and to commemorate two of the grislier events in Col. Gadhafi's nearly 42-year reign. On Feb. 17, 1987, nine young Libyans were publicly executed after being convicted of plotting to kill Libyan and foreign officials. The executions—some by hanging, some by firing squad—were repeatedly aired on state TV. [WTMA] More

Monday, 14 February, 2011: (Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - After the fall of 30-year regime of Hosni Mubarak, there have been that Libya will be doing a similar protest. The current prime minister has been in the position for almost 40 years. Similarly, the Egypt former president held the position for 3o years. Now, some people from Arab countries are speculating that Libyan will follow Egyptians, who just followed the Tunisians. According to sources, on February 17, the alleged massive protest will be launched. Al-Jazeera said that the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi held these days, a series of meetings with a high ranking officers. [Abna] More

Monday, 14 February, 2011: Foreign Affairs Minister Tonio Borg has rejected suggestions that an unannounced visit to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi last Wednesday was ill-timed in the light of the revolutions sweeping the Arab world. The visit of Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and Dr Borg to Libya was criticised by some analysts who said the government was embracing a dictator who runs a repressive government which stifles freedom of speech or press or pluralism in politics. But contacted yesterday, Dr Borg said it would be naive to halt diplomatic efforts with a neighbouring country. The Foreign Minister was asked how Malta why was discussing “stability in the region” with Col. Gaddafi when he has a reputation for being a hardliner who has openly endorsed the recently ousted Tunisian and Egyptian presidents. [Times of Malta] More

Sunday, 13 February, 2011: Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, better known as the Lockerbie Bomber, should be dead by now. That was the deal. Megrahi blew up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988, murdering 270 people, including 190 Americans. A former Libyan intelligence agent, Megrahi was arrested and charged and then used every detail, wrinkle and technicality afforded by Western justice to escape his fate. Proceedings dragged on for years, and it wasn’t until Jan. 31, 2001, that a three-judge Scottish panel finally convicted him. Megrahi was sentenced to life in prison. Which should have been the end of a long, agonizing process that had caused tremendous suffering to the loved ones of those who died. [Sun Times] More

Sunday, 13 February, 2011: Egypt's revolution has the potential to remake its neighbors even as the country's future hangs in the balance. "It'll be harder and harder for Libya to remain a dictatorship," said Keith Watenpaugh, a UC Davis professor and author who has studied Middle East history and teaches classes on modern Islam and human rights. "It'll be harder and harder for Syria to withstand pressures to democratize." The key is Egypt's influence, which is unparalleled in the Middle East, he said. "It's dominating in the production of television and movies," he said. "Many Arabs from around the Arab world go to Egypt. ... It's like California to America." He said the departure of President Hosni Mubarak was undoubtedly a military coup, itself a response to Egyptian protests that have swallowed the country. [Daily Democrat] More

Sunday, 13 February, 2011: The successful revolt in Tunisia under the autocratic regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali who had ruled for 23 years inspired confidence in Egyptians. The end of President Hosni Mubarak’s 30 year-rule, the issue of long imposed emergency laws in North Africa have been questioned as Algerians demand a more democratic government. Unemployment and a closed press amongst other issues have been brought to the fore. After weeks of relentless protests by hundreds of thousands of Egyptians, Mubarak surrendered his powers. The remainder of autocratic states across North Africa and the Middle East now fear the possibility of change. The revolution sweeping autocratic states is indeed not over as potentials for uprising against dictators remain high. [Afrik-News] More

Sunday, 13 February, 2011: Union Football Cup - Libya's Under-20 national team has won the North African Football Union Cup, after beating Algeria 1- 0 Thursday night in Museratha, 220 km east of Tripoli. With the victory, Libya finished on 7 point, one more than Algeria. Kenya, which was given a special invitation to participate in the tournament, beat Morocco 2-0 in the final round of matches. The guests finished third on three points, while Morocco, with 1 point, finished last. [Afriquejet] More

Sunday, 13 February, 2011: Libyan authorities are expected to release political prisoners, including activists in Islamic organizations, soon, according to a source cited Friday by the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat. The source said the step is being taken because of growing calls to demonstrate against Libyan dictator Muamar Ghadafi next week. [Artuz Sheva] More

Sunday, 13 February, 2011: Dictators are a curious breed. When they seize power, they have little time or patience to remember the fate that might have befallen autocrats in earlier times and in other countries. Of course, some men, like Hosni Mubarak, do not come by power through seizing it but by being placed there through constitutional means. The trouble, though, is that once they get to that place, they begin exploring the ways and means by which they can stay there and, more specifically, make sure that after them it will be their children to carry on with the odious job of ruling a country against its wishes. Mubarak took charge of Egypt after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in October 1981. He was able to do that because he had been Sadat's vice president. [The Daily Star] More

Saturday, 12 February, 2011: Libyan President Muammar al-Qaddafi apparently fears he may be next in line to face the wrath of his people. The dictator, who has been head of the country for 40 years, had his security forces detain opponent Jamal al-Hajji, this week. He was arrested after posting a call for protest on the Internet. He asked that people across Libya rise up on March 2, to peacefully protest against Qaddafi. Al-Hajji was arrested in Tripoli on allegations that he hit a car and fled the scene of the accident. Amnesty International is calling on the Libyan government to explain the allegations, which they say are unfounded. The group called Al-Hajji " a prisoner of conscience." [Washington Examiner] More

Saturday, 12 February, 2011: The stunning events in Egypt will of course have repercussions in that region, but a Washington and Lee University politics professor believes the effect will be felt primarily in Arab states with similar regimes to that of Hosni Mubarek, now the former Egyptian president. It may not, however, reignite the Green Movement in Iran. Ayşe Zarakol, who studies political transformations and is the author of a new book, "After Defeat: How the East Learned to Live with the West," says the likeliest next candidates are Jordan, Syria, Morocco and Libya. "Had the United States not invaded Iraq, it would also have been a prime candidate for political instability in the coming months," said Zarakol. "In my estimation, the current Iranian regime is less vulnerable than those other regimes, and so is the Hamas government in Gaza. [WLU] More

Saturday, 12 February, 2011: (VOV) - The number of Vietnamese labourers working in Libya last year was 5,242, making the total of 9,840 including previous years. As scheduled, in 2011, Vietnam will send about 4,000 labourers to Libya, who will be mainly employed in the construction sector. Vietnamese companies, which send large numbers of labourers to Libya, have their own representative offices, and systems of coordinators and interpreters, in order to timely solve issues relating to Vietnamese labourers. Recent surveys show that almost employers and local authorities in Libya are fairly satisfied with Vietnamese labourers, especially in terms of their ability to cope with unexpected problems. On their part, most Vietnamese labourers are content with the level of income, working conditions and the climate in Libya. [VOV News] More

Saturday, 12 February, 2011: It's appropriate that a city whose wealth was partly due to a locally grown aphrodisiac should have its rises and falls. Cyrene, in Libya's eastern province of Cyrenaica, is the country's most intact ancient Greek city and during its heyday in the 4th century was possibly the most important metropolis anywhere in the Greek empire. Today it is a huge, sprawling archaeological site that spills down the slopes of the Green Mountains, with panoramic views of the Libyan coastline and the Mediterranean beyond at just about every vantage point. [NZ Herals] More\
Friday, 11 February, 2011: Egyptians might have been willing to accept their lot for a while longer if the ailing Mubarak had not made it clear he intended his son, Gamal, to succeed him in power. Of all his arrogant acts, none insulted his people more than his insistence that of the 80 million Egyptians, Gamal Mubarak was best qualified to lead the country. The plan was for him to rise to power not by popular vote, but only because his father wished it that way. Barely a week after protests exploded in Egypt, President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen publicly promised that he would stop maneuvering to place his son, Ahmed, in the presidency after he departs. At the same time, King Abdullah of Jordan, who succeeded his father on the throne, sacked his government in an effort to shore up his regime. [MSNBC] More

Friday, 11 February, 2011: Libya, ruled by one of the world’s longest serving dictator’s, Colonel Gaddafi, shares a border with Egypt and Tunisia. So far there have been no reports of any serious recent political unrest. However, Amnesty International says that last week a Libyan writer and political commentator, Jamal al-Hajji was arrested because he called for peaceful protests. And demonstrations could be looming. There have calls on the internet for demonstrations in Libya on the 17th of February. For a closer look at the situation in Libya and the U.S. relationship with the Gaddafi regime, we go to Professor Ali Ahmida, chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of New England. He’s the author of The Making of Modern Libya: State Formation, Colonialization and Resistance. [FSRN] More

Friday, 11 February, 2011: Gordon Brown and other Labour ministers should be forced to testify before an inquiry into the release of the Lockerbie bomber, a senior American senator said last night. The call came from Robert Menendez, who has previously spearheaded American investigations into the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the convicted Libyan terrorist. It is not clear whether the Senate would order such an inquiry in America if the British government refuses to intervene. Jack Straw, who was justice secretary at the time, has previously refused to give evidence on the affair to American politicians and a spokesman for David Cameron continued to insist yesterday that the Prime Minister did not believe there were grounds for a full-scale independent inquiry. [Telegraph] More

Friday, 11 February, 2011: February 9, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan owes more than $1 billion to Libya making it the country’s largest debtor, according to a document obtained by Reuters. The document, drafted by Libya’s foreign ministry and presented to the Peoples Congresses, or grassroots lawmaking bodies, says Libya has provided loans to around 40 countries worth a total of $2.197 billion. As of the end of 2009, Libya had been paid back $1.302 billion, leaving an outstanding balance, when interest is included, of $3.231 billion, it said. Of that, $1.287 billion, belongs to Sudan though it is not clear when Khartoum acquired that debt. [Sudan Tribune]

Thursday, 10 February, 2011: TRIPOLI, Feb 9 (Reuters) - A writer who called for peaceful mass protests in Libya like those in Tunisia and Egypt has been arrested on the pretext of an alleged car accident, Amnesty International said. The human rights group said Jamal al-Hajji, who has dual Libyan and Danish nationality, was arrested on Feb. 1 shortly after he issued a call on the Internet for demonstrations in support of greater freedoms in the North African country. "Hajji was arrested in a car park in Tripoli by a group of about 10 security officials in plain clothes who told him a man claimed to have been hit by Jamal al-Hajji's car, which he had just parked," it added. [Reuters] More

Thursday, 10 February, 2011: It wasn’t Americans’ imagination. The deal to release from a Scottish prison the Libyan intelligence operative who blew up a Pan Am jumbo jet with the loss of 270 lives really did smell. The Labour government then in power was desperate to see Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted in the 1988 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, freed and returned to Libya. The Libyan government had already threatened Britain’s growing commercial interests, particularly oil, in Libya. In late 2008, al-Megrahi was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer and the Labour government feared that if he died in prison the Libyans would make good on those threats. [Naples News] More

Thursday, 10 February, 2011: Feb 9 (Reuters) - A Libyan government document obtained by Reuters showed the oil exporter is owed over $3 billion dollars by foreign governments after handing out dozens of loans that underscore its wealth and its diplomatic clout. For the main story, click on [ID:nLDE7110QG] Below are details of the loans set out in the document, which was drafted by the Libyan General Peoples' Committee for International Cooperation, or foreign ministry: COUNTRY AMOUNT AMOUNT OUTSTANDING OF LOAN REPAID BALANCE (MLN USD)* (incl. interest) Central African Republic 11.32 mln euros** 0 Mali 66.26** 0 Tunisia 63 25.2 37.8 [Reuters] More

Thursday, 10 February, 2011: The chief of a Libyan charitable organization has responded to a Jan. 20 piece on Babylon & Beyond reporting allegations of a power struggle within the family of Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi. Youssef Sawani, executive director of the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, said the article contained "inaccuracies and mistaken assumptions" about the political situation in Libya. Here's the letter: "Your article, relying on little more than speculation, states that the Foundation's decision to focus on humanitarian aid in Africa rather than domestic politics in Libya is the result of a power struggle within the Gaddafi family. This is completely wrong. [LA Times] More

Thursday, 10 February, 2011: Oil-sector training-Libya - In line with its national programme to have a large number of Libyans employed in the nation's oil sector, Libyan oil companies have started training 253 new graduates, according to the website of the Libyan National Oil Company (NOC). 'These training is part of the programme, titled '1,000 opportunities for specialization in petroleum engineering', initiated by the human resources department of the NOC, which began 5 December, 2010,' the website said. Supervised by foreign oil companies operating in Libya, the training programme is executed under the terms of agreements for exploration and production sharing signed between the companies and the NOC. [Afriquejet] More

Thursday, 10 February, 2011: Nairobi — It looks like Mr Kamlesh Pattni can never keep out of trouble. Shortly after the architect of the Goldenberg scandal led a delegation of elders to Libya, he is under investigation over the source of a leopard skin presented to President Muammar Gaddafi. The skin was one of the gifts given to Mr Gaddafi when more than 50 Kenyan elders visited his country. It is not yet known how Mr Pattni got hold of the leopard skin and took it to Libya. To export animal trophy outside Kenya, one would normally need permission from the Kenya Wildlife Service. Representing communities: Ordinarily, Kenya Wildlife Services has to license either a wild animal or products made out of animal parts to leave the country, said the director Julius Kipng'etich. [All Africa] More

Wednesday, 9 February, 2011: NICOSIA — Human rights watchdog Amnesty International on Tuesday questioned Libya's detention of a cyber-activist for an alleged driving offence saying it had evidence the arrest was politically motivated. Jamal al-Hajji, who has joint Libyan and Danish citizenship and has spent time in prison in the past for his criticism of the Tripoli regime, was detained on February 1 for an alleged hit-and-run accident, which he denies. His arrest came shortly after he made a call on the Internet for demonstrations to be held in support of greater freedoms in Libya, mirroring the protests that have swept the Arab world since the overthrow last month of veteran Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. [AFP] More

Wednesday, 9 February, 2011: Add Azamara Club Cruises to the list of lines scheduling calls in Libya. The Miami-based boutique operator says its 694-passenger Azamara Quest will visit Libya's Al Khums and Tripoli during a Mediterranean voyage that begins on Oct. 16, 2012. The itinerary, which only will be done once, is among 54 itineraries the line unveiled Monday for 2012 and early 2013 on the Quest and its sister ship, the 694-passenger Azamara Journey. The sailings range in length from five to 16 nights and include calls in dozens of countries in the Mediterranean Sea, Northern Europe, South America, India and the West Indies. [USA Today] More

Wednesday, 9 February, 2011: BERLIN — A German court says it has convicted a 46-year-old Libyan man of spying for his country's intelligence service and sentenced him to a suspended 14 months prison term. A Berlin court said in a statement Tuesday the man, identified only as Omar K., was found guilty of gathering information for Libya's intelligence service on opposition figures living in Germany between May and September 2010. It says Omar K. was paid by another convicted Libyan spy, identified only as Adel A., to gather information on the exiled opposition figures. Adel A. was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison last month. [Canadian Press] More

Wednesday, 9 February, 2011: Tripoli - Marriott International, Inc., is to open its first hotel in Libya, the JW Marriott Hotel in Tripoli. Perched on the shores of the Mediterranean, the 5-star hotel features 370 guest rooms and suites, stylish lounges and restaurants, a state-of-the-art fitness centre and the delights of the Saray Spa. The hotel will open its doors on February 15, 2011. All rooms and suites are equipped with luxurious JW Revive bedding, cable TV, high speed internet, mini bar, safe and an en-suite bathroom with luxurious soaking tub and separate shower. The hotel's specialty restaurants offer the finest indoor and al fresco dining options. [Tripoli Post] More

Wednesday, 9 February, 2011: Kenyas Under-20 football team got a real thumping when they fell 5-1 to hosts Libya in a friendly match played in Tripoli on Sunday. Kenya was invited to take part in the four nations Under-20 North African football tournament which also features Morocco and Algeria. The Libyan team is coached by former Harambee Stars coach German Antoine Hey while the Kenyan team which is mainly drawn from the National Talent academy is under the tutelage of Coach Bob Oyugi. In another match played, Algeria beat Morocco 2-0.Kenya was scheduled to take on Algeria on Tuesday Feb 8th while Libya will play against Morocco on Wednesday Feb 9th. [Super Sport] More

Wednesday, 9 February, 2011: South Korea's Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co Ltd has received a $204 million order to build a general hospital in Libya as it is beefing up operations in the North African market. The nine-storey hospital under the Swani Hospital Project will be located in Tripoli with 200 beds and additional facilities, and it will be completed in October 2013, Daewoo said in a statement. The South Korean builder signed the contract with a subsidiary of Libya's state-run Economic and Social Development Fund, it added. [Tripoli Post] More

Wednesday, 9 February, 2011: RABAT (Reuters) - The risk of social unrest in Libya has come under greater scrutiny after street revolts in its neighbors Tunisia and Egypt. The wealthiest North African country has began to dig deeper into its pockets to address social grievances which might spark similar unrest at home. Despite its vast oil and gas wealth and a relatively small population of 6.5 million, Libya has both the highest demographic growth and unemployment rates in North Africa. While he has sent mixed signals about the Tunisian revolt, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the longest-serving Arab ruler, did not say if he would be prepared to embrace reforms advocated by some close members of his entourage. [FOX for KC] More

Wednesday, 9 February, 2011: Libya has cancelled a debt of US$24 million owed by Guinea, according to the Libyan national television, following the recent working visit of President Alpha Conde to the north African nation. Libyan leader Muammar Kadhafi has also promised to supply Guinea with hydrocarbons, buses and tractors, after which a strong Libyan delegation will travel to Conakry to discuss the modalities for the proposed High Joint Cooperation Committee between the two countries. The delegation will also discuss the construction in Kipe, a suburb of Conakry, of a 5-star hotel to be financed by Libya, which has also promised, from 2012, to make available 30 scholarships for Guinean students. [PANA] More

Tuesday, 8 February, 2011: Internal British government documents provide revealing new details about how that country’s last two prime ministers — Tony Blair and Gordon Brown — sought to curry favor with Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi in an effort to smooth the way for hundreds of millions of dollars in commercial contracts with oil giant BP and two big British defense firms. Those efforts ultimately prompted Brown’s government to “do all it could” to try to win the release of Abdulbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the former Libyan intelligence agent convicted of blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland on Dec. 21, 1988, killing 270 people, according to an official British report released Monday. “Megrahi’s health remains a key high-risk issue. We do not want him to die in a Scottish jail, with the likely negative consequences for our relations with Libya,” read a Jan. 22, 2009, memo from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office to senior officials in Brown’s government. [MSNBC] More

Tuesday, 8 February, 2011: An Australian political and defense analyst says long-time Libyan strongman Muammar al-Gaddafi is quietly preparing to leave the scene and return the country to a monarchy. While the world's attention is focused on the coming political changes in Egypt, Greg Copley, president of the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA) in Washington, DC, says the country's neighbor -- Libya -- is moving toward a transition of its own after 42 years of Muammar al-Gaddafi's rule. The Libyan dictator has actually taken charge of the change. "What Gaddafi is now starting to do, and he started this last year, he recognized that all of his sons, but particularly the one he designated as his heir, Saif al-Islam, was not going to cut it either with the Libyan people or with Gaddafi's own ideas for Libya," Copley explains. [One News Now] More

Tuesday, 8 February, 2011: Five years after Libya reopened its oil sector to global participation, it has not matched its billing as a black gold El Dorado. The need to import foreign expertise is as great as ever; large sections of production infrastructure need upgrading and vast areas of the desert are unexplored. This policy of opening has come up against domestic fears that international companies and specialists might extract too many benefits at the expense of the Libyan government and people. The result is a political and economic standoff between the champions of liberalisation and ‘Libyanisation’. Having rushed into Colonel Muammar el Gaddafi’s jamahiriya (state of the masses) in their dozens since 2005, oil companies are now finding it harder than ever to make money. Many operators, who had outbid each other to get footholds in this new market, are contemplating temporary withdrawal until conditions improve. [The African Report] More

Tuesday, 8 February, 2011: In the 1970s the young Libyan leader, Colonel Moammar Gadaffi, was the most impatient exponent of Arab unity. In 1973 he flew to Tunisia to convince his next-door neighbour to form a union with Libya. What happened during that summit says a lot about why Tunisia is the first Arab nation to overthrow a dictator through peaceful mass protest. The first president of Tunisia, Habib Bourguiba, 70-years-old by then, sat at a simple table with a microphone in front of him and a small glass of water to one side. He wore a French suit, his grey hair was slicked back and he had on a pair of square dark glasses. He looked like Jorge Luis Borges. But, unlike the Argentinian author, Bourguiba wasn't a gifted orator. As a public speaker, the Sorbonne graduate lacked tact and was given to excitement. "What is the point of uniting 1.5-million Libyans with five-million Tunisians?" he asked mockingly. [Mail and Guardian] More

Tuesday, 8 February, 2011: The Ocean of Stone is dark and forbidding ... it is also extremely bumpy. An hour lurching through this jagged sea of volcanic rocks in a four-wheel-drive is like being trapped in a tumble-drier. But at the end of the journey in Libya's south-western Sahara region lies one of the most prolific and outstanding concentrations of prehistoric rock carvings in the world. The fact that access is so difficult has probably also ensured their survival, as there is little meaningful protection out here. The carvings of Wadi Methkandoush have been incised into the rocky walls of a valley about 400km due south of Libya's capital Tripoli. After a short drive on Libya's smooth sealed highways from the small town of Germa, we turn off on to a vast barren plain, the 4WDs streaming trails of dust. We're snacking on fresh, sticky dates, handing them to the driver who's coaxed his elderly Hilux to 80kph and got the car stereo pumping out Arab pop music. [NZ Herald] More

Tuesday, 8 February, 2011: Libya’s national investment arm was able to pick up a small Canadian oil company at a steep discount – after blocking its sale to a Chinese firm – because Tripoli delayed the deal’s approval for months, leaked documents reveal. Further, the Libyan Investment Authority had been willing to pay full price for Calgary-based Verenex Energy Inc. before its share price was whittled down during the delay. New revelations in leaked U.S. embassy cables also suggest that Libya wanted Verenex’s assets in part so it could fund its obligations to a massive fund for terrorism victims. Wikileaks’ dump of confidential information has shed fresh light on the international intrigue surrounding the sale of Verenex in 2009, which was forced out of a $10-a-share deal with China National Petroleum Corp. so the Libyan Investment Authority, which claimed a right of first refusal, could buy in at $7.09. [CTV] More

Monday, 7 February, 2011: THE violence and corruption of members of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's family have made Libya a gangster state with a worse record of governance than Egypt or Tunisia, according to leaked US diplomatic cables. The documents reveal previously undisclosed details of how family greed, rivalry and extremism have complicated British and US efforts to normalise relations with Libya since it decided to abandon nuclear weapons and renounce terrorism. Gaddafi's children plunder the country's oil revenues, run a kleptocracy and operate a reign of terror that has created simmering hatred and resentment among the people, according to the cables released by WikiLeaks. In the light of the upheavals in the Arab world, the diplomatic traffic also shows that far from being stable, Libya could be another corrupt authoritarian domino poised to fall. [The Australian] More

Monday, 7 February, 2011: I was extremely humbled and honored to be invited to participate in the historic Conference of African Migrants in Europe held from Jan. 15-17 in Tripoli, Libya, the Great Jamahiriya (People’s government). My comrades and I were invited by international peace activist Cynthia McKinney, former presidential candidate and former congresswoman, to be a part of her delegation, which included Hajj Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of the late great Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik Shabazz) and former SF Bay View writer Ra’Shida. Panels and many different speakers focused on issues that were pertinent to furthering a positive relationship between Africans on the continent with those in the diaspora. Some of the topics that stuck out to me were women having a voice. [SF Baay View] More

Monday, 7 February, 2011: (Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - The 7th edition of international Quran memorization contest titled “Wa’Tasemu” was held for women from January30 in Tajura region in Tripoli. According to Arab Online website, the competition has been organized by the General Authority for Endowment and Zakat Affairs in the capital city of Libya in cooperation with Abi Al-Ashhar Cultural, Sport and Social Club. Besides this edition of Quran memorization contests in which about 350 female Quran memorizers participated, the 22nd edition of Quranic competitions for men also began in cooperation with the club in this city with 125 participants. [Abna] More

Monday, 7 February, 2011: Sources at Al-Jazeera TV channel have denied press reports regarding its intention to air programs "against Libya or programs that would affect the security and stability of that country." These sources added that "Al Jazeera is working according to disciplined and ethical editorial policy." Earlier, Libyan press sources said that the Qatar-based channel started its preparations for a new program aimed at "undermining stability and security in the streets of Libya." A Libyan official who refused to be named was quoted as saying that the channel has started to work on the programs which would "affect the behavior of the Libyan citizen." He added that the channel is preparing to produce programs that "rely on the incitement of Libyan youth movements." [Albawaba] More

Sunday, 6 February, 2011: Amnesty International today called on the Libyan authorities to immediately clarify the legal status of former prisoner of conscience Jamal al-Hajji, who is being detained seemingly in connection with his political and human rights activities in Libya. Jamal al-Hajji was arrested earlier this week officially in relation to an alleged car accident, but Amnesty International is concerned that his detention relates chiefly to a call he made on the internet for peaceful demonstrations to take place in different parts of Libya on 2 March 2011 in support of greater freedoms in the country. If he has been detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression, the organization would consider him to be a prisoner of conscience and call for his immediate and unconditional release. [Bikyamasr] More

Sunday, 6 February, 2011: Munich - Prosecutors in Munich have dropped an investigation into alleged arms smuggling by the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, a spokeswoman confirmed on Saturday. Saif al-Arab al-Gaddafi was suspected of using a car with diplomatic licence plates to transport an assault rifle, a revolver and munition from Munich to Paris in 2008. Senior public prosecutor Barbara Stockinger said the investigation was dropped over a lack of evidence, as the alleged weapons were never found. However, Spiegel magazine reported the case was dropped despite investigators having obtained concrete witness evidence - an allegation Stockinger rejected. The magazine also claimed that prosecutors urged the police to cease their investigation into the 29-year-old student. [M&C] More

Sunday, 6 February, 2011: A YORK gun company whose boss is facing arms charges in America tried to arrange a shipment of 130,000 Kalashnikov rifles to Libya, according to a leaked document obtained by The Press. A classified memo released by Wikileaks has shown that York Guns, of Dunnington, requested an export licence in 2008 to deliver the automatic rifles to Libya. The memo from the US State Department’s Tripoli embassy said the UK was sceptical and feared that the weapons could be used to equip Libyan military units or re-exported by Libya, particularly to armed rebel factions in the Chad/Sudan conflict. [York Press] More

Sunday, 6 February, 2011: Anti-government protests sweeping North Africa that have effectively ended the rule of authoritarian presidents in Egypt and Tunisia have made soccer match cancellations the region’s flavour of the day. Oil-rich Libya and gas-rich Algeria have indefinitely extended their suspension of all soccer matches with anti-government demonstrations planned for February 12 in Algiers and February 17 in Benghazi and Tripoli. The cancellations are intended to prevent the pitch from becoming a platform for protests. The Algerian Football Federation further announced on Tuesday the cancellation of its friendly against Tunisia scheduled for February 5. Weeks of mass demonstrations last month toppled Tunisian President Zine Abedine Ben Ali. [Mideastposts] More
Saturday, 5 February, 2011: Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt... Libya? Could it be? But why not? Why should Gaddafi be immune to the righteous Arab lust for freedom? He is after all the long-serving dictator in the world and arguably the,most brutal, making even Kim Jong Il seem like a petulant schoolboy. Gaddafi has ruled over Libya with an iron first for four decades, plundered its wealth, making himself into one of the world's richest men, and exported murder and terror throughout the globe, particularly to American air travel passengers and servicemen. But we have yet to see any demonstrations against the tyrant's rule in Tripoli. [Huffington Post] More

Saturday, 5 February, 2011: Libya's construction sector is fast becoming one of the most active in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with outstanding growth recorded in 2009. Historic growth levels combined with substantial infrastructure investment plans have guided an upward revision in our growth outlook for Libya's construction sector over the short term, with real growth of 8.5% and 7.9% expected in 2011 and 2012 respectively. There are a number of factors driving our optimistic outlook for Libya's construction sector: * Construction industry real growth for 2009 was reported at 9% year-on-year (y-o-y), making it one of the best performing countries globally, despite a difficult backdrop in terms of risk aversion and reduced oil revenues. [Market Publishers] More

Saturday, 5 February, 2011: When Apache Corp. bought BP’s Egyptian assets last summer for $650 million no one anticipated the uprising that has occurred just six months later. Today Apache announced that it was pulling nonessential workers out of the country. Apache joins the likes of BG Group, Statoil, Shell and Transocean in closing offices and curtailing drilling operations. So far in Egypt there’s been no disruption in flows from existing oil and gas wells producing 700,000 bpd. The Egyptian army has beefed up patrols of the 200-mile Sumed pipeline, which carries crude oil from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. A Middle Eastern businessman told me today that Egypt’s energy assets are in safe hands considering the army has been fed and clothed with billions from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia for the past 30 years. [Forbes] More

Saturday, 5 February, 2011: Interview with Mohamed Kamal Zaki Alam, an Egyptian journalist living in Bulgaria. He was born in Cairo in 1958. He earned an degree in economics in Egypt in 1984, and a degree in journalism in Bulgaria in 1992, and a Ph. D. in international relations in 2000. He has been living in Bulgaria for 24 years, and has a Bulgarian wife, a 16-year-old son, and a 12-year-old daughter. He has worked for a number of Arab media such as Al Ahram, Sawt al Arab, and Al Arabi. He has authored several books. He is the director of the Eastern Europe office of the Arabic Center for Media Studies. [Novinite] More

Saturday, 5 February, 2011: South Korea’s foreign minister will meet his counterparts in the United Arab Emirates and Algeria next week, during which he is also seeking to visit Libya to patch up a months-long diplomatic row, the ministry here said. “We are currently discussing the details with the Libyan government so that the minister can visit the country upon his trip to the Middle East,” a ministry official said, asking not to be named as the plans are yet to be finalized. According to the ministry’s official announcement, Minister Kim Sung-hwan will meet with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan and Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci during his Feb. 5-10 trip, discussing bilateral ties and other pending issues between Korea and the Middle East. [Korea Herald] More

Saturday, 5 February, 2011: Libya will engage Benin in an international friendly on February 9 in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, the Libyan Football Federation (LFF) has announced. Both teams are preparing for the next round of the 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifiers coming up in March. Libya are topping Group C with 4 points ahead of Mozambique (4 points), Zambia (3 points) and Comoros (0 point). The Greens will meet Comoros next in the home and away fixtures. [Afrikan Soccer] More

Friday, 4 February, 2011: TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan authorities freed 12 political prisoners on Thursday after mediation by a human rights group which has had links to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. "The 12 were released this afternoon after spending close to a quarter of their jail terms for belonging to various banned political groups," the chairman of the Libya-based Human Rights Association Mohamed Ternish told Reuters. "About six of them had been sentenced to life imprisonment and the remainder to jail terms of at least three years. The released are in their 20s, others in 30s and 40s," he added. [Reuters] More

Friday, 4 February, 2011: The inland Niger delta of Mali is a unique wetland ecosystem that supports a million farmers, fishermen, and herders and a rich diversity of wildlife. But now, the country’s president and Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi have begun a major agricultural project that will divert much of the river’s water and put the delta’s future at risk. Daouda Sanankoua is an aquatic mayor, and proud of it. The elected boss of the district of Deboye arrived for our meeting in the West African state of Mali last month by overnight ferry. At this time of year, the majority of his district is flooded. Thank goodness. “More water is good,” he said... [E360] More

Friday, 4 February, 2011: Tripoli, Libya – A Libyan newspaper has said the African Union summit is the appropriate opportunity to draw the attention of African leaders to the need to complete the setting up of AU institutions to implement the United States of Africa project. Al-Zahf Al-Akhdhar, in its editorial on Monday, urged African leaders to see to it that the dream of African populations of a United States of Africa materialises, as it is one of the important keys for Africa’s development and at all levels. The newspaper said the United States of Africa would ensure a prosperous future for the continent in a world that no longer recognised small countries that were unable to face the challenges of our era. [Afriquejet] More

Thursday, 3 February, 2011: A Foreign Office minister secretly met his Libyan counterpart to discuss the release of the jailed Lockerbie bomber days before it was confirmed that the terrorist had cancer, government documents show. At the meeting in October 2008, Bill Rammell agreed with a Libyan foreign minister to set out in writing the process which would see Abdelbaset al-Megrahi released on compassionate grounds, according to a letter written nine days later and made public by the Cabinet Office. The disclosure further undermines claims from the then Labour government that it was not complicit in the release of Megrahi and that the decision to free him was taken by the Scottish Executive alone. The Tories said the disclosures suggested Labour had misled the public and left a series of unanswered questions about the release of the convicted bomber in August 2009. [Telegraph] More

Thursday, 3 February, 2011: With Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen fighting their own battles, the governments of Libya and Algeria are stamping down before the protesting starts. Libya and Algeria have indefinitely extended their suspension of all soccer matches with anti-government demonstrations. Such events were planned for February 12th in Algiers and February 17th in Benghazi and Tripoli. The intention of cancelling the sporting events, is to halt an arena for a crowd to form and demonstrate against the government. It is thought by some, that soccer fans played a key role in the protests in Egypt. Whether soccer fans fueled fire in Egypt cannot be confirmed, it has raised the awareness and fears of Algerian and Libyan Leaders in their own countries. [All Voices] More

Thursday, 3 February, 2011: Swiss diplomats in Libya received “polite refusals” from other embassies in Tripoli to a request for back-up assistance to two Swiss hostages, leaked reports reveal. Wednesday’s edition of the French-language newspaper Le Temps carries revelations from WikiLeaks about the two years of crisis between Switzerland and Libya, sparked by the brief detention in Geneva of a son of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi in 2008. In December 2009, the Swiss chargé d’affaires, Stefano Lazzarotto, feared he could be expelled from Libya, leaving the two Swiss businessmen – who were holed up in the embassy – at the mercy of the Libyan authorities. He asked a number of other embassies to protect the two men and give them material help. None agreed to do so; Le Temps quotes the response of the United States chargé d’affaires, Joan A. Polaschik to his request. [Swiss Info] More

Thursday, 3 February, 2011: Dar es Salaam. The Tanzania Investment Bank (TIB) said on Monday that it will not release the $20million (about Sh30billion) that the Libyan government has deposited in the bank to assist local investors without instructions from the foreign country. “We will not release the funds without the authorisation from the Libyan government through its embassy in Dar es Salaam,” a senior TIB official told The Citizen in a telephone interview. The TIB official was reacting to reports that the Libyan government has notified the government of Tanzania not to release the $20million from its TIB account pending completion of lawful withdrawal procedures. The TIB reaction comes in the wake of revelations by this newspaper on Monday that the Libyan government has written to the ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs after a local company, MEIS Industries Company Ltd, claimed it has won an investment agreement with the two governments for the construction of a cement factory in Lindi Region. [The Citizen] More

Thursday, 3 February, 2011: In the aftermath of political turbulence in Tunisia and Egypt, Libyan officials have told Turkish construction firms there to finish their projects ahead of time, according to company officials talking to the Hürriyet Daily News. However, Turkish businessmen say a spillover of the turmoil to Libya is a long shot, as one points to the ‘welfare state’ advantages provided to the population. The North African nation of Libya has not yet seen much of a “spillover effect” from the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, but developments regarding some housing projects have worried Turkish contractors. Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Wednesday, Turkish contractors said Libyan officials have started to urge them to “complete their projects as soon as possible.” [Hurriyet Daily News] More

Thursday, 3 February, 2011: Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi finds himself in a potentially dangerous predicament. He is sandwiched between two Arab countries (Tunisia and Egypt) which have convulsed with massive social unrest. Moreover, his prestige among the Arab world has been severely damaged by some embarrassing revelations in diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks. The cables indicated that Qaddafi and his sons live a life filled with wine, women and song, as well as domestic violence, drunk driving and wild parties – all in stark contrast to their image as upholding traditional Islamic and Bedouin tribal values. Although nothing remotely similar to what’s happening in Egypt has yet infected Libya, media reports indicate that Qaddafi’s plans to hand over his throne to one of his licentious sons is causing great concern among the population. [IB Times] More

Thursday, 3 February, 2011: AMMONNEWS - The jamming and outages of the pan-Arab satellite network Al Jazeera's broadcast has been pinpointed at Libya, and not Egypt. Informed sources told Ammon News that technical coordinates' monitoring devices have identified Libya as the location of the jamming and interference activities rather than Egypt, as has been reported before. Al Jazeera's main news channel, Al Jazeera Mubasher (Live) and several other channels within its network have been facing interference, jamming and outages since its coverage of the widespread protests and demonstrations in Egypt, before the Egyptian government closed the network's offices last week and banned its reporters from resuming their coverage. [Ammon News] More

Thursday, 3 February, 2011: Douglas Alexander came to the Commons as the new shadow Foreign Secretary. So shadowy a position is it, you might not be able to name the person he replaced. He is the Scottish son of a minister of religion.

Wednesday, 2 February, 2011: THE UK government is set to publish more official documents on the Lockerbie bomber, after American families reacted with fury to revelations that ministers had advised Libya on his release. Prime Minister David Cameron has asked Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell to review government papers on Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi's case, with a view to publishing them "shortly". The UK government signalled it would act after the publica tion of Wikileaks' documents that suggested Labour's then foreign minister Bill Rammell wrote to his counterpart in Libya in October 2008 to advise on how Megrahi could be freed from a Scottish prison. [Scotsman] More

Wednesday, 2 February, 2011: One of the two men who faces accusations over his role in the shooting of the British policewoman Yvonne Fletcher is now a “key player” in American-Libya relations, the documents show. One of the two men who faces accusations over his role in the shooting of the British policewoman Yvonne Fletcher is now a “key player” in American-Libya relations, the documents show. The WikiLeaks cables show how Matouk Mohammed Matouk, the Libyan infrastructure minister, has assumed a key role in Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in the years since the murder of WPc Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in London in April 1984. [Telegraph] More

Wednesday, 2 February, 2011: South Korea consulted with the United States last year about strengthening its civilian nuclear cooperation with Libya, a leaked U.S. cable says. According to a cable from January obtained by WikiLeaks, Korean Ambassador to Tripoli Chang Dong-hee asked his U.S. counterpart, Gene Cretz, if Washington would object to such a development. Chang told Cretz that the Korean Embassy in Washington had already broached the subject with the government without receiving a reply. “Specifically, South Korea would like to provide nuclear reactors for power generation to Libya,” the cable said, adding that the Korean envoy stressed any cooperation would be fully coordinated with the IAEA. [Korea Times] More

Wednesday, 2 February, 2011: afrol News, 1 February - As most Libyan still are too afraid of secrete government agents to express their ample discontent, three of Muammar al-Ghaddafi's sons are preparing for a possible popular uprising. One is a reformist; two are hardliners. Tunisia is Libya's main western neighbour; Egypt its main eastern neighbour. Libya is flanked by revolution and ordinary Libyans are as fed up with leader Ghaddafi as Tunisians and Egyptians were with their rulers. While Libya is North Africa's by far richest nation due to its oil wealth and a modest population of 6.5 million, more than 40 years of "revolutionary rule" by Mr Ghaddafi has done little to smooth out social injustices. Ordinary families have little hope of creating a better future for their children and no channals to express their frustrations. [Afrol] More

Wednesday, 2 February, 2011: In what is being dubbed the "March of Millions," hundreds of thousands of Egyptians have taken to the streets in the eighth day of protests against President Hosni Mubarak. Demonstrations have vowed to remain on the streets until Mubarak, who has held his position for more than 30 years, quits. Protests are taking place in Tahrir Square, which translates to Liberation Square. For reaction to the demonstrations from the Egyptian American community, we talk with Mona Shand, a reporter for WHMI in Michigan. Mona is a first generation immigrant with uncles, aunts and cousins still residing in Egypt. Munsif El Buri is a political dissident from Libya. He tells his story of getting out of Libya and changes he'd like to see come to his home country. [Thetakeaway] More

Wednesday, 2 February, 2011: As several seemingly permanent Middle Eastern autocracies tremble, Colonel Gadaffi’s Libya rolls on. So far, there have been reports of minor protests in the localities about housing shortages, nothing more. With unemployment standing at 30 percent, the Libyan people are just as impoverished as those in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt. Gadaffi’s dictatorship is scarcely benevolent, and, as for liberalisation, Libya remains one of the few completely dry countries on Earth. The secret of Gadaffi’s success then would appear to be expressing aggressive anti-American sentiment, whilst suppressing Islamism and democratic opposition at home. And all the while he entices rich Western powers (Britain) with the allure of Libya’s virginal natural resources. [Spectator]

Tuesday, 1 February, 2011: A Foreign Office minister sent Libya legal advice on how Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's cancer diagnosis could be used to help his release on compassionate grounds, it emerged last night. American cables – obtained by the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph – suggest that within a week of the diagnosis, Bill Rammell, a Foreign Office minister, had written to his Libyan counterpart, advising him on how this could be used as the grounds of securing al-Megrahi's compassionate release from prison. Previous WikiLeaks disclosures have been passed to The Guardian. But after the paper fell out with the site's founder Julian Assange over coverage of the rape allegations against him – Wikileaks shared its information with The Telegraph. [Independent] More

Tuesday, 1 February, 2011: A U.S. diplomatic cable released by the WikiLeaks website on Monday show how close the former Petro-Canada was to being expelled from Libya following a diplomatic row between strongman Moammar Gadhafi and the Canadian government. According to the cable, which was published on the London, England-based Telegraph website, Petro-Canada had prepared plans to repatriate more than 100 employees from the North African nation after federal foreign minister Lawrence Cannon announced plans to confront Gadhafi over the treatment of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi who was released from prison in Scotland for medical reasons in September of 2009. [Calgary Herald] More

Tuesday, 1 February, 2011: Wikileaks have exposed the vanities and the bizarre world of Libyan leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi in the documents that have now reached the world wide web. Written by British diplomats, the said documents were released by Wikileaks to The Daily Telegraph, which also highlighted the unusual ways Britain has been undertaking to strengthen its relationship with Libya. Wikileaks exposes vanity and bizarre world of Libyan leader Gaddafi View Full Image The documents describe Col. Gaddafi as ‘extremely vain’ in the glory days of his regime. He was recorded to employ two personal tailors to design his clothes and to have undergone Botox treatment on his face. When traveling abroad, the documents said that diplomats worry about the best ways to accommodate Col. Gaddafi and provide for all his needs. Records show that the Libyan leader prefers staying in a Bedouin tent on state visits to upper floors of buildings and hotels. Spanish governent officials had to arrange flamenco dancers for Gaddafi when visiting Spain. [IB Times] More

Tuesday, 1 February, 2011: Passed to the Telegraph by WikiLeaks 9:30PM GMT 31 Jan 2011: ...... 2.(U) Local state-run media outlets, including "Libya Al Youm" and "Libya Watanona" are reporting on the impending release of Megrahi in a factual manner, without commentary or specification of the U.S. response to the Scottish decision. Print outlet "Oya" featured an article that quotes a cancer specialist as calling for Megrahi's release on medical grounds after having examining him. 3.(U) Libya's weekly-printed English language newspaper, "The Tripoli Post," features a front-page article profiling Megrahi's 95 year-old mother, entitled "Al Megrahi Calls Mother Who Says She Keeps Door Open, Expecting Him to Enter at Any Time." The article describes his mother, Hajja Fatma, as "frail but upbeat," [Telegraph] More

Tuesday, 1 February, 2011: SEOUL, Feb. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is working to set up a visit by its foreign minister to Libya, an official said Tuesday, which would symbolize the full restoration of relations between the two countries that had frayed over an espionage row last year. Minister Kim Sung-hwan plans to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Algeria from Feb. 5-10 for cooperation talks with his counterparts, and a trip to Libya could be added to the itinerary, the official said on condition of anonymity. "We've been working on it, but we could not make an announcement because the travel plan has not been finalized yet," the official said. "The minister hopes to discuss ways to further boost cooperation between the two countries that marked the 30th anniversary of relations" in December. [Yonhap News]

Tuesday, 1 February, 2011: Oxford Business Group (OBG), the global publishing, research and consultancy firm, is building on its successful operations in Libya by teaming up once again with the General People's Committee (GPC) of Industry, Economy and Trade. The collaboration will see the GPC pool resources with OBG's editorial and research team as the groundwork gets under way on the Group's third publication on Libya's economic activity and investment opportunities, The Report: Libya 2011. OBG's Country Director, Jana Treeck, said the Group's team was delighted to be back in Libya to produce the company's new country report which, she said, would undoubtedly benefit from the GPC's expertise and resources. [Tripoli Post]

Tuesday, 1 February, 2011: A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed Wednesday between the General Company of Electronics and a Portuguese company aimed at establishing a joint venture. The new venture is to produce, maintain and distribute computers. The signing of the contract comes within the plan by Libya to import one million educational PCs which will be among the main tasks of the new joint venture, a Libyan official told news reporters. The MOU will enable the company into 'strategic industrial activities', the official said. The new company will sign agreements with other companies for the manufacturing of TVs, communication equipments and air conditioning. [Tripoli Post]

Tuesday, 1 February, 2011: Oil prices surged Friday as traders bid up prices on concerns that widening protests against the government in Egypt could spread across the Middle East to major oil producers such as Libya and Saudi Arabia. The price spike also was fueled by concerns that any interruption of shipping through the Suez Canal could add 6,000 miles to some oil shipments and raise the cost of crude oil delivery, analysts said. Prices shot up about $2 a barrel in less than half an hour as thousands of protestors took to the streets and clashed with police, burned cars and stormed government buildings in Egypt. By the end of the trading session oil prices were about 4 percent higher, at a bit over $89 a barrel. Stock prices fell sharply, while anxious traders bid up the value of the dollar and gold, typically safe-haven investments. [NBC Philadelphia]