Friday, September 2, 2011

Libya - No more headlines

Muhammar Qaddafi is encircled and under siege in Sirte and is now calling for one of the always possible scenarios to be implemented – guerilla war.    Effecting this scenario may well be problematic as it is unlikely he will escape the coming assault on Sirte.  The regime is dead – an internal revolution succeeded but only with the help of foreign intervention.  That’s important to remember, because otherwise this would have been a long and likely losing struggle.  Qadaffi has been in control for over 40 years and didn’t keep his power by being stupid or reluctance to do whatever was necessary to retain power.

Now that the fighting has narrowed to small pockets of resistance by Qaddafi loyalists, questions can be raised that have previously been dismissed.
Consider this.
Libya has nearly 45 billion barrels of oil reserves, 3.4 percent of the world’s known supply. Natural gas reserves are estimated at near 55 trillion cubic feet.
Most of Libya’s oil exports went to Italy – 32 percent of foreign sales as of 2009. The majority of the rest went to Germany, France, Spain and China (no veto of the no-fly zone imposition).
All existing contract will remain active, begging the question of the extent of modifications.  Who will get the new exploration and extraction licenses? ENI (Italy) or Total (France).
Will the existing contracts be modified from their current 90/10 revenue split between Libya and the companies? Tipping the balance is expensive.
How is it that a listed terrorist organization gets to be a freedom fighter group and whose head commands the Tripoli Military Council?  Change of name – change of status.
The Arab Spring, of which Libya was made a part, has been astonishingly lucrative. For weapons sales.
In the five months ending in June, the UK sold arms to Arab governments amounting to 30.5 million sterling, according the The Times – a 30% increase.  Germany, that bastion of peace which refused to take part in the naval blockade of Libya, nevertheless inked a contract with the Saudi’s (whose military crushed the Bahrain demonstrations by Shiites) for a division’s worth of high end tanks tagged at 1.5 billion euro only to be heavily trumped by the US - $60 billion of aircraft to Saudi Arabia over a 20 year period. This is only in the Arab Spring period – care to guess about the past ten years?
There is nothing wrong with disposing of people like Qadaffi and I support it.  But the media, as usual, has played the useful idiot and parrots the talking points of the protagonists while studiously avoiding the hypocrisy.  This is not a judgment.  It is important to make sure that events are not seen in isolation from other, important factors nor should decisions to act or not be viewed in black and white even if the short attention span or relative ignorance of populations demand simplistic analysis.

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