Friday, March 4, 2011

Gaddafi Strikes Oil Areas, Arabs Weigh Chavez Mediation

by Al Arabiya Latest News

Muammar Gaddafi and key aides will be probed over allegations they committed crimes against humanity while fending off the uprising in Libya, the International Criminal Court's prosecutor said Thursday.

"We have identified some individuals with de facto or formal authority, who have authority over the security forces," that have clamped down on a rebellion that started on February 15, Luis Moreno-Ocampo told journalists in The Hague.

"They are Muammar Gaddafi, his inner circle, including some of his sons."

Ocampo also listed individuals including the veteran Libyan leader's head of personal security, and the head of the external security forces.

More than 100,000 people have already fled Libya to escape a vicious crackdown by Gaddafi loyalists which has left at least 1,000 dead, according to UN estimates.

Meanwhile, Gaddafi's forces struck at rebel control of oil export hubs in Libya's east for a second day on Thursday as Arab states weighed a plan to end turmoil Washington said could make the country "a giant Somalia."

A leader of the uprising against Gaddafi's 42-year-old rule said he would reject any proposal for talks with Gaddafi to end the conflict in the world's 12th largest oil exporting nation.

Chavez’s offer considered

We can confirm Libya's interest in accepting this proposal, as well as the Arab League's
Andres Izarra, Venzuela's information minister

Libya and the Arab League are considering a mediation proposal by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in the North African nation, a Venezuelan minister said Thursday.

"We can confirm Libya's interest in accepting this proposal, as well as the Arab League's" interest, Information Minister Andres Izarra told AFP.

He added that Chavez, an ally of Gaddfi, recently spoke personally by telephone with Libya's embattled strongman to discuss the proposal.

The Arab League's secretary general Amr Mussa told AFP Thursday that it is "studying" Chavez's proposal.

"We are studying the proposal," Mussa said, declining to give any further details on the regional forum's response to Chavez's suggestion.

Meanwhile, France rejected Thursday Chavez’s offer and dismissed talk of any solution that would allow embattled leader Gaddfi to stay in power.

"Any mediation that allows Colonel Gaddafi to succeed himself is obviously not welcome," Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said in response to Chavez's proposal, speaking after talks with his British counterpart William Hague.

Chavez and Gaddafi have discussed plans for an international peacekeeping mission to mediate the crisis in Libya, rocked by two weeks of bloody clashes with protesters seeking to topple his 41-year-old regime.

Both leaders regularly make public condemnations of U.S. "imperialism" and have exchanged visits in recent years. Ties are so close that Gaddafi was rumored at one point to have fled to Caracas, claims later denied.

Venezuela's leader also refused to condemn Gaddafi for his crackdown on protesters, spoke with the Libyan leader on Tuesday, Information Minister Andres Izarra said through Twitter.

Oil terminal bombed

Witnesses said a warplane bombed the eastern oil terminal town of Brega, a day after troops loyal to Gaddafi launched a ground and air attack on the town that was repulsed by rebels spearheading a popular revolt against his four-decade-old rule.

The rebels, armed with rocket launchers, anti-aircraft guns and tanks, called on Wednesday for U.N.-backed air strikes on foreign mercenaries it said were fighting for Gaddafi.

But perhaps mindful of a warning by Gaddafi that foreign intervention could cause "another Vietnam", Western officials expressed caution about any sort of military involvement including the imposition of a no-fly zone.

A rebel officer said government air strikes targeted the airport of Brega and a rebel position in the nearby town of Ajdabiyah, referring to two rebel-held locations.

Opposition soldiers also said troops loyal to Gaddafi had been pushed back to Ras Lanuf, home to another major oil terminal and 600 km (375 miles) east of Tripoli.

"Gaddafi's forces are in Ras Lanuf," Mohammed al-Maghrabi, a rebel volunteer, told Reuters, echoing comments by others.

The uprising, the bloodiest yet against long-serving rulers in the Middle East and North Africa, is causing a humanitarian crisis, especially on the Tunisian border where tens of thousands of foreign workers have fled to safety.

NATO intervention

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday it has no intention of intervening in Libya but is planning for "all eventualities."

Rasmussen said at a press conference that NATO officials "take note" of a request from the Libyan opposition for foreign nations to launch airstrikes against mercenaries hired by Muammar Gaddafi's.

"We follow and monitor the situation closely, take note of requests forwarded," he said after meeting with Montenegro's Prime Minister Igor Luksic at NATO headquarters.

However he added: "I would like to stress that NATO does not have any intention to intervene but as a defense alliance and security organization we do prudent planning for all eventualities."

The NATO chief has insisted the UN Security Council would have to approve any military action in Libya, including the enforcement of a no-fly zone.

Meanwhile, Germany said that it is against any foreign military intervention in Libya, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on Thursday.

"We do not participate, and we do not share a discussion of military intervention, because we think this would be very counterproductive," he said at a meeting of central European foreign ministers in Slovakia.

He also said the situation was not ripe to decide on imposing a no-fly zone over Libya.

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Al Arabiya Latest News

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The majority of the problem is coming directly out of Iran, and I feel it will become far worse than ever to become better. Most of the Middle East is in turmoil, and it is spreading into South and Central America. Mexico has it's Cartel, and it's marching orders are coming directly Chavez who is getting his orders from Iran. We can forget anything positive regarding what is happening from the Idiot in the White House,as that individual is a totally lost cause.

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