Global Witness: New leaked document reveals HSBC held $1.4bn of Libyan funds http://t.co/lmU1PCE #libya #feb17 #gaddaficrimes
For those of you with a sweet tooth! Sweets for Hope Facebook Group: http://t.co/Fp0gT9Y over $800 donated for Hope Relief. #libya RT
“It cannot be called prowess to kill fellow-citizens, to betray friends, to be treacherous, pitiless, irreligious.”
– Niccolò Machiavelli, “Il Principe”
Hope Relief wants to send new toys and clothes for the children in the refugee camps in time for Eid Pls RT! http://t.co/QajJi4x #Libya
Reuters: #Libya freedom fighters prepare for fight over strategic town http://t.co/qADv7Vv #libya #feb17 #gaddaficrimes
Freedom Fighters in Libya’s west gain ground « Shabab Libya
Aided by NATO airstrikes, they move within 50 miles of the capital. But they sense a bloodbath coming, with civilians caught in the crossfire.
What’s on your mind? http://english.libya.tv/2011/06/30/a-victory-of-citizenship-in-libya/
A protracted struggle for Libya could leave it in the hands of extremists instead of the liberal economic technocrats who now lead its revolutionary movement, the World Bank’s representative for Libya said today.
“If this civil war goes on, it would be a new Somalia, which I don’t say lightly,” said Marouane Abassi, World Bank country manager for Libya who has been in Tunisia since February.
“In three months we could be dealing with extremists. That’s why time is very important in this conflict, before we face problems in managing it.”
Abassi, who is Tunisian, said the World Bank had been working with Libya since 2006 on plans for economic reforms led by leader Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam, although many of those reform plans were scuppered by Gaddafi.
He described some of the leaders of the National Transitional Council as among those most strongly associated with economic reform plans.
“…We know them, we did good work with them,” Abassi said, citing Ali Issawi, a former economy minister and ambassador, and Mahmoud Jebril, who resigned from a state economic think-tank after Gaddafi overruled his suggestions for liberalising the economy.
“These guys tried inside (Gaddafi’s government). In 2009 Gaddafi stopped the connection between us and them,” said Abassi. Nevertheless, parts of Gaddafi’s government and local councils were still seeking World Bank advice up to February, when pro-democracy protests broke out, he said.
“In the last two years it was a battle between reformists and the old guard. But even the last minister of economy who was against us … accepted the rules of the game,” he said.
The rebellion, which began with an uprising in February and has been backed by Western air strikes since March, has so far failed to dislodge Gaddafi, raising pressure on Western countries to take more decisive action.
France said yesterday it had sent arms to the revolutionaries, which some countries believe violates an arms embargo. Gaddafi says the Western intervention is a plot to steal Libya’s oil.
Abassi said he left the World Bank’s Tripoli office on Feb. 20 after Gaddafi’s government forces began suppressing protesters.
“Now we are trying to understand how we can help Libya after the conflict,” he said.
Tunisia, where he is now based, is also suffering financially, losing some $200 million a month in remittances and other revenue from Tunisian expatriates who have returned.
“Over 65,000 Tunisians have returned out of 125,000 who were living in Libya. They are like refugees in Tunisia without revenue. Tunisia gave them some cash handouts and we are trying to provide funds and grants,” Abassi said.
“Over 1.7 million Libyans come each year to Tunisia and for the Tunisian economy it’s very important. They spend a lot of money on health – maybe 50 percent of the revenue in clinics in the south is from Libyans,” Abassi said.
Syrian army forces spread through a restive mountainous area near the Turkish border today as the death toll from a two-day military siege rose to 19 people, according to activists and a witness.
The action by Syrian troops in the northwestern area of Jabal al-Zawiya appeared to be aimed at preventing residents from fleeing to Turkey, where more than 10,000 Syrians have already taken shelter in refugee camps, activists say. The refugees have been a source of deep embarrassment to Damascus, one of the most tightly controlled regimes in the Middle East.
“They fear there will be sympathy for the people who are fleeing, and they are frightened that this will cause international pressure to mount on the regime,” said Mustafa Osso, a prominent Syrian-based human rights activist.
Only five Syrians made it across the border today, the lowest number in days, said Turkish officials. Over the past week, more than 10,000 Syrians rushed across, fleeing their army’s violent crackdown against demonstrators.
Syrian activists say more than 1,400 people have been killed as President Bashar Assad tries to crush three months of nationwide protests. The regime disputes that death toll and says “armed thugs” and foreign conspirators are behind the unrest.
In today’s operations, Syrian forces were consolidating their hold on the Jabal al-Zawiya after two days of heavy shelling in the area, particularly in the village of Rameh, said Osso. That assessment was repeated by Lebanon-based activist Omar Idibi and an eyewitness who spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals.
They said most people were killed Wednesday and early this morning. Idibi said the death toll was likely to rise as people were pulled out of rubble from smashed homes in some areas.
Idibi said part of the fighting was prompted by Syrian forces trying to hunt down several dozen comrades who abandoned their arms. Some rebelled while in Rameh village, while others split away from the armed forces in earlier fighting this month in the nearby town of Jisr al-Shughour.
“They haven’t been able to flee to Turkey,” Idibi said. “They are fleeing from the advance of the Syrian army,” he said. Idibi said eyewitnesses told him that Syrian forces were trying to seal gaps in the border with Turkey to prevent people from escaping.
Idibi and the eyewitness said that in a pattern repeated across the area, a rush of tanks would flood villages under heavy fire. Some soldiers backed by tanks would stay on to check identification cards and patrol some areas, while the rest moved on to the next residential area.
“They are terrifying the people. It’s a message: ‘We are coming to you, be careful,’” the eyewitness said.
Meanwhile, Syrian forces fired tear gas to disperse a demonstration in the mountainous Kurdish border village of Amoud, further to the northwest. YouTube videos uploaded by activists showed dozens of men fleeing the acrid plumes as they chanted against the regime.
Government forces have so far reacted with a softer hand against Kurdish demonstrators. Osso said he believed the regime doesn’t want to provoke a Kurdish uprising while dealing with nationwide anti-government protests.
And in the northwestern city of Aleppo — some two-dozen miles from the army operations in Jabal al-Zawiya — several hundred demonstrators staged at least two anti-regime protests, according to Idibi.
A YouTube videos uploaded by activists appeared to show several hundred men running down a street, filmed from a balcony several stories up. The men shout: “The people want an end to the regime!”
Another group of activists said the protesters were beaten up by pro-regime thugs.
The demonstration appeared far smaller than those that take place in other Syrian cities but its importance lies in Aleppo’s status as the country’s second largest city, where much of Syria’s small middle class lives.
Activists said the regime feared that if Aleppo’s residents threw their weight behind the anti-government protests, they could badly shake Assad’s regime.
Still, the turnout was poor considering calls by anti-government activists on Allepo residents. Several high-profile activists produced YouTube videos calling on the people to take to the streets. A Facebook page vowed today would be a “volcano” in the city.
“We are hoping that this will be a practice run for Friday,” said Idibi.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the United States condemns the Assad regime’s “continued vicious repression of peaceful demonstrators.”
“We call on them to stop this violence, to release all political prisoners, end torture and allow humanitarian aid to those in need,” Toner said. He also urged Damascus to allow international media access – the Syrian government has banned all but a few foreign journalists and restricted local media’s reporting.
The African Union’s current chairman, president Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, is blaming outside “agents” for sparking pro-democracy demonstrations in countries across Africa, including his own.
Obiang did not specifically mention Libya during his opening speech at the African Union summit in Malabo, but the AU has come out forcefully against the revolution and the bombardments that are threatening to topple Muammar Gaddafi, whose grip on power was thought to be absolute.
Gaddafi’s fall would be discomforting for the other entrenched rulers in Africa, including Obiang, who has maintained total control of state institutions in Equatorial Guinea since his uncle was overthrown and killed in a coup 32 years ago.
Given that the African Union has not shown any sympathy or support for the revolutionaries in Libya and keeps cosying up to Gaddafi, how will Free Libya’s future relationship with the African Union look like?
Does our continent still have a common future once the self-proclaimed “King of Africa” is finally out of the way?
Is the African Union a necessity for Libya, given its geography, or should post-Gaddafi Libya realign itself with other countries and regions? Should Free Libya look east, west, north or south?
Have your say, using the comment box below…
Russia: France May Have Violated UN Arms Embargo on Libya
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday Moscow has asked Paris to explain the arms drop to rebels in Libya’s Western Mountains region. He says that if the incident is confirmed, it is a “flagrant violation” of a U.N. Security Council resolution that imposed an arms embargo on Libya in F
Just received this tweet: #Belarus Revolution has begun! Gaddafi’s buddy, dictator, Alexander Lukashenko now faces own revolution as thousands protest across country
France ‘won’t rule out’ more Libyan weapon drops « Shabab Libya
A senior French diplomat tells Channel 4 News a weapon drop to rebel-held areas was a legally justified move to protect civilians, and that France won’t rule out deploying more arms in the future.
Via: SmithInAfricaDavid Smith
Barred from leaving Rixos hotel without a minder. Much paranoia when I looked around downstairs. What, or who, are they hiding down there?