Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Who will control Libya's oil?

Libya is not Egypt, and Qaddafi is not Mubarak. Qaddafi (even if he is a Jew) will cling onto power against all odds, and there is no limit to what he will do to hold on, as demonstrated by orders he gave this week to shoot indiscriminately at his own people from air and sea. While Qaddafi's intransigence is partly a personal quality, it is also related to a degree of power afforded to him by Libyan oil reserves. Libya is a key supplier of oil to Europe: Italy, for example, gets 1/5 of its oil from Libya. According to a Libyan source of Time Magazine, Qadaffi's next move is sabotaging oil:
There's been virtually no reliable information coming out of Tripoli, but a source close to the Gaddafi regime I did manage to get hold of told me the already terrible situation in Libya will get much worse. Among other things, Gaddafi has ordered security services to start sabotaging oil facilities. They will start by blowing up several oil pipelines, cutting off flow to Mediterranean ports. The sabotage, according to the insider, is meant to serve as a message to Libya's rebellious tribes: It's either me or chaos.
The question now is who will take hold of the eastern oil-rich parts of the country, which could be used as ransom by tribes against Qaddafi, or by Qaddafi against his people via Europe. On Sunday, the leader of the eastern Al-Zuwaya tribe turned against Qaddafi and threatened to cut oil exports unless there was an end to violence against protestors. Today, Al-Arabiya TV reported that Tuareg tribes took over an oil company's headquarters of in Ubari in Southwest Libya.

Egypt is already taking somewhat of a stand in the conflict by opening its border Libyan refugees. Might Egyptian forces go a step further, as they did in 1975, and intervene in solidarity with the Libyan people--and in their own economic interest--to take control of oil reserves in adjacent Eastern Libya? Would they have US backing, or perhaps even a US invitation? If successful revolutionaries in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia join forces and consolidate control of all of Northern Africa oil as well as Suez, the key Eurasian waterway which carries 2.5% of the world's oil and 8% of world trade? Who would be in charge of oil wealth in a North-African populist-Islamist alliance? Hopefully not this guy.

It's a better time than ever to find alternative energy resources - physically and spiritually.

Update: Eastern Libya has been 'freed'

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