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Thursday, February 24

A little more about the threat to Libya's oil wells

I added an update to yesterday's post, which featured John Batchelor's mention that Gadhafi had threatened, among other things, to order the oil wells in his country set on fire. Here's the update:

Reporting last night for NBC television news from Tobruk (which is under the control of the rebels), veteran MENA reporter and NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel (who speaks fluent Arabic) said he'd heard that Libyan soldiers who'd defected were guarding the oil wells. Of course that's a very vague report but it comports with a more detailed one provided yesterday at a Filipino website, Manila Bulletin Online. The Bulletin report was put together from AP and AFP wire service reports; I'll skip to the part about oil facilities:
[...] Protesters claim to control a string of cities, from the Egyptian border in the east – where guards at the crossing fled – to the city of Ajdabiya, about 450 miles (725 kilometers) farther west along the Mediterranean coast, said Tawfiq al-Shahbi, a protest organizer in the eastern city of Tobruk.

Ajdabiya is a key city near the oil fields of central and eastern Libya. Protesters and local tribesmen were protecting several of the fields and facilities around the city, said one resident, Ahmed al-Zawi.

Residents are also guarding one of Libya's main oil export ports, Zuweita, and the pipelines feeding into it, he said. The pipelines are off and several tankers that had been waiting in the port to load left empty, said al-Zawi, who said he visited Zuweita on Tuesday morning. [...]
So I think it stands to reason that at least in the region under the control of the rebels, soldiers have defected in large numbers and are probably guarding or helping to guard the oil wells there. As to whether the rebels will be able to maintain control of the region remains to be seen.

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If the crazy man doesn't get to the oil fields, rest assured that his mini me son will try.
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