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Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

The backdrop of the policy for Libya and Syria by European Union and associated NATO countries is always painted with oil. (1) British/Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, French Total, CNPC from China and ONGC of India are main investors in Syrian crude oil and gas. (2)

13 November 2009 humanitarian oil diplomacy by Assad, the other way around: “I asked President Sarkozy to interfere as to stop the daily killing of the Palestinians by the Israel Army,” said H.E. President Al-Assad citing today’s killing of a Palestinian citizen. (3)

His Excellency President Al-Assad described his talks with President Sarkozy as 'very successful'', 'constructive'' ''transparent'' and as ''bolstering the confidence built between Syria and France'', ''dealing with many international as well as regional issues, bilateral relations, the Iranian nuclear file, the recent positive developments in Lebanon, particularly following the formation of the Lebanese Government, which we expect to be an important step for the stability in Lebanon.'' (...) ''The talks, further, dealt with the situation in Gaza from a human perspective; I asked President Sarkozy to interfere as to stop the daily killing of the Palestinians by the Israel Army,'' said H.E. President Al-Assad citing today's killing of a Palestinian citizen.

 “… discovery of treasure, a huge oil and gas in the basin of the Mediterranean is estimated reserves to 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 107 billion barrels of oil.”

SYRIAN OIL AND GAS NEWS: Announcement for International Offshore Bid Round 2011 Category: Oil Ministry Decisions & Declarations | Posted on: 30-03-2011 The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and General Petroleum Corporation (GPC) invite international petroleum companies for an International Bid Round to explore, develop and produce petroleum from three offshore blocks in some areas of the territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone of the Syrian Arab Republic in the Mediterranean Sea according to the production sharing contract.The announcment contains three marine areas ( block I, block II, blockIII) with covarage area estemated by 3000 cubic kilometers per one block. the annoncement date starts in 24/3/2011 for six monthes and closed on 5/10/2011.The modern American studies recently confirmed the discovery of treasure, a huge oil and gas in the basin of the Mediterranean is estimated reserves to 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 107 billion barrels of oil. (4)

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(1) oilprice.com 14/4/2011: “Oil Production Figures in Areas of Unrest (Middle East & North Africa)”

(2) royaldutrchshellplc.com 3/12/2011: “E.U. sanctions force Shell to leave Syria.”

(3) www.presidentassad.net: Presidents Al-Assad/ Frnace visit statements (13/11/2009)

(4)  Syrian Oil and Gas News; 8/2/2010:International announcement for developing 7 oil field in Arraqah

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WORLD NEWS ON THE CHEAP like yesterday a Dutch crew of the television news (NOS/NTR Nieuwsuur) in Egypt doing ‘street interviews’ and proving that the support for the Egypt Revolution is faltering with two third of those interviewed speaking some form of English and only one or two questions posed in Arabic, whereby it remains unclear who is posing the question.

Gone are the days of a correspondent in Cairo for the Arab world, gone are the days of at least having a journalist speaking Arabic being part of a crew, gone is any historical knowledge on the part of the journalists, at best a quick check of Wikipedia before leaving or in the hotel room…. as a multi-cultural nation it is a shame that the Netherlands have not been able to train and recruit a group of say Moroccan young students to become journalists for events in the Arabic world….

“Who speaks English here?” asks the camera crew on Tahrir Square in Cairo untill they bump into a man that does not like the way they are filming… and when people on the street might return the question to them  (hal tatakallam al-lughah al-‘arabīyah?) هل تتكلم اللغة العربية؟, the Dutch journalists of the crew fail to understand.

There seems to have been a translator with the crew, but  the position of the translator remains unclear. The tiny bit of Arabic we hear spoken from the side of the crew seems clumsy, was it a Dutch Arabic speaker or a locally rented service. If the last thing is the case, how much embedded is this translator in the Egyptian state media, how does the translator relates to the political spectrum of Egypt, how were the choices of who to speak to made?

The clumsiness of the reportage is at times embarrassing, but fully in line with the cheap glamour of the Nieuwsuur television studio in the Netherlands and the anchor woman waving her hairs while posing question to the crew in Cairo to enlighten the Dutch audience.

Nieuwsuur (NOS/NTR) reporter Jan Eikelboom explains how he found out that the Egyptian revolution is faltering on the basis of "hear say" from the streets, speaking with shopkeepers in the bazars, tourist entrepreneurs and a man at the Cairo stock exchange, they outcome of these talks are of course fully predictable, as all these people see their business frustrated by the social unrest. Shopkeepers, tourist workers and a broker can of course not stand as a representative group for Egyptian society as a whole... but the Dutch crew clearly had no access to other social layers.

(19':50'') Dutch captions for a tourist entrepreneur in Giza interviewed in English: "I do not know what those people want. It is not good for us, we are working with tourists"

(20':38'') Dutch captions for an interview in English. "On the square they say: We want peace." Actually the reporter says not 'peace' but 'freedom'... sloppy translator there, at the NOS/NTR... The over-generalized question may have been posed in English by Jan Eikelboom and the answer is as general as the question: "...freedom will come, but slowly."

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Source = http://beta.uitzendinggemist.nl/afleveringen/1116886

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Grotesque and hypocrite the new Libyan Government statement on the persecution of the alleged killers of Gaddafi. Stating that these could not have been regular opposition groups and that the new government knows the rules of war… and taking prisoners.

“With regards to Qaddafi, we do not wait for anybody to tell us,” NTC vice chairman Abdel Hafiz Ghoga.

 “We had already launched an investigation. We have issued a code of ethics in handling of prisoners of war. I am sure that was an individual act and not an act of revolutionaries or the national army,” the top interim official said.

 “Whoever is responsible for that (Qaddafi’s killing) will be judged and given a fair trial.”

What a lie, as both NATO and the insurgents – that became the army of the new Libyan government – have thrown tons of munition on any spot they thought Gaddafi would be at a certain moment. A fair trial of Gaddafi has never been on the agenda of neither NATO nor the insurgents, who became the new government. Only the International Criminal Court in The Hague lent itself to suggest that such a trial was a viable option, never protesting in public against the repeated attempted killing of their indicted trial candidates, Gaddafi and his close circle.

Photograph published in The Independent 2011/07/24 with this caption: "Nato planes bomb a Gaddafi compound in Tripoli last month. Air strikes by allied forces have become increasingly ineffective"

NATO and insurgents were out to kill all those months, but failed in spite of all the high tech devices put to the task. Now a few hot heads – which are necessarily part of any insurrectionist forces – finished Gaddafi’s life by hand, and they will be made into culprits, to wash the virtual bloody hands of NATO and the new  government.

Photograph published on the web site of the Daily Mail 2011/10/21 with the following caption: "Celebration: Rebel fighters carry a young man holding what they claim to be the gold-plated gun of Colonel Gaddafi which was taken from him."

It is sad that such distortions of reality  are published in the international press without any direct rebuttal.

Gaddafi should have been put on trial. His murder will hamper any attempt to cleanse Libya of decades of dictatorship.

It is most disturbing to notice that – apparently – distant killing by regular armies using state of the art guided missiles airplanes with remote sensing, and the like, is not conceived as murder and somehow a civil way of getting rid of an adversary, whereas traditional lynching on the spot or firing a gun at a victim at close range is perceived as a barbaric act that can be classified as a crime of war or murder.

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Two additional sources that give details on other summary executions of pro-Gaddafi forces  in the same town of Sirte, less in the picture than the person of Gaddafi:
– Media Lens: “Killing Gaddafi” 2011/10/27
– Human Right Watch report on Libya: “Apparent Execution of 53 Gaddafi Supporters” 2011/10/24

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Some side images of the killing of Gaddafi near Sirte, of the alleged bombing by NATO of a retreating/escaping convoy of Gaddafi (*), reminded me of the Highway Of Death in Kuwait in 1991, the bombarding of retreating Iraqi troops… a massacre not only of soldiers and their equipment but also of civilians related to the Iraqis that tried to make their way out of Kuwait City. Kicking your adversary in the ass… there is a ‘virtual black book of military history’ to which a page seems to have been added by NATO. Do you let your enemy escape or will you destroy him? What are the long lasting effects of such non glorious  military acts of revenge on an enemy that has lost or is about to loose. Is there art in ‘the bombing of retreating troops’?

The pictures I choose are not the most gruesome that exist. The Kuwait highway bombing photographs include charcoaled faces of  people burnt alive by the aerial strike, images that have burnt themselves in my memory as a reminder that ‘the art of surrender’ is a much more noble art that should be exercised by the troops of our European nations. We need a civilian campaign on how war is conducted.

There is not enough public scrutiny on NATO military strategies. The critical level of reporting in the news of war events remains often 19th century imperial, rejoicing in what is thought to be ‘a victory for the good of the human race’. The NATO involvement in this last phase of the Libyan war seems to be completely out of line with their mandate based on the UN resolution that asks to bring to court the Libyan head of state Gaddafi, not to kill him or have him killed without a trial.


Let me give one example of historical back firing: the massacre of the retreating Croatian troops of the fascist regime of Ante Pavelic in May 1945, near the town of Bleiburg at the Slovenian/Austrian border by partisan troops (40/50.000 killed). This negative event has remained a rallying point for Croatian nationalist ever since and played its nasty role in the much later enfolding new Balkan War at the end of the 20th century..

*) Mail on-line gruesome photographs, scroll down the page for the vehicles bombed out by NATO photograph

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A dictator is never alone. A dictator is a system whereby one man or woman is the figurehead with whole strata  of society deriving their social position and wealth from their participation in a system of rule both headed and symbolised by a specific ruler. Removing just the figurehead and his or her direct entourage does not cleanse a nation of its dictatorial past. With a figurehead removed in a spectacular way, entrenched deeper layers of a system of dictatorship tend to remain largely intact. Summary execution – which may have happened today to Gaddafi by unruly troops of the new power – bypasses any attempt at reestablishing a just society.

Trying a dictator in court may help to lay bare the social strata that have been keeping a dictatorship in place. The dictator and his entourage may defend themselves and point to others who were part of their rule and may now pose as liberators. The defence of a dictator in court  may also expose all forms of international support for a regime by countries, parties and other leaders who may only recently have turned against a dictator whereas before they were supporting a totalitarian system in economic, military and diplomatic ways.

The killing of Gaddafi without any form of justice serves many interests: many members of the new Libyan government involved in Gaddafi’s regime; Libyan businessmen that derive their wealth from dealing with the Gaddafi rule; political leaders both retired and active who have received Libyan support or did make economic deals; academics, intellectuals, artists, architects and so on  that did get Gaddafi’s financial support or who performed for him. The killing has been tried by NATO many times in the last months, throwing tons of bombs on Gaddafi’s premises and saying that they were not targeting the leader as such. Now we will have to wait to see if sufficient details of the circumstances of the violent death of Gaddafi will come out to establish at least some form of truth of what has happened today.

Those who dance in the streets  to rejoice the violent death of a dictator may well be the recruiting force for the next totalitarian regime in the making.

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written Thursday October 20th 2011

See also these related articles from previous months on Libya, Gaddafi and international law:

– 2011/05/02 NATO’s Collateral Tyrannicide: will it bring Justice and Peace?
– 2022/05/16 Yet another telephone call from Libya to The Hague…
– 2011/05/26 2006 Saddam ~ 2008 Karadzic ~ 2011 Mladic captured alive: what about Gaddafi?
– 2011/05/28 G20 2011 dinner: dessert from the desert: a Libyan Oil Cocktail
– 2011/07/23 The disembodied Leviathan of Libya
– 2011/08/02 Emblem for the International Criminal Court: Iustitiae Languor
– 2011/08/21  What will be the last view of Gaddafi of this world?

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I never knew there were so many Libyan specialists with all the international news networks…
still I keep wondering why they did not speak out
a decade or so before about this “African Hitler dictator and his unbearable reign of terror…”

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What will be the last view of Gaddafi of this world?

which way up?

which way down?

what will be our last view of him?

the anti-colonial guerilla fighter hero he associated with Omar al Mukhtar – Lion of the Desert – hung in 1931 by the Italian fascist colonial regime under Benito Mussolini
(Gaddafi wore the last photograph of Mukhtar alive just before his execution as a badge on his military uniform when visiting Berlusconi in Italy in 2009)

or

the ruthless dictator Benito Mussolini, as captured by Italian Partisans in 1945, when he tried to flee to Switzerland and executed on the spot, hung by his feet


the flag of his copy cat green revolution waved four decades

the regime he helped create repressed as many people as it did bind, to its peculiar form of common wealth

despised and embraced at the same time, by other leaders from other countries
who drew their plans for his removal while celebrating their meetings with him

those from his own camp, who now leave him to face up to his last days
will trample on his face to hide their own past

will his court be in the streets or in The Hague?

there will be no singular view of Gaddafi

as with all dictators both his face
and the way we see it
are split.

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see also “The disembodied Leviathan of Libya” on this blog.

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