By Dennis Boisvert
As thousands of foreigners struggle to flee a war torn Libya and as fighting escalates in that country, the price of gas in the US is going up even though Libya’s oil out-put is less than 2% of the world’s daily supply.
OPEC, The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is ready to make up that shortage and on March 8, agreed to do so. So supply and demand are met but gas prices keep going up. It is fear and the turmoil in the Middle East that is sending the price of oil up. What had started off as a popular uprising sweeping across the Arab world has turned into a Civil War in Libya and this has increased political instability and uncertainty in the Middle East?
Protests against Gaddafi’s rule started on February 15 with two hundred demonstrators in front of police headquarters in Benghazi with arrest of Fathi Teabil, a rights activist. That sparked widespread protest.
It appeared this caught Gaddafi by surprise and in a few days he fought back after half the country was in rebel hands driving in pickup truck heading for the Capital of Tripol. Gaddafi stuck back with tanks and his powerful air force. This slowed the anti-government force. Fighting became bitter over towns as Surt Zuwaryrah and Bin Jawwad. How many men were killed in this fighting is unknown but the UN believes it to be in the hundreds.
On February 28, Muanmar Gaddafi held an interview with the BBC ABC news and when asked about the fighting and the demonstration Gaddafi said, “All my people love me. They love me. They will die to protect me, my people.” He claimed. “There were no demonstrations at all in the street.” He made these statements while the second largest city Benghazi was in rebel’s control. This man is “frankly delusional”, said Susan Rich, US ambassador to the UN.
Muanmar Gaddafi was the rule the law in Libya and he was a man who hanged opposition figures in their neighborhood to make example of them.
He ordered the dissidents who left the country to protest the Gaddafi regime to be assassinated no matter what country they were in. He was also behind violence around the world.
Gaddafi was behind the Lockerbie bombing, UTA flight 722 and a nightclub in Berlin. What will he do next to stay in power? How far will he take the fighting?
As of today with use of air power, Gaddafi’s loyal troops have slowly pushed back the rebels taken the oil port city of Ras Lanouf and Brega and have reached Benghazi, bombing it and shelling it with artillery.
Benghazi, with a population of over a million people, is in firm control of the rebels, who have set up an interim government and have asked for outside help in form of a no fly zone.
The anti-Gaddafi force has claimed to fight on for their freedom. Gaddafi had called those against him rats and cockroaches and this man has a history of killing those who oppose him. Who knows how many his security forces have killed? As his troops move towards Benghazi there will be a blood bath. The world will have to take note of this as attention has shifted to the sad events in Japan suffering from an earthquake and tsunami.
OPEC has made up for the loss of Libyan oil so there is no shortage in supply. That is the fear and concern of the whole Middle East. The kingpin of this concern is Saudi Arabia, which produces 25% of the world’s oil and the Saudis are pouring billions into their domestic economy in the hope that it keeps the young from taking to the streets. The Saudi King wields both carrot and stick, but he has sent troops into Bahrain, which might bring on more instability in an already troubled spot of the world.
Just as Gaddafi ordered his troops to storm Benghazi had no mercy, the UN after weeks of talks of a no fly zone have at last, as of March 18, authorized a no fly zone and quickly Libya has offered talks of a cease fire. But fighting is still going on as pro Gaddafi troops still advance. No one knows how this end game will play out but at least the international communities have put in place a no fly zone with the hope of saving lives.