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Posts tagged ‘Land of the Sandstorm Revolution’

Libya: Algeria provided Gaddafi with 500 military grade vehicles

– Rabih Serrai
Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Global Arab Network – Algeria has delivered 500 pickups to Colonel Maamar Gaddafi’s regime, Africa News Agency (ANA) reported, citing diplomatic sources and Libyan opposition members.

“The Algerian military has already been supporting Gaddafi’s regime by sending Polisario guerrillas to join Gaddafi’s mercenary forces,” ANA said on its website.

This information was confirmed by NATO and a former Libyan minister and Libyan opposition leaders in Benghazi who captured some mercenaries among them elements of the separatist group, the same source added.

Morocco Board News reported that the Libyan embassy in Algiers has purchased 500 military grade vehicles from several dealers and shipped them to the pro-Gaddafi loyalist forces. Such large purchase of military grade vehicles by an embassy, of a neighboring country at war, can not go forward unless it has a tacit support from Algeria’s government..

The Algerian opposition had accused Algeria’s government of supporting Gaddafi by, among others, facilitating the supply of military hardware to the Gaddafi regime through the Algerian-Libyan border. “We have information about the entry to Libya of military hardware through the Algerian border” announced an official of the Libyan Rebels Group CNT.

The Libyan ambassador in Algiers is one of the few to remain loyal to the Gaddafi regime .

The Algerian newspaper (Ashorouk) said that a central committee member of the FLN, Algeria’s ruling party, attended a pro-Gaddafi conference in Tripoli; where he made a speech attacking the rebels’s National Transitional Council and accusing it of being “a pawn of the West.”

Abdelaziz Belkhadem, Algeria’s President representative, has harshly criticized the Libyan rebel group, the National Transitional Council, for their accusations that Algeria is helping to send mercenaries to Colonel Gaddafi.

Algeria’s officials always denied all these accusations and considered it as a false information.

Source: Global Arab Network.

Libya’s Benghazi laments city’s decay under Gaddafi

By Mohammed Abbas
BENGHAZI | Mon May 16, 2011

(Reuters) – Down narrow rubbish-strewn alleys or wedged between concrete buildings, an occasional Italian or Ottoman architectural gem hints at drab and dilapidated Benghazi’s cosmopolitan past.

The decaying structures in the east Libyan city are a symbol of the neglect the people of the region say they suffered under Muammar Gaddafi, whose control of Libya’s east was ended by mass protests and an armed uprising in February.

Now that his writ has ended, Benghazi can openly lament the damage and isolation that 41 years of his rule has wrought.

“There was once a beautiful Turkish souk here. I remember in the 1980s when the shopkeepers were forcibly evicted, some under gunfire, before it was demolished,” said Abdullah Hassy, 43, who lives in what could be a stunning Benghazi square.

On one side of the square is a local government building in use before Gaddafi overthrew King Idris in a 1969 coup.

An ornate mixture of Italian and Turkish styles and comprising a clock tower, the building seems set to collapse, its interior full of rubbish, graffiti and reeking of urine.

Once a pretty city of souks, Italian colonial buildings and Ottoman villas, Benghazi suffered heavy bombing by the allies in World War 2. Four decades of Gaddafi’s quasi-socialist rule have been equally unkind.

Modern Benghazi is mostly made up of utilitarian concrete blocks and patches of waste ground. The few relatively glitzy structures, such as hotels, are business interests of Gaddafi or those close to him.

“This Ottoman mosque was restored by the worshipers, not Gaddafi. The only buildings Gaddafi cared about were the ones related to him,” said Hassan Joudah, 20, pointing to a yellow mosque on the other side of the square.

Gaddafi took better care of the capital Tripoli in Libya’s west, and his home town Sirte, which state largesse has transformed from a nondescript village into a mini-city, home to government institutions and a showcase for his power.

Leading away from the square are Italian-style shopping colonnades topped by shuttered windows and curved iron Juliet balconies. At the end of the northern colonnade lies perhaps the most potent symbol of the city’s neglect.


A cavernous double-domed Catholic cathedral dominates the city’s waterfront, and in an adjoining wing statues lie in open crates like coffins, while stone friezes depicting Christ lie in open boxes on the floor.

The wing’s windows are long gone and its door has no lock, leaving the artwork open to the elements and passers-by.

Built in the 1930s under Italian occupation, the cathedral has not been used for decades, its interior damaged by fire.

Shafts of sunlight from cracked stained glass windows pierce the charred gloomy interior, highlighting floating motes of dust. The floor is a sea of feathers and bird droppings.

Wali Saleh, head of Benghazi’s council for the preservation and restoration of old buildings, said the friezes and statues were removed and packed away after the fire.

He said his appointment in April last year under Gaddafi’s rule was part of his administration’s belated attempts to stop the architectural rot in Benghazi.

“There was some younger blood coming up in Gaddafi’s administration, and they started to pay attention to the old buildings, from a historical and tourism perspective,” he said.

On taking his post, he blocked the destruction of old buildings and commissioned a survey, finding 173 old structures in Benghazi in need of protection.

There are signs of some rudimentary restoration work, with scaffolding propping up the Benghazi local government building and parts of the cathedral, but Saleh said work stalled due to bureaucratic problems with Tripoli and a lack of funds.

With Benghazi’s new rebel leadership struggling for finance, it is unlikely that further restoration will take place any time soon, but Saleh is hopeful.

“There’s been a change of mentality. When I speak to the new executive, they all seem to love this city and are sad about what’s happened to it,” he said.

“They seem really keen to preserve Benghazi, and tie its new future to its past.”

Source: Reuters.

ICC requests Gaddafi arrest warrant

BEIJING, May 17 (Xinhuanet) –The International Criminal Court’s Chief Prosecutor has requested an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on charges of crimes against humanity. Warrants are also being sought for his son– Saif al-Islam– including, the country’s spy chief.

Gadhafi and his son Saif are jointly accused of ordering, planning and participating in illegal attacks on civilians.

The prosecutor says Gaddafi’s forces carried out a range of atrocities, including attacking civilians in their homes, shooting demonstrators, shelling funerals, and deploying snipers outside mosques. Judges must now evaluate the evidence before deciding whether to confirm the charges and issue international arrest warrants.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Int’l Criminal Court Prosecutor, said, “Based on the evidence collected, the prosecution has applied to pre-trial chamber one for the issuance of arrest warrants against Moammar Muhamad abu Minyar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah al-Sanoussi.”

The ICC prosecutor says his team has gathered so much direct evidence that he is almost ready to go to trial.

Experts say the warrants are not expected to have any immediate impact on the war in Libya, but they could make it harder for their targets to end the conflict by going into exile.

Because the Security Council ordered the ICC investigation, all UN member states would be obliged to arrest him if he ventures into their territory.

Source: Xinhua.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Recognizes Libyan Rebels

Jul 3, 2011
By Alex Johnston

Turkey’s foreign ministry officially recognized Libya’s rebels as the real representatives of the country on Sunday.

The ministry also offered to lend the rebels at least $200 million in aid to help in their battle against forces loyal to veteran leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that now is the time for Gadhafi, who has ruled the country for more than 40 years, to step down from power and end the three-month-long war against the rebels.

“From the very beginning, we have stated that [Gadhafi] should step down and that a person who could be named by the consent of everyone in Libya should take over the administration so that peace and stability could be restored,” Davutoglu said on Sunday.

At the outset of the now-protracted conflict among Libya government forces and rebels, Turkish officials expressed concern for the NATO airstrikes in the country and wanted to maintain business ties with Gadhafi’s regime. Over the past several months, Turkey’s stance has changed.

Davutoglu met with the head of the rebel-backed Transitional National Council on Sunday in Benghazi and said he would pledge $200 million to the rebels, according to Al Jazeera television.

Turkey also said it officially withdrew its ambassador from Tripoli. Salim Levent Sahinkaya left the country several months ago and Turkey said that it will not replace him in the interim.

Source: The Epoch Times.

Bulgaria Reverses Position, Recognizes Libyan Rebels with Croatia

June 28, 2011, Tuesday

Bulgaria and Croatia have become the 19th and 20th sovereign nations to have recognized formally the Libyan rebels’ National Transitional Council in Benghazi as the legitimate representative of the Libyan nation in international affairs.

The recognition of the rebels who have been fighting the regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi since February 2011 came during a visit of Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov in Benghazi, the rebels’ capital, on Tuesday.

Bulgaria’s Borisov Cabinet has thus reversed its position as of March 2011 when it refused to recognize the National Transitional Council stating that some of its members were involved in the torture and imprisonment of the 6 Bulgarian medics in the so called Libya HIV trial (1999-2007).

In addition to Bulgaria and Croatia, the Libyan rebels have already been recognized formally by France, Qatar, the Maldives, Italy, Kuwait, Gambia, Jordan, Senegal, UK, Spain, Australia, UAE, Germany, Canada, Panama, Austria, Latvia, and Denmark, while a dozen of other countries including major powers such as the USA, Russia, China, and Turkey have established informal relations with the authority in Benghazi.

“For more than three months the Libyan people have defended their right to freedom. Their legitimate demands have been met with violent attacks by the forces of Muammar Gaddafi. By brutally attacking his own people, Colonel Qaddafi has lost all legitimacy,” reads the joint statement of Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov and Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic.

“Bulgaria and Croatia, as NATO allies, fully backed and participated in the efforts of the international community to respond to the impending crisis. The international community responded to the calls for support by the people of Libya and the Arab League. In implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 NATO, with the participation of other countries, launched operations to protect the civilian population in Libya, to implement a no-fly zone and a naval blockade. The assets of the regime have been frozen, and arrest warrants have been issued by the International Criminal Court for some of the top regime leadership.

“Gaddafi’s era is over, and he must go immediately. Those accused of crimes against humanity will be held to account before judges in a criminal court. The time has come for a real political process of national reconciliation and transition. The Libyan people who strive for freedom and democracy have demonstrated their will to be represented by a unified and inclusive national council,” reads the joint statement of Sofia and Zagreb.

“Bulgaria and Croatia regard the National Transitional Council (NTC) in Libya as a legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Our support stems from the understanding that the NTC is able to lead the process of building a democratic and inclusive Libya, built on the rule of law and upholding the highest international human rights standards. We welcome the ‘Road to Democratic Libya’ presented by the NTC and support its vision for a new Libya and stand ready to assist the NTC in developing its capacity to assume its responsibilities and uphold the rule of law. We are confident that the Council will continue to work in close cooperation with the international community represented by the Contact Group for Libya to enhance regional stability,” conclude Mladenov and Jandrokovic.

The program of Bulgarian Foreign Minister in Benghazi includes a meeting with the head of the Libyan Transitional Council Mahmoud Jibril, and some of its members, as well as representatives of the civil society, as well as a visit to a local hospital and a small medical donation.

The Bulgarian government is going to send to Benghazi a special envoy to the National Transitional Council who will be in charge of the bilateral relations.

Back in March 2011, Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said his Cabinet would not recognize the government of the Libyan rebels because some of its officials took part in the torture of the Bulgarian nurses and doctor jailed by the Gaddafi regime in 1999-2007, and twice sentenced to death for allegedly infecting 400 Libyan children with AIDS before they were brought back to Bulgaria, the so called Libyan HIV trial.

Borisov had responded to France’s call for recognition of the Libyan rebels by the EU states but stating that people who tortured the Bulgarian medics and orchestrated the HIV trial, which cost Bulgaria USD 60 M, were among the members of the rebels’ transitional council.

It is not clear yet what has led the government in Sofia to change its position with respect to the authority in Benghazi.

Source: Sofia News Agency.

France air ‘drops arms’ to Libya rebels


Report France’s air drops are aimed at helping Berber fighters encircle Tripoli, encourage popular revolt in capital.

PARIS – France has begun parachuting arms shipments to Berber rebels fighting Libyan leader Moamer Gathafi’s forces in the highlands south of Tripoli, the French daily Le Figaro reported on Wednesday.

According to the paper, which said it had seen a secret intelligence memo and talked to well-placed officials, the air drops are designed to help rebel fighters encircle Tripoli and encourage a popular revolt in the city itself.

“If the rebels can get to the outskirts of Tripoli, the capital will take the chance to rise against Gathafi,” said an official quoted in the report.

“The regime’s mercenaries are no longer getting paid and are scarcely getting fed. There’s a severe fuel shortage, the population has had enough.”

French officials could not immediately confirm or deny the report to AFP.

According to Le Figaro the French arms shipments are dropped from planes in the Djebel Nafusa region, where Berber tribes have risen to join the revolt against Gathafi’s rule and seized several provincial towns.

The crates hold assault rifles, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, it said, and also European-made Milan anti-tank missiles, a powerful addition to the rebel arsenal that can destroy a tank or a bunker.

France has taken a leading role in organizing international support for the uprising against Gathafi’s four-decade old rule, and French and British jets are spearheading a NATO-led air campaign targeting his forces.

Rebel forces are based in Benghazi in the east of the country, and hold a besieged enclave supplied by sea in the western coastal town of Misrata, but have been unable to mount a convincing advance on the capital.

Source: Middle East Online.

A night on the town, Libyan revolution style


Libyans in Benghazi still game for a night out despite war with Gathafi regime, shortage of services.

By Andrew Beatty – BENGHAZI, Libya

A night out in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi is not everyone’s idea of fun. There are no cinemas, no clubs, only a handful of open restaurants and alcohol is illegal.

But while the war being fought 240 kilometers (150 miles) away is on everyone’s mind, Libyans are still game for a night out.

These days the place to be seen in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi is, without doubt, the freshly renamed Tahrir (Liberation) Square.

Bounded by the city on one side and the Mediterranean on the other, the square’s concrete heart has been covered by a giant woven mat, converting the plaza into — in turn — a sit-down concert hall and an open-air mosque.

Children, families and men of all ages flock there each evening, listening to music, debating politics and finding out the latest news and rumors about the front and the fate of Moamer Gathafi.

By 9 pm the square is thronged with thousands of people in various states of recline. That is before the faithful snap into regimental lines for Isha, the final prayer of the day, and the real crowds start arriving.

Around the mat vendors sell kebabs, revolutionary branded T-shirts, key chains and, of course, the omnipresent red, black and green rebel flags.

Libya’s post-revolution media are also out in force, with Libya Al-Hurra (Free Libya) television filming an endless stream of debates and projecting them live onto the wall of the courthouse.

In a sign of just how much has changed in the Islamic world this year, large US, British and French flags fly beside messages of thanks for NATO’s decision to save this city’s people.

Without irony, a giant portrait of Omar Mukhtar — a hero of Libya’s independence — hangs beside the flag of Italy, the country that hanged him for insurrection.

On the corniche, which bounds the square to the northwest, there is a long string of tents sponsored by everything from football teams to military forces.

Some contain images of fighting in the city, and in Misrata, the rebel-held port city across the Gulf of Sirte which is still under fire by Gathafi’s forces.

Children and adults queue up to sit in the cockpit of a nearby MiG-23, like the one downed by Gathafi’s forces in the early days of the Battle for Benghazi. The only attraction with a longer waiting time may be the nearby bouncy castles.

“Sometimes we demonstrate and sometimes we play,” said 13-year-old Ali Nasser as he waited his turn on one of the quad bikes racing up and down the corniche pulling wheelies.

Source: Middle East Online.

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