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« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2011, 09:54:41 am »

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release February 25, 2011
- - - - - - -
By the authority vested in me as President by the
Constitution and the laws of the United States of America,
including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act
(50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act
(50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), and section 301 of title 3,
United States Code,

I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America,
find that Colonel Muammar Qadhafi, his government, and close
associates have taken extreme measures against the people of
Libya, including by using weapons of war, mercenaries, and
wanton violence against unarmed civilians. I further find
that there is a serious risk that Libyan state assets will be
misappropriated by Qadhafi, members of his government, members
of his family, or his close associates if those assets are not
protected. The foregoing circumstances, the prolonged attacks,
and the increased numbers of Libyans seeking refuge in other
countries from the attacks, have caused a deterioration in the
security of Libya and pose a serious risk to its stability,
thereby constituting an unusual and extraordinary threat to the
national security and foreign policy of the United States, and
I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.
I hereby order:
Section 1. All property and interests in property
that are in the United States, that hereafter come within
the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the
possession or control of any United States person, including
any overseas branch, of the following persons are blocked and
may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise
dealt in:
(a) the persons listed in the Annex to this order; and
(b) any person determined by the Secretary of the
Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:
(i) to be a senior official of the Government
of Libya;
(ii) to be a child of Colonel Muammar Qadhafi;
(iii) to be responsible for or complicit in, or
responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise
directing, or to have participated in, the commission
of human rights abuses related to political repression
in Libya;
(iv) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or
provided financial, material, logistical, or technical
support for, or goods or services in support of the
activities described in subsection (b)(iii) of this
section or any person whose property and interests in
property are blocked pursuant to this order;
(v) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted
or purported to act for or on behalf of, any person
whose property and interests in property are blocked
pursuant to this order; or
(vi) to be a spouse or dependent child of any person
whose property and interests in property are blocked
pursuant to this order.
Sec. 2. All property and interests in property that are in
the United States, that hereafter come within the United States,
or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control
of any United States person, including any overseas branch, of
the Government of Libya, its agencies, instrumentalities, and
controlled entities, and the Central Bank of Libya, are blocked
and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or
otherwise dealt in.
Sec. 3. For those persons whose property and interests
in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have
a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that
because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets
instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to
be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures
ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to
be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in
this order, there need be no prior notice of a listing or
determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.
Sec. 4. I hereby determine that, to the extent
section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) may apply, the
making of donations of the type of articles specified in such
section by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property
and interests in property are blocked pursuant to sections 1
and 2 of this order would seriously impair my ability to deal
with the national emergency declared in this order, and I hereby
prohibit such donations as provided by sections 1 and 2 of this
Sec. 5. The prohibitions in sections 1 and 2 of this order
include but are not limited to:
(a) the making of any contribution or provision of funds,
goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person
whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to
this order; and
(b) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds,
goods, or services from any such person.
Sec. 6. The prohibitions in sections 1 and 2 of this
order apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in
regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued
pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered
into or any license or permit granted prior to the effective
date of this order.
Sec. 7. (a) Any transaction by a United States person or
within the United States that evades or avoids, has the purpose
of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to
violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is
(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the
prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
Sec. 8. Nothing in this order shall prohibit
transactions for the conduct of the official business of
the Federal Government by employees, grantees, or contractors
Sec. 9. For the purposes of this order:
(a) the term "person" means an individual or entity;
(b) the term "entity" means a partnership, association,
trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other
organization; and
(c) the term "United States person" means any
United States citizen or national, permanent resident alien,
entity organized under the laws of the United States or any
jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign
branches), or any person in the United States.
Sec. 10. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation
with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such
actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations,
and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA
as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order.
The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these
functions to other officers and agencies of the United States
Government consistent with applicable law. All agencies of the
United States Government are hereby directed to take all
appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the
provisions of this order.
Sec. 11. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation
with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to determine
that circumstances no longer warrant the blocking of the
property and interests in property of a person listed in the
Annex to this order, and to take necessary action to give effect
to that determination.
Sec. 12. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation
with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to submit
the recurring and final reports to the Congress on the national
emergency declared in this order, consistent with section 401(c)
of the NEA (50 U.S.C. 1641(c)) and section 204(c) of IEEPA
(50 U.S.C. 1703(c)).
Sec. 13. This order is not intended to, and does not,
create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural,
enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the
United States, its departments, agencies, or entities,
its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
Sec. 14. This order is effective at 8:00 p.m. eastern
standard time on February 25, 2011.
February 25, 2011.
1. Ayesha QADHAFI [lieutenant General in the Libyan Army, born circa 1976 or 1977]
2. Khamis QADHAFI [born 1980]
3. Muammar QADHAFI [Head of State of Libya, born 1942]
4. Mutassim QADHAFI [National Security Advisor and Lieutenant Colonel in the
Libyan Army, born circa 1975]
5. Saif Al-Islam QADHAFI [born June 5, 1972]
# # #
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« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2011, 11:34:28 am »

Gaddafis' hidden billions: Dubai banks, plush London pads and Italian water

Libya's oil wealth has been siphoned out of the country by a powerful elite – including Gaddafi and his nine children

An oil well in Shahara, Libya, 2004. Libya is Africa's fourth-largest oil producer, but analysts say much of the wealth from its reserves has been stolen. Photograph: Benjamin Lowy/Corbis

The Gaddafi family could have billions of dollars of funds hidden in secret bank accounts in Dubai, south-east Asia and the Persian Gulf, much of it likely to have come from Libya's vast oil revenues, according to analysis by leading Middle East experts.

Professor Tim Niblock, a specialist in Middle Eastern politics at the University of Exeter, has identified a gap of several billion dollars a year between the amount Libya makes from its oil reserves and government spending – a shortfall he expects has contributed greatly to the wealth of Muammar Gaddafi and his nine children.

"It is very, very difficult to work out with any degree of certainty just how much they have because the ruling elite hides it in all sorts of places," said Niblock, who is also vice president of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES). "But at the very least it would be several billion dollars, in whatever form and it could potentially be a lot higher although I wouldn't want to predict just how much it might be."

Alistair Newton, senior political analyst at Nomura, the Japanese bank and president of BRISMES, agreed that it was difficult to establish the extent of the Gaddafis' wealth but said he "would be surprised if it didn't run into billions".

Where the Gaddafis have hidden their vast funds is anybody's guess, although Niblock expects that most of it is "in bank accounts and liquid assets in Dubai, the Gulf and south-east Asia" rather than in relatively transparent countries such as the UK, where the Libyan state has invested in London properties and in companies such as Pearson Group, owner of the Financial Times.

In addition to squirrelling away much of their income, the Gaddafis have spent fortunes over the years propping up various African regimes, with Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, widely acknowledged to be one of the recipients, Niblock said.

In the 1990s Gaddafi is thought to have given money to the Zaghawan tribe in Darfur, "and I suspect some of them are among the African mercenaries fighting the civilians in Libya", Niblock added.

Libya's breakneck growth has enabled the country to build up myriad investments overseas. In addition to the Gaddafis' private holdings, the state is thought to have invested close to £61.8bn in assets across the globe.

Their investments in the UK include an eight-bedroom home in Hampstead, north London, with a swimming pool and suede-lined cinema room. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the Libyan leader's second son, bought it in 2009 for £10m.

Most of the state's investments are made by the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), a "sovereign wealth fund" set up in 2006 to spend the country's oil money, which has an estimated $70bn of assets. LIA bought 3% of Pearson last year for £224m, making it one of the group's biggest shareholders, and had a 0.02% stake in RBS, although this was recently sold.

Its UK property investments include Portman House, a 146,550 sq ft retail complex in Oxford Street, London, which houses retailers such as Boots and New Look, and an office at 14 Cornhill, opposite the Bank of England in the City.

Aside from the Hampstead home, which is not primarily an investment, the only two direct investment projects that the Gaddafi family are known to be involved with both involve water.

In 2009, when Silvio Berlusconi hosted the summit of G8 leading economies, he invited the Libyan leader as a special guest. Speeding towards the earthquake-stricken city of L'Aquila, which Berlusconi had chosen as the venue, Gaddafi's motor cavalcade stopped in a remote town by a river at the bottom of a deep gorge.

Not many people find their way to Antrodoco, let alone a "Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution". Such was the welcome he received that shortly afterwards a Libyan delegation returned to the town to announce that the colonel wanted to plough money into it.

Agreement was reached on a complex involving a luxury spa hotel and water bottling plant. Last September, Antrodocoís mayor, Maurizio Faina, said the €15m (£12.7m) scheme was "firming up".

Whether it survives the current turmoil in Libya, however, remains to be seen. A similar question mark hangs over the established, if struggling, spa town of Fiuggi, south of Rome where pope Boniface VIII, among others, took the waters. In January, the Corriere della Sera reported that Gaddafi's family had formalised a proposal to sink €250m (£211m) into a conference centre with an airstrip and a complex that, once again, involved a spa and a water bottling plant.

The paper said the deal was being brokered, not through Libyan channels, but by the Italo-Iraqi chamber of commerce. Fiuggi's mayor, along with his counterpart from Antrodoco, was a guest at a party thrown by Silvio Berlusconi in honour of the Libyan leader when he visited Rome last September.

Gaddafi and Berlusconi have a famously warm personal relationship. Less well-known, however, is the fact that Berlusconi is in business with one of the Libyan state's investment vehicles.

In June 2009, a Dutch-registered firm controlled by the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company, took a 10% stake in Quinta Communications, a Paris-based film production and distribution company. Quinta Communications was founded back in 1990 by Berlusconi in partnership with Tarak Ben Ammar, the nephew of the late Tunisian leader, Habib Bourguiba.

The Italian prime minister has a 22% interest in the company through a Luxembourg-registered subsidiary of Fininvest, the firm at the heart of his sprawling business empire. Last September, the Libyans put a director on the board of Quinta Communications to sit alongside Berlusconiís representatives.

Libyan investors already hold significant interests in several strategic Italian enterprises. They reportedly own around one per cent of Italy's biggest oil company, Eni; the LIA has an acknowledged 2% interest in the aerospace and defence group, Finmeccanica; Lafico is thought to retain more than 2% of Fiat and almost 15% of a quoted telecommunications company, Retelit.

The Libyans also own 22% of the capital of a textile firm, Olcese. Perhaps their best-known investment is a 7.5% stake in the Serie A side Juventus. But undoubtedly the most controversial is another 7.5 per cent interest in Italyís largest bank, Unicredit.

Last September, the bank's chief executive, Alessandro Profumo, walked out after a row over his willingness to let the Libyans build up that stake. The Northern League, Berlusconi's key allies in Italy's rightwing government, was known to be particularly queasy about the emergence of such a powerful Libyan presence.

Experts say if Gaddafi is overthrown, the investments made by Libya's state funds would probably be unaffected, since a new government would have more pressing matters to attend to, and any sudden movements could damage their reputation.

However, it is thought more likely that a new regime in Libya could look to freeze the assets of the Gaddafi family, as the new government in Egypt did with the assets of deposed Hosni Mubarak and his family. Since most of these are held in liquid form – and in country's outside Europe and the US – this would have no significant ramifications for business, they argue.
UK interests

About 150 British companies have established a presence in Libya since the US and Europe lifted economic sanctions in 2004, after the country renounced terrorism, ceased its nuclear weapons programme and handed over two suspects in the Lockerbie bombing case.

The most high profile have been the oil companies, keen to tap Libya's vast reserves of fossil fuels. In a deal brokered in 2007 by Tony Blair, BP signed a £560m exploration agreement allowing it to search for oil and gas, offshore and onshore, in a joint venture with the Libya Investment Corporation. Shell is also exploring for oil in Libya as western companies seek to capitalise on a country with the largest oil reserves in Africa and substantial supplies of gas.

High street retailers such as Marks & Spencer, Next, Monsoon and Accessorize have also set up in the country to serve the growing middle-class population, as oil revenues have "trickled down" into the broader Libyan population.

Companies such as AMEC, an engineering firm, and Biwater, a waste treatment company, have supplied services to Libya, which is using its oil revenues to reshape the country through an infrastructure spending spree that will cost about £310bn over the next decade.

British exports to Libya have soared to about £930m in recent years, while the business momentum in post-sanctions Libya is so great that the economy managed to grow by about 5% last year, while much of the rest of the world struggled.

Many British and foreign companies – including M&S, BP and Shell – are evacuating staff from Libya and it could be some time before they return. Tom Bawden

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« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2011, 06:03:26 pm »

Report: Gaddafi's personal nurse to return to Ukraine
26.02.2011 23:13
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« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2011, 06:15:45 pm »

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« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2011, 06:51:36 pm »
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« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2011, 10:29:37 am »

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« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2011, 11:18:41 am »

Libya lacks means to use chemical arms: watchdog

Libya retains 9.5 tonnes of deadly mustard gas but no longer has weapons to deliver it, a watchdog agency said on Sunday, amid international concern that embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi might resort to its use.

Michael Luhan, spokesman for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), told Reuters the chemicals were under the army's control but were stored in a remote location far from the capital Tripoli, Gaddafi's main bastion.

"As far as we have been able to verify, and we have no information that indicates anything to the contrary, Libya destroyed the entire stockpile of its chemical weapons munitions

-- a cache of several thousand aerial bombs that are designed for chemicals -- in early 2004, seven years ago," he said by telephone from the OPCW's base in The Hague. Luhan declined to say where the mustard gas was located but added: "It's nowhere near Tripoli, let's put it that way."

"It's kept in a location which is only for that purpose. It's a depot guarded by the military."

Peter Flory, then U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, told Congress in April 2006 that Libyan chemical weapons and materials were stored in a remote location in the desert, about 600 km (375 miles) from Tripoli.


Government forces confronting nearly two weeks of anti-Gaddafi protests have carried out a violent crackdown against demonstrators. The death toll from the violence is estimated by diplomats at about 2,000.

The U.N. Security Council called for the crackdown to be referred to the International Criminal Court for investigation and possible prosecution of anyone responsible for killing civilians.

There have been fears that Gaddafi, who has said he will fight to the death, could use chemical weapons in a last ditch attempt to cling to power. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Sunday Libya appeared to have stocks of mustard gas, although it was not clear what condition they were in.

The OPCW, which enforces a global chemical weapons ban, says it has monitored Libya's destruction of more than 3,300 bomb casings designed to carry chemical agents since 2004.

Libya announced in December 2003 it would abandon any efforts to acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, in an effort to mend ties with the West, after agreeing to pay damages for the 1988 Pan Am plane bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Libya joined OPCW in 2004 and committed itself to destroying all its chemical weapons and the capacity to produce them by April 29, 2007.

Disputes ensued between Tripoli and Washington over funding for the internationally-financed program and in 2007 Libya informed the United States it planned to back out of its promise to destroy its mustard gas stocks.

The OPCW later granted Libya an extension until May 2011 to destroy the rest of its mustard gas stocks.

The OPCW is the implementing body of the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, which has been ratified by 188 countries and bans many varieties of mass-destruction chemical arms.

(Reporting by William Maclean, Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
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« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2011, 01:31:26 pm »

Chemical weapons seized by the Revolution youth from Hamza battalion in Misurata
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« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2011, 05:14:50 pm »

Clinton: U.S. ready to help Libyan opposition
Also warns other nations not to allow mercenaries to come to aid of Qaddafi

 Last Updated 4:50 pm ET

The Obama administration stands ready to offer "any type of assistance" to Libyans seeking to oust Muammar Qaddafi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday, adding a warning to other African nations not to let mercenaries go to the aid of the long-time dictator.

Clinton echoed President Barack Obama's demand for Qaddafi to relinquish power.

"We want him to leave," she told reporters traveling with her Sunday to a U.N. meeting on Libya planned for Monday. "We want him to end his regime and call off the mercenaries and forces loyal to him.

"How he manages that is up to him."

Clinton made no mention of any U.S. military assistance in her remarks to reporters before flying to Geneva for talks with diplomats from Russia, the European Union and other powers eager to present a united anti-Qaddafi front.

CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports that the Navy has moved several ships - including the aircraft carrier Enterprise and the amphibious assault ship Kearsarge - into the Red Sea in preparation for sending them through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean, depending on what (if any) military options are approved. As of now, no U.S. military action is ordered.

Clinton spoke to reporters one day after Mr. Obama branded Qaddafi an illegitimate ruler who must leave power immediately.

The U.N. Security Council announced new penalties against the Qaddafi government, in power since 1969 in the oil-rich nation along Africa's Mediterranean Coast.

"We've been reaching out to many different Libyans who are attempting to organize in the east," the Secretary of State said of efforts to form a provisional government in the eastern part of the country where the rebellion began at midmonth.

She added, "We are ready and prepared to offer any type of assistance."

The U.S., she said, is threatening more measures against Qaddafi's government, but did not say what they were or when they might be announced.

Addressing the rulers of unnamed neighboring countries, she said, "You must stop mercenaries and those going to Libya to commit violence and other criminal acts."

The African fighters that Qaddafi is allegedly using against protesters come from several nations.
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« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2011, 06:38:26 am »
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« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2011, 06:51:13 am »

Libyan leader cut a flamboyant, eccentric figure

Moammar Gadhafi was many things over many years: a dashing icon of Libyan revolution, a brazen patron of terrorists, the custodian of vast oil wealth, a dictator whose flamboyance masked grit and guile, and a longtime pariah on the road to rehabilitation in the West.

From his cadre of female bodyguards to his penchant for pitching a tent on foreign visits, he was an object of fascination, ridicule and revulsion.

Now, in perhaps his final reinvention, Gadhafi is an apocalyptic figure, the dispenser of terrible bloodshed who seeks to keep power four decades after he ousted King Idris in a coup when he was an army captain.

In sending warplanes and helicopters against protesters, and in threatening to turn Libya into "hell," Gadhafi has spurned even the facade of legitimate leadership amid a widening revolt that seems close to toppling him. Yet he does not appear aware of that, or to care, thereby subjecting the fate of Libya's 6 million people to the foibles of one man's narcissism.

Once known as "Brother Leader of the Revolution," Gadhafi again stands at an intersection of brutality and buffoonery.

The man lampooned for his eccentricities is the same one who funded Italy's Red Brigades and the Irish Republican Army, and whose regime was implicated in the bombings of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and a French airliner over the Niger desert in the late 1980s.

Some examples of Gadhafi's eccentricities:

_ He has shown a penchant for conducting state business in tents, pitching them in Moscow, Paris and Rome, among other locales. For a September 2009 visit to New York to give a speech at the United Nations, he tried and failed to make camp in Manhattan's Central Park and Englewood, New Jersey. The white cloth tent, lined with a tapestry featuring camels and palms, later appeared in Bedford, New York, in a courtyard of a stone manor house on property owned by real estate magnate Donald Trump, who hinted that he had been tricked into renting his land. Politicians eventually declared Gadhafi unwelcome, and Bedford issued a stop-work order.

_ Gadhafi's personal bodyguards, known as the Amazonian guard, consisted of young women said to be martial arts experts. They often carried machine guns and sometimes wore military-style uniforms with matching camouflaged headscarves. In 2006, Nigerian authorities stopped dozens of Gadhafi's bodyguards, including members of the female corps, from entering Abuja, the capital, with weapons in a dispute that lasted hours and saw the exasperated Libyan leader storm away from the airport on foot before a compromise was reached.

_ Dapper and handsome in his youth, he cultivated an increasingly flamboyant appearance over the years, donning garish military uniforms with braids and huge, fringed epaulettes or flowing, colorful Bedouin robes and clothing with African patterns, along with sunglasses and fly whisks. His hair grew scruffy and he sported a goatee and scraggly mustache. In his first televised appearance after protests broke out in Libya, he appeared with an umbrella and a kind of hunter's cap with flaps over the ears.

_ In a 2009 speech at the United Nations, he rambled about jet lag, the assassination of U.S. President Kennedy and a proposal that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict be settled by creating one country called "Isratine," where the two peoples live together. He also tore up a copy of the U.N. charter in front of the delegates, criticizing the Security Council as a form of global feudalism. "It should be called the 'terrorism council,'" he said. On Saturday, the Security Council imposed sanctions on Gadhafi, his children and top associates to try to stop his attacks on the opposition.

_ During two recent visits by Gadhafi to Rome, some 200 young women recruited by a modeling agency were dispatched to listen to him deliver a lesson on Islam, complete with free copies of the Quran. Participants said that at the 2009 session, the women were paid 50 euros (about $68) apiece, with some turned down because they weren't dressed properly. At the most recent session in August, three women converted on the spot.

_ A 2009 U.S. diplomatic cable released by the website WikiLeaks cites Gadhafi's heavy reliance on a Ukrainian nurse _ described as a "voluptuous blonde" _ and his intense dislike of staying on upper floors of buildings, aversion to flying over water and a taste for horse racing and flamenco dancing. On Saturday, Ukraine's Segodnya daily newspaper reported that the nurse, 38-year-old Halyna Kolotnytska, was planning to flee the violence in Libya and return home.

The cable said that while "tempting to dismiss his many eccentricities as signs of instability," Gadhafi was "a complicated individual" who has stayed in power "through a skillful balancing of interests and realpolitik methods."

Gadhafi suffers "the sense of mission and the sense of personal power that someone has when they've been at the top for a very long time with few people, if anybody, seriously contradicting them," said Richard Dalton, a former British ambassador to Libya and Iran. He said the Libyan has the classic delusion of absolute rulers who believe, even as citizens abandon them, that the people are at fault.

"He may do something that one calls crazy, but it flows from the internal history and logic of the personality and his experiences," Dalton said.

Born in a Bedouin tent, Gadhafi has known power for virtually his entire adult life. Cuba's Fidel Castro and North Korea's Kim Il Sung are among the few leaders to have held it longer. He took control of Libya in 1969, just weeks after astronauts landed on the moon. U.S. President Richard Nixon was in office, and so was Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser, whose pan-Arab nationalism inspired the young Libyan.

"Libya is leading the continents, even Europe," he said last week in one of several diatribes. "No one knew Libya before Gadhafi."

Black-and-white film of Gadhafi in his early years at Libya's helm gives a hint of the enigma he would become. The slender officer sits at a desk, awkwardly holding pen to paper, while answering an interviewer's questions in halting English. He smiles often, but it is hard to tell whether it is from shyness, irreverence or even bewilderment at being propelled to such heights in his mid-20s.

A maverick to the last, Gadhafi is devising an endgame different from the narratives unfolding elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, where autocrats have fumbled for a formula to resist or defuse protests whose calls for change splintered a decaying order.

All tried force, but unlike Gadhafi, they did not have the means or will to declare war on their own citizens. Tunisia's president fled, Egypt's president resigned under pressure, Bahrain's king seeks to negotiate, and support for Yemen's leader is eroding.

Other besieged leaders in retreat developed the same skewed sense of infallibility, but their institutions and sense of accountability, however flimsy, exercised some restraint. Gadhafi, by contrast, built authority on family and tribal loyalty, buttressed by personal militias while undercutting his own military in case it might challenge him.

"He believes in his world. He thinks of himself: 'I am much higher than presidents, than kings,'" said Mustafa Abushagur, a Libyan who is president of the Dubai campus of the Rochester Institute of Technology. For 40 years, Abushagur said, Gadhafi's acolytes have told him: "You are the greatest."

This personality cult in the desert degraded the traditional idea of a nation state in Libya, which as a former Italian colony was already a shaky patchwork of territory. The country had no constitution, but officially followed Gadhafi's "Green Book," a treatise that condemns parliaments, plebiscites and other features of Western-style democracy.

In Gadhafi's view, "direct democracy" stemmed from so-called people's committees, though his meandering socialist and Islamic rhetoric did little to hide the fact that he alone was in charge. He was also a self-styled and mostly unsuccessful champion of Arab and African solidarity, and his denunciations of Israel and imperialism resonated in developing countries and radical circles around the world.

Journalist Paul Barker described attending a 1970s conference in Tripoli.

The Libyan leader was "a film star of the revolution. He was bright and slim in a safari suit," Barker wrote in the London Times. "He was like the lead in 'The Desert Song.' The fraternal delegates clustered round him like autograph-hunters. Libya had money to spend, after all, on all kinds of activities."

With celebrity status came callousness. In 1989, during one of Libya's periodic anti-Italian demonstrations, an Italian worker was shot and set on fire by a mob. Italian TV interviewed Gadhafi as he sat in a black leather jacket inside a tent. He said through an interpreter that he had not heard about the slaying, but added: "I hope he had life insurance."

Libya's oil wealth was fuel for his follies, and he dispatched troops in an ill-fated attempt to prop up Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, later a guest in exile. U.S. President Ronald Reagan dubbed him the "mad dog of the Middle East" and U.S. airstrikes targeted Gadhafi in 1986 after a bombing at a Berlin disco that killed three people, including two American soldiers.

The Lockerbie bombing led to international sanctions against Libya, which began to emerge from isolation when it renounced terrorism and weapons of mass destruction and agreed to pay compensation in terrorist attacks. Western leaders courted energy-rich Libya, despite some unsavory moments.

He sponsored an annual human rights award in his name. Recipients included Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, both accused by critics of curbing civil liberties.

Gadhafi last week delivered a defiant speech near a sculpture of a golden fist crushing a U.S. fighter jet.

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« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2011, 10:39:09 am »

U.S. repositioning forces around Libya: Pentagon

The U.S. military is repositioning naval and air forces around Libya, a Pentagon official said on Monday, as international demands intensify for an end to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's decades-long rule.

"We have planners working and various contingency plans and I think it's safe to say as part of that we're repositioning forces to be able to provide for that flexibility once decisions are made ... to be able to provide options and flexibility," said Colonel David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman.

(Reporting by Missy Ryan; Editing by Jackie Frank)

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« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2011, 06:06:12 pm »

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« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2011, 06:13:33 pm »

US moves warships closer to Libya, freezes assets

28 Feb 2011 22:04

By Missy Ryan and Ross Colvin

WASHINGTON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - The United States began moving warships and aircraft closer to Libya on Monday and froze $30 billion in Libyan assets, ramping up pressure on leader Muammar Gaddafi after calling on him to step aside.

Gaddafi is "slaughtering his own people," unfit to lead and "disconnected from reality," the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said at the White House in the hardest-hitting U.S. denunciation yet of the Libyan leader.

News of the military preparations and the tougher U.S. rhetoric follow days of criticism of the Obama administration by Republican lawmakers, conservative commentators and others for its initially cautious response to the turmoil in Libya.

The administration has defended its response, saying it had been reluctant to take any steps that could endanger U.S. citizens in the North African country. Washington imposed sanctions on Libya on Friday just hours after a plane carrying some of the last Americans flew out of the capital Tripoli.

In addition to repositioning military units and freezing Gaddafi's assets, Washington was also working with allies on imposing a possible "no-fly" zone over the country.

Rice said the United States was waiting to see how the Libyan opposition, which has seized large swaths of the oil-producing country, would coalesce. It is premature to talk about military assistance to them, she said.

The repositioned U.S. ships could be used for humanitarian and rescue missions, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Geneva, where she told the U.N. Human Rights Council it was "time for Gaddafi to go -- now."

"There is not any pending military action involving U.S. naval vessels," she said after the Pentagon announced it was moving warships and air force units closer to Libya. [ID:nN28249773]

U.S. oil prices, which have risen due to the turmoil in Libya and unrest elsewhere in the region, did not respond to the news, trading down 80 cents at $97 a barrel.


"We are moving ships closer to Libya in case they are needed," said Colonel David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman. Aircraft were also being moved nearer, he said.

The Obama administration has said military action is one option it is looking at, although many analysts say the United States is highly unlikely to launch a ground invasion or air strikes because of the volatile situation on the ground.

The Pentagon gave no details of the forces being moved but its announcement was likely aimed at sending a signal to Gaddafi and his government that the United States was matching its sharper rhetoric of recent days with action.

It was not immediately clear what ships the U.S. Navy has in the Mediterranean but it does have two aircraft carriers further southeast in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.

The United States has a major base in Naples, Italy, home to its Mediterranean headquarters, as well as in Rota, Spain.

U.S. planes bombed Libya in 1986, killing more than 40 people including Gaddafi's adopted baby daughter, in response to a Berlin bombing blamed on Libya that killed three people in a Berlin disco used by U.S. servicemen.

U.S. authorities are also putting the financial squeeze on Gaddafi to pressure him to go.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order freezing Libyan assets on Friday. A U.S. Treasury Department official said on Monday that about $30 billion of Libyan assets in the United States have been blocked from access by Gaddafi and his family. [ID:nN28272337]

David Cohen, acting Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the sum was the largest ever blocked.

Rice said the United States was talking to NATO allies about military options but so far the focus had been on contingency planning.

One option on the table is the no-fly zone, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

A no-fly zone would stop Gaddafi using warplanes or helicopters to attack rebels who have seized large parts of the country, although it is far from clear how big a role the Libyan air force has played in the crisis so far.

Military aircraft circled a town in rebel-held eastern Libya on Monday, a security official said, adding that an earlier report they bombed an arms dump was incorrect. [ID:nLDE71R2HV] (Additional reporting by Jeff Mason, Steve Holland, Glenn Somerville, Matt Spetalnick and Alister Bull in Washington, Andrew Quinn in Geneva and Peter Apps in London; writing by Ross Colvin; editing by Mohammad Zargham)
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« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2011, 06:17:05 pm »

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