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Russia accuses Libya of training Syrian rebels

LIBYA/

Russia demanded Wednesday that NATO apologize for civilian casualties during the uprising in Libya last year and accused the Libyan government of supporting a training center for Syrian rebels, provoking a sharp response from the U.S. and Libya’s prime minister.

The sparring was another indication of how deeply divided the international community remains over the turmoil in the Middle East, particularly the bloody uprising in Syria.

Russia and China have accused NATO of overstepping its Security Council mandate to protect civilians in Libya during the uprising last year, and have strongly opposed any similar action in Syria.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said his country has received information that “a special training center for Syrian revolutionaries” has been established in Libya with support from government authorities.

He did not elaborate but expressed concern about “the uncontrolled proliferation of Libyan arms in the region” and said training fighters to attack Syria’s government was undermining stability in the Middle East.

Churkin said he wanted to the raise the issues in the presence of Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib, who moments earlier had addressed the U.N. Security Council on the challenges Libya is facing after ending Moammar Gadhafi’s 42-year dictatorship.

Responding to Churkin’s accusations, el-Keib said that a matter “which concerns the blood of Libyans should not be a matter of political propaganda by any country against other countries.”

read more at     www.stltoday.com

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Desecration on UK Commonwealth World War Cemetery in Benghazi

This was the Benghazi Commonwealth War Cemetery to British and allied servicemen who fought in North African desert campaigns during World War II.

It was Desecrated by NATO rats, on 24 February 2012. This group of Libyan wahhabists were retaliating the burning of the Koran, supposedly, at a NATO military base in Afghanistan.

Libya apologises for attack on World War II graves

BENGHAZI, Libya (AFP) – Libyan authorities on Tuesday condemned the desecration of World War II graves in the eastern city of Benghazi by protesters angry over US troops burning the Quran in Afghanistan.

The interim government, in a statement, expressed ‘strong condemnation of the attack on non-Muslim graves by subversive elements who have no respect for religion or international law.’ ‘This action is contrary to the values of our Islamic religion and law,’ said the statement obtained by AFP.

The government vowed to find and put the perpetrators on trial. An unidentified group on Friday entered Benghazi military cemetery and shattered headstones of British and allied servicemen who fought in North African desert campaigns against the Nazi during World War II, according to local media reports.

The reports said the group comprised Salafists angered by the burning of the Quran at a Nato military base in Afghanistan earlier this month.

www.straitstimes.com                    www.nation.com.pk

Russia loses $4 billion in Libya because of Gaddafi

Russia has lost $4 billion due to the loss of arms contracts with Libya as a result of the UN’s arms shipments embargo. Anatoly Isaikin, the General Director of Russia’s defense export giant Rosoboronexport, said that Russia had concluded arms contracts worth $2 billion with the previous administration of Libya. “We could conclude more contracts for the same amount,” the official told Interfax.

According to Isaikin, Russia stopped executing all defense contracts with Libya following the UN embargo. Moscow plans to conduct negotiations on the subject with the new Libyan administration as soon as the embargo is lifted. The negotiations will solve the fate of the previously concluded contracts, as well as other contracts, that were prepared for signing. “We do not build illusions about it,” the official said.

In the meantime, foreign media say that Russia’s similar arms contracts with Syria may end up the same. This is exactly the reason why Moscow is unwilling to approve the resolution of the Arab League in New York, Germany’s Suddeutsche Zeitung wrote.

read more at            english.pravda.ru

Algeria seizes missiles smuggled from Libya

ALGIERS (Reuters) – Algerian security forces have found a large cache of weapons, including shoulder-fired missiles, which they believe were smuggled in from neighboring Libya, a security source briefed on the discovery told Reuters on Saturday.

The find follows warnings from governments in the region that instability in Libya after the end of Muammar Gaddafi’s rule is allowing weapons taken from Gaddafi’s arsenal to fall into the hands of al Qaeda’s north African branch and other insurgent groups across the Sahara desert.

The weapons cache was discovered in the desert about 60 km (40 miles) south of In Amenas, an energy-producing Algerian region near the border with Libya, said the source, who spoke to Reuters on condition on anonymity.

The source said the cache was located following a tip-off from a smuggler who had been arrested. He said it contained a “large quantity” of arms including the shoulder-launched missiles – a weapon which, in some variations, could be used to bring down an aircraft.

“This weapons seizure shows that the chaos in Libya is dangerous for the whole region,” the source said.

There was no official confirmation of the discovery from the Algerian government and there was no way of independently verifying the source’s account.

Western security experts tracking arms which have disappeared from Gaddafi’s looted arms depots say the shoulder-fired missiles – also known as man-portable air defense systems, or MANPADS – are one of their biggest concerns because they could be used with relative ease by insurgent groups.

INSURGENCY

Gaddafi’s forces had about 20,000 of the missiles, according to a U.S. government task force which is trying to locate the missiles. The task force says most of the missiles are still inside Libya, in the hands of militias loosely allied to the interim leadership that took over after Gaddafi’s rule was overthrown last year.

Security officials in North Africa say the worst-case scenario is that al Qaeda’s north African wing, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), could use one of the missiles to bring down a commercial airliner coming in to land or taking off at an airport somewhere in North Africa.

The group is waging a long-running insurgency against Algeria’s government. It also carries out kidnappings, ambushes and bomb attacks on Western targets in the Sahel, a huge volatile band that straddles the borders of Algeria, Libya, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

Speaking in Geneva last week, a U.N. panel of experts on Libya said the lack of strong central government control in Libya was making it difficult to track down the missing MANPADS.

“People are concerned and they are right,” said one panel member, on condition of anonymity. “There is certainly weapons traffic into the Sahel. It is a large desert area with limited (border) controls.”

Algeria has been one of the region’s most vocal states in warning of the security impact of Gaddafi’s fall. The revolt has left huge quantities of weapons unsecured and a fragile interim government that is struggling to impose its authority and control the country’s borders.

However, Libyan officials say they are working to secure the missing weapons and have accused Algeria of exaggerating the threat.

They say its neighbor was against the revolt in Libya and is now using the security issue to undermine the new leadership in Tripoli, allegations that Algerian officials deny.

Libya: Gaddafi Ghost Still Haunts Investments in East Africa

English: Muammar al-Gaddafi at the 12th AU sum...

By Julius Barigaba and Isaac Khisa

Nearly three months since the lifting of sanctions on Libya by the United Nations Security Council, uncertainty surrounds the fate and ownership of businesses owned by Tripoli across East Africa. It has now emerged that the UN is still investigating these investments.

Two weeks ago, a committee of the Security Council was in Kampala to determine if the investments and assets that were acquired during the late Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi’s reign qualify for the lifting of sanctions so that they are “made available to and for the benefit of the people of Libya.”

Donald Nyakairu, managing director of Uganda Telecom, a company in which the Libyan African Investment Portfolio (LAP) owns a 69 per cent stake, told The EastAfrican that the UN sanctions on the company have not been lifted.

“The UN Security Council Committee was here two weeks ago and the sanctions on Libyan Investment Authority are still on in the member states,” Mr Nyakairu said. The problem with Libyan assets in Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Zambia and several countries in West Africa is that the Security Council is yet to establish if they were personal holdings of the Gaddafi family or belonged to the Libyan government.

The North African country used its oil wealth to invest outside Libya in the telecommunications sector in Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Niger, Guinea Conakry and Benin; it has interests in hotels, textile manufacturing and food processing in Uganda, as well as oil engineering and retail businesses in Kenya and Uganda.

Established with $5 billion worth of investment capital under General People’s Decree No. 15 in 2006, LAP was supervised by Libya’s sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), which oversees the spending of oil dollars.

Of grave concern for the Security Council, however, is that LIA was controlled by the Gaddafi family and close associates of his regime. Hence, it is not clear whether LAP was a government investment vehicle or whether it was fused with the Gaddafi family holdings.

Thus Libyan investments in many African countries under the LAP remain a subject of restrictions even after the United States, the UN and European Union have lifted sanctions against Tripoli.

Lifting of sanctions

In December last year, the UN lifted sanctions on assets and financial institutions whose ownership was clear, top of these being the Libyan Central Bank, thus clearing billions of dollars that Libya held overseas to be unfrozen, easing the cash crisis for the new Tripoli government, the National Transitional Council (NTC). The NTC has appealed to the Security Council in vain to have more Libyan assets unfrozen as the new regime grapples with the problems of reconstruction in a country whose infrastructure was badly damaged by Nato bombing in support of the local uprising from March to October 2011.

East African states had earlier stated that they would hand over Libya’s assets to the NTC government once the African Union officially recognised it as the fully-fledged authority in Tripoli, which it was expected to during its recently concluded Summit in Addis Ababa. However, the Summit did not debate the issue as it could trigger more tensions between the AU and the UN. In a telephone interview last week, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula told The EastAfrican that the African Union has no mandate to decide the fate of the country’s investments. “Libya invested in individual states and not the jurisdiction of the African Union,” he said. “As far as Libyan investments (in Kenya) are concerned, they remain protected, and nobody will misappropriate them.”

Mr Wetangula said Libya’s investment in Kenya belongs to a sovereign state and will only be handed over to NTC upon request.

By contrast, the Ugandan government, which enjoyed warm relations with Gaddafi’s Libya, is keen to hand Libyan assets to the NTC, according to State Minister of Foreign Affairs Henry Okello-Oryem. “Uganda in line with the UN Security Council, which is lifting sanctions on Libya’s assets throughout the world, is willing to return the Libyan companies including UTL and Tropical Bank to resume operations normally,” he said. “We have already informed the foreign ministry of Libya and it is up to them to decide when they are to start managing their business.”

Now another twist has been added to this development. Influential local businessmen have obtained a court order to block the NTC from taking over the 49 per cent Libyan shareholding, worth about Ush48 billion ($21.1 million), in the National Housing and Construction Company.

The businessmen claim that Tripoli owes their firm Southern Investments $9.5 million for management services they rendered to the Libyans in 2001 to recover a debt of $167 million from the Uganda government.

Political analysts have interpreted this as a sign of Uganda’s hostility towards the new order in Tripoli. “We as a country are now hostile to the new regime in Tripoli. So all these issues start coming up,” said Charles Rwomushana, politician and geopolitical analyst, who has also worked in the office of the president.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201202190127.html