Wednesday, February 23, 2011
'Gaddafi orders explosion of Libya's oil pipelines'
JPOST.COM STAFF AND ASSOCIATED PRESS
Libyan leader tells security forces to blow up oil facilities, reports 'Time'; number of people killed in protests rises to 300.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has ordered his security forces to sabotage oil facilities, Time magazine reported Wednesday, quoting a source close to Gaddafi.
According to the report, the forces were ordered to start blowing up oil pipelines in order to cut off flows to ports in the Mediterranean. "The sabotage, according to the insider, is meant to serve as a message to Libya's rebellious tribes: It's either me or chaos," said the report.
Time also reported that the insider said Gaddafi only has the support of about 5,000 soldiers in the army and that the Libyan leader has told people close to him that he realizes he cannot take control over Libya with the troops he has.
Close to 300 people have been killed in the anti-government protests in Libya, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Gaddafi's speech on Tuesday was "very, very frightening," adding that he had declared war on the Libyan people, Reuters reported.
The German chancellor said that if Gaddafi does not end the violence in his country, she would support sanctions against Tripoli, according to the report.
The UN Security Council also condemned Gaddafi's crackdown on anti-government protesters and demanded an immediate end to the violence.
A press statement agreed by all 15 council members expressed "grave concern" at the situation in Libya and condemned the violence and use of force against civilians.
Earlier Tuesday, the Arab League suspended Libya's participation in its council meetings, citing the North African country's crackdown on protesters.
The Arab League “condemns crimes against the current peaceful popular protests and demonstrations in several Libyan cities,” Secretary General Amr Moussa told reporters in Cairo today after the group met. He said the security forces’ use of live rounds, heavy weapons and foreign mercenaries is a “grave breach of human rights.”
The organization calls for “respecting Libyans’ right to freedom of protest and expression” as they demand democratic change, he said. Humanitarian aid must be allowed into the country, the Arab League leader said.
Libya will be barred from taking part in the Arab League’s meetings until leader Muammar Gaddafi responds to the organization’s demands, Moussa said.
The Obama administration also condemned on Tuesday the "appalling" violence in Libya.
"This violence is completely unacceptable," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said. "We believe that the government of Libya bears responsibility for what is occurring and must take actions to end the violence."