Libya

Can Russia still act responsibly? In Libya vote, yes.

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Despite its Crimea crime, Russia votes at the UN to honor Libya‘s sovereignty against rebel attempts to steal the country’s oil. The world order still needs that kind of Russia.

By the Monitor’s Editorial Board / March 20, 2014

The oil tanker Morning Glory is seen docked at the Es Sider oil export terminal in Libya in this March 8 photo. U.S. Navy SEALS seized the ship Monday after Libyan rebels arranged to take it to a foreign port.

Reuters Enlarge

Before Russia’s actions in Crimea lead people to rebrand it as the “evil empire” of Soviet days, it deserves some credit for a civilized move at the United Nations on Wednesday.

Moscow voted in favor of a Security Council resolution that stands up for Libya’s sovereignty. The resolution condemns any attempt to steal oil from the North African country, which holds the ninth largest proven oil reserves in the world. Earlier this month, a rebel group sailed off with a tanker full of Libyan oil in a brazen attempt to sell it to an unknown buyer. On Monday, US Navy SEALs retook the tanker in the Mediterranean at the request of Libya’s government. Read the rest of this entry »

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Libya: Slow Death of Derna

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By Aya Elbrqawi, 28 February 2014

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Photo: Kate Thomas/IRIN

A rebel fighter chats with a friend in central Benghazi (file photo).

Benghazi — Derna residents live a life of fear. Al-Qaeda has transformed their eastern Libya port city into a new base for its global campaign and as the prime export centre for jihadists.

Known for its long history of fierce fighters and proud tribes, Derna has faced relentless violence. Now it will not have a say in national governance because it is too unsafe to vote.

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Egyptian army launches campaign to create buffer zone on Gaza border

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Published  15/02/2014 21:22

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(MaanImages/file)

CAIRO (Ma’an) — Egyptian border forces destroyed 10 tunnels and seven homes in the Sinai on Saturday as part of new campaign to create a buffer zone along the border with the Gaza Strip that would extend 500 meters in some places.
The campaign began with a military operation in the border town of Rafah, where tunnels leading into the Gaza Strip were targeted in the neighborhoods of al-Brahma, al-Sarsuriya, Salahudeen, al-Helwat, and Zoraba, an Egyptian security source said.
The security source added that the tunnels were destroyed and the homes they were located in were subsequently blown up.
He explained that the move was part of a wider campaign to set up a buffer zone along the border with Gaza in Rafah that would extend 300 meters in populated areas and 500 meters in open areas.

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New Dimensions of U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Russia

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Geopolitical Weekly

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 – 04:13

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Stratfor  By George Friedman

The struggle for some of the most strategic territory in the world took an interesting twist this week. Last week we discussed what appeared to be a significant shift in German national strategy in which Berlin seemed to declare a new doctrine of increased assertiveness in the world — a shift that followed intense German interest in Ukraine. This week, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, in a now-famous cellphone conversation, declared her strong contempt for the European Union and its weakness and counseled the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine to proceed quickly and without the Europeans to piece together a specific opposition coalition before the Russians saw what was happening and took action.

This is a new twist not because it makes clear that the United States is not the only country intercepting phone calls, but because it puts U.S. policy in Ukraine in a new light and forces us to reconsider U.S. strategy toward Russia and Germany. Nuland’s cellphone conversation is hardly definitive, but it is an additional indicator of American strategic thinking.

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Counter-terrorism officials ID extremist groups in Benghazi attack

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English: Location of Benghazi within Libya.

English: Location of Benghazi within Libya. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Published: Sept. 11, 2013 at 9:40 AM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 (UPI) — Several militant groups took part in the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, U.S. counter-terrorism officials determined.

The officials identified numerous people involved – such as the extremist group Ansar al-Sharia — and have issued sealed indictments in recent months, but on the one-year anniversary there isn’t “anyone in custody who can tell us” specifics of the attack, a counter-terrorism official told The Washington Post in an interview published Tuesday.

“That is a huge gap,” said the official. “What we lack is a source of information that puts us where we need to be.”

The Benghazi attack — in which Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other diplomatic employees died — still is a live issue for investigators and House Republicans conducting hearings on whether the Obama administration is covering up failures that occurred before, during and after the assault.

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Malians flee the fighting: Heading for Mauritania, Burkina, Guinea

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SAHEL: Displaced Malians burden food-insecure hosts

Photo: ReliefWeb
Map of areas affected by fighting and subsequent displacement

BAMAKO/DAKAR, – Some 12,000 Malians have fled fighting in the towns of Ménaka and Anderamboucane in northern Mali and reached already food-insecure villages around Tillabéri in western Niger, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Niger’s capital, Niamey.

The Malian refugees are spread across the villages of Mangaizé, Chinégodar, Koutoubou, Yassan and Ayorou in Niger, according to the Malian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the bulk of them – an estimated 7,000 – in Chinégodar, which is usually home to 1,500, according to Franck Kuwonu at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Niamey.

Fighting broke out between Touareg rebels and former soldiers from Libya, and the Malian army in mid-January. Rebel groups and former Libya fighters have reportedly acquired fresh weapons as a result of the Libya conflict and have launched a new movement, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), which calls for the creation of an independent state encompassing the regions of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu in northern Mali.

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2 Libyans Suing MI6 Ex-Director Over Rendition

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English: An effigy of Moammar Gadhafi hangs fr...

Image via Wikipedia

By SYLVIA HUI Associated Press

LONDON January 31, 2012 (AP)

Two Libyans who claim that British spies were involved in their torture and rendition are launching legal action against the former director of counterterrorism at the U.K.’s foreign spy agency, lawyers representing them said Tuesday.

Abdel-Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi, both opponents of Moammar Gadhafi‘s regime, claim that MI6 ex-director Mark Allen was complicit in torture and want to examine his role in their renditions to Libya. They have sent a letter of claim to Allen to seek his response to the allegations, and to claim damages from him personally for the trauma they said they suffered.

“We are taking this unusual step of preparing a legal action against an individual as the documents we have in our possession suggest Sir Mark was directly involved in the unlawful rendition of our clients and their families,” said Sapna Malik of Leigh Day & Co., who is representing the Libyans.

The men are also launching legal challenges against Britain’s spy agencies, the Foreign Office, and the Home Office, the law firm said.

Belhaj, Tripoli’s military council commander and a former fighter in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group which had opposed Gadhafi, claims both British and U.S. intelligence may have played a role in his 2004 detention in Thailand’s capital Bangkok and transfer to Tripoli.

His accusations are based on a document uncovered during the fall of Tripoli that allegedly contained a message from Allen referring to his rendition. The message, dated March 2004, was purportedly addressed to Gadhafi’s former intelligence chief, Moussa Koussa.

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