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Vladimir Putin and Libyan despot Muammar Qadhafi in Tripoli in April:

Why can the Libyan leader get away with dismissing the demands of

Vladimir Putin - and more importantly - why has he been forgiven his

terrorist sins? Many say it all comes down to one thing: oil.

 

 

Novosti, Russia

Why the Americans Made Qaddafi Into a 'Good Guy'

 

"As often happens in diplomacy, particularly American diplomacy, almost all of these claims are misleading. The reason is almost too cynical and embarrassing to tell. In 1993, the Clinton administration was coming under strong pressure from American oil firms because in defiance of U.N. and E.U. sanctions, Italy's ENI, France's Total, and Spain's Pepsol already had large-scale operations in Libya. Ö Western experts estimate that the cost of production of high-quality Libyan crude is just $1 per barrel!

 

By Andrei Fedyashin

 

Translated By Igor Medvedev

 

August 1, 2008

 

Russia - Novosti - Original Article (Russian)

Libyan ruler Muammar Qadhafi scolds Arab leaders over Palestine, Iraq and other issues, and warns them that after Saddam, any one of them may be the next to be hung by the Americans, at the Arab Summit in Damascus, Syria, Mar. 29.

 

Al-Jazeera TV, Qatar: Qadhafi Scolds Arab Leaders, 'Americans Might Hang You All Like Saddam', Mar. 29, 00:11:35RealVideo

MOSCOW: It's something we havenít seen in a long time - not since the Soviet era practice of exchanging "dissidents" for spies. Arriving for talks with Vladimir Putin in Moscow on July 31, Libyan Prime Minister al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi brought on his plane Alexander Tsygankov, the head of LUKOIL Overseas Libya, who had been imprisoned in that country eight months ago on charges of industrial espionage. Our Prime Minister [Putin] even tried to "resolve the misunderstanding" during a meeting with Muammar Qaddafi in Tripoli in April, but it's clear that at least at the time, the Libyan leader was "not in the mood."

 

After this "gift," there was nothing left to do but discuss the details of the largest ever Libyan-Russian cooperation package - from mining, processing, exporting oil and gas and laying pipelines along the bottom of the Mediterranean sea bed, to selling Tripoli our weapons, to building railroads and nuclear power plants.

 

Not all the financial details are known, but judging by one contract for a 320 mile railroad that Russian Railways will build in Libya for $2.2 billion, or the shopping list of weapons Libya would like to buy (90 percent of its arsenal is Soviet-made), we are talking about billions and billions of dollars.

 

We should point out that since the miraculous transformation of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, Russia has joined a long list of countries and foreign corporations standing in line to do business with a nation that is mostly a desert, but which is rich oil and gas. Russia isn't first in line, but fortunately, it isnít the last either. Here it is necessary to recall that for 17 years -from 1986 to 2003 - Libya was considered one of the main "rogue states," by those who believe in the concept of rogue states.

 

The United States imposed trade sanctions against Libya in 1986 - after the bombing of a Berlin discotheque popular with U.S. soldiers that killed three and injured over two hundred (Washington had already severed diplomatic relations with Libya in 1980). President Reagan even authorized the bombing of Qaddafi's residences. The Libyan leader miraculously survived.

 

The U.N. and the European Union imposed sanctions in 1991 - a year after it was revealed that Libyan intelligence had been involved in the 1988 mid-air explosion of Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish village of Lockerbie, killing 270 people.

 

In 1993 the sanctions were toughened. In 2003 - they were lifted. In 2004, the United States eased its sanctions and in 2005 it abolished them completely. It removed Libya from its list of sponsors of international terrorism, and in 2006, Washington announced its intention to restore diplomatic relations. This is, so to speak, the history of Tripoli's sins and absolution.

 

The Americans have already dubbed all that's going on in Libya, the "Libyan model," and never fail to recommend that Libya is a good example for Iran. This is an attempt to demonstrate that Iran can obtain all the benefits that Libya has (the lifting of sanctions, investment, technical assistance, etc.) if it satisfies U.S. demands that that it suspend its nuclear program.

 

RUSSIA TODAY NEWS: A REPORT ON PUTIN'S APRIL TRIP TO LIBYA

 

As often happens in diplomacy, particularly American diplomacy, almost all of these claims are misleading. In fact, the reality of the situation is just the opposite.

 

Paradoxical though it may seem, Qaddafi's miraculous transformation was made possible only as a result of direct talks between the White House and his emissaries. This is precisely the course of action that Washington has refused to follow in the case of Iran. Edward Walker, president of the Middle East Institute and former U.S. assistant secretary of state for Middle Eastern affairs, made this comment: "Some say this is supposed to send a message to the Iranians. As far as I can judge, the message is that it worked because they had direct talks with the Libyans." [Editor's Note: This is a translated quote - the original English could not be confirmed].

 

The fact is that Qaddafi's 2003 decision to denounce terrorism and shut down Libyan development of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons has been portrayed as a sudden conversion, although negotiations with the Americans had begun under President Clinton (1993-2001). And the reason is almost too cynical and embarrassing to tell.

 

By Clinton's second term, his administration was coming under strong pressure from American oil firms because in defiance of U.N. and E.U. sanctions, Italy's ENI, France's Total, and Spain's Pepsol already had large-scale operations in Libya. They Americans were simply trying to keep a low profile. By 2003 when Qaddafi made his miraculous "conversion" from pariah to citizen, over a hundred foreign oil firms were producing and refining oil, supplying equipment for the digging of wells and oil production, and none of them were American. That was doubly insulting to "Big Oil" since it was Standard Oil of New Jersey (later known at Exxon and now ExxonMobile) that had first discovered oil in the country in 1959.

 

Libyan ruler Muammar Qadhafi comments on U.S. democracy and 'Kenyan brother' Barack Obama, at a ceremony marking the 38th anniversary of the withdrawal of American forces from Libya, June 11.

 

Al-Jazeera TV, Qatar: Qadhafi warns that Obama Suffers Inferiority Complex That Might Make Him Behave 'Whiter Than the White,' June 11, 00:07:43RealVideo

Libya, one must acknowledge, has a very great oil and gas future. Thanks to sanctions and the lack of Western technology and expertise, its oil sector almost literally fell into a state of hibernation: no exploration, expansion of production or research was conducted, so its hydrocarbon "gold" was preserved for posterity. One should add that Libya is different from other countries of the OPEC cartel. This is perhaps the only major Middle East oil power that doesn't prohibit foreign investment in its oil sector. Western experts estimate that the cost of production of high-quality Libyan crude is just $1 per barrel! Libyan reserves are believed to be largest in Africa and the fifth largest in OPEC, which amount to some 5.1 billion tons. And it's quite possible that there is much more that that.

Posted by WORLDMEETS.US

 

And the situation with gas is even more promising. Today, Libya transports eight billion cubic meters of gas to Europe annually via the "Green Stream" pipeline. Libyan gas reserves have been estimated at 1.47 trillion cubic meters. More recent forecast now suggest it may be double that figure.

 

In principle, Russia is close to signing an agreement with Libya for the purchase of large qualities of gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) for re-export. The question is - in what quantities? Many countries in West Europe that wanted their southern flank to remain free of Russian gas monopoly Gazprom are already concerned. So the Russian "gas oligarchs" are bound to encounter strong, although indirect, opposition from Europe.

 

But we have our own "trump card." During his visit to Libya last April, Vladimir Putin voiced Moscow's readiness to forgive $4.5 billion of Libyan debt. For such "forgiveness," Russia has good reason to count on "mutual understanding" in its business talks with Tripoli.

 

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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US Aug. 3, 2:20pm]