News and Views [ November 2003 ]

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Sunday, 30 November, 2003: The Lockerbie bomber is being sued for 400 million by Pan Am's insurers. A record civil action will be raised at the Court of Session this week in Edinburgh against ex-Libyan secret agent Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. Insurers acting on behalf of the now-defunct airline want compensation for the money they paid out to the victims of the disaster. The case is the biggest single damages action ever lodged in a Scottish court. [Sunday Mail]
Sunday, 30 November, 2003: Questions are being raised about the activities of President Kibaki's nephew who has been visiting several countries and approaching governments to solicit investment and business opportunities for Kenya. Mr Alex Muriithi, who invariably introduces himself as Alex Kibaki, recently travelled to Libya armed with an official letter introducing him to President Qadhafi, which authorised him to "make serious contacts" with Libyan investors. But Trade Minister Mukhisa Kituyi says he was not aware of such assignments. [Sunday Standard]
Sunday, 30 November, 2003: Mario Vilalba, Brazil's director of trade in the foreign ministry, told reporters that a one-billion-dollar contract signed this year by a consortium of 21 Brazilian contractors to build 20,000 apartments and nine plants to produce construction materials, all over a five-year period. In 2002, Brazilian exports to Libya totaled $29,677 million. "We are exporting automobiles to Libya. Volkswagen has already sent its first 1,311 cars," he said. [AFP]
Saturday, 29 November, 2003: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's tour of Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco which coincides with a summit meeting the three north African Arab countries are scheduled to hold with France-led European nations next week brought back into the spotlight the struggle for influence between Paris and Washington over the Maghreb region. The tour coincides with the 5+5 summit meeting comprising Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Mauritania with France, Spain, Portugal, Malta and Italy. The 5+5 summit will convene in Tunis on Dec. 4-5. [UPI]
Saturday, 29 November, 2003: Mauritania's detained former president, Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidallah, accused of plotting a coup in the west African state, has been accused of accepting $1 million from Libya. One of Ould Haidallah's attorneys said the defence on Thursday was given a file detailing allegations that their client had received $1 million from Tripoli. Ould Haidallah became president in 1980, only to be overthrown in a coup four years later by Ould Taya. [AFP]
Saturday, 29 November, 2003: Brazil's President Luiz Da Silva and Edwardo Dohaldy, the chairman of the Mercosur South America's Common Market, will pay a visit to the Middle East next week in a tour which will cover Syria, Lebanon, UAE, Egypt and Libya. [Arabic News]
Saturday, 29 November, 2003: A leading petrochemical industry magazine has portrayed Malta as the ideal gateway through which the multinational oil companies can tap the wealth of Libya's oil and gas fields. The online edition of the magazine Global Energy Security Analysis said that European and Asian oil companies, such as Shell, Eni, Total, BP or Petronas are flocking the shores of Libya. "Libya's markets can easily be accessed via ... Malta. Most Maltese companies have longstanding relations with their Libyan counterparts, with special emphasis on services to the oil and natural gas sectors of the country," the magazine said. [MM-News]
Saturday, 29 November, 2003: In Egypt, Libya, Syria and Iraq, where western-oriented elite overthrew traditional or conservative regimes, a police state was established, corruption became institutionalised, poverty increased and the state-central planning lagged far behind the annual rate of population growth. In other secular countries the record was not much better. By contrast, the conservative regimes, which survived the revolutionary tide of the 1950s and 1960s, proved to be more rational, adapting quickly to changing regional and international conditions. [Gulf News]
Saturday, 29 November, 2003: The notion that Libya, which tolerates no domestic opposition, may host the Pan African Parliament (PAP), where opponents will be given free rein to criticise governments, has cast considerable doubt over the sincerity of the PAP enterprise. S. Africa, by contrast, has been held up as the shining light of democracy on the continent. But this week we saw that not even S. Africa seems able to stomach the idea of real debate in the PAP. The country will be represented there only by the ruling party and two of its junior partners. [The Star]
Friday, 28 November, 2003: We have to stop looking at terrorism as if it is the end of the world. We can learn from modern history that terrorist movements enjoy success for a while and then can wither away. Sometimes this is because of negotiations - as with the IRA and Britain; or Libya with Britain, France and the U.S.; and indeed with the Palestinian terrorists. Sometimes success comes about through police work. Sometimes, it is because repression works - as with many of the military regimes in Latin America, though at great cost to the well-being of society. [IHT]
Friday, 28 November, 2003: Don't be discouraged by America's relative aloneness in the world. The world is not, by and large, a good place. And the United Nations, which reflects the world, reflects that fact. That is why Libya, a police state that ordered the mass murder known as the 1988 bombing of Pan-Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, is not only on the United Nations Human Rights Commission, it is the head of the commission. [FPM]

Thursday, 27 November, 2003: Al-Qaida operatives have been relocating to the southern Sahara Desert in Algeria. Western intelligence sources said al-Qaida effort was detected in early 2003 and has been aided by the Salafist Brigade for Combat and Call. Al-Qaida operatives use the Sahara as a base to move into neighboring countries as Libya and Mauritania. [MENL]
Thursday, 27 November, 2003: As Libya celebrates Eid al-Fitr, marking the end Ramadan, the Supreme Council of Judicial Bodies in Libya has pardoned 686 prisoners. [PANA]
Thursday, 27 November, 2003: About a hundred Niger nationals suspected of using Libya as a bridge to cross over to Italy have been deported from Libya. [PANA]
Thursday, 27 November, 2003: The European Parliament has adopted a resolution detailing the European Commission to initiate cooperation programmes with Libya. [PANA]
Wednesday, 26 November, 2003: The Libyan government has announced plans to privatize over 300 state-owned companies by 2008. Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem said on Sunday, Nov. 23, that heavy industry will be a target sector. "The Central Bank will take charge of the sale of stocks of these firms, until it is possible to create a stock market, said Ghanem. [Al-Bawaba]
Wednesday, 26 November, 2003: Injecting drug use (IDU) remains a significant HIV transmission factor in many regions of the world, driving fast-growing epidemics in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and North Africa. For example, the HIV epidemic among adults in Libya has been driven by IDU, with 90% of all known HIV infections to date occurring among IDUs. [AidsMap]
Wednesday, 26 November, 2003: Scottish taxpayers are picking up the entire cost of the huge operation to keep convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi behind bars for the next 27 years. With his own luxury cell complex featuring a private kitchen and eight specially trained prison officers working round the clock to guard him, the cost of keeping the Libyan in Barlinnie Prison is expected to exceed 5.5 million before he is released in 2031. [The Scotsman]
Wednesday, 26 November, 2003: British Airways said on Tuesday it would start flying to Algeria in January. British Airways also said that changes to the bilateral air service agreement between the United Kingdom and Libya enabled the airline to increase its weekly frequency between London's Heathrow airport and Tripoli to four flights from three. [Reuters]

Tuesday, 25 November, 2003: The U.S. said on Monday it would renew the ban on U.S. citizens visiting Libya for a year but would review it every three months, a signal Washington could ease some sanctions if Tripoli addressed U.S. concerns on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. "The Department of State will review this restriction every three months while it remains in effect." "We're closely monitoring developments in Libya and have decided that reviewing the (travel) restriction every three months allows us to take into account whatever developments there might be," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters. [Reuters]
Tuesday, 25 November, 2003: The Lockerbie bomber must spend at least 27 years in jail before he can be considered for release, three judges ruled yesterday. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (photo), 51, who was convicted in January 2001 of murdering 270 people in the Lockerbie bombing, learned his fate at the High Court in Glasgow. The hearing was held to determine the "punishment part" of al-Megrahi's mandatory life sentence as required under new European Human Rights legislation. [The Western Mail]

Monday, 24 November, 2003: Arab countries are divided over when the upcoming holiday of Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of Ramadhan will begin. Iraq's Sunni clerics and Libyan officials said Ramadhan ended on Sunday and Eid al-Fitr will fall today. But Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Sudan announced that the three-day holiday will start on Tuesday. Ramadhan can last either 29 or 30 days, depending on when the first moon of the next lunar month is sighted. [AP]

Sunday, 23 November, 2003: Reporters Without Borders published its world press freedom ranking. Kuwait (102nd) replaced Lebanon (106th) as the Arab's leader regarding respect for freedom of expression. Saudi Arabia (156th), Syria (155th), Libya (153rd) and Oman (152nd) used all the means to prevent the emergence of a free and independent press. [Al-Jazeerah Info.]
Sunday, 23 November, 2003: The U.S. Homeland Security Department has decided to stop a program that required thousands of Arab and Muslim men to register with immigration authorities after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, officials said on Friday. The government began registrations at airports and border crossings in October 2002, focusing on visitors from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria, as well as other people who seemed suspicious. [The New York Times]
Othman el-Barrani's Eid al-Fitr Moon Sighting Page

New Libyan Website: ALFA On Line

Saturday, 22 November, 2003: Developing foreign markets hold the future of oil exploration, and sanctions against countries such as Libya, Iran and Cuba will hamper U.S. companies from fully participating, said John Gibson, president of Halliburton. In an Internet address to the company's employees earlier this week, Gibson said he proposes that the U.S. lift sanctions against Libya, Iran and Cuba. "There are foreign companies making money in those countries, and I think American companies should have a shot at those markets, as well," he said. [AP]
Saturday, 22 November, 2003: Drilling at Libya's NC-100 oil block by the Turkish Petroleum Overseas Company (TPOC) and the Indian ONGC Videsh (OVL) consortium commenced earlier this month. India's OVL holds a 49 percent stake blocks NC-188 and NC-189 and the remaining 51 percent is held by TPOC. The blocks, located in Sirte and Ghadames Basins. [MenaReport]
Saturday, 22 November, 2003: African Union Chairman Joaquim Chissano, who is also Mozambican president, held discussions on Wednesday and Thursday in Tripoli with Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Mozambican Foreign Minister Leonardo Simao said the two leaders regard self-sufficiency in food in Africa as a vital condition. Simao said that history shows how the hunger afflicting so many Africans has been made use of by opportunist leaders and promise that, if existing governments are overthrown, people will have a better life and enough to eat. [Xinhua]
Saturday, 22 November, 2003: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has instructed his security officers not to force inspections of ambassadors or their cars when they enter U.N. headquarters in NYC. In 1994, an FBI investigation led to accusations that Libya's U.N. mission may have assisted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. It was believed the Libyans had intended to store vans loaded with explosives in the U.N.'s underground parking garage. [NewsMax]
Saturday, 22 November, 2003: World Islamic Call Society (WICS), a Libyan-based humanitarian organisation has donated books worth millions of naira to Bayero University Kano (BUK). Speaking while presenting the books to the Vice-Chancellor of BUK, WICS' Khalifa al-Rajbany, said the donation was part of the agency's efforts towards educational development in Nigeria. The 44-carton books, according to him, are for Arabic Language and Islamic studies. [This day]
21 November, 1949: The Making Of State

Friday, 21 November, 2003: The United States on Thursday reissued a travel warning for Libya, expressing "concerns" despite a UN decision to lift sanctions against the country. "The security situation in Libya remains unstable" despite the lifting of UN sanctions in September after they were first introduced in 1988, the U.S. State Department said in a statement. [AFP]
Friday, 21 November, 2003: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree lifting all sanctions imposed on Libya, the Kremlin press service (KPS) reported Thursday. "All state agencies, industry, trade, financial, transport and other companies and banks and organizations, all legal bodies and persons under the Russian Federation's jurisdiction must act on the basis of the fact that sanctions against Libya were lifted starting Sept. 12, 2003," [KPS reported]. [AFP]
Friday, 21 November, 2003: The U.S. has asked British authorities to look into concerns by victims' families about reports the Libyan man convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie plane bombing is receiving lenient treatment in prison, the State Department says. The Daily Mail reported this week that, unlike other inmates of Glasgow's Barlinnie prison, Abdelbaset Megrahi had his own kitchen and computer room, a stereo system, satellite TV and hot meals on request. [Reuters]
Friday, 21 November, 2003: When Col. Qadhafi took over Libya, the [British] Foreign Office thought him a much sprightlier figure than King Idris. We supported the Egyptian generals (aka Gamal Abdul-Nasser) when they kicked out King Farouk. We - the Brits - created the Hashemite Kingdom in Jordan. We - the Brits - put a Hashemite King on the throne of Iraq. And when the Baath party took over from the monarchy in Baghdad, the CIA obligingly handed Saddam's mates the names of all senior communist party members so they could be liquidated. [HiPakistan]
Friday, 21 November, 2003: The Muslim Association of Britain was a co-organiser of yesterday's protest, but there were relatively few Arab faces in the crowd. Rajwa El-Giatha, born in Libya 20 years ago, was brought to England as a baby by her parents, opponents of the Qadhafi regime. She said that she had no doubt Saddam was a very bad man indeed, but she thought the war against Iraq was proof that "America is trying to take over the world". There was widespread cynicism within the exiled Arab diaspora in London about British and American policy, though she conceded: "Most of my Iraqi friends do actually support the war." [The Telegraph]
Friday, 21 November, 2003: It's still possible to have two African countries to co-host the 2010 World Cup like 2002 Japan-South Korea sharing pattern, the president of FIFA [said] Thursday. There are five candidates applying for hosting the 2010 World Cup: South Africa, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. Libya and Tunisia have presented a joint candidature. [Xinhua]

The U.S. State Department Letter To ALFA

Thursday, 20 November, 2003: The U.S. is expected to send Libya a signal this week that if it allays U.S. concerns on terrorism and WMD Washington might lift some sanctions on Tripoli, U.S. officials said Wednesday. The officials, who asked not to be named, said Washington was expected to drop the hint by renewing a nearly 22-year-old ban on U.S. citizens travelling to Libya for a year, but with a review every 90 days. Earlier, U.S. officials had said the extension itself was expected to be for 90 days but they said this recommendation was rejected, apparently out of concern it would expose the administration to criticism that it was going easy on Libya. [Reuters]
Thursday, 20 November, 2003: Keanu Reeves' first major role since the Matrix films is in the balance with studio Fox facing backing problems for new epic Tripoli. Ridley Scott had agreed to direct the story of how American consul William Eaton helped the exiled king of Libya win back power in 1805. Reeves remains committed even though Fox and various backers are looking at their options and Scott is developing another project, based on the crusades. [TeleText]
Wednesday, 19 November, 2003: A Libyan, who was granted asylum by the British government, has requested the president of Pakistan not to deport him to Libya fearing persecution. Libyan Yousaf Ali Muhammad has been languishing in Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, after remaining in the Peshawar prison for some time. He is having valid documents issued by the British government to travel into Europe. He has requested the Pakistan government that instead of deporting him to Libya, he should be allowed to go back to the UK. He was arrested by the tribal administration of Khyber Agency in 2001, and was accused of illegal stay in the country. [Dawn]
Wednesday, 19 November, 2003: A Libyan technical committee is due to arrive in Jakarta in mid December to follow up talks on counter trade agreement between the two countries. The two countries reached a counter trade agreement during a visit to Libya by President Megawati Soekarnoputri a few months ago to barter Libyan crude oil with farm and industrial commodities from Indonesia. Achmad Nawawi Hasbi, Indonesian ambassador to Libya said the team will discuss possible reciprocal abolition of import duties on certain commodities. [Asia Pulse]
Tuesday, 18 November, 2003: Prison conditions given to the Lockerbie bomber were yesterday criticised for being "comfortable" after a newspaper published pictures showing his cell. Tory's Bill Aitken said he was angry at the apparent luxury in which Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (photo) was being kept at Glasgow's Barlinnie prison. The News of the World carried pictures of the former Libyan agent inside his living quarters. They appear to show a personal computer, sofa and bookshelves within his own private complex of rooms. Megrahi was jailed for life for the murders of 270 people in the 1988 atrocity. [The Scotsman]
Tuesday, 18 November, 2003: Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO), Korea's power monopoly, said yesterday it has signed a technology cooperation pact with Libya. "We signed a deal to offer technical advice on power transmission and supplies to the General Electric Company of Libya for 18 months, beginning February 2004," said KEPCO in a press release. The deal is valued at $1.71 million. Prior to the final contract, KEPCO had conducted a 10-month feasibility study on power-distribution automation and ways to reduce power losses in Libya. [Korea Herald]
Tuesday, 18 November, 2003: Algerian deputy minister in charge of Maghreb and African affairs Abdelqader Messahel will lead a delegation to a meeting of the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA) steering committee in the Libyan capital Tripoli from 19-20 November. [PANA]
Tuesday, 18 November, 2003: None of the Bulgarian diplomats in Libya could identify the body of nurse Diana Vassileva who committed suicide in September. The body, however, has been identified by the woman's colleages at the rehabilitation center in Benghazhi where she worked. Bulgaria's then consul in Libya Emil Manolov has revealed that the woman suffered from a mental disability and had even spent time at a mental health center. [Novinite]

Monday, 17 November, 2003: Libya continues to harbor training camps for insurgency groups deemed by the United States as terrorist. A report by the Heritage Foundation disputes a State Department determination that Libya has largely abandoned terrorism. The report said the regime of Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafy (photo) harbors training camps for unspecified insurgency groups. "Although Libya has not been caught red-handed in launching terrorist attacks in recent years, it has not closed down all of its terrorist training camps and could resume its terrorist activities as soon as it finds it convenient to do so," the report said. [MENL]
Monday, 17 November, 2003: If U.S. President Bush is serious about promoting democracy in the Middle East, then an important first step is to put on trial the criminals of its undemocratic past, criminals whose victims, far from being crusaders, infidels or Zionists, are overwhelmingly their own citizens. A human rights tribunal for Iraq would put the leaders of Libya, Syria, Sudan and Iran, among others, on notice that the international community will hold them accountable for their actions no less than their counterparts in Europe, Asia and Africa. [San Antonio E-News]
Monday, 17 November, 2003: In what could be the beginning of an ambitious international foray, PK Mittal is believed to have struck a deal with Libya to take over the management of a 2-m capacity state-owned integrated steel company. PK Mittal will run the company on a lease basis in a profit-sharing arrangement with the Libyan government, sources close to the deal said. PK Mittal is also a front-runner for B H Steel, Bosnia's biggest steel mill. [The Economic Times]
Monday, 17 November, 2003: Ahmed al-Masli scored three goals Sunday as Libya crushed Sao Tome 8-0 to advance to the second round of African World Cup qualifying with a 9-0 aggregate win. Tarek al-Taeb added two goals for the hosts. Mar'i al-Ramli, Ahmed Saad and Mohammed al-Kekli also scored for Libya. The second round consists of five groups of six teams. [AP]
Sunday, 16 November, 2003: The CIA says in a new report that it cannot rule out links between Chinese firms and Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, despite Beijing's assurances that it will provide no such help. Chinese assistance has helped Pakistan move toward serial production of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. "In addition, firms in China provided dual-use missile-related items, raw materials and/or assistance to several other countries of proliferation concern - such as Iran, Libya and North Korea," the report said. [Daily Times]
Sunday, 16 November, 2003: The UAE has emerged as the dominant player in inter-Arab investments, having pumped nearly $7.38 billion into other regional countries over the past 17 years. The investments accounted for more than a quarter of the total inter-Arab capital of around $26.28 billion pumped between 1985 and last year. Egypt was the second, with an investment of around $4.14 billion, mostly in the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Sudan. [Daily Star]
Khaled Mattawa - New Book : Zodiac of Echoes

Saturday, 15 November, 2003: The U.S. State Department may soon follow the U.N. in lifting sanctions on Libya, ConocoPhillips (COP) chairman Archie Dunham said Friday. "I'm pleased at the progress that's been made between the U.S. government and the government of Libya," Dunham told Dow Jones Newswires, speaking on the sidelines of the U.S. Russian Investment Symposium. "I'm hopeful that sanctions will be lifted over time - I don't know whether that's one year, six months or two years. Now we're just waiting," he said. [Dow Jones Newswires]
Saturday, 15 November, 2003: The lefting of UN sanctions on Libya has served to galvanize foreign interest in Libya. "Canadian companies are more eager to go to Libya," said Sufyan Kamel Maghur, secretary-general of the Canada-Libya Chamber of Commerce, a non-governmental organization based in Ottawa. According to Maghur, the number of enquiries his organization received about doing business in Libya began to increase when the resolution was first proposed, and jumped further following Security Council approval. [Business Monthly]
Saturday, 15 November, 2003: It has been announced that two key representatives from the Iraqi Ministry of Oil and a delegation from the Libyan National Oil Company will join senior figures from 7 National Oil Companies to speak at CWC Associate's landmark meeting in London at the beginning of December. The conference will be held on Wednesday 3rd & Thursday 4th December, 2003, at The Landmark Hotel, London. [PRNewswire]
Saturday, 15 November, 2003: Tunisian President Ben Ali and French President Chirac ,during a phone conversation they had Wednesday, discussed "the means of developing bilateral relations" and the 5+5 Dialogue Summit to be hosted by Tunisia, Dec. 5-6, with the participation of Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Malta as well as Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, Libya and Tunisia. [TOL]
Saturday, 15 November, 2003: There on a giant poster is an image of [Qadhafi] looking rather youthful as he sits behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Beetle ... Sadly it is not advertising a Libyan remake of The Love Bug; it's just another billboard proclaiming the mighty deeds of the man in charge around here. Our tour guide explains that, in 1969, "The Leader" travelled across the country in a VW, stirring up revolutionary fervour against the ruler of the time, King Idris. I insist on having my picture taken against this odd backdrop ... A man rushes up, arms waving. "Be careful," he warns us. "If the police see you, there will be trouble." [Independent]

Friday, 14 November, 2003: Somalia's Transitional National Government (TNG) President Abdulqasim Hassan signed a reconciliation accord with several Somali opposition groups in the Libyan capital Tripoli Thursday, the official Libyan Jana news agency reported. The deal was signed in the presence of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Somalia has lacked an effective central government since the 1991 ouster of the dictator Mohammed Siad Barre. [AFP]
Friday, 14 November, 2003: Angola participated, from 8 to 10 November, in the first forum on African development, held in Paris, France, in the ambit of the New Economic Parternship for African Development (NEPAD). Of the nineteen countries invited to participate in the meeting sixteen were present, being absent Rwanda, Libya and Mali. [Angola Press Agency]
Friday, 14 November, 2003: The European Union's approaching expansion has caused Arab concern that one of the results could be the neglect of North Africa. Assurances that no "fortress Europe" is envisaged have not dissipated the unease among the five countries forming the Union of Arab Maghreb Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. They fear that the EU, expanding from 15 to 25 countries next May, will become preoccupied with the new members and their problems rather than with those of its African partners. [The Washington Times]
Thursday, 13 November, 2003: The U.S. may extend its ban on travel by U.S. citizens to Libya for only 90 days, rather than a full year, and might scrap it if Tripoli allayed U.S. suspicions about its support for terrorism and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, U.S. officials said on Wednesday. They said the Bush administration had yet to make a decision on the travel ban, which they said is set to expire on Nov. 24. The ban was imposed in 1981 after Libyan jets fired on U.S. aircraft taking part in a naval exercise over international waters claimed by Libya. [Reuters]
Thursday, 13 November, 2003: Libya's Saadi al-Qadhafi will not seek the analysis of a second urine sample after the first tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone. The son of the Libyan leader has been suspended from Italy's Serie A following the positive test which came after his club Perugia's home match with Reggina on 5 October. But according to Gazzetta dello Sport, Saadi has dropped plans to prove his innocence by having his B sample tested. [BBC]
Thursday, 13 November, 2003: In the central Italian city of Perugia, [Qadhafi's son al-Saadi] has been traveling with four bodyguards. He lives for now in a suite at the luxury Brufani hotel, and has an entourage of about 15 people. It's not clear what the elder Qadhafi thinks about all this. The former army colonel's political manifesto, the Green Book, denounces those who watch sports as "foolish people." A Libyan activist and opposition figure who lives in London, Ashur Shamis, said this attitude changed when the leader's sons started showing an interest in sports. Shamis complained that al-Saadi's passion for soccer was being carried out at the expense of his people. "He has these private planes, all these privileges, all these facilities that he can use, and this is coming out of the Libyan government coffers," Shamis said. [AP]
Thursday, 13 November, 2003: "The first flight of air Qatar arrived this morning at Tripoli International airport, where it was welcomed by public relations director of the Libyan airlines and investment director of airport operations, ambassador and members of the embassy of the state of Qatar, and airport staff," JANA reported yesterday. [Arabic News]
Thursday, 13 November, 2003: The president of Lebanon's Association of Fruit Tree Cultivators, Fouad Nasr, said Tuesday that Libya had never boycotted Lebanese products, and had always supported Lebanese farmers. Nasr's comments came in reply to Kesrouan MP Farid Khazen's statement in Beirut's daily An-Nahar Sunday. Khazen discussed the visit of a Lebanese delegation, headed by former Communist Party secretary-general George Hawi, which resulted in Libya ending its boycott of Lebanese apples. [Daily Star]
Thursday, 13 November, 2003: Two illegal immigrants drowned off the Libyan coast last week, the Ministry for Justice and Public Security said in a statement in Tripoli. [PANA]

Wednesday, 12 November, 2003: Libya plans to give Indonesia military equipment and expertise to help fight rebels in Aceh province to compensate for allowing the insurgents to train in Libya in the 1980s, a media report quoted the military chief as saying. During the 1980s, around 400 Aceh rebels received training in Libya, Indonesian military officials and insurgents say. Gen. Endriartono Sutarto said Libya would send several instructors who trained the rebels to Jakarta to help Indonesian forces track the insurgents down, Media Indonesia reported. [AP]
Wednesday, 12 November, 2003: Australia has been endorsed to take over the presidency of the top UN human rights watchdog. The endorsement is considered the most important step toward assuming the presidency of the UN Human Rights Commission, which rotates annually. Libya, the incumbent, was last year's nominee by the Africa group. This year, it is the turn of the Western group. The Western group has endorsed Australia as its candidate. [AAP/AFP]
Wednesday, 12 November, 2003: Libyan authorities have arrested 104 people from Egypt who were seeking to make their way illegally into Europe from Libya, the official JANA news agency said Tuesday. The arrests, which also included a handful of Ghanaians and Nigerians, took place Saturday. Libya has been accused, most notably by Italy, of being a funnel for illegal immigrants from Africa. In July, the two countries signed an accord to deal with the problem. [AFP]
Wednesday, 12 November, 2003: The National Agency for Export Development of the [Indonesian] Ministry of Industry and Trade will hold a solo exhibition in Tripoli, from Nov. 15 to Nov. 19. There will be 45 companies at the expo entitled "Made in Indonesia". The expo is part of the implementation of the memorandum of understanding on a Trade Agreement signed between Indonesia and Libya in August. With a population of 5.5 million people and gross domestic product (GDP) of US$41 billion in 2002, Libya has the highest GDP in Africa. [The Jakarta Post]

ALFA's Letter To U.S. President George W. Bush

Othman el-Barrani's Photo Matching Game

Tuesday, 11 November, 2003: Sheikh Khalid bin Thani, member of the Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) board and Abdul Bassit Ahmed Al Sheibi, GM of QIIB, paid a visit to Libya last Sunday to strengthen finance and investment relations between the two countries. They held discussions with a number of Libyan officials on economic and trade cooperation and also on current developments in bilateral relations in view of their commitment to diversify the fields of co-operation and increase trade exchange between the two countries. [The Peninsula]

Monday, 10 November, 2003: Israel's Cabinet narrowly approved a prisoner swap with Lebanon's Hezbollah. Under the deal, about 400 Palestinians and several dozen prisoners from Lebanon, Syria, Morocco, Sudan and Libya will be released in exchange for Israeli businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers. [AP]
Sunday, 9 November, 2003: Libya is expected to ask fellow Organization of Petroleum Exporting members formally at their Dec. 4 meeting for a larger share of the group's output allowance. A source close to Libyan oil policy told Dow Jones Newswires Friday Oil Minister Abdulhafid Zlitni has been given the go-ahead to request a larger oil quota. Earlier this week Prime Minister Shokri Ghanem called on OPEC to revisit its oil quota distribution system. He described Libya's current OPEC quota of 1.36 million barrels a day as, "much below what we should get." [Dow Jones]
Sunday, 9 November, 2003: The United Arab Emirates was ahead of all Arab countries last year in low-risk investment destinations and ranked among the best 20 nations in the world in terms of capital inflow measured by a well-known US financial and economic rating firm. The UAE got 81.8 points at the end of last December in the composite indicator issued by PRS Group for 140 countries worldwide to judge their ability to attract capital. Other countries classified as "low risk" were Oman, Qatar, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Jordan and Libya. [IPS]

Saturday, 8 November, 2003: [Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi's son] Al-Saadi, who has tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone, told al-Jazeera television "There will be a comprehensive investigation of the past few months, when I visited several doctors in Italy, Germany and in Libya, to make sure which doctor gave me this substance that appeared in the test." The inquiry represents the latest odd chapter in the already strange saga of Mr. Qadhafi's quest, at times quixotic, to put Libya and himself on the international [football] map. [The New York Times]
Saturday, 8 November, 2003: The Polisario Front, a group claiming independence for the Western Sahara annexed by Morocco, has announced it would free 300 Moroccan prisoners of war for "humanitarian reasons." Polisario Secretary-General Mohamed Abdelaziz told a press conference held late Thursday with Seif al-Islam (photo), son of Libyan leader Qadhafi, that the release was decided upon to mark the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan "at the request of Col. Qadhafi in line with UN recommendations."Seif al-Islam said his foundation had been involved in the operation for four months. [AFP]
Saturday, 8 November, 2003: Security has been stepped up around former Liberian leader Charles Taylor's home in Nigeria after the United States slapped a two million dollar bounty on his head, a source in his camp said. The US Congress included a two million dollar reward for Taylor's capture in its 87.5 billion dollar special budget for Iraq and Afghanistan. The exiled official said the reward raised the spectre of British or French mercenaries launching a bid to capture Taylor, a 56-year-old Libyan trained guerrilla leader who fought his way to power in 1990. [AFP]
Saturday, 8 November, 2003: [Libyan leader Qadhafi's son] al-Saadi said Thursday that the banned steroid nandrolone positive result was "a mystery" but that he didn't want to lay blame on any doctor. "I don't know how it happened," he told a satirical TV program, which gave him a joke prize for having been the first soccer player to have tested positive for a banned drug without ever playing in a league match. Since the news of his failed test broke Wednesday, al-Saadi has been holed up in the downtown Perugia hotel where he lives with his wife and bodyguards. [Dow Jones]
Saturday, 8 November, 2003: A Western website published a news message which said that the US could probably launch another short and victorious war: "Since Saturday, people in the Highlands of Scotland have been witnessing large movements of US warplanes overhead. Experienced observers say the large numbers are reminiscent of those that preceded the bombing of Iraq in 1998 and military strikes on Libya in the 1980's as well as the first Gulf War. At the weekend warplanes were flying over at a rate of roughly one every 15 minutes". [Pravda]
Opinion Journal : Gadhafi Must Go

Friday, 7 November, 2003: The Libyan government, through a non-government organisation, launched a housing project for former rebels in the southern Philippines. "It is my country's Ramadan gift to Muslims," said Rajab Azzarouq (photo), former Libyan ambassador to the Philippines, now a special envoy of the Qadhafi Foundation for Charity Associations which is managed by Qadhafi's son Saif al-Islam. [Gulf News]
Friday, 7 November, 2003: Hyson Nigeria, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is making arrangements with Tamoil, the Libyan state oil company to supply hi-flash jet fuel to the Nigerian market. The chairman of Hyson, Alhaji Murtala Ashorobi, said that apart from reviewing the possibility of construction and leasing of storage facilities for clean products or fuel oil exports, there were also plans to commence discussion with Tamoil for the possibility of partnership in downstream activities in the West African sub-region. [Daily Trust]

Thursday, 6 November, 2003: Perugia midfielder Saadi al-Qadhafi (photo), son of the Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, has tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) said. He is the third Serie A footballer to fail a random drugs test this year. CONI, Italy's sporting watchdog, said the test was taken after Perugia's home match against Reggina on October 5. Should a second test prove conclusive, he can expect a ban of anything up to two years. [AFP]
Thursday, 6 November, 2003: Colonel Qadhafi has abandoned any idea of eliminating the Revolutionary Committees Movement (RCM) outright because of the potential for instability it will create. However, the RCM must now anticipate a slow decline in its influence and power, particularly if there is a genuine improvement in the human rights situation in Libya. It must also reckon with the intense hostility shown towards it by the leading contender for power, Qadhafi's son Saif al-Islam, who has privately admitted to this during clandestine contacts with a representative of Libya's moderate Islamist movement abroad, Abdullah Shamis. [Menas]
Thursday, 6 November, 2003: Even amid recent turmoil, nations in the Middle East have substantially increased their presence in the world of science, according to a study published in the November/December issue of Science Watch, a publication of Thomson ISI. The study examines research papers from Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE, Lebanon, Oman, Syria and Iraq indexed between 1981 and 2002. Thomson ISI excluded Israel from the study because the relatively large size of its scientific enterprise is far beyond that of its neighbors. Similarly, Sudan, Yemen and Libya were excluded due to their relatively small scientific output. [Business Wire]
Thursday, 6 November, 2003: A US federal court has ruled that families of Americans killed in a 1989 bombing of a French airliner can sue Libya and several Libyan officials for damages, French victims' rights group SOS Attentats announced Wednesday. US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson last week ruled in favor of the relatives of seven US nationals killed in the bombing, rejecting Tripoli's claim of immunity from US prosecution. The US federal judge said Libya's sovereign immunity had been stripped when it was named by Washington as a state sponsor of terrorism, according to a copy of the October 27 decision received by AFP. The case will be back in court in Washington on December 4, when a hearing schedule will be set. [AFP]
Wednesday, 5 November, 2003: The man who launched the first lawsuit against Libya over the Lockerbie bombing will agree to the payments offered by Libya as part of a $2.7 billion settlement reached earlier this year. Bruce Smith, who lost his wife in the bombing told the Financial Times he would accept a settlement that Libya hopes will pave the way for normalising its relationship with the US. After the deal was reached, Mr Smith said he would continue the lawsuit, largely because he objected to the linkage between the payments and the lifting of US sanctions. But Mr Smith said he had changed his mind and decided to accept the money largely because "we were up against the principle of diminishing returns" in pursuing further legal action against Libya. [FT]
Wednesday, 5 November, 2003: Libya said yesterday it planned to sign new upstream oil deals with non-US companies in the next few months, rather than save projects for US oil majors in the hope that Washington lifts unilateral sanctions. "We are in negotiations with some companies and we will sign regardless of the US sanctions," Libyan Prime Minister Shokri Ghanem said at the Oil and Money conference in London. Tripoli is hoping to attract up to $30 billion of investment to boost oil and gas export revenues by 2010, Ghanem said. [Bahrain Tribune]
Wednesday, 5 November, 2003: The oil cartel OPEC does not need to adjust its production quotas at its next meeting in December so long as prices stay within agreed levels, Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem said on Tuesday. "As long as the oil price remains inside the $22-28 range, there is no need to change anything in December," he told an oil conference in London. "Prices are high because of political uncertainties in the Middle East and in Iraq," he said. [AFP]
Wednesday, 5 November, 2003: The Libyan national football team is training in Doha, Qatar, to prepare for a game against Sao Tome and Principe in a return match of the qualifiers to the 2006 World Cup finals in two weeks. [PANA]

Tuesday, 4 November, 2003: Libya will spend $50 billion over the next 20 years on investments in oil, industry, tourism and services. Official sources said Libya plans to encourage foreign and local investments in the private sector to catch up with development and modernization it missed during more than a decade of international sanctions over its part in terror bombing attacks. [UPI]
Tuesday, 4 November, 2003: The European Union scrambled to contain the fallout from a public opinion poll that -- to Israel's fury -- labelled the Jewish state the biggest threat to world peace. The US was just behind Israel in the global danger league, in joint second place with N. Korea and Iran, according to the "Eurobarometer" poll requested by the European Commission. Countries lower down the list included Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, China, India, Russia and Somalia. [AFP]
Tuesday, 4 November, 2003: The 9th Ministerial meeting of the six-way Electrical Linkage Countries was held on Sunday with the participation of electricity and energy ministers of Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey in addition to a representative of Iraq. In a concluding statement, the participants agreed on Libya joining the six-way linkage countries. [Arabic News]

Monday, 3 November, 2003: The Libyan government may be funding suicide attacks on the US-led occupying Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. According to a joint Scotland Yard and FBI inquiry, American Muslim activist Abdulrahman Alamoudi had been commissioned to transfer some $340,000 of Libyan funds to Islamic resistance activists in Syria, reported the Sunday Times. Customs officers searched Alamoudi at London's Heathrow Airport this past August and found $340,000 in cash in one of his suitcases. Alamoudi told Scotland Yard detectives that he received the money from a charity set up by the Libyan government to fund Muslim causes. [MenaReport]
Monday, 3 November, 2003: [Libya's] Foreign Affairs Secretary held a meeting yesterday in Damascus with Abdallah al-Ahmar the Assistant Secretary for the Arab Baath Socialist Party. The meeting handled the latest developments in the area, particularly in Palestine and Iraq. [JANA]
Monday, 3 November, 2003: The Bush administration's point man on nonproliferation has exaggerated the threat posed by Syria, Libya and Cuba in an effort to build the case that strong action is needed to prevent them from developing weapons of mass destruction, former intelligence officials and independent experts say. The allegations that John Bolton is inflating the evidence against regimes that Washington dislikes, come as the administration is defending itself against criticism that it misused intelligence to make the case for invading Iraq. [LA Times]
Monday, 3 November, 2003: Members of the Qadhafi Foundation have paid unscheduled visits to some Libyan prisons, detention centres and police stations to assess the detention conditions and verify possible abuses, sources close to the Foundation said in Tripoli. [PANA]
Sunday, 2 November, 2003: Two Libyan men, previously cleared of insulting Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal in September, went back on trial in Egypt on Saturday after a complaint from Riyadh. On Oct. 11, an Egyptian appeals court overturned a one-year sentence handed down to Mahmoud al-Beshir Ahmed, 27 for confronting Prince Saud on Sept. 8 in a Cairo hotel as he was on his way to an Arab League meeting. Fathi Beshir Saad, 25 was acquitted in the original trial. Ahmed and Saad were re-arrested after the Saudi government made a complaint. The representative of the prosecution requested a three-year sentence for the pair. [AFP]
Sunday, 2 November, 2003: Latest reports indicate that Libya has added their name to the ever growing list of countries interested in hosting their own Grand Prix. Reports in Motorsports News state that Col Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, Libya's ruler, will be presenting a case to host an event as early as 2005. The North African nation hosted events before the series became a world championship. The first event was held back in 1933 on an 8 mile road circuit near Tripoli. [GP]
Sunday, 2 November, 2003: Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Ottri on Saturday received Suleiman al-Shahoumi, Libya's Secretary of Foreign Affairs in the presence of Jumaa Mahdi al-Fazzani, head of the Libyan Relations Office [embassy] in Damascus. [SANA]

Saturday, 1 November, 2003: It emerged yesterday that an American judge had signed the orders to release the initial part of the Lockerbie bombing compensation settlement from a Swiss escrow account set up to handle the transfer of money from the Libyan government to the victims' families. However, the families, who have already suffered a protracted 15-year legal battle, are likely to receive only a third of the total compensation promised to them by the Libyan government. Of the $4 million that will be transferred into each families' individual accounts next week, it is understood that the American lawyers representing them will take at least $1.3 million from each plaintiff, plus an as yet undisclosed amount for expenses. [The Scotsman]

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