| Point of VIEW. |
A purely analytical perception...
Oil and Water
Libyas history was that of assorted
nomadic tribes, who were plying the desert until very recently. Libya is one of
the more contemporary countries in the world community, and it did not become
an independent nation until 1951. One of these original tribes was descended from
the Berbers, and they were called Libyans. Although they werent a particularly
important faction, the ancient Egyptians started calling everyone in the country
they came from "Libyans," and the moniker stuck. When they received
their independence, Libya was a geographically defined area divided into three
culturally distinct parts, Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan.
of these areas was cut off from the others by vast expanses of desert, and because
of this, it wasnt until the 1960s that people began to look at Libya as
unified country, instead of a hodge-podge of individual regions. Tripolitania
contained the most important city in Libya, Tripoli, an important port on the
route of the caravans and a home for pirates and slave traders. Cyrenaica was
contiguous to Egypt, and although the people were fiercely independent, they borrowed
some of their customs from their neighbors. Fezzan was a more distinctly African
enclave, and the people that lived there were primarily oasis dwellers who serviced
trade between caravan routes, Africa and the Mediterranean. To some degree, the
people were bonded together by their commonality in the Muslim religion, but in
spite of that, the region remained an independent tribal society, with Cyrenaica
not being welling to give up their independence, well into the 20th
Libya became a part of the
Muslim world during the Middle Ages, and that was about the only unifying aspect
in the country for almost a millennium. As World War II approached, the country
was an Italian colony, and the people were none to happy about that fact. In 1939,
when England and France entered the war, the Libyan nationalists saw an opportunity
to get rid of Italys dominance, and led by the man who would later become
known as King Idris, the bickering tribes reached an agreement in Cairo. Italy
formally entered the war in June of 1940 on the side of Germany, and the Libyans
used that opportunity to join the Allies. In spite of the much-needed Libyan assistance
in their war effort, the British were unwilling to negotiate a deal for Libyas
independence until the conflict was over. In spite of this rebuff, five battalions
of Libyans and their air force, known as the Sanusi Army, joined the British on
the front lines and served with great distinction.
was not until 1951, under the leadership of King Idris, that the country was established
as a federal monarchy and a constitutional democracy. Libyas constitution
provided for a Chamber of Deputies, a prime minister, and a lower bicameral legislature.
The King would appoint the Council of Ministers, while the upper house of senators,
which consisted of eight representatives from each of the former provincial governments,
were publicly nominated or elected. Rather than go into detail about its complex
structure, the process by which the country was governed could be stated rather
simplistically: the King could veto any legislation he didnt like and he
had the right at any given time to dissolve the lower house. However, during the
countrys first election, political parties were outlawed and groups opposing
those in power were declared illegal. Effectively, the executive arm of the Libya
government became a place used more for debating economic theory than one that
attempted accomplished anything. During this period, Libyas capital was
located both in Benghazi and in Tripoli.
during the period after its independence and before the reigns of government were
taken over completely by Muammar al in 1969, Libya was considered both a conservative
member of the League of Arab States (the Arab League) and had a profoundly pro-western
propensity. Both Britain and the United States installed major military bases
in Libya in exchange for their economic assistance. During this period, Libya
maintained warm diplomatic relations with France, Greece, Italy, and Turkey. Although
Libya had diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, as well, for the most part
they remained independent of the Eastern-Bloc. Libya, because of its massive expansive
of parched deserts, did not have much going for it in terms of agricultural production,
mining or trade and thus was dependent on the West for economic subsidies to see
it through. The maturation process was virtually non-existent.
in 1959, an extraordinary event occurred when engineers from Exxon found rich
deposits oil in the Cyrenaica province of Libya. This altered the entire economic
composition of the country. For the time, Libya negotiated an exceptionally favorable
profit sharing arrangement with the western oil companies, keeping approximately
50% of the gross revenues. Libya was now in a position to be in charge of its
own destiny; the oil was not only plentiful, but of exceptional quality, and in
addition, Libyas ports were only a stones- throw away from the oil-thirsty
European markets. Now having some excess money to spend, Libya determined to correct
some of its problems.
agricultural production had fallen off substantially, due to Libyas dependence
on oil revenues, and irrigation projects were initiated in an attempt to achieve
independence in that area. The government was reconstituted as a Monarchy, and
the original three provinces were divided into a total of ten states. It was anticipated
that this would undermine regional thinking within the country and that the population
would view Libya more as one entity, instead of three. The constitution of 1963
reflected this change, and the government was formally modified into a unitary
While a founding partner of
the Arab League, Libya did not become embroiled in foreign intrigues, particularly
the conflict with Israel. On the other hand, when it came to assisting fellow
members of the League in gaining independence, Libya was always available to help.
The population was becoming substantially more nationalistic, while in neighboring
Egypt; Gamal Abdul Nasser had become a rallying point for all the Arab States.
Libya asked the foreigners that had military bases in their country to pull up
stakes, which included the United States and Britain. However, this process was
not accomplished overnight, and the Americans did not fully abandon Wheelus Air
Base until six years later, in 1970.
perception of the West started to change dramatically during the 1967 Arab-Israeli
War. Both oil workers and students rioted against the West; American and British
Embassies were severely damaged by out-of-control mobs that also attacked foreign
oil company offices. Libyan Jews were also attacked, which caused the entire community
of Libyan Jews to pick up and leave the country. As an aftermath of the Arab-Israeli
War, while Libya was still shying away from Arab politics, they were very agreeable
to provide substantial money to Egypt, Syria and Jordan, whose infrastructures
had been destroyed by Israeli planes.
though the Libyan government was providing aid to frontline Arab states, the Libyan
people were becoming restive, primarily as a result of government inefficiencies,
bureaucratic bribery and bumbling and the rabble-rousing of Nasser in neighboring
Egypt. It was believed by the general population that they were not benefiting
from the countrys substantial oil boom and that their standard of living
had not increased in spite of this economic gusher. As though he could see the
handwriting of discontent on the wall, King Idris became morose and ultimately
left the country in search of medical treatment on the continent. He left Crown
Prince Hasa ar Rida in charge in his absence. That turned out to be a major tactical
error, as an army colonel, named Muammar al Qadhafi, saw this as an opportunity
to take over the country, which he was able to accomplish without significant
loss of blood.
The era since 1969 has brought many important changes.
The Qadhafi regime has made the first real attempt to unify Libyas diverse
peoples and to create a distinct Libyan state and identity. It has created new
political structures and made a determined effort at diversified economic development
financed by oil revenues. The regime has also aspired to leadership in Arab and
world affairs. As a consequence of these developments, Libyan society has been
subjected to a significant degree of government direction and supervision, much
of it at the behest of Qadhafi himself. Although the merits of the regime and
its policies were much debated by Libyans and foreigners alike, there was not
question that Libya in the 1980s was a significantly different country from the
one it had been only two or three decades earlier."
Qadhafi was much more of a visionary than most people realized,
for he took a strong position of fostering nationalism over religion and evolved
a system of free education for all levels of Libyan society. Additionally, the
countrys inhabitants also received the best housing and health care of any
country in Africa. He encouraged minority rights, especially those of women, while
encouraging substantive population growth. At that time, Libyas population
was barely 4 million, and there were a quarter-of-a-million foreigners working
in the country to keep the oil pipelines running. He desperately sought to replace
these people with his own nationals.
the other had, Qadhafi was extremely unique for his time; his views were evolutionary
and he passionately wanted his people to rise up from their origins and become
distinctive. Due to the countrys general conservatism and devotion to Islam,
they were not an easy force to deal with. Equally significant, fully one-half
of the population was under fifteen-years-old.
the meantime, Qadhafi was not given to impulsive changes of political course.
He had outlined his philosophy rather completely, in what he called "The
Green Book;" a rather extensive treatise on the direction he wanted the country
to take. In order to coerce the people to accept his teachings, he used various
ploys over the years. He arranged a "Cultural Revolution" in 1973, "Peoples
power" in 1975, announced that Libya was a "state of the masses"
in 1977 and gave up his formal title to become "Leader of the Revolution"
in 1979. The bottom line of all of these machinations was an attempt by Qadhafi
to change the existing social and political system to conform to his vision and
to cause any threats to his leadership to be compromised. Most of his plans were
constructively oriented, and the people for a time were not unappreciative of
what they received in return.
became involved in third-world causes during the 1980s and constantly attempted
to enforce supplementary methods of reform. He established the General Peoples
Congress in 1987, which was anticipated to be both an executive and legislative
body meeting three times a year. When the dust had cleared, it seemed as though
its membership had the same consistency as the Revolutionary Command Council,
which had been abolished in 1977. Moreover, a General Peoples Committee
performed the functions of a cabinet, which had, by this time replaced the old
Council of Ministers. During this period, Libya shifted allegiances and became
an ally of the Soviet Union because of Western ties to Israel. During this period,
he envisaged a plan to export terrorist activities, and within a short period
of time, the country received an international reputation as an educator and breeding
ground for these types of illicit activities.
prices eventually declined, and Qadhafi lost his trump card, the ability to buy
friends. Other countries, even those within the region, started to view him as
a pariah. The United States broke diplomatic relations with Libya because of their
terrorist activities, and they placed an embargo on products going in and out
of Libya. Over the ensuing years, the embargo has stayed in place, and about the
only thing that is has accomplished is that the United States has been virtually
eliminated as a supplier to that country. By this time, the country had lost its
dependence on American weapons and was now totally dependent on the Soviet Union.
the meantime, Libya set up a transshipment deal where they would receive Russian
arms and then ship them to the Irish Republican Army. In 1986, the bombing of
the crowded La Belle disco in Berlin was also traced back to Libyan operatives.
In that same year, Libya launched Scud missiles at the Italian Island of Lampodusa.
They made few international friends during this period.
also had established some bizarre alliances in Africa, which included turning
over money to one of the most repressive regimes in the world, the government
of Sierra Leone. Apparently, this aid had been supplied since 1991. "Rebel
leaders like Charles Taylor of Liberia (now its President), Gambian renegade Kukoi
Samba Sanyand, who led a botched invasion of his own country, Sankoh, the butcher
of Sierra Leone, and Gbago Zoumanigui, the ghoul of Guinea, all allegedly received
funds and training for their fighters from Libya. We spent three months
at a military training camp in Libya with a number of other Africans, and we were
told that after training we would return home to fight against our corrupt governments,
says Mohamed Kanneh, a 27-year-old ex-Revolutionary Untied Front (RUF) fighter."
for the most of this time, the Europeans and most African states held the line
on the Libyan Embargo along with the Americans. However, on February 19, 1998,
President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi announced that his country was going to re-establish
diplomatic relations with Libya. Naturally, the worlds press was interested
in knowing what was going on. Muluzis lame explanation was the height of
simplicity, "If traditional donors give me money to construct all the roads
in Malawi, to construct all the schools in Malawi
then Ill not go
to Libya." This had to considered heady stuff, when you consider that Western
nations were then funding more than half of the Malawi budget. When questioned
further he stated, "Im saying, Im not the first one that has
gone to Libya. As I was there, about five heads of state were leaving Libya."
Libya obviously had acquired this small African country for a bargain basement
price, and Libya received about 100 times that much in public relations value.
However, that wouldnt have meant a thing in the world of international public
opinion unless the Libyans were willing to make some additional concessions; as
it turned, they certainly were.
the Qadhafi Governments point of view, Libya has unquestionable Africanized;
they have made it abundantly clear that they are not Arabs, they are Africans.
While this had inured them to the Africans, the population of Libya doesnt
necessarily see things that way. Few of their leaders policies have irritated
Libyans more than his Africanization of Libya. Tripolitans curse the opening of
the borders, which has turned them into a minority in their own capital. In the
old and crumbling Ottoman town, Sudanese man the sweatshops, Egyptians serve the
tea and West African day-laborers wait under flyovers for an invitation to sweep
the streets. Libyans are rarely seen outside their cars. Predictably, the immigrants
are blamed for binging AIDS and gang warfare to the streets of Tripoli. If you
call a Libyan "African," he will feel insulted." But there is a
real bottom line to the equation, since Qadhafi has obviously figured out that
if he spreads the wealth around Africa and can convince those nations he has their
best interests at heart, he could garner much needed votes at the United Nations
to have the sanctions against his country eliminated.
the passage of the years, Qadhafi has become less reclusive, but his rabble-rousing
chants seem to have dimmed with age. In recent times, he has made a quiet attempt
to bring Libya back into the world community with some degree of success. The
fact that Libya relinquished the purported Lockerbie bombers to an independent
court in the Netherlands for trial was a major step in that direction. Moreover,
when coupled with their payment of $40 million in compensation to the 1989 victims
of a Libyan-induced bombing of a French airliner, the world may now be seeing
Qadhafi in a different light. On the other hand, the guerillas that bombed the
French plane included Gadhafis brother-in-law, so he was caught between
a rock and a hard place.
the Libyans also accepted the responsibility for the shooting of a British constable
who was trying to maintain order in front of their embassy in London. This admission
caused the British to renew diplomatic relations with Libya after a substantial
number of years. And the Welcome Wagon continued to gear up, Kofi Annan, U.N.
Secretary General, and Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Ambassador to the United States
and South Africas Nelson Mandella have all attempted to mediate peace discussions
between Libya and the Western States with no small amount of success. There is
no question that all of this effort has caused considerable warming of relations.
Ronald Neumann, the State Departments Libyan chief, said in a speech last
year, "Libya is not Iraq. We do not seek to maintain sanctions until there
is a change of regime in Tripoli."
was not yet finished with his rapprochement efforts, and he cut off funding for
all the hard-line Arab groups that were at odds with Yasser Arafats peace
efforts with Israel. This statement is further reinforced by the disappearance
from Libya of Abu Nidal, a Palestinian terrorist who years before had set up training
camps in Libya with Qadhafis assistance. These and other acts were crucial
to the United Nations, and after analyzing the new Libya, the United Nations decided
to remove their sanctions. Air service was immediately restored, and Libya once
again became an important destination for both businessmen and tourists.
"In the weeks since the Lockerbie deal was announced,
jockeying to rebuild and expand Libyas infrastructure has begun in earnest.
Trade delegations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa and
several European countries have visited Libya, taking advantage of air service
that was restored when U.N. sanctions were lifted. At a recent German trade fair,
one diplomat reported the Libyans sent a large delegation that was particularly
interested in building a tourist business, presumably to revolve around the countrys
many Roman ruins."
During this period, Qadhafi appeared to be distancing himself
from the Arabs, while welcoming the African Nations with open arms. Seemingly,
this would be a more moderate approach and would seem to signal to the West that
Libya has changed horses and is unquestionably intent on using every resource
that they have available to aid the country. "But, is this guy really serious?"
everyone was asking. However, he was on a roll, and his next gambit was to act
as an intermediary in freeing six foreign hostages (people from France, Germany
and South Africa) that were held in the Philippines by the Abu Sayyaf guerillas,
who were paid $1 million per person in ransom money. Germany and France were the
first to acknowledge that Libya had played a paramount role in this delicate operation.
That Libya could step into the Philippine breach was not as far-fetched as it
appeared at the time, "Libya has long-standing ties with Muslim rebels in
the mostly Catholic Philippines and has helped negotiate in previous kidnappings."
Libyan Government has helped build schools and mosques in the impoverished southern
part of the Philippines, but conversely, it has also been accused of training
rebels from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the largest Muslim rebel group."
() Nevertheless, It has become readily apparent to world leaders that Libya has
not been involved in the export of terrorism in about five years, and many say
that once the Lockerbie Trial is over, even the United States will agree to remove
whatever sanctions that remain. "American oil companies, forced to abandon
operations in Libya after U.S. sanctions were imposed in 1986, stand to benefit
even more. The Clinton Administration has quietly allowed Occidental Petroleum
Company and Oasis, a consortium including Conoco, Marathon and Amarada Hess, to
survey wells they once operated
For U.S. farmers hard hit by low grain prices,
Libya looks like a valued customer. Plans are currently under way to ship 20,000
tons of durum wheat there, and a senior U.S. agribusiness executive recently back
from Tripoli says tens of millions of dollars in additional contracts could begin
to roll in later this year." ()
could have an attraction to tourists from all over the world if they could convince
them that they would be safe wandering about the country. There are countless
magnificent places to visit and numerous antiquities to be seen, if Libya only
determined to go that route. There is the Marcus Aurelius arch in Tripoli, the
central Martyrs Square, whose walls were created by the Romans, the Byzantines,
the Crusaders and the Turks. Then there is the Sabratha, which has outstanding
mosaics from the 6th Century. Moreover, there is the Justinian basilica,
which was found buried under one of the beaches on the Libyan coast in the 1920s,
and the Phoenician mausoleum. Sabratha is a very special place and has been designated
by the Unesco as a World Heritage Site because of its irreplaceable properties.
wonders seem to continue at a fast clip, as the Romans in particular left an indelible
mark on the country. "But Libyas prime site is the incomparable rose-pink
Roman town of Leptis Magna, a colony which at its height was home to 100,000 people.
It has luxurious public baths, with gigantic towering arches, saunas, sun-room
and mosaic-floored swimming pools enclosed with columns of marble-pink from Aswan,
green from Algeria and Phoenicia, purple and white from Phrygia, green and white
from Euboea and gray-pink from Asia Minor. Next door is the New Forum with its
columns and sculptures spread randomly on the ground. The area is enclosed by
columns, which are surrounded by walls of huge and beautiful stone blocks, and
a series of Medusa faces. The site was so quiet and still that inside the forum
you could hear the sea."
while much has been accomplished, there is still a long way to go. Libya continues
to import North Korean () and Chinese technology to improve its guided missiles
and has targeted them on various areas in southern Europe. "Defense Secretary
William S. Cohen said during a speech February 5, 2000, in Germany, that Libya
is seeking long-range missiles. In calling for national missile defenses, Mr.
Cohen said, "Libya has chemical capabilities and is trying to buy long-range
missiles. They want long-range missiles to coerce and threaten us the North
American and European parts of NATO." () In the meantime, Libya still has
the 100 Scud mobile launchers that it acquired in the 1980s, and there has been
no known letup in the buildup of its chemical and biological weapons arsenal.
Worst of all, Qadhafi continues to tinker with the manufacturing of an atomic
China also publicized its agreement
with Libya to constructive a massive railroad system for them that would virtually
connect every major town in the country. There are many who feel that the railroad
deal is only a cover-up for a portable missile launching system that can be both
highly mobile and entirely undetectable. In the meantime, a Taiwanese businessman
was arrested in Switzerland, having been caught attempting to transship a SCUD
missile system to Libya. Moreover, in a move that could snatch defeat out of the
hands of victory, Qadhafi has been playing up to U.S. Black Muslim leader, Louis
Farrakhan, who is against everyone that doesnt have a black tint to their
skin. In addition, while all this was going on, "thirty-two crates of missile
parts, disguised as automotive spares, were discovered when they arrived on a
British Airways flight at Gatwick Airport bound for Tripoli via Malta. Paperwork
seized with the equipment indicated other consignments had already reached Libya
through Britain. The find is embarrassing for Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary,
who restored diplomatic ties with Libya in July after a 15-year break." ()
addition, Russia keeps the kettle boiling by taking care of the maintenance on
the 90 MIG-25 planes delivered to Libya by the Soviet Union years ago. Moreover,
the Russians have entered into an agreement with Libya to supply them with its
ultra-advanced S-300 air defense system. The Russians are also found all over
the country, building oil and gas pipelines, electricity transmission lines and
power stations. While these mixed signals must be terribly confusing to the Libyan
people, they arent complaining, for their current population of 5 million
people enjoys 7.2% annual economic growth rate, in spite of the sanctions that
are still in force, the country has absolutely no unemployment.
average annual wage in Libya is $7,000, which makes it far and away the highest
in Africa. The Libyans have over 2 million Africans doing their bidding, so the
Libyans are not required to do menial work anymore. "The leading groups among
foreign workers are the 700,000 Egyptians working in the agriculture industry,
followed by 300,000 Sudanese laborers and 250,000 Chadians. Others come from Niger,
Togo, Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Senegal, Democratic Republic of the
Congo, Cameroon, Somalia, Kjibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Liberia, Sierra Leone,
Benin, Algeria and Tunisia." ()
who never wore his religion on his sleeve has suddenly become extremely religious
in his old age. He walks around wearing traditional Islamic robes these days and
organizes mass prayer session whenever he travels to another country. This has
not gone without notice in the West, and it seems to run historically true to
form that Qadhafi does nothing without a well thought out strategic plan. Washid
Abdel-Meguid of the Al Ahram Center for Strategic Studies, an Egyptian think tank,
said Colonel Qadhafis emphasis on Islam is a response to the opposition
he faces at home from Muslim Militants. Raising religious slogans is the easiest
thing a regime can resort to when it faces trouble, Mr. Abdel-Meguid said."
Libya remains alcohol free, and
yet in its never-ending series of contradictions, almost all of the people have
adopted Western dress codes. Libyas fearless leader determined that he didnt
like the name of the month of February and renamed it "Lights", and
August, you guessed it, it is now "Hannibal". However, Qadhafi is always
messing with the Libyan calendar and when people get up in the morning, they are
never sure whether they are going to wake up in the fourteenth or fifteenth century.
Effectively, Libya has three interchangeable years, the Muslim year, the Western
year and the Qadhafi year. Qadhafi vacillates between various dates as though
they had become hot potatoes. "
the leader switching from the standard
Muslim calendar to one marking the years since Muhammads birth and then
shifting to one marking his death. The rest of the Islamic world is in 1421, counting
from the date the Prophet migrated from Mecca to Medina to found the faith
it seems that two Libyas exist and rarely intersect." ()
This country has become an enigma, if only
because its leader is very methodical in working to achieve his goals.
The Great Man-Made River
Libya is constructing a world-class project
in the middle of the dessert, but no one even knows what it really is. Some have
said that, whatever it is, this project is the Eighth Wonder of the World. What
is extraordinarily odd about this particular project is that it has been progressing
for over 16 years, and yet it still seems to be a long way from completion.
if you asked your neighbor if he ever heard of the Great Man-Made River Project
in Libya, there is not much question that he will tell you, "No". This
project has a price tag of $25 billion, and currently there are 12,000 foreign
workers on the job from morning to night. One would think that some intelligence
agency could figure out just what this project may be, but they havent yet
Meanwhile, the Libyans
say that they are constructing a 2,500-mile tunnel capable of carrying 7.4 million
cubic yards of water a day that will stretch from Tunisia to Egypt. The Libyans
say that this tunnel, which is 13 feet in diameter, is going to carry water that
will make the entire Libyan Desert bloom. This in an area where the thermometer
hits over 100 degrees on a cool day, and for most of the year, there is no rain
at all. There is no question that Libya will eventually run out of oil, and if
Colonel Mohammar Qadhafi has not found a replacement for oil revenues, or in lieu
of that, put a lot of money away for a rainy day, Libya will become another place
where a desert rules.
The pipe comes
in sections 25 yards long, which are carried in massive trucks that seem to buckle
under their enormous loads. The drilling rigs, suspended from six-story tall portable
units, are capable of boring more that a quarter of a mile into the earth in their
search for water. Every fifty or sixty miles, there is a break in the pipe where
it flows into a massive water storage facility made of reinforced concrete, thus
making it able to withstand almost any natural force. With a great deal of the
infrastructure for the project already in place, one would think that the irrigation
would have already begun, at least in selected spots. However, but that is not
the case, making this project all the more mysterious.
spite of Ronald Reagan having imposed a trade embargo against Libya forbidding
U.S. companies or citizens from doing any business with Libya and provides for
very substantial fines and long jail terms for anyone who does, American products
appear everywhere in the country and American equipment is seen everywhere on
the irrigation pipeline: Caterpillar Tractors, Cummings engines, Baker Hughes
drilling bits, Dowell Schlumberger cementing units, Price Brothers pipe and Brown
and Root brain power. So, what is really going on?
American Companies are not going to break the law, at least not if they thing
they are going to be caught. There are ways around the Presidential Action, and
for example, a subsidiary of an American company domiciled overseas could legally
do the work without any particular concern. Tractors can be purchased by European
companies and then legitimately resold to Libya, as the countries in Europe that
are depended on Libyan oil have no such onerous restrictions.
who study this subject for a living contend that in dealing with Qadhafi, one
is dealing with a paranoid personality who believes he will be attacked by almost
anyone at almost time. We would counter that statement by saying that within the
last year, Gandhi has been far more forthcoming, if only because of his surprising
decision to turn over the suspects in the Lockerbie bombing to an internationally
sanctioned court in the Netherlands.
as to Qadhafis real motives in building his tunnel are legion. For example,
people say that the diameter of the pipe is over twice that which would be necessary
for an irrigation project. They wonder why the pipe hooks up to Libyas chemical
weapons facility located near a mountain called Tarhuna on the Mediterranean,
and they cannot fathom why the chemical plant would need irrigation. They ask
why the system has been so strongly reinforced, why it is big enough for tanks
to roll through it and why is so deep that even some atomic weapons could not
reach it, etc, etc. Military experts say that at the very least, it will give
the Libyan military the ability to conceal their activities from satellite spy
networks, or from just about anything else for that matter. Others say that the
water storage facilities could be used to hold a company or more of troops and
the food to feed them, along with the facilities to house them.
of the most negative comments heard on the project comes from a world-class expert
in the field, Paul Beaver, a reporter with Janes Defense Weekly, who said,
"This is the first real evidence of something which has been suspected for
several years. Qadhafi seems to have taken a leaf out of Kim IL Sungs book
and created a potential military arsenal underground." The fact that the
general contractor on the job for the Libyan government is Dong Ah, a Korean company
that has had numerous run-ins with the American government over illegally exporting
items to Iran, makes a lot of people nervous. Dong Ah has already paid a $3 million
fine for illegally exporting drilling equipment from the United States to Libya.
They also bought anti-corrosive pipe chemicals in Texas for this project to be
shipped to Libya, and they are under investigation for that matter, as well.
the meantime, everyone who could be interviewed for information regarding Libyas
intent has been questioned, and there are few solid answers. For the moment, let
us assume that Qadhafi has created a mixed-use pipeline that can be used for irrigation,
along with the storage and transportation of war material and personnel. Whatever
it is, it is certainly "the Mother of All Pipelines" and is large enough
to hold two simultaneous titles, until we know better. It is the longest irrigation
tunnel on the face of the earth, and it is the most expensive military installation
ever created, or possibly neither.