Now that was really brave!
– Sudanese army seizes southern Libyan town (Telegraph, July 1, 2011):
The Sudanese army has seized a town in southern Libya that is the gateway to oilfields crucial to rebel hopes of establishing financial independence.
Officials overseeing the no-fly zone enforced by Nato over Libya said the Sudanese move north of border had not encountered resistance from troops loyal to Col Muammar Gaddafi.
Since the February uprising against his regime, the Libyan leader’s forces have been concentrated around Tripoli, the capital; Sirte, the eastern town that is Col Gaddafi’s birthplace and Sebha, the desert outpost where the dictator grew up.
Officials said control of the town of Kufra and nearby military base granted the Sudanese a key strategic foothold between the regime and the opposition Transitional National Council (TNC) which holds the eastern seaboard and a series of rebel enclaves.
The Sudanese have not disrupted efforts to resume oil production on nearby southern oilfields.
“Our surveillance shows that they are not moving oil, so its not about money in the short term,” said one Western official. “The commercial oil companies monitoring is reporting that there has been no movement of oil out of Libya.
But the Sudanese clearly now have a stake in Libya re-emerging in the oil market.
“The Gaddafi army was coming in and taking out the oilfields every time the rebels start pumping oil. They’ve dismantled the fields quite carefully so the rebels need security down there. Clearly there needs to be tribal support but the Sudanese could make it too risky for Gaddafi’s intervention as well.”
The last attack on the Mislah and Sarir oilfields took place on June 12, just days before the deployment of Sudanese forces to Kufra.
Rebel spokesmen said they hoped to produce up to 250,000 barrels per day from the oilfields and pump it along a pipeline to the Marsa al-Haringa depot near Tobruk.
Hundreds of Chadian refugees were this week reported to have fled Kufra to the Gaddafi-controlled town of Sebha.
An assessment team from the International Organisation for Migration issued an appeal for 2,000 Chadians fleeing violence across Libya to be provided a safe route home.
“There has been a lot of fighting in the Kufra area and people have decided to make their way to safer stations on the road home,” said Qasim Sufi, the IOM team leader in Sirte.
British officials in Benghazi have worked closely with Libyan rebels on resuming oil pumping. Tribal leaders told a British team on May 12 that a brigade of fighters would be formed from Jalu and Kufra to protect oil infrastructure in the south.
Mustafa al-Sagezli, the deputy leader of the oil infrastructure force known as the February 17th Martyrs command, has said that pumping oil north through the pipeline can resume within weeks.
Mazen Ramadan, a financial adviser to the Transistional National Council, yesterday said the opposition was facing a cash crisis that had left it unable to pay for imports or meet salaries for its employees.
It wants its western backers to advance loans against the vast Libyan state funds frozen in US and European bank accounts.
Rebels gained access to a $100 million (£62 million) financing arrangement this week but that money has mainly been spent on medicines and basic needs.
Altogether $1 billion (£620 million) has been pledged to the (TNC) but most of the money has not been handed over.
Without oil sales, the opposition complain their administration is incapable of battling Gaddafi and running the rebel safehavens. “We don’t have any money. We are working with a lot of people but it seems like a time-consuming process, and we need the money,” Mr Ramadan said. “We proposed a mechanism to perhaps get loans on the frozen assets and then use this mechanism to ensure transparency.”
A summit in Istanbul next month will be dominated by legal negotiations on releasing Libya reserves frozen by United Nations sanctions.
Here is why Libyans support Gaddafi:
WW III has already started: