Fears that Gaddafi May Sabotage Oil Facilities

Would Gaddafi risk an environmental disaster by sabotaging oil pipelines to the Mediterranean to regain his control over Libya?

According to an article in Time Magazine, sources close to Gaddafi have warned that the situation in Libya will escalate into further chaos as the eccentric leader has ordered security services to sabotage oil facilities.

This comes after a month of protests and confrontations in Libya which have led to the estimated death of 1,000 people according to human rights activists. Although the Time’s article was quick to point out that reliable information coming out of Tripoli is scarce, this is not a completely unlikely move.

Back in 1991, Saddam Hussein ordered engineers to burn oil field and blow up wells in Kuwait during the first Gulf War. This act of wanton destruction led to an ecological catastrophe which not only burned one billion barrels of crude oil but also killed vegetation and wildlife, and polluted groundwater which led to the poisoning of the local human population.

If Time Magazine’s sources are accurate, there is no doubt that sabotage of Libyan oil fields will cause similar damage and destruction. It also somewhat undermines Gaddafi’s green credentials due to his involvement in projects such as man made river and pivot irrigation as well as his image of a leader in love with nature and the outdoors.

However, some commentators have pointed to the possibility that is is just a scare tactic and that Gaddafi may be bluffing. Judging by the latest news this could be a real possibility.

Gaddafi has been busy speaking to various news networks about the insecurity and instability that would hit the region if Libya collapsed and even accused western governments and the media of falling for al-Qaida propaganda.

Speaking on Turkey’s state-run TRT news channel, Gaddafi said: “It will be a huge disaster if al-Qaida takes over Libya. Al-Qaida would flood Europe with immigrants. We are the ones who prevent al-Qaida from taking over control. They would drag the whole region into chaos … Al-Qaida would take over north Africa.”

It all seems rather apocalyptic and over-the-top and ignores the very possibility that if he left, a more democratic Libya may emerge which actually improves the lives of the people as well as the security and stability of the region.

: Time Magazine and Green Fudge

:: Image via Abode of Chaos on Flickr.

For more news coming out of Libya see:

Will Libya’s Unrest Trash Their Historical Sites?

How Food Insecurity Fuels Anger In the Middle East

Libyan Revolution Will End Gaddafi’s Green Visions

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