Canada’s Conservative government has dispatched a navy frigate to Libya’s shores and special forces to Malta in preparation for military intervention in the oil-rich North African country: here.
By Ulrich Rippert in Germany:
German interests in Libya
4 March 2011
The revolutionary uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and now in Libya have moved the German government to take rapid diplomatic and military action. As the first Western politician on the scene, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle rushed to Tunis to assure the then-prime minister, Mohamed Ghannouchi, of German support.
According to a report from the Foreign Office, the foreign minister held intensive discussions with “representatives from the economy and civil society”. Westerwelle suggested forming a “transformation-partnership” and offered generous financial support. Later on, the high representative for foreign affairs of the EU, Catherine Ashton, announced that the European Union would contribute €258 million to the emergency relief aid for Tunisia.
But only a few days later, Ghannouchi, who had served for over a decade as head of government for the fallen President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, resigned following renewed mass demonstrations.
The German government is putting on a brave face and hoping that its close relationship with the dictatorial regime will be forgotten. Officially, it speaks of its support for the “joyous democratic movement”. At every opportunity, Westerwelle praises the “beginning of a democratic reformation” in the Middle East. In reality, however, the government is extremely concerned and determined to use all its power to defend its interests.
More than anything, this applies to the events in Libya. The country between Tunisia and Egypt lies at the heart of German interests: it has been one of the most crucial exporters of oil to Germany for decades. German corporations have millions invested there, and the Gaddafi regime played a central role in the exclusion of poverty-stricken asylum seekers from the EU.
Germany’s close collaboration with the Gaddafi regime is based on a long tradition. A year ago, the Foreign Office published the following: “The political relationship between Libya and Germany has been cemented. A consolidation, particularly through personal contacts by high-ranking officials, was made possible due to the compensation payments made by Libya to the German victims of the assassination attempt on the Berlin nightclub ‘La Belle’ in 1986.”
Immediately after Gaddafi had signed a compensation agreement in September 2004, then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (Social Democratic Party, SPD) set off for Tripoli and introduced a new stage in economic collaboration. Since then, there has been the strong cultivation of an annual German-Libyan business gathering and German participation in the Tripoli International Fair at the beginning of each April.
Libya is Germany’s third most important supplier of crude oil and provides approximately 11 percent of its total demand. As a purchaser of Libyan crude oil, Germany takes second place only to Italy.
This is a Libyan video on the three Dutch marines, recently taken prisoners in Libya.