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Sanctions In Libya Are Starting To Hurt; Gadhafi Forces Trying To Cut Off Rebels
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NATO ordered sanctions against Moammar Gadhafi’s rule is starting to work against the people of that nation, particularly in the capital city of Tripoli. There are fuel lines that are stretching out for miles, many filled with cars that are now empty, abandoned by their frustrated owners. Once you get to the front of the line in the gas stations, there is a chance that you might be paying much more than what has been sent by the government; black market prices for gas as well as other items are increasing and likely to get completely out of control.

Libyan run television stations are blaming all of the shortages of the basics and other items directly on NATO, but the average resident on the street blames the current regime. Of course, they are only doing so with strict anonymity in fear of arousing the wrath of a government that is notoriously strict and does not suffer any type of criticism lightly.

The international sanctions have forced the closing of many of the shops and those that did manage to open have little wares to sell. In addition, there is a serious shortage of skilled people to fulfill a number of different roles, particularly those that would allow the city to run smoothly. The sanctions are affecting people most seriously in the cities that are described as the major strongholds of Gadhafi.

Gadhafi’s forces are working to block the access to the port in Misrata, currently a rebel stronghold in Western Libya. Fighting in that port city has gone on for over two months, leaving hundreds of civilians dead in the wake of fierce fighting as the two forces fight over what is the rebel’s remaining lifeline in that city.

In Tripoli, reporters from foreign newservices around the world are literally trapped in their hotels, only allowed to venture out with a guard and a minder for their own protection. There have been many who have fled the country already in the wake of the fighting,with the UN putting the number at roughly 665,000 since February. Continued, prolonged fighting and difficult to manage sanctions may cause even more people to flee the country.

In related news, the Obama administration may seek approval from Congress to help finance the rebels with funds that have previously been frozen. Those funds, previously controlled by Moammar Gadhafi, are at the center of a debate about whether or not such action is legal or not.

Several European officials have expressed serious concern that such an action might be too blatant and may be too difficult to carry out. A meeting, discussing any possible assistance that might be given to the rebels in their continued struggle, did include the suggestion that financing would be extended but an amount was not agreed on, nor was a legitimate funding source named. The European officials did state that unfreezing the accounts might prove to be very difficult.


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