Qatar arms to Libya

May 8th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

The New York Times reports that:

for the first time, Qatar put the question of supplying arms to the rebels on the table, but no agreement was reached.

Well, not really for the first time. Qatar has been pushing for arms shipments to the rebels for a long time:

“If they will ask for weapons, we’re going to provide them,” the amir, who is on a visit to the United States, told CNN in an interview. [xinhua, 15 April]

And the New York Times itself has reported on the rebels receiving foreign weapons, and speculated that Qatar is one source of them.

April 20th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Next in the continuing saga of Rolling Stone printing surprisingly good long-format journalism: The Stoner Arms Dealers.

Packouz was baffled, stoned and way out of his league. “It was surreal,” he recalls. “Here I was dealing with matters of international security, and I was half-baked. I didn’t know anything about the situation in that part of the world. But I was a central player in the Afghan war… It was totally killing my buzz. There were all these shadowy forces, and I didn’t know what their motives were. But I had to get my shit together and put my best arms-dealer face on.”

The author, Guy Lawson, seems to have written a string of in-depth articles on international crime in Rolling Stone.

Although you suspect Rolling Stone is also dropping serious money on lawyers, to let them say things like:

The Albanians cut him out of the deal, informing AEY that the repackaging job would be completed instead by a friend of the prime minister’s son. What Trebicka had failed to grasp was that Thomet was paying a kickback to the Albanians from the large margin he was making on the deal. Getting rid of Thomet was impossible, because that was how the Albanians were being paid off the books.

I suspect part of the reason Rolling Stone can support this kind of journalism is that they force their writers to be entertaining. Not only does this mean people read and appreciate the long-form articles (and thus build demand for more of them), but it forces the writers to properly get to grips with their subject.

Egypt arming Libyan rebels

March 21st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink


Egypt’s military has begun shipping arms over the border to Libyan rebels with Washington’s knowledge, U.S. and Libyan rebel officials said.

The shipments—mostly small arms such as assault rifles and ammunition—appear to be the first confirmed case of an outside government arming the rebel fighters

Compare this to Robert Fisk’s piece from a fortnight ago,

the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi. The Saudi Kingdom…has so far failed to respond to Washington’s highly classified request…
But the Saudis remain the only US Arab ally strategically placed and capable of furnishing weapons to the guerrillas of Libya.

I guess either the Saudi request got nowhere, or at least has only happened behind the scenes. Besides, whatever Fisk thinks, Egypt is obviously better placed to move weapons into the East of Libya

The WSJ also has some interesting comment on the various positions among Arab states:

Lebanon took a lead role drafting and circulating the draft of the resolution, which calls for “all necessary measures” to enforce a ban on flights over Libya. The United Arab Emirates and Qatar have taken the lead in offering to participate in enforcing a no-fly zone, according to U.N. diplomats.

Libyan rebel officials in Benghazi, meanwhile, have praised Qatar from the first days of the uprising, calling the small Gulf state their staunchest ally. Qatar has consistently pressed behind the scenes for tough and urgent international action behind the scenes, these officials said.

Qatari flags fly prominently in rebel-held Benghazi.

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