US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice arrived in Libya, where she met with Libyan leader Muammar Al Gaddafi, who was once described by President Ronald Reagan as “the man dog in the Middle East.” The visit, the first by a US Secretary of State in more than 50 years, was welcomed by one blogger, but raised questions among others.
On the Edge runs the headline: Hell Has Finally Frozen Over.
The American blogger who is married to a Libyan and lives there, talks about rumours of an American Embassy opening in Tripoli.
There are all sorts of rumors of a embassy opening with a actual ambassador to go in it … soon . That's the what we have been told . It will be a full service embassy , that means women like me , married to a Libyan national will be able to get service too , not just the mainland US citizens that are working here for American companies
This will be a exciting improvement over the past , after the way we have been treated , like a step child hidden in the attic . If you can picture happy dancing , then you see many of the American women married to Libyans happy to know maybe now we be counted as a citizen again by our own country … even though we live here in Libya.
Egyptian Mona Al Tahawy has another issue on her mind during this historic visit. She is concerned about the fate of a democracy advocate held in Libya. She writes:
As Condoleezza Rice becomes the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Libya in 55 years, Fathi al-Jahmi will still remain in the cockroach-infested hospital room where he has been held against his will for months.
You donâ€™t know who Fathi al-Jahmi is? Ask vice presidential candidate Joe Biden. In a statement to the Senate at the end of July, he called Jahmi â€œa courageous Libyan democracy advocate with serious health problems whose only crime was to speak truth to power.â€
Rice knows who Jahmi is, because the State Department has issued various demands that Libya release him. But I wont hold my breath that sheâ€™ll make an issue of him during her visit.
For Al Tahawi, Rice's visit is for another reason:
Rice joins a slew of western leaders and officials trekking to Tripoli with eyes on deals aimed at tapping into Libyaâ€™s oil wealth. One after another theyâ€™ve donned rose-tinted glasses to see how Gadhafi has improvised his role as the dictator who came in from the cold.
And speaking of Libya's rich oil and gas resources, Saleem Al Ragihe [Ar] wonders how much his country makes from oil and when information on its income from gas and foreign investments will be released to the public. He writes:
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It is well known that during the extraordinary previous decades, until recently, the amount of oil exported from Libya and the country's income from oil sales have remained a national secret and riddle! However today, thanks to the information explosion on the one hand; pressures placed by the international transparency reports on Libya which was placed on the list of the most corrupt and least transparent states; and the alertness of Libyan citizens, the Colonel/regime – for these three reasons – there has been a relative release on information regarding the amount of raw Libyan petroleum exported and Libya's income from its sales! The National Libyan Oil Company announced that the amount of oil exported from August 29 to September 4 totalled 10,955,000 thousand barrels. The Company's weekly newsletter also stated that the average oil price was $107.05 per barrel.
And while we applaud this step and the entry of Libya into the era of transparency especially in this sensitive area for Libyans – the legitimate and not actual owner of oil – we call for more openness and information on other sensitive economic information, such as Libya's income from natural gas sales, as well as its income from the huge foreign investments, particularly in Europe. A lot of Libyans are now talking about the sons of the leader and the sons of the companions of the leader, who are enjoying holidays in Europe, paid for by these foreign investments.