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The ongoing struggle between Libya’s beleaguered regime and its opponents may eventually be decided by the issue of the country’s petroleum reserves.

Nearly all of Gaddafi's key allies have abandoned him, most notably those in the African Union, where he has poured billions of dollars in assistance over the years. A second element in the weakening of his regime is that while his forces remain well-equipped, the insurgents are assaulting Gaddafi's oil supplies, producing shortage in the capital Tripoli, where people are being forced to ride bicycles because of a lack of gasoline to fuel their automobiles.

Despite the energy hardships, the Libyan capital appears calm, although rebels have closed to within 50 miles of Libya’s capital, London’s Al-Sharq al-Awsat reported.

Gaddafi remains defiant, threatening at a press conference to carry out retaliatory attacks in Europe if NATO does not cease its campaign against his regime, telling supporters gathering in the main Green Square of the capital Tripoli, “We can treat you in a similar way,” a threat that the U.S. government has said that it takes seriously.

While Gaddafi remains bereft of any direct military support, diplomatically his African Union compatriots have called on its member states to disregard the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court against him, a move that could weaken the court’s ability to hold him accountable for any crimes committed against his people.

By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com

 



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