When we asked yesterday whether Ghadaffi will pull an inverse Louis XV and burn down all of Libya's oilfields on his way out (to either Saudi Arabia, or the afterworld) a la Saddam Hussein in Kuwait, we assumed this was a rhetorical question. Alas, we did not realize the kind of irrational madman we were evaluating. Turns out the rhetorical is about to become all too real: according to Reuters, "Time magazine's intelligence columnist reported on Tuesday that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has ordered his security forces to sabotage the country's oil facilities, citing a source close to the government. In a column posted on Time's website, Robert Baer said the sabotage would begin by blowing up pipelines to the Mediterranean. However he added that the same source had also told him two weeks ago that unrest in neighboring countries would never spread to Libya -- an assertion that has turned out to be wrong." Should the dictator indeed proceed and destroy the country's oil infrastructure, which as we noted earlier exports over 1.5 million barrels of crude a day, mostly to Italy, Goldman may have to revise it $97.50 WTI target double digits higher.
"Among other things, Gaddafi has ordered security services to start sabotaging oil facilities," Baer wrote. "The sabotage, according to the insider, is meant to serve as a message to Libya's rebellious tribes: It's either me or chaos."
The growing violence in Libya has forced a number of oil companies to shut in production in Africa's third-largest oil producer and disrupted flows from the country's export terminals.
Security forces have cracked down fiercely on demonstrators across the country, with fighting spreading to Tripoli after erupting in Libya's oil-producing east last week. As the fighting has intensified some supporters have abandoned Gaddafi.
Baer, a former Middle East CIA officer, said the source told him that as of Monday Gaddafi had the loyalty of only about 5,000 of the country's 45,000-strong regular army.
And while asylum for Gaddafi to Saudi Arabia is just a little optimistic, below is a list of countries to which the Libyan leader has been rather courteous in the past, and which will likely be more than happy to accept him. We wonder how many of these potential asylum providers will be next on the revolutionary path. (via Globe and Mail)