When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

How The Japanese Catastrophe Is Helping Gaddafi

While the events in Japan have captured the world's attention, Muammar Gaddafi is regaining the upper hand in Libya. And authorities in other Arab countries are also taking advantage.

"We're looking death in the face," says Ali M., from the Libyan town of Zawiyah. "There was another explosion just now at an oil well." Muammar Gaddafi's troops have recaptured the city and other locals in eastern Libya tell Tages-Anzeiger that they are preparing to flee.

While the world watches spellbound as events unfold in Japan, Gaddafi has stepped up air attacks on the opposition rebels. The Libyan dictator must view the disaster in Japan as a gift from heaven. Lisa Holland, a reporter for Sky News in Tripoli, told her news channel: "They can apply the kind of force they've used in cities like Zawiyah, the world is no longer watching. It has turned its back. Its attention is elsewhere."

As aid workers and experts from across the globe rush to Japan, Gaddafi, who just a few weeks ago seemed on his last legs, is reportedly preparing to storm the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. The dictator has regained the upper hand, not least thanks to his air force, as the opposition implores the West to implement a no-fly zone.

The UK and France are pushing for a no-fly zone, as are the 22 member states of the Arab League. The United States is mired in indecision, while German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told a meeting of G8 foreign ministers in Paris on Tuesday that his country was "very skeptical" about imposing a no-fly zone. He explained that Germany does not want to get "stuck in a war in North Africa." The comment promptly earned Westerwelle praise from Gaddafi himself.

Gaddafi has Ensnared China and Russia with Promises of Oil

Like Iran, both China and Russia have condemned Gaddafi's violence against the Libyan people, but neither country seems prepared to act with more than words. Their solution seems to be to sit this one out. The disaster in Japan is helping them to do just that. According to reports from Nouvelobs.com and Stern.de, Gaddafi has already promised Chinese and Russian companies oil drilling licenses – following the departure of most foreign companies from Libya.

Libya is not currently exporting any oil. Although the country is one of the world's main exporters, its contribution to global exports is not big enough for a short-term disruption of supplies to spell disaster. "The international community is more concerned about a disruption of supplies from major producers like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq or Iran," Bill Farren-Price, CEO of the oil consulting firm Petroleum Policy Intelligence in London told Tages-Anzeiger. Unrest in these countries would likely cause the West to act far more decisively than they have done during the crisis in Libya.

Rulers in Yemen and Bahrain have in recent days intensified their efforts to quell the insurgencies in their countries, and have begun to shut out world media. At the same time the beleaguered royal family in Bahrain has welcomed thousands of troops from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states into the country to strengthen its forces against the rebels. The presence of foreign troops has served to exacerbate the already tense situation. But is the world still watching?

Read the original article in German.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Black Sea Survivor: Tale Of A Ukrainian Special Agent Thrown Overboard In Enemy Waters

This is a tale of a Ukrainian special forces operator who wound up surviving 14 hours at sea, staying afloat and dodging Russian air and sea patrols.

Black Sea Survivor: Tale Of A Ukrainian Special Agent Thrown Overboard In Enemy Waters

Looking at the Black Sea in Odessa, Ukraine.

Rustem Khalilov and Roksana Kasumova

KYIV — During a covert operation in the Black Sea, a Ukrainian special agent was thrown overboard and spent the next 14 hours alone at sea, surrounded by enemy forces.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

The agent, who uses the call-sign "Conan," agreed to speak to Ukrainska Pravda, to share the details of nearly being lost forever at sea. He also shared some background on how he arrived in the Ukrainian special forces. Having grown up in a village in a rural territory of Ukraine, Conan describes himself as "a simple guy."

He'd worked in law enforcement, personal security and had a job as a fitness trainer when Russia launched its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022. That's when he signed up with the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Main Directorate of Intelligence "Artan" battalion. It was nearly 18 months into his service, when Conan faced the most harrowing experience of the war. Here's his first-hand account:

Keep reading...Show less

The latest