World View: Huge Fuel Depot Fire Threatens Tripoli with Explosion

World View: Huge Fuel Depot Fire Threatens Tripoli with Explosion

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Huge fuel depot fire threatens Tripoli Libya with explosion
  • Liberia closes national borders to prevent spread of Ebola virus
  • Kerry shuts Egypt and Palestinian Authority out of Gaza ‘peace plan’

Huge fuel depot fire threatens Tripoli Libya with explosion

A huge fuel depot near the airport in Libya’s capital Tripoli isburning out of control and spreading. The tanks contains some 20million gallons of petrol and fuel. If the fire is not brought undercontrol, it could ignite liquid gas nearby, triggering a much largerexplosion and causing a humanitarian and environmental disaster.Densely populated Tripoli is being evacuated within a 3-km radius ofthe airport. Authorities are asking for international assistance infighting the fire. 

The fuel depot fire is the result of the growing tribal warfare inLibya that we described yesterday.It’s believed that the Islamist militias, centered in Misurata,launched missiles into fuel depot in order to trigger the fire andexplosion. Anti-Islamist militias, centered in Zintan, that had beenfighting the Islamists had been defending the airport. 

With anarchy spreading, many foreigners in Libya are fleeing thecountry. On Monday, the Netherlands, Philippines, Austria, China, andIndia became the next countries to evacuate their citizens and embassystaff. The United States, Britain, United Nations, and Turkey havealready closed their embassies. AFP and Al-Jazeera

Liberia closes national borders to prevent spread of Ebola virus

Liberia is closing all its borders and is instituting a new travelpolicy to inspect and test all outgoing and incoming passengers inthe hope of slowing the spread of Ebola. Ebola has already killed 660people across the region since the outbreak began in February. 

This is the worst Ebola outbreak in history, not only because of thenumbers killed but also because of its geographic spread. Someofficials in Doctors Without Borders are expressing the fear that thenumber of Ebola patients identified so far are “just the tip of theiceberg.” There are many villages in western Africa that are noteasily accessible, and there have been stories, perhaps only rumors,of entire villages disappearing because of Ebola. It’s possible,though not certain, that Ebola is far more widespread than iscurrently known. Ebola is not airborne, but it’s spread throughphysical contact. Reuters

Kerry shuts Egypt and Palestinian Authority out of Gaza ‘peace plan’

Palestinian Authority (PA/PLO) officials are furious at an apparentattempt by US Secretary of State John Kerry, whether by clumsiness orby intention, to shut Egypt and the PA out of a Gaza “peaceconference” held in Paris on Saturday and a related proposed “peaceagreement.” The Paris conference was attended by Kerry andrepresentatives of Turkey and Qatar, as well as France, Germany,Britain, and Italy. But Israel, Egypt, and the PA were not invited. 

Turkey and Qatar are allies of Hamas. Israeli officials say thatKerry’s proposed “peace agreement,” which has not been officiallyreleased to the public, meets all the demands and talking points ofHamas (ending the “siege”), but does not address any of the securityconcerns of Israel (disarming Hamas). The implication was not thatKerry is malevolent, but that he doesn’t understand the issues. 

Even worse, Kerry’s plan undermined a peace plan that had previouslybeen offered by Egypt and was agreed to by Israel and the PA. 

According to a statement by a furious Palestinian Authority official: 

Kerry proposed his initiative after we were veryclose to a comprehensive agreement guaranteeing the lifting of thesiege on Gaza and obtaining all the Palestinian demands. If theissue was lifting the siege, abolishing the buffer zones, openingthe crossings, and expanding the fishing zones, we could haveobtained this on Wednesday [July 23]. An announcement of [thisachievement] was ready for publication – but (Hamas politicalbureau head Khaled) Mashaal called a press conference anddestroyed the [PLO] initiative.

Noting that Hamas is an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, whichEgypt has declared a terrorist organization, another PA officialsaid: 

The Palestinian leadership and people promote everyArab, regional, or international effort to stop Israel’s war, stopthe bloodletting, and defend the Palestinian people in the [GazaStrip] – while the conference and the forces participating in itprove that it was not innocent and does not strive to stopIsrael’s shedding of Palestinian blood. Its objective was tocircumvent the Egyptian initiative and Egypt’s role, and to planto return to shaping the region according to the American visionand according to the U.S.-Israeli plan that will restore theMuslim Brotherhood to their status.

It seems that every three or four weeks it’s necessary to talk aboutyet one more foreign policy debacle by John Kerry, who gives everysign of not having the vaguest clue what’s going on in the world.Kerry burst onto the scene in 1971 when he declared to the Senate thatU.S. Army soldiers were rapists and torturers and no better than Nazistormtroopers, and he’s been belittling the army and the United Statesever since. As Secretary of State, he says and does one stupid thingafter another and lurches from one foreign policy debacle to thenext. His boss, President Obama, does no better, allowing the US tosuffer one humiliation after another. 

It’s worth repeating that this isn’t just a matter of “there’s nothingthat Obama can do.” This is all happening because of a major policyreversal by the Obama administration. America has been “policeman ofthe world,” since President Harry Truman’s Truman Doctrine of 1947. Every Presidentsince then has fulfilled that commitment until now, because the cost ofa small military action was always better than a repeat of somethingas enormous as World War II. President Obama has repudiated thatcommitment. The analogy is the New York City police. They don’t haveto declare all out war to fight crime. But if they simply stoppedpolicing and told all the criminals that they would negotiate an endto crime, then crime would soar. By repudiating the Truman Doctrine,the Policeman of the World has said it would stop policing, with theresult of one foreign policy debacle after another. Washington Post and Memri andAl-Ahram (Cairo) and France 24

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Tripoli, Libya, Misurata, Zintan,Liberia, Ebola,John Kerry, Egypt, Palestinian Authority, PA, PLO,Turkey, Qatar, Israel, Gaza, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood,Harry Truman, Truman Doctrine 

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