Oil prices spike as Gadhafi refuses to leave turmoil in Libya
Political turmoil in Libya has led to an increase in worldwide oil prices. Libya is a major exporter of oil, and unrest in that nation could lead to a drop in the output of oil. Despite a growing number of people calling for him to leave, Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi refuses to abdicate his office.
Major oil producer Libya paralyzed by protests
The worsening turmoil in North African nation Libya has reverberated throughout the financial world as instability in a major oil producing nation led to a slide in stock markets, according to the Los Angeles Times. Prices of crude oil rose, which caused the Dow Jones Industrial average to slide more than 178 points downward during trading on Tuesday, Feb. 22. Crude oil futures rose from $91.42 per barrel on Monday to $94.49 on Tuesday. However, oil prices slid to $93.57 per barrel of crude oil after the oil minister of Saudi Arabia, Ali Ibrahim Naimi, announced that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries would make up any shortfalls due to unrest in Libya.
Gadhafi refuses to leave
Moammar Gadhafi (also Gaddafi or al-Gaddafi), ruler of Libya, has refused to leave his post, according to The Telegraph. Unlike other rulers in nearby countries who managed a modicum of empathy for those harmed during protests, Gadhafi spoke on Libyan state television, promising further bloodshed should the Libyan protests continue. Gadhafi said he would use the death penalty on protesters and said he is completely justified in the use of force against dissidents who are calling for an end to his four decades at the helm of Libya. He also pledged that he wouldn’t leave and would “die a martyr.”
Libyan officials leave posts in protest
In an expression of solidarity with the protesters, several key Libyan officials and diplomats have left their posts and in some cases defected, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Ambassadors and other Libyan diplomatic staff at the United Nations and in India, Australia, the United States and elsewhere have called for an end to the bloodshed. Loyalists and security forces have shot protesters, and reports are emerging that African mercenaries have been called in by Gadhafi to shoot at crowds. Members of the Libyan military still loyal to Gadhafi have used jets and helicopters to fire on protesters.