Oil reserves in Libya are the largest in Africa and the ninth largest in the world with 41.5 billion barrels (6.60×10^9 m3) as of 2007. Oil production was 1.8 million barrels per day (290×10^3 m3/d) as of 2006, giving Libya 63 years of reserves at current production rates if no new reserves were to be found. Libya is considered a highly attractive oil area due to its low cost of oil production (as low as $1 per barrel at some fields), and proximity to European markets.Digby also notes:
If people want to talk honestly about this and admit what it is we are really doing then perhaps, as a democracy, we can hash this out properly. But using the uprising as an excuse to "intervene" on behalf of Exxon and BP has nothing to do with humanitarianism and liberals need to disabuse themselves of this illusion once and for all.On the radio this morning (Armstrong and Getty), I was trying to assess the conservative reaction to all this, and I was surprised just how cool conservatives are to this Libyan intervention. They were comparing it to George Bush's rush to intervene in Iraq (!) and talking about how Hillary Clinton now has her own war (!!) The reaction seems similar to conservative reaction to intervention in the wars in the Balkans when the last Democratic President, Bill Clinton, was in charge, when they suspected talk of humanitarian intervention was just a cover for fruitless nation-building exercises (which made their enthusiasm for the biggest nation-building boondoggle of all time, Iraq, even harder to understand).
Entering into war in Libya is nothing like entering in war in Iraq, but it is nice that that Crusading relish to intervene anywhere and everywhere where Muslims live is beginning to diminish among conservatives. I fear that diminuition has more to do with the fact that Obama is President, though, than any principled opposition.
For some reason, I'm reminded of a protest I saw in front of the California State Capitol early in 1991, when intervention in Kuwait was just days away. A frustrated liberal was shouting about the futility of war when a city bus loudly belched a dark cloud of Diesel exhaust right next to her. She turned, pointed to the dark cloud and shouted rhetorically: "Are we supposed to go to war over - that?"
Well, yes actually. Oil is power. What better to go to war over? And with the European powers taking the lead (they have more at stake than we do).