Thursday, June 16, 2011

LIBYA'S GADHAFI HIDING MISSILES AT LEPTIS MAGNA?

Pressure is mounting on the parts of Libya that remain under the control of Moammar Gadhafi. Between rebel attacks from the east and west, relentless NATO air strikes and growing gas and food shortages, it seems inevitable that the Libyan government will fall. But Libyan officials insist they aren't going anywhere. They claim they remain firmly in charge of their territory. To prove it, the government minders, who strictly control foreign journalists' movements there, Wednesday arranged for simultaneous trips east, west and south of Tripoli.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reported on her arranged tour of Leptis Magna. The site is enormous (I visited it several years ago) and the officials briefly showed them the site where, of course, they said, no weapons were hidden. However, Professor Susan Kane of Oberlin (see next paragraph) also reported to NPR that Libyan colleagues are sure that weapons have been stored in the area.

After a hiatus of 23 years, in 2006, an international mission (under the direction of Professor Susan Kane, Oberlin College) resumed archaeological work in Cyrene, Libya. Cyrene, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site in eastern modern Libya, was the leading city of the Libyan Pentapolis. Settled by Greek colonists toward the end of the 7th century B.C., it remained an active Graeco-Roman city of distinctively Hellenic character until the time of the Islamic conquest (A.D. 643).

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