Norway’s image could soon be caught ‘between a rock and a hard place’. At the same time as joining the Allied military operation, the international peacekeeping actor has already earned significant oil money because of the armed conflict in Libya.
“Norway consciously promotes itself as a country that works hard for peace, reconciliation and human rights. We see that Gaddafi and other dictators under pressure are trying to portray this as battle for oil, even though it was he who sparked the conflict off with atrocities against the civilian population,” Amnesty International Norway Secretary General John Peder Egenæs told Aftenposten.
Last month, the Socialist Left Party’s (SV) international leader, Petter Eide, told Aftenposten he feared the conflict might escalate further, given that France and the UK show signs of supporting a war on the ground, which conflicts with Norway’s intervention for humanitarian purposes.
Nevertheless, since mid-February, when the rebellion in Libya broke and oil production stopped, Norway has gained approximately 21 billion kroner in additional revenue from the oil price increase. About nine billion of it ended up in the national Treasury.
Nordea Markets oil analyst Thina Saltvedt perceives this as a domino effect that will further benefit Norway’s financial gain.
“A lot is about fear, because there actually is plenty of oil. The fear is reinforced by the fact that everything has gone so fast, having given us a domino effect, and that the conflict may be prolonged,” Mrs. Saltvedt said.
The violent conflict peaked on Monday night, when two Norwegian F-16 aircraft bombed Col. Gaddafi’s headquarters in Tripoli as part of the Allied campaign.
According to DnB NOR Markets oil analyst, Torbjorn Kjus, the oil price would have dropped between five and ten dollars a barrel if the Colonel had been killed.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International Norway Secretary General John Peder Egenæs said, “When we earn such huge amounts on war and conflict, then we risk getting a reputation problem in this part of the world.”
However, he believes Norway’s involvement is necessary, practically speaking.
“At the same time, it would also be quite wrong not to engage just because we earn money from higher oil prices. However, one could ask if we then shouldn’t be doing even more,” concluded Mr. Egenæs.
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