The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 3, 1997 · Page 7
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 7

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Wednesday, December 3, 1997
Page 7
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THE PALM BEACH POST WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 1997 5A. . t Libya's $25 billion pipeline may be secret military project) Engineers involved with the project say a 13-foot tunnel of pipes could accommodate some military vehicles. said that the tunnel system would allow Gadhafi to conceal troop movements!, gain an element of surprise over an enemy, and protect his own troops frpm, preemptive strikes. ,r Other analysts are alarmed because the pipeline runs through a mountain, called Tarhuna. This is where Gadhafi is; constructing a chemical and biological, weapons plant, American and European", intelligence officials have said. , . . The tunnel system would be an "ex-' tension of Tarhuna," said Robert Waller, an American expert on Libyan national, security policy. It would provide Gadhafi. with more places to store his chemical; and biological weapons, protecting them from destruction or detection by overhead surveillance, said Waller, who worked at the National Security Council' last summer. one European engineer. A tunnel of pipes 4 meters, or 13 feet, in diameter is large enough to accommodate military vehicles, even a rail line. When the project is completed, Libya will have more than 2,000 miles of tunnel stretching from Tunisia to Egypt In the south, it will reach almost to Sudan and Chad, a country with which Libya has tense relations. Every 50 to 60 miles along the pipeline, huge underground storage areas are being constructed, and the engineers said they are more elaborate than would be needed for holding water. The facilities, made of reinforced concrete, would be suitable for bivouacking troops or storing military supplies, including poison gas, the engineers said. While the system of pipelines does not by itself change the military balance in the region, it provides Col. Moammar Gadhafi, the Libyan leader, extensive opportunities to conceal his activities from the American spy satellites that pass overhead each day. "This is the first real evidence of something which has been suspected for several years," Paul Beaver, a defense and intelligence analyst with Jane's Defense Weekly, said when told of the engineers' descriptions of the project "Gadhafi seems to have taken a leaf out of Kim II Sung's book and created a potential military arsenal underground," he added, referring to the late North Korean dictator. North Korea has an elaborate underground military system with storage facilities and tunnel routes for vehicles and troops. Beaver, a former British army officer with intelligence expertise, The New York Times ' LONDON In the sandy expanse of Jibya's desert where temperatures climb above 100 degrees on a winter's day, an army of more than 12,000 foreign workers is toiling on one of the world's most audacious and mysterious public works projects. 1 Drilling rigs rise 60 feet in the air, their gigantic hammers and powerful drilling bits boring more than a quarter-mile into the earth. Hundreds of trucks haul 75-ton sections of concrete pipe, 13 feet in diameter, which are then lowered ioto place by huge cranes and buried hgneath the sand. Libya calls it the Great Man-Made River Project, and says the gargantuan latticework of underground pipes, wells and pumping stations will someday make the desert bloom from Tripoli to Kufra. But in separate interviews, three engineers working on the $25 billion project said the official explanation was improbable or incomplete. They said they suspect the system of underground pipes and reservoirs, which is being built largely with American equipment, has some clandestine military purpose. "If Saddam Hussein said he was building a 4-meter pipe to 100 miles from Kuwait, 100 miles from Iran, 100 miles from Turkey, for the purpose of moving water, would you believe him?" asked Hie Holiday Wardrobe starts today r ..r if vv';, L iV fojs "-lit Hi III V sip m pioisiir .pf$mei& X J FA ! !-,T" 1 1 $ "'JIP '"5s iY ' IE stiff 'i ' If 5 IV eft f liflWiiiiiiiiMiiMilMfJ -.v.w.vA..-vre..MMCat ann if fh,tt already reduced better dresses, social dresses, moderate dresses, petite dresses & suits for Misses & Petites Sale runs through December 7. RUfdines L- THE FLORIDA STORE

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