UKPA – March 5, 2011
Scottish troops could be sent to Libya to help with humanitarian efforts in the troubled country.
The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, is ready to be deployed the North African country at 24 hours’ notice, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.
Around 200 troops from the Scots battalion have already been moved to an air base in South Cerney, Wiltshire.
The MoD has stressed that the soldiers are prepared to assist with humanitarian operations, not combat.
Those duties could include organising food supplies or emergency evacuations.
It is understood that 24 hours is the routine notice period for the battalion, based at Fort George, near Inverness in the Scottish highlands.
Meanwhile, a Government minister has warned that petrol prices could soar to £2 a litre if the instability in Libya and neighbouring countries escalates.
Alan Duncan, a former oil trader, suggested the price of crude could top 200 dollars a barrel – significantly above the current record of 147 dollars a barrel from July 2008.
In a worst-case scenario where terrorists exploit the turmoil in the Gulf to bomb tankers and reserves, the price could even nudge 250 dollars, which would leave UK motorists paying some £2.03 at the pumps.
“I’ve been saying in government for two months that if this does go wrong, £1.30 at the pump could look like a luxury,” said Mr Duncan, the international development minister. “USD200 is on the cards if… anyone is reckless and foments unrest.”