Libyan Oil Minister Defects: Reports

Libya's top oil minister defected from Moammar Khaddafy's regime and fled to Tunisia, according to Libyan rebel oil and finance minister Ali Tarhouni and a couple of other officials, Dow Jones and MSNBC reported. It's unclear if Shokri Ghanem, the head of Libyan National Oil Co., would help the Libyan rebels battle Khaddafy's rule with oil production. "They [who] defect from the regime--it doesn't necessarily mean they will be part of the TNC [Transition National Council," Tarhouni said Tuesday. "Shokri Ghanem is not going to be a member of the TNC." Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim denied the news, according to the Associated Press. Ghanem would be joining a wave of other top Libyan officials and diplomats under U.S. sanctions to defect, including alleged Lockerbie bomber mastermind Moussa Koussa.

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