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The total cost of the Libya intervention

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Yannis Behrakis / Reuters

(Read caption) Rebel fighters launch rockets against Muammar Gaddafi's forces in the front line along the western entrance of Ajdabiyah April 15, 2011. How much has the the intervention in Libya cost the US and all the other countries participating?

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So far, the intervention in Libya has cost the U.S. government more than $600 million, a number that keeps increasing as it continues to participate in the intervention despite formally hand over command to NATO. In addition to that comes the costs for France, Britain and other participants.

However, this number greatly underestimates just how much the intervention costs most of the countries involved in this. As I pointed out earlier, the intervention by prolonging the civil war has caused a sharp increase in oil prices. I estimated the effect to $25 per barrel, but let's say this is an exaggeration and the effect is only $20. Let's also assume that in the absence of the intervention, Qadaffi's forces would have ended the civil war on Monday March 21. How much has the total cost then been?

The United States imports about 9.5 million barrels per day, so the daily cost is $190 million. In the 25 days of extra war that has surpassed, the cost for the U.S. economy is thus $4.75 billion, a number that increases by $190 million every day. France imports 1.7 million barrels per day, so the extra cost per day is $34 million (€24 million), and the total cost is $850 million (€ 600 million) so far. Britain used to be a net exporter but is now a net importer of about 400,000 barrels per day, so the extra cost per day is $8 million (£5 million) and the total extra cost so far is $200 million (£125 million).

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