US-Libya Relations – There is More Than Meets the Eye

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One of Africa’s most hated regimes by the United States of America has now been welcomed into its fold of diplomatic relations. The reasons for this sudden change are not hard to find, although George W. Bush would not explicitly mention them. Libya’s Muammar Gaddaffi was once the most hated man in the west. He was a monster in their eyes and he stood accused of everything from sponsoring terrorism to being erratic, undemocratic and a violator of human rights. He was not only shunned and isolated by the west but covert programmes were put in place to either topple him or undermine his government. Gadhafi’s associates incurred Big Brother’s wrath. His country had to endure sanctions for years. US businesses pulled out of the oil rich territory and the country was officially declared a no go area for US businesses. Ronald Reagan wasted no time when a Pan Am flight was downed over Lockerbie, Scotland, allegedly by Libyan security agents. The US president then ordered an air strike on Libya that targeted not only military sites but also Gadhafi’s home. One of his children lost her life during the air strike. The Libyan leader survived what looked like an attempt on his life. Ironically, Libya has now become the darling of the west, the United States in particular although no one in Washington would tell us what has dramatically changed in that country. Of course, Libya has turned in its secret nuclear weapons programme. It may have also promised to support Washington’s so-called war on terrorism. As for the rest, nothing has changed. So, are we to understand that the only qualification for joining the US club of followers is to swallow one’s pride as a sovereign nation and give up on self interest to please the master? It is no secret that the United States has a history of pursuing the creation of surrogate states through strong-arm tactics. It is therefore no surprise that independent minded leaders such as Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Mamoud Ahmadinejad and others who resist being turned into pawns would be branded names. In the case of Gadhafi and the sudden change of heart by the US, there is much more than meets the eye. Certainly, Gadhafi’s oil wells may be one of the reasons why George W. Bush has found love in the Libyan leader. Notwithstanding the fact that the US termed Gadhafi a dictator all these years, Washington is now colluding with the man they have been calling a dictator without explaining how his political credentials have changed lately. And this flies in the face of US and British claims that they toppled Saddam Hussein in Iraq three years ago to replace a dictatorship in that country with democracy. Our own assumption is that there is more to the reconciliation between George Bush and Gadhafi than just the dismantling of Libya’s weapons programme. The threat emanating from strained relations with key oil suppliers like Venezuela and Iran as well as instability in Iraq and to an extent Nigeria, may have prompted the reconciliation with Washington and Libya. And if true, this speaks volumes about what we have always said – the inconsistency typical of US foreign policy, its double standards and arrogance.