Friday, April 1, 2011

Muammar Gaddafi A Brief History

Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi born 7 June 1942, commonly referred to as Colonel Gaddafi, has been the leader of Libya since a military coup on 1 September 1969 where he overthrew King Idris of Libya and established the Libyan Arab Republic. 

His 42 years in power made him one of the longestserving rulers in history. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Gaddafi's government was considered a pariah state by the West, denounced for oppressing internal dissidence, acts of state-sponsored terrorism, assassination of expatriate opposition leaders, and crass nepotism which amassed a multi-billion dollar fortune for himself and his family. 

In 1971, Gaddafi offered to merge Libya with Sudan, but Sudanese President Gaafar Nimeiry turned down that offer. Nimeiry said of Gaddafi: "He has a split personality, both parts evil. Gaddafi's attempts to procure weapons of mass destruction began in 1972, when Gaddafi tried to get the People's Republic of China to sell him a nuclear bomb. In 1977, he tried to get a bomb from Pakistan, but Pakistan severed ties before Libya succeeded in building a weapon. After ties were restored, Gaddafi tried to buy a nuclear weapon from India, but instead, India and Libya agreed for a peaceful use of nuclear energy, in line with India's "atoms for peace" policy. Several people around the world were indicted for assisting Gaddafi in his chemical weapons programs. Thailand reported its citizens had helped build a storage facility for nerve gas. Germany sentenced a businessman, Jurgen Hippenstiel-Imhausen, to five years in prison for involvement in Libyan chemical weapons. Gaddafi trained and supported Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, who was indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the conflict in Sierra Leone. Foday Sankoh, the founder of Revolutionary United Front, was also Gaddafi's graduate. 

According to Douglas Farah, "The amputation of the arms and legs of men, women, and children as part of a scorched-earth campaign was designed to take over the region’s rich diamond fields and was backed by Gaddafi, who routinely reviewed their progress and supplied weapons" Gaddafi intervened militarily in the Central African Republic in 2001 to protect his ally Ange-Félix Patassé. Patassé signed a deal giving Libya a 99- year lease to exploit all of that country's natural resources, including uranium, copper, diamonds, and oil. 

The Lockerbie bombings
For most of the 1990s, Libya was under economic and diplomatic sanctions as a result of Gaddafi's refusal to allow the extradition to the United States or Britain of two Libyans accused of planting a bomb on Pan Am Flight 103, which came down on Lockerbie, Scotland. Through the intercession of South African President Nelson Mandela—who made a high-profile visit to Gaddafi in 1997—and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Gaddafi agreed in 1999 to a compromise that handed over the defendants to the Netherlands for trial under Scots law.[99] UN sanctions were thereupon suspended, but U.S. sanctions against Libya remained in force. After diplomatic negotiations held through the various countries' secret services, led by Stephen Kappes of the CIA and Sir Mark Allen of MI6, in August 2003, two years after Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's conviction, Libya wrote to the United Nations formally accepting 'responsibility for the actions of its officials' in respect of the Lockerbie bombing and agreed to pay compensation of up to US$2.7 billion—or up to US$10 million each—to the families of the 270 victims.

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