Earlier this month, the Nigerian Tribune posted an excellent article, Ruthless Gaddafi, that outlines Gaddafi’s rise to power, his arrogance and delusions of grandeur (appointing himself king of all of Africa); his merciless treatment of anyone who disagrees with him; his allegiance with equally murderous and hateful dictators like Idi Amin (who married Gaddafi’s only daughter); and his participation in terrorist attacks against his own people and others, in and outside of Libya. This is a story of a madman.
The recent focus of Gaddafi on leading Africa came after his failure to assume leadership of the Arab world in the 1970s and 1980s. His ideology of governance was a pan-Arab, anti-imperialist philosophy, blended with aspects of Islam. While he permitted private control over small companies, the government controlled the larger ones. He was an admirer of the Egyptian leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser, and his Arab socialist and nationalist ideology. He tried without success to merge Libya, Egypt and Syria into a federation. A similar attempt to join Libya and Tunisia ended in acrimony. Gaddafi played a prominent role in organising Arab opposition to the 1978 Camp David peace agreement between Egypt and Israel. He was later shunned by a number of Arab states on the basis of his extreme views on how to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before he eventually shifted his foreign policy from an Arab focus to an African focus. His failed aspiration to Arab leadership resonated recently when he reiterated his title of “King of Kings” at the 2009 Arab League Summit, where he claimed to be “leader of the Arab leaders” and “imam of the Muslims” in his criticism of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia prior to storming out of the summit.
Gaddafi has always been a friend of dictators and terrorists. He was a close supporter of Ugandan president Idi Amin, who married Gaddafi’s daughter while in Libya. He sent his troops to fight against Tanzania on behalf of Idi Amin in the war that ended Amin’s dictatorship in Uganda. He also aided Jean-Bedel Bokassa, the Emperor of the Central African Republic. He also supported Mengistu Haile Mariam, who was later convicted of genocide in Ethiopia. His latest friendship was with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.
Gaddafi sponsorship of terrorist activities has been legendary. These have led to major confrontations with countries across the world. Libya has faced sanctions from Europe and the United States. Libya’s alleged involvement in the 1986 bombing of a Berlin nightclub in which two American soldiers were killed prompted US air attacks on Tripoli and Benghazi, killing 35 Libyans, including Gaddafi adopted daughter, during the presidency of Ronald Reagan who dubbed Gaddafi the “mad dog of the Middle East.” The high point of his terrorist activities was the 1988 bombing of the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie in Scotland, killing 270 people.[….]
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