[This is the headline over an article published today on the Bloomberg Business Week website. It reads in part:]
President Ronald Reagan called Muammar Qaddafi a “mad dog” in 1986 when he ordered air strikes on Tripoli. A quarter century later, it might be the Libyan leader’s fellow Arabs who ultimately broker his downfall.
After opposing the Reagan response to Qaddafi’s terrorism, the 22-member Arab League is backing the bombing campaign led by Britain, France and the US to ground Libya’s air force and halt Qaddafi’s attempt to crush a rebellion. (...)
Before renouncing nuclear weapons in 2002, Qaddafi was a pariah as one of the earliest backers of terror attacks abroad, according to the US and European governments. His regime has been responsible for the death of at least 440 people in four countries, as well as brutality in Libya.
Reagan’s military action followed the April 1986 bombing of a Berlin discotheque that killed two US servicemen and a Turkish woman. Four people, including a Libyan diplomat, were convicted by a German court for participating in the attack. (...)
The 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killed 270 people and the only man convicted of the atrocity is a former Libyan intelligence officer. It was followed a year later by the attack on a French UTA plane over Niger, when 170 people died. Qaddafi in 2004 agreed to pay $170 million in compensation, the French government said. (...)
The final break with the Arab world came March 12 when the Arab League, meeting in an emergency session, asked the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, which has Africa’s largest oil reserves, to thwart attacks by Qaddafi’s forces on civilians.
While Amr Moussa, secretary general of the Arab League, said on March 12 one or two members of the Cairo-based group had voiced concerns, he reiterated this week that countries remain “committed” to UN efforts to halt the 68-year-old Qaddafi. (...)
In London, a police officer was killed in 1984 by gunfire from inside the Libyan embassy, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported at the time. The Libyan suspects were allowed to leave the country under diplomatic immunity and the U.K. broke diplomatic relations with Qaddafi.
The turnaround in relations with the West started in 1999, when Qaddafi allowed the extradition of two Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie bombing. He abandoned nuclear weapons development efforts after 2002 and pledged to destroy a chemical weapons stockpile. He also renounced terrorism.
Libya paid $1.5 billion into a compensation fund for terrorism victims to settle claims related to attacks, including the 1988 bombing of the U.S.-bound airliner over Lockerbie, then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice certified in 2008.
The actions led to an easing of sanctions and improved ties with the U.S. and Europe. Western investment to expand Libyan oil production followed, as did Libyan investment in the West ranging from a stake in Italian bank UniCredit SpA to a 1.5 million-pound ($2.4 million) donation to the London School of Economics. (...)
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair visited him in his tent in Tripoli in 2004 and said Qaddafi had found “common cause” with the West in fighting terrorism.
Scottish authorities released Libyan Abdel Basset Ali al- Megrahi, the only person convicted of the jetliner attack over Lockerbie, on compassionate grounds in 2009 because he was said to be dying of cancer. He remains alive, according to Scottish officials responsible for monitoring him.
[With another busy weekend in prospect at Gannaga Lodge, it is unlikely that there will be further posts to this blog before Monday, 28 March.]