Skip to comments.Khaddafi’s “Conversion” Has the Libyan leopard changed his spots?
Posted on 12/30/2003 5:12:29 PM PST by Jacob Kell
The moment the meek and disheveled image of the Iraqi tyrant appeared on TV screens around the world, an old friend of mine announced that he got the message and said he would disclose his weapons of mass destruction. As chief of Romanian foreign intelligence, I worked closely with Libya's Muammar Khaddafi before I became, in 1978, the highest-ranking spy from the Soviet bloc to defect to America. I was Khaddafi's handler as he was gearing up these same weapons programs. Moscow had decided in 1972 to use three leftist Arab governments Libya, Iraq, and Syria plus Arafat's PLO, to wreak terror against our prime enemy, "American imperial-Zionism." Yuri Andropov, then head of the KGB and soon to be the Soviet leader, assigned Libya to Romania because we already had close intelligence connections with Khaddafi, who, along with Kim Il Sung, had long been eager for chemical weapons, and to acquire Romanian technology for "dirty" suitcase-sized radioactive bombs. Moscow kept charge of Iraq for itself. Andropov told me then that Syria would be next, if our Libyan experiment proved successful; President Hafez Assad's brother was already our well-paid agent.
In my judgment Khaddafi is not a man of honor in the making. Rather, he is afraid for his life. He does not relish Saddam's fate. Tyrants are always paranoid for good reason. Ceaucescu never ate anything unless it had been tasted for poison by somebody else. Khaddafi calculates that his best chance of holding onto wealth and position for his golden years is by cutting a deal and getting Libya delisted as one of the world's worst rogue regimes. His gambit is much the same as that of the Communist overlords of China in 1980 a few years after the death of Mao.
Appeasement never works with such men. But fear does.
President Clinton once thought he could appease Yasser Arafat and stroke him into cooperating by inviting him to the White House and treating him like a head of state. The result? Palestinian terror only grew worse. Before him, President Jimmy Carter fawned over my former boss, Nicolae Ceausescu, hailing the Romanian dictator as a "great national and international leader." Ceausescu treated that endorsement as a free ticket. Soon afterwards, he hired Carlos the Jackal to blow up Radio Free Europe headquarters in Munich on February 21, 1981. As the Communist collapse reached Romania, in December of 1989, a once cocky Ceausescu fled into hiding, just like Saddam in March, 2003. Soon, he was caught and executed for genocide. At last, Romania breathed freely, and ten years later, Romania was invited to join NATO.
I last met Khaddafi in 1978, when I flew to Tripoli in Ceausescu's plane to ask him to finance the weaponization of brucellosis, a deadly virus Ceausescu had baptized with the codename "Brutus." Oil-rich Libya had plenty of foreign exchange for military R&D. In perennial hiding, Khaddafi was three days late for our appointment. "Prudence is the mother of wisdom," his spy chief told me. Even he had no idea where Khaddafi was. When I was finally taken to see him, I was forced to wait yet another ten hours in a tent anteroom. This was standard operating procedure for Khaddafi. In 1999, even Kofi Annan, the U.N. secretary general, was kept waiting for several hours and given no assurance that Khaddafi would actually show.
"Union is strength," Khaddafi said brightly, when he finally met me in his green tent. As usual, he was seated on a golden throne, with his chin cupped in one hand. Khaddafi, Saddam, and Ceaucescu were all physical cowards who compensated by acting like kings. "And no secrets between us," he added, with a note of menace. He agreed on the spot to finance "Brutus," on condition that its production be shared equally. Then he sent me to his foreign intelligence service to discuss the technical details of the cooperation.
I spent my last day in Tripoli again cooling my heels, waiting for another meeting. After midnight he eventually materialized out of nowhere, this time in a different tent, but seated on the same golden throne. Khaddafi told me to give Ceausescu a message. He wanted to use the large reserves of uranium discovered around the northern Romanian town of Baia to jointly develop nuclear weapons. The first step would be a "portable radioactive weapon" for terrorist use. Money would be no object, he said.
Now is no time for the West to gloat. We need to keep a close eye on Khaddafi. I knew him as a liar and a master of deceit-as were all the dictators I dealt with. Soon after my defection, Khaddafi announced that he had destroyed Libya's facilities for producing chemical weapons that I had helped him build, and had just compromised to the U.S. In reality, Khaddafi staged a fire at the Rabta chemical complex, creating a cloud of black smoke by burning truckloads of tires and painting scorch marks on the buildings. He then built a second chemical-weapons facility hidden 100-feet underground in the hollowed-out Tarhunah Mountain, south of Tripoli. In 1992, the Central Intelligence Agency estimated that Libya had produced 100 tons of chemical-warfare agents, and that some of those materials were being used to fill aerial bombs.
In early April 1986 I helped the U.S. government pay Khaddafi back for organizing the bombing of the La Belle discotheque in Berlin that killed two U.S. soldiers and injured 200 people. On April 15, 1986, American warplanes attacked the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi, destroying the tent of Libyan leader Muammar Khaddafi. According to media reports, Khaddafi had left the tent just minutes before the U.S. attack.
After that, a "new" Khaddafi proclaimed that he was done with all terrorist operations against the United States. But two years later, Libya again masterminded the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 passengers on board and 11 people on the ground the deadliest act of terrorism against the U.S. up to that time.
After Lockerbie yet a "new, new" Khaddafi proclaimed himself to the world. Calling the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. "horrible," he said the United States had every right to go after the perpetrators. "In the old days, they called us a rogue state," Khaddafi said in a speech on national television. "They were right in accusing us of that. In the old days, we had revolutionary behavior." He had put all this behind him, he said, and now opposed Islamic insurgents like al Qaeda.
Behind the scenes, however, Khaddafi seems still to be the same staunch anti-American sponsor of terror. According to the recent revelations, he has continued to the present day to quietly build one of the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons in the Middle East, has recently acquired centrifuges to enrich weapons-grade uranium, and has cooperated with North Korea to improve his missile arsenal. Preliminary U.S.-British visits to just ten of his production facilities show Libya's nuclear weapons program to have been far more advanced than Western intelligence suspected.
It is good that Khaddafi has chosen "of his own free will" to dismantle his weapons of mass destruction. Hopefully he will be a role model for other dictators to do the same and to avoid the fate of Saddam. But we should also keep in mind that Khaddafi will never become an angel.
General Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking intelligence officer ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc. He is currently finishing a new book, Red Roots: The Origins of Today's Anti-Americanism.
Works for me.
Works for me.
Quaddaffy didn't want 15 minutes of that kind of fame.
Works for me.
I expect that petty tyrants all over the world are reviewing that lice-hunt-popsicle-stick-down-the-throat video and are making new plans to get closer to the U.S.A.
1972 was a long time ago. Khaddafi was a much younger man with younger ambitions that he could pursue by playing the Americans off against the Soviets. Now he is tired and aging to the point where he is barely recognizable. He has nobody to play against anybody else to become important. He, and Libya's race are just about run. The only left for him is to play up to the United States and hope someone will throw him a bone.
We'll do it. We will even leave him to be a (powerless) figurehead in a new Lybian government.
It's not what he deserves, he deserves a hanging rope.
But, we are real busy cleaning up all the stupidity on this planet, so we'll let him have a powerless old age.
Diplomacy?!....well yeah....Gunboat diplomacy.
Or should we renamed it "Popsicle Stick and Body Cavity Search on Worldwide TV" diplomacy?
LOL! This very much reminds me of a cartoon after Reagan cleaned out the communists in Grenada (the first American Victory after 'Nam).
Tip O'Neill (Tip? Tip What?) The dimocrapic leader had been howling about "Gunboat Diplomacy!"
The cartoon showed him below-decks, with the hatch battened-down, while a smiling Reagan walked the quarter-deck.
Quoth Loser Tip O'Neill: "But it was GREAT gunboat diplomacy!"
If any FReeper can post a pic of that, I would be grateful.
In case you missed it, here is one of his insights: The KGB's Man ["I invented the hijackings"] about Arafat bragging to him.
More of his writings discussed on FR: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/k-ionmihaipacepa/browse
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