THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
December 20, 2003
The Independent (UK)

Libya Gives Up Nuclear and Chemical Weapons

by Nigel Morris and Andrew Buncombe

Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has made a "historic" decision to scrap his country's programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction and to allow international inspectors to verify and oversee the process.

Downing Street said last night that Libya had been close to developing a nuclear device. . . .

Before relations between the North African country and the West soured utterly in the 1980s, a number of Western oil companies operated in Libya.

There was also a suspicion that last night's announcements were stage-managed to divert attention from the failure of the US and Britain to discover any WMD in Iraq - the purported reason for the invasion. The US revealed this week that it was in effect giving up the search for such weapons in Iraq.

Libya's willingness to give up its WMD programme is essentially another step in the process that was started earlier this summer when it agreed to accept responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and to pay $10m (5.6m) in compensation to the relatives of each of the 270 people killed in the 1988 attack on the airliner. . . .

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Enver Masud, "Double Standard Targets Muslim Countries ," The Wisdom Fund, September 25, 1998

Enver Masud, "Pan Am 103: Lockerbie Verdict 'Astonishing'," The Wisdom Fund, February 6, 2001

Inigo Gilmore, "Israel Reveals Secrets of How It Gained Bomb," The Telegraph, December 23, 2001

Enver Masud, "U.S. Nuclear Threats Encourage Proliferation," The Wisdom Fund, January 28, 2003

Andrew Buncombe and Paul Kelbie, "Libya Gives 1.7bn to the Victims of Lockerbie, But the Questions Remain," The Independent, August 15, 2003

[Part of the deal paving the way to Libya's rehabilitation was that it supplied intelligence on hundreds of al-Qa'ida and Islamic terrorists, it was reported last night. . . .

But the former foreign secretary, Robin Cook - who also welcomed Friday's announcement - denied that the diplomatic success in Libya was an answer to criticisms of the war in Iraq. "I find it rich and comical that we should use an agreement with a country we did not invade - which did have weapons of mass destruction - as justification for invading a country that doesn't have weapons of mass destruction," he said. "Libya is a good example of where sanctions have worked." . . .

Amr Moussa, head of the Arab League, responded by saying the West should now exert similar diplomatic pressure on Israel.--Andrew Buncombe and Francis Elliott, "Libyans to reveal just how close they were to making a nuclear bomb," December 21, 2003]

Richard Beeston, "Now make Israel give up weapons, say Arab nations," The Times (UK), December 22, 2003

Peter Preston, "If Libya can do it, why not Israel?," The Guardian (UK), December 22, 2003

[According to Joseph Cirincone, an arms specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace , "It's part of a trend that has been underway for ten years--of reforms and trying to reintegrate with Europe, mainly for business reasons."--Katrina vanden Heuvel, " Neoconning us Again?," The Nation, December 22, 2003]

[The problem I have with the whole Gaddafi saga is that the Libya I know can scarcely repair a drain or install a working lavatory in a hotel.--Robert Fisk, "Straw reinvents despotic little killer Gaddafi as courageous statesman," The Independent, December 22, 2003]

Peter Preston, "If Libya can do it, why not Israel?," The Guardian (UK), December 22, 2003

John Eldridge, "Reassessing Libya: an analysis from Jane's NBC Defence," Jane's, December 23, 2003

[International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Mohamed El Baradei said it appeared Libya was not even close to making a nuclear weapon.--Christopher Claire, "Libya 'no bomb threat'," Scotsman, December 28, 2003]

[Libya's nuclear program was years away from producing a nuclear weapon and that important pieces of equipment were now largely dismantled and stored in boxes.--Patrick E. Tyler, "Libya's Atom Bid in Early Phases," New York Times, December 30, 2003]

[Libya was abandoning a distant - but still dangerous - dream, not a real ability.--Micahel R. Gordon, "Giving Up Those Weapons: After Libya, Who Is Next?," New York Times, January 1, 2004]

Matthew Parris, "Detente is back in fashion, thank heaven, and the horrors of Bam could change history," The Spectator (UK), January 3, 2004

Eric Margolis, "THE GREAT LIBYAN NUCLEAR CHARADE," January 12, 2004

[The group joined Representative Tom Lantos who became the first elected US official to set foot in Libya for 38 years when he arrived on Saturday.

. . . with Libya's oil reserves among the highest in the world.

There is now growing pressure from US oil companies and other corporations eager to do business in Libya for the Bush administration to drop sanctions at the earliest opportunity.--"US politicians in Gaddafi's Libya," BBC News, January 25, 2004]

[Diplomatic sources said that the turning point could be traced to September 2002, when Mr Blair wrote to the Libyan leader asking him to drop support for the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe and to dispose of his weapons of mass destruction.--Richard Beeson, "Libya visit returns Gaddafi into US fold," January 26, 2004]

Joby Warrick and Peter Slevin, "Libyan Arms Designs Traced Back to China: Pakistanis Resold Chinese-Provided Plans," Washington Post, February 15, 2004

Martin S. Indyk, "The Iraq War did not Force Gadaffi's Hand," The Financial Times, March 9, 2004

[None of the history of mutual hostility over the past two decades prevented a deal along these simple lines: we accept your acknowledgement of guilt over flight 103, you open up your WMD programmes to inspection, and then both of us can start benefiting from trading your oil again. The weakness of this deal as presented, however, is that it appears that Libya didn't have any WMD--Michael Meacher, "The path to friendship goes via the oil and gas fields," The Guardian, March 27, 2004]

Jon Swain, "Revealed: Gadaffi's air massacre plot," The Sunday Times, March 28, 2004

Carola Hoyos, "Libya and Iraq closer to opening oil industry," Financial Times, August 16, 2004

[. . . has Africa's largest oil reserves--"US oil companies return to Libya," BBC, January 30, 2005]

John Pilger, "Megrahi Was Framed," New Statesman, September 3, 2009 -- MORE

[The lesson is elementary. Eight years ago, Libya agreed to dismantle its infant nuclear program. More than five months ago, NATO began enforcing a no-fly zone in support of Libyan rebels. Would NATO have launched a bombing campaign against Libya if the unpredictable Mr. Qaddafi had possessed nuclear weapons?--Reza Sanati, "A troubling lesson from Libya: Don't give up nukes," csmonitor.com, August 30, 2011]

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