Libya. Improvements were evident during Libya's relations
with the US and the UK during the year. Mike O'Brien,
Minister of the Middle East, became the highest British
official to visit Libya since 1983. Talks with Libyan leader
Muammar al-Khadaffi touched on the Lockerbie bombing and
condemnation of terrorism.
Countryaah website, five judges in an appeal court ruled on March 14 that
former Libyan agent Abd al-Basit al-Magrahi was responsible
for the Lockerbie bombing. He was taken to a prison in
Glasgow where he will serve at least 20 years. Libya
criticized the ruling and demonstrations took place. On
September 12, al-Magrahi asked the European Court of Human
Rights to try the case. The issue of compensation to the 270
Lockerbie victims' relatives was still unresolved.
Al-Khadaffi announced on September 1 that a number of
Islamists suspected of conspiring with the al-Qaeda terror
network have been arrested. He said that Libya should not be
described as a "rogue state" and that in the future,
international law should be strictly applied. The speech was
held on the 33rd anniversary of the revolution that brought
him to power.
At the end of October, al-Khadaffi announced that Libya
would leave the Arab League, which he often criticized, but
remained intensive after mediation. Africa is becoming
increasingly important for Libya's leaders, not least the
African Union (AU) formed in July 2001.
In mid-September, it was announced that Libya has been
granted the exclusive right to extract oil and minerals in
the Central African Republic for 99 years. Libya has
supported President Ange-Félix Patassé since May 2001.
Libyan fighter jet was reported in October to have bombarded
supporters of Patassé's rival, former Army Chief François
Bozize in Bangui capital.
In September, Libya was reported to have extended an oil
supply agreement with Zimbabwe worth $ 360 million and
entered into economic agreements with Mozambique, Namibia
al-Khadaffi received Italy's Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi on October 28 for talks on economic cooperation.
Libya, a former Italian colony, is Italy's leading oil
On the 24th, the easternmost major city, Tobruk, was
conquered by the rebels, and most of the country was now in
revolt. The Gadaffi regime emerged in disintegration. The EU
called for suspending Libya from the UN Human Rights Council
and for the UN Security Council to investigate "the serious
human rights violations of the Libyan authorities" - but not
the rebels. Despite opposition from Gadaffi's closest EU
ally, Berlusconi, the EU had chosen sides in the conflict
and stood on the side of the rebels. In Switzerland, the
authorities froze all Libyan values.
On 26, a "transitional government" was established under
the leadership of former Justice Minister Mustafa Abdul
Jalil. Libya's former US ambassador, Ali Suleiman Aujali,
became the first to recognize the new "government". US
President Barack Obama for the first time called on Gadaffi
to resign to avoid further violence.
On the 27th, the UN Security Council adopted a arms
embargo on Libya and to freeze the country's values
abroad. Abdul Jalil's "transitional government" collapsed
and was replaced by a "National Transitional Council".
Developments in Libya revealed a number of fissures among
Western leaders. While US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
led the war rhetoric and called for immediate "removal" of
Gadaffi, President Obama was more subdued. British Prime
Minister David Cameron joined the war chorus and called for
the introduction of a "flight ban zone" to protect the
rebels. The momentum of the uprising had a few days earlier
seemed to wane. Former Interior Minister Abdul Fatah Younis
acknowledged that it would be difficult for the rebels to
remove Gadaffi alone and therefore called for Western
aircraft attacks on Gadaffi's forces, but refused an actual
invasion of the country.
On March 3, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez tabled a
peace proposal on behalf of Latin American ALBA cooperation.
The proposal was accepted by the Arab League, the African
Union and the Gadaffi regime, but was opposed by the
colonial powers - the US and the EU - and by the Libyan
In the first half of March, fighting back and forth in
the eastern part of the country wavered in what was now an
actual - and brutal - civil war. But the rebels were
predominantly on retreat. Despite desertions by Gadaffi's
forces, the rebels were predominantly big boys and young men
without military training, and they could not cope with the
Libyan army. The EU responded by more clearly choosing sides
for the rebels. On March 9, the European Parliament called
on EU Member States to recognize the Transitional Council,
and it was recognized by France and Portugal on the 10th.
It now urged Western support for the uprising. The West
had finally dropped its former ally, Colonel Gadaffi. In
order to get the United Nations Security Council to stamp
out a war on Libya, the EU and the US put pressure on the
Arab countries and Africa to support them in a "no-fly
zone". On March 12, the Arab League decided to support such
a zone, but out of the league's 22 countries, only 11
participated in the Cairo vote. Libya itself was prevented
from participating. Eight of the 11 countries -
predominantly western allies, the dictatorships around the
Gulf - voted in favor, while 3 voted against. In return, the
African Union refused to support the West's war plans and
instead called for peace talks between the civil war
Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen now also clearly
stated in support of the rebels - contrary to §114b which
prohibits support for popular uprisings (the terror clause).
Among the western countries, the rhetoric of war was
strongest in Denmark, where the Danish government declared
itself willing to go to war with Libya, regardless of
whether the UN Security Council introduced a "ban on
aircraft". The rhetoric was based in particular on the claim
that Gadaffi was planning a genocide on the Libyan people.
There was as little evidence of the allegation as the
government's claim that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of
mass destruction in 2003. By the way, Denmark was the only
western country where the genocide discourse was used as an
argument for war. North American military analysts later
stated that they had trouble holding back the