Qaddafi and the Clintons

There was a palpable strain in U.S.-Libyan relations after the bombing of Tripoli, when U.S. fighter planes bombed the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi overnight into April 15, 1986, in response to what President Reagan was convinced was a Qaddafi-backed bombing at a West Berlin disco that killed several American soldiers ten days prior.

Qaddafi blamed all his troubles on the West and Israel. He believed that Secretary of State George Schultz was “really an Israeli” and that Ronald Reagan ought to be convicted as a murder and madman. His consuming hatred for Reagan and the West was clearly a reflection of his ultimate and delusionary goal to unite all Arab nations under his rule.

“Arab unity is a unification of Arab countries into states like the United States,” he said. “This is the role I am playing—a mixture of the roles of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln,” he said, boastfully confiding in Richard Chesnoff, a veteran journalist who interviewed Qaddafi twice.

Chesnoff’s first visit to Qaddafi was in October 1986, hardly six months after the bombing of Tripoli.  It was Qaddafi’s first interview with an American reporter since the attack and was skillfully arranged by the Libyan ambassador in Paris, where Chesnoff was based working for US News and World Report.

In 1986, Qaddafi was a popular man, not so much in his people’s eyes, who have always feared him, but in the eyes of businessmen, advisers and terrorists looking for a handout.  The lobby of the upscale Al Kabir Hotel became a curious social scene, dotted with crowds of men all waiting to see Qaddafi.

Chesnoff was confined to his hotel for over a week waiting for ‘the call’ that would confirm his interview with Qadaffi.  On the ninth night, he was finally summoned, and within five minutes, he was on his way to the Presidential Palace.

Still angry over the bombing that had targeted the Palace, Qaddafi insisted that the two sit in the middle of the shattered glass, marble and destruction for the interview.

“I want you to see what the U.S. president tried to do to me; how Reagan tried to kill me,” he told Chesnoff.

Complementing his outlandish and off tilt political rhetoric was the bizarre décor and ambience of his home.  Velvet paintings of wild animals alternated with portraits of Qadaffi in various costumes. He had himself drawn in everything from the traditional Arab ghalabiya and military uniforms to ski paraphernalia.

Nothing was as peculiar as the photomontage of the waves at Big Sur that adorned his circular bed’s headboard.  The contradictions between the old and new pointed to the fact that despite controlling his people by fear and intimidation, Qaddafi and his sons led a Western lifestyle, enjoying many modern pastimes.

Chesnoff was invited back to interview Qaddafi in 1994 because, in the words of the Libyan leader, he “had quoted [his] words just as [he] said them,” in his 1986 interview. While Chesnoff was aiming to show the true character of the dictator, Qaddafi was proud that his harsh rhetoric was not the least bit distorted.

The year 1994 marked a new administration in Washington D.C. and a new-found surge in Qaddafi’s political aspirations.

“The real revolution starts now. We will lead the world toward a new era, eliminating armies and bringing an end to the evils of traditional governments, parties and classes.  In their place we will establish a Jamahiriya, a state of the masses. Then and only then will a lasting peace be realized,” he told Chesnoff in their last interview.

Qaddafi was optimistic about relations with Bill Clinton.  He believed that he would resume his goal of creating an Arab dynasty in the Middle East.

He did not amass the caliphate he was hoping for during Bill Clinton’s presidency, but he did manage to keep a stronghold on the country for another 17 years, partly due to a deal struck up by the Americans and the British that began under Clinton.

With guaranteed U.S. financial and political backing, Qaddafi publicly renounced his agenda to develop nuclear capability in 2004.  Coinciding with the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, Qaddafi vowed to root out Al-Qaeda and abandon his support of any other internal and external terrorist groups. In exchange, he was granted full U.S. diplomatic recognition.

There was a major glitch in the deal. To the outside world, Qaddafi declared his anti-terrorism platform.  Yet internally, he was a brutal dictator who ruled by terrorizing his own people.  The deal did nothing to further the cause of the Libyan people. On the contrary, it allowed Qaddafi to continue ruling with an iron fist while simultaneously remaining an acknowledged member of the League of Nations.

Until, last month.

It may have been Bill Clinton who whetted Qaddafi’s appetite, cozying up to a terrorist, but now, ironically, among others it is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who is demanding the ouster of a man her husband helped to bolster.

“Nothing is off the table so long as the Libyan government continues to threaten and kill Libyan citizens,” Hillary Clinton said to reporters in Geneva where she traveled to pressure European allies to take a stand against Libyan President Qaddafi.

More than 1,000 have been brutally killed in protests and 140,000 have fled the country to neighboring Tunisia and Egypt.

The Obama administration announced unilateral sanctions against Libya Friday while the United Nations Security Council approved its own sanctions Saturday, followed by the European Union on Monday.

The U.S. military is moving air and naval forces closer to Libya as nations discuss the implementation of a no-fly zone.

Everything comes with a price. As we saw in the deal that was negotiated between the U.S., the U.K and a legitimized terrorist, evil can only go so long without resurfacing to affect us all.  This time around, we hope the people of Libya will be the victors.

  • joel

    Clinton,called the first Black President,did nothing while 800,000 Rwandans were being slaughtered,turned tail and ran from Somalia,failed to accept Bin Laden when he was offered to him on a silver platter,sent a few cruise missiles into a cave or two…need I say more?

  • Jim

    Unless you were referring to Don Regan, President Ronald REAGAN's Chief of Staff, you might dry that wet behind your ears and try to at least get the President's name correct. Nukes the credibility of the entire article when such a sophomoric error is committed…continuously throughout the article.

    • Laurie

      My thoughts exactly.

  • Steve Chavez

    SERIOUSLY, what foreign service qualifications did Hillary Rodham Clinton have to be Secretary of State? She has ZERO experience except attending State Dinners, holding an African baby for a photo-op, and aiding the Soviet Union/KGB, and our CPUSA, in their takeover of Central America! SERIOUSLY, what qualifications did BARACK OBAMA have to become President? His rising up from a street drug dealer, and "heavy drug user" to President? WE ARE NOW SEEING THE TOTAL LACK OF EXPERIENCE on every front! He won't meet with Republicans because they will see past the farce that he is! That goes too for Hillary and now that the world is turning to ANARCHY, we have the POPULAR JOCK, who isn't even qualified to be a High School President, AND THE ONE "Most Likely to Stab Anyone in the Back!" Hillary stayed with "her man" even as Bill's cheating ways were exposed in front of the world and stayed only for the power and perks while real brave women would have left with nothing but the shirt on their backs! The world is now having to deal with these two totally incompetent leaders who are being laughed at and not taken seriously by any leaders, and most importantly, our enemies!!!

    • Greg

      So true! 2 junior Senators and a moron on the world stage… a pathetic real life example of three blind mice, Obama, Biden and Clinton.

    • Nick Shaw

      Can't find a lick of fault with anything you've said Steve.

  • Americanvln1

    Hill Billary!!

  • Bowmanave

    All matters concerning the middle east are really in the hands of Jesus and His kingdom who have the power of prayer involved and decision making really comes out to where God gets what He wants in the direction He desires out of all of man's foolish deliberations. Jesus will appear in the clouds with great power and before this everything will be a test for the world. The Devil will come in the flesh as Jesus came for 3.5 years to test if people will receive the devil's plan or Jesus' plans!

  • fxgeorges

    Gadhafi has some delusion of grandeur like it's apparent in this quote:
    "I am the leader of the Arab leaders, the king of kings of Africa and the imam of the Muslims," – Gadhafi

    • lyean

      Ghadafi is sure having hallucinations. He should be put in a mental health institution, instead.

  • Jaime Eisen

    The Carters are not any better. Remeber when Qadhafy "lent" $200,000 to Billy Carter. The federal govrment forced Billy to declare himself a foreign agent. Jimmy Carter complained about this requirement.

  • Shaddy

    Can anybody tell me once again why they seem annoyed that recent presidents of America did not bring the precise solutions to most of their problems (ills) eh?

  • Musinguzi

    Whoever uses a sword………………at the end the sword is also used against him. Gaddafi became a president mysteriously and therefore his reign must end in that way you are seeing. All leaders of Africa, you need not to forget this……………… out . what is next after Gadafi

  • Hotel

    The lobby of the upscale Al Kabir Hotel became a curious social scene,
    Chesnoff was confined to his hotel for over a week waiting for ‘the call’ that would confirm his interview with Qadaffi

    Hotel in Hanoi

  • Hotel

    The lobby of the upscale Al Kabir Hotel became a curious social scene,
    Chesnoff was confined to his hotel for over a week waiting for ‘the call’ that would confirm his interview with Qadaffi

    Hotel in Hanoi

  • Xuka Xinhxinh

    bao giao duc quoc
    xem thong tin giao duc