Why Gaddafi gave up his WMD
Portia Walker and Kim Sengupta have shed light in today’s Independent on Britain’s duplicitous relations with Libya over the years, in particular with Colonel Gaddafi’s right-hand man, Moussa Koussa, who defected last March just after the NATO bombing of his country began. Donald Macintyre points out that Koussa, Gaddafi’s security chief who later became foreign minister, was instrumental in working with Britain and the US to fulfil Libya’s promise to renounce weapons of mass destruction.
But there was a single event that prompted Libyan cooperation with Tony Blair and George Bush, and it had nothing to do with Gaddafi’s worries that he might be next on President Bush’s hit-list after Saddam Hussein.
Gaddafi acted after being caught red-handed by British and US intelligence who were monitoring the route of a ship bound for Libya laden with components for centrifuges destined for Libya’s clandestine nuclear programme. There’s a wonderful anecdote in Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins’s book, The Nuclear Jihadist (which is actually about how Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan set up his nuclear supermarket) in which a CIA agent says to Gadhafi, following the interception of the ship: “You are the drowning man, and I am the lifeguard.” Koussa was the intermediary who set up the fateful meeting with Gaddafi in which “he agreed to be saved.”
The CIA agent, Stephen Kappes, was promoted to deputy CIA director – apparently for his role in securing the Libyan WMD. As deputy director, he was in charge of the administration’s secret extraordinary renditions. According to the Independent, the CIA outsourced some of their brutal interrogations of “high value” prisoners to Libya.
Now, of course, Gaddafi is on NATO’s wanted list and is back in the box marked “rogue”. His usefulness to the West is at an end.
Recent Posts on The Foreign Desk
- India’s Budget wins on the economy but is weak on inspiration
- Crowds at Lahore Lit Fest ignore bomb risks and raise hopes for Pakistan’s future
- Four years of public protest produce Modi and Kejriwal as India's leaders of change
- Narendra Modi’s BJP routed in Delhi election
- Crowds and sales at Delhi’s art fair but can it stay international?
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter