Muammar Kaddafy: "The Former Face of Evil" talks to Newsweek Magazine
Here is an interesting Newsweek interview with the Libyan leader Col.
Kaddafy. In it he blames the US for providing the 'fundamentalists' with the
credibility they needed to secure support in the Muslim world. He says Bin
Laden's supporters are a "threat to all the regimes in the region. But,
unfortunately, America has given the fundamentalists a strong pretext to
carry on their work....In the Islamic world, he [Bin Laden] has become a
prophet, and all the young people like him."
Asked if Saudi Arabia was doing enough to fight terrorism, he says: "Saudi
Arabia is a fundamentalist state itself."
Read and reflect.
The Former Face of Evil
Muammar Kaddafi on the Pan Am 103 bombing, the fate of Saddam Hussein and
weapons of mass destruction
By Lally Weymouth
Jan. 20 issue In an exclusive interview in Tripoli last week, Libyan
strongman Muammar Kaddafi revealed that Libya is now providing intelligence
to the United States about Al Qaeda. Indeed, U.S. officials concede that the
former master of terror appears to have gotten out of the terrorism
KADDAFI MADE IT CLEAR in the interview that he would like to see U.N.
sanctions lifted. But sanctions will remain unless Libya accepts
responsibility for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
In spite of his recent cooperation with the United States against Al Qaeda,
Kaddafi denounced the American plan to overthrow Saddam Hussein. But
President George W. Bushs tough policy on Iraq has had an effect here. One
of Kaddafis senior officials recently asked a British diplomat, Will they
come after us? Excerpts:
NEWSWEEK: A Libyan official was convicted for the bombing of Pan Am 103. In
order for U.N. sanctions to be lifted, Libya must take responsibility for
the bombing. Will you accept responsibility?
KADDAFI: The whole world bears witness to this mans innocence. It was not
possible for the court to prove that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi put
the bomb in the baggage.
NW: You agreed to have the two Libyan suspects tried in a Scottish court in
the Netherlands. One was acquitted; one convicted. Dont you accept the
KADDAFI: The court came to its finding without evidence.
NW: There are five conditions Libya must fulfill to get U.N. sanctions
lifted. The outstanding problem is assumption of responsibility.
KADDAFI: Is there any state that would take responsibility for the bombing
of a civilian aircraft and the killing of 270 people?
NW: France took responsibility for bombing the [Greenpeace ship] Rainbow
KADDAFI: Maybe they said they felt sorry for the incident and paid
NW: Would Libya do that?
KADDAFI: I dont think there is any problem for Libya to do that. We feel
sorry irrespective of who did it. Libya also may contribute to the
NW: Your officially designated lawyers signed an offer for $2.7 billion in
compensation for the victims on Oct. 23 of last year.
KADDAFI: There is nothing official so far. Libya cannot pay such a fine.
NW: Havent there been negotiations for compensation?
KADDAFI: There have been official negotiations that cover compensation and
closing the file once and for all.
NW: Are you referring to the ongoing talks between U.S., British and Libyan
KADDAFI: Yes. We hope an agreement can be reached to solve the Lockerbie
problem and provide suitable compensation which Libya alone will not pay.
Perhaps Libya and the U.S. will contribute to a compensation fund.
NW: Why would the U.S. contribute?
KADDAFI: To compensate for the Libyans who were killed in 1986as well as
for the victims of Lockerbie. How much do you think the compensation should
be for Kaddafis daughter who was killed in 1986? If a normal American needs
$10 million, then a daughter of Kaddafi who was killed should be worth
NW: In the 80s, you heavily backed terrorist groups. Since then, you
expelled Abu Nidal and reportedly have backed off terrorism. Is this so?
KADDAFI: I supported liberationnot terrorist movements: I supported
[Nelson] Mandela and Sam Nujoma, who became president of Namibia. I also
supported the liberation movements of Palestine.
NW: If you backed away from terror, was it because of the U.S. 1986 bombing
or the subsequent U.N. and U.S. sanctions?
KADDAFI: Our support was given to liberation movements. Now they are in
power, go to the White House and are given red-carpet treatment. But I am
still considered a terrorist.
NW: One U.S. concern is that Libya is stockpiling chemical weapons and
manufacturing other weapons of mass destruction. Are you?
KADDAFI: Libya has signed all the conventions that prohibit the manufacture
of such weapons. And the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] has
routine inspections in Libya.
NW: But you have Rabta and other plants said to be making chemical weapons.
KADDAFI: The issue of Rabta is over. Now foreign companies are working there
and it is just a pharmaceutical plant.
NW: So you are not developing chemical or biological weapons?
KADDAFI: We dont need them. They are of no use to us.
NW: Israels Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that Libya with the help of
Iraq would be the first Arab country to develop a nuclear weapon. What is
KADDAFI: He is crazy. He is just dragging America behind him everywhere he
goes. We regret that Sharon has become the president of America.
NW: Would you like to have nuclear weapons?
KADDAFI: They are of no use to us, and we dont have enough money to
manufacture weapons of mass destruction.
NW: What do you think of the U.S. approach to Iraq?
KADDAFI: The issue of Iraq is a strange story. What is the danger Saddam
poses? What threat does he constitute?
NW: You must know Saddam?
KADDAFI: I know him well.
NW: Is he rational?
KADDAFI: I dont think so.
NW: Will he stay and wait to be killed by American weapons?
KADDAFI: Even if he is not rational or wise, he does not constitute a
NW: But President Bush thinks he does.
KADDAFI: We dont know who poses a greater threatthe American president or
Saddam Hussein. I have never been in agreement with Saddam. But he doesnt
NW: On what do you disagree with Saddam?
KADDAFI: Over the war he waged against Iran, over his invasion of Kuwait and
on the Kurdish issue. I have supported the Kurds.
NW: There have been reports that you will grant Saddams family shelter in
KADDAFI: Dont think of such a thing. Neither he nor his family will leave
NW: Would you agree to shelter him?
KADDAFI: America has the military capability, so there is no safe haven if
he goes anywhere.
NW: Is fundamentalism a threat to your regime?
KADDAFI: It is a threat to all the regimes in the region. But,
unfortunately, America has given the fundamentalists a strong pretext to
carry on their work.
NW: Whats your opinion of bin Laden?
KADDAFI: In the Islamic world, he has become a prophet, and all the young
people like him.
NW: Is that a threat to you?
KADDAFI: Of course.
MW: There have been assassination attempts on you in the past, isnt that
KADDAFI: Yes. These were made by Qaeda members.
NW: Do you believe that Saudi Arabia is doing all it can to fight terrorism?
KADDAFI: Saudi Arabia is a fundamentalist state itself.
NW: Are you providing the U.S. and other intelligence agencies with
information on Al Qaeda?
KADDAFI: Intelligence agencies in Libya and the U.S. are exchanging
information. There are Libyan terrorists in America and in Britain. The
Libyan intelligence service exchanges information [with Britain and the
United States] so that they will be wiped out.
NW: Your son said recently that Libya should reconsider its cooperation with
the West on Al Qaeda. Do you agree?
KADDAFI: No, our cooperation in fighting terrorism is irrevocable.
NW: Will there be another attack on the U.S.?
KADDAFI: If they can, they will not hesitate. Bin Laden has convinced his
followers that America is attacking the whole Arab and Islamic world. He
told them in the beginning that Americas objective was not only
Afghanistan. Now that there is a move against Iraq, it has proven bin Laden
right. When the U.S. talks about Libya, Saudi Arabia and Syria, he says,
You see, I was correct. It is not a battle between America and bin Laden
anymore. Everybody is with bin Laden.
NW: What advice do you have for Saddam?
KADDAFI: He opened his country for full inspections. What more can he do?
Now it is a fight to the finish. He must stand against the wall and fight.
NW: Are you worried that America may strike Libya?
KADDAFI: In this case, it would mean America wants to colonize the world,
and the world will resist.
NW: How do you see the future of Israel and the Palestinians?
KADDAFI: There should be one state to solve the problem. It is impossible to
have two states in that part of the world.
NW: Does that mean the end of Israel?
KADDAFI: What is Israel? Are you talking about Jews or the country? If you
mean the Jews, their security [is guaranteed by] having one state with the
Palestinians. If you are talking about a state called Israel and you are
concerned about the name, it means sacrificing the safety of the Jews. What
s the use of talking about Israel? Where is Israel? These two people, the
Palestinians and the Israelis, will live togetherone people, one state.
NW: What is your hope for future Libyan-U.S. relations?
KADDAFI: I am optimistic. There are so many American companies eager to come
herewhether in oil or other sectors. During the time of wars of liberation,
we waged war. Now it is time for peace, and I want to be part of world
© 2003 Newsweek, Inc.