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Muammar Kaddafy: "The Former Face of Evil" talks to Newsweek Magazine

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  • Tarek Fatah
    Friends, Here is an interesting Newsweek interview with the Libyan leader Col. Kaddafy. In it he blames the US for providing the fundamentalists with the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 13, 2003

      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.

      Tarek Fatah
      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. Bush’s tough policy on Iraq has had an effect here. One
      of Kaddafi’s 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 man’s 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. Don’t you accept the
      court’s finding?
      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 don’t 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: Haven’t 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 1986—as well as
      for the victims of Lockerbie. How much do you think the compensation should
      be for Kaddafi’s 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 liberation—not 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 don’t need them. They are of no use to us.

      NW: Israel’s 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
      your response?
      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 don’t 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 don’t 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 don’t know who poses a greater threat—the American president or
      Saddam Hussein. I have never been in agreement with Saddam. But he doesn’t
      deserve this.

      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 Saddam’s family shelter in
      KADDAFI: Don’t 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: What’s 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, isn’t 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 America’s 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 together—one 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
      here—whether 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.
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