Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi has offered to mediate between President Bush and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to avoid what he thinks would be an irrational war.
Gadhafi offered his services while speaking to reporters attending a summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa, reports Britain’s Sky News.
Libyan President Col. Moammar Gadhafi (Courtesy: Sky News)
“I wish I could have the opportunity to talk to these two persons, to address them, President Bush and Saddam Hussein,” Gadhafi said. “I would like to save international peace.”
The Libyan leader also has been working behind the scenes to persuade Hussein to choose exile over war. Agence France-Presse reported last month that he met with Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak in Tripoli to discuss the matter.
Libya stood at the ready to help Hussein in 1991. According to one Israeli official, Hussein had his suitcase packed and a safe haven picked out during the Persian Gulf War, which was either Libya or Eritrea, but didn’t flee because he felt he was not in danger.
In November, British newspapers reported Hussein had reached a secret deal with Libya to provide asylum for his family and senior members of the Iraqi regime in exchange for several billion dollars. Libyan officials denied the reports.
Analysts see the Libyan leader trying to improve his country’s image, which has been damaged by historical ties to terrorist activity.
In January 2001, an international court found a Libyan intelligence officer responsible for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people.
In March 1986, Abu Nidal terrorists, at the behest of Gadhafi, bombed a discotheque in Berlin. The attack killed 27 people, including several American servicemen. The United States responded with air strikes on Tripoli.
“The intelligence that [indicated] it was directed by Gadhafi and carried out by Abu Nidal was irrefutable,” retired Marine Col. Oliver North told WorldNetDaily. “And so [President Reagan] authorized a bombing attack on the terrorist training facilities that Gadhafi had allowed to be built in his country and was using to carry out attacks on his adversaries.”
North was the U.S. government’s counterterrorism coordinator at the time.
Abu Nidal was buried quietly in Baghdad last August after reportedly dying of self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head.
Libya, in return, retaliated against the U.S. air strikes by launching two SCUD missiles against a U.S. Coast Guard base on Lampedusa Island, which lies between Libya and Sicily.
In recent years, Libya has renewed its interest in ballistic missiles.
“I would like to get rid of mass-destruction weapons not only in Iraq but in the whole region of the Middle East and then from the world all over,” Gadhafi told reporters in Addis Ababa. “We can solve problems peacefully,” he added.
The Libyan leader may need to begin weapons clean-up in his own backyard. As WorldNetDaily reported in January 2001, an Iraqi-Kurdish doctor, Hassan Abdul Salaam, who served in the Iraqi army, claims Hussein smuggled weapons of mass destruction into Libya, as well as Algeria and Sudan.
In recent years, Gadhafi has worked to strengthen his alliance with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe with an eye toward gaining more influence in Africa. Citing intelligence sources, WND reported Gadhafi and Mugabe struck a deal in which Libya would support Mugabe’s expulsion of white farmers and seizure of their property in exchange for a piece of Zimbabwe’s lucrative mining industry and a chance to build African clout.
The deal apparently paid off. African nations recently threw their weight behind Libya, helping to elect it as the chairman of the United Nations Human Rights Commission over U.S. objections. Libya’s Najat al-Hajjaji will now preside over the commission’s next review of human rights around the world.
The irony of the police state monitoring global human rights doesn’t escape the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. The Washington-based think tank asserts Libya, under Gadhafi’s leadership, “has compiled one of the world’s worst human rights records.”
“The nomination of such a regime can only be viewed as Orwellian – and a symptom of all that’s wrong with the United Nations,” the group concluded .
Calls to the State Department seeking comment on Gadhafi’s offer to mediate were not immediately returned.