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Gaddafi Caught In Imperialist Trap 

By Azore Opio

Ruthless, he may be. But few would deny that Colonel Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi was also a master of tactical manoeuvring. But about a fortnight ago, the long cold, sometimes deadly, game, between the Colonel with mercurial twists of temperament and the West, came to a head. The so-called international community had been waiting for the Colonel to tip the delicate equilibrium he had managed to maintain for 40 years. And tip the scale he did.

Although his bizarre fusion of the Communist Manifesto and the Koran appeared to work as a socialist revolutionary ideology, Muammar was silly enough to use violence as the first solution to a political problem. A man who rips documents in front of his audience is one who hardly notices the “trivial” clause, 1973, “to protect civilians at all costs”, nestled in a nook of the UN contract. That’s why they waited, patiently, for him to shoot a suitable number before they swooped on him.

The colonel, like most other African leaders, had always blamed, and is still blaming, imperialists and neo-colonialists for hampering and putting a drag on African economic progress. There is no doubt about that. But Gaddafi couldn’t have made a more incredible mistake in his life than to start shooting, with live bullets, his own citizens. A poor excuse from a leader who claimed to be the “Oracle”; the “Guide” of his people.

It seems common Libyans were only important to Gaddafi as long as they served his propose. And as soon as they stopped serving him, they became expendable appendages. But now, the US (allies and finger-puppets) is fulfilling its ubiquitous foreign policy of whoever supplies stability and oil is friend, whoever does the contrary is foe. And the Iron Sheik has been very helpful in the matter, by conveniently playing into the imperialists’ hands and practically sacrificing himself on the temple of double standards.

Otherwise, why did they play ball with the Bedouin psycho for 42 years and only considered his government a pariah state? Allah! Why did they stand by as the Sultan of Swing browbeat internal dissidence, committed acts of state-sponsored terrorism, assassinated expatriate opposition leaders, and basked in crass nepotism which amassed a multi-billion dollar fortune for himself and his family?

Why was Nicolas Sarkozy, who signed a number of bilateral and multilateral (European Union) agreements with Gaddafi, in July 2007, the first to bomb him? Isn’t this hypocrisy, par excellence? If the US and its major domo, the UN, and other legions say Gaddafi is a tyrant, does the US care to remember August 8, 1945 and the 18-km high mushroom smoke billowing from a devastated town on a small volcanic island? What do they call that? Generosity? 

By the way, would you imagine that as the US was crying foul and bombing Gaddafi, his youngest son, Khamis, was in Uncle Sam’s country visiting sensitive places like Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. For heavens sake, why shouldn’t the head of his father’s Special Brigade not shop for military hardware like F16s and Bradley tanks?

Gaddafi’s other sons, Saif, Muatassim and Hannibal are known to live in luxury in the West, rubbing shoulders with other rich people, gaining respect by giving money to causes that they support. The London School of Economics was a beneficiary of this. Isn’t it ironic how often African dictators have families that live in the United States? Could it be that they want the kind of freedom and comfort that they deny their own people?

Anyway, the man, whose name sounds variously as al-Gaddafi and al-Qaddafi was born in a Bedouin tent near Sirt on June 7, 1942 to Arabized Berbers parents (stock herders called the Qaddadfa) Gaddafi attended a Muslim elementary school at the same time Gamal Abdel Nasser rose to power in Egypt. The future dictator finished his secondary school studies under a private tutor in Misurata. He entered the military academy at Benghazi in 1961, graduating in the 1965–66 period. He began his first plan to overthrow the monarchy while in military college.

A great deal of doubt surrounds Gaddafi pursuing further studies in Europe. He, nonetheless, attended the Hellenic Military Academy in Athens, Greece and somewhere in the UK. Former Yugoslav President, Zoran Lilic, is known to have conferred on Gaddafi an honorary degree from Megatrend University in Belgrade.

Commonly called Colonel Gaddafi, he overthrew King Idris on September 1, 1969 while he was in Turkey for medical treatment. He further disposed his nephew, Crown Prince Sayyid Hasan ar-Rida al-Mahdi as-Sanussi, and established the Libyan Arab Republic, renaming it Jamahiriya in 1977. Because the US felt that Gaddafi was sufficiently anti-Marxist to be worth protecting, they stopped a British “mercenary”, David Stirling, from ousting him in order to restore the monarchy.

For 42 years until recently when the shit hit the fan, Gaddafi had ruled with a fist harder than iron, making him one of the longest-serving rulers in history. But not without bitter spices flavouring his reign. In October 1993, he narrowly escaped an assassination attempt.

Then on July 14, 1996, a football match in Tripoli organised by his son was followed by bloody riots protesting his reign. Earlier on April 14, 1986, the US had carried out “Operation El Dorado Canyon” against the Bedouin, bombing his air defences, three army bases, and two airfields in Tripoli and Benghazi. They failed to kill Gaddafi.

If and when Africa gains another “martyr” going by the name Gaddafi, he will be fondly remembered for his socialist and nationalist political philosophy published in his “Green Book”. Tribute will also be paid to him, without a doubt, as a firm supporter of OAPEC and leader of a Pan-African campaign for a United States of Africa; a fervent supporter of pan-Arabism and a zealous advocate of the unity of all Arab states into one Arab nation, pan-Islamism; the notion of a loose union of all Islamic countries and peoples.

He will also be immortalised as a cantankerous neighbour who, at the beginning of 1987, invaded Chad with a Legion of wretches and maintained a force of 2,000 in Darfur. The cross-border raids killed about 9,000 people between 1985 and 1988. That was just one of the violent territorial disputes with Chad; the other one was over the Aouzou Strip, which Libya occupied in 1973.

There was also the 1977 Libyan–Egyptian War, where Egyptian forces forced Gaddafi to retreat. And, of course, the Great Manmade River – a network of pipes consisting of more than 1,300 wells, most more than 500 meters deep, that supplies 6,500,000 cubic metres of fresh water per day from beneath the Sahara Desert to northern cities, including Tripoli, Benghazi and Sirt, shall also be remembered as Gaddafi’s brainchild.

Graduates of the Gaddafi’s World Revolutionary Centre will also provide more words for his epitaph. These include Blaise Compaoré and Idriss Déby. Gaddafi trained and supported Liberian dictator, Charles Taylor, and Foday Sankoh. And, why not Jean-Bédel Bokassa, Mengistu Haile Mariam and Ange-Félix Patassé? They all enjoyed his tutelage and largesse.
Gaddafi will undoubtedly be remembered for several other exploits that lack of space cannot permit their printing here.

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