Gadhafi a brutal, unpredictable leader killed by own people

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The most spectacular U-turn came in late 2003. After years of denial, Libya acknowledged responsibility - though in a Gadhafi-esque twist of logic, not guilt - for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people. He agreed to pay up to $10 million to relatives of each victim.

He also announced that Libya would dismantle its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs under international supervision.

The rewards came fast. Within months, the U.S. lifted economic sanctions and resumed diplomatic ties. The European Union hosted Col. Gadhafi in Brussels. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2008 became the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the country in more than 50 years. Tony Blair, as British prime minister, visited him in Tripoli.

International oil companies rushed to invest in Libya’s fields. Documents uncovered after Col. Gadhafi’s fall revealed close cooperation between his intelligence services and the CIA in pursuing terror suspects after the 9/11 attacks, even before the U.S. lifted its designation of Libya as a sponsor of terror in 2006.

Still, Col. Gadhafi’s renegade ways did not change.

After Swiss police had the temerity to briefly arrest his son Hannibal for allegedly beating up two servants in a Geneva luxury hotel in 2008, the Gadhafi regime arrested two Swiss nationals and raked Switzerland over the coals, extracting an apology and compensation before finally releasing the men nearly two years later.

European countries, eagerly building economic ties with Libya, did little to back up Switzerland in the dispute.

But Col. Gadhafi became an instant pariah once more when he began a brutal crackdown on the February uprising in his country that grew out of the “Arab Spring” of popular revolts across the region.

The U.N. authorized a no-fly zone for Libya in March, and NATO launched a campaign of airstrikes against his military forces.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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