Wednesday, November 28, 2001


Since the coup that brought him to power in 1969, Moammar Gadhafi has been known for doing the unexpected. Here are some of the more memorable moments in his career:

•Col. Gadhafi wields absolute control in Libya, but insists the country has been run by “people’s committees” since 1977. Addressed as “Mr. President” once at a news conference, he replied: “My role ended when the power of the people was announced in 1977.”

•In 1986, Col. Gadhafi held a news conference for female journalists only. When aide Fatia Saker was asked why, she explained that the Libyan leader believes women have “more power than men” to persuade audiences, and understand his thinking better.

•In 1988, Col. Gadhafi sent thenpresident of the International Olympic Committee, a telegram criticizing the “violence” of Olympic events which the Libyan leader thought included bullfighting.

•Col. Gadhafi drinks camel’s milk, and had four camels flown to Yugoslavia for a 1989 summit, as well as two horses and a desert tent. He planned to ride one of the horses through Belgrade, but Yugoslav security officials balked when he asked that 50 of his bodyguards be allowed to escort him.

•In 1990, Col. Gadhafi said he wanted to develop weapons of mass destruction. “Should Libya be able to manufacture them, it will not hesitate to do so,” he told his state news agency. “Unfortunately, Libya by itself and by its own effort needs another 20 years to manufacture chemical weapons. I challenge if there is any company or country that proposes to build a chemical factory in Libya. In such an eventuality, I will sign the contract myself without hesitation.”

•At a summit in Cairo last year to promote African-European cooperation, Col. Gadhafi roiled the atmosphere by telling the European delegates: “Until we are ready to tell our peoples that we trust Europe, you have to stop hatching coups, extending bribes and manipulating ethnic contradictions.”

•After a Scottish court convicted a Libyan intelligence agent in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 but acquitted a Libyan Arab Airlines official, Col. Gadhafi declared he would reveal evidence that both were innocent. He spoke for 2 hours and 15 minutes, but didn’t produce the promised evidence.

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