Saturday, September 3, 2011

Rehabbed Gadhafi Cozied Up to Bush Administration

Moammar Gadhafi began a working relationship with the Bush administration after the Libyan dictator abandoned his weapons of mass destruction programs and invited in international weapons inspectors, according to a published report that cited Libyan government documents. 

Gadhafi's policy-changing epiphany was a result of the capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003 by U.S. forces. The dictator used the moment to try to rehabilitate his image. The gesture by Gadhafi welcomed by the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as at spy agencies in other Western capitals, like London and Ottawa.

Top Bush administration officials met with the newly "reformed" Gadhafi, who apparently was particularly fond of Condi Rice, ex-national security advisor and secretary of State to former President George W. Bush.

Ex-Libyan intelligence chief and Foreign Minister Musa Kusa became the point man in Libya for the CIA, allowing terrorism suspects to be interrogated in Libya and the American spy agency to set up shop in Tripoli in 2004, The Wall Street Journal first reported.

Kusa, one of the earliest senior Gadhafi regime insiders to defect to the rebel side, was questioned by British authorities shortly after he defected about the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 terrorist attack over Lockerbie, Scotland.

The hunt for Gadhafi, meanwhile, goes on.

"Gadhafi is still at large but he is hiding, he is isolated, he is almost surrounded in possibly one of two small places where we think he is," said Guma El-Gamaty, the Transitional National Council's ambassador to Britain. "We think it is just a matter of time before he is either apprehended or, if he resisted arrest, he might be killed." 

Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte is surrounded today by rebel forces, but the city still has a week to negotiate a peace deal and avoid attack. 

"Military action will be the last option, because after the fall of the capital, we are not in a hurry," said Khaled Zintani, a spokesman for the rebels in the mountain town of Zintan.

NATO has targeted military sites around Sirte and Bani Walid, where the rebels suspect Gadhafi is hiding.

Gadhafi continues to urge his followers to rise up against the rebels.

"We will fight them everywhere," Gadhafi said. "We will burn the ground under their feet ... Get ready to fight the occupation."

Turning to the future of Libya, representatives of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, the United States, Turkey, Germany, Qatar, Britain, France and other countries sat down in Paris with the TNC yesterday to decide how Gadhafi's frozen assets can best be spent.

Libya is coping with security issues, including keeping  cash of weapons out of the hands of Islamist militants, and shortages of water, gas, and electricity.

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