Libyans may be celebrating the killing of
Muammar al-Qaddafi, but you'd better believe that Western governments are
breathing a sigh of relief themselves.
Whether the NATO countries -- who had only a few
years ago welcomed Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi back into the international fold in
exchange for his renouncing his chemical and nuclear weapons programs and
allowing U.S. and British experts to come and help dismantle them -- played any
role in what certainly appeared in first reports from the scene to have been
the summary execution of the Libyan dictator will probably never be known. What
the video evidence does prove is that the Libyan revolutionary forces did not
find him already dead or killed by a NATO airstrike; nor does the initial claim
that he was killed in "crossfire" between insurgent forces and diehard regime
loyalists stand up to even the most minimal scrutiny.
NATO does acknowledge that its planes bombarded
the convoy in which Qaddafi was fleeing the city of Sirte shortly before it was
intercepted on the ground by the insurgents, but it has denied it even knew he
was there. If that is true, and the French, British, and Americans did not try
to make their own luck, then they certainly were very lucky indeed.
Qaddafi was, quite simply, a man who knew too
much. Taken alive, he would have almost certainly have been handed over to the
International Criminal Court (ICC),
he would almost certainly have
revealed the extent of his intimate relations with French President Nicolas
Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the details of his government's collaboration
with Western intelligence services in counterterrorism, with the European Union
in limiting migration from Libyan shores, and in the granting of major
contracts to big Western oil and construction firms.
He would have had much to tell, for this
cooperation was extensive.
To the contrary, both the British and French governments were
soon falling all over themselves to curry favor with a newly "respectable" Qaddafi.
The Daily Mail reproduced a facsimile
of the letter that, while prime minister, Tony Blair wrote to Saif Qaddafi
to help him with his research for his LSE doctorate.
Sarkozy, to the consternation even
of many members of his own cabinet, invited Qaddafi to Paris in Dec. 2007, for
an official state visit, the upshot of
which was billions of dollars in contracts from Libya won by French firms.
Washington,Read more at www.foreignpolicy.com
Paris, or London -- links between Libyan intelligence and the CIA were
particularly strong, as an archive of secret documents unearthed
by Human Rights Watch researchers has revealed.