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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Muammar Khaddafi’

Long-Delayed Death Of A Bad Dude

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

In the 1980s, I was an unrefined adolescent from blue-collar Butler, Pennsylvania. I knew nothing and cared nothing about politics. I had no idea if I was a conservative or a liberal, Democrat or Republican, or much of anything else.

But I knew one thing: Muammar Khaddafi was a bad dude.

And now, three decades later, and some 40-plus years after coming to power, he is gone, dispatched to the ash heap of history with other murderous terrorists and dictators: Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Lenin.

I will not here add to reports of how Khaddafi met his final fate, but I would like to share a valuable piece of information that was revealed to me by Bill Clark, Ronald Reagan’s right-hand man and national security adviser when Khaddafi was ramping up in the 1980s.

It was early 1981. President Reagan had just been inaugurated. Alexandre de Marenches, the director of France’s external intelligence agency, SDECE, came to the White House with a highly sensitive plan to remove Khaddafi. The plan was to assassinate the Libyan dictator during a parade, by use of an explosive device placed near the reviewing stand.

“Our answer,” said Clark, “was that we understood their feelings toward the man, but we don’t do assassinations.”

That was because there was an executive order banning assassinations, first signed by President Gerald Ford and supported by President Carter. The Reagan team had no intention of violating the order as one of the first acts of the new administration.

Intelligence sources I consulted confirmed Clark’s recollection of de Marenches’ request.

“He came over to the U.S., probably in early February 1981,” said one source, a high-level CIA “operations” person. “His interlocutor was Vice President Bush. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the removal of Khaddafi. He came to try to get us involved operationally in the plan…. He wanted not just our moral or political support but to get us involved in the actual operation.”

This same source pointed to the “Safari Club,” which was a group of countries – France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and the Shah’s Iran – that had banded together for two primary purposes: 1) to fight the spread of Soviet communism in Africa; and 2) to counter Khaddafi, particularly his adventures in neighboring Chad.

The group was formed by intelligence ministers in the mid-1970s, and de Marenches was its catalyst. The group was appalled by America’s unwillingness to no longer stand up to the Soviets; it was post-Watergate, post-Vietnam, Americans had elected an incredibly liberal Congress, and Jimmy Carter was president. The Club sought to fill the vacuum.

De Marenches’ offer concerning Khaddafi was consistent with the concerns of the Safari Club.

As an indication of the confidential nature of his overture, de Marenches did not discuss his offer to the Reagan administration in either of his 1986 and 1992 books. But he did note yet another intention to kill Kaddafi: He said that on March 1, 1978, Egyptian president Anwar Sadat had asked de Marenches for help in “disposing of him [Khaddafi] physically.”

Think of the irony here, and how tragically history unfolds: It was Sadat who would be assassinated, in October 1981. He was killed at a reviewing stand at a parade, shot by Islamists for his “crime” of making peace with Israel.

While Sadat died, Khaddafi was permitted to live. Sadat made peace. Khaddafi left a trail of blood and violence.

And here’s another irony still: Just weeks after de Marenches’s offer to Reagan to assassinate Khaddafi, Reagan was shot, on March 30, 1981, and nearly bled to death.

Revealed: Khaddafi’s Secret Relationship With U.S. Jewish Leaders

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

WASHINGTON – Now it can be told: For the last decade or so, the pro-Israel community had secret back channels to Muammar Khaddafi.

What led the community into a careful relationship with Khaddafi were considerations of U.S. national interests, Israel’s security needs and the claims of Libyan Jews.

After his overthrow by Libyan rebels and his killing last week, the conclusion among many pro-Israel figures in America is that the relationship was worth it, despite the Libyan strongman’s erratic behavior and his ignoble downfall.

The reason: Khaddafi’s shift away from state terrorism after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks eliminated a funder and organizer of threats to Israeli and U.S. interests.

Khaddafi’s overtures to the pro-Israel community began in 2002, when a leader of the Libyan Jewish community in exile, David Gerbi, returned to Libya to bring an elderly aunt to Italy, where he and his family now live. His aunt, Rina Debach, is believed to be the last Jew to have lived in Libya.

Through interlocutors, Gerbi told JTA that “Khaddafi asked me if I could help to normalize the relationship between Libya and the United States.”

Khaddafi’s motives were clear, according to Gerbi: Saddam Hussein was in the U.S. sights at the time and Khaddafi, who already was tentatively reaching out to the West through Britain, did not want to be next on the list.

“He saw what’s next, he was on the list of terrorist countries,” Gerbi said.

Khaddafi agreed to end his nascent weapons of mass destruction programs and to a payout in the billions of dollars  to families of victims of the terrorist attack that brought down a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.

Gerbi, who still hopes to reestablish a Jewish presence in Libya, immediately launched a tour of the United States in hopes of rallying support for bringing Libya into the pro-Western fold. He met with pro-Israel groups and lawmakers.

“There were extensive discussions about what would be appropriate and not appropriate,” recalled Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. In the end, “we didn’t want to stand in the way of Libyan Jews having the opportunity to visit.”

Especially notable was the fervor with which the late U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), a Holocaust survivor who then was the senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, embraced the cause. Lantos, with the blessing of a George W. Bush administration seeking to contain radical Islamist influence, visited Libya five times.

Steve Rosen, now a consultant to a number of groups on Middle East issues, was at the time the director of foreign policy for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He said the pro-Israel community decided not to stand in the way of U.S. rapprochement with Libya because of the relief it would offer Israel.

Rosen and Alan Makovsky, a staffer for Lantos, were surprised when around 2002 – the same time that Gerbi was making the case for Libya in New York and Washington – Khaddafi’s son, Seif al-Islam, sought them out at a conference on the Middle East in England.

“He kept finding ways to bring us into the dialogue,” Rosen recalled. “It became plain we were the reasons for his coming to the conference. He considered us influential in Washington because we were pro-Israel.”

Rosen took the younger Khaddafi’s case to the Israelis, who gave AIPAC a green light not to oppose Libya’s overtures – but they also counseled caution.

“Most of them raised an eyebrow, saying you can’t trust Khaddafi, but the idea of a rogue state becoming moderate appealed to them,” Rosen said.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/global/revealed-khaddafi%e2%80%99s-secret-relationship-with-u-s-jewish-leaders/2011/10/26/

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