The deplorable situation in Libya and the brutal killing of people at the hands of the country’s dictator raises a question: Why has the West, including the United States, remained tight-lipped in the face of Muammar Ghaddafi’s atrocities?
Two quite different eras can be distinguished during Ghaddafi’s 42-year rule over Libya.
The first era spanned 1969 through 2003 when Ghaddafi had a completely anti-American stance.
In 1969, Colonel Ghaddafi toppled former Libyan monarch Idris Al-Sanussi in a military coup, introducing a new literature into the Arab world’s political structure.
At that time, the Arab world desperately needed such a literature as it was suffering from the scars of the June 1967 war in which Arab countries had been defeated.
Ghaddafi was well aware that Arab nations needed anti-Zionist and anti-imperialist mottos in the early 1970’s, so he introduced a series of radical slogans then.
His popularity reached its zenith in the 1970’s following the death of former Egyptian Leader Jamal Abdul Nasser, though Arab analysts are still doubtful about the nature of Ghaddafi’s coup.
Ghaddafi was, in fact, working towards the interests of the US and Israel without offering any solution to the Palestinian crisis.
One of Ghaddafi’s plans in the late 70’s was to settle Palestinian refugees in South Lebanon permanently.
In a meeting with Leader of the Lebanese Shias Imam Musa Sadr in August 1978, Ghaddafi put forward the idea of settling Palestinians in South Lebanon, which was rejected outright by the Lebanese leader.
That infuriated Colonel Ghaddafi as Imam Musa Sadr believed Palestinian refugees should return to their homeland.
One of the reasons behind Ghaddafi’s abduction of Imam Musa Sadr was his opposition to the suspicious schemes orchestrated by the Libyan dictator to create a new homeland for Palestinians.
On the domestic front, Ghaddafi banned any political activity outside popular committees and imposed a heavy security atmosphere on the Libyan society.
Cracking down on Libyan political elite, assassinating national and Islamic figures opposing the Libyan regime and allocating billions of dollars annually to hunt for the opposition were part of Ghaddafi’s domestic policies.
On the regional front, Ghaddafi never offered any remarkable assistance to the Palestinian people to counter Israel, but rather gave the thumbs down to any solution which would lead to Israel’s isolation in the international community.
Colonel Ghaddafi has been the most controversial leader in the Arab world over the past four decades because of his contradictory and lop-sided policies.
His war of words with Arab leaders in the Arab League meetings was always front-page news in Western media.
The second era in Ghaddafi’s rule began when US forces invaded Iraq.
In 2003 a little while after the overthrow of former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein, the Libyan ruler changed tack and adopted a totally different policy.
In a U-turn, Ghaddafi changed his policies and gave in to the West, including the US.
He handed over all his nuclear arms and weapons of mass destruction to the US, and paid a hefty compensation to Washington and Paris for two air accidents involving a Pan -American and an Air France plane.
Ghaddafi also called on the West, including the US, to leave his regime alone in exchange for receiving cheap oil and top-secret information from Libya on Islamic movements in the region.
In the meantime, Libyan political elite spoke out against Ghaddafi’s unbalanced policies and his submission to the West.
But the Libyan autocrat put thousands of local opposition supporters in his horrendous jails as he believed a top priority was to protect the Libyan regime.
Now in the face of the popular revolution in Libya, Ghaddafi is committing heinous crimes against the Libyan people instead of obeying the nation’s will.
But why has the West given the Libyan dictator a free hand to kill his own people?
It is believed that because of the geo-strategic importance of Libya and the existence of oil wells off the Mediterranean coast, the US is trying to include Libya in Article 7 of the UN Charter by adopting a resolution at the world body.
Although the UN Security Council has, in Resolution 1970, imposed a series of sanctions against Ghaddafi and his family, the world body also seems to be planning other anti-Libya resolutions in the future.
Article 7 allows for the US and NATO member states to occupy Libya militarily under the pretext of maintaining peace in the region and in North Africa, and helping the Libyan nation.
The US and NATO’s possible occupation of Libya will be for them to get their hands on the African nation’s oil resources.
Libya’s oil reserves are estimated at 42 billion barrels. Libya’s oil is of very high quality on the one hand, and the country is located near Europe on the other, making the African nation economically important to the US and Europe.
Therefore, the West is mostly seeking to plunder Libya’s oil wealth rather than caring about the Libyan people, and that is why the US and Europe have given the Libyan dictator a free rein to clamp down on the people.