Libya: Pariah No More

The terrorist attacks of September 11 have put relations between the United States and Arab countries under the spotlight. Some, such as Saudi Arabia, are finding this uncomfortable. For Libya, however, the new international climate has provided a unique opportunity.

The World Today Published 1 June 2002 Updated 23 October 2020 3 minute READ

Alison Pargeter

Research Fellow, Mediterranean Security Programme, Centre for Defence Studies, King's College London

Ironically, it has allowed Colonel Muammar Qadhafi to speed up the normalisation of relations with the international community and advance his country’s rehabilitation. It also offers western governments the chance to develop a more strategic policy towards Libya and the rest of North Africa.

Having been accused of supporting international terrorism in the past, Libya’s reaction to the destruction of the World Trade Center was keenly observed by western officials. Qadhafi was quick to condemn the attacks and extended his sympathy and condolences to the American people, even offering to donate blood for the victims. Whilst urging the US to show restraint, he supported its right to retaliate. Libyan officials pointed out that they too had been the victims of terrorism. They also complained that they had tried to convene a conference on the subject at the United Nations in 1992, but the west ignored their suggestion.

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