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Why Did Libya Escape?

I have a question that I haven't heard asked or answered:

If the United States attacked Iraq because (a) it had weapons of mass destruction; (b) it was too cozy with terrorists; (c) because it was threatening its neighbours; and (d) because it snubbed its nose at the USA, why on earth did they not invade Libya?

Libya clearly had WMD (unlike Saddam). Libya was infamous for the terrorist acts it carried out itself (several airliners, clubs in Germany, etc) and for its support of the IRA, Hamas and other groups. Libya was involved in several coups and coup attempts in Africa. Libya was a public enemy of the US for decades.

But there never seemed to be any discussion of invading Libya. I wonder why not? It is tempting to suggest that the oil companies were not interested in that particular location.

October 21, 2004 in America Inc, Bush Administration, Iraq, Libya | Permalink


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If American oil companies called all the shots, Iraq would not have been invaded. Before the invasion oil companies had been lobbying to relax the sanctions on Iraq.

Why not Libya? Some possible reasons: Khadaffi had left Chad, he was not in blatant violation of a cease-fire agreement or UN resolutions, he was not in a low level state of war with America via no-fly zones, he had shut down the terrorist training camps he once sponsored, he had made some restitution for his terrorism and had coughed up some of the people responsible for Lockerbie, he had only a token interest in developing nuclear weapons, he did not threaten Saudi Arabia, and he did not abuse economic sanctions to make his own people suffer for PR purposes.

I personally think Saddam was doomed as of September 12, 2001. Osama bin Laden's three chief greivances towards America were: (1) troops in Saudi Arabia, (2) sanctions on Iraq, and (3) support for Israel. American policy makers relized that if Saddam were gone, grievances (1) and (2) would no longer be issues, and would no longer serve as potent recruiting ads for the jihadi.

Posted by: Peter Caress | Oct 21, 2004 8:02:18 PM

Interesting analysis, Peter.

Posted by: Jak King | Oct 21, 2004 8:23:40 PM