Once upon a time in Libya, Libya was a flourishing socialist state.
A “leader” is not one who spends the most on an election campaign and wins. A leader is not one who comes into office for 4 years, to look important. A leader is not one who is cleared of any responsibility for the reforms or policies that were pushed through under their administration.
In 1986, an attempt to assassinate Gaddafi failed. In 1992, sanctions against Libya were introduced. We know today that sanctions are rarely about taking the moral high ground – they are about asserting force, attacking revenue streams – in this case, oil – they are about freezing financial assets.
As Libya’s economy was so dependent on oil – the only option was to mend ties with the West, agreeing to dismantle the majority of Libya’s armed forces. Gaddafi wrapped up his military programmes and the oil trade resumed. “The only mistake I made was trusting the Westerners” – Gaddafi is quoted as saying.
Sarkozy was the first to launch a blow against Gaddafi; the very man who had funded him, helping him to become the President of France. It is said that the Sarkozy campaign received around 50 million Euros from Gaddafi in 2007.
Having orchestrated the government coup, the NATO coalition killed the Colonel and plunged the country into chaos. The authoritarian leader once ruled Libya’s many clans “with an iron fist” – today, inter-ethnic conflict prevails and the country is in shambles.
Gaddafi had warned that Libya is the only real gatekeeper of refugees between Africa and Europe. Without a hard stance on human trafficking, Gaddafi prophesised that “the European continent will turn black.” The Libyan government used to patrol its coasts, often dealing to traffickers harshly. Gaddafi was criticised for this by predominantly Human Rights NGOS. Today, traffickers do business uninterrupted, and can make up to a million dollars per boat load of refugees into Europe.
[Caution: The video gets loud at 12.10 – but watch for the man who is probably NATO special forces. They should not have been in Libya at the time – this was against international law. As explained by Putin in the video, the Western coalition, using the appropriate tools of international law – the United Nations – imposed a No Fly Zone over Libya. In complete and blatant contravention, Gaddafi’s regiment was destroyed with the use of military drones.]