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And he used to be such a nice, quiet boy

Libya: Terrorism Incorporated

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Virtually from the day he seized power Muammar Gaddafi presented his country as a safe haven for international terrorism.  Much as Fidel Castro had done a decade earlier, he set aside land for bases, instructors, bank accounts, intelligence dossiers, weapons and explosives.

As I have previously stated, Gaddafi wasn’t too fussy who he let in.  Some of the factions of crazies that flocked to his banner were chalk and cheese.

The first groups to arrive were radical Muslims opposed to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.  Angry, zealous and capable of violence, they soon set up shop in the Libyan desert.  From there they launched attack after attack on Israeli civilians and military alike.


The umbrella organization was the Palestine Liberation Organization.  Their subsections varied from radical communists to right wing Ba’ath-aligned groups.


From there the next group was the Provisional Irish Republican Army.  Although a vastly different religion, they were fighting, as they saw it, an Imperialist power occupying their land.  They recieved arms and training before slipping back into Northern Ireland.   Throughout the 70s and 80s they wreaked havoc against the British army.  The PIRA mantained a working relationship with Libya right up to the late 90s.


A similar organisation was ETA, the Basque Seperatist movement.  The Basque homeland was a province of Spain that had it’s own language and culture and aspired to become a seperate country.  They recieved similar training to the PIRA, how to use car bombs, pipe bombs and Improvised Explosive Devices.

Just to mix the party up a little bit more he invited members of Germany’s Baader-Meinhof group to train.  Instead they went to Jordan but he still provided them with arms and some rudimentary training.

Idi Amin

In 1978 the Idi Amin regime of Uganda declared war on the neighbouring state of Tanzania, who promptly counter-attacked and led to a messy border conflict.  Libya sent 2500 ground troops and Russian or Chinese-built tanks to aid Amin.  But it was all to no avail, and the Libyan troops, minus tanks and weapons, were expelled to neutral territory.

The Libyans also aided local Arabic groups in Spanish Sahara, and he was the first to recognize their newly reformed country as Western Sahara.

Al Magrahi

It may have been the Libyan intelligence agent, al-Magrahi who taught the terrorists how to hijack a plane.  He was the head of the Libyan national airline’s security for years.

The Libyans were not adversed to carrying out acts of terrorism of their own, the difference was that they picked targets well out of their depth.  Their fighter aircraft took on the US air force during an exercise in international waters, and lost both aircraft.  Gaddafi didn’t take it too well.  The US cranked up the sanctions.


In 1986 West Berlin was home to La Belle nightclub, which was a favourite spot of the NATO aligned US servicemen.  On 5th April at 01.45 am, the place was packed.  The bomb went off near the DJ box, a natural focal point.  Two US servicemen, Kenneth T Ford and James E Goins, along with a Turkish lady, Nermin Hannay.  Two hundred and thirty people were injured.

Ten days later the US reacted like a wounded bear.  Their air forces struck at military bases and terrorist training camps up and down the country.  The mission was a huge success, in spite of the death of Gaddafi’s innocent daughter.

Flight 103 Cockpit

For Gaddafi this was far from over, and he ordered his agents to strike at an American civil target.  They decided to pick a Pan Am flight out of London.  It was the darkest moment in the long history of Libyan terrorism, killing a total of 270 people.

He stepped up the sales of arms to the IRA and the PLO, and urged them on to greater acts of violence.

In 1989 Libya went for a repeat performance in the Gulf of Sidra incident.  In virtually identical scenario two MiG-23s faced down two F-14 Tomcats.  And once again it was 2 – 0 to the United States.

After that things calmed down a little.  By the nineties America became obsessed with the Middle East, the terrorist groups started to scale down operations and Libya started it’s long slow rehabilitation.


Written by Nick Gilmartin

September 15, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Posted in in the news

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2 Responses

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  1. they were fighting, as they saw it, an Imperialist power occupying their land? thats pathetic. Imperial England, which WAS an empire, took over ireland. Not England, ireland. Since the land was irish, why were the british there? to subject it under their rule. So it was an imperialistic power occupying a foreign nation. And before you publish slanderous propaganda, get your facts straight. Jerry adams and PIRA had little interaction with other countries


    February 20, 2010 at 7:47 am

  2. I completely agree with you Desmond !!!
    The British government has been setting up and manipulating the people of Ireland for centuries and Trevelyan more or less directly state that the objective during the famine was to annihilate the Irish Catholics to the greatest extent possible.
    They planned and implemented devices for antagonism such as the Ulster Plantation.
    Only 2 examples.


    March 12, 2010 at 6:41 am

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