Is Libya Really a Friend?
The radiant relationship between Libya and the West was an illusion, Gerald Flurry wrote in May 2006. It was bound to fracture. “Look for Libya to become more aligned with Iran in the near future,” the Trumpet’s editor in chief warned. “It gave up its weapons of mass destruction, as it leaned toward the West. But that foreign policy is going to change.”
Two recent events make that forecast worth revisiting. The first was the hero’s welcome given to Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the only person ever convicted in the deadly bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Megrahi was released from jail in August after serving just eight years of a life sentence. He was then embraced by the son of Libyan strongman Col. Muammar Qadhafi and escorted back to Tripoli, where he was greeted by a cheering throng of thousands.
The second was the 40th anniversary celebrations of the coup that marked the beginning of Qadhafi’s reign over the North African state. Replete with fireworks, lavish parties and impressive military displays, Tripoli’s spectacular anniversary celebrations appeared, as on-site observer Damien McElroy put it, to be “designed to inflame tensions with America and Britain” (Telegraph, September 1).
Libya has been lauded for its overtures toward the West in recent years; Colonel Qadhafi has been rewarded for apparently repenting of his former ways, which included sponsoring Islamic terrorism and engaging in rogue nuclear activities. But given these recent events, it’s worth asking: Is Tripoli, as Mr. Flurry forecast it would, abandoning its friendship with the West and reorienting itself toward Iran?
On Jan. 24, 2008, a bomb ripped through the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing at least 38 people and wounding another 225. Three days later, Associated Press, citing a local Sunni security chief, reported that “a son of Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi [was] behind [the] group of foreign and Iraqi fighters responsible” for the brutal attack. A former al-Qaeda-cohort-turned-police-official in the Anbar province said the attacks were carried out by the Seifaddin Regiment, a group of terrorists supported by Seif al-Islam Qadhafi, the eldest son and likely heir of Muammar.
That the younger Qadhafi’s name was connected to terrorist attacks in Iraq was not surprising. In 2007, in remarks that condoned if not promoted terrorist attacks as a political weapon, he warned Europe in an interview that the “only solution to contain radicalism is a rapid departure of Western troops from Iraq as well as Afghanistan, and a solution to the Palestinian question” (Austria Press Agency).
In December 2007, America’s West Point Military Academy released a report summarizing al Qaeda documents discovered during a September raid that year. “What stood out most in the report,” observed Stratfor, “was the growing Libyan component of al Qaeda in Iraq” (Dec. 21, 2007). According to the findings, Libya contributed far more terrorists per capita than any other nation, including Saudi Arabia.
Libya clearly has an ongoing love for Islamic terrorism. No wonder Megrahi was welcomed so warmly.
Solidarity With Iran
In December 2007, Iranian first vice president at the time, Parviz Davoodi, visited Libya in the first high-level visit from an Iranian official in 25 years. During the trip, Davoodi met Qadhafi and other senior officials and signed 10 agreements of mutual cooperation in fields ranging from investment and finance to culture and higher education. Qadhafi spoke to the press about the importance of Iran’s role in the region and the world. Libyan Prime Minister El-Mahmoudi, after meeting with Iran’s vice president, stated, “We discussed the issues related to Iraq, Palestine and other issues, and our views are identical on all those issues” (African Press International, Dec. 27, 2007).
Compare that with remarks by Libya’s Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalqam in Washington one month later: “We want a new friendship,” he said, before assuring America that Libya had no interest in backing militant Islam. “Our interpretation of Islamic heritage is completely different from the others who don’t accept the philosophy of coexistence,” he said (Washington Post, Jan. 3, 2008).
In the space of a month, Libya swore allegiance to both Iran and the West. To see through this doublespeak, just consider Tripoli’s actions, which include signing deals and agreements with Iran, celebrating the return of Megrahi, and sanctioning and even participating in terrorist activities in Iraq.
We should also consider Qadhafi’s own words. In April 2006, in a speech given in Timbuktu, Mali, he stated that “Mohammad’s faith will conquer all other religions whether they like that or not.” Muslims have America and Europe trapped, he said. These countries must accept the fact that they will be Muslim in due course because “Islam is the fate of mankind and the faith of humanity.” Peace-loving, Western-friendly leaders don’t make remarks like that. Radical mullahs do!
Qadhafi also confirmed Libya’s solidarity with its Islamic brothers: “From the Fertile Crescent to the River of Senegal, the tribes of the desert will not engage in a fratricidal war. We shall not carry arms against one another. We live as one family. We protect the desert.”
Some might say it’s a pessimistic forecast. But it’s rooted in reality: Libya as a Western-aligned, peace-loving, non-confrontational state is merely an enticing mirage shimmering on the North African desert.
As Gerald Flurry forecast, Libya’s heart lies with Iran, the king of radical Islamic terrorism.
Understand Iran’s role in end-time prophecy! Request a free copy of Mr. Flurry’s booklet The King of the South.