2003 December 26 Friday
The Invasion Of Iraq And Libya's Nuclear Capitulation

Charles Krauthammer argues the timing of the Libyan abandonment of nuclear weapons development is too much a coincidence to have been an accident.

Yeah, sure. After 18 years of American sanctions, Moammar Gaddafi randomly picks Dec. 19, 2003, as the day for his surrender. By amazing coincidence, Gaddafi's first message to Britain -- principal U.S. war ally and conduit to White House war councils -- occurs just days before the invasion of Iraq. And his final capitulation to U.S.-British terms occurs just five days after Saddam Hussein is fished out of a rathole.

As Jay Leno would say, what are the odds? The nine months of negotiations with Libya perfectly frame the war on Iraq and the fall of Saddam Hussein. How is it possible to ignore the most blindingly obvious collateral benefits?

John O'Sullivan argues that the Bush doctrine of preemption and the invasion of Iraq helped secure Muammar Khadafy's capitulation on nuclear weapons development.

First, the timing. Gadhafi approached the British to open talks on this one week before the invasion of Iraq when it was plain that Saddam was about to fall over WMDs. He hurried the announcement after Saddam was captured. At the very least, this behavior makes it look as if he was afraid of suffering the same fate.

Second, there actually was military intervention against Libya -- and Gadhafi remained silent about it. A U.S.-led coalition halted Libyan ships containing WMD contraband on the high seas under the president's Proliferation Security Initiative. That told the Libyan that the United States knew a great deal about his WMD programs and was prepared to halt them by military means if necessary.

Third, Gadhafi obligingly told Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi that after the invasion of Iraq he was afraid of the United States.

This analysis rings true to me. We are still left Iran's quite a bit less than full abandonment of the ambitions of the mullahs to construct nuclear weapons. Plus, Kim Jong-il of North Korea is still attempting to build a nuclear arsenal. But if the invasion of Iraq helped secure Libya's capitulation then that alone justifies the invasion of Iraq in my mind.

Libya has revealed North Korean and Iranian scientists and engineers were working in Libya.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi took the decision to renounce all weapons of mass destruction (WMD) on Friday night, but while at first it was thought this only had implications for Libya it is now clear that his decision has scuppered a secret partnership between Libya, Iran and North Korea formed with the intention of developing an independent nuclear weapon. New documents revealed yesterday show that the three were working on the nuclear weapons programme at a top-secret underground site near the Kufra Oasis of the Sahara in southeastern Libya. The team was made up of North Korean scientists, engineers and technicians, as well as some Iranian and Libyan nuclear scientists.

There have been rumors to the effect that nuclear weapons designers from North Korea, Iran, and Libya were cooperating. But the rumors came from single sources in less prestigious publications. Turns out they were right. The nuclear weapons development cooperation between Iran, North Korea, and Libya makes the capitulation of Libya even more important.

Attention is now going to become more focused on North Korea as a result of the deal with Libya. Some Bush Administration critics claim Bush's public posture toward North Korea makes it harder to come to a similar deal with North Korea. However, Balbina Hwang, a Korea analyst for the Heritage Foundation, points out that North Korea's regime sees a high profile disagreement and intentionally provocative moves as key elements of its negotiating strategy.

"I wish the (North Korea) negotiations were more quiet and under the radar," Hwang said, but claimed that Pyongyang's negotiating strategy was based on "showmanship" and portraying the crisis as a standoff between itself and Washington.

Hwang thinks the leaders of North Korea should learn a lesson from Libya's capitulation.

"I hope they (North Korea) are learning an important lesson from this," said Balbina Hwang, a Korea analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank. "North Korea should learn what Libya has ... Ghaddafi saw what the future was, that if he did not relent and co-operate with the international community, life was going to be very difficult."

Will Kim Jong-il wise up and end his nuclear ambitions? It still seems unlikely. The reason is that North Korea faces a different set of problems and opportunities than Libya. Libya has one factor going for it that the regime in Pyongyang North Korea lacks: oil. Free of sanctions the Libyans can make a lot of money and modernize without jeopardizing the regime's control. The North Korean regime sees a continuing crisis as a necessary means to try to extract aid from other countries. Absent high tensions North Korea might be ignored and a large decline in aid would pose an existential crisis for the Pyongyang regime. The path of economic reform is seen by Kim Jong-il as a process that could easily spin out of control and result in his overthrow. So North Korea still looks like a tough nut to crack.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 December 26 02:33 PM  US Foreign Weapons Proliferation Control

John Moore (Useful Fools) said at December 26, 2003 5:27 PM:

Note also that Gaddafi said "I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid."

Ray Clutts said at December 28, 2003 8:59 PM:

It may also reflect the fact that Gaddafi is privileged to know something about the imminence of Al Quada's next series of strikes and he's afraid that one sucker punch may make it through our screens. He'd like to take his name off the retaliatory target list since he's literally the first one they'd take out given the lack of adverse geostrategic consequences to anything that we'd do in Libya. He'd hoped that WMDs would make a US retaliatory strike too costly and instead he now sees that possession of WMDs does nothing but assure his immediate demise in the event of another American terrorist tragedy.

In the event of that tragedy and the lack of Gaddafi's forthcoming response, you can imagine a truck bomb scenario at a bowl game followed by the following list of news items.

AP reports the following:
1) It has been reliably reported that American air elements have struck the Iranian reactor sites and that elements of the 3rd are being redeployed along the Iranian border.
2) American carrier borne planes have begun massive air strikes in the Bekka Valley and throughout Syria.
3) Secretary of State Rumsfeld's (no mistake) reported response to the assasination of Yassar Arafat was, "So what, the bastard had it coming."

And in other news today, Mohhamar Gaddafi was killed and Tripoli was invested by elements of the 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions.

I doubt that Gaddafi's death would even make it as a page three story during the week after the next terrorist strike at the US. Al Quada's terrorists have no idea of the shitrain they would bring down on themselves after the next strike now that there is no remaining effectual Democratic opposition to offer them aid and comfort.

Trent Telenko said at December 28, 2003 9:19 PM:


A pattern of intelligence hint for you:

Look for a Chinese connection every time you see North Korean or Pakistani WMD proliferation.

Steve Sailer said at December 29, 2003 9:51 AM:

I dunno. Looked at objectively, the big winner is likely to be Gaddafi and the big loser is Bush's Democracy in the Middle East push.

I don't recall anybody being very worried about Gadaffi's WMD's before Gadaffi announced he was getting rid of his programs. What I do recall is that Gadaffi has been trying for a decade to climb back into the world's good graces. So, he gives up some vague programs and positions himself to achieve his main goals.

Patrick said at January 1, 2004 4:10 AM:

As with the original bombing of Tripoli, it seems Gadaffi is a lot smarter than the average terrorist supporting dictator. If it gets too dangerous, he stops.
This is clearly beyond the intellectual reach of Saddam and his ilk.

Ron Yochum said at July 6, 2004 9:02 AM:

Firstly: Libyan nuclear program was an Iraq project supplied by Pyongyang. This tactic of farming out weapons has been used thoughout the ages. Hitler did it under the restrictions of the Versailles Treaty, and guess where he manufactured his weapons??? RUSSIA!!!!. Bet they were pissed when he turned those same weapons on them. Russia manufactured arms in the USA (remington). We bought Italian Beretta handguns. Its a very common occurance.

Second: Militant Islam is systemic. That is, all countries that hold a large muslim population will have elements of militant islam. Only in countries where Islam is the ruling elite do you see vast organized groups like the wahabbists operating in collusion with the government. Its unfortunate, but "ethnic profiling" is appropriate in times of war. I dont like it, but neither did my relatives in WWI and II. We understood it, so do they.

Third: War is a dirty business. Did anyone consult the 30%+ of German-Americans before we started kicking Hitlers ass and burning our beautiful German cities to the ground? No. Quite the opposite, a large portion of the German-American citizenry lined up to go to war and helped dump tons of incidiaries on those cities. Who was Allied Supreme Commander? Eisenhower! A German. The question is, where are the American Islamisists today? At 7-11? At their mosques? Its so quiet I can hear the proverbial pin drop. Their quiet because they are complicit, stupid, or pacifists (which is fine, but I don't think that they all are).

The problem is that our enemy knows the parameters of the war. He is intelligent. He understands what must be done. He understands us. Do we understand him?

The answer is, ironically, simple: To all that harbor elements of Militant Islam hear this: arrest, kill, deport, eliminate, and control these elements, or we will do it for you. We are not, or ever have been, interested in occupying Iraq or any other country. Our military is made to destroy our enemies and all who stand between them and us. Take heed.

And a note to the Islamisists out there who really want peace:

There are many historic lessons that the Islamic world can look at. Take Jesus for example. He opened up and modernized the teachings of Judism to the world (whether you agree with the teachings or not is not the point). He reformed Judeaic thought and universalized the teachings. Islam is in need of reformation from within. They need a Jesus, a modern thinker that, like Jesus, or Ghandi, can bring Islam into the present, preserving the basis of the religion, but reforming it to modern realities. The alternative is grim for Islam. Without reformation, Islam will be destroyed because of it's own recalcitrant reluctance to modernize.

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