By Griffin W. Huschke, Mayme and Herb Frank Research Fellow
I really thought we were done with this, but I guess old habits are hard to break. In a move entirely consistent with what we’ll call “our son of a bitch” diplomacy, the UK and US have dropped sanctions against Moussa Kuossa, the former head of the Libyan national intelligence service who most recently served as the Foreign Minister under Mammar Gaddafi. Koussa resigned his post on March 30, and defected to the United Kingdom, where he’s been meeting with Western officials from a London safe-house.
As you can imagine from someone who headed Libya’s version of the Thought Police, this guy has got a lot of blood on his hands. He’s been implicated in a number of nefarious acts, including training terrorists and murdering dissidents in- and outside Libya’s borders. Koussa was even tied to giving guns to the Irish Republican Army in the 80’s, and masterminding the 1988 bombing of a PanAm jet over Lockerby, Scotland. Sources say that Koussa has been providing details about the inner workings of the Gaddafi regime and providing information that may lead to more defections of high level officials.
If there’s anything the Jasmine Revolution (if that’s actually what we’re calling it now) has taught Western leaders, it’s that siding with super-villains for short-term political gains isn’t a good strategy. Just for fun, let’s remind ourselves of political leaders in the Middle East and North Africa that have been disposed by popular revolution (as opposed to civil war, coups, or, ahem, invasion) since the end of colonialism:
The Shah (Iran)
Hosni Mubarak (Egypt)
Zine El Adidine Ben Ali (Tunesia)
Muammar Gaddafi (Libya)
Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa (Bahrain) [Forthcomming]
If you’ve noticed a trend, then you win the no-prize for figuring out that all of these leaders were strong collaborators with the West at the time of their disposal! They’re also know for not being especially big fans of Locke, and by that, I mean they were repressive murderers who killed scores of their own people. Which is why their own citizens, under fear of death, torture and reprisals against loved ones, risked everything they had to topple these guys.
So, here’s hoping that despite Koussa’s time at an exquisite learning institution, which has a storied history of excellence which makes it the finest university in the state, Western officials get the information they need, and hook this guy up with some nice accommodations at The Hague. The West has a long enough history with thugs—let’s cut this one loose.