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March 07, 1986 - Image 49

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-03-07

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■1111111 .0116,


and Vienna airports by members of the
Abu Nidal faction late last month: "The
acts of the Palestinian fedayeen," it said
"are the holiest on the face of the earth.'
Such eccentricity is reflected in Colonel
Kaddafi's Hamahiryah (state of the
masses), where the concept of a parliament
is perceived as "a deceitful force" which
sets up a barrier between the masses and
their rightful authority, a denial of "people's
"The solution is for the people to be the
instrument of government," he declared
when explaining his overall concept, which
involves the establishment of a series of
people's congresses, committees, unions
and professional associations and which he
describes as the "Third Universal Theory."
It is, moreover, a theory which Colonel
Kaddafi is bent on exporting. "It is not
just for us, but for all the peoples of the
world," he says. This is the absolute and
universal solution to the political and
economic problems of our times."
In the past, Libya's oil wells easily
managed to support the colonel's grand vi-
sions as well as the material needs of his
3.5 million people. But recently, fate dealt
him, and Other oil-rich states, a cruel hand:
in the past five years, Libya's oil revenues
crashed from a record U.S. $22 billion to
a mere U.S. $8 billion last year.
This hasto some radical retrench-
ment. But Co nel Kaddafi's support for
terrorist groups, which have included
almost every "movement of national
liberation" in the world, and the military
preparedness of his own country have not
been allowed to suffer. Indeed, to those
who view Colonel Kaddafi from the out-
side, his military machine is as bizarre as
his philosophy.
Immediately after the coup that brought
him to power, the Libyan leader, then just
28, is reported to have flown to Peking
with a single item on his shopping list: he
wanted to buy a nuclear bomb. When told
by the diplomatic Chinese Premier Chou
en-Lai that nuclear weapons were not for
sale, the ambitious colonel turned to the
Soviet Union. And while the Kremlin
proved equally disappointing on the sub-
ject of nuclear .hardware, they were more
forthcoming in providing conventional .
military supplies.
In the years since, Colonel Kaddafi's ties
with Moscow have deepened and, accord-
ing,to well informed Middle EaSt analysts,
the Libyan leader has now amassed one of
the,largest and most sophisticated arsen-
al of weapons in the Middle East. He has
thej largest navy in the region (inCluding
some 30 misslleboats, six submarines
advanced corvettes), an ultra7modern . air
-force (including some 5pci state,of-the-art
han 100 batteries of
aircraft), a more t an
stOace T tctair,Anissiles (including the
SA-5 j.ssilesV:
is that the grOter
:- At.IA:


nd .4

number of these weapons remain under
wraps simply because there are not
enough men, or women in the 75,000-
strong Libyan armed forces trained to
operate them. Consequently, of the 3,000
advanced tanks in the Libyan arsenal, only
1,000 are manned; of 3,500 artillery pieces,
only 1,000 are manned, and of 70 surface-
to-surface missile batteries, only 10 are
So when Colonel Kaddafi talks of ignit-
ing a third world war if his regime is
threatened by an increasingly irat•United
States, should he be taken seriously? Is he
really capable of sparking a conflagration
in the Mediterranean basin, let alone a
global conflict?
The short answer is yes. For Colonel
Kaddafi knows that he is not talking of
Libya against the world. The fate of his
country is a matter of immediate concern
to the men in the Kremlin, who see their
own prestige and credibility on the line
when the United States threatens so close
and strategic an ally. Libya does, after all,
provide Moscow with one of its three vital
naval facilities in the Middle East.
Thus, when Washington, furious at
detecting the hand of Colonel Kaddafi in
the Rome and Vienna airport massacres,
embarked on a large-scale naval build-up
in the Mediterranean last January, the
Soviet Union promptly dispatched a mat-
ching fleet to the region. It is highly
unlikely, therefore, given. the risk of a
superpower confrontation, that Wash-
ington will use its might against Libya.
Colonel Kaddafi, however, might not
show similar restraint: already, he has
threatened to destroy the U.S. Sixth Fleet

Immediately after
the coup that
brought him to
power, the Libyan
leader, then lust 28,
is reported to have
Howls to Peking with
a single item on his
shopping lists . he
wanted to buy a
nuclear bomb.

with suicide bombers — the kind of action
which he is believed to be capable of and
which, coupled with his close ties to
Moscow, makes him such a highly danger-
ous and unpredictable element in the
So the Libyan leader, first among equals
in his super-egalitarian Hamahiryah,
seems destined to ride out the present
storm behind'a shield of Soviet might and
Arab solidarity. Destined to continue the
struggle to export his "Third Universal
Theory," perhaps through the murderous
deeds of the 7,000 men from all over the
world who are currently being instructed
in the finer points of sabotage, kidnapping
and hijacking at 20 "terror schools" scat-
tered throughout his country.
What seems certain is that the world will
continue to hear.from Colonel Kaddafi —
if only indirectly, via an explosion on an
airliner at 36,000 feet or through the deeds
of a suicide car-bomber earning glory, a
guaranteed passage to heaven and 300,000
Lebanese pounds for his family.
See related story on page 62.

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