Knowing Too Much?

Libyans may be celebrating the killing of Muammar al-Qaddafi, but you’d better believe that Western governments are breathing a sigh of relief themselves.

DAVID RIEFF

Whether the NATO countries — who had only a few years ago welcomed Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi back into the international fold in exchange for his renouncing his chemical and nuclear weapons programs and allowing U.S. and British experts to come and help dismantle them — played any role in what certainly appeared in first reports from the scene to have been the summary execution of the Libyan dictator will probably never be known…

Qaddafi was, quite simply, a man who knew too much. Taken alive, he would have almost certainly have been handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which had indicted him — along with his son, Saif al-Islam, and brother-in-law and military intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi (whereabouts unknown) — for crimes against humanity in late June. Imagine the stir he would have made in The Hague. There, along with any number of fantasies and false accusations, he would almost certainly have revealed the extent of his intimate relations with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the details of his government’s collaboration with Western intelligence services in counterterrorism, with the European Union in limiting migration from Libyan shores, and in the granting of major contracts to big Western oil and construction firms.

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