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Lessons on Deadly Intrigue from Sanctions Against Middle East Countries: Libya

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English: An effigy of Moammar Gadhafi hangs fr...

English: An effigy of Moammar Gadhafi hangs from a scaffold in Tripoli’s Martyrs’ Square, Libya, August 29, 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The main lesson from the sanctions against Gadhafi’s Libya is that, despite his cooperation with the U.S. and the West in the last 10 years of his life, Gadhafi was assassinated anyway during the Obama Administration. The Bush Administration had started to warm up towards Libya, only for U.S. overtures to reverse course in 2009-10. Here’s a list of key events in the life cycle of sanctions against Libya, and how similar patterns for other regional nations, particularly Iran, are unfolding in predictable ways.

[Death of Gadhafi:]

1978  US bans military equipment sales to Libya in retaliation for Libyan support of terrorist groups.  (New York Times, 21 January 1982, A1)

March 18, 1981  Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. claims that Libya is running training camps for terrorists.  (Facts on File 1981,169)

August 1981  US Navy F-14s are fired upon by, shoot down two Libyan fighter jets over Gulf of Sidra, which Libya claims as territorial waters. (New York Times, 20 August 1981, A1)

October 28, 1981  US imposes controls on exports of small aircraft, helicopters, aircraft parts, avionics to Libya to “limit Libyan capacity to support military adventures in neighboring countries.”  (General Accounting Office [GAO] 4)

December 6, 1981  US defense attaché is murdered in Paris; some observers suspect Libyan involvement.  (Schott 16; Flores 582)

Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan

Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

December 7, 1981  President Ronald Reagan claims US has evidence that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has sent assassination teams to murder top US officials.  (Washington Post, 11 December 1981, A28)

December 7, 1981  President Ronald Reagan claims US has evidence that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has sent assassination teams to murder top US officials.  (Washington Post, 11 December 1981, A28)

December 11, 1981  Reagan administration calls on 1,500 Americans residing in Libya to leave “as soon as possible,” citing “the danger which the Libyan regime poses to American citizens.” US passports are declared invalid for travel to Libya. (Washington Post, 11 December 1981, A1; Wall Street Journal, 11 December 1981, 3)

10 March 1982   Reagan embargoes crude oil imports from Libya, invoking section 232 of Trade Expansion Act of 1962, drawing on same national security finding made in case of Iranian oil in 1979. Presidential proclamation states: “Libyan policy and action supported by revenues from the sale of oil imported in to the United States are inimical to United States national security.” In addition, US restricts exports of sophisticated oil, gas equipment, and technology but does not impose retroactive controls or embargo export of items that are available abroad. (Schott 18, 39; Wall Street Journal, 9 November 1982, 39) 

August 1983   Libya sends troops into Chad in hope of overthrowing government of Hissen Habre. France, US support Habre. Reagan administration is divided over export license application for shipment of $40 million marine mooring system to Libya. (New York Times, 19 August 1983, A1, A6; 26 August 1983, A24)

October 3, 1984   US charges Libya with complicity in laying of mines in Red Sea. (Facts on File 1984, 807)

November 3, 1985  Washington Post reports that President Reagan has authorized covert operation to undermine Gadhafi regime, based on June 1984 CIA assessment that “no course of action short of stimulating Gadhafi’s fall will bring significant and enduring change in Libyan policies.” (Washington Post, 3 November 1985, A1)

December 27, 1985   Coordinated terrorist attacks at Rome, Vienna airports kill 19 people, wound 110; US soon links Abu Nidal, head of a Palestinian faction, to murders, claims he has received “a considerable amount of assistance” from Gadhafi. White House and State Department officials call on other governments to exert economic pressure on Libya to halt its support of terrorism.  (Washington Post, 31 December 1985, A1) 

January 7, 1986   President Reagan invokes International Emergency Economic Powers Act to implement comprehensive trade, financial controls against Libya. Order bars most exports and imports of goods, technology, services (except for humanitarian purposes), all loans or credits to Libyan government, transactions “relating to travel by a United States citizen or permanent resident alien to Libya, or to activities by any such person within Libya.” However, Treasury regulations permit reexport of US goods to Libya that are substantially transformed in a third country. Given unwillingness of Western allies to join in sanctions against Libya, Reagan sends personal letters to allied leaders asking them “not to undercut US sanctions against Libya by replacing American oil companies and workers being ordered out of that country.” Administration officials admit that they did not consult with allies before taking action. (New York Times, 8 January 1986, A6; 9 January 1986, A1; 10 January 1986, A6; Wall Street Journal, 8 January 1986, 2; Washington Post, 8 January 1986, A1; 10 January 1986, A30; GAO 1987, 11)

January 8, 1986   President Reagan orders freeze of Libyan government assets in US banks, including hundreds of millions of dollars of deposits held in foreign branches of American banks, as well as real property, other investments. Action is taken to preclude Libyan withdrawals, deter Libya from collecting on performance bonds placed by US companies doing business with Libya, guard against Libyan expropriation of US assets. (New York Times, 9 January 1986, A1; Wall Street Journal, 9 January 1986, 25; New York Times, 11 January 1986, A4; Caras 675)

January 15, 1986   Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead begins visit to nine NATO countries to seek their support for US sanctions against Libya.  (Washington Post, 14 January 1986, A11)

April 5, 1986  Terrorist bomb destroys West Berlin discotheque frequented by US servicemen, killing three persons, injuring over 150. US charges Libyan complicity on basis of intercepted Libyan diplomatic transmissions. Reagan states that “evidence is direct, it is precise, it is irrefutable,” begins planning military retaliation. (Washington Post, 15 April 1986, A1; New York Times, 15 April 1986, A1)

English: Muammar al-Gaddafi at the 12th AU sum...

English: Muammar al-Gaddafi at the 12th AU summit, February 2, 2009, in Addis Abeba. Français : Mouammar Kadhafi au 12e sommet de l’UA, le 2 février 2009 à Addis-Abeba Русский: Муамар Каддафи на 12-м саммите Африканского Союза в Аддис-Абебе. 2 февраля 2009 года. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

April 15, 1986  US bombers attack Gadhafi headquarters, military airfields, suspected terrorist training camps around Tripoli, Benghazi in retaliation for Libyan role in 5 April bombing, and to deter future terrorist acts against US installations. UK allows US to use British airfields for exercise, but France denies overflight rights for US planes. (Washington Post, 15 April 1986, A1, A23; New York Times, 15 April 1986, A1)

May 5, 1986  Leaders of seven major industrial countries at economic summit in Tokyo cite Libya for its support of international terrorism, list a broad range of measures from which each of them could choose to act against countries supporting international terrorism. List includes inter alia arms embargoes, limits on diplomatic missions, improved extradition procedures for accused terrorists, closer cooperation among law enforcement agencies. (Washington Post, 6 May 1986, A1, A14)

August 1986  OPEC officials report that France has begun boycotting imports of Libyan oil, refined products. In further attempt to destabilize Gadhafi, Reagan administration sponsors disinformation campaign on extent of Libyan opposition to Gadhafi regime. (Wall Street Journal, 6 August 1986, 20; Schumacher 335)

Fall 1987  On 2 September, High Court of Justice in London rules in favor of Libya, orders Bankers Trust London to transfer to Libyan Arab Foreign Bank $131 million, plus accrued interest, that has been blocked by US assets freeze. US Treasury authorizes payment on 9 October.  (Weisburg 1011)

July 23, 1996   Congress passes the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA). The legislation mandates sanctions when companies: invest more than $40 million in gas and oil development in Libya, or export goods or technology prohibited by UN resolutions which would help Libya acquire weapons, or boost Libya’s aviation capabilities. In response, the president must impose two or more of the following six sanctions:

1) Denial of credits from the US Export-Import Bank  2) Denial of export licenses for controlled goods or technology  3) Prohibition of loans of more than $10m from US financial institutions for a 12-month period  4) Prohibition of foreign financial institutions from dealing in US government debt or US government funds  5) Prohibition against participation in any US government procurement project  6) Import restrictions

 These sanctions are required to be in effect for up to two years, and in “no case” can they be applied for less than one year. But the bill allows the President to waive “all or part” of the sanctions against a foreign company if doing so is deemed to be in the national interest. The bill has a sunset provision that terminates it five years after enactment. (Financial Times, 25 July 1996, 4; Inside US Trade, 26 July 1996, 4; PL 104-172)  

Late 1988  Reagan administration accuses Libya of producing chemical weapons at plant near Rabta, south of Tripoli. Although Libya claims that plant produces pharmaceuticals, production ceases for over a year. (New York Times, 8 March 1990, A17)

December 21, 1988   Pan Am Flight 103 explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. After investigation, US and UK officials charge Libya with masterminding the bombing. (US Department of State 1995, Background Notes-Libya)

Gadhafi reportedly cuts back funding to numerous rebel movements, asks them to close their offices in Libya. In interview in magazine Al Mussawar, Gadhafi admits to having supported terrorists in past, but “when we discovered that these groups were causing more harm than benefit to the Arab cause, we halted our aid to them completely and withdrew our support.” Action parallels drop in Libyan foreign reserves to under $3 billion in first quarter of 1989. (Washington Post, 5 September 1989, A15; New York Times, 26 October 1989, A8)  

January 1989  Just before the 3-year standstill agreements are to expire, Reagan allows US oil companies to return to Libya via their European subsidiaries. Gadhafi, however, refuses to allow them to return, in effect continuing the standstill and leaving US investments in limbo.  (Rose 134)

September 19, 1989  A French airliner, UTA Flight 772, explodes over Niger, killing all persons aboard. French investigators later uncover evidence implicating Libyan intelligence agents. (Rose 135)

April 1990  Gadhafi intervenes with Abu Nidal to obtain release of two French hostages, one Belgian; Gadhafi receives “personal thanks” of French President François Mitterrand. (Washington Post, 27 May 1990, A35)

June 1990  Palestinian terrorist, captured with several heavily armed comrades off coast of Israel, claims they were trained in Libya, transported in Libyan boats, accompanied by Libyan adviser. A few months later, Gadhafi expels radical Palestinian group responsible for attack. (Washington Post, 7 June 1990, A30; 5 November 1990, A19)

May 1993  Libya claims that UN travel sanctions have caused the death of over 800 people and cost the country $2.2 billion in lost exports. Gadhafi appeals to his North African neighbors to help broker a UN agreement and hints that Libya would try to open its borders to greater investment and tourism in an effort to end its international isolation. (Financial Times, 10 May 1993, 6)

November 11, 1993  Given Libya’s continuing intransigence, the UN Security Council votes to ban the sale of petroleum equipment to Libya and to freeze non-petroleum-related Libyan government assets abroad. The sanctions fall short of a US effort to prohibit the export of Libyan crude, a move opposed by Germany and Italy. Russia reluctantly votes for the resolution while China, Pakistan, Morocco, and Djibouti abstain. The resolution states that sanctions will be lifted if Libya agrees to extradite to the UK two suspects in the Pan Am 103 bombing. Libya offers to send the two agents to stand trial in Switzerland, but both London and Washington refuse.  (Washington Post, 12 November 1993, A39)

December 20, 1995  The Senate overwhelmingly approves the “Iran Foreign Oil Sanctions Act of 1995” to impose secondary sanctions on companies that invest over $40 million in Iran’s oil and gas industries (See case 84-1, US v. Iran). Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) adds a last-minute amendment to the bill that extends sanctions to Libya. (Inside US Trade, 22 December 1995, 6)

December 21, 1995  In response to Congressional pressure to pass legislation to impose sanctions on Libya’s investment partners, the White House calls on the United Nations to enact tighter sanctions on oil equipment exports to Libya. (Wall Street Journal, 22 December 1995, A4)

January 22, 1996  In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole (R-KS), the European Union (EU) strongly criticizes US efforts to impose extraterritorial sanctions in relation to Iran and Libya. (Inside US Trade, 9 February 1996, 17)

May 5, 1997  A group of US senators led by Edward M. Kennedy urges US Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson to introduce a Security Council resolution for an oil embargo, calling it the only sanction likely to bring about Libyan compliance with UN demands.  (Journal of Commerce, 5 May 1997, 3A)

October 1997  Despite US opposition, South African President Nelson Mandela travels to Libya for a diplomatic visit; complying with UN flight ban, he flies to a border town and arrives by road. Mandela, who is grateful for Gadhafi’s support in the fight against apartheid, is the most influential visitor to Libya since the 1992 flight ban. He presents Gadhafi with South Africa’s Order of Good Hope, the country’s highest award for a foreigner. (Washington Post, 23 October 1997, A27; Washington Post, 30 October 1997, A30) 

December 2, 1997  New York Times reports that a massive Libyan underground pipe project, the Great Man-Made River Project, could serve as a conduit for troops and military vehicles. The pipeline, made of pipes 13 feet in diameter, has large underground storage facilities every 50 or 60 miles and runs through a mountain where intelligence sources report Gadhafi is constructing a chemical and biological weapons plant.  (New York Times, 2 December 1997, A1)

February 27, 1998  Acting on Libya’s March 1992 complaint, the International Court of Justice in The Hague rules that it has authority to decide whether Libya must surrender two of its citizens for trial over the Pan Am 103 bombing in 1988. The US, the UK, and France had unsuccessfully argued against ICJ involvement, on the grounds that the UN Security Council’s 1992 and 1993 resolutions precluded the court’s involvement. Libya argued that under the 1971 Montreal Convention against aviation terrorism it is not required to extradite the two agents and has the right to try the suspects itself or send them to a neutral country for trial. Calling the ruling a victory, Libya claims the UN sanctions should be declared null and void. (New York Times, 28 February 1998, A4; Financial Times, 28 February 1998, 4)

June 8, 1998  The heads of state of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) call on African nations to suspend compliance with the UN air embargo on Libya for all religious, humanitarian, or OAU-related flights. The OAU also asserts that it will ignore all sanctions on Libya starting in September if the US and the UK have not agreed by then to try the Pan Am 103 bombing suspects in a third country. State Department spokesman James Rubin states, “We are extremely disturbed by this short-sighted action, which constitutes a direct assault on the authority of the Security Council …” and calls on OAU member states to ignore the OAU resolution. (US Department of State, 10 June 1998; US Information Service, 12 June 1998)

August 27, 1998  The UN Security Council votes to suspend sanctions on Libya if Gadhafi extradites the Pan Am 103 bombing suspects for trial in The Hague and cooperates with the French investigation into the 1989 bombing of UTA Flight 772. The Security Council threatens additional measures if Libya does not surrender the suspects for trial. Libyan acceptance of the offer, however, will not necessarily end unilateral American sanctions. (Agence France-Presse, 6 September 1998; US Information Service, 28 August 1998; Financial Times, 26 August 1998, 4; 29-30 August 1998, 4; New York Times, 25 August 1998, A9)

March 19, 1999  After talks in Tripoli, South African President Nelson Mandela announces that Libya agreed to hand over the suspects for trial on April 16.  (Financial Times, 20-21 March 1999, 1)

April 5, 1999  The two Pan Am 103 bombing suspects, 47-year-old Abdel Basset Ali al-Meghrahi and 43-year-old Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, are delivered from Libya to The Hague for trial. Three Scottish judges will decide the case. If convicted, the men will serve their sentences in a Scottish jail under UN supervision. Britain reportedly assured Gadhafi that no witnesses would come from Libya and that all witnesses would have immunity from arrest. Britain also reportedly told Gadhafi that the evidence was only against al-Meghrahi and Fhimah, and not against higher members of the Libyan government. UN Secretary-General Annan announces that UN sanctions against Libya will be suspended, and can be lifted after 90 days. Annan reportedly gave Gadhafi assurances that a new resolution would be needed to reinstate the sanctions. The unilateral US sanctions, however, remain in force. State Department spokesman James Rubin says the US wants “additional concerns alleviated.” (, 5 April 1999; Wall Street Journal, 6 April 1999, A28; Financial Times, 15 February 1999, 1; 6 April 1999, 12; 7 April 1999, 11)

April 22, 1999  At the first major investor conference in Geneva after UN sanctions were suspended, the head of exploration at Libya’s National Oil Corporation Ibrahim Bagger assures US oil companies that Libya will honor the 1986 standstill agreement although it lapsed in 1989.  (Journal of Commerce, 22 April 1999, 9A) 

April 28, 1999  President Clinton announces that the United States will exempt exports of food and medicine from future sanctions imposed by the executive branch. The new rules also apply to food and medicine sales to Iran, Libya, and Sudan, which will be permitted on a case-by-case basis. Specific licensing rules will be drawn up for each country and there will be no US government funding, financing, or guarantees for the sales. (USIS, 28 April 1999)

June 11, 1999  At the first official meeting between US and Libya in 18 years, US Representative to the UN A. Peter Burleigh tells Libya that the United States will not support permanent lifting of UN sanctions until Libya stops supporting international terrorism and meets other conditions required by UN resolutions, including compensation payments to the victims’ families and full cooperation with the trial.  (New York Times, 12 June 1999, A4) 

July 8, 1999  UK announces resumption of diplomatic ties with Libya after 15 years. Relations are renewed after Libya accepted “general responsibility” for the 1984 shooting of a policewoman outside the Libyan embassy in London and agreed to compensate her family. (Financial Times, 8 July 1999, 8; Washington Post, 8 July 1999, A18)

December 1, 1999  Italian Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema is the first Western leader to visit Libya in 8 years. (New York Times, 2 December 1999, A5; Financial Times, 3 December 1999, 9)

March 20, 2000  Japan announces it no longer considers Libya a terrorist threat and that it is considering lifting sanctions. (Reuters, 20 March 2000) 

January 31, 2001  In a unanimous ruling Scottish judges find Abdel Basset al-Megrahi guilty of murder and sentence him to life in prison, but acquit second defendant, Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah. The United States makes clear that the verdict alone will not lead to lifting of sanctions. Libya needs to meet other requirements laid out in the Security Council resolutions, including compensation to the victims’ families and the acceptance of responsibility. The United Kingdom supports US position. (USIS, 31 January 2001; Washington Post,1 February 2001, A1, New York Times, 1 February 2001, A8)

July 27, 2001  Congress renews the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 for another five years despite opposition from the US business community and the Bush administration. Closing current loopholes, the ILSA Extension Act of 2001 lowers the threshold for foreign investment in Libya from $40 million to $20 million and defines amendments and modifications to existing contracts as new contracts. The act also requires the president to submit a report to Congress within 24 to 30 months on the effectiveness of the sanctions, their impact on other US economic and foreign policy interests, and the humanitarian situation in Iran and Libya. The president can also recommend that ILSA be modified or terminated. European Commission criticizes the extension of ILSA and threatens to retaliate if sanctions are imposed against European companies. (International Trade Reporter, 2 August 2001, 1243; White House press release, 3 August 2001; Katzman 39-40; Reuters, 3 August 2001)   September 2001 Gadhafi condemns the terrorist attack in New York and Washington as “horrifying” and offers the United States intelligence assistance on Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. (Wall Street Journal, 14 January 2002, A4; Economist, 19 January 2002, 39)

November 14, 2001  German court finds four people guilty of involvement in the bombing of a West Berlin nightclub in 1986. The court concludes that the “the Libyan state was at least to a large extent responsible” because the attack “was planned by members of the Libyan secret service in senior positions in the Libyan [embassy] in East Berlin.” (Financial Times, 14 November 2001, 6; New York Times, 14 November 2001, A5)

November 2001  Libyan envoy to the United Nations Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalghem notes that Libya “is a party to most international agreements in the field of disarmament, and is in the process of acceding to the rest, including the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Nuclear Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.” In February, US Secretary of Defense William Perry had hinted at a possible US military strike to prevent the underground chemical plant at Tarhuna from becoming operational. (New York Times, 20 December 2001, B1, B4) 

August 15, 2003   Libya submits a letter to the UN Security Council accepting responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 as a “sovereign state accepting responsibility for the actions of its officials.” Wording of Libya’s letter, carefully negotiated in talks with the United Kingdom and the United States, ties its legal responsibility to the employment of Meghrahi, not to an admission of government involvement. Fulfilling the remaining UN condition, Libya also officially renounces all forms of terrorism. (Washington Post , 16 August 2003, A1; New York Times, 16 August 2003, A6) 

August 18, 2003  The United Kingdom submits a resolution calling for the lifting of UN sanctions. Secretary of State Powell states that “[t]he lifting of sanctions at the United Nations will not affect U.S. bilateral measures, which will remain in place.” France threatens to veto the resolution unless Libya offers larger compensation to families of UTA bombing victims. (International Trade Reporter, 21 August 2003, 1405; Washington Post, 19 August 2003, A16) 

September 12, 2003  The UN Security Council formally lifts 11-year-old sanctions against Libya after Libya and France reach a tentative agreement on the UTA issue. France and the United States abstain from the 13-0 council vote. (Financial Times, 12 September 2003, 6; 13-14 September 2003, 3)

December 19, 2003  President Bush and British Prime Minister Blair announce that, after nine months of secret negotiations, Libya has agreed to disclose and dismantle its nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs; accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention; destroy all missiles with a range greater than 180 miles, and allow international inspectors unconditional access to monitor and verify compliance. The agreement follows the seizure of illegal shipments of uranium-enrichment equipment to Libya in early October as part of the US-led Proliferation Security Initiative launched in May. Bush administration emphasizes that the United States will not offer rewards or lift sanctions until Libya actually starts dismantling its weapons of mass destruction. (New York Times, 20 December 2003, A1; 21 December 2003, 21; Washington Post, 20 December 2003, A1, A18; 23 December 2003, A14; Wall Street Journal, 31 December 2003, A4) 

December 28, 2003   International Atomic Energy Agency Director Mohamed El Baradei and a team of inspectors arrive in Libya for the first inspection of four previously undeclared nuclear facilities. Inspectors praise Libya’s cooperation. (Washington Post, 29 December 2003, A13; New York Times, 30 December 2003, A9) 

January 14, 2004   Libya ratifies the nuclear test ban treaty and agrees to host a station monitoring compliance with the treaty on its territory. Libya also ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention. ( Washington Post , 15 January 2004, A18; International Trade Reporter , 22 January 2004, 146) 

January 19, 2004   US and UK weapons experts return to Libya to begin dismantling, removing, and destroying technology and materials related to Libya’s weapons of mass destruction programs. (New York Times, 20 January 2004, A3) 

End of January 2004  US military transports 55,000 tons of nuclear-related equipment and material from Libya to the US. Wall Street Journal reports that shipment is only 5 percent of equipment the US plans to remove but contains the most sensitive items. (Wall Street Journal, 2 February 2004, A3)

February 26, 2004  President Bush issues executive order lifting travel restrictions to Libya and authorizing US companies with pre-sanctions holdings in Libya to negotiate the terms of their re-entry. Action was delayed for two days after Libyan Prime Minister Skuri Ganem denied Libya was responsible for Lockerbie bombing. Meeting US demands Libyan government releases statement calling Ganem’s comment “inaccurate and regrettable” and reaffirming its responsibility. (New York Times, 24 February 2004, A6; 26 February 2004, A6; Inside US Trade, 27 February 2004)  

March 5, 2004  Libya hands over numerous documents detailing its chemical weapons program to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). OPCW’s director general Rogelio Pfirter praises Libya’s cooperation with the organization. (Washington Post, 6 March 2004, A14; New York Times, 6 March 2004, A5)  

March 6, 2004  Shipment of remaining nuclear weapons equipment leaves Libya for the US. (Washington Post, 7 March 2004, A17)   March 25, 2004  Prime Minster Tony Blair travels to Tripoli to meet with Gadhafi. After the meeting, Blair announces that British company Shell signed a $200 million deal to explore oil and natural gas in Libya. (New York Times, 26 March 2004, A3; Washington Post, 26 March 2004, A14)  

April 23, 2004  In recognition of Libya’s progress in dismantling its WMDs, President Bush terminates the application of Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) with respect to Libya and the Department of Treasury modifies sanctions imposed on US companies under IEEPA to allow for the resumption of most commercial activities, financial transactions, and investments. Decision allows US oil companies to sign contracts and do business with Libya. However, Libya remains on the State Departments list of state sponsors of terrorism and subject to export-licensing for dual-use items. In addition, the freeze of Libyan assets and restrictions on direct air service between Libya and US remain in force. (White House Press Release, 23 April 2004; International Trade Reporter, 29 April 2004, 754; Inside U.S. Trade, 30 April 2004, 22)  

April 27, 2004  Gadhafi arrives in Brussels for two-day visit to meet with EU officials to discuss his country’s eventual membership in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.  (New York Times, 28 April 2004, A3)   June 29, 2004  US formally resumes diplomatic relations with Libya and opens Liaison Office in Tripoli.  (Washington Post, 29 June 2004, A15)  

July 27, 2004  Members of World Trade Organization (WTO) agree to start membership negotiations with Libya. Consideration of Libya’s application had been blocked by the US since November 2001. (Financial Times, 28 July 2004, 6; International Trade Reporter, 29 July 2004, 1295)  

September 20, 2004 President Bush declares national emergency with respect to Libya ended and lifts trade embargo and remaining commercial and travel restrictions imposed on Libya. Steps taken include releasing $1.3 billion in frozen assets, lifting the ban on Ex-Im Bank loans, OPIC guarantees, support from US agriculture department programs, and removing restrictions on direct flights between the two countries. However, Libya remains on the list of state sponsors of terrorism. US decision to lift sanctions comes ahead of September 22 deadline for the release of additional payments to the victims of Pan Am flight 103. Libya had extended the deadline twice since April. (New York Times, 21 September 2004, A7; Financial Times, 21 September 2004, 1; Statement by White House Press Secretary, 20 September 2004)  

September- October 2004 European Union formally ends suspended UN sanctions and a separate EU arms embargo imposed against Libya. Italy pledges to provide military equipment so that Libya can cooperate in tracking clandestine immigration. (Reuters, 22 September 2004; Financial Times, 23 September 2004, 6; Le Monde, 1 October 2004; Le Monde, 11 October 2004) 

23 December 2004  Saudi Arabia recalls its ambassador to Tripoli and expels Libyan ambassador after it discovers evidence of a Libyan plot to kill a member of the royal family  (Agence France Presse, 23 December 2004)

30 January 2005 Occidental Petroleum Corporation wins the lion share of oil exploration permits, the first auction conducted by the Libyan government in 40 years.  (Agence France Presse, 31 January 2005)

10 February 2005 State Department confirms willingness to fully normalize relations with Libya. Two days later, the State Department eliminates movement restrictions for Libyan diplomats in the United States. (Agence France Presse, 10 February 2005; Reuters, 11 February 2005)  

19 August 2005  US Senator and Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Richard Lugar (R-IN), visits Tripoli. Moammar Gadhafi expresses frustration at the pace of normalization of bilateral relations. At the end of the visit, Seif el-Islam Gadhafi announces that Libya will be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, provided that both sides make progress in addressing certain concerns.  (Agence France Presse, 19 and 23 August 2005)   23 March 2006  The US Export-Import Bank announces that it is open for business with Libya. (Inside US Trade, Vol.24 N.12)

16 May 2006  US announces three new measures to normalize relations with Libya. The American liaison office in Tripoli will be upgraded to an embassy; Libya will be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism; and Libya will be removed from the list of states not fully cooperating with US antiterrorism efforts. (US State Department briefing, 15 May 2006)

July 2006  The United States removes Libya from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism. Libya still owes $2 million per victim but has removed funds earmarked for that payment from an escrow account in Switzerland due to expiration of the settlement agreement.  (International Herald Tribune, 8 July 2006, 3) 

Oct 20, 2011  Despite his numerous acts of cooperation, Gadhafi is brutally assassinated. Libya was seen as a strong competitor to Israel for hegemony in the Middle East. Also, Gadhafi’s long term plans for creating a gold dinar-based, pan-African currency, similar to the Euro and the Dollar, may have factored in his long list of enemies who wanted him dead (Refer to Russia Today’s news report on Gadhafi’s gold dinar proposal):

Written by voiceoftruthusa

November 18, 2013 at 3:03 am

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