The Rule-Breaking Conduct of Qaddafi's Libya *

By Geldenhuys, Deon | Strategic Review for Southern Africa, November 2003 | Go to article overview

The Rule-Breaking Conduct of Qaddafi's Libya *


Geldenhuys, Deon, Strategic Review for Southern Africa


ABSTRACT

Libya, under the Qaddafi dictatorship, has a history of rule-breaking behaviour both at home and abroad. It has violated major international rules of state conduct by engaging in terrorism, committing external aggression and threatening regional peace, exporting its domestic revolution, adopting a revisionist international orientation, pursuing weapons of mass destruction, and systematically violating human rights. Libya's extraordinarily ambitious foreign policy and its conventional military build-up contravened two further informal codes of conduct. For its wrongdoing Libya suffered both unilateral and collective sanctions. In recent years Libya has evidently been turning its back on its errant ways, except for the ongoing abuse of human rights.

1. INTRODUCTION

The Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, to cite its full name, has long been one of Africa's most controversial states. It is a status directly attributable to the country's violation of commonly accepted norms of good state behaviour. Over decades Libya has flouted major formal and binding standards of conduct enshrined in international conventions and agreements, in addition to violating some informal rules of behaviour. There are at least eight norms that Libya has manifestly broken, with some of the transgressions leading to collective and unilateral punishment.

Running one of the world's oldest personal dictatorships, 'Brother Leader' Muammar Qaddafi has firmly placed his imprint on Libya's domestic politics and foreign relations alike He can justifiably be regarded as the principal architect of Libya's many misdeeds. Its contraventions are the subject of this article.

2. ON NAMING (AND SHAMING)

Twenty-seven year old Colonel Qaddafi was the leader of a bloodless military coup d'etat in September 1969 that not only deposed King Idris and abolished the monarchy, but heralded what the new self-appointed chief executive called a long, deep and broad revolution. Socialism with a supposedly Islamic bent replaced the capitalist oriented economic order and Libya's pro-Western international orientation gave way to a fiery, uncompromising brand of pan-Arabism. Qaddafi moreover entertained continental and even wider international ambitions, refusing to be constrained by the fact that he was the leader of a small and weak African state. (1))

In addition to his megalomania and radicalism--elaborated below--Qaddafi has from early in his rule acquired a reputation for unpredictability and eccentricity. A recent illustration of his views is Qaddafi's depiction of AIDS as "a peaceful virus, not an aggressive virus". Addressing an African Union summit in Maputo in July 2003, the Libyan leader offered a reassuring message to the startled dignitaries: "If you are straight you have nothing to fear from Aids". (2))

He also shared his peculiar insights into two other diseases plaguing the continent. Africans need have no fear of the tsetse fly and the mosquito, he lectured the distinguished audience, for they are "God's armies which will protect us against colonialists". Should these 'enemies' come to Africa, "they will get malaria and sleeping sickness". (3))

These attributes have not helped Qaddafi to portray himself abroad as a responsible and respectable statesman. "His erratic tactics, his conceit, his readiness to use every sort of violence to fulfil his dreams", The Economist commented in 1986, "are the stuff of madness". (4)) It was indeed speculated in the West that Qaddafi suffered from manic depression and schizophrenia and had since 1982 been visiting a clinic specialising in these illnesses. (5)) Egypt's President Anwar Sadat perhaps shared such views when he branded the Libyan leader "unbalanced and immature", a "vicious criminal, 100 per cent sick and possessed of the demon". (6)) President Gaafar Nimeiry of Sudan offered a comparable diagnosis: Qaddafi suffered from "a split personality--both evil". …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Rule-Breaking Conduct of Qaddafi's Libya *
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.