The Clandestine Building of Libya's Chemical Weapons Factory: A Study in International Collusion

By Thomas C. Wiegele | Go to book overview

4
The Aftermath of the Charge, 2

International events are multifaceted activities that involve simultaneous developments. The confluence of these developments within a relatively short period of time transforms a "routine" event into a critical international situation. In order to understand such situations, an analyst must disaggregate their chronological evolution with the full knowledge that this disaggregation will not completely capture the true social complexity of the event at any point in time but will ultimately lead to a comprehensive understanding. Because the relationship between West German industrial firms and Libya is a major component of the Rabta situation, I extract it from its social field for close examination. Otherwise, the chronology of this situation might be hopelessly confusing.

This chapter examines West German trade with Libya, which assisted Libya in the creation of what was charged to be a chemical weapons factory. It provides some background information on the Libyan -- West German trade connection, then turns to the U.S. accusation that the Bonn government itself was at least partly responsible for the factory's existence. The chapter presents the German government's denial of the American charge and its elaborate justification for that denial. German export control policy is also examined. The chapter concludes with analyses of further assistance Libya received from other nations and of Libyan foreign policy thrusts.


The West German-Libyan Trade Relationship

The West German trade relationship with Libya has deep roots that precede the Rabta episode. This includes, of course, the fact that Germany purchases much of its oil from Libya, not an insignificant consideration. But, as early as 1986, serious questions were raised within the Federal Republic of Germany about relations between various German firms and Libya.

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