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

By Thomas C. Wiegele | Go to book overview

3
The Aftermath of the Charge, 1

This chapter addresses events during the immediate aftermath of the U.S. charge that Libya was in the process of developing a chemical weapons production facility. It begins by examining Libyan reactions to U.S. policy. From this point on, the chapter examines the increasing U.S. diplomatic pressure on Libya in a number of differing environments, and it ends with an examination of Libyan policy themes.


Libyan Reactions

Given the preceding two years of hostile relations between the United States and Libya, it should not be surprising that Libyan spokespersons reacted with fury to the chemical weapons plant charge. On 27 January 1988, the Jamahiriyah News Agency of Libya (JANA) condemned what it described as the Reagan administration's ban of the sale of medical supplies and medicines to Libya. Medical supplies and medicine were included in the one exclusion in the administration's embargo. However, JANA's political affairs editor stated that "Reagan's ban on medicines and medical supplies to Libya is both uncivilized and inhumane, apart from showing prejudice and racism.... This ban represents a declaration of hostile war waged by a state like the U.S. against small nations that reject its hegemony."1

In order to replace its "lack" of some medicines, Libya apparently requested assistance from the World Health Organization (WHO). That agency was reported to have approved the purchase of several medicines on behalf of Libya. Included in this group was an anticancer drug manufactured only in the United States.

Libya's initial reaction was interesting on two counts. First, its announcement that a state of war existed between the United States and Libya was the mirror image of President Reagan's earlier statement. Second, Libya's charge that the United States had embargoed

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