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

By Thomas C. Wiegele | Go to book overview

7
Satisfaction and Disenchantment

The Kohl government's Report to the Bundestag, the most comprehensive public document of the entire Libyan chemical arms episode, marked an emotional high point in the evolution of this international situation. This chapter explores the expectations that the events in Germany raised among policymakers concerned with Libya. It also briefly explores Libyan perceptions and provides an update on developments in Libya. To get a sense of the unfolding context of chemical weaponry, the chapter briefly discusses the situation in the Middle East, especially concerning Iraq and the U.S.Soviet agreement on chemical weapons. The chapter closes with an explanation of the conceptual parameters that shaped this study.


A Sense of Satisfaction

Without question, the United States must have been pleased with the Kohl government's Report, which indicated, as the United States had charged for years, that West German commercial firms bore a major responsibility for assisting Libya to construct a chemical weapons production facility at Rabta. The release of the Report was no doubt viewed by American officials as a vindication of their own extensive activities, which involved private, then public, pressure on the German government, numerous intelligence undertakings, pressure through German and U.S. diplomatic offices, and the broad initiatives of the Paris Chemical Weapons Conference. All of these efforts put considerable strain on the Kohl government and led to a major domestic political crisis for the chancellor.

It should be kept in mind that the attempt to deny Libya a chemical arms capability was a U.S. initiative. Without American pressure, there may not have been an international response to Libya's determined quest. Of course, this can never be known with certainty since it is impossible to predict whether an individual nation or group of nations might have intervened in their own

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