Muammar Gaddafi - Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya - Alliances With Authoritarian National Leaders

Alliances With Authoritarian National Leaders

See also: Idi Amin and Uganda-Tanzania War

Despite backing pro-democracy causes in Africa, Gaddafi fuelled rebellions in countries such as Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as having a close relationship to Uganda's infamous dictator Idi Amin, whom he sponsored and advised. When Amin's government began to crumble, Gaddafi sent troops to fight against Tanzania on behalf of Amin, and 600 Libyan soldiers were killed during combat operations. Nevertheless, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni who had played major role in overthrowing Idi Amin said in February, "Muammar Gaddafi, whatever his faults, is a true nationalist. I prefer nationalists to puppets of foreign interests." Museveni also said "Therefore, the independent-minded Gaddafi had some positive contribution to Libya, I believe, as well as Africa and the Third World We should also remember, as part of that independent-mindedness, he expelled British and American military bases from Libya ."

Gaddafi ran a school near Benghazi called the World Revolutionary Center (WRC). A notable number of its graduates have seized power in African countries. Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso and Idriss Déby of Chad were graduates of this school, and are currently in power in their respective countries. Gaddafi trained and supported Charles Taylor of Liberia, Foday Sankoh, the founder of Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front, and Jean-Bédel Bokassa, the Emperor of the Central African Empire. Gaddafi also financed Mengistu Haile Mariam's military junta in Ethiopia, which was later convicted of one of the deadliest genocides in modern history.

In a BBC interview, Kenya's Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula said the Libyan leader sometimes showed a violent side at African Union meetings, saying "He really suppressed Libyan people and vanquished them to the extent that in one of many AU meetings we saw him slap his foreign minister in our presence, which is something unexpected of any dignified and self-respecting head of state." Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe since 1980 having spearheaded Zimbabwe's independence struggle, remained a staunch ally of Col. Gaddafi until the Libyan ruler's death.

In Europe, Gaddafi had close ties with Serbian and later Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević, and with the controversial Austrian politician Jörg Haider. According to the Daily Mail, Jörg Haider received tens of millions of dollars from both Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein. Gaddafi also aligned himself with the Orthodox Serbs against Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo, supporting Milošević even when he was charged with large-scale ethnic cleansing against Albanians in Kosovo.

Gaddafi developed an ongoing relationship with the revolutionary Colombian Marxist–Leninist guerrilla group FARC, becoming acquainted with its leaders at meetings of revolutionary groups which were regularly hosted in Libya.

During the Falklands War Gaddafi provided the Argentinian regime with 20 launchers and 60 SA-7 missiles, as well as machine guns, mortars and mines. These were delivered in four trips by two Boeing 707 of the AAF, refuelled in Recife with the knowledge and consent of the Brazilian government.

Gaddafi developed a friendship with Hugo Chávez, and in March 2009, Libya's Olympics Committee named a stadium after the Venezuelan leader. Strategic analysis groups, along with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos reported that both Chávez and Gaddafi supported the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which produces "more than half of the world’s cocaine," however this relationship was disputed by the Venezuelan government. In September 2009, at the Second Africa-South America Summit on Isla Margarita, Venezuela, Gaddafi joined Chávez in calling for an "anti-imperialist" front across Africa and Latin America. Gaddafi proposed the establishment of a South Atlantic Treaty Organization to rival NATO, saying: "The world’s powers want to continue to hold on to their power. Now we have to fight to build our own power."

After the 1979 Iranian Revolution that brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power, Gaddafi became one of the first leaders to congratulate and offer support to the then fledgling Islamic Republic. Gaddafi, who had long opposed the Shah for his support of American/British policies and his previous relations with King Idris, reversed many policies that had strained the relations between the two countries. While relations did substantially improve, the long term effect was that it alienated him from his previous pan-Arab beliefs and became more Islamist, such as recognizing the islands of Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa as Iranian rather than Emirati and gave crucial military support to Iran during the Iran-Iraq War. He publicly stated his support to other Arab and Persian Gulf countries, urging them to stand beside their "Islamic Brothers". However, fearing Shi'ite or Islamic Revolutions of their own should Saddam fall, they instead cut off relations with Gaddafi and supported Iraq (the only exception being Hafez Al-Assad). Although the disappearance of Musa Al-Sadr did sour relations, the Iranian government did not publicly implicate Gaddafi at the time and Iran continued to consider Libya (along with Syria) as its only reliable ally for many years. Only much later, after the end of the war, did Al-Sadr's disappearance reemerge as an issue between the two countries. Later on, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei visited Libya, one of only times he left Iran as Supreme Leader. Even during the Libyan Civil War, there were apparent divisions in the government on whether to support Gaddafi or not, between those who continued to view Gaddafi as a hero for his support of Iran during the war and those who viewed him as responsible for Al-Sadr's disappearance. Early in the conflict, Iran reiterated at the UN its support for "the importance of respecting national sovereignties and disallowing certain powers to bypass international law and intervene under guises such as 'humanitarian intervention'". Later on however, did the state-run Kayhan newspaper condemn Gaddafi for his suppression of the rebels.

Due to his support of Iran, Saddam Hussein broke off relations with Gaddafi in 1980 until 1991, when after the Persian Gulf War and the international Sanctions against Iraq, Gaddafi (who was facing sanctions of his own due to the Lockerbie bombing) once again came out in support of Saddam and helped assist the Iraqi Government in circumventing Import restrictions and offering limited military assistance. Libya was also one of the only countries to accept Iraqi Passports and have an embassy in Baghdad (and vice versa for Iraq). In 1999, Gaddafi awarded his Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights to the "Children of Iraq". However, Saddam never forgot Gaddafi's support for Iran and while the relations were cordial, Gaddafi and Saddam would never meet from 1991 until the overthrow of Saddam in 2003.

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