The Pariah Becomes Paramount

Under Gaddafi, Libya existed for some four decades as a mostly hermetically sealed mukhabarat state that exported violence rather than suffered internal strife. With the dissolution of his regime and subsequent extrajudicial killing, Libya became a realm of immense chaos. This was a T-62 tank captured by forces then loyal to the National Transitional Council and positioned atop a mesa above regime forces in the plains below. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

New York- I’m featured in this week’s episode of Noiser PodcastsReal Dictators series about Gaddafi’s escalating feud with the United States and to a lesser extent the United Kingdom in the 1980s. The north African strongman had famously, if inaccurately, become Ronald Reagan’s “mad dog of the Middle East.” The American actor-turned-president warned of Gaddafi spreading Islamism around the globe while his administration was deeply involved in the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan. Yet at the time going after mostly secular Arab world leaders who might feign an Islamic veneer was in vogue in foreign policy circles. Actual Sunni Islamists were seen as fellow travelers in the grander Cold War narrative the fomented a largely binary world view.

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