… from the point of view of certain Western political elites, says David Rieff:

Qaddafi was, quite simply, a man who knew too much. Taken alive, he would have almost certainly have been handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which had indicted him — along with his son, Saif al-Islam, and brother-in-law and military intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi (whereabouts unknown) — for crimes against humanity in late June. Imagine the stir he would have made in The Hague. There, along with any number of fantasies and false accusations, he would almost certainly have revealed the extent of his intimate relations with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the details of his government’s collaboration with Western intelligence services in counterterrorism, with the European Union in limiting migration from Libyan shores, and in the granting of major contracts to big Western oil and construction firms.

He would have had much to tell, for this cooperation was extensive.


And so, ever since it became clear that Qaddafi’s reign was over, the great and the good have been indulging themselves in an orgy of self-congratulation. Qaddafi alive would have been the ghost at that particular banquet, threatening at any moment to spoil the fun.

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