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Thread: Gaddafi elected as next AU leader

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    Default Gaddafi elected as next AU leader

    Gaddafi elected as next AU leader



    Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has been elected as chairman of the 53-nation African Union.

    Col Gaddafi was elected by delegates at the AU summit in Ethiopia.

    A BBC correspondent at the summit says Col Gaddafi was seen to be the obvious choice, but some delegates are uneasy about his nomination.

    AU spokeswoman Habiba Mejri-Sheikh said Col Gaddafi was elected "by the heads of state in a closed-door session, for a one-year period".

    "He is currently addressing the assembly as president, to outline his programme and his intentions," she said.

    Col Gaddafi replaces the Tanzanian president, Jakaya Kikwete.

    In its earlier sessions, AU delegates called for a lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe.

    The call followed the announcement on Friday that the opposition would be joining a unity government.

    In principle, we said the ultimate is the United States of Africa. How we proceed to that ultimate, there are building blocks

    Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete

    Profile: Muammar Gaddafi
    On Sunday, the summit debated a Libyan-backed proposal to set up a single government - the United States of Africa.

    In a compromise, the summit agreed to transform the African Union Commission, which oversees the body, into an AU Authority that would have a broader mandate, Mr Kikwete said.

    "In principle, we said the ultimate is the United States of Africa. How we proceed to that ultimate - there are building blocks," Mr Kikwete said.

    Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika said governments wanting greater unity could go ahead on their own, without worrying about splitting Africa.

    Uneasy

    The chairmanship of the African Union is a rotating position held by heads of state for one year.

    The BBC's Elizabeth Blunt in Addis Ababa says it was the turn of North Africa to lead the bloc, and Col Gaddafi was seen as the obvious choice. However, some African leaders believe the Libyan leader is too erratic to be AU chairman.

    Before he arrived at the summit, he circulated a letter saying he was coming as the king of the traditional kings of Africa and he wanted to be seated as the king of kings, our correspondent says.

    Col Gaddafi has previously outlined his vision for African unity.

    He wants a single African military force, a single currency and a single passport for Africans to move within the continent.

    Last August, a meeting of more than 200 African kings and traditional rulers bestowed the title "king of kings" on the Libyan leader.

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    Default Re: Gaddafi elected as next AU leader

    Africa's "King of Kings"
    Qaddafi takes over the African Union.
    by Joseph Loconte
    02/04/2009 12:00:00 AM


    DURING HIS 39-YEAR rule as Libya's undisputed dictator, Muammar Qaddafi has picked up various titles, including "Brotherly Leader," "Guide of the Revolution," and "king of kings." The latter title was recently bestowed by 200 African kings and tribal rulers in a ceremony whose pomposity was exceeded only by its grandiose calls for African unity. Not content with these accolades, Qaddafi secured yet another badge of honor this week when the 53-member African Union elected him as its chairman.

    "I hope my term will be a time of serious work and not just words," said the golden-robed Qaddafi in his inaugural speech. The "serious work" he has in mind involves the creation of a United States of Africa, defended by a single military and sharing a common currency. Qaddafi's election suggests that the African Union, established in 2002 to replace the Organization for African Unity, suffers from the same contagion of corruption and authoritarian rule that ravaged its predecessor.

    The initial reaction of the Obama administration was, at best, evasive. State Department spokesman Robert Wood was asked if he saw any problem working with the Libyan strongman, given his thuggish and mercurial style. Wood said nothing about the choice of Qaddafi, his sponsorship of terrorism, or his opposition to democratic freedoms. "In terms of our working with the AU, we're going to continue, because we have a lot of interests . . . trying to bring peace and stability and economic development and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the continent where it's needed," Wood said. "In terms of human rights issues, that will always be at the forefront of our foreign policy."

    If the Obama White House intends to elevate human rights within U.S. foreign policy, then the State Department and its new boss, Hillary Clinton, should re-acquaint themselves with their file on Libya. Under Qaddafi, the country became a major state sponsor of terrorism and was responsible, among other atrocities, for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight that killed 269 passengers over Lockerbie, Scotland. Even the U.N. Security Council, often enfeebled by its moral cynicism, imposed an arms embargo and froze Libya's foreign assets. An officially Islamic state, Libya bans the existence of political parties and trade unions. Opposition figures are jailed or forced to flee the country. There is no freedom of the press--the state owns all print and broadcast media--or freedom of assembly. The judiciary remains under political control. Arbitrary arrests, imprisonments, and torture are commonplace. All mosques, overwhelmingly Sunni, fall under government scrutiny and must uphold the state's version of Islam. Minority faiths, including about 100,000 Christians, face restrictions on worship and freedom of speech.

    It is true that, shortly after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Libya somewhat changed its tune: it accepted responsibility for the Pan Am bombing, renounced terrorism, and promised to dismantle its program to develop weapons of mass destruction. In June of 2006, the Bush administration ended Libya's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. Last year Libya's foreign minister met with then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the first such visit since 1972.

    These are positive steps for a longtime pariah state, but do they represent anything more than short-term political necessity? The fact is that Libya's machinery of repression hasn't changed. It is a crime to publish anything deemed critical of Qaddafi's "Green Book," his rambling manifesto of Pan-Arabism and socialism, coated in Islamic ideals, which rejects representative democracy as "an obsolete experiment." There is no genuinely independent civil society, the historical prerequisite for political and social reform. Political corruption is rampant. The most recent report from Freedom House designated Libya as among its "worst of the worst" nations with regards to political and civil liberties." Anyone daring to challenge the regime or the Libyan state openly," according to Freedom House, "is in danger of arrest, torture, and imprisonment."

    Is this the proud, progressive face of the African continent? The silence of the Obama administration over Qaddafi does not bode well for its Africa policy: the diplomatic temptation, acute among political liberals, is to "engage" authoritarian regimes while ignoring their domestic despotisms. (The Bush administration, though badly inconsistent in promoting its "freedom agenda," at least gave high-profile attention to democratic reformers.) Above all else, the African Union needs leadership that is democratically sound, economically liberal, and morally serious.

    Consider the challenges facing the African Union: its peacekeeping operations, short on troops and training, have failed to stop the bloodletting in Sudan and Somalia; its economies remain crippled by corruption and socialist dogmas; its health-care systems are straining under the pandemic of HIV/AIDs; and its modest progress in democratic rule has suffered political setbacks and outbursts of violence. Earlier this week, African leaders--in a reflexive gesture of "solidarity"--demanded an end to international sanctions against the criminal regime of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. The Council on Foreign Relations, in its classically understated style, admits that the African Union "is struggling to reform its governing bodies."

    Organizations that are "struggling" to reform should at least show signs of a kerfuffle, none of which were manifest at Qaddafi's coronation. The stated vision of the African Union, after all, is a continent characterized by economic development, good governance, and the peaceful resolution of conflicts. "Having rejected afro-pessimism, Africans are now intent on promoting afro-responsibility," declares the AU Commission, "meaning the future of Africans primarily depends on themselves." An imperious "king of kings" cannot seriously be expected to lead the way.

    Indeed, it's worth recalling why the forerunner to the AU, the Organization for African Unity, was considered such a failure. Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni once derided the organization as a "trade union of criminals." With Muammar Qaddafi as the new union boss, the criminal element in African politics has just gained a reliable and ruthless advocate.

    Joseph Loconte is a senior research fellow at The King's College in New York City and frequent contributor to THE WEEKLY TANDARD Online.

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    Default Re: Gaddafi elected as next AU leader

    I-Team: Italy Welcomes Muammar Gaddafi Into Rome

    First Italian visit for Gaddafi since he took power in 1969

    Italy ruled Libya for 30 years

    ROME (CBS4) ―

    Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi welcomes
    Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who is on
    a historic trip to the country.

    Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi rolled out the red carpet and welcomed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Wednesday. The trip was the first for Gaddafi since he took power in a 1969 coup d'état. Rome is hoping the visit from Gaddafi will heal the two countries' past and help Italy's economy recover.

    Libya was ruled as a colony by Italy from 1911 to 1943. In the 1930's, tens of thousands of Italians settled in modern-day Libya. In 1951, Libya declared its independence and by 1969 Gaddafi was in power. About a year later, Gaddafi kicked out the remaining Italians.

    But after September 11 and the invasion of Iraq, the former terrorist supporter began to renounce his past history and moved towards a more moderate position. This included trying to improve relations with the United States and granting interviews to some reporters including CBS I-Team chief investigative reporter Michele Gillen, who is in Italy for the historic meeting.

    In 2008, the two countries signed an agreement that spelled out terms for Italy to compensate Libya for its 30-year occupation. In exchange, Libya agreed to crack down on the illegal migrants smuggled each year across the Mediterranean to Italy.

    Gaddafi has already renounced any ambitions for a nuclear weapon and in 1999 agreed to hand over the suspects alleged to have bombed Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.

    It's difficult for many to imagine the welcome he received Wednesday by Italy's powerful politicians and financiers.

    Rome has other reasons to pull out all the stops for Gaddafi. Libya supplies a quarter of Italy's oil and a major source of capital for Italian companies, according to Reuters. Among those companies is Fiat which now owns Chrysler. Libya actually saved Fiat in 1977, sold its stake in the company in 1986, and repurchased a 2 percent stake in the company in 2002.

    While much of the press surrounding Gaddafi's visit to Italy will be celebratory, protests are expected. Amnesty International will protest in a central Roman square about what the group calls Libya's poor human rights record, Reuters reported.

    In July Gaddafi prepares to meet with Barack Obama as part of the G8 Summit.

    (© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

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    Default Re: Gaddafi elected as next AU leader

    Qaddafi Praises Obama, Raises Conspiracy Theories in 90-Minute U.N. Rant

    Posted:
    09/23/09
    Filed Under:Foreign Policy, Obama Administration

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    In a rambling address to the United Nations General Assembly, where President Obama spoke earlier in the day, Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi urged world leaders to adopt Obama as "our son," but lashed out against the U.N. Security Council and the organization in general. In the midst of lambasting the United States and Europe, Qaddafi said he would be "content and happy if Obama can stay forever as the president of America." Qaddafi's 90-minute speech -- during which he occasionally referenced scrawled notes and once grabbed an audio device to check the accuracy of his translation -- went well over an hour past the Assembly's 15-minute time limit.

    Qaddafi railed against the Security Council, saying it should be renamed "Terror Council." "We are not committed to obeying or adhering to resolutions by the Security Council in its composition right now," he said of his country. He tore a copy of the U.N. charter, saying he didn't agree with any of it past the preamble. An hour in, he began calling for investigations into each of the major wars since the United Nations was founded: the Korean War, the war over the Suez Canal, the Vietnam War and the ongoing war in Iraq, which he called "the mother of all evils." He said that Western nations, and not Arabs, were responsible for creating the Israeli state and turning the Middle East against the Jews.

    Qaddafi's First U.N. Speech Is a Rambling Diatribe [New York Times]

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    Default Re: Gaddafi elected as next AU leader

    Obama Administration giving $400K to Qaddafi Family Foundations

    Clarice Feldman

    NRO's Andy McCarthy reports that the Administration has notified Congress that the Department of State intends to give $400K to Foundations run by members of the Qaddafi family including the son who escorted the freed Lockerbie bomber back to a hero's welcome in Libya:

    The Obama administration has notified Congress of the State Department's intention to contribute $400,000 to foundations run by Muammar Qaddafi's two children — $200,000 each for daughter Aisha and son Saif. Saif, you may recall, is the son who escorted the Lockerbie terrorist Abdel Baset al-Megrahi home to a hero's welcome in Libya after President Obama sternly "warned" Qaddafi that there was to be no hero's welcome.

    Illinois Republican congressman Mark Steven Kirk (House Appropriations Subcommittee on State/Foreign Operations) has sent Obama a letter asking him to rescind the funding.

    Could somebody please tell this president that this is not just Annenberg Foundation cash he's passing out to his personal terrorist pals like Bill Ayers but American taxpayer dollars he's doling out to the terrorist tyrant behind the murder — in just that one incident — of 270 people, including 189 Americans.

    Just 40 months to go. God help us.

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    Default Re: Gaddafi elected as next AU leader

    Gaddafi calls on Europe to convert to Islam on trip to Rome


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    Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi has called on Europe to convert to Islam during a trip to Italy Monday. However, behind the theatrics, the colonel’s lucrative investments underscore Tripoli’s growing influence on Italy's economy. By Benjamin DODMAN (text)
    FRANCE 24 (video)

    Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi met close ally, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Monday to mark the second anniversary of a friendship treaty signed between his country and its former colonial power, Italy.

    The flamboyant Colonel landed at Fiumicino airport on Sunday with his customary following of “amazon” female bodyguards, Arabian thoroughbreds and trademark Bedouin tent, the proposed location of which has been the subject of much debate in the Italian media.

    Gaddafi and Berlusconi are expected to share iftar, the meal breaking the days fast during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan.

    Koranic lessons

    Furthermore, the Libyan leader staged a repeat of the most talked-about event of his last visit in November of last year, when 200 attractive – and somewhat bemused – women recruited by an agency were invited to a Roman villa and treated to a surprise lecture on Islam by the Libyan leader himself.

    Those who had come expecting a party and lavish gifts were instead handed copies of the Koran and a book of sayings by Gaddafi, as well as a 50-euro note. This time, Gaddafi called on Europe to convert to Islam during a lecture on Sunday to 500 young women, mainly students, who were paid 70 or 80 euros to attend his talk. The participants were also asked to dress conservatively.

    While much of the programme has been kept secret, Gaddafi and his retinue were expected to indulge in the sort of “spontaneous” walks round Rome’s city centre that so intrigued the locals the last time he was in town.

    Post-colonial reconciliation

    Gaddafi’s theatrics have made him into something of a darling of the Italian media, to the point of obscuring the real interests that underlie his alliance with Berlusconi’s Italy.

    “In the media coverage of Gaddafi’s visits, the choreography always trumps the substance,” said Ettore Livini, a journalist at Italian daily La Repubblica, in an interview with France24.com.

    Under the treaty signed two years ago in Tripoli, Italy offered a formal apology and financial compensation for the hardships suffered by Libyans during the colonial era.

    In return, Gaddafi promised to halt the waves of illegal migrants seeking to reach the Italian coast, a pledge he has so far fulfilled, but in a manner “totally incompatible with the most basic human rights,” said Livini. The treaty helped change Libya’s status from pariah state to respectable partner, and gave the go-ahead to a series of bilateral investments between the two countries, the total value of which has been estimated at 40 billion euros.

    Petrodollars

    Much of that money has come from none other than Gaddafi himself, who as undisputed leader of Libya is also the main recipient of the country’s oil wealth. On his visit, Gaddafi has been meeting up with Italian business leaders.

    Over the past two years, the Colonel has acquired stakes in a number of strategic Italian companies, becoming the fifth-biggest shareholder on the Milan stock exchange. Libya also owns about six percent of Italy's largest bank, Unicredit.

    “Gaddafi’s purchases have been guided by Berlusconi himself,” said La Repubblica’s Livini. “Nowhere is this more the case than with Unicredit,” he added, referring to the hugely influential bank at the heart of a tangle of shareholdings that stretch into virtually all sectors of the Italian economy.

    Livini says these investments give the Libyan leader a word in the management of a whole array of companies, including Il Corriere della Sera, Italy’s leading newspaper and one Berlusconi has long sought to control.

    In the meantime, Italy has recovered its position as Libya’s main trade partner, while Italian firms Ansaldo and ENI have recently secured lucrative contracts to renew Libya’s transport infrastructure and exploit the country’s plentiful natural resources.

    But the next step of the Berlusconi-Gaddafi alliance, selling Italian arms to Libya, is likely to prove more controversial.

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    Default Re: Gaddafi elected as next AU leader

    Did the Italians shoot back?

    The Italians should have blown the bastards out of the water.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Gaddafi elected as next AU leader

    I thought all Italian Fishing boats carried weapons? They are Italians... you know, mafia guys???
    Libertatem Prius!


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