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Why is Anyone Surprised Qaddafi Hid Chemical Weapons?

A friend from my days in Iraqi Kurdistan, Thomas von der Osten-Sacken from the German NGO Wadi, points me to this interview with Ian Martin, special advisor for the United Nations in Libya. In the course of the interview, comes this background:

Martin noted progress concerning chemical weapons and nuclear material. Last week, Libyan officials said they discovered two new sites with chemical weapons that had not been declared by the Qaddafi regime when it vowed several years ago to stop pursuing non-conventional weapons. Officials also said they found about 7,000 drums of raw uranium.

So, it seems the 2003 diplomatic breakthrough which brought Muammar Qaddafi in from the cold was the State Department equivalent of a “Mission Accomplished” moment. While the Pentagon regularly studies lessons learned from each engagement, the State Department never does. Perhaps it’s time, however, for the State Department to consider its track record, especially as the Obama administration turns its attention to the Iran challenge.

The fundamental question it should ask: Can diplomacy really bring rogue regimes in from the cold, or is regime change the only lasting solution?

 



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