With a plaintive look, he asked me, "Why, Mr. Eric, why are the western powers trying to kill me?" I was stunned. Gadaffi appeared to be sincere. Could he not understand why he had become a hate figure and target number one. A leader Ronald Reagan called, "the mad dog of the Middle East."
The answer, I told him, was punishment: first, for shaming his brother Arab leaders into raising the price of oil to a fair trade value. Second, his naïve, unquestioning support for all sorts of violent "anti-colonial" movements: among them, the IRA, Basque ETA, killer Abu Nidal, Philippine Muslim rebels, Nelson Mandela’s ANC. Any group that called itself "anti-colonial" or "liberationist" and got to Tripoli came away with bags of dollars and Gadaffi’s support.
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