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Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Sat, 25 Oct 97 14:06:35 CDT
From: NY-Transfer-News@abbie.blythe.org
Subject: France: Libya Wants a Deal Just Like Iran’s/Intelligence
Article: 20563

Libya wants a deal, just like Iran

Intelligence, No. 69, 20 October 1997, p. 34

As if tension between France and the U.S. wasn’t already high enough, following the recent signing of a $2 billion gas prospecting and production contract by Total with Iran (see our Frontpage article in the previous issue, France—European Tug-of-War with U.S. Heats Up; INT, n. 68 1), it looks like France, with European backing, is now leaning toward a similar deal with Libya. There is no question that Libya is currently pushing for such a deal, now that Iran has its deal. This push has been discreetly confirmed by French intelligence sources who informed Intelligence that two supposed brothers of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, Hanibal and General Mohamad Qaddafi, secretly visited France from 30 September to 4 October.

It seems that French DST internal security was aware of Gen. Mohamad’s arrival in France and that French DGSE foreign intelligence was aware of Hanibal’s presence in France, but it took a day or so for French intelligence to exchange notes and realize that both brothers were visiting Paris at the same time. Apparently Hanibal was traveling with a Qatar passport and staying at the Grand Hotel Intercontinental while doing some shopping. His first request was apparently made indirectly—not through official channels—for 60,000 AK- 47 assault rifles and a certain number of armored 4x4 vehicles. The request was reportedly interpreted as a clear message -- Libya will do business through France but doesn’t want to buy French equipment—somewhat similar to the Iranian deal.

France, of course, would have no interest in furnishing Libya with such equipment. The 4x4’s would quickly be mounted with heavy machine guns, turning them into a favored African military item: the battle wagon. With a few dozen of these and a few thousand AK-47’s in trained hands, Chad and other close French allies in Africa would be in serious trouble. Apparently, Libya has been beating the bush in Africa and Europe to improve its image and offer assurance that neither French, nor British, interests would be harmed. Specifically, Libya has apparently proven to London and Paris that it is calming down in Africa. Intelligence mentioned last month the odd security training contract Libya signed with Gambia, a former British colony surrounded on three sides by Senegal, a former French colony (see, Gambia—Watching Libyan Instructors; INT, n. 65 46). This contract has been put forward as proof of Libya’s good faith in Africa.

Besides arms and other imported products, Libya would also like to get out of a deal with France, and Europe in general, some slack concerning the U.S.-British insistence that Libya was behind the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on 21 December 1988. Most Europeans have been convinced that the bombing has more to do with radical Palestinian and Iranian elements than with Libya, but few have spoken up against the overbearing voice of Washington on the matter. It is therefore quite significant that, at this time, the only U.S. ally in this affair—Great Britain—prepared a major media report (BBC, 14 October) casting doubt on Libya’s involvement in the Lockerbie attack. At the same time, the Lockerbie-Libya case is before the World Court in the Netherlands where Great Britain is urging Libya to accept an impartial trial in Scotland. According to several specialists, there is the odor of a deal floating in the air.