U.S. Restores Libya Relations, Removes from Terror List

The United States is re-establishing diplomatic relations with Libya and removing them from the list of pariah states that support terrorism.

The United States intends to establish full diplomatic relations with Libya and remove the North African country from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, State Department and Libyan officials told CNN. The State Department will make a formal announcement Monday.

After decades of thumbing his nose at the West, which made him an international pariah, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi made an abrupt about-face after the fall of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003, renouncing support for terrorism and agreeing to give up Libya’s missiles and weapons of mass destruction. The next year, the United States ended a 18-year trade embargo against Libya and lifted a ban on Americans traveling there.

Who would have thought this was possible, especially with Gadhafi still in power?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Rick DeMent says:

    The �abrupt about-face� was at least 8 years in the making as Gadhafi had bee trying to make a deal to end the sanctions since the Clinton Administration. The only sticking point to bring Libya into the fold was the insistent of the US that reparations for Lockerbie be made completed before the sanctions were dropped. The US and the UN could have made the same deal they ended up making with them in the wake of the invasion of Iraq years before.

    What changed? Simple, the US capitulated to the demand that reparations for Lockerbie be made completed before the sanctions were dropped (to allow Libya to raise the money to pay them). Also Gadhafi was getting heat from the militant wing of the Islamic fundamentalists and needed the coin to fight them off or else he was in real danger of being over thrown. By cutting the deal with Royal Dutch Shell almost before the ink was dry on the reparation agreement and subsequent sanction relief, he had the coin to go about making such the fundies were delt with (also a side benefit for the west)

    The idea that the invasion of Iraq had anything to do with it (other then being an ideal cover story so the US could save face for dropping the central demand we had been making since the 80�s ), is a bunch of non-sense.

    So to answer your question, a lot of people knew for a fact that dropping the reparation demand would have brought Libya back into the fold. The only people who are surprised at this are those who by the meme that Libya saw the writing on the wall after the bold and courageous move by the Bush administration.

  2. Jay says:

    Next up: Cuba

  3. legion says:

    Another reason for Gadhafi’s turnaround is that he’s been focusing on the African issue for a few years now… There’s a movement to create an ‘African Union’ analogous to the EU, and Gadhafi desperately wants to be a Big Wheel in that… Ergo, he must moderate & paly nice witht the outside (and non-Islamic) world.

  4. McGehee says:

    …the US capitulated to the demand that reparations for Lockerbie be made completed before the sanctions were dropped…

    Rick, you might want to be more careful about copy-and-pasting your own stuff.