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Libyan Writer Saleh Boutelag

Monday, 6 June, 2005

Send Letters To Your Congressmen And Your Senators
By: Saleh Butelaq

The Honorable (name of congressman)
(office number) Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable (name of senator)
(office number) Hart Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Re. Darfur Accountability Act (you don’t have to include this subject, you pick what you like)

Dear Senator (name)

I understand that you are introducing legislation calling for UN Security Council Resolution that will impose sanctions on the government of the Sudan. I very much appreciate your moral stand and hope that you succeed in focusing the world attention on Darfur tragedy before it becomes another Rwanda.

I’m an American citizen with roots in Libya, which borders the Darfur region of the Sudan, and I am familiar with the history of the region. Back in the 1980’s, when the government of Libya headed by Colonel Moammar El-Gadhafi invaded Chad, it established good relations with the Baggara Arab tribes in the region. It is a fact that these same Baggara tribes make up the Janjaweed militia which is terrorizing the non-Arab inhabitants of Darfur. Early on, Gadhafi financed and armed those Janjaweed fighters to act as a buffer force between his regime and his opponents who had gathered in Chad and were planning to invade Libya from the south to depose his regime. The plans to depose Gadhafi by invading Libya from Chad were scrapped, but the Janjaweed militia, armed and trained by Gadhafi, stayed. The rest is history as they say. But history doesn’t have to repeat itself; therefore we should focus our efforts on the one actor who bears great responsibility for inflaming this conflict.

Here is a brief history of Gadhafi and his 36 year old regime, which will illustrate his terrorist past and clarify his present.

1. In the 1970’s Gadhafi supported the butcher of Kampala; Idi Amin Dada who murdered thousands of his own people and countless others.

2. In the Americas, Gadhafi financed and armed many terrorist organizations and regimes from the communist government on the island of Grenada, the Sandinistas of Nicaragua, and Fidel Castro’s dictatorship in Cuba. He even sent his agents to assassinate the late president Reagan in 1981.

3. In December, 1988 his agents blew up Pan Am Flight 103 over the village of Lockerbie, Scotland killing 270 innocent people, including almost 200 American citizens on board. For this heinous crime he paid $10 million in blood money for each of his victims, and we forgave and forgot. If our State Department bureaucrats have their way, we will remove Gadhafi’s regime from our list of state sponsors of terrorism, re-establish diplomatic relations with his regime and open an embassy in Tripoli before the end of this year. If Usama Bin Laden took control of the government of Saudi Arabia and its oil revenue and agreed to pay for his victims like Gadhafi, would we be ready to deal with him, too? What is the difference between the two?

4. Again, in September, 1989 Gadhafi’s agents blew up a French UTA jet over the Niger desert, killing 170 innocents. The court convicted Gadhafi’s brother in-law and five other Libyans in absentia for the bombing and sentenced them for life in prison. Again, Gadhafi paid the French blood money and was rewarded with a visit to his infamous tent by the French president.

5. In April, 1986 Gadhafi’s agents bombed La Belle discotheque in Berlin, killing two Americans soldiers and a Turkish woman, and injuring well over 200 people including 79 American servicemen. Intercepted messages between Tripoli and Gadhafi’s agents in Europe revealed that Colonel Gadhafi was the brains behind the attack. President Reagan ordered Air Force fighter jets to raid Tripoli and Libya’s second largest city, Benghazi. The attack was widely viewed as an attempt to kill Gadhafi. He survived, but scores of innocent Libyans were killed. A Berlin court ruled in 2001 that the bombing was organized by the Libyan Secret Service and that they were aided by the Libyan Embassy in then-communist East Berlin. It sentenced five Libyan agents to prison terms for carrying out the bombing. Gadhafi paid the victims of his crime and was rewarded for his generosity when the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder paid him a visit in his tent somewhere in the Libyan Desert.

6. On April 17, 1984, Gadhafi’s “diplomats” doubling as terrorists fired on demonstrators in front of the Libyan Embassy in London killing policewoman Yvonne Fletcher. He paid her family and the UK re-established diplomatic relations with his regime and Prime Minister Tony Blair made a pilgrimage to Gadhafi’s tent, as has Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister of Spain and many other European leaders.

7. David Crane, the American chief prosecutor of the new U.N. war crimes court in Sierra Leone revealed last year that there was a ten year plan to put a Gadhafi surrogate in charge of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Côte d'Ivoire, then moving into Guinea and then elsewhere as the plan developed. The court linked Charles Taylor (the deposed leader of Liberia, and a graduate of Gadhafi’s school of terrorists) and Gadhafi to the arming and financing of the Revolutionary United Front of Côte d'Ivoire, whose leader Foday Sankoh was a classmate of Taylor’s in the same school.

8. With revenues from Libya’s oil reserves, the third largest in the world, Gadhafi was able to buy the support of many of Africa’s corrupt leaders, and render the African Union useless. The AU with Gadhafi pulling its strings through his surrogates has failed in every way possible, with the UN taking over its only peace keeping mission in Burundi.

I could go on and on, filling volumes and it still wouldn’t be enough to cover all of Gadhafi’s adventures across the globe for the last 36 years of his rule in Libya. His influence can be documented in any place where death and destruction abound, from Angola to Zimbabwe; from Nicaragua to Northern Ireland; from the Philippines to the Sudan and many places in between. He has used billions of dollars from Libya’s oil revenues to foment strife anywhere he can and will continue doing so if we let him, simply because he can.

I applaud your efforts to find a solution to the conflict in Darfur and to avert a repeat of Rwanda. But I can assure you that all these efforts will be in vain if we focus on what Gadhafi pledges and promises, ignoring his deeds and actions. As I stated above, the Janjaweed are Gadhafi’s thugs, now in the service of his bosom body Omar Al-Bashir, the dictator of Sudan. Both came to power by overthrowing legitimate governments in their countries. Gadhafi must be held responsible for the wanton destruction befalling those poor defenseless Darfurians. If we are to stop the flow of weapons and food to the Janjaweed, we must begin by stopping Gadhafi. There are documented instances where the aid provided by the US government for the victims of the Janjaweed and trucked through Libya, actually ending up in the hands of the Janjaweed instead of their victims. The truck convoys that carry the US aid are owned and run by Gadhafi’s Secret Services and used as a cover to ship his materiel support to the Janjaweed. The drivers of these trucks have been talking to anyone who is willing to listen. They say that the US Government has been duped by Gadhafi into believing that he is a changed man and that he is out to help solve the Darfur conflict.

Treating Gadhafi like a spoiled rich child with billions in oil revenues will not help us fix anything in Africa, the Middle East or anywhere we encounter his ilk. Just last year, your colleague Senator Joe Biden of Delaware talked Gadhafi into releasing one of the many of his political opponents he keeps in his jails. Cynically, he was thrown back in jail two weeks later, this time with his wife and son. This man, Mr. Fathi El-Jahmi, who was mentioned by President George Bush by name in one of his speeches, is a civil servant who is known to openly criticize Gadhafi’s dictatorship and calling for democracy and elections. To this day, he is still held incommunicado and when a team from Physicians for Human Rights was able to visit him they reported that he was in bad health and in need of urgent medical attention that he was not getting in his prison. They recommended that he be released immediately and be taken to where he can be given the proper medical treatment that he needs. The Committee on the Present Danger, whose distinguished members include Messrs. George P. Shultz, R. James Woolsey, Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic, and Jose Maria Aznar of Spain, sent a letter requesting the immediate release of Mr. El-Jahmi, but the letter went unanswered by the dictator of Libya who keeps thumbing his nose even at President of the United States of America.

We need to show Gadhafi that his meddling in Darfur is known to us and we intend to stop it. Our efforts to spread democracy in the Middle East do not give exemption to the likes of his and Sudan’s dangerous and abusive dictatorships. We should not establish a normal relationship with Gadhafi. We should wait until we can lend support to a legitimate government, democratically elected by the people of Libya. To this end, there are many courageous Libyans inside and outside the country who are hard at work trying to peacefully oust Gadhafi's regime and establish a democratic Libya at peace with the world and more urgently with its neighbors. They are asking for your help in opposing any attempt to normalize relation with Gadhafi's regime, and to support their efforts by applying pressure on him to to submit his 36 years old regime to the test of openly contested elections supervised by international observers.

For further information or clarification I'll be happy to talk to you or your staff at your and their convenience.

Thank you for taking the time to read my messsage.

(your name telephone number and addresss here)

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