A firsthand account of the fall of Gaddafi and the processes that caused it.
Chorin (Translating Libya: The Modern Libyan Short Story, 2008), co-founder of a trauma center in Benghazi and one of the first U.S. diplomats to return to Libya after the lifting of international sanctions in 2004, considers the 2011 intervention “one of the largest ironies of the Libyan revolution,” examining how, in the seven years after sanctions were lifted, arms sales and commercial deals were permitted to proceed. The author makes a strong case that the U.S. and U.K., in particular, “were so obsessed with completing other narratives on terrorism and counter-proliferation…that they never stated what Gaddafi was expected to do…to remain in their good graces.” Consequently, he was allowed to conclude significant oil and gas deals, which generated funds for the purchase of weapons and systems that strengthened his internal police state. Chorin details the divisions within the Bush administration on how to proceed, while highlighting those who believed “Gaddafi's conversion was about as likely as sticky three-fingered aliens landing on the White House lawn.” The author situates his narrative within a discussion of Libya's history, providing background on the discovery of oil and the origins of the industry and tracing the roots of the regime to the scars left by the Italian occupation under Mussolini. He discusses the existing internal and external oppositions and shows how Gaddafi used his rehabilitation to both co-opt and eliminate opponents. While Libya's revolt appears to have erupted suddenly, Chorin ably demonstrates how failed policies of the past contributed to its inevitability.
A strongly written book that sheds new light on a still-developing story.