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Peace with Libya and War on Terror
Publication date: 2004-03-29

Tony Blair Shook Hands with Muammar al-Qathafi - What are the Consequences?

The decision by the Libyan government to give up its WMD development efforts is heralded as a direct consequence of the Iraq War. But the Libyans were moving in that direction still before the Iraq War and for their own reasons.

Nor is the hostility of the Libyan government towards al‐Qaida is due to the Blair visit. The Qathafi government were in conflict with Al‐Qaida well before the 9/11 and the American War on Terror — and again for their own reasons.

And yet the Qathafi‐Blair handshake was indeed an important development.

The importance of this development is in the acceptance by Tony Blair that it is possible to deal and shake hands with persons who were previously vilified and branded “terrorists”.

In itself this is not new either. All the former European colonies, and this is most of the countries in Africa and Asia, are or were governed by people who were once vilified and called “terrorists”. Once these countries became independent, the governments of the ex‐colonial powers began to shake hands and deal with the “ex‐terrorists”.

But since one of the main principles of the War on Terror doctrine is that there can be no dealing with terrorists, and Tony Blair is one of the most faithful supporters of the War on Terror doctrine, to shake hands with a man formerly branded as terrorist is an important development in Tony Blair's thinking.

And it is the ability of those in government to change their thinking that will eventually lead to the peace and security in the world.

This, however, can be a slow and painful process.

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