Gadhafi says Islamists suspected of ties to Al Qaeda arrested, warns against US attack on Iraq
Libya will no longer be a rogue state, and it has arrested some Islamists suspected of links with the al-Qaeda group, Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi has said.
In the future, Libya will merge its foreign policy with that of the African Union and will follow an African line on relations with the United States and Israel, Gadhafi said during a speech Saturday marking the anniversary of the 1969 coup in which he took power, according to AP.
He revealed that his country had detained some Islamic fundamentalists and former fighters from Afghanistan who were thought to be connected to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network. Gadhafi had previously said he would cooperate with the war on terrorism, however he had not spoken of detaining people linked to al-Qaeda.
He said the detainees for whom he did not give a number would be treated the same way the US treats its terror suspects at its Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba.
Speaking to a crowd of several thousand people in the southern city of Sibha, Gadhafi warned Washington against any invasion of Iraq to overthrow President Saddam Hussein.
"The Americans and British must understand that the collapse of the Iraqi regime will turn Iraq into another Afghanistan," he said.
"Saddam Hussein's regime is better for them. It is a strong regime" that will not allow Islamic extremists to take over, he said. Moreover, Gadhafi argued, a US-British attack on Iraq would give a "big boost" to Osama bin Laden.
"He (Osama bin Laden) will say - - 'I had every reason (for targeting America). The Muslim world is targeted'," Gadhafi stated.
Gadhafi's speech, which lasted over two hours, was broadcast live on Libyan state television. "Now, no one can say Libya is a rogue state. There is no Libyan policy. This is an African policy ... which represents Libya and Lesotho (alike)," Gadhafi said, referring to a country at the opposite end of the African continent.
"If any country now snubs Libya, then it snubs the whole of Africa," he said. "In the old days, they called us a rogue state. They were right in accusing us of that. In the old days, we had a revolutionary behavior ... We acted like an independent state and we put up with the consequences of our action."
"We are no longer rogues of the African Union, therefore this accusation is null," Gadhafi said. "We have to act (in accordance with) the African Union's (interests) even with the United States," he said. The same went for Israel.
"The policy of the African Union toward the Zionist entity (Israel), we are part of," he said, adding that some African countries had diplomatic ties with Israel and others did not. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)