Friday, May 6, 2011

Gadhafi and Bin Laden's Strange Link

Quick quiz: name the first country to issue an international arrest warrant for the now-deceased Osama bin Laden. The United States you say? No. Kenya perhaps for the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi? Or Saudi Arabia? Great Britain? Spain?

Nope. It was Libya.

A comment on The Guardian's liveblog of developments in the bin Laden story reminded me of this fact, reported here by Sky News. Way back in March 1998, the government of Moammar Gadhafi (yes, that Gadhafi) issued an arrest warrant for bin Laden in connection with the murder of a German man named Sinvan Becker and his wife, who were supposedly visiting Libya as tourists. Only Becker wasn't merely a tourist, he was one of German intelligence's top analysts on Islamic threats in the Arab world. He and his wife were murdered by four gunmen in the town of Sirte in 1994. The Libyans claimed the gunmen worked for a group called "al Muqatila”, al-Qaeda's branch office in Libya. In 1998 the Libyans passed information about the murder, and bin Laden's supposed involvement, off to Interpol, which then issued the international arrest warrant against bin Laden.

It is a strange world…
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