AFRICANGLOBE – Muammar Gaddafi had no respect for diplomacy and once asked Ali Abdessalam Triki- who served as Foreign Affairs, African Affairs minister, Ambassador in Paris and Permanent Representative to the United Nations- to deliver a message to King Hassan II, insisting that he tells the king that “he is a reactionary and a collaborator”.
In the book Triki talks about the difficulties encountered while working as a diplomat under an erratic and self-import Gaddafi.
“During his speech at the UN General Assembly in September 2009, Gaddafi took advantage of his presence on the podium to trample on the UN Charter.
“Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon looked very disappointed and wanted to ask him to stop his speech. I told him to take the misfortune patiently because I feared an unpredictable reaction from Gaddafi. I was ashamed to the point of burying my face in my hands. The photo was published in the press.[…]
“Most of the time, he was simply in another world. He was convinced of being an exceptional personality whose mission was to change the world. He was neither conscious of the limits of Libya, nor his own limits as a person.[…]
“When a ruler of his caliber registers modest successes, he rapidly believes himself to be irresistible. […]
“Being a diplomat under Gaddafi was a dog’s profession. There was a constant image repair to the damages caused by his declarations, his mood swings, his mannerisms […]
“He had no respect for diplomacy. He once asked me to deliver a message to King Hassan II, insisting that I tell the king that he is “a reactionary and a collaborator” amid other accusations. Imagine the scene. Of course, the Libyan diplomacy did not deliver such messages. […]
“On another occasion, because he did not like the tone used by Hosni Mubarak to convene an urgent meeting of the Arab League, he wanted to respond by “we are not your servants.” […]
“After the attempted coup against him in 1975, he changed. He no longer trusted anyone. He was obsessed with holding on to power and fighting against anything that might threaten him. […]
“Mid-sentence during a meeting at the Kremlin, Gaddafi glanced at his watch and announced that it was prayer time. The discussions stopped and Gaddafi prayed right there. It was certainly a first at the Kremlin. […]
“The vacuum left by the death of Gamal Abdel Nasser [Former Egyptian president] encouraged the ambitions of those who dreamed of taking his place, including Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein.
“These two men hated each other and threw banana peels in each other’s paths: Saddam armed Hissene Habré [during the Chad -Libyan war] whilst Muammar supported the Kurds, receiving their leaders, Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani. […]
“Gaddafi offered a large sum to Saddam, for the latter to hand over Mohamed el-Megaryef [one of the leaders of the then opposition, now President of Parliament]. He was not successful. […]
“But it worked with Hassan II, who extradited Omar el-Mhichi, a former Gaddafi companion. He was transferred to Tripoli, where he was executed.”
The author, Ghassan Charbel is a Lebanese journalist and writer. He began his career in the reputed Lebanese daily, Annahar before joining Agence France-Presse and the Saudi-owned pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. He has been managing editor of Al-Hayat, another major pan-Arab daily, since 2004. He has published several books of interviews with Arab personalities, including Hariri, Walid Jumblat, Michel Aoun, Nabih Berri, Samir Geagea. Charbel also interviewed Khaled Meshaal, George Habash and Carlos.