Report: Libya’s Gadhafi Asked Israel to Help Save His Regime

YERUSHALAYIM -
Destroyed buildings are pictured after clashes between military forces loyal to Libya's eastern government and Islamist fighters, in Benghazi, Libya, February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori
Destroyed buildings are pictured after clashes between military forces (loyal to Libya’s eastern rulers) and Islamist terrorists, in Benghazi, Libya, Feb. 28. (Reuters/Esam Omran Al-Fetori)

Former Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi reached out to Israel in order to remain in power – asking Israeli diplomats to appeal to Western powers to stop their campaign against him. Israel did not respond, a report on Army Radio said Wednesday, and as a result the Gadhafi government fell, leaving Libya an unorganized jumble of criminal gangs, Islamist terror groups, tribes, and warlords.

In a Fox News interview Sunday, when asked what was the biggest mistake of his two terms in office, U.S. President Barack Obama replied:”Probably failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do in intervening in Libya,” adding that the U.S. and its coalition partners in NATO – particularly Britain and France – should have thought more deeply about who or what would replace Gadhafi after he was ousted by coalition forces and rebel groups.

The Army Radio report quoted Gadhafi as warning that there would be a major loss of control if he was ousted without a proper transfer of power. Gadhafi was more or less forced out of power in September 2011, as NATO had been helping rebel groups to overthrow the long-time Libyan leader. On the run, Gadhafi was captured by rebels on October 20, 2011, and killed on the spot.

In a recording from earlier in 2011, Gadhafi is heard appealing to Arab states to persuade Western countries to stop their attacks on him, because he would likely be replaced by Islamist groups, “and this would be terrible for Europe.” Gadhafi said that he was prepared to negotiate, but that the massive bombings against his forces needed to stop.

Through back channels, Gadhafi apparently made the same appeal to Israel, the Army Radio report said. Gadhafi asked Israel to “use its influence with the West to save his government, before Libya was torn apart,” the report said. “In retrospect, it appears that he was right.”

Israel considered the request but in the end turned it down, the report said, believing that at that point it would have been impossible to convince Western powers to back down. The report added that Gadhafi had felt comfortable appealing to Israel because “he had already years before become reconciled to Jews and even to Israel, even though there were no official relations between the two countries.”