SPIEGEL Interview with Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi 'Switzerland Should be Dissolved as a State'

AFP

Part 3: 'No One is Talking about Throwing Jews into the Sea'


SPIEGEL: In recent years, thousands of people have drowned as they tried to flee from Africa across the Mediterranean to Europe. What can you do to help end this tragedy?

Gadhafi: The European Union should annually pay Libya €5 billion ($6.6 billion) via a special fund to combat illegal immigration. We have a precisely calculated plan to solve this problem.

SPIEGEL: What kind of plan is this?

Gadhafi: We will organize housing and employment projects in the refugees' African countries of origin so they remain there. We will do the same for those who are already in Libya, give them a place to live and create jobs for them. Furthermore, we are bolstering our border security on land and water with modern radar equipment and vehicles.

SPIEGEL: Thanks to its oil revenues, Libya is currently more financially sound than some EU countries. How much does your country actually earn every year from oil?

Gadhafi: I don't know exactly. (Turns to an aide.) But it could be around $50 billion.

SPIEGEL: Why don't you raise this amount yourself?

Gadhafi: We are not going to pay for Europe! After all, these are things that benefit Europe.

SPIEGEL: How are your relations with the US?

Gadhafi: Outstanding.

SPIEGEL: What exactly prompted you to make your surprising turnaround with the Americans?

Gadhafi: The big problem between us was Lockerbie …

SPIEGEL: The bomb attack on an American Boeing 747, which a former agent of the Libyan intelligence service was found guilty of carrying out.

Gadhafi: … but we have solved this.

SPIEGEL: That was back under former US President George W. Bush.

Gadhafi: And then came President Obama.

SPIEGEL: What do you think of Obama? Many Arabs say that he has already failed with his Middle East policies.

Gadhafi: When we speak here of 'failure,' it is not Obama's failure, but rather due to internal American crises. Obama has made no mistakes. In fact, he has achieved a great victory with his health reform, he is sticking to the withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, and he opposes weapons of mass destruction.

SPIEGEL: If you were to advise Obama: How should he proceed with Iran?

Gadhafi: He is taking a very reasonable approach. He is using diplomacy, is not threatening to use violence, military nor terror, as the others did -- Reagan, for instance.

SPIEGEL: And how do you view Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Gadhafi: He is cooperative, a revolutionary, but not aggressive. And he believes that he is right. Why are the Israelis not kept in check by the West? Why do these campaigns always only focus on Syria, Iraq and Iran? Why is Israel omitted when everyone of course knows that Israel has nuclear weapons? If Obama wants to be successful, he has to start by controlling the Israelis and eliminating Israeli weapons of mass destruction, and then he will also be successful in Iran and throughout the entire region.

SPIEGEL: Ahmadinejad says that Israel should be wiped off the map. You on the other hand have spoken for years in favor of a state in which Israelis and Palestinians would live together.

Gadhafi: I don't think that Ahmadinejad means the violent destruction of Israel when he says this. I think he is thinking of a new democratic state structure to replace the current state of Israel -- on the territory of what is geographically Palestine. No one is talking about throwing Jews into the sea.

SPIEGEL: You always supported German unity, even at the height of the Cold War, and in the end you proved to be correct. But you have been proved wrong in some of your other predictions, for example, that there will never be "an Islamic nuclear bomb." What gives you such a sense of confidence in your frequent predictions?

Gadhafi: I look at the facts and calculate the consequences -- and when it came to Germany, it was the same as everywhere in the world: Two and two make four. There is no other answer.

SPIEGEL: Where do you get your facts? Do you watch television? Do you read books?

Gadhafi: I get most of them from the Internet. I constantly sit at my computer. I read in Arabic, but now it is of course also possible to immediately get translations from English.

SPIEGEL: And, based on these facts, what do you predict for the Middle East?

Gadhafi: Either the Dimona nuclear facility in Israel will be removed, and a democratic state for everyone will emerge with no differences between Palestinians and Israelis, or war and strife will continue. Then Israel will be the loser and will disappear like a grain of sand in the sea.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Gadhafi, thank you for this interview.

Interview conducted by Volkhard Windfuhr and Bernhard Zand

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kenbarr 05/13/2010
1. Understandable but misguided
I understand Ra'is Gadhafi's anger over Switzerland, whose ban on minarets is absolutely crazy in a nation that is supposed to guarantee religious freedom. However, his view that it should be dissolved is over the top. His views on Iran and Ahmadinejad are interesting but since the Iranian president is a Holocaust denier, I cannot trust that he is as Gadhafi claims. His point about Israel's nuclear position is justified. I believe that age has mellowed him but I still would say that any relationship with him must be on the basis of trust, but verify.
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