Personality spotlight: Col. Mommar Khadafy, Libyan leader

By United Press International

Moammar Khadafy claims all the answers to the world's problems are in a book that never leaves his desk -- the Koran.

Born in a tent in the Libyan desert to a Bedouin farmer who raised barley and traded horses and camels, Khadafy was catapulted to power in a bloodless coup in 1969. He became one of the Arab world's most controversial and notorious figures.


A strict observer of the Koran, the Moslem holy book, Khadafy outlawed drinking, brothels and casinos when he came to power to ''Arabize'' Libya and rid it of Western influences.

He closed American and British military bases in Libya in 1970 and, in 1972, gave the Soviet Union access to his oil fields in exchange for weapons.

Khadafy considers himself the true revolutionary who could step into the shoes of the late Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser and unite the Arab world.

He reportedly has been involved in plots against the president of the United States, the pope, the king of Saudi Arabia and a string of nations.

He is said to have commissioned international ''hit squads'' to eliminate Libyan opponents living outside the North African country. Some sources charged he even sent a special hit squad, headed by international terrorist Carlos the Jackal, to the United States to assassinate President Reagan and other U.S. officials.


Khadafy offered cash to the outlawed Irish Republican Army if its members would renounce Roman Catholicism for Islam, and offered Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak $5 billion to tear up the Camp David accord with Israel. Mubarak refused.

On Nov. 18, 1984, Mubarak accused Khadafy of financing death squads to kill Arab and Western European leaders, including British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and French President Francois Mitterrand.

Khadafy's behavior has been called erratic. He once threatened King Hussein of Jordan with a pistol.

The late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat labeled the Libyan leader ''an infantile nitwit.''

In February 1985, speaking by satellite to a Nation of Islam International Savior's Day Convention in Chicago, Khadafy said he stood ready to arm a black army in the United States to destroy ''white America'' and set up an independent state.

Khadafy once told Reagan that American Indians originally came from Libya and thus deserved better treatment by the United States.

Libya was implicated in coup attempts in Egypt in April 1974 and in Sudan a month later. He openly supported an abortive coup against King Hassan II of Morocco in 1971.

In December 1984, he double-crossed France on an agreement for a joint pullout of French and Libyan troops from Chad. The French withdrew but the Libyans remained, seriously embarrassing Mitterrand, who apparently thought Khadafy would live up to the bargain.


Khadafy has met with continuing opposition -- some violent.

In May 1984, unidentified commandos attacked his fortress home on the outskirts of Tripoli. Most of the attackers were killed.

Khadafy accused Britain, Sudan and the United States of conspiring to overthrow him.

Britain severed diplomatic relations with Tripoli in April 1984 after a policewoman was shot to death from inside the Libyan Embassy in London.

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