'Gaddafi is capable of anything'

In this week’s 20 Questions, the Moshe Dayan Center's Yehudit Ronen addresses the current upheaval in Libya.

20 questions 58 (photo credit: courtsey)
20 questions 58
(photo credit: courtsey)
In this week’s 20 Questions, we are joined by Yehudit Ronen, a senior research scholar at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University. Prof. Ronen is also a political science lecturer at Bar Ilan University and is the author of Qaddafi’s Libya in World Politics (Lynne Rienner Publishers), a seminal book on today's 20 Questions' topic.
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When asked how far Muammar Gaddafi would be willing to go to stay in power, Ronen opined that the Libyan leader's unstable persona makes it difficult to accurately predict his future actions. Although exploding oil fields is "crazy," nothing can be put past Gaddafi should he feel sufficiently threatened. With regards to WMDs, Gaddafi felt cheated by the US and regretted his decision to cease chemical and biological weapons manufacturing.
According to Ronen, since the military is a reflection of all of Libya's tribal and political forces, there is a possibility that the army may side with the tribes and defect.
In light of the unrest in Libya, the two key concerns for the West are terrorism and oil. Terrorist groups including Al-Qaida are entrenched in Southern Libya while climbing oil prices (Libya's oil is 2 percent of world output) are drastically affecting global markets.
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