Yet another shift in Libyan strategy could be at hand. According to the BBC, the Brother Leader is fed up with Africa playing hard to get:
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has threatened to turn his back on Africa if the continent's leaders again reject his proposals for closer unity.(Full and marvellous speech here.) This comes on the heels of a series of Qadhafi declarations, last year, that Libya has "turned its back on the Arabs". That's how estranged this old stalwart of Arab nationalism has become from his fellow Arab nations, after they time and again failed to lend proper support to his grand anticolonial schemes, and his multitude of union projects crashed and burned one after the other: with Syria and Egypt in 1971; only Egypt in 1972; Tunisia in 1972 and 1974; Syria in 1980; Morocco in 1984; and all the whole Maghreb region in 1989. He finally parted company with pan-Arabism, or at least active promotion of it, in the late 1980s, after deciding that it was time to mend fences with the West, and realizing to his distress that he was the only Arab leader left to take the idea seriously. That was when he turned his attention to Africa, hoping for a warmer reception there.
Unfortunately, few African nations have lent more than verbal support to this idea, and even that has tended to be of the muttering and smirking kind; one AU summit after the other has dodged his proposals. The dear Colonel is clearly stung by the rejection, and has now issued a powerful "or else" -- he says that the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya is considering to pull out of the continent's politics altogether, if Africans won't come together as of right now. That's right, Africa: shape up or you'll see no more support for armed rebel movements, no more meddling in others' internal affairs, no more hallucinatory rambles during AU summits, and no more random alienating of important allies.
Should this threat somehow fail to have the intended effect on his fellow African statesmen, Qadhafi already knows where to set his sights next. The official Jamahiriyya News Agency, JANA, has quoted him explaining his options:
- If we invest 5 billion or 10 billion in the Mediterranean Sea, we will be the most influential country in the Mediterranean Sea, the Arab [world] or in Europe.So regional domination is still the plan, it seems, even if he might need to revise his cost analysis. The question is merely what region to dominate. Unmentioned, but certainly among the more likely alternatives, is the one area that our darling Colonel hasn't seriously tried to federate yet -- the Maghreb, with a dormant union project already in place, and with supporting plans for Mediterranean integration being pushed hard by his friends in Europe.
Beware, North Africans, and take his word for it: there is no obstacle and no African or Arab negativism that cannot be overcome by Muammar al-Qadhafi's unstoppable optimism, billions and billions in oil money, and perhaps the odd explosive charge. As a recipe for Libyan great power status, it's bound to succeed eventually -- and you bet he's going to keep trying.