In the final months of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime China offered to sell him millions of dollars worth of guns and ammunition. Recently uncovered documents suggest that Beijing, and other governments, may have publicly claimed neutrality, but actually supported and helped the fallen dictator.
Documents obtained by The Globe and Mail show that arms manufacturers in China were ready to sell more than $200-million worth of guns and ammunition to Gadhafi.
The documents do not show that Ghadafi received any military assistance, but they do show that countries like China, Algeria and South Africa, may not have had Libya’s best interest at heart.
The Globe and Mail notes that Libya is currently dividing the massive energy surplus and selecting foreign firm to aid the country’s reconstruction. Libya may not be reluctant to trust the Chinese government.
Omar Hariri, chief of the transitional council’s military committee, said:
“I’m almost certain that these guns arrived and were used against our people.”
The recently discovered memo details a trip that Gadhafi’s security officials took from Tripoli to Beijing. The officials met with three state-controlled weapons manufacturers in China, where they were told that they could have access to all the weapons they needed.
Gadhafi’s men talked about purchasing “truck-mounted rocket launchers, fuel-air explosive missiles, anti-tank missile, and the QW-18, a surface-to-air missile small enough for a soldier to carry on his shoulder,” according to the Globe and Mail.
So why is this such a big deal? NATO issued an arms embargo and banned any military assistance to Libya. China was reluctant to agree, but voted in favor of the arms embargo.
While Libya rebuilds, it will be looking to form good relationships with all countries. Mohammed Sayeh, a member of the National Transitional Council, said that Libya will forgive China, Algeria, and South Africa, but it won’t forget what they have done.
“We will start a new era. We will forgive them, but we will not forget.”