Merchant of Death
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Blood from Stones

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Muamar Qaddafi Tries a Return to his Islamic Roots
Ever the chameleon on the international stage, Libyan dictator Muamar Qaddafi is making a play to return to his Islamic roots and play the role that Sudan did under the leadership of Hasan al-Turabi-a bridge between Shi'ite and Sunni camps to form a broader Islamic nation.

According to translations of recent Qaddafi speeches provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute, the aging leader, who had in recent years turned his back on Arabs and declared himself an pan-Africanist, is now calling for the recreation the Shi'ite _Fatimid_ state, which ruled northern Africa from the 10th to the 13th centuries.

I have long argued that, given his constant meddling in sub-Saharan Africa, his support for Mugabe in Zimbabwe and his gross abuses of human rights, that Qaddafi was not a reliable partner in any way, for virtually anything, despite getting his country taken off the state sponsors of terrorism list.

His list of other atrocities are also long. He provided the initial training to Charles Taylor, Foday Sankoh, Blaise Compaore, Laurent Kabila and a host of others whose brutality across Africa have left the continent crippled.

When he was not accepted as a an Arab statesman, he turned his back on all things Arab and began efforts to buy the Africa Union, the successor to the Organization of African States. He paid the dues of many of the poorer countries in exchange for their backing of his obscure and constantly-changing agenda.

Now he is back on the Arab side, declaring there is no difference between Sunni and Shi'ite and that the divisions are being created by "colonalism." It is a rambling and sometimes incoherent discourse, as most of Qaddafi's are.

What does his return to the Arab fold hold and his laundry list of complaints against the West and non-Muslims? With Qaddafi, it is impossible to tell. But his changes are usually accompanied by outpouring of resources for whatever his new, favorite projects are.

It will be worth keeping an eye on this mercurial character and his tendency to attract and support some of the world's most unsavory characters.
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