Recently President Obama told Lybia’s Moammar Gadhafi that he had to go. However, for the last year or so the US had been negotiating an arms deal with Gadhafi. The $77 million dollar deal would provide him with at least 50 refurbished M-113 armored personnel carriers.
However, Congress balked, concerned that the deal would improve Libyan army mobility, and they questioned the administration’s goals. The congressional concerns delayed the deal until the revolt in the country blew the sale. Then, last week, after all military exports to Gadhafi were suspended, the State Department announced that the deal was dead along with the rest of “what limited defense trade we had with Libya.”
Gadhafi’s desire to upgrade his troop carriers was so intense that our diplomats in Tripoli were told in 2009 that the dictator’s sons, Khamis and Saif, were demanding swift action.
Obama’s interest in the deal was apparently a first cautious step toward allowing a major arms purchase by Gadhafi even as US officials refused other Libyan requests for weapons systems and military aid. It is said that our diplomats had repeatedly warned the Gadhafi regime that “we would not discuss the possibility of lethal U.S. arms sales until Libya made significant progress on human rights issues, visas and other areas of bilateral relationship.”
So, once again, US foreign policy was working in two directions at the same time, confusing everyone. We are a laughing stock internationally.