For decades, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's Libya was regarded in the West as a pariah state and one of the major sponsors of terrorism in the world. In 1992, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Libya over the Pan Am passenger jet bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. Libya improved its ties with the West after it handed over the Lockerbie suspects in 2003 and announced it would abandon efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction and allow inspectors into its facilities.
Over the last few years, Libya has been trying to improve its image in the world. The country has restored diplomatic relations with the US and other Western countries.
After a relative absence in the news, Colonel Gaddafi, who became Libya's ruler in 1969 after a military coup, made a comeback on Wednesday after he criticized US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama over his remarks about Israel.
In a recent speech to Jewish activists in Washington, Obama said the bond between Israel and America was "unbreakable" and that as president he "will never compromise when it comes to Israel's security," adding that Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel.
Gaddafi said that "Obama's announcement that unified Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel and that he will support it with $30 billion during the next 10 years, has disappointed the hopes" of both Arabs and Africans.
Apart from the quarrel regarding Israel, Gaddafi, referring to Obama as "our Kenyan brother," said that Obama is "suffering from an inferiority complex because of his African origins," adding that the issue of race is making Obama behave as "more white than white people, rather than acting in solidarity with African and Arab nations."
Everyone should have the right to have an opinion and criticize other points of view. But knowing the history of Colonel Gaddafi’s rule, it’s a bit pathetic for him to debate the "African inferiority complex" or promote "African solidarity."
In the 1980s, Colonel Gaddafi began work on establishing a large Arab state across northern Africa. One of Gaddafi's first steps was to gain control of neighboring Chad. Between 1987 and 1989, Chadian rebels, backed by Libya, used Sudan's province, Darfur, as a base from where they attacked Chad.
With their notions of Arab supremacy, Libyans organized Arab tribes in the region, including Darfur, into an "Islamic Legion" and gave its members military training and weapons to fight what they saw as "inferior Africans."
The legacy of the "Islamic Legion" would remain in Darfur for a long time. Many current Janjaweed leaders, who are believed to be behind the worst atrocities in Darfur that have claimed an estimated 200,000 lives of mainly African Darfurians since 2003, have been trained and supported by Libyans in the 1980s.
During his speech, Gaddafi said that "we fear that Obama will feel that, because he is black with an inferiority complex, this will make him behave worse than the whites."
Africa did suffer greatly from white colonialism and racism, but Colonel Gaddafi failed to mention the Arab slave raids that ravaged the African continent as much as the Western slavery. The whites did behave terribly, as Gaddafi says, but the Arabs were no better, especially in the north and east Africa. Even today in Darfur, Africans are brutally killed by the Arab militias who happen to be initially trained and armed by Colonel Gaddafi.