Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi has mixed renewed threats to liquidate Libya's expatriate opposition with an olive branch toward France and African countries upset by his military role in Chad.
In a policy speech las week that Westeran analysts characterized as basically defensive, the Libyan leader reiterated many themes ranging from an often threatened oil embargo to justification of his mercurial behavior as pure self-defense. Speaking in the desert city of Shebha, Qaddafi repeated his support for "anit-imperialist" liberation fronts in the Sudan and Oman and his opposition to the United States, Israel, Egypt, the Sudan and other traditional targets.
But, possibly chastened by Libya's isolation in Africa occasioned by the continuing presence of his troops in Chad, Qaddafi seemed to be pulling his punches and stressed the defensive nature of his controversial actions.
For example, Qaddafi went no further than threatening to stop aid to neighboring Niger despite a catalogue of complaints leveled at that country, ranging from shutting down his embassy to cooperating in an "imperialist-inspired" blockade.
When we destroy one link of this chain of the blockade around us they try to create another link," he said. Also threatened with a Libyan aid cutoff were the former Portuguese colony of Guinea-Bissau and any other African nation taking part in "agression or joining [any] anit-Libyan campaign concerning Libya's role in Chad."
Underlining the complex and often ambivalent relations between France and Libya, Qaddafi offered "consultations or a meeting at the highest level" with the Paris government, but said, "The ball is now in the French court."
As has become his standard practice, he contrasted France's "black and dirty" colonial role as a "plunderer," "monopolist," and "enslaver" in Africa with his own vision of African unity without interference from non-african powers. "France must choose," he said.
Qaddafi seemed to be underlining the vulnerability of French policy, which still tolerates his "revolutionary" actions -- in the name of oil and bilateral economic deals, according to critics -- except when French interests are directly harmed, as was the case in Chad. France's black African allies -- especially staunch backers such as Senegal and the Ivory Coast -- are still angry with France for allowing Qaddafi to take over in Chad.
Justifying the assassination of Libyan exiles in Europe last summer and possibly prefiguring a renewed wave of political murders overseas. Qaddafi said, the "physical and final liquidation of the opponents of popular authority [his name for his decentralized system of the government] must continue at home and abroad. We fear no one."
He provided no details and said he was stressing this policy "despite the absurd, biased and ignorant propaganda by enemies."
As he has done before, he drew a distinction between terroism and revolutionary violence. "Revolutionary violence" should only be used at specific times, on a specific scale and under specific conditions, he argued, for otherwise it would become terrorism and endanger Libyan revolution.