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JSPES, Vol. 29, No. 4 (Winter 2004)
pp. 373-394

Oil, Terrorism, and Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Libyan Diplomatic Coup

Gawdat Bahgat

For almost three decades Libya was considered a "pariah state" based on its involvement in terrorist operations against Western targets and its efforts to acquire and develop chemical, biological, and nuclear capabilities. Since the late 1990s there has been a dramatic shift in Tripoli's attitude toward international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This essay seeks to examine the reasons for this change in Libya's policy, and its impact on the country's hydrocarbon industry and global energy security. The study suggests that economic stagnation, multilateral economic and diplomatic pressure, and new regional and international dynamics, forced the Libyan leadership to change course.