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Gaddafi - friend turned foe

Today, the world saw images of Libyan rebels celebrating the death of their former leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Once despised as a sponsor of world terrorism, President Ronald Reagan dubbed him the “Mad Dog of the Middle East.”But years later, Muammar Gaddafi’s friendship with the Western world blossomed.“Ties between the United States and Libya have taken a remarkable and positive turn in recent years,” once said Senator John McCain.Then in 2009, McCain tweeted, “late evening with Col. Gaddafi at his "ranch" in Libya – interesting meeting with an interesting man.”Less than a decade ago, Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice announced the US was restoring full diplomatic relations with Libya, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had no qualms doing business with Gaddafi and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi got cozy with him at a United Nations Summit in Rome. And from politics to pop stars, icons from Mariah Carey to Beyonce have performed for the Libyan leader.All the while, Western leaders were well aware of the atrocities committed by Gaddafi’s regime. It was no secret that in the mid-90, and estimated 1,200 political prisoners were massacred.  There was no talk of intervention then. But the relationship turned sour early this year, when NATO launched military operations against the country.Today marks a victory for the West – the death of the former Libyan leader, of a good friend turned enemy."From the point of view of the US, Gaddafi was the perfect ally," Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar tells RT. "As long as the oil deals were there . . . it was okay," says Escobar.He adds, however, that things changed quickly, and very recently too."Then last year, in October 2010, Gaddafi's chief of protocol defected to France. He got in touch with French intelligence and they organized basically a coup to start in Benghazi . . . This was how the war started."Today, says Escobar, the hypocrisy is reverberating throughout the galaxy.

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