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Libyan secret service man goes green…

Moussa Koussa at the UN in Sept. 2010

(BRUSSELS2) Alain Juppé spoke of “next defections” in Gaddafi's entourage. This seems to be happening. Moussa Koussa, after a few days on “vacation” in Tunisia, arrived in London late evening (Wednesday). According to the Foreign Office, the man came of his own free will and resigned from all his functions (read the press release here). A return to his roots… for the man who began his career as Libyan ambassador to the United Kingdom.

A diet heavyweight

Moussa Koussa is not just anyone. Born in Tripoli, he is one of the regime's heavyweights, a trusted man of Gaddafi and a fan of hard knocks and backroom negotiations. A man in the secret services, he is first responsible for the security of embassies abroad, in short to eliminate opponents living in exile. He served a brief stint as ambassador in London before being expelled in June 1980 for publicly declaring that he intended to neutralize two opponents. Member of the board of revolutionary committees, then of Mathaba, the office responsible for exporting the Libyan revolution in the 1980s, he was responsible in particular for supporting the “liberation movements”, in Africa or Latin America, providing “arms and money ” and more if necessary… Moussa Koussa was notably suspected of having prepared or planned the attacks against PanAm and UTA planes at the end of the 1980s, and of having been involved in the Berlin attack in a nightclub frequented by American officers (attack which will provoke a US response with strikes aimed at eliminating Colonel Gaddafi).

The architect of the rapprochement with the Anglo-Americans

Officially appointed head of the external security services in 1994, he initiated a turning point and the rapprochement of the regime with the Americans and the British at the end of the 1990s. He collaborated in particular in the fight against terrorism in the 2000s (while the embargo against Libya is still in force). It endorses the destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles. And he negotiated the compensation deal for the victims of the PanAm flight at Lockerbie. It is he who will also be found as a negotiator in the “Bulgarian nurses” affair. He was eventually appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in March 2009. But he appears on the list of people banned from visas in the Schengen zone, at the request of Switzerland, after the affair involving the Colonel's son, Hannibal. He will not rest until he obtains his release, accusing Switzerland of “non-compliance with diplomatic rules” and asking “ Europe, (…) if it wants healthy cooperative relations, to renounce the Swiss list and (to) condemn (r) the practices of this country in matters of diplomatic relations. »

A point of contact for Europeans. Moussa Koussa with the Maltese Borg and the Italian Frattini

He had also become a key interlocutor for Europeans. He was the one the MEPs met with last November to negotiate the framework cooperation agreement between the EU and Libya. Agreement which was to be signed soon... After the United Nations resolution, he sharply criticized “the use of force” and unilaterally proclaimed a ceasefire. Ceasefire immediately violated.

This change to “green” marks one of the first defections in Gaddafi's close entourage and shows the disarray of power. But we can expect anything from the eel that is Moussa Koussa. Very close to Seif, one of Gaddafi's sons, he could also mean a smooth evolution of the regime, keeping power in Tripoli.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).