Foreign Relations of Libya Under Muammar Gaddafi - Support For Rebel and Paramilitary Groups

Support For Rebel and Paramilitary Groups

The government of Libya has also received enormous criticism and trade restrictions from western countries and organizations for allegedly providing numerous armed rebel groups with weapons, explosives and combat training. The ideologies of some of these organizations have varied greatly. Most have been nationalist, with some having a socialist ideology; while others hold a more conservative and Islamic fundamentalist ideology.

Paramilitaries supported by Libya past and present include:

  • The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) of Ireland, a left-wing Irish paramilitary group that fought a 29-year war for a United Ireland. See Provisional IRA arms importation for details. Many of the break away Irish Republican groups which oppose the Good Friday Agreement (the Continuity Irish Republican Army and the Real Irish Republican Army) are believed to be in possession of a significant amount of the Libyan ammunition and semtex explosives delivered to the IRA during the 1970s and 1980s.
  • The Palestine Liberation Organization of the disputed territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip received support from Libya, as well as many other Arab states.
  • The Moro National Liberation Front was a right-wing Islamic fundamentalist rebel army which fought in the Philippines against the military dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos
  • Umkhonto we Sizwe – Xhosa, for the "spear of the nation" was originally the military wing of the African National Congress (a multiracial, center-left political party) which fought against the white minority led Apartheid regime in South Africa. During the years of MK's underground struggle the group was supported by Libya.
  • ETA – Basque Fatherland and Liberty, a left-wing Basque separatist group fighting for the independence of the Basques from Spain with ties to the Provisional Irish Republican Army also received training support from Libya in the 1960s and mid-'70s.
  • Libya was also was one the main supporters of the Polisario Front in the former Spanish Sahara – a nationalist group dedicated to ending Spanish colonialism in the region, and from 1975, to combatting the Moroccan occupation of what is now known as Western Sahara. The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) was proclaimed by Polisario on 28 February 1976, and Libya began to recognize the SADR as the legitimate government of Western Sahara starting 15 April 1980. While monetary and military Libyan support for the Sahrawi cause dwindled in the mid-1980s, after a rapprochement with Morocco, the enemy of Polisario, some Sahrawi refugee students are still able to apply for higher education in Libya.

Read more about this topic:  Foreign Relations Of Libya Under Muammar Gaddafi

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