U.S. and Libyan Forces Clash over Gulf of Sidra (Great Events: 1900-2001)
Article abstract: The clash between American and Libyan forces in the Gulf of Sidra in March, 1986, was one of the two countries’ many political and legal disagreements.
On November 3, 1985, The Washington Post reported that President Ronald Reagan had allowed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to carry out a secret operation to “destabilize” the rule of Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi in Libya. On November 10, Qaddafi responded that if this report was true, he would “undermine America from inside.” There were terrorist attacks in the airports of Rome, Italy, and Vienna, Austria, on December 27, and a radical Palestinian group was believed to be responsible. The United States accused Libya of helping this group.
On December 31, 1985, the Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram reported that about two thousand Soviet advisers had arrived in Libya in the previous few days to operate SAM-5 (surface-to-air) antiaircraft missile batteries. A week later, President Reagan ordered that all American economic ties with Libya be cut. He told Americans working in Libya that they should leave.
On January 15, Qaddafi declared that Libya would train, arm, and protect “suicide and terrorist missions” to help liberate Palestine. On March 4, the Libyan cabinet stated that hit squads should be formed to attack Israeli and American targets.
(The entire section is 903 words.)
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