Libyan Oil Buys Allies for Gaddafi

(New York Times) Jeffrey Gettleman - Elhadj Maiga is a Gaddafi recruiter, scrambling to assemble a pipeline of young men from Mali to go and fight for The Great Leader. "We're all ready to die for him," Maiga said. "He's done so much for us, after all." Maiga prays at a mosque that Gaddafi built; he watches television on the Malian national network that Gaddafi set up in the 1980s; and he admires the gleaming new $100 million Mali government complex that Gaddafi is helping pay for. Gaddafi has bought allegiance in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa through investments in governments, rebel groups, luxury hotels, Islamic organizations, rubber factories, rice paddies, diamond mines, supermarkets and countless OiLibya gas stations. Many members of the nomadic Touaregs, who roam across the deserts of Mali, Niger, Algeria and Libya, see Gaddafi as their champion. When thousands of Touaregs fled into Libya in the 1970s and 1980s, Gaddafi welcomed them with open arms and trained them as soldiers. Touareg elders say that many of the so-called African mercenaries Gaddafi is now relying on to suppress the revolts are actually Touaregs who have been serving in the Libyan Army for years.

2011-03-17 00:00:00

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