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Desert storm II

Imagine what would happen if the US and its western allies went to war with a "rogue" state which possessed nuclear and chemical weapons. François Heisbourg peers through the sandstorm

By prospect   January 1998

In 2012, Colonel Muammar Gadaffi celebrated his 70th birthday with a great military parade and a fireworks display on the Tripoli waterfront. Only two of his peers stood at his side on the reviewing stand: Fidel Castro (aged 85) of Cuba and Saddam Hussein (aged 75) of Iraq. His other anti-imperialist friends had died or been overthrown. Gadaffi knew that he was himself a dying man; his physician had diagnosed the onset of Creutzfeldt Jakob disease.

Despite its oil, Gadaffi’s police-state was a wreck after 40 years of economic mismanagement. Neighbouring Tunisia, a fraction of Libya’s size, had meanwhile become…

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