Musa Kusa, Libya's ‘envoy of death,’ escapes UN sanctions list
Kusa earned the grisly moniker years ago for his role in assassinating and kidnapping opposition figures abroad. After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks Kusa, Gadaffi’s intelligence chief at the time, was directed to cooperate with the CIA on terrorism. The U.S.-educated Kusa reprised the role when the strongman decided to dismantle his weapons of mass destruction programs in exchange for lifting sanctions against the country for its role in the 1989 downing of PanAm Flight 103.
Western diplomats and White House officials described the Libyan sanction list as “dynamic,” meaning Kusa could be included on it at a later date.
“This first block includes those who are most significantly and directly implicated in what has occurred. It doesn't preclude additions to the list depending on what happens going forward,” said a State Department official, who requested anonymity in exchange for discussing the sensitive Libyan situation.
Likewise, said Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, “the president has authorized the Treasury Department to publicly identify for sanctions additional senior government officials as well as those individuals responsible for human rights abuses related to political repression in Libya, so it can and will be a growing list based upon events.”
Six Libyan officials have already been removed from the list of 16 names on the travel ban, presumably, sources said, because they had defected to the opposition.
A Western diplomat called the list “dynamic,” and cautioned that just because a Libyan official’s name is not on the current list, “if doesn’t mean they have impunity” to travel or move money around. At present, he and others noted, Kusa is the West's main contact point with the regime, which probably explains why he is not included in the UN's travel ban.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Sunday that he had been in touch with Kusa by phone.
“I called the Libyan Foreign Minister last night because you still have to communicate to them directly,” Hague told the BBC. “Personally this situation is unacceptable, yes we can still get through on the telephone to the Libyan regime and we use that to say this is an unacceptable situation and you’ve got to take steps to bring it to an end, which in this case means the departure of the regime leaders.”
Colum Lynch contributed to this story.
| February 28, 2011; 8:39 AM ET
Categories: Foreign policy, Intelligence, Lawandcourts | Tags: Musa Kusa; Moammar Gaddafi; President Obama
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