Ann Marlowe’s outstanding contribution to foreign affairs is easy to discern because she reports from regions that aren’t easily covered. Having dominated the Levant, she’s moved on to cover Libya, Tunisia and the original fault line that began it all, Algeria. These aren’t easy subjects to engage from the wide disparate range of informing social, political trajectories that embody a previous unity called the Maghreb or Barbary coast.
Throughout North Africa and the Sahel, time has frozen since France disengaged from west Africa beginning under de Gaulle. Ann Marlow’s return to an original geopolitical fault line should fortify those willing to unveil ugly truths about Qaddafi, the French enlightenment and the future of Islamism in western Europe.
Marlow reveals how Qaddafi’s longtime spy chief Abdullah Senussi has been spotted dining at fancy restaurants at the Tripoli hotel since being released from prison in July 2015. Although sentenced to death for decades of officially sanctioned murder, his release portends a unwelcome reckoning for fellow Libyans.
Abdullah Senussi was responsible for murdering 170 people on a UTA flight 772 on September 19, 1989. Qaddafi’s anger at witnessing France outmaneuver regional competitors in the Libyan-Chad conflict remains the ideological cause for blowing up flight 772.
Having departed from Brazzaville, Congo, stopping in N’Djamena, Chad. A Congolese named Apollinaire Mangatany loaded a suitcase of explosives onto the flight. The plane broke apart mid-flight and plunged into the Niger desert.
Authorities pieced together wreckage to assemble a green plastic circuit board tied to a German electrician who sold timers to Taiwan. Libyan officials provided plausible deniability in forging alias’ that they were seeking battery operated timers for runway lights. Sealing the deal, the Libyan Mukhabarat (intelligence services) serviced Qaddafi’s terror ambitions. Flight 772 would be a dry run for Lockerbie. Qaddafi’s service agents named Abdel-baset al-Megrahi and Lamin Khalifah Fhimah rendered terror again on December 21, 1988 over Scotland, killing 259 passengers.
In 2007, a memorial was built in the Niger desert to memorialize those murdered in flight 772. Building a haunting silhouette of a airplane using black volcanic rock, the memorial is best witnessed using satellites.
Check out Ann Marlow’s latest on Libyan terror agents in The Weekly Standard, reviewing Stuart H. Newberger’s book The Forgotten Flight: Terrorism, Diplomacy & the Pursuit of Justice.