Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi reportedly asked for Israel’s help to stem Western coalition airstrikes on his country during the 2011 uprising that led to his downfall.
An envoy from an unidentified third state came to Jerusalem to request diplomatic assistance on behalf of Gaddafi, Army Radio reported on Wednesday. The Libyan leader wanted Israel to use its diplomatic ties with the US and France to stop NATO’s military campaign that, acting on a UN Security Council decision, targeted regime forces as they battled against rebels, the report said.
The envoy reportedly warned that if his regime fell it could endanger Libya and Europe.
Israeli officials carried out a quick assessment and decided not to act, the report said.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the report.
By August 2011 Gaddafi’s forces lost control of most of Libya, but he continued to evade capture. It wasn’t until September 20 that he was murdered by rebels who had captured him alive after his convoy was targeted by NATO aircraft.
During his time in power Gaddafi called for the destruction of Israel and funded various Palestinian terror groups, including the Black September Organization, which carried out the 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic games. Later in his life he pushed for the formation of a joint Israeli-Palestinian state, which he termed “Isratine” in a 2009 New York Times op-ed.
The US in 2011 joined an air campaign in an attempt to prevent Gaddafi’s forces from killing thousands of civilians amid an uprising against his government. Five years later, the country is still in a state of lawless chaos, with a UN-brokered unity government trying to assert itself and a marked presence of Islamic State fighters and other extremists.
On Sunday US President Barack Obama, in an appearance on Fox News Sunday, said his biggest mistake as president was “probably failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do in intervening in Libya.”
Obama had previously conceded that the intervention “didn’t work.”
Raphael Ahren and AP contributed to this report.