On ‘Prankster FromnTripoli^nI read Antony T. Sullivan’s “PranksternFrom Tripoli” in the May 1988 issuenwith dismay.nIn April 1986 the United Statesnretaliated against the Libyan regime forna long string of aggressive actions bynMuammar el-Qaddafi against Americansnand U.S. interests. This use ofnforce had remarkable efficacy, fornQaddafi’s bellicosity against the UnitednStates has since then come to a virtualnend. For over two years, the fanatic ofnTripoli has been nearly dormant, andnthere is good reason to expect him tonstay quiet for some time to come.nIn light of this record, it is strange tonread Mr. Sullivan’s condemnation ofnthe American raid and his preferencenfor “silent contempt.” It is even morenpeculiar to learn from Mr. Sullivan thatnthe raid was harmful because it hurtnopposition elements within the Libyannmilitary—an exact counterpart to thenargument purveyed by Soviet apologistsnMOVING?nLET US KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!nTo assure uninterrupted delivery ofnChronicles, please notify us in advance.nSend change of address on this form withnthe mailing label from your latest issue ofnChronicles to: Subscription Department,nChronicles, P.O. Box 800, Mount Morris,nIllinois 61054.nNamenAddress.nCitynState. _Zip_n50 / CHRONICLESnPOLEMICS & EXCHANGESnthat any effort of American assertionnharms the standing of doves in thenKremlin.n—Daniel PipesnPhiladelphia, PAnAntony SullivannRepliesnMr. Pipes repeats the tired mythologynabout the United States bombardmentnof Libya being occasioned by a “longnstring” of aggressive actions mountednby Qaddafi against Americans and U.S.ninterests. In fact, Qaddafi’s terrorismnwas the excuse, not the reason, for thenAmerican bombing of Tripoli andnBanghazi. The number of attacksnlaunched by Libya against Americanntargets was minor compared to thennumber directed against American interestsnby the far more professionalnterrorists in Syria and Iran.nThe principal reasons why the UnitednStates chose to strike at Libya rathernthan at either Syria or Iran were Libya’snmilitary vulnerability, its marginalnrole in Middle East politics, and its lacknof a committed great-power patron.nThe attack on Libya was also launchednto appease the domestic hysteria overnterrorism which the Reagan administrationnhad done much to fan and fromnwhich it benefited politically.nU.S. State Department data showednthat Libya carried out a maximum ofnonly three terrorist attacks againstnAmerican targets during the entire periodnfrom 1980 through 1985, as comparednto a total of 46 against Arab andnAfrican targets. Israeli analysts reportnthat out of 408 terrorist incidents recordednduring 1985, Libyan hit teamsnwere responsible for only 11, eight ofnwhich were directed at Libyanndissidents. A U.S. State Departmentnreport shows that during 1985 Syrianand Iran each mounted some 30 ter­nnnrorist attacks (mostly through surrogates),nwith the United States as thenprimary target. In 1985 Islamic Jihad,nwhich is closely affiliated with Iran,nkidnaped four Americans in Lebanon.nIt is surely difficult to argue that bynearly 1986 Libya had perpetrated anninordinate number of attacks againstnAmerican targets or constituted such anthreat to U.S. national security thatnmilitary action was imperative.nContrary to what Mr. Pipes asserts,nQaddafi has hardly been “nearly dormant”nduring the last two years. Neverna major threat to the United States, hendoes continue to control a terroristnnetwork which U.S. officials fear hasnthe potential to cause significant instabilitynin several African countries. InnMay 1988 L. Paul Bremer III, thenU.S. State Department’s ranking authoritynon terrorism, described Qaddafinas “active” and an instigator of terroristnactions worldwide through the JapanesenRed Army organization and thenpsychotic Palestinian renegade AbunNidal who now has his operationalnheadquarters in Tripoli. During Apriln1988 alone, U.S. officials detectednQaddafi’s fingerprints on five terroristnoperations in three Latin Americannnations and one European country.nThe fact is that the American raidndid shore up Qaddafi’s position asndictator and has discouraged actionnagainst him by his opponents in thenLibyan military.nIn 1985 and early 1986, Qaddafinwas in trouble. The Libyan army wasnincreasingly opposed to his curtailmentnof its power in favor of the “armednmasses” led by the RevolutionarynCommittee which Qaddafi had created.nIn the spring of 1985, Libyannofficers made two attempts to assassinatenQaddafi. A third attempt wasnmade in August 1985. In Novembern1985, a nervous Qaddafi evidentlynarranged for the assassination of ColonelnHassan Ishkal, the commander ofn