Libya's Qaddafi rings in 40 years with a guest list to die for(Read article summary)
Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, and Venezuela's Hugo Chávez are all in Tripoli to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Col. Muammar Qaddafi's coup. Will Libya flaunt the Lockerbie bomber at the bash?
And what better way to ring in the 40-year anniversary of the colonel's coup than to invite some of the world's most democratically challenged leaders for a week's worth of lavish festivities?
It really is a guest list to die for.
Sudan's Islamist ruler, Omar al-Bashir, who this year was indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC), sat smiling during a "special" one-day African summit that Mr. Qaddafi held yesterday in his capacity as rotating head of the African Union (AU).
He was joined at the meeting by Zimbabwean independence-hero-turned-dictator Robert Mugabe, who has been blamed for taking his country from being the breadbasket of Africa to an economic basketcase while violently stifling all opposition along the way. (Mr. Mugabe threw himself a lush 85th birthday party earlier this year, complete with a 187-pound cake.)
Qaddafi, however, "is set to flaunt the Lockerbie bomber’s release at the climax of today’s celebrations," report The Times, which gained access to a dress rehearsal of tonight's show. Rather than parade the ill man about, the event's organizers are set to play the videotape of Megrahi's recent arrival to Libya on a giant screen during the finale of a two-hour spectacular show.
What Darfur war?
During yesterday's AU summit, leaders discussed some of the continent's most vexing problems.
Israel is "behind all of Africa's conflicts" Qaddafi said. "As African brothers, we must find solutions to stop the superpowers who are pillaging our continent."
And the war in Darfur? The one that caused the deaths of more than 200,000 people and forced more than 2.5 million to flee their homes? The one former Secretary of State Colin Powell called "genocide"?
That's an internal matter for Sudan, said Qaddafi.
No matter that many of Africa's most influential leaders did not show up for the special summit, those leaders who were there decided that the war in Sudan's troubled Darfur region is over.
Perhaps they hit the "easy button."