Moussa Koussa’s offer to use his experience to help rebuild Libya has been rebuffed by the new administration in Tripoli. September 8.
The defection of Libya’s foreign minister, Musa Kusa, has been hailed as evidence that the military intervention is having a positive impact. But it is better explained by the role he played in the elimination of Libya’s WMD programs. 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. Among the files we discovered at Musa Kusa’s office is a fax from the CIA dated 2004 in which the CIA informs the Libyan government that they are in a position to capture and render Abdel Hakim Belhadj. CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood said: “It can’t come as a surprise that the Central Intelligence Agency works with foreign governments to help protect our country from terrorism and other deadly threats. That is exactly what we are expected to do.”
In Michigan State’s program, 35 professionals from Libya, selected by the government as “future diplomats,” are enrolled at Libya’s expense in the university’s Visiting International Professional Program, which describes itself as creating “practical links between the world-class faculty at MSU and global industries, businesses, governments and societies.”
Cassella said that “the goal of this program is to provide the language skills needed to function in a diplomatic environment along with broad knowledge of international relations, diplomatic history, diplomatic protocols and communications, as well as a good familiarity with American culture, society and political values.” The Libyan officials spend two years at Michigan State.
The program is managed in Libya by the National Economic Development Board, a government entity that also managed some of Libya’s collaborations with the London School of Economics. Cassella said that Michigan State’s “program for mid-career Libyans has no formal or informal relationship to LSE.”
Cassella added: “It appears the only way our program may be considered similar to that of LSE is that it is funded by the same government entity and serves similar Libyan audiences. But it appears our program may be different in that it was the result of an RFP from the National Economic Development Board and our response to the RFP was based on the current services available through MSU’s English Language Center and VIPP. We are not consulting with the Libyan government on economic development strategies and to my knowledge have received no donations or endowment funds from Libya.”
Asked about the ethics of applying for and running a program to educate people who work in the government of Libya, Cassella forwarded a statement from Jeffrey Riedinger, dean of international studies and programs.
“As a globally engaged university in the 21st century MSU has been mindful of U.S. strategic interests in expanding higher education collaborations and programming in North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. As an institution of higher learning we believe there is great value in helping, and even a responsibility to help, build relationships between people of different backgrounds, cultures and countries,” Riedinger said.
As far as this program with Libya, he said that “MSU responded to an RFP that, by the U.S. Embassy in Libya’s assessment, described and conducted an open, inclusive and fair process of selecting citizen/civilian participants in a nationwide competition. This program was not described as nor to our knowledge limited to current government employees. We are helping the citizens of Libya, not specifically the government of Libya or the Gaddafi regime.”