Gaddafi's Gamble

For decades an enemy of the West, Libya is now desperately trying to rejoin the rest of the world. It is using its vast oil reserves -- to woo back former foes especially the United States. Gaddafi's Gamble asks: why now?

The film explores the recent history of Libya, isolated since Colonel Gaddafi seized power thirty-five years ago. The dictator squandered Libya's oil wealth; its economy is in ruins after years of bankrolling terrorists and dubious African liberation movements. Many Libyans are poor and increasingly angry about their situation. Professor George Joffe, Cambridge University, comments that Gaddafi has had to change his policies in order to keep his regime in power. He has accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing, paid compensation to the victims' families, dismantled his nuclear weapons program, and renounced terrorism. He even claims to be moving Libya from socialism to capitalism, hoping he can generate a new market economy that is in tune with his mercurial one-man rule. To this end, he recently reinstated Shukri Ghanem, a respected official at OPEC, and ordered him to revitalize the economy.

The film includes interviews with Seif Gaddafi, the Colonel's influential son and heir apparent and Ashur Shamis, one of Libya's leading dissidents. Exiled in London, Shamis is disdainful about the Colonel's claims to democracy, claiming Gaddafi and his cronies want to keep the political status quo; those who have been associated with killing, repression and torture are still active in the government. Amnesty International's latest report says hundreds of political prisoners have disappeared and Libya is ruled by a climate of fear.

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Gaddafi's Gamble

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