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Coercion, Survival, and WarWhy Weak States Resist the United States$
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Phil Haun

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780804792837

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804792837.001.0001

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The United States versus Libya

The United States versus Libya

El Dorado Canyon, Pan Am Flight 103, and Weapons of Mass Destruction

(p.134) 6 The United States versus Libya
Coercion, Survival, and War

Phil Haun

Stanford University Press

This chapter considers three cases between the United States and Libya from 1981 until 2003. Libya’s support of international terrorism triggered a crisis for the United States, culminating in the El Dorado Canyon air raid in April 1986. Coercion ultimately failed because of the mismatch between demands and threats as an isolated Reagan administration could not maintain the credible threat of force. The second case commenced with the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in December 1988. It concluded with the extradition of two Libyan officials in 1999 to stand trial at The Hague. Another crisis commenced in September of 2002 when British Prime Minister Tony Blair, with the backing of George W. Bush, made overtures to Muammar Qaddafi to resume negotiations over Libya’s WMD. The case concluded in December 2003 when Qaddafi abandoned Libya’s nuclear, biological and chemical ambitions.

Keywords:   Libya, El Dorado Canyon, Pan Am Flight 103, WMD, international terrorism, sanctions, coercion, Qaddafi

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