“Gaddafi’s black box” in French-Mauritanian trap (Reuters)
23 March 2012
When Libya’s former spy chief flew to Mauritania last week, he was looking for a safe haven. Instead the man known as “Muammar Gaddafi’s black box”, the last of the fallen dictator’s henchmen still at large, walked into a trap set by French and Mauritanian intelligence.
Gaddafi’s head of intelligence, right-hand man and brother-in law, Abdullah al-Senussi, was arrested in the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott, last week. The still murky circumstances of his capture set Libya on a collision course with France and the International Criminal Court, which both want Senussi.
Libya wants Senussi to stand trial in Tripoli for a catalogue of crimes. It sent a delegation to Mauritania but it returned without him after officials there said the legal formalities for his extradition were not complete.
Western and Arab powers are all too aware of the secrets Senussi holds, and are anxious to deny him the opportunity to say what he knows in public and expose the Arab and Western governments that used Gaddafi to plot against their enemies.