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The Libyan-Swiss Crisis: A Lesson in Libyan Foreign Policy


Since July 2008 when one of Qadhafi's sons was arrested in Geneva, Libya has been engaged in a major stand-off with Switzerland. What began as a personalised affair soon escalated into a major diplomatic crisis with the Libyan leader going so far as to declare jihad against the Swiss. Yet whilst Libya's response to the arrest surprised many and prompted questions about whether the recently rehabilitated Libya had really changed its ways, this affair in fact demonstrates some of the constants of Libyan foreign policymaking since the revolution of 1969. These include the highly personalised nature of policymaking in the Libyan state and the use of foreign policy in the enduring quest for popular legitimacy.