Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Libya: Lebanon still keen to know what happened to Shi'a cleric Imam Musa Sadr

The change of government in Libya has done nothing to dampen the Lebanese demand for information about the Shi'a cleric, Imam Musa Sadr, and two colleagues who disappeared in suspicious circumstances in Libya on 3rd August 1978. The loss of one of Lebanon's most senior Shi'a clerics gave rise to accusations that the Libyan government of Colonel Qadhafi was complicit in his disappearance. Tripoli has always claimed that Sadr and his companions left Libya on a scheduled flight to Italy but never arrived.

In the latest move, Foreign Minister Adnan Mansur arrived in Tripoli on 12th January; the first high level Lebanese delegation to visit Libya in more than 30 years.

The Libyans have offered to form a new joint commission with the Lebanese to determine the events at the time of Sadr's disappearance. Head of Political Affairs Fathi Baja has reported, however, that Libya has no new information.

The new government obviously hopes that the tense bilateral relations since 1978 can be successfully ended by presumably paying compensation to the relatives of the three men involved. The situation is, however, currently complicated by Libyan visa requirements which are not available to Lebanese citizens, but these sanctions are expected to be removed.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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