Libyan foreign policy: a study of policy shifts in Libya’s nuclear programme

Ben Aessa, Ahmed Yusef (2014) Libyan foreign policy: a study of policy shifts in Libya’s nuclear programme. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis seeks to analyse and explain Libya’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability and the factors that ultimately influenced Qaddafi’s regime to dismantle the nuclear weapons programme. Driven by the core motive to deter external threats to its security and the desire to become a regional power, Libya for over three decades sought to acquire nuclear weapons, but failed to obtain them ‘off the shelf’. From the 1970s until 2003, Libya sought to acquire key elements of nuclear components. After many years Qaddafi transformed his foreign and security policies, which for several decades had resulted in rogue behaviour on the part of the state machine. This transformation applied to the ideological motivations that had generated the regime’s aggressive approach in the realm of international relations. Focusing on the Libyan case study, in three different periods has allowed the key factors influencing Libya’s pursuit of nuclear weapons capability and simultaneously its decision to denuclearise, to be unravelled.
The empirical findings demonstrate that external and internal pressure provides a satisfactory explanation for the reorientation of Libya’s policies. This thesis confirms that Qaddafi’s regime dismantlement of its nuclear weapons programme in 2003 was influenced by the domestic factors such as public pressure, and external factors such as stringent economic sanctions, international isolation and the very genuine threat of military action. This in turn reflected the fact that the Libyan case can be better explained from a realistic point of view. Indeed, the study found that the reaction of the Libyan government was not a response to the regional and international norms, but it was rather a consequence of domestic and external pressure. By arguing this, denuclearisation occurs when regimes comes under internal and external pressure, particularly from powerful actors by using coercion tools such as international isolation, economic sanctions and threat of military action. This thesis contributes to broader theoretical debates surrounding non-proliferation and denuclearisation. This study concludes that states can give up their nuclear weapons programmes under certain internal and external factors.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Supervisor's Name: Mills, Dr. Kurt
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Ahmed Yusef Ben Aessa
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-6452
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2015 13:01
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2015 07:45

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