April 29, 2004

COULD YOU HAVE IMAGINED THIS ON 9-11?:

Israeli chess team invited to Libya (Ellis Shuman April 29, 2004, Israeli Insider)

Libya opened its World Chess Championship next month to "all qualified participants," including Israeli chess grandmasters. The Israeli Chess Federation is now waiting for Foreign Ministry approval to enable the Israelis to participate.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saadi, who serves as president of his country's Olympic Committee, confirmed yesterday that "all necessary organizational and security measures" would be taken at the chess championships, which will be held between June 18 and July 13 in Tripoli.

Originally the World Chess Federation (FIDE) knockout world championship was scheduled to be staged in two locations, Libya and Malta. This was mainly to accommodate Israeli players, who are not allowed to enter Libya, FIDE said.

The Libyan Olympic Committee (LOC), the local organizing body of the event, issued a press release yesterday guaranteeing entry visas to all the 128 qualified participants of the championship. Libya is sponsoring the chess championship and is putting up $1.5 million in prize money.

"This is a huge diplomatic achievement," said Israeli Chess Federation spokesman Yerach Tal following the Libyan announcement.


Saadi is a bit of an oddball--The odd case of Saadi Qaddafi and the question: Why? (Frank Bruni, November 7, 2003, NY Times)--but is very much engaged with the outside world.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 29, 2004 10:44 AM
Comments

Unfortunately, there is no way to know whether Libya could continue to be distant towards the Arabs and more accepting of Israel once Qaddafi is gone. Is there any popular will in Libya that is neutral on Israel? Or will the old hates rise?

Posted by: Chris Durnell at April 29, 2004 11:32 AM

Actually, the will to reform seems to be all his son Islam's.

Posted by: oj at April 29, 2004 1:45 PM

The popular desire to reform and modernize is part of what has pushed Qaddafi to do it. Peace with Israel is just part of the popular program ...

Posted by: pj at April 29, 2004 3:34 PM
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