Moussa Koussa

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Moussa Muhammad Koussa
A head and neckline shot of an older man with short grey, almost white hair, and black rimmed glasses, wearing grey buttoned up shirt and open jacket.
Koussa at a press conference in March 2011
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Libya
In office
4 March 2009 – 30 March 2011
President Imbarek Shamekh
Abu Al-Quasim al-Zwai
Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmudi
Leader Muammar Gaddafi
Preceded by Abdel Rahman Shalgham
Succeeded by Abdelati Obeidi
Personal details
Born 1946/1947 (age 68)
Tajura, Libya
Nationality Libyan
Alma mater Michigan State University
Religion Islam
Koussa in September 2010

Moussa Muhammad Koussa (Arabic: موسى كوسا‎, Arabic pronunciation: [ˈmusaˌkosa];[1] born c. 1947)[2] is a Libyan political figure and diplomat, who served in the Libyan government as Minister of Foreign Affairs from March 2009, into the Libyan Civil War, when he resigned his position from the Gaddafi regime on 30 March 2011.[3]

Koussa previously headed the Libyan intelligence agency from 1994 to 2009, and was considered one of the country's most powerful figures.[4] He arrived in the United Kingdom on 30 March 2011. Later the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office released an official statement saying that Koussa no longer wished to represent the Libyan government[5] and intended to resign.[3] He now lives in a small house in a suburb of Doha, Qatar, after being asked to leave his suite in Doha's luxurious Four Seasons hotel.[6] He was a member of Gaddafi's inner circle.[7]


He attended Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, earning a bachelor's in sociology in 1978.[5][8]

Diplomat and intelligence chief[edit]

Koussa worked as a security specialist for Libyan embassies in Europe before being appointed as Secretary of the Libyan People's Bureau in London in 1979. He was expelled from the United Kingdom in 1980, after stating in an interview with The Times newspaper that his government intended to eliminate two political opponents of the Libyan government, who were living in the UK.[9]

Later he served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1992 to 1994 and as the head of the Libyan intelligence agency from 1994 to 2009.[4] He was a key figure in the normalization of relations between Libya and many NATO nations, including the United States and the United Kingdom. Koussa was key in securing the release of Pan Am Flight 103 bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. In October 2008, he met both British and Scottish government officials, listed as an interpreter. In a second visit in January 2009, he was listed as Minister of Security.[9]

Foreign minister[edit]

On 4 March 2009, Koussa was designated as Minister of Foreign Affairs, replacing Abdel Rahman Shalgham, in a ministerial reshuffle announced by the Libyan parliament.[4][9]

In April 2009, he presided over the 28th council meeting of the Arab Maghreb Union (comprising Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia) in the Libyan capital Tripoli.[10]

In an interview published by Asharq Al-Awsat on 10 November 2009, Koussa criticized some aspects of Chinese investment in Africa. Koussa said, "I do not consider what I said to be a campaign against the Chinese; on the contrary we have a positive opinion of the Chinese", but despite the fact that "China has aided us and the liberation movements [in Africa]", it was unacceptable for the Chinese to bring "thousands of Chinese workers to Africa" when Africans themselves needed jobs, and he spoke of "a Chinese invasion of the African continent" that he said "brings to mind the effects that colonialism had on the African continent". He called on China to rather "train the African workforce" instead. Koussa also criticized China's unwillingness to deal with the African Union and its preference for dealing with individual African states, which he said was suggestive of a divide and rule policy. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of political cooperation in addition to economic cooperation, saying that the former was lacking in China's relationship with Africa. He said that China only dealt in business, and never engaged in political support, in order to please all sides in a dispute. He suggested that China engage the Arab/African/Islamic world with political support, rather than just keeping relations "limited to building roads and schools".[11]

Koussa was described as "hands shaking" as he announced a ceasefire weeks into the 2011 civil war, after the UN Security Council had opened the way to a no-fly zone. Western "officials indicated that they were prepared to move quickly if a decision was made to take military action. France and the UK and then the United States responded [to the ceasefire announcement] with almost identically worded skepticism ...." Attacks by government troops on Benghazi were also being reported – and denied – at the time, some hours after the announced ceasefire.[12]

On 29 March 2011, Koussa wrote to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, nominating the former foreign minister of Nicaragua’s socialist Sandinista government and one-time president of the United Nations General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, as Libya’s new ambassador to the UN. The letter stated that Brockmann was nominated, as Ali Treki, also a former General Assembly president who was their first choice, was denied a visa to enter the United States under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.[13]

Departure and resignation[edit]

After departing Tripoli by car and arriving in Tunis, Tunisia, on 28 March 2011, via the Ras Ajdir border crossing, a Tunisian Government spokesman stated via Tunis Afrique Presse that Koussa had arrived on a "private visit."[14] On 30 March 2011, he departed from Djerba on a Swiss-registered private jet,[15] arriving at Farnborough Airfield, England, according to Libyan sources on a diplomatic mission.[16] The Foreign and Commonwealth Office later released an official press statement, stating that Koussa no longer wished to represent the Libyan government and intended to resign,[3][5][8][17] unhappy with Libyan Army attacks on civilians.[18]

Scottish prosecutors interviewed Koussa about the Lockerbie bombing, which killed 270 people.[19][20] At the time, Koussa was a leading member of al Mathaba.[21]

Koussa left the United Kingdom and moved to Qatar following a European Union decision to lift sanctions against him, meaning he no longer faces travel restrictions or an asset freeze.[22]

Moussa Koussa's role in the torture and deaths of Libyan people was alleged by the BBC television Panorama programme (broadcast on 24/10/2011). Koussa issued a statement to the press through his lawyer, strongly refuting the allegations.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mussa Ibrahim, "Libyan government reacts to Moussa Koussa's defection- video- Gaddafi spokesman Mussa Ibrahim plays down foreign minister's decision, claiming that he was a 'very ill person' who had taken time off to rest",, 2011-03-31. Retrieved 2011-03-31. Listen at precisely 0m37s into the video. He has used this same pronunciation, [ˈmusaˌkosa], in an aired press conference on the same day; no other pronunciation used.
  2. ^ Beaumont, Peter (31 March 2011). "Profile: Moussa Koussa". The Guardian (London). 
  3. ^ a b c Press release (30 March 2011). "Foreign Office Statement on Musa Kusa". Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c Staff writer (4 March 2009). "Libyan Spy Chief Named FM in Reshuffle". Agence France-Presse (via Google News). Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  5. ^ a b c "Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa Flees to UK". BBC News. 30 March 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  6. ^ "Qaddafi's spymaster takes a walk". Doha. 6 February 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  7. ^ Inside Gaddafi's inner circle – Africa. Al Jazeera English. (2011-02-27). Retrieved 2012-01-13.
  8. ^ a b Harding, Thomas; Winnett, Robert (30 March 2011). "Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa defects to Britain". Telegraph (London). Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c Bloxham, Andy; McElroy, Damien (30 March 2011). "Profile: Moussa Koussa, the Lockerbie Spymaster Who Defected". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  10. ^ Turkia, Mahumd (19 April 2009) "Libyan Foreign Minister Mussa Kussa Atte". Agence France-Presse/Getty Images (via Getty Images). Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  11. ^ Sawsan Abu-Husain in Sharm el-Sheikh (2009-10-11). "Q & A with Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa". Asharq Al-Awsat. Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  12. ^ Bumiller, Elisabeth; Kikpatrick, David D. (18 March 2011; 19 March 2011, p. A1, New York edition). "Obama Warns Libya, but Attacks Go On". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  13. ^ Varner, Bill; Schmidt, Blake (29 March 2011). "Former Nicaragua Sandinista Leader Named Libya’s UN Envoy". Reuters. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  14. ^ "Libyan FM Visits Tunisia". Xinhua News Agency. 28 March 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  15. ^ "Why Is the Libyan Foreign Minister Flying to London?". International Business Times. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  16. ^ "Libya Formin Has Not Defected – Govt Spokesman". Reuters. 30 March 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  17. ^ "Libyan Foreign Minister Defects – UK Foreign Ministry Says Moussa Koussa Has Arrived in the UK After Resigning from His Post". Al Jazeera English. 30 March 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  18. ^ "Libya FM Defects from Government, Seeks Refuge in Britain – Moussa Koussa Quit To Protest Government Attacks on Civilians, Says Friend; Koussa Was Instrumental in Bring Libya Back to International Community after Years of Sanctions". Haaretz. 30 March 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  19. ^ Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa | Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. (2011-03-31). Retrieved 2012-01-13.
  20. ^ Lockerbie probe police meet Kusa – UK, Local & National. (2011-04-08). Retrieved 2012-01-13.
  21. ^ "Koussa Lockerbie interview sought by prosecutors". BBC News. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  22. ^ Moussa Koussa denies Libya torture alleged on BBC Panorama. The Guardian. 26 October 2011
  23. ^ "Musa Kusa full statement on Lockerbie", STV, 26 October 2011.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Head of the Libyan Intelligence Agency
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Abdel Rahman Shalgham
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Libya
Succeeded by
Abdel Ati al-Obeidi