French author and unabashed rightwinger Gerard De Villiers who passed away last fall at the age of 84 was hardly a household name in this country. The former journalist who became a spy novelist was famous for his 200 pulp fiction novels about the exploits of CIA agent, the Austrian aristocrat Malko Linge. What made De Villiers novels so popular was not the fast-paced, uncomplicated plot, the politically incorrect descriptions of Blacks, Asians, and Arabs, or the overabundance of pornographic bedroom scenes (the main reason why the novels were not translated into English since the 1970s until now).
No, what made the late author so famous was his curious, if not downright eerie knack for predicting major political events, or describing the shadowy world of terrorism, espionage, and intrigue. He wrote about the assassination of Anwar Sadat a year before it occurred and described an attack by the Syrian rebels against an Assad command center near Damascus, a month before it happened. For decades, it was an open secret that De Villiers was privy to the best kept secrets of major Western intelligence agencies, especially the French DGSE. A couple of years ago, he angered the CIA for revealing the real name of its Mauritania station chief in one of his novels.
Recently, De Villiers' book The Madmen of Benghazi was translated into English and published in New York. Originally released in 2012, it deals with the aftermath of Qaddafi's overthrow and murder. The protagonist, Malko Linge, is charged with protecting Ibrahim Al-Senoussi, the grandson and of King Idris of Libya who was deposed by Qaddafi (in real life, Idris's heir is his grandnephew) from violent jihadists bankrolled by Qatar. The novel sheds light on the killing of General Abdel Fatah Younes, a former Qaddafi minister and a leader of the powerful Obeidi clan who switched to the rebels, became their commander-in-chief, and was brutally murdered under mysterious circumstances in the summer of 2011. De Villiers lays the blame squarely on the Qatar-financed Islamist February 17th Martyrs Brigade, members of which are now fighting Assad in Syria.
There is also an interesting part in the novel, where a CIA station chief explains the reason why Qaddafi's agents bombed the UTA Flight 772 over Niger in 1989. This explanation could have only come from De Villiers' extensive intelligence sources:
The Libyans had heard that a notorious opponent of Colonel Qaddafi would be on the flight. Luckily for him, he missed the plane. But the other passengers died. For nothing.
The same CIA station chief explained the relationship between America and Qaddafi and the reason for the Colonel's bloody downfall:
In 2003, when Colonel Qaddafi yielded to our friendly persuasion and quit trying to get nuclear weapons, we became friends again. He was still a nut job, of course, but he was our nut job. . . Besides, we had a common enemy: the Islamists and al-Qaeda. Qaddafi started helping us - a lot. And we helped him too, pointing out people who might hurt him and giving him surveillance equipment. Everything was going along swimmingly until the revolt erupted in Benghazi in February 2011. At first we weren't too worried. . . But then France went to the barricades in name of human rights and dragged Great Britain and the others into the anti-Qaddafi crusade. Pretty soon, their jets were flying over Libya.
Well, you know the rest: Qaddafi could defeat his opponents, but he couldn't take on NATO. And we soon realized that among Qaddafi's opponents, the only organized ones were the Islamists. The rest were what Lenin would call "useful idiots".
And this brief dialogue between the same station chief and the protagonist is an accurate, if crudely blunt overview of the situation in Libya today:
Besides, the Libyan resistance is extremely divided. It's made up of about forty militias who all distrust each other.
But they managed to take over the country.
Yeah, thanks to NATO. And I'm sure you've noticed that post-Qaddafi Libya is now a free-form cluster f***.
Eugene Girin is a New York-based attorney and commentator.