El Dorado Canyon

Reagan's Undeclared War with Qaddafi

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Book: Cover Type


Long before the overt war in Afghanistan and the covert war against al-Qaida, U.S. forces struck at one of the world’s hotbeds of terrorism. On 15 April 1986, in the dead of night, American strike aircraft roared into the heart of Muammar Qaddafi's Libya, attacking carefully selected targets and nearly killing the “brother leader” himself. Codenamed Operation El Dorado Canyon, the raid was in direct response to Qaddafi's support of a terrorist act against U.S. service personnel stationed in Europe and was a result of President Ronald Reagan's pledge to respond to terrorism with “swift and effective retribution.”

Stanik, a retired naval officer and Middle East scholar, provides a detailed account of the raid as well as an in-depth analysis of its causes and effects. He also describes three other hostile encounters between U.S. and Libyan forces during Reagan's presidency and details U.S. covert operations. From a bombing in West Berlin, to terrorism in the skies over Lockerbie, Scotland, and from the halls of power in Washington to airbases in England and on the decks of American warships in the Mediterranean, Stanik weaves an international thriller that is relevant to current events.

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