President Ronald Reagan called Muammar Qaddafi a "mad dog" in 1986 when he ordered air strikes on Tripoli. A quarter century later, it might be the Libyan leader's fellow Arabs who ultimately broker his downfall.
After opposing the Reagan response to Qaddafi's terrorism, the 22-member Arab League is backing the bombing campaign led by Britain, France and the U.S. to ground Libya's air force and halt Qaddafi's attempt to crush a rebellion.
"Arab leaders want to be on the right side of history and don't want to be seen backing a maniac dictator who's killing his own people," said Jan Techau, director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Brussels and a former analyst at the NATO Defense College. "The Arab world realizes it has to change and what we're seeing is a collective reaction against the one state that totally rejects modernity."
Before renouncing nuclear weapons in 2002, Qaddafi was a pariah as one of the earliest backers of terror attacks abroad, according to the U.S. and European governments. His regime has been responsible for the death of at least 440 people in four countries, as well as brutality in Libya.
Reagan's military action followed the April 1986 bombing of a Berlin discotheque that killed two U.S. servicemen and a Turkish woman. Four people, including a Libyan diplomat, were convicted by a German court for participating in the attack. The German government said in 2004 that Libya agreed to pay $35 million in compensation to victims.