Hours before the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked on Sept. 11 and Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens killed, the popular diplomat was “cheerful and relaxed” on the phone with ETHAN CHORIN, who was in Benghazi arranging a relationship between U.S.-based hospitals and the one in Benghazi were Stevens’ body was taken. Later that day, Chorin was on the phone with a member of the embassy security detail AS the attack started. Chorin knew Ambassador Stevens and knows what Libya and the U.S. lost with his death better than most. As a U.S. diplomat working on economic/commercial development in Libya from 2004 to 2006, Chorin gained unprecedented access to the country just as it was emerging from decades of pariah status after Moamar Gaddafi agreed to forego a nuclear weapons program. The insights he gained then and since inform his new book, “Exit the Colonel: The Hidden History of the Libyan Revolution.” Chorin finds roots for the Libyan uprising and bloody end for Gaddafi in the dictator’s decades of bloody repression, flawed processes of reform “rehabilitation” in the West after sanctions, and a deep divide between the favored few in Tripoli and the rest of the country.
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