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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Prodigal son Gaddafi’s son misses the stability of his father’s rule

In his days as a reformer, Saif al Islam Gaddafi, the son of the authoritarian Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, once said that his The people should enjoy the same freedom as the Dutch.

But the image of the modern prince-designate no longer exists. Gaddafi said this week that he wanted to run for the president of Libya. He was wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity during his rebellion against his father in 2011. At the beginning of the uprising, he brandished a machine gun and vowed to crush the “improvisers.”

Gaddafi, 49, made his public appearance for the first time in many years, submitting documents for his presidential candidate in the southern town of Sabha on Sunday. In a statement this week, he invited “all those who like me dream of saving Libya from civil war and chaos and restoring stability, peace, prosperity, brotherhood and internal peace… Flock to the electoral process” .

Although this surname is harmful to many Libyans, analysts say it was wrong to exclude him in the December 24 poll, the first since the 2014 election that triggered the war. “It is difficult to say whether Saif will win,” said Claudia Gazzini, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group.

“But a large proportion of dissatisfied young people may vote for him because they will say that he is one of the few who have not participated in the chaos of the past few years. They will also say that he warned during the uprising that Libya would be divided. , The tribes will be hostile to each other, and it turns out to be true.”

Saif Islam Gaddafi (left) registered for the country’s presidential election in December

Saif Islam Gaddafi (left) registered for the country’s presidential election in December © Libyan High National Electoral Commission/AFP via Getty Images

Since his father was killed by the rebels, Libya has been torn apart, with two and sometimes three governments vying for power. The ceasefire between the troops of the traitor general Khalifa Haftar, backed by the United Arab Emirates and Russia, and the Turkish-backed Libyan militia coalition in Western Libya has been held for more than a year. In February, following a dialogue initiated by the United Nations, a government of national unity was established in Tripoli, the capital of western Libya.

The United Nations and Western governments are pushing for elections in December as a way to unite Libya and give it a legitimate government that can disarm militias, restore order, and invigorate the economy. The Election Committee has not yet decided which candidates are eligible, and the result of the vote is still uncertain.

Analysts say that many Libyans miss the past era of stability, unity and prosperity in the country. Even under Muammar Gaddafi’s autocratic rule, Gaddafi may be able to take advantage of this.

In the past ten years, he has been captured by militias in the town of Zintan in northwestern Libya for six years. Since his release in 2017, he has met with several communities from all over Libya, but it is not clear what political information, if any, he has.

“This is the best kept secret in Libya,” said Mohamed Dolda, director of the Libya Service Desk of the research and consulting firm. “Dozens of people visit him regularly, but it seems that there is an undisclosed agreement not to be discussed publicly. There are pictures of 200 people sitting in a tent with Saif, but no video and no rumors. I saw it here in Tunisia. Many Libyans in China told me that I met Saif last week.”

Analysts say that Gaddafi has a place in the Libyan tribal groups in central and southern Libya, although they believe that the votes of the “Green Party” refer to those who support the old Gaddafi, several figures who may be overthrown. Divide. Including former Gaddafi aide and financier Bashir Saleh. Haftar also submitted his candidacy.

People gathered in Tripoli to protest against Saif Islam Gaddafi's candidacy in the upcoming presidential election

People gathered in Tripoli to protest against Saif Islam Gaddafi’s candidacy in the upcoming presidential election © Hamza Alahmar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Dorda said that the welcome expressed in certain places for Gaddafi’s election will elevate his status as a power broker. Although parts of western Libya are strongholds for anti-Gaddafi militias, they have aroused an angry response.

An American spokesperson told Al Jazeera that Washington has no position on Gaddafi’s candidacy, but given that he is wanted by the International Criminal Court, Libyans should ask themselves who is the “best person” to represent them in the international community. . Russia, which opposed the overthrow of his father, favored Gaddafi’s role in Libyan politics to safeguard his interests. “Russia will be a priority,” Gazzini said.

However, she pointed out that it is Gaddafi’s history as a supporter of reforms. Even if these reforms are limited and superficial, they may deprive the support of hardliners in the Gaddafi regime.

His efforts have helped soften the image of the brutal regime of Gaddafi, the capital of Western countries. Facts have proved that after years of sanctions and exclusion, these countries are eager to obtain the oil wealth of Libya. He was also the driving force behind the international revival of Libya, helping to negotiate compensation for the victims of the 1988 Pan Am airliner bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. A Libyan agent was convicted by a Scottish court in 2001.

In a regime that does not allow dissent, Gaddafi expressed criticism of the government and called for a constitution and respect for human rights. In 2010, he oversaw the release of approximately 200 imprisoned Islamic radicals, many of whom were detained in prison after their sentences expired.

“Hardcore regime man [are not likely to support him]They don’t think he is the incarnation of the old regime,” Gazzini said. “They think he is a bit traitor and accuse him of releasing militants who played a role in the uprising. But if he is allowed to stand for election and no war breaks out, he is likely to attract the votes of many dissatisfied young people. “

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