By most accounts, the North African country of Libya is a lawless mess. Most observers say it has been so since March 19, 2011, the day that President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton approved an air attack against the country that Moammar Gadhafi had ruled for four decades.
The U.S. and other NATO countries including Britain and France bombed Gadhafi’s assets. By October 2011, rebel forces backed by a group of Western powers took over the country, hunted down Gadhafi, and killed him.
The country spiraled into ruin. Now Gadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam el-Gadhafi, wants to take Libya back. He is hinting at a bid for the presidency. And has been speaking out against other politicians and about the desperate state of the country.
“They raped the country — it’s on its knees,” Seif told The New York Times. “There’s no money, no security. There’s no life here. Go to the gas station — there’s no diesel. We export oil and gas to Italy — we’re lighting half of Italy — and we have blackouts here. It’s more than a failure. It’s a fiasco.”
The 2021 Libyan general election is scheduled to be held on Dec. 24.
It seems the people of Libya may want him back. In a limited poll, as much as 57 percent of respondents in one region expressed “confidence” in Seif, The New York Times reported.
But Seif, Gadhafi’s second son, isn’t rushing things.
“I’ve been away from the Libyan people for 10 years,” Seif said. “You need to come back slowly, slowly. Like a striptease. You need to play with their minds a little.”
The New York Times @nytimes tweeted, “Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, the second son of the notorious dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi, is alive. In his first meeting with a foreign journalist in a decade, he talked to @robertfworth about his captivity — and hinted at a bid for Libya’s presidency.”
Sheikh Asad Javed @shkasdjvd responded on Twitter, “Libya was at peace when Ghadhafi was there, Iraq was at peace when Sadam was there, Afghanistan was at peace when Talibans were in power, then true peace makers from US arrived and gave them eternal peace”.
@nua998 tweeted, “‘Notorious dictator’ Libya had free healthcare, free education for both genders, free housing, even free electricity under Qaddafi. Now, it’s barely a properly functioning country (civil war after civil war)”.
Eggo @sadsadpanini questioned why Seif agreed to an interview with The New York Times. “If he is being interviewed by the @nytimes , he is already an American puppet. Now they ll give him the money and weapons to cause another war in Libya then go in and pretend to fight him for 20 years and then his son continues the cycle. The playbook is so transparent its funny”.
Initially, the U.S. and other Western countries favored Seif, who studied at the London School of Economics and “spoke the language of democracy and human rights,” The New York Times reported.
But when the revolution came, Seif joined his father’s crackdown. Ultimately, Seif was captured by “an independent-minded brigade that guarded him against other rebel factions and flew him to Zintan, their home region in the mountains southwest of the capital,” The Times reported. Seif was a wanted man. Many thought he was dead but he’s back and ready to take control.
Seif, however, faces a serious obstacle. He is wanted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court for his role in the 2011 crackdown. He was tried in a separate proceeding in Tripoli in 2015 and was convicted and sentenced to death by firing squad. He can still appeal under Libyan law.
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