Libya, the return of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi?
Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the colonel Muammar killed in 2011,unexpectedly return on the scene with an extended interview with the New York Times magazine carried out in May and only yesterday published by the American newspaper.
A choice evaluated for months with his advisers, because one thing is now clear: Saif Gaddafi is ready to return to politics. “The men who captured me who were my jailers are now my friends, let’s work for a return to politics,” he says. The conversation puts an end to years of uncertainty, above all about Saif’s fate. The latest evidence of his existence in his life dates back to 2014. Since then, only rumors, unconfirmed phone calls with journalists, but no appearances, no confirmation, to date.
Last May, during Ramadan, an American journalist was secretly escorted from Tripoli to Zintan, southwest of the Libyan capital. It was the militiamen of Zintan who intercepted the jeep convoy of Gaddafi’s son, which in November 2011 headed towards the border with Niger, where he was supposed to meet with the head of the secret services, Al Senussi, who was also on the run. Saif was captured, transferred to Zintan, and put in jail.
Since then, he has always been in the hands of the same militia. For months he lived in an underground room, without windows, controlled by the guards: “Suddenly in 2014 two brigade leaders came to me, they were furious with what was happening in the country. Think about it? The men who were my guards are now my friends. ‘The young Gaddafi says he intended to enter politics very soon. His father gave him the task of mediating with some Western countries, including some negotiations carried out with the British for the Lockerbie attack.
Then the growth of a role of him as a possible successor, up to the revolution, escape and capture. Faced with the chaos that the revolution had brought to Libya, the Gypsies understood that they could ally with Saif and his followers. They are growing continuously in the country. The post-Gaddafi people in the face of the post-revolution disaster are becoming stronger and stronger. Today’s politicians have raped the country, Saif says, it’s time to go back to those who knew how to work for Libya.
Today there is no money; there is no security. There is no life in Libya. There is no petrol, while we export oil and gas to Italy: we give birth to half of Italy, but we have continuous blackouts. It is more than a failure, it is a total disaster . “These rebels wanted to destroy the state, but without a state, a tribal society like Libya is devastated; what happened in Libya is not a revolution, let’s call it a civil war, or “the days of evil,” but certainly not a revolution.
Saif does not deny his father’s political ideas. The journalist asks him if he did not think the ideas of the “green book” are a bit crazy: “It was not crazy, all the ideas that were popular in the West, such as holding referendums, have a reference in the Green Book.” When asked why he waited so long to appear in public, he replies that to offer himself to the Libyans “it is necessary to do something like a striptease, one piece at a time, little by little.”
A strategy of waiting aimed at consolidating the disgust for the current political class in public opinion. In recent years, Putin’s Russia has focused on Saif and Gaddafi: 3 years ago, Moscow sent two men connected to Wagner to prepare an Internet campaign in favor of Saif. The nostalgic area that Saif could support is that part of Libya sided with Khalifa Haftar, the former Gaddafi general who controls Cyrenaica. But at this point, the two groups are rivals.
Saif in politics becomes a direct rival for the general and above all for his son, Saddam, whom his father would like to push into politics. In the generalized chaos of Libya in recent months, Saif’s move perhaps brings an element of clarity: he is a new protagonist. He is a return to the past, but in Libya, he could also have a future.