2 Qaddafi Sons Are Said to Offer Plan to Push Father Out
The rebels challenging Colonel Qaddafi as well as the American and European powers supporting them with air strikes have so far insisted on a more radical break with his 40 years of rule. And it is not clear whether Colonel Qaddafi, 68, has signed on to the reported proposal backed by his sons, Seif and Saadi el-Qaddafi, although one person close to the sons said the father appeared willing to go along.
Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi has offered to preside over his country as it moves to a democracy.
Moises Saman for The New York Times
But the proposal offers a new window into the dynamics of the Qaddafi family at a time when the colonel, who has seven sons, is relying heavily on them. Stripped of one of his closest confidantes by the defection of Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa and isolated by decades of attempted coups and internal purges, he is leaning on his sons as trusted aides and military commanders.
The idea also touches on longstanding differences among his sons. While Seif and Saadi have leaned toward Western-style economic and political openings, Colonel Qaddafi’s sons Khamis and Mutuassim are considered hard-liners. Khamis leads a fearsome militia focused on repressing internal unrest.
And Mutuassim, a national security adviser who also commands his own militia, has been considered a rival to Seif in the competition to succeed their father. But Saadi, who has drifted through careers as a professional soccer player, a military officer and a businessman, firmly backs the plan, an associate said.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Libyan National Security Adviser Mutassim Qadhafi.
Date: 21 April 2009
Moatassem-Billah Gaddafi (also transliterated as Mutassim or Al-Mu’tasim) (born 1977) is a former Libyan Army officer, and the National Security Adviser of Libya since 2010. He is the fourth son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
In April 2009, Moatassem met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the highest-level diplomatic exchange between the two countries since they resumed diplomatic relations several years earlier.
He spent several years in Egypt following an internal leadership dispute.
Independent terrorism consultant Evan Kohlmann, writing about the death in Libya of Ibn Al Sheikh Al Libi, a former captive in the CIA’s "high value detainee" program, suggested Gaddafi had played a role in the death.
Under torture directed by the CIA Al Libi confessed to using trainers from Iraq to train jihadists how to use Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. Senior officials in the George W. Bush Presidency cited Al Libi’s confession as proof of Al Qaeda’s ties to Iraq and proof that Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction.
After several years of speculation as to what had happened to Al Libi, when it became clear the confessions wrung from him were false, human rights workers found he was being held in a Libyan prison. They tried to make arrangements to meet with him, only to be informed he had committed suicide.
Kohlmann wrote that Al Libi’s death followed shortly after a meeting between Moatessem-Billal Gaddafi and Omar Suleiman, a senior Egyptian intelligence official. Kohlmann wrote that the reports in the Libyan press about Al Libi’s death were authorized by his elder brother and rival, heir apparent Saif al-Islam Muammar Al-Gaddafi.
The two sons “want to move toward change for the country” without their father, one person close to the Seif and Saadi camp said Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. “They have hit so many brick walls with the old guard, and if they have the go-ahead, they will bring the country up quickly.” One son, this person said, has said many times that “the wishes of the rebellion were his own.”
The proposals are the latest turn in a drama between Seif and his father that has played out for years on the stage of Libyan public life as the son has alternately pushed forward with calls for political reforms and then pulled back. During the recent revolt, he appeared to march in lockstep with his father in vowing to stamp out the rebels. “We are coming,” he declared to a crowd of supporters who chanted, “Seif al-Islam, step on the rats.”
Saif al-Islam Muammar al-Gaddafi (born June 25, 1972; translated as "Sword of Islam, Muammar of the Gaddafa"), is a Libyan engineer and politician. He is the second son of Muammar Gaddafi, leader of Libya.
In 2008, he was awarded a PhD from London School of Economics, for a thesis entitled "The role of civil society in the democratisation of global governance institutions: from ’soft power’ to collective decision-making?"
Saif is the president of the Libyan National Association for Drugs and Narcotics Control (DNAG).
Speaking in Sabha on August 20, 2008, Saif said that he would no longer involve himself in state affairs. He noted that he had previously "intervene[d] due to the absence of institutions", but said that he would no longer do so. He dismissed any potential suggestion that this decision was due to disagreement with his father, saying that they were on good terms. He also called for political reforms within the context of the Jamahiriya system and rejected the notion that he could succeed his father, saying that "this is not a farm to inherit".
In 2007, Saif Gaddifi met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Tripoli, with whom it is alleged he helped broker an arms deal, including missiles.
In November 2008, Saif made a high-profile visit to the United States where he met with US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.
The proposals are also the latest sign that the Qaddafi government may be feeling the pressure from two weeks of allied airstrikes that have severely diminished the advantage in equipment of the Qaddafi militias. A senior Libyan official arrived in Athens for talks about a potential resolution to the conflict, the Reuters news service reported. And Mohamed Ismail, a top aide to Seif, is returning from a trip to London, where, a Libyan official said, he presented the proposal for Seif to take over from his father.
Mutuassim may be particularly resistant because of his longstanding rivalry with Seif.
After Seif made a high-profile trip to Washington to meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2008, a WikiLeaks cable reported, the attention paid “exacerbated tension with his siblings.”
When Mutuassim visited Washington the next year, the American ambassador to Libya wrote, “Mutuassim’s desire to visit Washington this spring and his seemingly overweening focus on having meetings with senior U.S. government officials and signing a number of agreements are driven at least in part by a strong sense of competition with Saif al-Islam.”
In a recent interview with the pan-Arab news channel Al-Arabiya, Saadi suggested that before the revolt Seif was already “the person who used to run the show every day in Libya.” The defection last week of Mr. Koussa, the former top aide to Colonel Qaddafi, removes a figure who had been considered a leader of the old guard distrustful of Seif and opposed to reform.
A diplomat familiar with the proposal, however, said discussions remained in the initial stages. Despite the evidence of deep internal discontent, Colonel Qaddafi appears to believe that rebellion against him is a foreign conspiracy of Islamist radicals and oil-hungry Western powers attempting to take over Libya, the diplomat said.
Read the full article at: nytimes.com
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Libya rebels reject transition under Kadhafi sons
By Joseph Krauss | YahooNews.com
Libyan rebels insisted Monday that the whole Kadhafi family must leave before there can be any truce with regime forces amid reports that his sons are offering to oversee a transition.
Rebel troops made a new attempt to recapture Brega, advancing to the outskirts of the oil refinery town only to be forced back under artillery fire, as hundreds wounded in besieged third city Misrata were evacuated by a Turkish ship.
Former colonial power Italy announced that it was joining France and Qatar in recognising the rebels’ Transitional National Council and said it too would send ships as well as planes to evacuate the wounded from Misrata.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini dismissed diplomatic overtures from Moamer Kadhafi’s regime as an envoy arrived in Ankara for what a senior Turkish foreign ministry official described as talks about a possible ceasefire.
After Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou held talks with Deputy Foreign Minister Abdelati Laabidi on the previous leg of his mission, Athens said that Kadhafi’s regime was "looking for a solution."
The New York Times reported that two of his sons were offering to oversee a transition to a constitutional democracy that would include their father’s removal from power.
But the rebels swiftly rejected any deal that involved the Kadhafi family.
"Kadhafi and his sons have to leave before any diplomatic negotiations can take place," the spokesman of the rebels’ Transitional National Council, Shamseddin Abdulmelah told AFP.
The rebel spokesman said the regime had lost any right to talk of a negotiated exit after it had continued to pound Misrata even as it sent Laabidi to Athens to discuss a way out of the conflict.
"How can you negotiate at the point of a gun?" he asked.
Citing an unnamed diplomat and a Libyan official briefed on the Kadhafis’ proposals, the New York Times said that the transition would be spearheaded by one of the veteran strongman’s sons, Seif al-Islam.
But Abdulmelah said that Seif al-Islam had shown through his conduct since the uprising began on February 15 that his reputation as someone who wanted to change the regime from within was completely baseless.
"People thought he was a reformer but since the revolution began, he has shown his true colours. He is a carbon copy of his father," the spokesman said.
After talks with the council’s foreign affairs chief Ali Al-Isawi in Rome, the Italian foreign minister too rejected the overtures from Kadhafi’s regime.
"The proposals are not credible. It is not possible to accept them," Frattini said.
Kadhafi’s forces besieging Misrata, 215 kilometres (130 miles) east of Tripoli, have been targeted by air strikes launched by US, British, French, Canadian, Danish and Belgian jets since March 19 under a UN mandate to use "all necessary measures" to protect civilians, but the siege has not been broken.
The US military had planned to begin withdrawing its combat jets and Tomahawk missiles from the air campaign at the weekend as NATO allies were to take the lead in bombing Kadhafi’s forces.
But the Pentagon announced on Sunday that the US involvement would continue through Monday at NATO’s request, because of "recent poor weather in Libya."
The head of Britain’s Royal Air Force said its warplanes are likely to play a role in the campaign to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya for at least six months.
"In general terms [we] are now planning on the basis of at least six months, and we’ll see where we go from there," Air Chief Marshal Stephen Dalton told The Guardian newspaper.
Read the full article at: news.yahoo.com
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