Friday, October 28, 2011

Saif al-Islam

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi (Arabic: سيف الإسلام معمر القذافي, translated as "Sword of Islam"; born 25 June 1972) is the second son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his second wife Safia Farkash. He was part of his father's former inner circle, performing public relations and diplomatic roles on behalf of his father. During his father's reign, he was the second most-widely recognized official in Libya (his father was first) and had been mentioned as a possible successor, though he has denied this. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court for charges of crimes against humanity against the Libyan people, for allegedly torturing and killing civilians, a charge that Saif denied.

During the fall of Tripoli on 21 August 2011, it was widely reported that he had been captured by NTC forces, but on the night of 22 August he appeared at the Rixos hotel entrance, where foreign journalists were staying.

Although it was again widely reported at the time that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was captured or killed by NTC forces during the concluding stages of the Battle of Sirte on 20 October 2011, these reports appear to be false due to the fact that shortly after his father was killed, the Libyan prime minister Mahmoud Jibril said that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi had managed to escape and was on the run. On 24 October 2011, he reportedly secured the support of tribes loyal to his father and declared that he will continue fighting.

On the 28 October it was reported that he has successfully left Libya and was in Niger.
Education and career
In 1994, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi graduated with a BSc degree in Engineering Science from Tripoli's Al Fateh University, and earned an MBA from Vienna's IMADEC University in 2000.

His paintings made up the bulk of the international Libyan art exhibit, "The Desert Is Not Silent" (2002–2005), a show which was supported by a host of international corporations with direct ties to his father's regime.

In 2008, Gaddafi was awarded a PhD degree 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?" Examined by Meghnad Desai (London School of Economics) and Anthony McGrew (University of Southampton), among the LSE academics acknowledged in the thesis as directly assisting with it were Nancy Cartwright, David Held and Alex Voorhoeve (the son of former Dutch minister Joris Voorhoeve). Professor Joseph Nye of Harvard University is also thanked for having read portions of the manuscript and providing advice and direction. In a later investigation by Channel 4 News, they found that 6% of the 93,000-word thesis was copied from other sources. Furthermore, allegations abound that Saif's thesis was in many parts ghost-written by consultants from Monitor Group, which pocketed $3 million per year in fees from Muammar Gaddafi and whose ranks include Robert Nye, who is thanked in the paper.

Speaking in Sabha on 20 August 2008, Gaddafi 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".

He owned an architectural agency in Tripoli—the National Engineering Service and Supplies Company.[citation needed]

Gaddafi was the president of the Libyan National Association for Drugs and Narcotics Control (DNAG). In 1997, he founded the official charity, the Gaddafi International Foundation for Charity Associations, which intervened in various hostage situations involving Islamic militants and the crisis of the HIV trial in Libya and the resulting European Union-Libyan rapprochement.

2011 Libyan Civil War 
On 20 February, he made an extemporaneous speech on Libyan state TV. In it, he blamed the civil war on tribal factions and Islamists acting on their own agendas, drunken and drugged. He promised reforms, and said the alternative would be civil war causing no trade, no oil money, and the country taken over by foreigners. He closed by saying, "We will not let Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and BBC trick us." Many analysts disagreed with his assessment, including Oliver Miles, a former British Ambassador to Libya. In an interview with ABC News reporter Christiane Amanpour, Saif al-Islam denied that his father's regime is killing civilians. On 28 February, a video became available online in which Saif Gaddafi appears to spur on a crowd of followers to fight the opposition, and promises weapons to them, while brandishing a G36 assault rifle. On 27 June, an arrest warrant was issued by the ICC. In August, Saif gave an interview to the New York Times stating that Libya was becoming more closely aligned to Islamists and would likely resemble Iran or Saudi Arabia. Saif said that his father was working closely with Islamists within the rebellion to splinter the resistance.

On 21 August, the National Transitional Council claimed that Saif al-Islam was arrested by the National Liberation Army, pursuant to an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court. However, on the early morning of 23 August, Saif al-Islam was seen by Western journalists apparently moving on his own free will outside of the Rixos Hotel.

On 20 October, Al Arabiya and BBC World News cited unconfirmed reports that Saif al-Islam was both wounded and captured near Sirte by Libyan National Liberation Army troops. Then Press TV reported that Libya's Justice minister Mohammad al-Alagi had confirmed that Saif was captured. He had been taken to a hospital in Zliten after being shot in the leg while trying to flee but was surrounded by rebel forces.

However, the next day, it was reported by NTC officials that he was not in their custody. They believed al-Islam was heading toward the Niger border in the southern desert in an attempt to flee the country.

On 22 October, Saif al-Islam was reported to have been captured near Bani Walid and was being transported to Misrata. However, this could not be independently confirmed. Another report said that he appeared on a pro-Gaddafi network on the same night, saying that he was still in Libya and would continue fighting. On 24 October 2011, he reportedly secured the support of tribes loyal to his father and declared that he will continue fighting.

An international team of lawyers representing the interests of Saif al Islam Gaddafi, son of the deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, wrote to US leaders demanding that he be protected from assassination and held the United States and NATO responsible for the Libyan leader’s ‘brutal assassination’ and repeated attacks on Libya’s civilian population

On 26 October, it was reported that Saif al-Islam fled to neighbouring Niger, and was spotted north of Arlit (about 400 km north of Agadez) having already established contacts with the Nigerien Armed Forces. He is sought by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity. Both Reuters and the Arab network Al-Arabiya reported that Saif al-Islam and former intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi proposed to hand themselves over to the International Criminal Court. However, the International Criminal Court could not immediately confirm those reports.

Personal Life
Gaddafi has been hosted at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle by the British royal family. Gaddafi claims that former Prime Minister Tony Blair is a personal friend who took an interest in advising Libya on oil revenues and finance. In 2009, he spent a weekend at Waddesdon Manor, home of financier Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild, where he was the guest of Lord Mandelson and Nathaniel Philip Rothschild. He later stayed at the Rothschild holiday home in Corfu. Nathaniel Rothschild was a guest at Saif's 37th birthday celebration in Montenegro.
Links with the London School of Economics
Saif received his PhD from the London School of Economics in 2008. LSE Professor David Held was one of the mentors of Saif Gaddafi according to a New York Times article. Through the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, Saif subsequently pledged a donation of £1.5 million to support the work of the LSE's Centre for the Study of Global Governance on civil society organizations in North Africa. Following the LSE Libya Links affair, the LSE has issued a statement indicating that it will cut all financial ties with the country and will accept no further money from the Foundation, having already received and spent the first £300,000 installment of the donation. Saif's thesis is analyzed using crowdsourcing.

Pressure was put on the LSE to revoke his qualification. LSE set up a review process to investigate the claims in early 2011.

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