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BREAKING NEWS: Saif el Arab.

UPDATE: The reports about the death of Saif el Arab Ghaddafi have confused me.  Ghaddafi has had TWO osnse named Saif … one Saif el Arab and on Said el Islam.

The dead son, apparently, is the Saif ((sword) of the Arabs, el Saif el Arab.  This son has led the exemplary life of a playboy, wasting Libya’s petrodollars on women and cars.  In 2008  Saif al-Arab was suspected of attempting to smuggle an assault rifle; the alleged weapons were never found and the German public prosecutor decided that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution.[9]

During the Libyan civil war, Saif al-Arab was sent by his father to the eastern part of Libya to put down the protests. Combat troops and military equipment were placed at his disposal. It was rumored that he later defected to the rebel side along with the troops under his command.   Perhaps because of this, there have been questions about who killed Saif el Arab or whether he is even really dead. 

In contrast,  Saif el Islam has been the visible image of Ghaddafi’ outside of Libya and the man proposed as an heir by the Libyan madman.  The regime proposed that Saif, with a PhD from the London School of Economics,  would succeed his father and lead a transition from Jamahiriya to a constitutional democracy.

The Ghaddafi family campaign for a transition to Saif el Islam began long before the Libyan revolt. In 2004  Saif requested a formal apology from the Canadian government, for joining U.S.-led sanctions against Libya after the Lockerbie bombing, and for denying him a student visa to study in Canada in 1997.  Interviewed by French newspaper Le Figaro on December 7, 2007, Saif said that the seven Libyans convicted for the Pan Am Flight 103 and the UTA Flight 772 bombings “are innocent”.His request was met with incredulity in Canada, and the Canadian government announced that no apology would be forthcoming.
Saif’s PhD from the London School of Economics has been tainted by skepticism about how much help he got from faculty at LSE or elsewhere in return for “gifts” to academe. Saif 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.[36]
His PhD from the London School of Economics has been part of a very large effort to woo the Brits.  Saif  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,  Saif 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.[30][31][32]

Later Saif introduced the Isratine proposal to permanently resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a secular, federalist, republican one-state solution.[11] The first ever opinion poll survey to be undertaken in both Pakistani and Indian-controlled Kashmir, conducted by King’s College, London, and the polling organisation IPSOS-MORI, was also Saif’s brainchild,[12] having arisen out of discussions he had with British academic Robert Bradnock, the author of the 2010 Chatham House report on the survey.[13]

While fighting against responsibility for Libya’s responsibility for the PanAm bombing, Saif negotiated compensation from Italy, for colonial era abuses.  He also attempted to n conclude a comprehensive agreement with the US blocking any further Libyan payments for  the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing, the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and the 1989 UTA Flight 772 bombing in trade for U.S. payment of compensation for the 40 Libyans killed and 220 injured in the 1986 United States bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi. On August 14, 2008, the U.S.-Libya Comprehensive Claims Settlement Agreement was signed in Tripoli. Former British Ambassador to Libya Oliver Miles described the agreement as “a bold step, with political cost for both parties” and wrote an article in the online edition of The Guardian querying whether the agreement is likely to work.[16]All this led up to a speech on Libyan state TV in the early days of the current revolution.  Saif 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.[22] He closed by saying, “We will not let Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and BBC trick us.”

Pressure is being put on the LSE to revoke Saif’s qualification[44] and investigate the claims.[45][46]

 


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