As reported by RT, hundreds of people took to the streets in Ghat, on Saturday night, to celebrate the release of Saif Gaddafi after several years of detention.
The footage shows honking cars driving through the streets. Other Gaddafi supporters were seen waving the green flags of the ‘Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’, as has been seen frequently in parts of Libya since the fall of the state in 2011.
The unverified stories of Saif having been released had been going on for some time already; I covered it here last September, but noted it was odd that major media outlets weren’t covering it. Given this disparity between earlier claims, lack of media coverage at the time and the broader media coverage now, it is difficult to know whether Saif Gaddafi was freed last year or whether it has just happened in recent weeks.
What hasn’t been widely reported in international media is the alleged assassination attempt that was carried out on Saif in May. It was reported by some Arab sources that Saif had ‘narrowly survived an assassination attempt by gunmen from local militias’.
There is no way of knowing if this assassination attempt was simply a rival militia or jihadist group acting entirely of its own accord or whether someone else was also behind the incident.
In fact, I had suggested in that earlier piece that one of the reasons for the sketchiness surrounding Saif’s status might’ve been to throw his enemies off the scent. I had also suggested that a deliberate vagueness about Saif’s status or whereabouts was probably for the best – for his own safety. There are, doubtless, multiple parties who will be unhappy with Saif being free and will want him killed.
Saif Gaddafi’s lawyer had reported some time ago that Saif had in fact, “been given his liberty on April 12, 2016″, this being in accordance with an amnesty law passed by the Tobruk parliament.
Saif had been captured by the Zintan militia shortly after his father and brother were murdered by NATO’s Libyan death squads in Sirte in October 2011. After fierce fighting, when the Islamist Libya Dawn faction took control of Tripoli, Saif, along with dozens of other officials of Gaddafi’s former state were put on trial for their life. However, the Zintan militia – allied to the more secular Libyan National Army – again refused to hand him over.
Despite calls to do so, the Zintan militia decided not to hand Saif Gaddafi over to the International Criminal Court either, which apparently still wants him for his fictional ‘crimes against humanity’.
Qatar-based propaganda broadcaster, Al Jazeera, seems unhappy about Saif’s release, choosing to focus again on the ‘crimes against humanity’ claim. Hardly surprising, given that Al-Jazeera was one of the main corporations that took part in the 2011 conspiracy and propagandised heavily for intervention in Libya.
From 2014, the plethora of armed militias at large in the chaos-riddled country due to the 2011 mercenary war seemed to have gathered around either the Libyan National Army (backed by the secular ‘House of Representatives’) or the Libyan Dawn Coalition (dominated by the Islamist parties). That said, there are also roaming factions of jihadists and terror groups in various places, seemingly answerable to no one.
In addition to this, there is still no properly recognised government in the country, with rival ‘governments’ vying for power and the UN-backed Government of National Accord failing to gain legitimacy within the country (read: ‘Libya 2016 – Three Governments, Foreign Intervention & the Return of Gaddafi’).
It is against this confused, chaotic backdrop that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi – the eldest son of the late Libyan leader and one-time ‘Golden Boy’ of Libya’s political future – has reportedly been released from his detainment, having previously been sentenced to death.
Saif al-Islam was seen for years as the more liberal, progressive face of the Libyan establishment and as the figure who would help transition the country carefully towards more democracy and more liberal values. Educated in the West, graduated in England, a guest of Buckingham Palace, a moderniser and a bridging-link between his father’s ideals and the ideals of Western society, it is in fact difficult to think of anyone who was more perfectly-placed to guide Libya into a stable, successful transition.
Instead, ‘the golden prince’ hailed as ‘the reformer’ was left to be tortured and sentenced by a court run by criminals put there by the very Western ‘democracies’ whose very ideals he had hoped to emulate.
But now, after what had for a long time looked like a bleak, hopeless situation for both Saif and for Libyans, things may be developing in a more hopeful direction. A statement, released via the Jamahiriya News Agency on January 9th 2017 and purporting to be the ‘Founding Declaration of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Libya’, suggests the Libyan people’s fight-back against the international conspiracy and terrorist takeover may be gathering momentum.
How much of this is propaganda or smoke-and-mirrors and how much is genuine is hard to ascertain – but the fact that mainstream media organisations are this time seemingly verifying Saif’s release suggests there is no doubt or question anymore.
That being said, there is no confirmation of where Saif is or what he is doing (as is the case for his sister, Ayesha Gaddafi) – which, again, is probably for the best.
This January ‘declaration’, if genuine, however, suggests the arrival of a stage of more open, overt activity and objectives. I also tend to wonder, as previously suggested, if the events in Aleppo, Syria, might’ve further signaled that now was the time.
The question, however, is not only whether various groups and alliances in the chaos of post-Gaddafi Libya are seeking to – or willing to – work with Saif al-Islam to try to rescue the country from the abyss; but also whether Western powers would be willing to allow Saif Gaddafi a place or a voice in the country’s future.
I argued previously that the same Western powers that sought the collapse of Libya in the first place might not welcome such a turn of events – not only because it would threaten the extremist/Islamist ‘caliphate’ that is so necessary for the War on Terror and ‘clash of civilizations’ programme, but because it would be hugely embarassing and would force Western governments (and corporate media) to admit they had been entirely wrong in 2011.
However, with the scale of the refugee crisis flowing out of Libya, the spiraling of the jihadist/terror threat and the reality that the recent Manchester attack was carried out by Libyan anti-Gaddafi jihadists working for the British state, some Western governments might be primed right now for a change in attitude.
Read more: ‘Libya Now – Three Governments, Foreign Intervention & the Return of Saif Gaddafi‘, ‘Is Ayesha Gaddafi Leading a Secret Resistance in Libya?‘, ‘Muammar Gaddafi – A Psychological Profile of Man, Myth & Reality‘, ‘The Terrible Truth About the Manchester Attack‘….