A Gaddafi renaissance?

by fpman

With former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s family now “scattered around the Middle East from Egypt to Oman,” and two of his sons in jail in Libya, there is a sensible attempt to regain some lost initiative on their behalf by one of Muammar Gaddafi’s cousins, Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam. “Gaddafi cousin hopes to participate in Libyan peace talks,” says a Reuters headline from two days ago, and this being a Reuters headline it may just be that this is not a bridge too far.

Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, cousin of Libya's former president Muammar Gaddafi, talks during an interview with Reuters at his apartment in CairoAhmed Gaddaf al-Dam (photo: Asmaa Waguih, Reuters)

Post-Gaddafi Libya may need a Gaddafi, apparently. Militias are fighting each other, feuding for control of chunks of territory – the luckier ones feuding also for a share in oil revenues to be made utilizing the part of the infrastructure that is still intact after so much turmoil.

Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam is one of those members of the Gaddafi family who opted to stay as close to these chaotic events in Libya as possible: in Egypt. This brought arrest for him under former Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi’s rule. The reasons are rather simple, in the end: Morsi’s was an Islamist regime that took power democratically, in the wake of the rule of a secular autocracy not altogether too dissimilar to Gaddafi’s (though Gaddafi’s relationship to Islam was to no small degree more complicated). So in broader regional terms Morsi was a new kid on the block, while Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam was from the old guard. Clash inevitable. As soon as Morsi was removed from power, however, Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam was once again unrestricted, or perhaps even encouraged, in his political activity.

On September 24, the General Court of the European Court of Justice struck down sanctions still in place against him, and a day before that Asharq al-Awsat began publishing a series of articles on him, the first part of which focused on what a great mediator he was in the Egyptian-Libyan disputes of the 1970s…

He may well be telling himself “Ready, Steady, Go” now, and he is doing so with some wind in his sails. How far that allows him to move in the quicksand of Libya… alright, I’ll just stop using cheap metaphors. We shall see, shall suffice, in the end.