jueves, 7 de julio de 2016

Libia: vuelve Gaddafi


La vida te da sorpresas. Sorpresas te da la vida. Como que Saif Gaddafi (foto), hijo de Muammar Gaddafi, está siendo mencionado insistentemente por muchos como el líder que podría pacificar Libia, esa nación desgarrada por la NATO. En fin; puede ser un globo, puede ser una operación, puede ser una provocación. El tiempo lo dirá. La nota es de Richard Galustian y la tomamos del sitio web Moon of Alabama. Acá va:


Título: Libya - Part III - The Return Of The King Saif Gaddafi

Texto: In an article in early May, I wrote "Keep in the back off your mind the potential future importance of Saif Gaddafi." The news of the release from a Libyan prison in Zintan of Saif Al Islam Gaddafi, heir apparent to his late father, is surprising to many outsiders but it nothing to what may come next - a return in some form to power.

In Libya’s 2011 Arab Spring uprising, Saif joined his father and sons on the barricades, castigating NATO-backed rebels in a bitter revolutionary war. While those rebels later cornered and killed his father Muammar and brother Moatasim in Sirte, Saif was captured alive trying to flee through the Sahara desert to Niger.

It may be his good fortune that the units capturing him were from Zintan, a mountain town south of Tripoli, who later went to war with Islamist led Libya Dawn which captured the capital in 2014. When a mass trial was held of former regime figures there, Zintan refused to hand Saif over, sparing him the brutalities inflicted on other prisoners including former intelligence chief Abdullah al Senussi and his younger brother Saadi, who was filmed being beaten in a Tripoli prison cell.

Zintanis were no friends of the former regime, fighting against Gaddafi’s forces as one of the most effective rebel outfits during the uprising that was won by NATO bombing.

But from the few accounts of those allowed to visit him in a closely guarded compound somewhere in the town, he has been treated well, living under what amounts to house arrest, until now.

A year ago a Tripoli court operating under Libya Dawn auspices sentenced him, and either others including Al Senussi, to death. Up in Zintan, not much changed for Saif, with Zintan still digging in its heels and refusing to hand him over to Tripoli’s grim Al Hadba prison.

The shambolic UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) under a puppet PM who operates out of Tripoli naval base, the only part of the city they control, however appears to be responsible for the amnesty order given in April to Saif and other prisoners removing their death sentences and ordering them to be freed.

Since then, Saif’s location is a mystery, but Zintan’s attitude to him is tempered by their alliance with former Gaddafi-supporting tribes, including those from Beni Walid and Warshefani, in their brutal battle with Libya Dawn’s Islamists. The Gaddafi tribe itself has a base south of Zintan around Sebha, making common cause with the Zintanis against Libya Dawn militias who control the capital and lord it over the GNA.

Before the Libya uprising, Saif criss-crossed the globe pushing an agenda for democratization he hoped would reform the country. Whether the drive was not serious, or whether it was frustrated by his hardline siblings Moatsem and Khamis, is impossible to know, but he emerges from captivity to find Libya a changed place something he predicted.

Saif al-Islam in February 2011 gave a speech foretelling of what was to come. And he was right “There will be civil war in Libya … we will kill one another in the streets and all of Libya will be destroyed. We will need 40 years to reach an agreement on how to run the country, because today, everyone will want to be president, or emir, and everybody will want to run the country.”

Saif knew his country would be torn apart if his father regime was forced out by the West. 

The brutalities of his father’s regime have since been matched by those of some of the militias that overthrew him, most visibly the grim beating of his brother Saadi in a Tripoli jail which his captors filmed in gruesome detail.

Many of the tribes that once supported Gaddafi are now battling Islamists and their opportunistic Misratan allies of Libya Dawn, and will see in Saif a figure who can unify their demands not to be squeezed out of Libyan political life.

Opposition to him taking a political role it can be argued is softening because he was never part of the “muscle” of the Gaddafi regime, spending much of his time in London moving around the gilded circle of rich tycoons, academics and Tony Blair’s political elite.

There is, in other words, an opening for a man who was castigated by rebels for dismissing their rebellion on Gaddafi’s green TV during the uprising, but who never fired a shot in anger. With his release, he might get a shot at the plan he always said he wanted; to reform his country and unite key tribes who feel marginalized by Libya’s power brokers. 

Pieces are falling into place for him to possibly take part in some kind of grand council. With the GNA unable to persuade either of Libya’s other two governments to join it, there are calls for a wider mediation effort, with Saudi Arabia and importantly Oman, offering mediation, to be discussed in Brussels on 18th July with US Secretary of State John Kerry. 

In this battered, chaotic country, with governments fighting each other and IS, Saif Gadaffi may find a new role as part of the solution rather than the problem.

In the past 24 hours since the news broke he had been freed, Libyans across the country from different towns and cities have held pictures of Saif shouting his name. To my knowledge it's the first time any pro-Gaddafi demonstrations have been evident in so many parts of the country since 2011.

It's time Saif played a role with other libertarians in and outside Libya promoting the old constitution and particularly banishing members of the former AQ affiliate, LIFG.

Rumors are abound that Saif will give a press conference very soon. That's going to be very interesting indeed if it happens.


***

Acá va la noticia de la liberación de Saif Gaddafi por el portal de noticias Middle East Eye (http://www.middleeasteye.net):


Título: Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam 'released from prison in Libya'

Subtítulo: Saif al-Islam was reportedly released in April by his Libyan captors despite being sentenced to death by a court in 2015

Texto: The most prominent son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi appears to have been released from prison, according to reports on Wednesday.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was sentenced to death by firing squad last year, and he has been widely reported as imprisoned in the western Libyan town of Zintan.

However, on Wednesday, Gaddafi’s lawyer Karim Khan told France 24 that his client was in fact released on 12 April and is “well and safe in Libya”.

Khan, who was appointed as Gaddafi's lawyer on 27 June, said his client was released as part of an amnesty passed last year by the House of Representatives, which was Libya’s internationally recognised government until the UN-backed Government of National Accord took charge earlier this year.

Gaddafi’s current whereabouts are unknown and his lawyer did not say whether he has spoken to his client since the reported release.

A document shared on Twitter and purportedly from Libya’s justice ministry stated that he was released after appeals from senior members of the Gaddafi tribe.

However, the document's authenticity has not been confirmed and it is signed "hahaha" in Arabic.

Mohamed Eljarh, Libyan analyst at the Atlantic Council, told MEE Gaddafi is still in Zintan, but it is not clear whether or not he has been freed from detention.

I have spoken to people from Zintan and they said [Gaddafi] is still in Zintan and under their protection,” he said by phone from the capital Tripoli. “They did not say if he is still captive or free to go.”

Gaddafi is wanted by the International Criminal Court in relation to charges of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in killing protesters during the 2011 NATO-backed revolution that deposed his father from power.

His newly appointed defence team recently held a press conference to call for the ICC to drop the charges against Gaddafi, arguing that he has already been tried and convicted by a court in Libya.

Gaddafi was sentenced to death by a Tripoli court in July last year after a trial that was roundly condemned by rights groups as lacking due process.

Mattia Toaldo, Libyan analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told MEE that Gaddafi’s reported release under an amnesty announced last year by the HOR could be an attempt to pressure the ICC into dropping charges against him.

If he (Gaddafi) has been released it could be a tactic to get the ICC to drop the case [against Gaddafi] but this would fail as the ICC has already said a domestic amnesty does not constitute a reason to drop the case."

The amnesty cited as the reason for Gaddafi’s release was announced by the HOR on 28 July last year. It was an announcement that was widely viewed as being a response by the HOR to Gaddafi’s conviction by their political rivals in Tripoli.

The ICC has repeatedly called on Libyan authorities to transfer Gaddafi to their custody so he can face trial. However, local authorities in Zintan have refused both to hand him over to the ICC or transfer him to Tripoli.


'Under the protection of Zintan'

Eljarh said whether or not Gaddafi has been released, he believes that Zintani authorities have not been keeping him as a prisoner.

He has won the trust of Zintanis and I believe he has been under their protection more than under their arrest,” he said.

Gaddafi’s reported release now may stoke conflict between Zintan and other parts of Libya, which is a country that, while having Africa’s largest oil reserves, has fractured since 2011 into a land of lawlessness swamped with arms and ruled by a myriad of militia groups.

If he were really free, then this would shake things up in Libya as [Gaddafi] loyalists would now have a recognised leader also free to travel in parts of the country," Toaldo said. "But it is hard to say whether the forces now in control in Tripoli would accept that or whether that would create a further split.

Eljarh said rumours of Gaddafi’s release could indicate that, behind the scenes, there is a movement to build a new coalition among forces opposed to Islamist groups operating in Libya.

There have been contacts between General Haftar and Gaddafi loyalists about the release and return of key figures from the Gaddafi era,” he said, referring to Khalifa Haftar, the renegade anti-Islamist general who leads the self-declared Libyan National Army based in the country's east.

Talk of the release of Saif may be part of an attempt to build a robust anti-Islamist coalition.

“Most of the anger [if Gaddafi’s release is confirmed] will come from Misrata and Islamists in Tripoli. But in the rest of Libya, I don’t think there will be much anger or opposition – especially in the east where there is openness to reconciling with Gaddafi-era figures.

“But Misrata and Islamists will say this is what they have been warning of – that this is a counter-revolution and Gaddafi-era figures will return to Libyan public life.”

Saif Gaddafi was widely viewed as being likely to succeed his father as the next Libyan leader.

He was well known internationally, particularly in Britain, as he was educated at the London School of Economics, where he holds a doctorate and made a controversial £1.5m donation to the university’s work on studying civil society in North Africa. 

He was also known to mix in elite British social circles, including being friends with former British prime minister Tony Blair, Lord Mandelson, and the world famous architect Norman Foster.

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