Sunday, 12 February 2012

Gadhafi’s Son Warns of Imminent Uprising in Libya

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Saadi GadhafiAn armed uprising in Libya is imminent as people in the oil-rich North African nation continue to reject the new NATO-backed regime, one of slain Libyan despot Muammar Gadhafi’s sons told an Arabic TV station on Friday from neighboring Niger. Libya’s new rulers dismissed the statements and threatened the “interests” of the government of Niger if it did not hand over Saadi Gadhafi (left) for prosecution.

Claiming he was in regular contact with would-be insurgents in Libya and that he would return to his homeland “at any minute,” Saadi, 38, urged Libyans to be prepared for the coming revolt. “There is an uprising that will happen everywhere in the country,” he told the Al-Arabiya television station. “This will be a new popular uprising.”

Saadi claimed he was regularly communicating with officials within the Libyan Army, the NATO-backed National Transitional Council (NTC), tribal leaders, and various militia chieftains across the country. And based on his discussions, he alleged during his first public interview in recent months that more than two-thirds of Libyans were unsatisfied with the new regime.

“The situation of the people is deteriorating,” Saadi explained as the one-year anniversary of the NATO-supported Libyan uprising was just days away. “I can confirm that more than 70 percent of those who are in Libya now, whether they support the February 17th [revolution] or not, all are not satisfied with the situation and are ready to cooperate to change this situation."

Some areas — most notably the town of Bani Walid, a Gadhafi stronghold that rebelled last month — have already staged successful armed uprisings to expel the new rulers. Meanwhile, an assortment of bickering militias continues to clash with heavily armed Gadhafi supporters across the nation, often resulting in death and destruction.

The NTC has largely failed to restore order despite its successful capture and killing of the late leader last year with help from Western militaries and overwhelming NATO air power. Even in the capital, Tripoli, regular clashes are a regular occurrence as the new regime tries in vain to disarm and rein in the militias.

"The Libyan people should revolt against these militias and against this deteriorating situation. The NTC is not a legitimate body ... and is not in control of the militias," Saadi said during the interview. "We call on all to be ready for the coming uprising."

Saadi, one of Gadhafi’s surviving children, was a former professional soccer player and a supposed “businessman” known for lavish partying. He fled to Niger last year when Tripoli was overrun by Western-backed revolutionaries.

Despite not being wanted by the so-called “International Criminal Court” — which was pursuing his late father and still hopes to prosecute another one off Gadhafi’s sons, Saif al-Islam — Interpol has reportedly put out a “red notice” seeking Saadi’s arrest. The self-styled international court, meanwhile, has been arguing with the Libyan regime for months about which entity should prosecute Saif, who was captured in the desert by militiamen late last year and is being held prisoner by a local militia.

After Saadi’s televised comments on February 10, the NTC renewed its demand that he be arrested in Niger and sent to Libya to face trial. If authorities in Niger refuse to cooperate, the new rulers warned, they would be jeopardizing their interests in Libya and their relationship with the Libyan regime. A spokesman for the NTC also told the press that there was nothing to worry about.

"We assure the Libyan people that neither Saadi nor anyone else can raise the Gaddafi flag on Libyan soil,” NTC spokesman Mohammed al-Harizy was quoted as saying in the Tripoli Post. “Let Saadi know and whoever is standing behind him that the February 17 revolutionaries have not put down their weapons yet and they are ready to face any foolish attempt with force."

Authorities in the neighboring desert nation have steadfastly refused to extradite Saadi — who is reportedly under some sort of house arrest — over supposed concerns that he could be killed by the new Libyan regime. A spokesman for the Niger government, however, told reporters that it would consider handing over Saadi if and when an “independent and impartial justice system” emerges in Libya.

“We cannot hand over someone to a place where he could face the death penalty or where he is not likely to have a trial worthy of the name," official Niger spokesman Marou Amadou was quoted as saying by the Tripoli Post, adding that the government had already taken measures to prevent further inflammatory remarks from Saadi. In the meantime, Gadhafi’s son continues to coordinate with leaders of what he claims is the looming rebellion in Libya from his hideout in Niger. 

"First of all, it is not going to be an uprising limited to some areas. It will cover all the regions of the Jamahiriya and this uprising does exist and I am following and witnessing this as it grows bigger by the day," Saadi said in the interview, using the name coined by Gadhafi for Libya’s type of government under his regime — roughly translated as “state of the masses.”

"There will be a great uprising in the south, in the east, in the center, and in the west,” he claimed. “All the regions of Libya will witness this new popular uprising."

Saadi also blasted the new rulers, whom he called a group of “gangsters.” As The New American has documented extensively, however, the new regime is actually composed primarily of jihadists, known Islamic terrorists, former Gadhafi officials, and a few pro-Western academics. 

Of course, Saadi is hardly the first to criticize Libya’s new regime. Human rights groups and even the UN have noted that the revolutionaries were involved in ethnic cleansing, war crimes, mass executions, systemic rape, torture, revenge attacks, and more. The militias are still holding thousands of prisoners, too. And a prominent former Libyan diplomat was reportedly tortured to death recently.

"We have to exert pressure to change this situation and to remove this evil doing that exists in Libya,” Saadi said in the interview. Libya, he added, is an Islamic nation — it should shun the rulers imposed by NATO.

President Obama and other Western leaders openly celebrated the killed of Gadhafi, a former U.S. ally in the terror war as recently as 2009. They also vowed to prop up the NTC by any means necessary and for as long as needed.

But as blood continues to run in the streets and the body count keeps rising ever higher, the official celebrations over Libyan “success” and “liberation” have largely faded. The next stop for Western-backed “regime change” is already in the crosshairs: Syria.

Before his convoy was hit by NATO bombs and he was captured, beaten, and killed, Gadhafi reportedly distributed huge stockpiles of weapons and cash among supporters. He told the press that they were for use in what his regime vowed would be a long and bloody insurgency.

It remains unclear how much firepower is still in the hands of loyalists, or how many fighters loyal to the former regime are even in Libya. Many have been killed. Others have fled. Thousands more are still in makeshift jails. But if Saadi is to be believed, the situation in Libya is about to turn even uglier in the very near future.

Photo of Saadi Gadhafi in 2005, with father's picture in background: AP Images

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