Saif al-Islam (Sword of Islam) Gadhafi is a chip off the crazy old block, but the one thing he’s managed not to delude himself about is what an alliance of convenience with the jihadists by any party threatens to produce if it prevails. “Gaddafi seeks Islamist allies, rebels nab fuel tanker,” by Robert Birsel for Reuters, August 4:
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – Muammar Gaddafi’s son has made a bid to divide the fractious Libyan rebellion, telling a newspaper he was forging an alliance with Islamist rebels against their liberal allies.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s comments, in an interview with the New York Times, were a sign that the Libyan leader’s camp hopes to exploit divisions among the rebels revealed by the assassination of their military commander last week.
“Sword-of-Islam” Gadhafi has always overshadowed his younger, duller sibling, Spork al-Islam.
The newspaper quoted an Islamist rebel leader who confirmed contact with Gaddafi’s son. However, he pledged continued support for the opposition and denied a split with the liberal wing of the six-month-old rebellion. […]
Gaddafi cracked down firmly on Islamists during his years in undisputed power, and many Islamists have joined the rebellion, siding with more liberal, pro-Western rebels trying to oust him.
In what would amount to a remarkable policy reversal, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi told the New York Times he had made contact with Islamists among the rebels, led by a figure named Ali Sallabi, and would now form an alliance with them.
The Islamists and the government would issue a joint statement on their alliance within days, he said.
“The liberals will escape or be killed,” said Saif al-Islam, once seen as a reformist and potential successor to his father. The newspaper described him sporting a newly-grown beard and traditional scarf rather than his customary Western dress.
“Libya will look like Saudi Arabia, like Iran. So what?” he said. “I know they are terrorists. They are bloody. They are not nice. But you have to accept them,” he added.
However, the Islamist figure courted by Saif al-Islam denied there was any such deal. Sallabi confirmed contact with Saif al-Islam, but said he still backed the rebellion…..