“Sword of Islam” Gadhafi decided turning Libya into “Saudi Arabia”, in his words, would be worth it to hold onto power. His slower, duller brother, Spork al-Islam, was unavailable for comment. “Splits emerge within Gaddafi regime over alliance with Islamic fundamentalists,” by Damien McElroy for the Telegraph, August 12:
Col Muammar Gaddafi’s heir apparent, Saif al-Islam has declared the regime was prepared to embrace Islamic fundamentalists in an alliance to end the fighting.
Saif al-Islam told the New York Times last week that he was talking with an Islamic leader in the opposition-held east to seal an alliance against Libyan liberals. But the comments appeared to have troubled the ranks of regime’s leadership.
Baghdadi al-Mahmudi, the Libyan prime minister, issued a clear warning about the implications of the rise of Islamic extremists in the aftermath of Saif al-Islam’s interview.
“Mr Saif has his point of view but what matters is what the people of Libya want,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “The Libyan government is coherent, it has one official position.
We have our hierarchy which is taking these positions. The political system is what gives us the power to deal with this situation.”
Like many top figures Mr Mahmudi describes the Nato bombing campaign as an “unwanted war,” and contends the opposition National Transitional Council (NTC) has been hamstrung by its fundamentalist ties.
Khaled Kaim, Mr Obeidi’s deputy, said the outcome of any talks would not be subject to a “Gaddafi veto” but that Col Gaddafi would accept the overriding importance of reuniting the divided state.
“I think Saif al-Islam, he was explaining himself, not explaining the position of the government,” he said. “The position of the leadership is to have a wide spectrum dialogue among Libyans.”
Both sides must however contend with a more powerful faction unseen in the bunkers and military command centres of government controlled Libya. Regime hardliners eschew political and diplomatic moves to find a way out of the impasse. Key figures include Col Gaddafi’s sons Mottassim and Khamis, who command key army brigades responsible for holding the front line.
Ali Sallabi, the Islamic mullah who talked with Saif al-Islam’s aides, said he had engaged with Col Gaddafi’s son to negotiate the terms of the regime’s surrender. However both sides conceded the younger Mr Gaddafi and his acolytes had maintained contacts with fundamentalists throughout the uprising.
“The liberals will escape or be killed,” Saif al-Islam told the New York Times. “Libya will look like Saudi Arabia, like Iran. So what?”
Before the uprising in February against Col Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, Saif al-Islam had secured Western backing for a rehabilitation scheme that had seen thousands of jailed extremists released from Libyan jails.
But the regime Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an al-Qaeda linked terror group, reformed in the eastern region into a new movement after the February uprising….