Saif Gaddafi rails against protesters

The colonel’s son is recorded apparently promising to arm pro-Gaddafi fighters.

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Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, son of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, is a terrifying mess of contradictions.

On the one hand, he wrote a PhD thesis at the London School of Economics entitled: "The Role of Civil Society in the Democratisation of Global Governance Institutions: From 'Soft Power' to Collective Decision-Making?" On the other, he has been undermining the Libyan people's attempts at revolution, promising protesters that the Gaddafis will "fight to the last minute, until the last bullet".

Equally disturbing as these threats is the emergence of a video, apparently showing Gaddafi Jr whipping pro-Gaddafi supporters into a patriotic frenzy against demonstrators and even promising to arm them.

His mentor, Professor David Held of the LSE, once described Gaddafi as "someone who looks to democracy, civil society and deep liberal values for the core of his inspiration".

He has now reappraised his view, stating that Saif seems more like "a young man torn by a struggle between loyalty to his father and his family, and the beliefs he had come to hold for reform, democracy and the rule of law".

Questioned by foreign journalists about the uprising in Libya, Gaddafi said:

The biggest problem is the hostile media campaigns against us. They want to show Libya is burning, that there is a big revolution here. You are wrong. We are united. Peace is coming back to our country.

It is reported that whilst living in London, Gaddafi socialised with people such as Nathaniel Rothschild and Peter Mandelson.

All this makes certain interviews with the Spectator seem darkly amusing.

Liam McLaughlin is a freelance journalist who has also written for Prospect and the Huffington Post. He tweets irregularly @LiamMc108.

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