The Libyan dictator's final days get reexamined as a member of Qaddafi's inner circle speaks to BBC News of his nervous isolation, and The New Yorker takes a deep dive into Libya's collective psyche as he was hunted down. In Jon Lee Anderson's New Yorker take, the author writes that Qaddafi's cunning had been feared for so long that Libyans were afraid even as he had gone into hiding. Here's how one government official put it to Anderson:
Although Qaddafi was widely despised, he was held in awe for his cunning—so much so that even after he abandoned Tripoli to the rebels many Libyans feared he was still capable of outwitting his enemies and returning to power. A former senior government official told me, "I feel like a man who was in a dark hole, who has come into the sunlight, and it’s hazy. . . . What will happen now?" He fretted about Qaddafi. "He's a genius," the former official said. "He’s like a fox. He's a very dangerous man, and he still has tricks up his sleeve. I cannot be convinced he is gone until I see him dead."
The perception of Qaddafi's cunning pales in comparison to the reality of his last hours, as recounted by Mansour Dhao Ibrahim, one of the dictator's inner circle who was captured alongside him. Dhao has been interviewed multiple times since his capture, but--in between interrogations--he spoke to BBC News correspondent Katya Adler for an article published on Sunday, and relayed some striking supposed quotes from Qaddafi:
"Gaddafi was nervous. He couldn't make any calls or communicate with the outside world. We had little food or water. Sanitation was bad," [Dhao] told me.
"He paced up and down in a small room, writing in a notebook. We knew it was over. Gaddafi said, 'I am wanted by the International Criminal Court. No country will accept me. I prefer to die by Libyan hands'."
Mansour Dhao said Col Gaddafi then made the decision to go to his birthplace, the nearby valley of Jarref. I asked if it was a suicide mission.
"It was a suicide mission," Mansour Dhao said. "We felt he wanted to die in the place he was born. He didn't say it explicitly, but he was going with the purpose to die."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.