All in the Family: The Problem With Qaddafi's Son Taking Over Libya

The proposal is riddled with problems

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As the fighting between Libyan rebels and pro-Qaddafi forces reaches a stalemate, Col. Muammar Qaddafi's son, Seif al-Islam, is proposing a peace deal that would push his father out of power, reports The New York Times. The proposal, which has the support of at least one other Qaddafi son, would have Seif al-Islam overseeing the country's transition to a constitutional democracy. While that sounds better than the status quo, there are a number of roadblocks to such a deal. Here are the most salient ones:
  • The rebels have rejected the proposal  According to Al Arabiya, an Arabic news channel based in the U.A.E., the Libyan National Transitional Council has rejected the proposal for Seif to assume power. Other outbursts on Twitter reflected that sentiment. "Who told Saif he has the option of staying in ?" tweets the Libyan Youth Movement account. "They ALL need to leave and stand trial for their crimes!"
  • Qaddafi hasn't signed on  A diplomat "familiar with the proposal" tells the Times the colonel still sees the uprising as a conspiracy between Western actors and Islamic extremists, and hasn't agreed to Seif taking power.
  • Sibling rivalries  Though Seif has the support of his brother Saadi, his other brother Mutuassim, who controls his own militia, is seen as a rival successor. Mutuassim, along with another brother Khamis, are hard-liners who would prefer to use the military to quash the uprising in a war of attrition.
  • Also, who's to say Seif will be a reformer?  The fact that Seif speaks impeccable English and has a PhD from the London School of Economics doesn't guarantee that he'll be a reformer. Though he has publicly called for political reforms, he has also recently promised to crush the rebels.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.