In an interview released on Friday with Russia Today, Muammar Qaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, dismissed the International Criminal Court, which has issued an arrest warrant for him, as a "joke" and expressed regret that Libya renounced its weapons of mass destruction program in 2003. Countries including North Korea and Iran, he noted, have told the Qaddafi regime, "This is your mistake. You give up your weapons of mass destruction, you stop developing long-range missiles, you became very friendly with the west, and this is the result." The lesson for other countries, he added, is that "you have to be strong, you never trust [the west], and you have to be always on alert because they don't have friends. Over one night, they change their minds and they start bombing us."
The message is a relevant one for the U.S. as it confronts nuclear threats in North Korea and Iran, but it was what Saif said later on in the interview that really caught our attention, as NATO airstrikes cross the 100-day mark, the rebels fail to break an apparent stalemate on the ground, and the Qaddafi regime, in the words of CNN, shows "itself to be more robust and resilient than anyone imagined." The west, Saif explained, views Libya as a "piece of cake"--"rich, full of gas, oil, and we have more than $100 billion [in] deposits abroad." NATO and the rebels, he added, continuing with the food metaphors, ultimately regard Libya as a fast-food restaurant:
They want to finish as soon as possible because they are hungry, they are tired, they want to share the cake. For them, Libya is like fast food, like McDonald's, fast. Because everything should be fast. Fast war, fast airplanes, fast bullets, fast victory. But we are very patient because we are in our country ... we live here, we die here.
"We may win tomorrow, in one week, or in one year, but one day, we win," Saif declared, adding that the regime will continue to fight even if the coalition kills his father. "One day the French will go back to Corsica and France, the Italians will go back to Sicily and Italy, the Danish will go back to Denmark, the Canadians will go back to Toronto, and Libya will be back to the Libyans," he said, flashing a big smile.
In an interview with French television that surfaced yesterday, Muammar Qaddafi's daughter, Aisha, wasn't as defiant as her brother, though she did criticize French President Nicolas Sarkozy and explain that her father can't leave Libya because he's "a symbol, a guide." She claimed "direct and indirect negotiations" were underway with the rebels and added "we are ready to ally with the devil" to end the bloodshed in the country, "and that is the armed rebels."
Saif's comments about McDonald's begin a little after 11:50:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.