Qaddafi's Desperate PR Campaign to Save Himself

Qaddafi compares himself to the Queen of England in a letter to Congress and Senate.

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Muammar Qaddafi wrote a long letter for Congress and Senate and downplayed his role in the Libyan government in an attempt to sway them in his favor , the Guardian reports. Reporters for the British paper have discovered letters from members of the pro-Qaddafi regime to international leaders that were part of a PR campaign to try and change international perception of the uprising. The hunt to find Qaddafi today led through the underground passages under his old compound. At one point, rebels thought they had him cornered in an apartment building, but he wasn't there. Qaddafi wrote a "rambling appeal" to congress and senate in which he voiced his displeasure in their participation in the "aggression against Libya." He also put the blame in a curious place, and desperately begged to make friends:

Gaddafi blamed the crisis on France. He said that he had been "keen for years to establish a special relationship with the US". He also modestly denied playing a leading role in Libyan affairs, and claimed to have left power in 1977.

"I do not have any formal position, not even the powers of the Queen of Britain," he insisted.

Qaddafi's wallowing can be partly attributed to Libyan intelligence that was telling him the US was planning a full-scale ground invasion sometime in the fall. Sufyan Omeish, a US-basd filmmaker and lobbyist for the Qaddafi regime, sent a letter to the Libyan prime minister warning that, "there are highly credible analysts and intelligence personnel in the United States who are exposing growing evidence of covert logistical military planning for a future ground invasion in either late September or October of this year." Omeish claimed to be arranging "peace missions" to Libya in an attempt to turn the outlook in the regime's favor. He claimed to recruit a high-profile US congressman, a high-profile Princeton professor of international law, and an Oscar winning director to record everything.

The Guardian also has letters the regime sent to Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich offering an all-expenses paid "peace mission" to Libya. The congressman confirmed the invitation at first, but he opted out  citing "security concerns" for not taking the paid-for trip. He had spoken out against Obama's decision to intervene in the Libyan conflict, and ultimately decided to go to Syria instead. He described his dealings with the Libyan government to the Guardian:

"Because of the efforts I had made early on to bring an end to the war, I started to get calls from Libya, including from the prime minister," the congressman told the Guardian. "He had taken note of the fact I was making an effort to put forward a peace proposal. I had several requests to go to Libya. I made it clear I could not negotiate on behalf of the administration. I said I was speaking as a member of Congress involved in the issue and willing to listen to what they had to say. But given that Libyan was under attack, it did not seem a promising place to hold meetings."

Kucinich is not the high-profile congressman Omeish claimed to have recruited. Kucinich confirmed to the Guardian that he had spoken with Omeish, but he told Omeish about his safety concerns about doing work in Libya. There are also letters briefing Libyan officials on "talking points" when discussing the conflict with international officials that instruct them, " to claim that the revolution in Libya is not a popular uprising but the work of al-Qaida cells."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.