Posted on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 08:57

A Gaddafi returns to Libyan politics

By Konye Obaji Ori

Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, a cousin and former aide of Mummar Gaddafi. Photo©ReutersAfter two years of keeping a low profile, a member of the late Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi's family and government has emerged to restore stability in the war torn country.

Ahmed Gaddaf al-Dam, a cousin and former aide of Gaddafi has emerged to take part in proposed talks between Libya's warring parties.

Gaddaf still has enormous influence among the old regime figures

Gaddaf is highly connected among Arab and African governments such as Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

He also has links with some European countries, and carries political authority among certain militant groups including factions run by former officers of the old regime.

Since uprisings brought an end to the 42 year reign of Gaddafi, rival armed groups in Libya have battled for power, raising fears of a full-blown civil war.

The fighting has prevented the internationally-recognised government from operating in the capital, Tripoli.

Concerned about regional stability and border control, Egypt and Algeria have called for peace talks among fighting groups within Libya.

Libyan political analyst Hafed al Ghwell argues that although Gaddaf is controversial, he could speak for tribes and officials close to the former regime which have been sidelined.

"Gaddaf still has enormous influence among the old regime figures, including those still in the military, and wields a lot of influence among the tribes loyal to Gaddafi," Ghewll told Reuters.

The United Nations had organised talks between Libya's parliament and lawmakers that oppose its legitimacy.

Plans for talks between rebel groups are on the table. However, no date or details have yet been given for the talks.

Gaddaf, who is exiled in Cairo, is ready to lead the talks.

"I welcome the idea of having talks under the sponsorship of the United Nations outside Libya. We thank Algeria for hosting such a dialogue," Gaddaf is quoted as saying.

"Two million Libyans live abroad. We didn't participate in the (June) elections but despite this I support parliament."

Gaddaf appears to be politically astute and has called for reconciliation in Libya.

Some analysts argue that Gaddaf's connections with rebels from the Gaddafi-linked tribes, some of which are based in the south, could help secure sub-Saharan borders used by militants to smuggle weapons.

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