The Horn of Africa continues to experience a devastating drought, creating a historic food crisis in the region. Food insecurity has hit Somalia ... particularly hard, where some 7 million people have been affected. But President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s recent deal on khat imports has made many question his priorities.
Arrested in 2011, Seif al-Islam Gaddafi spent most of the last ten years near Zintan (north-western Libya), the town of origin of the revolutionary brigade which arrested him. Officially released in 2016, he waited until July 2021 to announce his return to political life in The New York Times.
Still being claimed by the International Criminal Court for his role in the 2011 crackdown, he was nearly barred from running because of his criminal record.
Contradicting the High Electoral Commission, the Court of Justice in Sebha finally validated his candidacy.
“His candidacy is not one of nostalgia for the old regime,” says Souha al-Badri, his communications advisor. Those close to him keep reminding us that, under his father’s reign, he was already a reformist. However, in The New York Times, Seif al-Islam said that ” “What happened in Libya was not a revolution. You can call it a civil war, or days of evil. It’s not a revolution.”
In his absence, Khalifa Haftar has carried out a takeover of the Gaddafi clan. Today, the two men, both presidential candidates, are competing for the same electoral pool.
To prevent Seif al-Islam from appealing the decision to exclude him from the campaign, the marshal even had the court in Sebha closed down by force at the end of November. Without success.
5. Generation conflict
Charged in 2020 with founding the Libya el-Ghad party on the instructions of Seif al-Islam, Nidhal Badreddine, 35, has since distanced himself. The cause: the conservatism of the old guard, grouped around the Popular Front for the Liberation of Libya and the head of the political bureau, Mohamed Abou Agila. “They are revanchists, hostile to any change, and do not guide Seif al-Islam in a reformist direction,” regrets Badreddine.
Behind the scenes, some Russian officials do not hesitate to talk about the son of Muammar Gaddafi as the candidate of Moscow.
“Russian diplomacy went so far as to speak out in favor of the release of another of his sons, Hannibal Gaddafi,” recalls Adlene Mohammedi, a specialist in Russian-Arab relations.
The eldest of the siblings, Mohammed, lives in Cairo. After seven years in detention in Tripoli, Saadi was released on 5 September. He has since been living in Turkey. Hannibal remains detained in Lebanon. His case has been the subject of a rocky affair involving Nicolas Sarkozy and the businessman Noël Dubus. The idea, according to the latter, was to obtain Hannibal’s release in exchange for access to the family archives.
8. Béchir Saleh
Muammar Gaddafi’s former treasurer returned to the country in the wake of the announcement of the candidacy of Seif al-Islam. But not to give him his support: Béchir Saleh had also decided to run.
“He is looking for a position in the next administration, he represents nothing in the opinion,” said a young Gaddafi official.
Officially, his funds have been frozen. But according to a Times investigation published in 2017, Seif al-Islam has direct access to $30bn despite the sanctions.
10. Favourable bias
“The general feeling is that his candidacy is a chance for the stability of Libya,” said French MP Bruno Fuchs after a short African tour in December, including in Congo and the DRC, where he met with Félix Tshisekedi.
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