Can Gaddafi Save Libya?

by | Jun 11, 2017


Politically dramatic news emerged on Saturday 10th June when it was announced that Saif Al-Islam, was freed from Zintan and had arrived in eastern Libya, to Al-Bayda. This is a very significant turn of events on the ground politically in so many different ways. One of these is described below.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) liberation of the Jufra AFB is also connected to Libyan “militias'” in Tripoli releasing last week some Gaddafi era VIPs including Saif’s brother, Saadi and former prime minister Baghdadi Mahmudi from prison.

These developments are part of a new dynamic that seems to be entering the Libyan stage. The idea is to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Tribunal, similar to Mandela’s South Africa’s, in order to bring unity to the country.

Specific Libyan tribes are starting to back Saif Gaddafi and with the backing of Libya’s House of Representatives and LNA head Khalifa Haftar, a new and hopefully peaceful attempt at unification may appear when the fighting stops and Saif can play a most important and historic part in this.

When Saif was released from his Zintan prison last year, the question to what role he could play in the war-torn country immediately became a legitimate and relevant subject.

Most of the tribes that supported his father, Muamar Gaddafi, see him as a redeemer and are willing to support his involvement in any political process that helps to bring about national reconciliation.

Haftar is close to Elders of the Warfalla tribe. The Warfalla tribe is the biggest tribe in Libya located mainly in Bani Walid and Sirte area, along with the Warshfana tribe and both tribes are against extremists and many are sympathetic to Saif Gaddafi. Importantly, the tribes believe that Saif can help reach an accommodation with Libyan parties in a Mandela style Commission/Tribunal to forgive or prosecute, where appropriate, crimes committed pre and post 2011.

The LNA is winning and is popular, while simultaneously it has to be said that Saif Gaddafi is also becoming popular amongst a large segment of the Libyan people.

Any planned solution to a post-civil war Libya involving Saif Gaddafi may result in him being the very key to peace the Libyan people have waited for for six years.


  • Richard Galustian

    Richard Galustian is a senior consultant to several international corporations involved in Libya and the greater Middle East and North Africa.