By Igor Siletsky
Gaddafi is dead, the National Transitional Council officials stated on Thursday after earlier reports about the Colonel’s seizure in his hometown of Sirte. However, pro-Gaddafi media deny this information.
Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev heard the news about the capture during his talks with Holland’s Prime Minister Mark Rutte and immediately stated that Gaddafi’s future should be decided by Libyans only:
“We hope that now peace will come to Libya. It’s high time politicians from various tribes who are at the helm decided on power distribution. Libya should become a modern and democratic country otherwise all efforts, including the ones by the international community, will be vain.”
News about Gaddafi was extremely controversial. First the rebels claimed that they had captured Sirte and then stated about Gaddafi’s seizure during his escape attempt. The Colonel’s escort of dozens of cars was heading west towards Misurata, but NATO jets and the rebels attacked it. Gaddafi was taken from the scene by an ambulance as he had been shot in both legs. Allegedly Gaddafi’s former press secretary Moussa Ibrahim and his cousin Ahmed Ibrahim were also caught.
NATO got these messages but couldn’t be reached for comments saying that they should be verified.
The capture news evoked joy among the rebels and shortly after the government made another statement saying that Gaddafi is dead of a mortal head injury that he also got during the storming. The statement was updated with new details saying that Gaddafi’s son Mutassim, ex-Defense Minister Abu-Bakr Yunis were also dead while Muammar’s son Saif al-Islam managed to escape to the Desert.
The bodies were transported to the city of Misurata and exact location is kept secret due to safety reasons though the rebels promised to show people the body. The NTC says that it has a video and photos proving the death. Some channels aired a cell phone photo of a bleeding man saying it is Gaddafi. The story seems to have the same script as the recent Bin Laden elimination.
Gaddafi’s fall ends a certain époque for Libya. He was born in a Bedouin family in 1952 and has actively fought against Italian occupation since teenage years. After school Gaddafi attended the UK’s Royal Military Academy and later joined the Signal Corps. He first appeared on the Arab arena sending his unit to help Egypt in the six-day war with Israel without sanctions by King Idris of Libya. On September 1, 1969 the 27 year old Captain Gaddafi led a coup d’état against King Idris and became the youngest head of state ranked Colonel. After the revolution, in the 1970s, Gaddafi formulated his Third International Theory (following Karl Marx and Adam Smith) published in three chapters of the Green Book. The theory rejected traditional instruments of government and made Libya promoter of Arab nationalism and eternal rival of Israel and the US in the Middle East and North Africa. This certainly affected Gaddafi’s relations with the West.
In 1986 Libya was accused of masterminding the Berlin disco bombing and US bombers struck Tripoli. A miracle has saved Gaddafi’s life. In 1988 he responded by the Lockerbie bombing killing 270 people on the Pan Am flight 103 from London to NY. In 2003 Libya claimed responsibility for the attack under sanctions and Gaddafi publically repented.
Another Colonel’s idea was to unite the African continent and on March 2, 2001, the African Union of 52 countries was set up under his initiative. The Colonel also planned to have collective parliamentary assembly, court and central bank.
Gaddafi earned reputation for extravagance in everything from his clothes to behavior. He is known to hate official formalities and protocols and went on all visits with Amazon body guards and his Bedouin tent.
However, Gaddafi’s death doesn’t mean the end of the war believes Russia’s ex Ambassador in the country and expert in Oriental studies Alexei Podtserob:
“His death doesn’t mean the game is over. Now the winners will begin to carve the power up. Some media already report about clashes between various factions. It will be a miracle if the country sees no more violence.”
Gaddafi will be shortly buried in line with Muslim traditions, possibly in Misurata, Al Jazeera reports citing a local military official. The body was carried to a city mosque for the ablution.
The West still keeps silence.