Saturday 10 December 2016

Robert Fisk: Gaddafi is not Saddam and it's a mistake to assume he's finished

Robert Fisk

Published 03/03/2011 | 05:00

A Libyan rebel holds a rocketpropelled grenade in Brega
A Libyan rebel holds a rocketpropelled grenade in Brega

POOR old Libyans. After 42 years of Gaddafi, the spirit of resistance did not burn so strongly.

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The intellectual heart of Libya had fled abroad. Libyans have always opposed foreign occupiers, just as the Algerians and the Egyptians and the Yemenis have done -- but their Beloved Leader has always presented himself as a fellow resister, rather than a dictator. Hence, in his long self-parody of a speech in Tripoli yesterday, he invoked Omar Mukhtar -- who was hanged by Mussolini's colonial army -- rather than the patronising tone of a Mubarak or a Ben Ali.

And who was he going to free Libya from? Al-Qa'ida, of course. Indeed, Gadaffi made a very interesting remark. His Libyan intelligence service, he said, had helped to free al-Qa'ida members from the US prison at Guantanamo in return for a promise that it would not operate in Libya or attack his regime. But al-Qa'ida betrayed the Libyans, he insisted, and set up "sleeper cells" in the country.

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