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Son's loyalty dashes future hopes

Geneva places a high premium on guarding secrets.

But sources in the Swiss financial centre were privately gossiping about a recent visit to Geneva by Farhat Bengdara, the governor of the Central Bank of Libya.

Financiers gossip that, as far back as January 17, Bengdara established four new names as signatories on three crucial accounts.

The signatories were Muammar Gaddafi; his son Khamis, who heads the infamous martyrs' battalion; his daughter Aisha; and his other son Saif al-Islam.

Where Libya's oil-dollars have been channelled in the last few weeks is hard to say. But those who know him would be surprised if Saif did not hold the answers.

The 38-year-old, who studied at the London School of Economics and enjoys close friendships with British politicians and bankers, has become the focal point of the conflict.

Whereas Gaddafi senior has always been seen in the west as a dictator, Saif, a trained architect who established a medical charity and was considered his father's heir apparent, held out the promise of a new dawn.

In 2002, Saif told an interviewer that Libya needed democracy. "It's policy number one for us." But with mercenaries flooding the streets and horrifying stories of murder and mayhem emerging, such a promise now looks spent.

Saif's desire to act as a mouthpiece for his father has lent the tragic scenes unfolding in Libya a surreal, sometimes ridiculous dimension.

© Guardian

Sunday Independent