Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Analysis: A further obstacle is the role that Saif has played. His public appearances have hardly been those of a statesman
By Donald Macintyre
"The emergence of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi as a player in the current, if opaque, moves to end the Libyan crisis poses some sharp questions for the Western powers – including Britain. That he convinced several people in the previous British government that he was – to use the New Labour phrase – a "moderniser" is not in doubt. "He talked a very good game," one party member said recently. There have even reportedly been suggestions in Saif's own circle that his openness to constitutional change has been – unfairly – blamed by some hardliners in Tripoli for fuelling the uprising in the first place. As the Europeans – and perhaps to an even greater extent, the Americans – look for an exit, it may be tempting to see Muammar Gaddafi's second son and his reform project as part of any solution. Some on his pre-crisis reform committee are now siding with the opposition and could theoretically offer some common ground....
Maybe the Western officials who used to hold shares in Saif have already all unloaded them, but any who didn't would do well to look at that and other recent performances."