Al-Ahram Weekly Online   18 - 24 October 2012
Issue No. 1119
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

How many dirty hands?

Sarkozy reportedly had a hand in the assassination of Gaddafi, writes Felicity Arbuthnot from London

"Oh what a tangled web they weave

When first they practice to invade

A sovereign nation and deceive

The world about their dark crusade"

-- (Michael Leunig, poet, cartoonist, 1945:)

This weekend a detailed article in the Daily Mail suggested that a: "French secret serviceman, acting on the express orders of the then President Sarkozy, is suspected of" the murder of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi", on 20 October last year.

Whilst bearing in mind that the NATO-backed insurgents now in power, who have near destroyed much of Libya, destabilised, terrorised and hope to carve up Libya's resources for their, rather than the country's benefit, have every reason to wish to disassociate themselves from the butchery of Colonel Gaddafi's terrible death, the new allegations illuminate interesting points.

The French assassin, it is claimed, infiltrated the mob rabidly manhandling the colonel, and shot him in the head.

"The motive, according to well placed [Libyan] sources", was to prevent any chance of interrogation into Sarkozy's links with Colonel Gaddafi.

The Mail previously revealed quoting a French governmental briefing note published by an investigative website, that 50 million euros has been: "laundered through bank accounts in Panama and Switzerland... from Colonel Qaddafi, to fund [Sarkozy's 2007] election as President", which if correct: "would have broken political financing laws." Sarkozy's "numerous visits to Libya" were also cited.

Further claims are that: "The Swiss account was opened in the name of the sister of Jean-François Cope, the leader of Mr Sarkozy's ruling UMP party, and the President's right-hand-man."

Gaddafi's son, Saif Al-Islam, whose life hangs in the balance and no doubt further so, should he be subject to the Libyan "judicial system", has stated unequivocally regarding the Sarkozy campaign funding: "We have all the details and are ready to reveal everything... We funded it."

No wonder Saif Al-Islam, also generous funder (£1.5 million) to his former place of, advanced study, the prestigious London School of Economics -- where he also delivered the annual Ralph Miliband Lecture in May 2010, named for the renowned academic and father of the former UK foreign secretary David Miliband and his brother Ed, current leader of the Labour Party -- has been abandoned by the Western powers who had formerly welcomed him -- then conspired in another illegal coup, this time in his country.

Sarkozy of course, on becoming president, memorably welcomed Colonel Gaddafi on a state visit to Paris in December 2007, greeting him as "Brother leader" and hosting his famed Bedouin tent next to the Elysee Palace.

Tony Blair of course visited Gaddafi on many occasions, even flying in the colonel's private plane, pushing mega business deals. He too is mute on the horrors of the death and the fate of his children, grandchildren and country.

The Mail also makes the points that: "The United Nations mandate which sanctioned [the misnamed 'no fly zone'] expressly stated that the Western allies could not interfere in the internal politics of the country."

"Instead, the almost daily bombing runs ended with Gaddafi's overthrow, while both French and British military 'advisors' were said to have assisted on the ground."

"Now Mahmoud Jibril, who served as interim prime minister following Gaddafi's overthrow, has told Egyptian TV: 'It was a foreign agent who mixed with the revolutionary brigades to kill Gaddafi.'"

Another Tripoli source, according to the paper, stated: "Sarkozy had every reason to try to silence the Colonel and as quickly as possible", with a further "diplomatic source" also stressing Gaddafi's threats to reveal the financial details of the funding to the 2007 French presidential elections donations.

An interesting point, if correct, is made by Rami Al-Obeidi, the "former head of foreign relations for the Libyan Transitional Council [who] said he knew that Qaddafi had been tracked through his satellite telecommunications system as he talked to "the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad". Which begs an elephantine question: are the two murderous Western-backed rampages against Libya and Syria and their leaders connected?

How much of alleged murky financial deals does Syria's president also know?

Interestingly, Bin Oman Shaaban (22) one of those who attacked Colonel Gaddafi was badly injured, seemingly by those loyal to the colonel, in an attack in July. Flown to Paris for treatment, he died in hospital last week. Shaaban was said to have frequently brandished the handgun said to have killed the colonel. If true, he would have interesting knowledge about the appalling events of the day.

Sarkozy has consistently denied receiving money from the Libyan leader and was not available to give a comment to the Mail. Enquiries into "alleged financial irregularities" are ongoing.

Worthy of mention is that in November 2007, just before Gaddafi's Paris visit, "a US State Department cable had warned that those 'who dominate Libya's political and economic leadership are pursuing increasingly nationalistic policies in the energy sector' and that there was 'growing evidence of Libyan resource nationalism.'"

"The cable cited a 2006 speech in which Qaddafi said: 'Oil companies are controlled by foreigners who have made millions from them. Now, Libyans must take their place to profit from this money.'"

"Qaddafi's government had forced oil companies to give their local subsidiaries Libyan names. Worse, 'labor laws were amended to 'Libyanize' the economy', that is, turn it to the advantage of Libyans." Goodness, shocking.

Perhaps then it is no wonder all round, that on hearing of Colonel Gaddafi's horrific death, Nobel winner President Barack Obama declared it was a: "momentous day." (BBC, 20 October 2011). Hillary Clinton followed with a raucous laugh and "We came, we saw, he died."

There is only one certainty, in the whole shaming "regime change" in Libya, there are no clean hands.

And where is Colonel Gaddafi's body?

The writer is a journalist with special knowledge of the Middle East. Author with Nikki van der Gaag of Baghdad in the Great City series for World Almanac books, she has also been senior researcher for two award winning documentaries on Iraq, John Pilger's Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq and Denis Halliday Returns for RTE (Ireland).

© Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly. All rights reserved

Issue 1119 Front Page
Front Page | Egypt | Economy | Region | Focus | Opinion | Press review | Readers' corner | Culture | Features | Heritage | Youth page | Sports | People | Listings | BOOKS | TRAVEL
Current issue | Previous issue | Site map