The Rosett Report

Saif "The Reformer" Qaddafi, and His Assault Rifle

You remember Saif Qaddafi, the “reformer” son of Moammar Qaddafi, and heir-apparent of the Qaddafi regime? Saif Qaddafi the erstwhile lover of democracy; he of the Qaddafi Foundation for International Charities and Development; Saif with his chats at Davos, his studies at the London School of Economics, the Qaddafi scion about whom Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch enthused last May that “the real impetus” for reform in Libya rested less with information of the modern world seeping in by phone and internet than with the works of Saif?

That would be the same Saif who, despite his distinctly threatening TV speech to rebellious Libyans last Sunday, appeared this Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week,” telling Christiane Amanpour that “we” — the Qaddafi regime — “didn’t use force” and issued the challenge, “Show me a single attack. Show me a single bomb. Show.”

Well, for footage of the attacks, just punch up news of Libya — by now there are photos and videos of Qaddafi’s victims all over the internet. But here’s something to add to the picture. Courtesy of Mohamed Eljahmi, the naturalized American brother of Libya’s late leading democratic dissident, Fathi Eljahmi — who died in 2009 after years of imprisonment, isolation and abuse by Qaddafi’s regime — I received what looks like a recent video clip of Saif Qaddafi, brandishing his assault rifle. Around him, a crowd of Qaddafi loyalists shout slogans which Mohamed Eljahmi translates from the Arabic as “The people only want Moammar the Colonel!” and “We want no one but Moammar!” It’s a shaky clip, and if anyone can spot details that show it is not Saif, please write in. But it sure looks like Saif.

He doesn’t actually fire his gun — nonetheless, if this is Saif, as it appears to be, then, as Libyans continue dying in their attempts to rid their country of 42 years of Qaddafi tyranny, it’s an interesting window on this fellow who usually shows up sitting calmly in a chair, talking away in his business suit. A weapons expert of my acquaintance, by the way, took a close look at the gun being waved around here. Again, it’s a grainy video, but this looks like a Heckler & Koch G36E assault rifle; pricey, favored by the German army. Quite a boy’s toy for the “reformer” in the family.