Foreign Policy says Saif al Qadaffi has warned Nicolas Sarkozy to stay bought. The Libyan dictator says he funded the French President’s campaign and if he doesn’t pipe down, he’ll release the record of transactions to the press. An oh, he wants his money back.
Gaddafi’s son was then asked that as France was the first country to recognise the Interim Transitional National Council in Benghazi, what was his opinion of President Sarkozy.
Saif al-Islam: “Sarkozy must first give back the money he took from Libya to finance his electoral campaign. We funded it and we have all the details and are ready to reveal everything. The first thing we want this clown to do is to give the money back to the Libyan people. He was given assistance so that he could help them. But he’s disappointed us: give us back our money. We have all the bank details and documents for the transfer operations and we will make everything public soon.”
It’s an explosive charge and the prospects of being found guilty by association with Khadaffi has sent many a public figure scurrying. One fellow who isn’t afraid to shout out his connections with Libya is Louis Farrakhan, who in this video says “I don’t know what’s going on in Libya. I haven’t been there in a while, but Mohammar Khadaffi has always been my friend. And, people tell me that I should distance myself from my brother … see I’m not that kind of punktified negro.”
The AP, reporting Farrakhan’s speech without providing quotes, said that the Minister believed that no leader was 100% beloved by his people. Those who watched Farrakhan’s video will note that the Minister compared Khadaffi to Jesus in order to make the point and made special reference to the role of Judas. What was he getting at? Probably that there are “punktified” people who are playing out the role of Judas.
Clearly it wasn’t just Farrakhan who was Khadaffi’s “friend”. Academics from Harvard, the London School of Economics, Hollywood personalities were all at one time or the other on Khadaffi’s largesse. They have since disavowed him. But the subsequent flight of these groups from Khadaffi’s circle of admirers did not wound him so much as the betrayal he felt from European politicians. Khadaffi was reported to have said, “‘I’m really shocked by the behaviour of my European friends, in the first place by Silvio Berlusconi. ‘I’m so shocked. I feel betrayed. I don’t know what to say to Berlusconi,” he said.
The feelings of betrayal were ostensibly mutual. The BBC says “Former Foreign Secretary David Miliband has said it is ‘horrific’ that a London School of Economics lecture in his father’s name was delivered by Saif Gaddafi.” Miliband’s father was a Marxist academic.
Are these complaints of betrayal for dramatic effect only? Or is there genuine hurt over arrangements that have gone awry? If Khadaffi indeed has financial records to back his claim up, things would become very interesting indeed. But a spokesman for Sarkozy pooh-poohed the accusation saying “I don’t see how they could have [such comprising evidence] since no such thing exists.” To the question, “who else” one answer is that there was never anyone in the first place.
My own prediction is that if Khadaffi somehow manages to retain power he will have many, many friends again.