Seif Islam, 39-year-old son of besieged Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi, was praised in some Western circles as a leading reformer in his country until recently. For the last decade, he has served as Libya's main interlocutor with the West. But he has been -- to put it mildly -- at odds with his image since the start of the popular uprising against his father.
After warning of mass violence and civil war if citizens sided with anti-government demonstrators in a chilling speech about 10 days ago, the London School of Economics-educated Islam has now apparently been caught on video swinging a weapon while promising to arm a crowd of whistling and cheering supporters.
Besides the praise given to Saif by Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch a couple of years ago, I found this wonderful passage at the London School of Economic newspaper at the time that the school accepted a £1.5 million donation from Saif's foundation. After one professor publicly disagreed with accepting the money:
Professor Held defended the decision to accept the gift as a matter for the LSE/Council, reinforcing what he had said in the prior meeting, and that “a public signing ceremony had been undertaken, and that a u-turn at this juncture might affect the School’s relations with Libya and cause personal embarrassment to the Chairman of the Foundation, Dr Saif al-Islam Gaddafi”.
By the way, Saif's Ph.D. dissertation may have been ghostwritten, Professor Held was his mentor, and Held had been appointed a trustee of Gaddafi's foundation a few months before the donation.
(h/t David G)