LIFESTYLE OF GADDAFI'S SONS UNCOVERED
With the raging angst of the people going on in Libya, it is now a question of when and not if the nation's 'emperor,' Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, will quit. Like his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak, he is now busy playing the ostrich to acknowledge that Libyans would give him no quarter in their demand to see his back after over four decades in power.
When the Jasmine Revolution spread to Egypt, Mubarak would have demanded the head of any soothsayer who would have predicted that he would, at the end of the day, be forced to bow to the people's demand. The revolution began in Tunisia last December as Tunisians cashed in on the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, an unemployed graduate turned grocery seller, who doused himself with fuel after police confiscated his produce cart, to demand a change in government.
At the onset of the mass revolt, neither former Tunisian president, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali nor Mubarak believed the people had the tenacity to see through their protests. Both put their trust in the military which eventually switched sides when they saw how determined the protesters were. And when they realised that the military would not save them, they bailed out from power.
But Gaddafi, after over 40 years in power, believes he could ride the storm with the aid of the military notwithstanding what happened in Tunisia and Egypt. Perhaps, he knew something that others did not. His source of confidence is, however, being unveiled as stories emerge of his plans to resort to the use of chemical weapons as government officials and military top brass begin identifying with the people.
Gaddafi appears to have lost the support of several tribes and his own diplomats, including Libya's ambassador in Washington, Ali Adjali, and deputy UN Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi.
A senior aide to Gaddafi's son Seif al- Islam has also resigned to protest against the violence.
'I resigned from the Gaddafi Foundation on Sunday to express dismay against violence,' Youssef Sawani said in a text message sent to a Reuters correspondent. He was executive director of the foundation, which has been the younger Gaddafi's main vehicle for wielding influence.
According to agency reports, many of the soldiers sent to attack the protesters are defecting. Two pilots of an air force fighter jet were said to have jumped out of their Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jet and let it crash rather than carry out orders to bomb opposition-held Benghazi, Libya's second largest city.
Although there are claims that Libya has no capacity to unleash a biological attack on the protesters because Gaddafi had destroyed his pile of chemical weapons in 2004, when he agreed to destroy his weapons of mass destruction, fears are rife that he might have withheld some for use in such an uncertain situation like this.
According to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) all Libya's delivery systems - 3,300 unloaded aerial bombs - were crushed by bulldozers in 2004.
Libya destroyed nearly 13.5 metric tonnes of sulfur mustard last year, about 54 percent of its stockpile. It received an extension to eliminate the rest by May 15, the organisation said. Nearly 40 percent of the chemicals used to make sulfur mustard also have been destroyed since 2005, it said. Twice yearly inspections have found no evidence of Libya reviving the chemical weapons program.
'So far as we know, Libya gave up the capacity to deliver chemical agents seven years ago,' OPCW spokesman Michael Luhan told The Associated Press. 'And in the last year we've also seen, after some delays, substantial progress toward destroying their existing stockpile of chemical agent, which is all mustard.' As the debate over whether Gaddafi would resort to the use of chemical weapons to sustain his strangled hold on Libyan and if and when he would quit, attention is being shifted to his family members, especially his sons, some of who have gained certain notoriety among the people.
Libya's former Justice Minister Mustafa Mohamed Abd Al-Jalil who recently quit and joined the revolution, said that each son controls a unit of Libya's military. 'Every one of Gaddafi's sons has an army and does whatever he wants with his army,' he added. Reports by WikiLeaks show how the sons' proclivities for extravagancy and a life of debauchery have political implications. One of the sons was said to have thrown a lavish party at which he paid R&B diva Mariah Carey $1 million to perform four songs.
Below are highlights of WikiLeaks reports of psychoanalyses on father and sons. • Gaddafi, 68, is described as a 'mercurial and eccentric figure who enjoys flamenco dancing and horseracing, acts on whims and irritates friends and enemies alike.' He's also said to fear flying over water and staying on the upper floor of buildings. He often fast on Mondays and Thursdays and had once proclaimed himself Libya's 'King of Culture.'
He travels almost everywhere in the company of a 'voluptuous blonde' Ukrainian nurse. He 'avoids making eye contact,' according to one 2008 cable sent to then-United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who was preparing to meet the Libyan leader. Rice also was warned that 'there may be long, uncomfortable periods of silence,'