Gadhafi’s Son, Seif al-Islam, Won’t Rule Libya – Shugaley

Maxim Shugaley, the man at the centre of Russia’s efforts to assist Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of Libya’s late dictator Muammar Gaddafi,  become president in the North African country, says he won’t succeed in his bid to gain power. 

Shugaley works as a political consultant for Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian tycoon close to President Vladimir Putin. 

After being accused by Libya’s government of plotting to meddle with the presidential election in Gadhafi’s favour, he was imprisoned for 18 months. The Kremlin pushed for the 55-year-old’s release. He is now pessimistic about Gadhafi becoming president, saying he doesn’t see any hope for him.

Shugaley blames the US for thwarting Gadhafi’s leadership ambitions but gave no evidence.

Speaking in an interview in Moscow, Shugaley said, “No, he won’t be. He’s an unacceptable figure for the United States — there is a political order against him.

“This would be a unique event in the world — 10 years on and the Gadhafi family stages a comeback. Just from a psychological point of view, it’s a big blow.” 

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According to Elena Suponina, a Moscow-based Middle East expert, Seif al-Islam’s prospect of fulfilling his ambition for the seat once occupied by his father is dim because “for a lot of Libyans he represents a step back to the old regime.”

“There are many people in Moscow who see this situation and in advance want to blame the potential failure of Seif al-Islam purely on the West,” she said. 

But Shugaley warned of a renewed conflict if Gadhafi is barred from running or if his supporters believe he lost unfairly.

“This is a delayed time bomb,” he said. 

French company TotalEnergies SE, Italian company Eni SpA and Royal Dutch Shell Plc are considering investing billions of dollars to exploit Libya’s energy reserves, located just across the Mediterranean Sea from Europe.

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An official role for Seif Gadhafi would “present a challenge for any Libyan government and the return of Libya to the international community,” U.S. State Department spokesman Sam Werberg said Nov. 15. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and is subject to sanctions from the United States and the United Nations.” 

Libya’s election body called for a postponement of the historic vote originally scheduled for Dec. 24. It is now planned for Jan. 24. 

The Libyan authorities recently declined to allow Shugaley to return to Libya as a vote observer, a year after he was released from prison to Russia. He was accused of illegally consulting Gadhafi on his potential presidential run by Libyan prosecutors. 

According to Shugley, he was merely conducting research. Shugaley said he met three times with 49-year-old Seif Gadhafi, who was released in mid-2021 after spending years in prison and seclusion amid war crimes charges. 

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In the past few years, Libya has been a major focus for Moscow, with the Defense Ministry publicly embracing an influential warlord and hosting peace talks. 

As a result, Moscow has often found itself at odds with the U.S. and its European allies there, as well as regional players like Turkey, Egypt, and the UAE, all of which seek influence in Libya.

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