Friday, 30 September 2011

Aisha upsets the Algerians

The outspoken Aisha Qadhafi caused controversy and embarrassment for her Algerian hosts this month when she broadcast a four-minute message calling on Libyans to rise up against their new rulers, whom she described as 'traitors who have broken their oath of allegiance.' The colonel's daughter fled Libya in late August in an armed convoy with 30–60 family members and close supporters, including her mother, half-brother Mohamed , brother Hannibal , and a number of their children.

The convoy was allowed into Algeria on spurious humanitarian grounds because Aisha allegedly gave birth to a baby girl. This was miraculous because she would be Aisha's second baby in eight months – her last one having been killed in a NATO bombing in April when she was four months old. She told the Syrian Arrai television that Qadhafi was alive and still fighting and declared, 'The great leader is doing well. He carries weapons and is fighting on the fronts.'Aisha's comments did not go down well with her Algerian hosts. Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci denounced the broadcast as 'unacceptable.' Medelci, who was attending the UN General

Assembly in New York, pledged to 'take measures' against Qadhafi's relatives. This condemnation seems to have prompted reports in the El-Khabar newspaper – which is controlled by Algeria's notorious Département du Renseignement et de la Sécurité (DRS) intelligence service – that Aisha was among a party of eight of Qadhafi's relatives who left Algeria for Cairo. Egyptian security forces have denied the reports, however, and Egypt would in any case be an unlikely destination for Aisha, or anyone else from the Qadhafi family, because of both its own ongoing instability and the fierce dislike of the Qadhafi regime among Egypt's revolutionaries.

As for the whereabouts of other Qadhafi family members, there were reported sightings of Mu'atassim in Sirte this month and rumours that Saif al-Islam is holding out in Bani Walid. Meanwhile the Muammar Qadhafi is proving as elusive as ever.

He continues to release statements insisting that he is still in Libya although where he will eventually turn up is anyone's guess. All the time he is on the loose his spectre will loom large in the minds of the Libyans.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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