Gadhafi Son's U-Turn Shocks the World

Seif al-Islam had been seen as a reformer
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2011 1:33 PM CST
Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, speaks to the media at a press conference in a hotel in Tripoli, Libya Friday, Feb. 25, 2011.   (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

(Newser) – Until a few weeks ago, the West thought well of Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, a London-educated Davos man who’d spent years advocating greater democracy and freedom in Libya. So when he promised protesters “rivers of blood” in the street, it was just a wee bit unexpected. “Seif was known as a person with a vision of an open market economy, with democracy, with charity,” one Libyan investor tells Bloomberg, “so he’s surprising everyone, including me.”

Seif, Gadhafi’s second-eldest son, insists his views haven’t changed. “When things were going well, I was a reformer,” he told one newspaper, “However, when people cross the red line I hit them with my shoe, and I also hit their fathers with my shoe.” In the same breath, he calls the protests a "passing cloud," and "an historic opportunity for Libya to become a first-class democratic state." But experts say he's lost all credibility. "His legitimacy as a reformer has now collapsed," says one regional analyst. Or as one Libyan writer put it: "He's gone berserk."

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