Cable: Gadhafi's children had issues, each sought to build personal empires, militaries

Thursday, February 24, 2011   E-Mail this story   Free Headline Alerts

LONDON The children of Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi have sought to build their own militaries.

The March 2009 cable, released by WikiLeaks, reported behavioral problems with several of Gadhafi's children. One son, Mutassim, who served as national security adviser, was said to have tried to buy military equipment as well as weapons abroad for his personal force.

U.S. ambassador to Tripoli, Eugene Cretz, reported an intense rivalry between Mutassim and Seif Al Islam. The cable said Mutassim played a "key role in negotiating potential weapons contracts" with Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Mutassim was described as a "bloody man and not terribly bright."

So far, only Seif appeared on television to support his father's regime amid the revolt. The cable said the ruling family had been worried over Seif's womanizing and partying in Libya.

"Seif Al Islam had persisted in his hard-partying, womanizing ways, a source of concern in a socially conservative country like Libya," the cable, which quoted an unnamed source, said.

The cable also cited the arrest of another Gadhafi son, Hanibal in Geneva in July 2010, which resulted in a crisis with Switzerland. Another son, Saadi, was also involved in violence with authorities in Europe.

At one point, the Libyan ruler assigned his daughter, Aisha, the task of monitoring her brothers. Aisha was said to have encouraged the senior Gadhafi to take a hardline toward the Swiss.

U.S. government documents have reported that Gadhafi's five children have been searching for funds to build their personal empires as well as security forces. The documents said foreign energy companies have been targeted by the children to fund their security projects.

"Sharp rivalry between the Gadhafi children could play an important, if not determinative role, in whether the family is able to hold on to power after the author of the revolution exits the political scene," a State Department cable said.

Another Gadhafi son involved in weapons procurement was identified as Khamis. Khamis has been commander of the 32nd Brigade, regarded as a commando force assigned to protect the regime.

"It was further determined that Khamis Al Gadhafi would play a larger role in military procurement, since his Khamis Regiment the 32nd Brigade had demonstrated some success in procurement," the cable, released on Feb. 23, said.

"The Swiss crisis, together with other points of intra-family tension, has reportedly brought Aisha, who enjoys closer relations with Hannibal than with her other brothers, together with Hannibal, Saadi and, to a lesser extent, Saif Al Arab," the report said. "Muatassim reportedly agreed with the hardline approach vis-a-vis the Swiss and has been closer to Aisha's end of the spectrum than to that of Saif Al Islam, who urged a more moderate approach."

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