Monday, April 4, 2011

Gaddafi sons looking for way out of conflict: report


Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his sons appeared to be looking for a way out of the conflict in Libya, the New York Times reported on Monday.

At least two of Gaddafi's sons are proposing a transition to a constitutional democracy that would include their father's removal from power, the paper said.

Citing an unnamed diplomat and a Libyan official briefed on the plan, the New York Times said the transition would be spearheaded by one of Gaddafi's sons, Saif al-Islam.

It is not clear whether Gaddafi, 68, has signed on to the reported proposal backed by his sons, Saif and Saadi, the report said.

But one person close to these sons said the father appeared willing to go along, the paper said.

The two sons "want to move toward change for the country" without their father, the Times quoted one person close to the Saif and Saadi camp as saying.

"They have hit so many brick walls with the old guard, and if they have the go-ahead, they will bring the country up quickly."

The proposals are the latest turn in a drama between Saif and his father that has played out for years on the stage of Libyan public life as the son has alternately pushed forward with calls for political reforms and then pulled back.

During the recent revolt, he appeared to march in lockstep with his father in vowing to stamp out the protesters. “We are coming,” he declared to a crowd of supporters who chanted, “Saif al-Islam, step on the rats.”

The defection of Gaddafi's top officials have been seen as a sign his regime is crumbling and that he is becoming more and more isolated.

A diplomat familiar with the proposal, said discussions remained in the initial stages. Despite the evidence of deep internal discontent, Gaddafi appears to believe that rebellion against him is a foreign conspiracy of Islamist radicals and oil-hungry Western powers attempting to take over Libya, the diplomat said.