Photo: The New York Times
Since the beginning of the rebellion in February, the Libyan regime has argued that its opponents are basically foreign-born mercenaries and Al Qaeda.Bizarrely, the government is now flipping that accusation on its head: Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, the son of Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi, claims that Islamist elements in the opposition movement have reached out to him to form an alliance against liberals, according to a New York Times report.
“The liberals will escape or be killed,” Qaddafi said in English, in a rare interview with the Times‘ David Kirkpatrick. “Libya will look like Saudi Arabia, like Iran. So what?”
Kirkpatrick, properly sceptical of such an outright reversal, reached out to Ali Sallabi, the leader of the Islamist elements within the rebels’ ranks, to see if he is as eager as Qaddafi for an alliance between Islamists and the Qaddafi regime.
“Liberals are a part of Libya,” Sallabi said. “I believe in their right to present their political project and convince the people with it.”
In the interview, which can be viewed below, Qaddafi at times appeared to be improvising. A former champion of modernization and liberalization in Libya, according to Kirkpatrick, Qaddafi sported a new beard to accompany his newly Islamist leanings, and fingered prayer beads as he spoke.
He mused allowed as to why NATO had attacked Libya when there were so many other insurrections occurring in Africa and the Middle East. The answer?
“Libya is very sexy, Libya is very nice,” he said. “It’s a very delicious piece of cake.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.