|Biographical detail : ||Libya’s main interlocutor
With no official position and no overt plans for succession, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has emerged over the past decade as Libya’s main interlocutor with the West, feeding speculation that he will take over his father.
He is reported to have coaxed his father into abandoning Libya’s chemical and nuclear weapons programme enabling the country to emerge out from trade embargoes and air blockade that had sealed most Libyans from the outside world for decades. Thus more than 100 major oil companies – American and Europeans – have arrived to tap Libya’s vast oil reserves, betting that the country would become an energy powerhouse.
It was Saif Gaddafi who was involved in negotiations over compensation for the relatives of those on the airliner blown up over the Scottish town in 1988, which eventually led to the lifting of US sanctions.
His trip to Scotland, in 2009, to escort al-Megrahi back and his televised appearance at his side on arrival at Tripoli airport reveals his reputation as a liberal man.
Saif also helped forge the deal that led to the freeing in 2007 of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor sentenced to death on charges of deliberately infecting Libyan children with HIV.
Tensions erupted into full view in December 2009 after Saif invited the Washington and Middle East directors of Human Rights Watch to launch its report on Libya’s human rights violations at a press conference in the heart of Tripoli.
Saif has created National Economic Development Board to overhauling Libya’s regulatory systems. He also has proposed a new penal code, which would entail drafting a constitution for Libya.
After graduating in engineering in Libya, Saif earned an MBA in Vienna, and then a PhD from London School of Economics. Tall, lean and a shaved head, he speaks fluent English and German.