Libya corruption, cult of personality drive Qaddafi's grip on power: WikiLeaks cable
Libya leader Muammar Qaddafi has retained power for four decades by playing political rivals, including his sons, off one another, cables from the US ambassador to Libya reveal.
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The Christian Science Monitor reported that a possible leadership alternative in Libya might be the country’s tribal leaders, according to Kamran Bokhari, Middle East and South Asia regional director for Stratfor, a global-security forecasting company that is based in Austin, Texas. "But other Arab regimes ruling over tribal societies – from Saudi Arabia to Jordan and Yemen – will not want to see the kind of 'real regime change' that a shift to tribal governance would constitute."Skip to next paragraph
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Observers have long guessed that one of Qaddafi’s sons would take over as leader, though it has been uncertain who Qaddafi preferred. Another cable authored by Cretz, sent in November 2009, suggests that Qaddafi’s apparent wavering was merely another example of his political shrewdness.
“Qadhafi has placed his sons … on a succession high wire act, perpetually thrown off balance, in what might be a calculated effort by the aging leader to prevent any one of them from authoritatively gaining the prize,” writes Cretz.
While a February 2010 cable suggests that young Libyans favor Qaddafi’s second eldest son, Saif al-Islam, as the hope of “Libya al-Ghad” or the “Libya of Tomorrow,” it now appears that support for him as waned. The Monitor reported that Saif told protesters on Sunday that if demonstrations don’t end, Libyans could expect “the division of Libya piece by piece and for a civil war.” Since then, protesters have demanded the removal of the entire Qaddafi family from power.
In the January 2009 cable, Cretz predicts a disarray of leadership that seems more and more likely if Qaddafi steps down.
The reality is that no potential successor currently enjoys sufficient credibility in his own right to maintain that delicate equilibrium and keep the project going of transforming (at least superficially) the Jamahiriya. In that regard, al-Qadhafi is the architect of his own gilded cage and cannot yet relinquish
day-to-day decisionmaking, even if he wants to.