Libya Rebuffs Qaddafi Son on Alliance With Radical Islamists[gaddafi]http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/06/world/africa/06libya.html?_r=1&ref=world
TRIPOLI, Libya — The government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi distanced itself on Friday from comments that his son Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi made the previous day, when he vowed in an interview to strike an alliance with a faction of radical Islamists among the rebels challenging his father’s rule.
Musa Ibrahim, a government spokesman who had arranged the interview with the younger Mr. Qaddafi, said Friday that Mr. Qaddafi had spoken only for himself, not for the government. The deputy foreign minister, Khalid Kaim, delivered the same message at an early morning news conference.
The repudiation of Mr. Qaddafi’s comments was a rare sign of discord within Colonel Qaddafi’s government, and it raised questions about whether the six-month rebellion had taken a psychological toll on Mr. Qaddafi or whether he had envisioned some propagandistic purpose in announcing the tactic.
Mr. Qaddafi has been considered his father’s heir apparent and, as his younger brother Saadi put it in a recent television interview, the man who in effect is running much of the Libyan government. Power in Libya depends almost entirely on proximity to Colonel Qaddafi, and Seif has been considered pre-eminent among the dictator’s children.
Although he has sometimes positioned himself as an outsider lobbying the government for liberal reforms, it was Seif who delivered the government’s first public response to the Libyan uprising in February, vowing to crush it.
Mr. Qaddafi insisted in the interview on Thursday that he was speaking for himself and his father, and he promised he would announce a peace agreement with the Islamist rebels within days. Mr. Ibrahim, the government spokesman, had invited this reporter to Tripoli, saying that Mr. Qaddafi wanted to make an important statement. The government arranged to leave a special visa at the border to facilitate the interview.
Mr. Qaddafi’s comments, however, evidently surprised Mr. Ibrahim and others in the government. Mr. Qaddafi appeared to have reversed months of insistence by the government that the rebellion was dangerous precisely because it was a front for radical Islamists, whom the Qaddafi regime has attempted for decades to suppress. And the Islamist rebel Mr. Qaddafi identified as his principal counterpart in talks on an alliance immediately denied there was any agreement, insisting that he supported the rebels’ liberal leadership and reiterating the demand that the Qaddafi family relinquish power.
Mr. Qaddafi’s comments followed the assassination last week, at rebel hands, of the rebels’ top military commander, Gen. Abdul Fattah Younes, and Mr. Qaddafi may have been trying to exploit signs of division within the rebel ranks.
General Younes had previously been Colonel Qaddafi’s interior minister, charged with the detention and torture of Islamists, among others.