October 22, 2011
A few days after the fall of Tripoli to anti-Gaddafi forces, I visited the newly reopened Libyan foreign ministry and took tea with the head of its ‘British desk’.
Like a surprising number of senior civil servants under the old regime, he had survived the transition in place.
Our talk turned to the remarkable period during Britain’s New Labour government when Gaddafi’s Libya changed almost overnight from being a pariah state, whose operatives had killed a London policewoman and sponsored IRA terrorism, to our new best friend.
A very public signal of this rapprochement was the 2009 early release on ‘humanitarian grounds’ of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Libyan agent convicted of the 1989 Lockerbie bombing.
.. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the late dictator’s favourite son and one-time heir apparent, is reportedly on the run for his life. Some sources suggest that he is also badly wounded, possibly as a result of a strike by RAF planes.
… And what if he is caught? Well, what a tale Saif al-Islam could tell; potentially at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, which earlier this year issued an indictment against him for war crimes, allegedly committed during the Libyan rising.