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The two faces of Saif al-Islam

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The two faces of Saif al-Islam


In his last appearance before international TV cameras in August, Saif al-Islam cut a defiant figure.

Surrounded by armed followers and smiling confidently, it was in keeping with a man who had transformed his once reformist tendency for a militant one.

Saif was the most high profile of Gaddafi’s children and the heir apparent to his regime. At the height of the uprising, he vowed to fight and die on Libyan soil.

But he was not always so hard-line.

Educated at the London School of Economics, he was seen by many as a liberal reformer and architect of rapprochement. He did indeed play a lead role in negotiations to end Libya’s chemical and nuclear programme in exchange for an end to sanctions.

Saif helped to found an independent newspaper, advocated a new constitution and was sometimes openly at odds with his father. But, in the end, his opponents say he showed his true colours.

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