Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is the most prominent son of slain Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi. He is a huge political figure in Libya and was part of his father’s inner circle. Saif was rumoured to be a possible successor to his father and was often regarded as the de-facto Prime Minister of the country during his father’s reign.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi Biography
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is the second son of Gaddafi, and his second wife, Safia Farkash. He was born in Tripoli, Libya on the 25th of June, 1972.
He attended Tripoli’s Al Fateh University and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in engineering in 1994. Conflicting reports, however, state that Saif al-Islam graduated with a degree in architecture. A few years after graduation, in 2000, he earned an MBA from Vienna’s IMADEC business school.
Before getting his MBA, Saif al-Islam had founded a charity organization, the Gaddafi International Foundation for Charity Associations, which played a significant role in his political rise in the country. The NGO intervened in the crisis of the HIV trial in Libya and the resulting European Union-Libyan rapprochement. It was also instrumental in negotiations that led to Libya abandoning its weapons of mass destruction programme in 2002–2003.
In 2008, he was awarded a PhD in controversial circumstances from the London School of Economics. There were allegations that Saif’s thesis, “The Role of Civil Society in the Democratization of Global Governance Institutions: From ‘Soft Power’ to Collective Decision-Making?” was in many-parts, ghostwritten.
He was, however, largely viewed as a reformer, who not only openly criticised his father’s regime but could be the breath of fresh air needed in the country, post-Muammar Gaddafi’s reign. Western media popularly called Saif the “reformist face” of Gaddafi’s regime.
Following the Arab Spring and the Libyan Civil War of 2011 which led to his father’s and some siblings’ death, Saif al-Islam went into hiding. Other members of his family had fled the country to Algeria and then to Oman where they were granted asylum.
He was the last member of the Gaddafi family to remain in the country and had promised to stay to fight to the end and take revenge. He, however, later choose to flee. He was captured trying to enter Niger.
Family, Siblings, Girlfriend
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has a total of 10 siblings. A half-brother Muhammad Gaddafi, born in 1970, from his father’s first marriage. Six are biological, and two are adopted. They are Al-Saadi Gaddafi, born in 1973, Mutassim Gaddafi, born in 1974 and died in 2011, Hannibal Muammar Gaddafi, born in 1975, Ayesha Gaddafi, born in 1976, Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, born in 1982 and died in 2011, and Khamis Gaddafi, born in 1983 and also died in 2011. The adopted siblings are Hana Gaddafi and Milad Gaddafi.
Saif al-Islam was in a relationship with Israeli actress and model, Orly Weinerman. The couple had kept their relationship under wraps for a while, with Orly once publicly denying to know Saif.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi Net Worth
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s exact net worth is unknown but he is said to be a very wealthy man, even in captivity. He owns a couple of properties and businesses around the world, particularly in London, UK, which continue to line up his pocket.
Some of those properties have, however, been seized by authorities, specifically in Italy.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has been released by the rebel group that captured and detained him for over 6 years. It has been reported that he plans to contest elections in the country and hopes to unify the factions and restore peace and stability in the country that was once prosperous under his father’s rule.
He is an internationally recognized negotiator and influencer. He successfully negotiated compensation for families of victims of the Lockerbie bombing, the Berlin nightclub attack, and the UTA Flight 772, which detonated over the Sahara desert.
He also hosted peace talks between the Philippines government and leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The talks led to a peace agreement which was signed in 2001.
In connection with crimes levelled against his late father, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is still wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity.