A Note from the Authors on 5th of June 2015: On the 24th March 2015 the UN proposed that Libya’s unity government would be led by a ‘presidential council of independent personalities.’ Therefore, this article’s relevance is that it considers what is an independent personality? Specifically, what are the UN qualifications that makes one independent? Is a Libyan ONLY disqualified due to ties with an established political party or religious group – OR did the UN consider ties with the former regime?
The Ties that Bind. With 42 years of Gaddafi rule with remnants of the regime unapologetic as it openingly vows business-as-usual upon return, a future leader’s ties to the old regime are imperative to consider. Even without the fiercely fought – and HoR dismissed – lustration legislation, Libya’s Isolation Law, regime ties must be discussed and included as a prerequisite for an independent personality. Why? In many cases the ties to the regime are deeper as they are family/tribal oriented and stronger than just a political and/or religious affiliation.
In this context of an independent personality with family regime ties, we consider the broader issue for Libya. What if their leaders have regime affiliations? Although not a declared candidate, as most are not, we consider Mr. Al Ghwell’s lingering and/or new ties to the former regime in the context of being a candidate. This article considers Mr. Al Ghwell’s independence when he published on his public Facebook account an August 2014 image of an embrace of Ahmed Gaddafi-dam in Cairo. Ahmed Gaddafi-dam, always a contentious individual in the Libyan political scene, is Muammar’s cousin, spokesman for the tribe and considered by many; including the EU as still dangerous “to restoring civil peace.” Al Arabiya reported that although a top European court ruled in September 2014 EU sanctions imposed on him should be withdrawn, “the EU claimed Qadhaf Al Dam “still represented a threat to restoring civil peace.“
Al Arabiya: “It suspended the ruling, however, pending a EU appeal, noting that lifting the sanctions immediately could allow Qadhaf Al Dam to remove assets from the 28-member bloc, undercutting the effectiveness of possible future measures.”
Al Arabiya: “The European Union imposed an asset freeze and travel ban on leading Libyan figures close to Qaddafi as he launched a bloody and doomed effort to hold onto power in the face of a popular uprising in 2011. His cousin, Ahmed Mohmamed Qadhaf Al Dam, was put on the EU list on the grounds that since 1995 he had commanded “an elite army battalion in charge of Qaddafi’s personal security,” the General Court of the European Union said in a statement. Additionally, he was accused of being “involved in planning operations against Libyan dissidents abroad and was directly involved in terrorist activity,” it said.”
In contrast to the EU assessment of Mr. Gaddafi-dam, consider Mr. Al Ghwell’s March 2015 quote about Mr. Gaddafi-dam’s statesmanship. The Daily Mail quote:
“Hafed al Gwell, a liberal political analyst said: ‘He is the most senior and most capable of the Gaddafi clan. ‘His advantage is that he is moderate and is not seen as having blood on his hands as he was not involved in domestic politics. His problem is that he looks and sounds like Muammar Gaddafi.’
He still carries enormous influence in Libya, al Gwell argues, as his mother is from the Awlad Ali tribe, which dominates large segments of the Sahara while on the other side he is from the prominent Gaddafi tribe. ‘He is treated almost like a head of state by these tribes,’ al Gwell said.
His position as a former special envoy also gives him credibility abroad, al Gwell explains. ‘Having acted as Gaddafi’s interlocutor he is also a unique character on the international Arab scene with relationships extending over 40 years. The Saudis have blind trust in him.’
A conference involving all sides is a credible aim, he said. ‘It is vital to bring the old regime into the process, he said. ‘We have learned in Iraq the cost of excluding large chunks of the population who were linked to Saddam. We are still paying the price.”
‘It is vital to bring the old regime into the process.’ Inclusion of the regime, consider this concept.
Hafed Al Ghwell’s Father
Hafed Al Ghwell’s father “had been a friend of Gaddafi since the 1960’s” and Libya’s Lockerbie lawyer – all of this is acknowledged. But, there is the issue of Ibrahim Al-Ghwel, wanted in an INTERPOL Red Notice for felony money laundering. Is the friend to Gaddafi and the Lockerbie lawyer – Ibrahim Al-Ghwel, also the father of Hafed Ibrahim Al Ghwell? Evidence readily available on the internet located in this article leans in that direction, with or without Mr. Al Ghwell’s confirmation or denial. If so, we pondered if he becomes a declared candidate, the toil for Mr. Ghwell to govern a country while uphold its laws if his father is wanted by the same government he defends? At the minimum this lingering contentious issue should be aired for the Libyan people to determine the worthiness of Mr. Al Ghwell for leadership if he chooses to be a candidate.
A 26 December 2015 clarification on the INTERPOL RED NOTICES: There seems to be confusion as to the Red Notices. It is an example of a Minister of Justice overstepping his portfolio with respect to the Libyan Prosecutor’s office and INTERPOL Red Notices. In April 2015, Mr. Ghwell noted that with an unverified document in a Libya Al Mostakbal article that ”Libya asks the Interpol officially to suspend all red notices against Libyan nationals.”
Two points need to be clarified. First, under Libyan Law, the Minister of Justice DOES NOT SUPERVISE the Libyan Judiciary or the Prosecutor’s office whether they are in Tripoli or Tobruk. The Libyan Judiciary and Prosecutor’s office are separate, equal, distinct entities from the Ministry of Justice. Secondly, under Libyan law, the Minister of Justice’s portfolio does NOT cover the INTERPOL red notices. Rather, the INTERPOL Red Notices are under the purview or the portfolio of the Investigation Department for the Libyan General Prosecutors Office – NOT the Minister of Justice’s office. Therefore, the Minister of Justice did generate a letter – but per Libyan law – he is not allowed to suspend or cancel the Interpol Red Notices without the request of the Investigation Department for the Libyan General Prosecutors Office. We note that the Minister of Justice did not have this request. (See insert)
We note that Mr. Al Ghwell’s article makes no reference to these nuances of Libyan law in this respect.
As such we have noted that that Ibrahim Al-Ghwel’s Red Notice was still on the INTERPOL site as of 5 June 2015. Seemingly suspended but not canceled. Confirming this on the 20th of May 2015 on Al Nabaa television channel, Siddek Al Sour, the Head of the Investigation Department for the Libyan General Prosecutors Office in Tripoli said of the Libya’s INTERPOL Red Notices, The Red Notices were not canceled, they are still in effect. Tobruk just froze them. On 24th of July 2015, we questioned if all Interpol notices had been cancelled. On the 27 July 2015, Libya Al Mostakbal reported that it was NOT officially suspended/cancelled – meaning as per Libyan law and within THEIR PORTFOLIO, the Prosecutor’s office had NOT requested their suspension/cancellation. Rather, Mr. Al Sour suggested that non-payment may have removed the INTERPOL RED NOTICES.
Finally, we reiterate again under Libyan Law the Minister of Justice does not supervise the Libyan Judiciary or the Prosecutor’s office and the INTERPOL red notices are not within his portfolio. Rather, the INTERPOL Red Notices –per Libyan Law – were within the portfolio of the Investigation Department for Libyan General Prosecutor’s office. Therefore, without the Investigation Department for Libyan General Prosecutor’s office request to suspend or cancel the Red Notices – which Mr. Al Sour did not give – the Minister of Justice’s letter is just a letter – as per Libyan Law.
As such we leave the original article as is when the INTERPOL Red Notices were suspended but not cancelled as noted in April 2015 by Mr. AL Ghwell. The rest of the article…
Finally, the relevant update to this article is that it seems that Mr. Al Ghwell has left The World Bank and Mr. Al Ghwell’s 31 May 2015 tweet. We think this says it all.
and the retort by one of Libya’s premiere’s media outlet, Libya Al Hurra.
For an compelling end, we suggest the 7 comments Mr. Al Ghwell made to us about this article as well as for clarity the comments Mr. Al Ghwell made to a Libyan activist noting the word “TOOOZ”.
Now, the article as it was….
In light of the events of the last few days, we wish to pause work on another article to cover an event. Our discussion will be about the implications from recently-released images and the questions that the images generated.
In recent days, a few images were release by the owner, still others just came to light. Into this mix is the Financial Times article written by Hafed Al Ghwell with the astoundingly accurate title, We must embrace Gaddafi’s Allies…or Else. Given the irony of the recent photos released on Mr. Ghwell’s Facebook site, where he is seen hugging Muammar Gaddafi’s cousin, we offer a quote from that 31 August 2011 article:
“Libya has to follow the example of other countries and have an amnesty for former officials and supporters of the regime.”
It was a broad statement without any provisos such as: only those who committed corruption-related offenses OR those without blood on their hands. As Mr. Al Ghwell DID NOT make a distinction in this statement and based on the images and his praising comments on the 9th of August 2014 about Ahmed Gaddafi-dam, one could speculate that Mr. Al Ghwell meant ALL ‘former officials and supporters of the regime.’
Further, without any ambiguity, Mr. Ghwell used the word AMNESTY. Not the word TRIAL… as in ‘fair and just trials.’ In fact, Mr. Al Ghwell never mentioned the word trial as if to skip over this forthcoming judicial chapter in Libyan history. He jumped straight to Amnesty. As we know, an Amnesty is an official pardon, a reprieve, forgiveness for people who have been convicted of political offenses.
Another comment in his closing:
But as a priority, it must be made clear that everyone in society, irrespective of ethnicity, religion and politics – and yes, that must include former Gaddafi officials who have no blood on their hands – must be allowed a role in government.
Given the positive comments of August 2014 about Mr. Gaddafi-dam, one can speculate that Mr. Ghwell has even rescinded this stipulation in his 2011 comment, ‘and yes, that must include former Gaddafi officials who have no blood on their hands – must be allowed a role in government. Again, we note that in this 2011 statement there is no mention of a trial to determine ‘blood on the hands’ for any Gaddafi official including, one could presume, Mr. Gaddafi-dam.
Amnesty is for whom?
Given the question of the INTERPOL Red Notice, we have to ask the Amnesty is for whom? Evidence is mounting about the identity of that bespectacled gentleman wanted by Libya for:
Felony money laundering, felony theft of public funds, a felony causing intentional damage to a serious public funds, a felony acquire funds illegally.
Hafed Al Ghwell’s father
We were able to locate an Global Attitude article written by colleagues of Mr. Al Ghwell. Mr. Al Ghwell was aware of the article as commented at the end of the article by thanking those who praised him. ‘Hafed was the son of an attorney that represented the Gaddafi regime and the two accused in the Lockerbie case. His father was a Gaddafi supporter.’ From the article:
‘Based on the highly charged posts, I was able to determine that Hafed was the son of an attorney that represented the Gaddafi regime and the two accused in the Lockerbie case. His father was a Gaddafi supporter. By virtue of association, it seems a few Libyans determined that Hafed was a Gaddafi supporter as well. However, others engaged him in intelligent conversations about the future of Libya. While opinions weren’t always in sync, it seemed that they all had the same long-term hope for Libya.
The article continues:
‘Hafed thought it was also important to note that his father never held an official government position. His father had been a friend of Gaddafi since 1960’s.‘
A Personal Motive for the Amnesty?
So, is the man with the INTERPOL Red Notice, Hafed Al Ghwell’s father?
If so, than the proposal for Amnesty for ‘former officials and supporters’, has a new personal twist in its meaning? The Global Attitude article states that Mr. Al Ghwell’s father as a ‘Gaddafi supporter’ and ‘friend of Gaddafi’. Therefore, Amnesty could then become an issue of political nepotism. Nepotism in that, IF Ibrahim al-Ghwel is his father, and Mr. Al Ghwell’s opinion on Amnesty is given in aid of his father, it could be suggestion to help persuade Libyan decision-makers to eliminate his father’s INTERPOL warrant. We will not know until Mr. Al Ghwell is forthcoming with an official denial or confirmation AND subsequent clarification on the issue.
The timing of Mr. Al Ghwell’s meeting with Mr. Gaddafi-dam
With respect to the timing of 8-11th August 2014 meeting in Egypt, coincidental or not, only 4 days earlier, the Guardian reported on a 3rd August statement release by unofficial spokesman for the Egypt president. Amr Moussa has speculated that Egypt is considering an invasion of Libya for ‘national security reasons.’
‘Moussa’s prominence – and his closeness to Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, for whom he has at times acted as an unofficial mouthpiece – has led to speculation that an Egyptian offensive in Libya is on the table.’
Couple in the timing of Mr. Al Ghwell’s mini-summit with Mr. Gaddafi-dam in consideration of his STATUS under this SAME Egyptian Government: As Mr. Gaddafi-dam is an Egyptian, he will not be extradited. Although Libya is still trying to extradite him, Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel Aziz said in a translated April 2014 interview:
‘Regarding trying those symbolizing the former regime, Abdel Aziz said his country is committed to fair trials. “Regarding Ahmad Gaddaf al-Dam, we have asked Egypt for his extradition. They told us that he holds Egyptian nationality. All we know is that he’s a wanted Libyan,” he said.’
Understandably, Libyans may question the timing of Mr. Al Ghwell’s meeting with Mr. Gaddafi-dam considering his extradition to Libya has been DENIED by the SAME Egyptian Government. HERE
Mr. Al Ghwell and Mr. Ahmed Gaddafi-dam. We offer this 31 October 2014 tweet by Mr. Al Ghwell linking to Mr. Gaddafi-dam’s twitter account. Mr. Al Ghwell quoted Mr. Gaddafi-dam, Muammar Gaddafi’s cousin, as stating in Arabic that he is “Ready to sit down with the assassins of Gadhafi for Libya…”
For all these reasons, above and below, the Libyan people should be informed of the motivations, altruistic or not, of a ‘U.S.-based Libyan activist’ who offers his opinion about Libya to the international media (Reuters) while meeting with controversial people, both of which are about issues that affect THEIR lives.
A note from the Authors: On 18th November 2014 we provide an update and possibly a conclusion.
Hafed Ibrahim Al Ghwell now indicates his full name on HIS Facebook account. Consider that Mr. Hafed Ibrahim Al Ghwell publicly denotes his middle name as Ibrahim, in the Arab/Muslim tradition of taking one’s fathers name AND couple that with the eerily similar photo of Lockerbie Lawyer Ibrahim Legwell (below) to the Interpol mugshot, Libyans may draw their own conclusions… without any confirmation or denial from Mr. Al Ghwell about his father. Note: as Gaddafi, Gadhafi, Khadafi has its many spellings so does Al Ghwel, Al Ghwell and Leghwell.
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