Video footage has captured hundreds of Libyans celebrating the official release from prison of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the eldest son of Libyan revolutionary leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The celebrations from the town of Ghat, near the Algerian border and also not far from Niger has sparked questions as to the whereabouts of Saif al-Islam whose official location is not known at this time.
Saif al-Islam was captured by jihadists in 2011 when trying to cross into Niger after violent Salafist elements including al-Qaeda toppled the legal government of Libya in 2011 during a criminal military operation by NATO.
The video footage helps to confirm what is a well known fact outside of the western mainstream media bubble, namely, that many Libyans never ceased supporting the leadership of Gaddafi and that furthermore, many more Libyans have become nostalgic for a time when Libya was a prosperous, safe, stable and functional state. Since 2011, Libya has declined into a failed state build on a terrorist training camp.
There are two pressing questions which may become clearer over the next weeks.
First of all, does Saif al-Islam plan to play a role in attempting to revive the Libyan state or does he simply want to live elsewhere in peace without the burden of a political life?
Secondly, if he does intend to play a part in Libya’s future, will he do it by staring his own faction or might he team up with the only viable secular faction in Libya, the Egyptian supported and some would also say Russian supported House of Representatives in Tobruk, whose military leader is the former Libyan officer (dating back to Gaddafi’s era) Khalifa Haftar?
Saif al-Islam and Haftar may have some lingering bad blood as Haftar famously fell out with Saif’s father in the late 1980s. At that point Haftar relocated to the United States.
If the two could somehow reconcile this, it would give the Tobruk government near the Egyptian border an even greater amount of legitimacy in the eyes of millions of Libyans.