WikiLeaks: The Eccentricities of Libyan Leader Gadaffi Revealed
Document 1: The eccentricities of Gadaffi revealed. Recent first-hand experiences with Libyan Leader Muammar al-Qadhafi … primarily in preparation for his UNGA trip, provided rare insights into Qadhafi’s inner circle and personal proclivities.
Document 2: Profile of ‘intellectually curious’ but ‘notoriously mercurial’ Gaddafi.
Document 3: Gaddafi’s modest lifestyle.
Document 4: Gaddafi annoints himself ‘King of Culture’.
Document 5: Gaddafi gives Guinean president public and private gifts.
Tuesday, 29 September 2009, 17:21
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 000771
STATE FOR NEA/MAG AND INR.
EO 12958 DECL: 9/29/2019
TAGS PREL, PGOV, LY, PINR
SUBJECT: A GLIMPSE INTO LIBYAN LEADER QADHAFI’S ECCENTRICITIES
CLASSIFIED BY: XXXXXXXXXXXX, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy Tripoli, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
1. (S/NF) Summary: Recent first-hand experiences with Libyan Leader Muammar al-Qadhafi XXXXXXXXXXXX primarily in preparation for his UNGA trip, provided rare insights into Qadhafi’s inner circle and personal proclivities. Qadhafi appears to rely heavily on XXXXXXXXXXXX and reportedly cannot travel with his senior Ukrainian nurse, Galyna XXXXXXXXXXXX. He also appears to have an intense dislike or fear of staying on upper floors, reportedly prefers not to fly over water, and seems to enjoy horse racing and flamenco dancing. His recent travel may also suggest a diminished dependence on his legendary female guard force, as only one woman bodyguard accompanied him to New York. End Summary.
QADHAFI’S PERSONALITY REFLECTED IN HIS PHOBIAS
2. (S/NF) Muammar al-Qadhafi has been described as both mercurial and eccentric, and our recent first-hand experiences with him and his office, primarily in preparation for his UNGA trip, demonstrated the truth of both characterizations. From the moment Qadhafi’s staff began to prepare for his travel to the United States, XXXXXXXXXXXX various proclivities and phobias began to reveal themselves in every logistical detail. When applying for Qadhafi’s visa, protocol staff asked whether it was necessary for the Leader to submit a portrait of himself that fit consular application regulations, noting that his photo was displayed throughout the city and that anyone of hundreds of billboards could be photographed and shrunken to fit the application’s criteria. When the rule was enforced, protocol staff reluctantly conceded to take a portrait of the Leader specifically for the visa application.
3. (S/NF) XXXXXXXXXXXX informed us that the Leader must stay on the first floor of any facility that was rented for him. (XXXXXXXXXXXX told XXXXXXXXXXXX that Qadhafi could not climb more than 35 steps.) XXXXXXXXXXXX cited this requirement as the primary reason that the Libyan residence in New Jersey was selected as the preferred accommodation site rather than the Libyan PermRep’s residence in New York City.XXXXXXXXXXXX also sought to find accommodations with room to pitch Qadhafi’s Bedouin tent, Qadhafi’s traditional site for receiving visitors and conducting meetings, as it offers him a non-verbal way of communicating that he is a man close to his cultural roots.
4. (S/NF) Qadhafi’s dislike of long flights and apparent fear of flying over water also caused logistical headaches XXXXXXXXXXXX explained that the Libyan delegation would arrive from Portugal, as Qadhafi “cannot fly more than eight hours” and would need to overnight in Europe prior to continuing his journey to New York. XXXXXXXXXXXX also revealed in the same conversation that Qadhafi does not like to fly over water. Presumably for similar reasons, Qadhafi’s staff also requested a stop in Newfoundland to break his travel from Venezuela to Libya on September 29. [Note: The Government of Canada recently confirmed that the Libyan delegation canceled plans to stop in Newfoundland. End Note.]
DEPENDENCIES: RELIANCE ON A SELECTIVE GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS
5. (S/NF) Qadhafi appears to be almost obsessively dependent on a small core of trusted personnel. XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX appears to play an equally important role in Qadhafi’s personal retinueXXXXXXXXXXXX We constantly hear that XXXXXXXXXXXX also plays a key role XXXXXXXXXXXX also seems to have been tasked with insuring that the Leader’s image is well-preserved through the full array of carefully-planned media events.
6. (S/NF) Finally, Qadhafi relies heavily on his long-time Ukrainian nurse, Galyna XXXXXXXXXXXX, who has been described as a “voluptuous blonde.” Of the rumored staff of four Ukrainian nurses that cater to the Leader’s health and well-being, XXXXXXXXXXXX emphasized to multiple Emboffs that Qadhafi cannot travel without XXXXXXXXXXXX, as she alone “knows his routine.” When XXXXXXXXXXXX’s late visa application resulted in her Security Advisory Opinion being received on the day Qadhafi’s party planned to travel to the U.S., the Libyan Government sent a private jet to ferry her from Libya to Portugal to meet up with the Leader during his rest-stop. Some embassy contacts have claimed that Qadhafi and the 38 year-old XXXXXXXXXXXX have a romantic relationship. While he did not comment on such rumors, a XXXXXXXXXXXX recently confirmed that the Ukrainian nurses “travel everywhere with the Leader.”
PREFERENCES – FROM DANCING TO HORSEMAN
7. (S/NF) In addition to the personality quirks revealed through Qadhafi’s travel to New York, the Qadhafi’s preferences for dancing and cultural performances were displayed over the last month. The three-day spectacle of his 40th anniversary in power included performances by dance troupes from Ukraine, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, and Morocco, as well as musical performances by bands from Mexico, Russia, New Zealand, and a number of other nations. Qadhafi appeared particularly enthralled by Tuareg horse racing during two of the events, clapping and smiling throughout the races. The flamenco dancers that participated in his celebratory events appeared to spark a similar interest, as Qadhafi decided to stop in Seville (for a “personal trip” according to the Spanish Ambassador here) on his way back to Libya from Venezuela specifically to attend a flamenco dance performance. [Note: That stop has reportedly been scrapped for unknown reasons. End note.]
NO NEW YORK PHOTO OPS – QADHAFI LEAVES FEMALE GUARDS AT HOME
8. (S/NF) While Qadhafi’s reported female guard force has become legendary, it played no role in his travels to New York. Only one female guard was included among the approximately 350-person strong Libyan delegation to New York. This is the same female bodyguard who sticks close to Qadhafi in his domestic and international public appearances and may, in fact, play some sort of formal security role. Observers in Tripoli speculate that the female guard force is beginning to play a diminished role among the Leader’s personal security staff.
9. (S/NF) Comment: Qadhafi’s state visits and appearances at various conferences and summits, both at home and abroad, have revealed greater details about his personality and character. While it is tempting to dismiss his many eccentricities as signs of instability, Qadhafi is a complicated individual who has managed to stay in power for forty years through a skillful balancing of interests and realpolitik methods. Continued engagement with Qadhafi and his inner circle is important not only to learn the motives and interests that drive the world’s longest serving dictator, but also to help overcome the misperceptions that inevitably accumulated during Qadhafi’s decades of isolation. As XXXXXXXXXXXX told us, pointing to a larger-than-life portrait of Qadhafi, “When you have been isolated for so long, it is important to communicate.” End comment.
Friday, 29 August 2008, 18:11
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 TRIPOLI 000680
DEPARTMENT FOR S, AF/SPG, NEA/MAG
EO 12958 DECL: 8/28/2018
TAGS OVIP”>OVIP, PGOV, PREL, PHUM, ECON, KDEM, PTER, KISL, AU, SU,
LY, AG, TS, MO
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR SECRETARY RICE’S VISIT TO LIBYA
CLASSIFIED BY: Chris Stevens, CDA, U.S. Embassy – Tripoli, Dept of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (c), (d) 1. (C) Embassy Tripoli and the Government of Libya are looking forward to your historic visit to Tripoli September 5. Coming on the heels of NEA A/S Welch’s successful finalization of a comprehensive claims settlement agreement in Tripoli August 14, the GOL views your visit as a signature event in its decade-long effort to achieve reintegration into the international community, and as a tangible benefit of its strategic decision in 2003 to abandon its WMD programs and renounce terrorism. Key issues for your visit include:
– Internal political issues
– Bilateral relations
– Human rights
– Counter-terrorism cooperation
– Sub-Saharan Africa
– Regional issues, including Iraq and Iran
– Energy sector and commercial opportunities
INTERNAL POLITICAL ISSUES
2. (C) Your visit comes days after the 39th anniversary of the September 1, 1969 military coup that brought Muammar al-Qadhafi to power. It is expected that al-Qadhafi will outline in his Revolution Day speech how the GOL will implement dramatic government restructuring and privatization he advocated in a key address in March. Al-Qadhafi’s plan could represent his most radical experiment in governance since the late 1970′s. Ordinary Libyans are concerned about the rising costs of food, fuel and other staples; privatization would strike a direct blow at the tacit pact – oil revenue-financed, cradle-to-grave subsidies in exchange for political quiescence – that has underpinned the regime for decades. Drawing a line between reform and greater participation by Libyans in governance, Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, Muammar al-Qadhafi’s son and heir apparent, called for a more robust civil society, judicial reform, greater press freedoms and respect for human rights in a major speech August 20. A new legal code, which would be the first major change to Libya’s judicial system since the 1950′s, is currently under review. Saif al-Islam implicitly criticized past decisions of his father’s regime, claimed he had achieved much of his own reform agenda and said he would withdraw from politics to focus on civil society and development work. Expected to clarify government reform efforts and his own political future, Saif al-Islam’s speech has instead confused Libyans, raising doubts about the long-term viability of the reform agenda and calling into question whether he is ready for a formal leadership role. The issue of who might succeed Muammar al-Qadhafi looms large. The conventional wisdom is that it is Saif al-Islam’s job to lose; however, some observers interpreted the appointment of another son, Muatassim al-Qadhafi, to the newly-created position of National Security Adviser in early 2007 as a sign that Muammar al-Qadhafi was hedging his bet.
3. (C) Your visit – the first by a U.S. Secretary of State since John Foster Dulles’ trip in 1953 and the most recent Cabinet-level visit since then-Vice President Nixon was here in 1957 – is viewed as the key component of a “grand opening” in U.S.-Libyan bilateral relations, as compared to the “soft opening” between re-establishment of diplomatic ties and finalization of the claims agreement (i.e., 2004-2008). The GOL also wants to see a fully-accredited U.S. ambassador posted to Tripoli and full visa services at the Embassy. The fact that most Libyans must currently travel to Tunis to apply for non-immigrant visas (the Embassy’s security posture/infrastructure have not permitted broader visa operations to date) is perceived as a slight. Anxious to avoid the public perception that U.S.-Libya ties are chiefly about counter-terrorism cooperation, prospective military-to-military ties and hydrocarbon resources, the GOL is keen to emphasize cooperation in education (it wants to send more students to study in the U.S.), science and technology and culture. The GOL wants to be able to purchase lethal military equipment and would like to sign a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement. Despite high-level rhetoric, limited GOL capacity will significantly constrain efforts to quickly expand bilateral cooperation and engagement in all these areas.
4. (C) Libyan reaction to news of the recently finalized
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U.S.-Libya claims settlement agreement has been a mixture of relief and high expectation. Coverage in state-owned media has been positive, but muted; we’re told the GOL did not publicly trumpet the agreement to avoid questions about the deal’s parameters (it has not publicized the agreed amount of compensation to be distributed by the humanitarian fund) and to avoid criticism that it capitulated to U.S. demands. A recent editorial in the “Ouea” newspaper, owned by Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, expressed cautious optimism that bilateral relations had turned a corner and welcomed U.S. assistance in education and technology transfers, but squarely blamed the U.S. for past contretemps and cautioned against U.S. “interference” in Libyan internal affairs. Libya has balanced re-engagement with us by actively pursuing closer ties with Russia. Then-president Putin visited in March and resolved a thorny Soviet-era debt issue that paved the way for lucrative commercial contracts; he is expected to send his deputy to attend the September 1 Revolution Day festivities. In recent remarks, Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi described Russia as “a key strategic partner” and said the GOL would support Russia in its position on Georgia. Libya is conflicted about re-engagement with the U.S. Conservative regime elements are still wary that our ultimate goal is regime change, while ordinary Libyans are genuinely pleased that a key political irritant in the bilateral relationship has been resolved. Many hope that expanded political and economic engagement with the U.S. will help solidify recent Libyan economic reforms.
HUMAN RIGHTS & POLITICAL FREEDOMS
5. (S) There are high expectations in some quarters that the U.S. will pressure al-Qadhafi and the GOL more publicly and directly to urge greater respect for human rights and open further political space in what remains a closed, tightly-controlled society. A number of Libyans are disappointed that this did not occur immediately after relations were re-established in 2004. The GOL has expressed tepid interest in a high-level human rights dialogue; however, they have cautioned that they view discussion of individual cases as improper interference in their internal affairs. XXXXXXXXXXXX
6. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX Absent a clear message that engagement on human rights will be a necessary adjunct of an expanded U.S.-Libya relationship, meaningful progress in this area is unlikely.
COUNTER-TERRORISM COOPERATION & EXTREMISM
7. (S) Libya has been a strong partner in the war against terrorism and cooperation in liaison channels is excellent. Muammar al-Qadhafi’s criticism of Saudi Arabia for perceived support of Wahabi extremism, a source of continuing Libya-Saudi tension, reflects broader Libyan concern about the threat of extremism. Worried that fighters returning from Afghanistan and Iraq could destabilize the regime, the GOL has aggressively pursued operations to disrupt foreign fighter flows, including more stringent monitoring of air/land ports of entry, and blunt the ideological appeal of radical Islam. The Qadhafi
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Development Foundation brokered talks with imprisoned members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) that led to the release earlier this year of about 130 former LIFG members. The GOL considers the program an important means to signal willingness to reconcile with former enemies, a significant feature of Libya’s tribal culture. Libya cooperates with neighboring states in the Sahara and Sahel region to stem foreign fighter flows and travel of trans-national terrorists. Muammar al-Qadhafi recently brokered a widely-publicized agreement with Tuareg tribal leaders from Libya, Chad, Niger, Mali and Algeria in which they would abandon separatist aspirations and smuggling (of weapons and trans-national extremists) in exchange for development assistance and financial support. Libya also cooperates closely with Syria, particularly on foreign fighter flows. Syria has transferred over 100 Libyan foreign fighters to the GOL’s custody over the past two years, including a tranche of 27 in late 2007. Our assessment is that the flow of foreign fighters from Libya to Iraq and the reverse flow of veterans to Libya has diminished due to the GOL’s cooperation with other states and new procedures. Counter-terrorism cooperation is a key pillar of the U.S.-Libya bilateral relationship and a shared strategic interest.
SUB SAHARAN AFRICA
8. (C) Having largely abandoned pan-Arab leadership aspirations, the GOL places a heavy premium on maintaining its perceived role as a leading state in Africa. Libya spearheaded establishing the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD); the 10th anniversary of CEN-SAD’s founding in September 1999 will occur shortly after your visit. Libya is deeply frustrated with its inability to deliver a sustainable peace between Chad and Sudan. Despite abortive UN/AU-led Darfur talks in Libya in October 2007 and the stillborn October 2007 Libya-brokered Chad cease-fire, the GOL remains actively involved in Chad-Sudan mediation efforts (it played a key role in re-establishing Chad-Sudan diplomatic relations in July 2008). But Libya recognizes it cannot broker peace unilaterally. The GOL views skeptically calls for an international observer force on the Chad-Sudan border under the March 2008 Dakar Accord and refers instead to the February 2006 Tripoli Accords (which also called for joint military observation of the Chad-Sudan border) and the October 2007 Sirte process as the platforms for a viable peace process. Hard experience – despite personal appeals by Muammar al-Qadhafi, the GOL failed to entice Darfur rebel leaders to attend the October 2007 Sirte conference – has prompted Libya to realize it is better positioned to pressure the regimes in Ndjamena and Khartoum than rebel movements. Libya believes the key to “fixing” Chad is to pressure Deby to address the deep, popular opposition to his government. The GOL has facilitated humanitarian relief through a key overland corridor running from Kufra, in southeast Libya, to Darfur. After years of failed unilateral intervention, Libya appears to appreciate UN/AU leadership of the Darfur political process and U.S. partnership in efforts to promote peace in and between Chad and Sudan. A visit by Special Envoy Williamson could help reinvigorate Libya’s support for stalled international mediation efforts. On AFRICOM, the GOL has argued that any foreign military presence, regardless of mission, on the African continent would constitute unacceptable latter-day colonialism and would present an attractive target for al-Qaeda. AFRICOM’s Deputy Commander visited Tripoli for low-key talks in January 2008 and General Ward plans to visit in October/November.
9. (S) Iraqi spokesman Ali Dabbagh recently met with Muammar al-Qadhafi, who expressed interest in pursuing closer relations with Iraq. It was agreed that a Libyan delegation would visit Iraq soon. Libyan-Iranian relations are complicated and increasingly contentious. Iranian First Vice President Davoudi, the highest ranking Iranian official to visit Tripoli in 25 years, signed a number of cooperation agreements during his January 2008 stop here as part of an apparent effort to garner support in the UNSC for heading off a third resolution on Iran’s nuclear activity. Libya wanted Iran’s help in smoothing over ties with Lebanon, which have been strained since the disappearance of Imam Musa Sadr during a 1978 visit to Tripoli. Iran’s decision to demur appears to have factored into Libya’s decision not to oppose a third UNSCR on Iran. Al-Qadhafi recently disparaged publicly Iran’s nuclear aspirations, which prompted an angry rebuke in the Iranian press. Nonetheless, there are concerns about possible ties between state-owned Libyan banks and Iranian entities of particular concern. Ties with Syria are less contentious; Libya’s new sovereign wealth fund announced last week that it had invested $200 million in a Syrian cement production venture. Claiming that it wants to
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emulate Dubai in its development approach, Libya has recently pursued closer ties with Arab Gulf states. A $500 million joint investment fund was announced during the August 2008 visit of Oman’s Sultan Qaboos, his first since 1972. A number of similar investment projects have been established with the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain during a flurry of visits over the past year. Relations with Saudi Arabia remain strained.
ENERGY SECTOR & COMMERCIAL OPPORTUNITIES
10. (C) Libya’s economy is almost entirely dependent on oil and gas. Libya has the largest proven oil reserves (43.6 billion barrels) and the third largest proven natural gas reserves (1.5 billion cubic meters) on the African continent. Libya currently produces about 1.7 million barrels/day of oil; only Angola and Nigeria produce more in Africa. Oil and gas infrastructure suffered during the sanctions period. The lifting of sanctions has opened the way for new exploration and improved production. New technology and refined management techniques introduced by international oil companies (IOC’s) are a key part of Libya’s plan to increase oil production to 3.0 million barrels/day by 2013. Most of Libya’s oil and natural gas are exported to Europe – Italy, Germany, Spain and France are key customers. Major U.S. energy companies active in Libya include Amerada Hess, ConocoPhillips, Marathon, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Occidental. Joint ventures involving U.S. companies currently account for about 510,000 barrels/day of Libya’s 1.7 million barrels/day production. A large number of small to mid-sized U.S. oil and gas services companies are also working in Libya.
11. (C) After years of isolation under sanctions and limited spending by the GOL, Libya is currently in the midst of an economic boom, partly driven by a desire to complete large-scale infrastructure projects as tangible symbols of the regime’s achievements in advance of the 40th anniversary of al-Qadhafi’s revolution on September 1, 2009. High oil prices have helped fuel the outlays. Western companies, eager to establish a position in what is expected to be a lucrative market, are arriving in sizeable numbers. A temporary pause prompted by adoption of the Lautenberg Amendment in January 2008 and concern about asset seizure is coming to an end on news of the comprehensive claims agreement. XXXXXXXXXXXX Despite great promise, Libya remains a challenging business and investment environment. Contradictory regulations, inefficient government bureaucracy, limited human capacity and rampant corruption (in 2007, Transparency International ranked Libya 133rd out of 180 countries in terms of being most corrupt) are significant challenges that could hamper greater investment.
AL-QADHAFI & HIS FOREIGN MINISTER
12. (C) Muammar al-Qadhafi is notoriously mercurial. He often avoids making eye contact during the initial portion of meetings, and there may be long, uncomfortable periods of silence. Alternatively, he can be an engaging and charming interlocutor, as he was during NEA A/S Welch’s meeting on August 14. A self-styled intellectual and philosopher, he has been eagerly anticipating for several years the opportunity to share with you his views on global affairs. We’ve been told that issues he might raise include Sarkozy’s Union for the Mediterranean proposal (which al-Qadhafi opposes), the Georgia conflict, illegal migration (Libya is a key transit country), Iran, Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict (including his “Isratine” one-state solution), and Africa. Intellectually curious and a voracious consumer of news – trusted advisers are tasked with summarizing in Arabic important books and articles printed in other languages, including your recent article in Foreign Affairs – al-Qadhafi will be well-informed and more inclined to focus on strategic views than pragmatic measures. Foreign Minister Abdulrahman Shalgham, whom you met in Washington, is also expected to meet with you during your visit STEVENS
Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 09:26
S E C R E T TRIPOLI 000198
DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/MAG, NEA/PI
LONDON FOR TSOU
EO 12958 DECL: 4/26/2016
TAGS ECON, ECIN, ETRD, PGOV, LY
SUBJECT: QADHAFI INCORPORATED
REF: TRIPOLI 33, 53
CLASSIFIED BY: Elizabeth Fritschle, Pol/Econ Chief, U.S. Liaison Office, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
1. (C) SUMMARY. Qadhafi often speaks out publicly against government corruption, but the politically-connected elite has direct access to lucrative business deals. This commercial access can easily be cut off when individuals fall out of favor. The Qadhafi family and other Jamahiriya political favorites profit from being able to manipulate the multi-layered and regularly shifting dynamics of governance mechanisms in Libya. They have strong interests in the oil and gas sector, telecommunications, infrastructure development, hotels, media distribution, and consumer goods distribution. The financial interests of Qadhafi and his key allies present both opportunites and challenges for reform efforts in Libya. Any reform is likely to be cyclical over the long-term. END SUMMARY
Saif’s Call For Freedom of the Press Equals Net Profit
2. (C) As with many other regimes, politically-connected members of the Libyan elite have direct access to lucrative business contracts. Qadhafi often speaks out publicly against government corruption and sometimes dismisses officials who are caught in gross improprieties. In some cases, it appears that falling out of favor politically can trigger the discovery of improprieties in business dealings that might not otherwise come to public attention. As reported reftel, Saif al-Islam’s One-Nine group will reportedly start marketing foreign publications in Libya in the near future. The Qadhafi Foundation, Saif’s quasi-NGO, is hailing the move as an example of freedom and reform in the Jamahiriya. XXXXXXXXXXXX The Qadhafi family will clearly accrue significant financial gains from having exclusive rights to distribute foreign press in Libya, as well as effective censorship over any troubling articles that might appear. The One-Nine group gets it name from the September 1, 1969 anniversary of the Muammar Qadhafi-led military coup that overthrew King Idris.
Oil and Gas Revenues Channeled to Qadhafis and Political Elite
3. (S) All of the Qadhafi children and favorites are supposed to have income streams from the National Oil Company and oil services subsidiaries. Saif is involved in oil services through One-Nine Petroleum and other Qadhafi family members and associates are believed to have large financial stakes in the Libyan Tamoil oil marketing company based in Europe and Oil Invest. AbdelMagid al-Mansuri, the former “director” of One-Nine Petroleum, was responsible for the ill-executed “U.S.-Libya Economic Forum” held at the Corinthia Hotel December 2004. The Forum was viewed as a blatant attempt to tie up lucrative percentage deals for Libyan elites looking for representative relationships with U.S. companies. During 2004, the internet-based publication Libya al-Yown distributed information tracing a large number of sweetheart deals to One-Nine’s Oil and Gas division XXXXXXXXXXXX in Scotland, home to a well-connected Libyan expatriate community. It is believed that millions of dollars are distributed to politically connected Libyans and Libyan expatriates via the XXXXXXXXXXXX. XXXXXXXXXXXX
Aisha Competes with Saif on Charitable Activities and Broad Commercial Interests
4. (C) Dr. Aisha Muammar Al-Qadhafi, General Secretary of the Wa’atassemo Charity Society, is patron of the December 4-7, 2006 Infrastructure Libya: The International Exhibition and Forum for Libya’s Infrastructure and Economic Development implemented by the UK conference organizer Montgomery and Associates. Also listed as cooperating organizations are the General People’s Committee for Planning, the General Board of Infrastructure and Urban Development, and the Inspector General of Housing and Utilities. At the same time, there will be a U.S.-Libya Oil, Gas and Energy Exhibition and Forum at the same International Fairgrounds, also under Wa’atassemo sponsorship, and coordinated by U.S. company Nathan and Associates. Until recently, Aisha has been in the public eye based on charitable activities, sponsoring human rightsseminars and the situation in Iraq (with a distinct focus on the negative effects of the presence of U.S. and foreign troops), signing up for the international advisory board for Saddam Hussein’s defense strategy, and promoting social welfare for women and children. She now appears to be branching out into areas that will give her more direct connections with the energy and construction sectors, especially since the government has announced that housing development will the major focus of the 2006 budget distributions. XXXXXXXXXXXX said that Aisha was actively looking to branch out into other areas, perhaps because of her recent marriage to a Qadhaf al-Dam with additional business interests. Aisha is also reported to have financial interests in the private St. James Clinic of Tripoli, one of the two most trustworthy medical facilities that supplement the unreliable health care available through public facilities. In addition to health care management and referrals to hospitals to Malta and elsewhere in Europe, the clinic has an extensive aesthetic surgery practice.
Competition Between Siblings led to Takeover of Coca Cola Plant
5. (C) The recent controversy over the Coca Cola plant in Tripoli also highlighted Qadhafi family involvement in commercial enterprise. While three different sons Saadi, Mohammed and Mutassim, were all rumored to be fighting at different points over who had the right to the representative license, the dispute was supposedly argued before the courts and resolved through mediation. The very twisted tale of the Coke franchise, reported in Tripoli 53, continues to confound the local business and diplomatic community attempts to ascertain exactly what interests are in play. One well-connected consumer goods distributor said that Qadhafi’s son Mutassim was involved in setting-up the Coca-Cola franchise held by the Egyptian Ka’Mur group during the late 1990s. XXXXXXXXXXXX Supposedly, Mutassim lost control of many of his personal Libyan business interests during the period of 2001 to 2005 when his brothers took advantage of his absence to put in place their own partnerships. Mutassim was recently spotted by Pol/Econ Chief arriving on a British Air flight at Tripoli International Airport, greeted by a small group of well wishers and protocol assistants with bouquets of flowers, then whisked off to the VIP arrivals lounge and into his vehicles without passing through customs or immigration. Qadhafi son Mohammed heads the Libyan Olympic Committee that now owns 40% of the Libyan Beverage Company, currently the Libyan joint venture Coca-Cola franchisee. The British Ambassador to Libya reported his sources attributed the resolution to a deal whereby Mohammed Al-Qadhafi was prevailed upon to relinquish his/Libyan Olympic Committee’s share of the joint venture and sign it over to the Libyan Pensions Fund. Another Ambassador chimed in that he heard it was sister Aisha Al-Qadhafi who mediated the dispute between the two brothers and got Mohammed out of the soda business. If Libyan government officials are asked about the Coca Cola case, the standard response is that the government was making sure that all the proper licenses and registrations were in place.
Telecommunications Controlled by Mohammed
6. (S) Mohammed, who has plenty to keep him busy through his control of the General Post and Telecommunications Committee, has major input over any telecomm or internet service. Frequent USLO requests over the last two years to meet with the GPTC have been ignored by the Libyan government, even requests for meetings with senior U.S. officials and Congressional delegations. Several U.S. companies are actively pursuing contracts to provide a much-needed upgrade to the local telecommunications network, but the Libyan government rejects any trade promotion activities for telecom through official government channels. Based on Colonel Qadhafi’s experience overthrowing King Idris and the recognized importance of controlling radio broadcasts in 1969, and the role of mobile phone networking during the 2006 Benghazi riots, the family would definitely want to preserve its strong control over the telecom sector.
New City Planned by Saadi
7. (S) Saadi is also branching out into infrastructure development. His functionaries contacted USLO public affairs section for publications in Arabic language on economic and commercial issues. Saadi’s staff then notified USLO that he planned to establish “a new city in the west of the country, in the area between Zwara and the Libyan-Tunisian border. The new city will be under the management and supervision of the Engineer al-Saadi al-Qadhafi.” As Saadi’s staffers frame the interest, “he wants information on how the U.S. can help with this matter.” That general area of coastline has an island that has been slated for tourist development in the last couple years without any subsequent action, perhaps because a large oil processing facility mars the view from the island, and also because outside investors can not get liquor licenses for hotels populated by foreign tourists. The Qadhafi family is already in the tourism business through the large percentage of ownership in the XXXXXXXXXXXX
Consumer Goods Distribution Controlled by Few Family Holding Groups
8. (C) Food distribution is also reportedly controlled by only four or five politically-connected families. There are no large western-style food markets in Libya. There is small western-style market in Tripoli and some smaller shops in the city that carry more imported items, but most of the neighborhood shops go to the distribution warehouses controlled by the people with strong government ties. The consumer products distribution are largely controlled by three merchants, including the Husni Bey Group, a diversified holding company that runs a range of operations under the direction of Husni Bey’s children. Bey does not characterize his company as politically well-connected, but has learned to expand operations through key alliances and he knows how to work the system to his benefit. More importantly, he knows how to recover when his businesses get caught up in the financial interests of the more connected political elite. The Akida Group, run by the Akak family, is rumored to have close ties to the ruling regime and it runs a virtual monopoly over air conditioning equipment, heating units, and small appliances as the local LG agent.
9. (C) The government attempts during the 80s to instigate large socialist-style department stores failed; the shells of the state enterprises sit empty around Tripoli and other Libyan cities. (At least one is rumored to soon be rehabilitated as a modern shopping mall for privately owned stores.) Starting in the mid 90s, people were once again allowed to open small businesses. During Eid holidays, Libyan families buy new clothing to wear during the celebration and treat children to toys and sweets from small stores. The men tend to wear traditional embroidered wool robes produced locally or in Egypt or Syria, while women may indulge in new fashions imported from European or Asian manufacturers. During the January 2006 Eid, local women complained that the clothing variety available in the local shops was limited. Rumors circulating in Tripoli claimed that Qadhafi’s second wife, as well as his daughter Aisha, own or have financial interests in many of the new clothing stores opened in the post-sanctions era. XXXXXXXXXXXX Most of the garments in local stores are imported from China, Malaysia and India. Small boutiques have a limited supply of expensive goods imported from Europe, and these enterprises in particular seem to have the financial backing of people with strong ties to the ruling elite.
Qadhafi Incorporated Lifestyle
10. (C) Qadhafi himself keeps a low profile in Tripoli. The Bab al-Azizia compound has facilities for banquets and other public events, but it is not lavish in any way compared with the ostentation of the Gulf oil state families or Hariri clan. Qadhafi’s wife travels by chartered jet in Libya, with a motorcade of Mercedes waiting to pick her up at the airport and take her to the destination, but her movements are limited and discrete. She hosted a banquet for diplomatic women in the Bab al-Azizia compound on the occasion of the al-Fatah (Revolution) holiday in September that was festive but not extravagant. Since the family keeps a tight control on the media and most of the Qadhafi children spending excesses take place outside Libya, there is not much public reaction to the coffers of Qadhafi Inc. Compared to egregious pillaging of State coffers elsewhere in Africa, or the lavish spending of Gulf Arabs, the Libyans don’t see much to complain about in their leader’s lifestyle, as long as he does a good job of making sure other people get a piece of the pie. And when Libyans do complain, they are removed from access to financial rewards.
11. (S) The financial interests of Qadhafi and his key allies present opportunites and challenges for reform efforts in Libya. At a minimum, it seems safe to say that reform will have its ups and downs over the long-term, as individual, regime and national interests come into play. If and when foreign publications do become available in Libya, there will be a financial gain for Saif. At the same time, the family will still have control over monitoring what information is released to the public. Over the long term, demand for more outside information would inevitably create pressure for open access and more press freedom. Similarly, Libya has a stated commitment to moving forward with WTO accession and joining international financial organizations. But it is doing so on its own timetable, a slow timetable. Reported septel, the General People’s Congress just passed in April 2006 new agency and representation rules that run counter to WTO principles. While the General General People’s Committee for Economy and Trade has working groups actively revising legislation to prepare for WTO accession, it will take some time to reconcile all the different structures of the Jamahiriya government (translation: “State of the Masses”). Libyan government officials have been telling P/E Chief for 10 months that the WTO accession will be presented in Geneva “in a few weeks, that only the translation has to be finished.” Institutional development is very primitive and the Libyans have a cultural and social preference for elements of distributive economy, placing great value on financial rewards that flow from affiliation with regime leadership, security services etc. There was a shipment of BMWs delivered to the government in early 2006, for example, and it seems likely that the young men driving them around town got the vehicles “distributed” through their affilation with different government entities. With regard to reform partnership efforts, there are the greatest opportunities to promote positive change by engaging in the Central Bank’s efforts to establish banking controls and standards, partnering with the General People’s Committee for Manpower and Training on civil service reform, and cooperating with the General People’s Committee for Economy and Trade in its WTO accession efforts.
Tuesday, 28 April 2009, 06:43
S E C R E T MBABANE 000107
STATE FOR AF/E (MBEYZEROV); AF/S (MJWILLS, MHARRIS,
EPELLETREAU); AF/RSA; EEB/IFD
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
GENEVA PASS TO UNOHCHR (MKLECHESKI)
EO 12958 DECL: 04/27/2018
TAGS AU, EFIN, IO”>IO”>IO, MA, PGOV, PREL, WZ, SADC, ZI, KV
SUBJECT: SWAZI PS ON USG IN UNHRC; KOSOVO; MADAGASCAR;
ZIMBABWE; AND QADHAFI
REF: A. STATE 33709 B. STATE 31175 C. MBABANE 103
Classified By: Ambassador Maurice Parker. Reasons 1.4(b) and (d).
1. (S) SUMMARY: On April 27, DCM Morrison discussed several pending demarches with Clifford Mamba, Principal Secretary (PS) for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. PS Mamba was positive about support for the U.S.’s candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council, promised to consult the Minister of Finance regarding Kosovo’s admission into the IMF and World Bank, and confirmed that Swaziland has not made a financial commitment to the Zimbabwe short term emergency relief package. PS Mamba said Swaziland’s non-recognition of Kosovo is not a matter of hostility, but waiting for direction from the African Union (AU). XXXXXXXXXXXX END SUMMARY
KOSOVO AND THE NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT
2. (C) On April 27, PS Mamba confirmed that Swaziland has not recognized Kosovo and said Swaziland was looking for an international consensus, whether from the AU or the UN Security Council. He promised to speak to Minister of Finance Majozi Sithole and FM Dlamini about the issue of Kosovo’s IMF and World Bank membership before Minister Sithole travelled to the U.S. for upcoming meetings, perhaps in the next week. When questioned by the DCM on the role of the non-aligned movement (NAM) in Swaziland’s decision-making process, he said regional concerns outweigh NAM decisions. He conceded the NAM has been trying to find its purpose since the end of the cold war, but gave no indication that Swaziland would be voting differently if regional concerns were not involved.
UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
4. (SBU) The PS was pleased to hear of the U.S. re-engagement on the UN Human Rights Council and complimented the Obama administration on its new policy towards Cuba. He informally pledged positive support for U.S. candidacy to the council.
QADHAFI’S AU LEADERSHIP
5. (C) On the subject of the AU under Qadhafi’s leadershiop, PS Mamba mentioned his amusement at receiving a diplomatic note with Kaddafi’s new title as King of Culture. He alleged that Qadhafi has put the AU secretariat into chaos, by-passing all protocol and the institutional frameworkXXXXXXXXXXXX He dismissed Qadhafi’s call for a United States of Africa, saying SADC has been explicit in their rebuttal of this idea, and moving one country in one direction is hard enough, much less moving 48 countries.
6. (S) COMMENT. XXXXXXXXXXXX
Tuesday, 06 January 2009, 14:12
S E C R E T CONAKRY 000837
EO 12958 DECL: 01/06/2018
TAGS PREL, PGOV, ASEC, GV
SUBJECT: LIBYAN LEADER MEETS WITH GUINEAN PRESIDENT
Classified By: POL/ECON CHIEF SHANNON CAZEAU FOR REASON 1.4 B AND D
1. (U) On a trip that included several stops in neighboring West African countries, Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi spent approximately three hours in the VIP lounge of the Conakry airport on January 3 where he met with President Moussa Dadis Camara and Prime Minister Kabine Komara. Press reports indicate that Qadhafi chose not to leave the airport because the Guinean Government could not offer adequate security. In anticipation of his arrival, some 250 Libyan paratroopers reportedly arrived in two aircrafts the evening of January 2.
2. (S) Specific details as to what was discussed in the meeting between the leaders are murky. Sensitive sources indicate that Qadhafi may have offered to provide the new Guinean Government with weapons. XXXXXXXXXXXX local press speculated that the Libyan leader may have been looking to reinstate a controversial hotel contract that had been negotiated by former Prime Minister Kouyate in late 2007, and then cancelled a few months later by the late President Conte. The Spanish Ambassador mentioned to DCM on January 5 that he had heard that Qadhafi had negotiated some kind of arms deal.
3. (S) Both press and independent sources reported that Qadhafi gave a bullet-proof Nissan vehicle to President Camara. A sensitive source told Embassy that Qadhafi also gave the president a large sum of cash.
4. (U) Libyan press (Tripoli Great Jamahiriyah TV) reported that Qadhafi congratulated his “companions in the military council” for having the “situation in Guinea under control after the death of President Lansana Conte” and for having “managed to save Guinea from internal problems.” Qadhafi reportedly said that the Guinean people “are backing the revolutionaries.”
5. (S) Civilian contacts have claimed that Libya provided financial support for the December 23 coup, and that opposition political leader Alpha Conde (Rally for the Guinean People – RPG) may have personally solicited Qadhafi’s support. During his administration, former Prime Minister Lansana Kouyate’s frequent trips to Libya generated rampant speculation as to what the Guinean leader may have been trying to negotiate with Qadhafi. In the absence of any clarification from either government as to what was discussed, speculation continues. Relations with Libya are viewed with suspicion by some Guineans due to Qadhafi’s alleged support of controversial leaders in neighboring countries (i.e. Charles Taylor in Liberia and RUF rebels in Sierra Leone). END COMMENT. RASPOLIC