Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thesis title of the day

Saif Al-Islam Alqadhafi

Read the 2007 London School of Economics doctoral thesis here.

The Guardian:
Professor David Held, an academic adviser to Saif Gaddafi during his four years at the LSE, said: "Watching Saif give that speech – looking so exhausted, nervous and, frankly, terrible – was the stuff of Shakespeare and of Freud: a young man torn by a struggle between loyalty to his father and his family, and the beliefs he had come to hold for reform, democracy and the rule of law. The man giving that speech wasn't the Saif I had got to know well over those years."
While studying for his PhD, Saif enjoyed a life of considerable luxury in one of London's wealthiest and most prestigious suburbs. In August 2009 Gaddafi bought his son a £10m house in north London. Inside the neo-Georgian eight-bedroom mansion, Saif could relax in his own swimming pool sauna room, whirlpool bath and suede-lined cinema room.

Now the entourage of blacked-out cars parked on Saif's driveway has disappeared and there is less need for the forest of CCTV cameras or the private security team who had been on hand to protect him at all times.

During his time in London Gaddafi mixed socially with Lord Mandelson and the financier Nathaniel Rothschild, and was said to be on friendly terms with the Duke of York. He played a leading role in talks that led to the 2009 release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing in which 270 people died. While flying Megrahi home to Libya on a private jet, Gaddafi Jr gave a television interview in which he said the release had been linked to lucrative business deals.
From David Held's interview with The Guardian:
"The Saif I came to know was one committed to strong liberal values and democratic standards," Held said. "He looked very much to Britain and to the US for inspiration and he certainly was passionately committed to constitutional reform of his country, the rule of law, to democratic elections and to human rights.

"After his speech on Monday, there is no way now in which he can be a credible agent of reform. He was developing a set of democratic and liberal beliefs and he was putting those into practice. He saw them as seeds – as a stepping stone for the reform of his country.

"The only way I can make sense of his speech is that the speed of change in the Middle East has caught him unawares and overwhelmed him. The position he has taken compromised him in every way, and made him the enemy of ideals he once proclaimed."
Held has also issued his own statement, including this on the LSE Global Governance Research Centre:
I have known Saif al-Islam Gaddafi for several years since he did a PhD at the LSE. During this time I came to know a young man who was caught between loyalties to his family and a desire to reform his country. In many discussions and meetings I encouraged the development of his reform agenda and subsequently sought to support it through research on the North Africa Programme funded by the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation.

My support for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was always conditional on him resolving the dilemma that he faced in a progressive and democratic direction.
LSE of course has issued this statement saying,
The School has had a number of links with Libya in recent years. In view of the highly distressing news from Libya over the weekend of 19-20 February, the School has reconsidered those links as a matter of urgency.
LSE Global Governance - a research centre at the School - accepted, with the approval of the School's Council, a grant from the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, chaired by Saif-al-Islam, one of Colonel Gaddafi's sons and an LSE graduate. ... The Council of the School will keep the position under review.

I wonder if LSE considered the odds that the thesis wasn't written by Saif. The Telegraph's 2009 story about the thesis adds to my curiosity.



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10:08 AM  

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