Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- High-level official Libyan sources have denied knowledge of secret negotiations between representatives of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime and Western governments while asserting that Gaddafi was still in the Bab al-Aziziyah barracks in Tripoli and that Libyan leader and his family were still in the country.
The sources explained in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat that in the last two days, Gaddafi held closed meetings with senior commanders of his military forces and security regiments to study the situation in the field, an indication that Gaddafi is working normally in the center of the Libyan capital despite pressure from the West and the revolutionaries opposed to him who are seeking his overthrow.
The sources revealed that Gaddafi derided Foreign Minister Musa Kusa’s departure to Britain and his announcement that he had split from the government and pointed out that the Libyan leader told a number of individuals close to him that pressure tactics and intimidation by foreign intelligence services – which they did not identify – were behind Kusa’s departure.
The secret visit by Muhammad Ismail, one of the closest aides of Engineer Saif-al-Islam Gaddafi, to the British capital London caused an argument over whether Ismail was representing the Libyan regime or Gaddafi’s son who has been completely absent from the internal scene for a week. Saif-al-Islam and Ismail switched off their cellular phones while figures close to Gaddafi’s son said he was not available at present to answer any telephone calls. A source close to Saif-al-Islam told Asharq Al-Awsat he “does not believe that Ismail was representing Gaddafi’s regime as much as representing his son Saif-al-Islam during his lightning visit.”
In a related development, Asharq Al-Awsat has learned that a failed revolt took place Friday inside Gaddafi’s residence by some junior officers from the pro-Libyan regime armed forces before Gaddafi’s forces intervened to crush it immediately. An informed source in Tripoli said by telephone: “We understood that a small revolt took place which was contained immediately” but the source refused to give any more details.
Another source informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the cause of the shootings local residents heard near Gaddafi’s headquarters in Bab al-Aziziyah barracks was a failed attempt by some government officials to leave the headquarters without obtaining prior permit. The source, which is very close to one of Gaddafi’s sons, said in a terse comment: “Some government officials tried to leave in the early morning without permission. There are instructions not to leave without approval.”
In other news, Scottish detectives and prosecutors investigating the Lockerbie bombing plan to meet Foreign Office officials on Monday to discuss Libyan foreign minister Musa Kusa, who defected to Britain last week and whose fate currently remains unclear.
Kusa, a former head of Libyan intelligence and one-time member of Gaddafi’s inner circle, flew to Britain from Tunisia on Wednesday and said he was resigning as foreign minister.
But Kusa was not offered immunity and Prime Minister David Cameron has urged police to follow the trail of evidence over the 1988 bombing of a Boeing 747 wherever it leads.
Libyan agent Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi is the only man convicted over the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, which killed 270 people.
Megrahi, who has terminal cancer, was released from a Scottish jail on compassionate grounds in August 2009, and received a hero’s welcome in Libya.