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Libya's Prime Minister Casts Suspicion On 'Foreign Powers'

Mahmoud Jibril, the former leader of the Libyan Transitional National Council.
Chip Somodevilla
Getty Images
Mahmoud Jibril, the former leader of the Libyan Transitional National Council.

It wasn't long ago that Libya's former Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril was praising NATO for its help in toppling Moammar Gadhafi. But in an interview with Bloomberg published today, Jibril casts suspicion on foreign powers.

Jibril questions Qatar's involvement in domestic politics and essentially blames "foreign powers" for the death of Gadhafi. Bloomberg reports:

He also has a "hunch" Qaddafi was "killed based on a request by a certain foreign power" that wanted the dictator to be "silent forever."

Jibril said he regrets that Qaddafi wasn't kept alive to face trial and suspects foul play. One or more "foreign powers" he declined to name had an interest in ensuring Qaddafi stayed quiet.

"Too many secrets could have been discovered," he said in an Nov. 10 interview in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he attended a conference at Harvard University. "He was the black box of the whole country. He had too many wheelings and dealings with too many leaders in the world. With him, unfortunately, a lot of information is gone."

The circumstances of Gadhafi's death are murky. Through video released of his capture, what's clear is that he was wounded but alive when he was arrested. But later videos show Gadhafi dead and with a gunshot wound to the head.

Bloomberg reports a bit more on what Jibril said was Qatari intervention:

The Persian Gulf state has shown support for Abdel Hakim Belhaj, a veteran anti-Qaddafi fighter who heads the Tripoli Military Council. The most powerful military figure in Libya today, Belhaj is a former head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, listed by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, and joined the Taliban after Sept. 11. He was picked up and held by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in 2004 and sent to Libya, where he spent spent seven years in a prison until his release in 2010.

"The indicators on the ground say yes, that he is being supported by Qatar," Jibril said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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