TRIPOLI, Libya, Aug. 4 (UPI) — One of Moammar Gadhafi’s sons says he’s trying to forge an alliance with radical Islamic elements among Libyan rebels to drive out the more liberal dissidents.
The leading Islamist whom Saif Gadhafi identified as his key counterpart was Ali Sallabi, who confirmed to The New York Times the two have had discussions, but dismissed suggestions of an alliance.
“The liberals will escape or be killed,” Saif Gadhafi said during an interview. “We will do it together. Libya will look like Saudi Arabia, like Iran. So what?”
Sallabi said Libyan Islamic militants supported the rebel leaders’ calls for a pluralistic democracy without the Gadhafis, the Times reported Thursday.
The son also intimated the Gadhafis would help Islamic radicals try to defeat the liberals.
“You want us to make a compromise. OK. You want us to share the pot. OK, But with who?” Gadhafi said.
He said he knows the radicals are “terrorists … bloody … [and] not nice. But you have to accept them.”
Gadhafi said he and his Islamic counterparts would announce a joint communique from Tripoli and the rebels’ provisional capital of Benghazi.
“We will have peace during Ramadan,” he told the Times. The Islamic holy month just began.
Gadhafi also appeared to be trying to capitalize on dissension in the rebels’ ranks following the assassination of their top military commander, Gen. Abdul Fattah Younis. Suggestions have been made that Younis was killed by an Islamist faction.
“They decided to get rid of those people — the ex-military people like Abdul Fattah and the liberals — to take control of the whole operation,” Gadhafi told the Times. “In other words, to take off the mask.”