Maltese press keeps close interest in Libya
I know that there was a period when Libya was working hard on its links with Malta, the Tripoli to Valletta ferry increased its timetable and ran a rather swish looking ship for example, and that there are Maltese who considered this cause for concern.
This is The Times of Malta weighing up the struggle for sucession between the two Gadaffi sons, with particular reference to the release of Al-Megrahi the convicted Locherbie bomber.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's reformist son is trying to use the homecoming of the Lockerbie bomber to boost his waning prestige but is being rebuffed by powerful conservatives close to his father.
The Western-leaning Saif al-Islam has sought to rebuild his profile after a year during which he faded from public view and his brother Mutassim, viewed by some observers as a rival for power, grew in influence.
"My hunch is Saif is trying to curry favour with a group which he thought in the past he could bypass," said Dirk Vandewalle, a Libya expert and professor at Dartmouth College in the United States. "He might have found out that he is not as powerful as he expected."
Islam played an important role in bringing oil producer Libya out of international isolation when it gave up banned weapons and paid compensation to the Lockerbie victims.
He has been portrayed in Western media as a rising star who can shake up Libya's ossified elite, champion transparency and press freedom, and one day step into his father's shoes.
That optimism appears to ignore the reality of the desert country's murky politics.
"There are concentric circles of power that emanate from Gaddafi and I don't sense that an enormous amount has changed around here," said Vandewalle.
Libya still has powerful forces which stand to lose from the liberalisation that Saif al-Islam represents.
Read the rest here.
I find this piece significant, not for the editorial conclusions, but because of the need for this island with a proud history for fighting for freedom, to keep a close eye on her neighbours.
Posted on 09/21/2009 5:55 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax