Tonight’s news on the death of Saif el-Arab Ghadaffi, one of the youngest Ghadaffi sons, of course spread like wildfire on twitter, and this despite the late hour on a Saturday night. Aside from the reports on rebels celebrating the news, and some initial confusion on if Moammar Ghadaffi indeed has named several sons “Saif” (which he has), three other interesting links have popped up:
Apparently Iranian Press-TV carried an unverified report on 24th of February that Saif al-Arab had joined the anti regime-protesters. This info also shows up in a link to a “Who-is-who in the Ghadaffi family“, published by PBS and in a Singaporian story quoting al-Hurra.
Saif el-Arab is one of the youngest of the Ghadaffi siblings and the least known, unlike six of his brothers, and sister. There have been few public appearences by him, he is mainly said to reside in Germany and there are few pictures of him, although the Singapore link above has one.
This will of course fuel conspiracy theories on either fact fabrication by the regime to raise sympathy since a less known son is easy to hide away, or theories on Ghadaffi killing his son as vengeange for defecting and then blaming NATO. (A quick reminder: a Ghadaffi brother did indeed attempt to overthrough MOammar Ghaddafi, fled into exile and was pardoned and welcomed back – something Saddam Hussein did not practise with his stepsons in his heyday).
Interestingly enough, many media seem to take the words of the regime spokesman as a fact, including a tweet by Swedish Radio (in Swedish).
Conspiracy theories of course always flourish, as they did in what seems to be uncorrect early reports on the death of another Ghadaffi son. As well as they did after the reports on the deaths of Saddam Hussein’s infamous sons Uday and Qusay during the latest Iraq war. In that case U.S troops eventually publicised pictures of the corpses to verify their claims. It remains an open question to see if that method will inspire Moammar Ghaddafi as well.