The family that fights together, stays together. But was Libya’s ruling clan always this crazy?
BY SUZANNE MERKELSON | MARCH 17, 2011
As the world watches the first days of military intervention in Libya, Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi now has few allies on the international stage. But sometimes, it’s family that counts — and Qaddafi’s close-knit family has stood him in good stead during these days of civil war and aerial assault. In fact, in a bizarre twist on normal family dynamics, the Qaddafi clan’s hard times over the last month seem to have only pulled them closer around their erratic patriarch. Qaddafi has eight biological children, seven of them sons, many of them embracing, in one way or another, the Western values that their father hated (and has railed against). But with his regime under fire, the Qaddafi children have been among their father’s most ardent supporters, in many ways rejecting their past inclinations toward reform and partnership with the West. Here, Qaddafi poses with his second wife, Safia, and some of his children in November 1986 near the Bab Aziza palace in Libya, destroyed in a U.S. air raid. According to Muammar, another raid that year killed his adopted daughter.