Gaddafi`s youngest son not known for politics

Saif al-Arab Gaddafi was killed by a NATO airstrike on his villa in Tripoli.

Updated: May 01, 2011, 21:59 PM IST

Tripoli: Saif al-Arab Gaddafi was the lowest profile of the Libyan leader`s seven sons, and while opinions differ on whether he was better known for partying or praying, all agree that he was not involved in politics.

Known to the Libyan people by the pet name "Uruba”, or Arabness, Gaddafi`s youngest son was 29-years-old when Libyan officials say he was killed by a NATO airstrike on his villa in Tripoli`s wealthy residential area of Gharghour.

A student who had been living and studying in Germany, Saif al-Arab`s name appeared in the media in 2006, when he was reported to have been involved in a scuffle at the 4004 nightclub in Munich.

According to a Der Spiegel article that appeared in 2007, Saif al-Arab fought with a bouncer who tried to throw out his female companion after she began to undress on the dancefloor.

A minor incident in itself that was not due to go to court, the scuffle threatened to turn into a diplomatic tiff.

Libyan officials described Saif al-Arab as a very private person who did not travel with security guards. They said he was a religious and modest man who was known for spending a lot of time at the mosque. It was not clear when Saif al-Arab had embraced religion. He was unmarried and had no children.

In US diplomatic cables detailing the rivalries within the Gaddafi family, Saif al-Arab is mentioned only briefly and is guilty only of spending "much time partying”.

The report, dated March 2009 and published by WikiLeaks, only says of Saif al-Arab that the German ambassador had "expressed concern to us that it is only a matter of time before there is an incident involving him."

While US reports document a family split between Gaddafi`s second eldest son and supposed heir Saif al-Islam and four of his siblings, the family appears to be operating as a tight unit against unrest that has seen rebels seize the east of Libya and its second-largest city Benghazi.

On February 25, Iran`s IRNA press agency reported that Gaddafi had sent Saif al-Arab to Benghazi to try to bring an end to the revolt but that his son had ended up joining the rebels in the east instead.

Reports that Saif al-Arab had defected were never confirmed, however, and international sanctions that were later imposed on Gaddafi and his close family suggest he remained in the family fold.

Libyan officials say it was Saadi Gaddafi who had been dispatched to the east not his younger brother.

In March, the US State Department, moving to add pressure on Gaddafi, extended asset-freeze sanctions to his wife and four of his sons, including Saif al-Arab.

UN Security Council resolution 1970, which imposed sanctions on Libya, slapped a travel ban on Saif al-Arab, his father, siblings and some senior officials. It excluded Gaddafi`s youngest, however, from an asset freeze that was imposed on most of his siblings, suggesting he was not seen as a major target.

Bureau Report