Thursday, December 9, 2010

Qadhafi Incorporated (As seen through the eyes of a U.S. Embassy Official)

A WikiLeaks leaked cable, marked SECRET, from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli reports on the Qadhafi operation:
SUMMARY. Qadhafi often speaks out publicly against government corruption, but the politically-connected elite has direct access to lucrative business deals. This commercial access can easily be cut off when individuals fall out of favor. The Qadhafi family and other Jamahiriya political favorites profit from being able to manipulate the multi-layered and regularly shifting dynamics of governance mechanisms in Libya. They have strong interests in the oil and gas sector, telecommunications, infrastructure development, hotels, media distribution, and consumer goods distribution. The financial interests of Qadhafi and his key allies present both opportunites and challenges for reform efforts in Libya. Any reform is likely to be cyclical over the long-term. END SUMMARY...As with many other regimes, politically-connected members of the Libyan elite have direct access to lucrative business contracts. Qadhafi often speaks out publicly against government corruption and sometimes dismisses officials who are caught in gross improprieties. In some cases, it appears that falling out of favor politically can trigger the discovery of improprieties in business dealings that might not otherwise come to public attention...

Qadhafi Incorporated Lifestyle


¶10. (C) Qadhafi himself keeps a low profile in Tripoli. The Bab al-Azizia compound has facilities for banquets and other public events, but it is not lavish in any way compared with the ostentation of the Gulf oil state families or Hariri clan. Qadhafiâ's wife travels by chartered jet in Libya, with a motorcade of Mercedes waiting to pick her up at the airport and take her to the destination, but her movements are limited and discrete. She hosted a banquet for diplomatic women in the Bab al-Azizia compound on the occasion of the al-Fatah (Revolution) holiday in September that was festive but not extravagant. Since the family keeps a tight control on the media and most of the Qadhafi children spending excesses take place outside Libya, there is not much public reaction to the coffers of Qadhafi Inc. Compared to egregious pillaging of State coffers elsewhere in Africa, or the lavish spending of Gulf Arabs, the Libyans don't see much to complain about in their leader's lifestyle, as long as he does a good job of making sure other people get a piece of the pie. And when Libyans do complain, they are removed from access to financial rewards...


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