Reports that Colonel Gaddafi has ‘fled’ Libya: another dictator falls

Now this is something I really hadn’t anticipated. According to the Telegraph and several other news sources, long-time Libyan leader Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (also known as Colonel Gaddafi or, to quote his full title, Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) may have fled the country which he ruled for so many years, possibly heading for Venezuela:

Following an emergency EU meeting of foreign ministers on the situation in Libya, [British Foreign Secretary William] Hague was asked if Britain, or other Western countries, knew if Col. Gaddafi had left Tripoli.

“About whether Col. Gaddafi, is in Venezuela, I have no information that says he is although I have seen some information that suggests he is on his way there,” he said.

British officials stressed that Mr Hague was referring “not to media reports but information from other channels”. “This is credible information,” said a diplomat.

If true, it’d be astonishing news. Gaddafi, who is pretty close to certifiably insane, has been the bane of the West’s existence for many years, though his oil wealth has meant that many leaders have had to stoop to rather excruciatingly embarrassing brown-nosing to win pipeline contracts and the like (Gaddafi’s visit to France in 2007 and his complete humiliation of Nicolas Sarkozy is one example that springs to mind).

He’s ‘led’ his country (if leading it off a cliff counts as leading) since a coup against then-King Idris in 1969. In that time, he’s oscillated between Islamic socialism, pan-Arabism and pan-Africanism. He’s supported terrorists responsible for the deaths of countless people in various corners of the globe. He’s been the worst enemy and the best friend of various European heads of state and government at various times. He’s prone to ridiculous unilateral proclamations, like when he called himself the ‘King of Kings’ at an African Union summit in 2008. He travels around in a tent. He also has some kind of grudge against Switzerland for some reason, and called for it to be split between France, Germany and Italy back in 2009.

He’s basically somewhere between tyrannical, megalomaniacal and just plain nuts. Laughing at the guy might, in ordinary circumstances, be seen as diminishing the tragedy of the people who died because of acts he ordered, funded or encouraged. However, I think that in the case of Gaddafi, ridicule is perhaps the best punishment of all for a man so proud. So: good riddance, you crazy bastard.

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