Gaddafi Dead: The Bizarre Demise Of The 'Mad Dog's' Regime
share this story
The collapse of the Gaddafi regime, culminating in the Colonel's capture and death on Thursday, marked the end of one of recent history's most brutal dictatorships. Similar to Saddam Hussein, the Libyan leader remained in power while the edifice of the state he had once ruled through force, coercion and terror crumbled about him.
From the first signs of protest, a raft of bizarre moments catalogued the death of the Gaddafi's one-man rule, from his appearance under an umbrella to refute claims he’d fled to Venezuela, to the defection of Moussa Koussa, the former Interior Minister. There was even an oddly timed game of chess.
In late February amid widespread protests, Gaddafi addressed the nation from within the battered ruins of the Bab-al-Aziziya compound, bombed by the US Air Force two decades earlier.
Speaking in the third person, he declared: "Muammar Gaddafi has nothing to lose".
His 20-minute rant promised victory for the Libyan people before calling America, Italy and "their agents" on the streets "greasy rats and cats."
In an interview in March, the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen questioned Gaddafi about the loss of large parts of the country to rebel control. Dressed in brown robes and matching headscarf, his cheeks mantled by a pair of shades, the leader laughed, looked around the room, and then asked, “What was the question?”
Later that day, Gaddafi took a tour of Tripoli in his golf cart, accepting flowers from his supporters. It would not be the last time the buggy would be seen by the world’s press.
The rebels, who had started their protest on the streets of Benghazi back in February, finally rested control of Tripoli from Gaddafi’s ailing regime in August.
The subsequent storming of the leader’s compound offered yet more insight into the strange world of a tyrant. A rebel fighter was interviewed on Sky News wearing Gaddafi’s iconic hat. "I took it from his bedroom," said the interviewee.
The video went viral and led to a succession of humorous re-edits on YouTube.
Booty discovered within the palace also revealed the despot’s odd infatuation with Condoleezza Rice after hundreds of pictures of the former US secretary of state were found in his quarters. After his death, further revelations emerged suggesting that 'Condy' was given an original song by Gaddafi, entitled “A Black Flower In The White House” when the pair met in 2003.
There was also the news that Gaddafi's daughter, Hana, thought to have perished in the 1986 American air strike, was in fact alive and working in Tripoli as a doctor.
By the end of August, Gaddafi, along with many of the central figures in his regime, had fled. But the man once likened to a “mad dog” by President Reagan refused to be silenced.
In broadcasts played on al Arabiya TV, Gaddafi spouted vitriol on the Nato forces, calling them “germs and rats”.
He added that Nato was trying to occupy Libya and steal its oil.
"Get ready to fight the occupation ... Get ready for a long war, imposed on us," he said. "Get ready for the guerrilla war."
It was not the last time Gaddafi’s voice would be broadcast. Gaddafi’s son, Saif al Islam, also remained defiant. He said:
“Every Libyan is Muammar Gaddafi, every Libyan is Saif al-Islam. Wherever you find yourself face-to-face with the enemy, fight him."
"We are fine. The leadership is fine and the leader is fine. We are happy, we are drinking coffee and tea with our companions and we are fighting."
By then the leadership was anything but fine, with NTC troops closing in on Gaddafi’s remaining stronghold of Bani Walid and his hometown of Sirte.
In early September, a convoy heading to the Niger border was reported to be carrying the colonel to safety. It wasn’t, but much of his family had escaped to the neighbouring African state of Algeria where his daughter, Aisha, gave birth to a baby girl.
Later that month, the killers of Yvonne Fletcher were reported to on the run in Libya. It looked as though justice for the PC shot outside the Libyan embassy 27-years ago may finally be delivered.
The Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, was also in the news, crumpled, dying but still alive.
In October photos came to light, featuring the wife of Hannibal Gaddafi in a series of raunchy posses. It was another twist in a story that was nearing its strange yet perhaps inevitably bloody conclusion.
On Thursday news broke that Gaddafi had been captured in Sirte. Within hours, a photo had gone viral via Twitter showing the dictator alive but wounded.
Soon after new reports emerged suggesting that Gaddafi had in fact been killed. This was quickly followed by mobile phone footage of the man once welcomed by governments and world leaders, being dragged and pulled through the streets, his face bloodied and his legs failing. Cries of “Allahu Akbar” were the last thing the 69-year-old ever heard.
It later emerged that Gaddafi had been found hiding in a large concrete pipe. It was perhaps an ironic last redoubt. For a man so quick to call his enemy “rats”, it was he who was captured on all fours, prostrate, begging for his life in a sewer.