A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, June 11, 2009

‘Umar al-Mukthar's Revenge? Brother Colonel Goes to Italy

I have occasionally commented on the always interesting antics of the Leader of the Libyan Revolution (who of course holds no political office whatsoever), Brother Colonel Qadhafi. Now that he's welcome in the West again, some links on Brother Colonel's much-hyped visit to the former Colonial Power: Qadhafi and Berlusconi together really deserves some kind of attention, and he has never visited Italy at least since taking power in 1969: posts from Maghreb Politics Review again, and from The Arabist, and from BBC with a shot of Qadhafi wearing a photo on his tunic of the arrest of ‘Umar al-Mukhtar.

He showed up with his female bodyguards (I hope he's been following Berlusconi's recent, um, bad publicity on that front) and wearing yet another creatively designed military uniform with big epaulets; but the photo on the tunic is a particularly interesting touch, especially since this is supposed to be his tour of reconciliation with Italy. Kind of like the US President meeting the Queen with a big picture of, say, Nathan Hale or the Boston Tea Party pinned to his jacket.

During his memorable performance at the Doha Arab Summit, it was clear that Qadhafi had recently grown a mustache. Now, it appears, he has a small chin goatee growing as well. Given his recent sparring with King ‘Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the new look is, well, remarkably Saudi. I can't immediately find an open source photo (and as a publisher I make a fetish of honoring copyright), so please go to the BBC link to see what I mean.

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