Qaddafi, Saif al-Islam al- (1972–)

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Qaddafi, Saif al-Islam al-

Saif (Sayf, Seif) al-Islam al-Qaddafi mu'ammar al-qaddafi is the eldest son of Libyan leader.


Saif al-Islam Mu'ammar al-Qaddafi was born in Tripoli, Libya, on 25 June 1972. He is the eldest son of Libyan leader Mu'ammar al-Qaddafi by Mu'ammar's second wife, Safiya Farkash. Saif graduated with a B.Sc. in engineering science from al-Fatah University in Tripoli in 1994. From November 1994 until November 1995, he fulfilled his service in the Libyan military. Qaddafi received his M.B.A. from IMADEC University in Vienna, Austria, in 2000. Thereafter he returned to Libya and worked with the National Engineering Service and Supplies Company, of which he was a co-owner. Qaddafi began Ph.D. studies in international governance at the London School of Economics in 2002.

He heads the Qaddafi International Charity Foundation, which he founded in 1997. Qaddafi also is president of the Libyan National Association for Drugs and Narcotics Control. He speaks Arabic, French, German, and English.


Qaddafi has served as his father's envoy and has been the key player in several dramatic changes in Libyan policy in the first years of the twenty-first century, including Libya's 2003 announcement that it had abandoned its weapons of mass destruction programs and aspirations, and that it no longer considered Israel a threat. He also articulated the policy that Libya would compensate its former Jewish citizens for property seized from them.

His charity is seen as the vehicle by which he pursues policy around the world. In 2000 Qaddafi and his charity helped free Western hostages being held by the militant Abu Sayyaf group in the southern Philippines. The charity also negotiated the August 2003 compensation deal with the relatives of passengers killed in the December 1988 bombing of a Pan American Airways jet over Lockerbie, Scotland. The result was that the United Nations lifted the sanctions it had imposed on Libya less than one month later.


Qaddafi is widely viewed in international circles as the possible successor to his father, even though neither of them holds official positions in the Libyan government. Urbane and multilingual, he cuts a dramatically different image than that of his father, and is seen by some as the symbol of the new Libya.


It is too early to assess Qaddafi's legacy, but it already appears as if he will be remembered as a key player in Libya's early twenty-first-century attempts to end its diplomatic isolation and pariah status and return to the international community.


Ronen, Yehudit. "Libya's Rising Star: Saif al-Islam and Succession." Middle East Policy 12, no. 3 (Fall 2005). Available from

                                    Michael R. Fischbach


Name: Saif al-Islam al-Qaddafi (Sayf al-Islam, Seif al-Islam)

Birth: 1972, Tripoli, Libya

Family: Unmarried

Nationality: Libyan

Education: B.Sc. (engineering science), al-Fatah University, Tripoli, 1994; M.B.A., IMADEC University, Vienna, Austria, 2000; Ph.D. studies (international governance), London School of Economics


  • 1994: Enters service in the Libyan military
  • 1997: Founds Qaddafi International Charity Foundation
  • 2000: Helps free hostages held by the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines
  • 2003: Helps negotiate compensation settlement with families of victims of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 over Scotland