The Jerusalem Post reports from a single source that Libyan strongman Moammar Gaddafi has suddenly slipped into a coma caused by a brain embolism. His family has been called to the hospital, according to the Post, and his prognosis looks murky — perhaps as murky as the source:
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was rushed to the hospital Sunday after a blood clot was discovered in his brain, and is now in a coma, the Palestinian news agency Ma’an claimed.
According to the report, Gaddafi’s children, who reside in Europe, were recalled to his bedside in Tripoli.
“The condition of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is very serious and he was brought unconscious to the hospital,” the agency reported.
The report cites a European source and has yet to be confirmed.
Gaddafi gave the US its biggest foreign-relations victory of the Iraq War when he voluntarily disarmed his nuclear-weapons programs. The US and UK had held negotiations with Libya on this point for months, but Gaddafi suddenly acquiesced shortly after the capture of Saddam Hussein. He told Silvio Berlusconi that he didn’t want to end his days like Saddam Hussein — hiding in a dirt hole only to be hauled out by American troops. His abandonment of nuclear weapons may have made the entire exercise worthwhile, although most have forgotten about the surprising level of sophistication that UN inspectors found during the disarmament process.
If he is as ill as the Post and Ma’an reports, it puts Libya in a precarious position. Gaddafi has had poor relations with the Arab League of late, and the Saudis have been the problem. It’s not altogether sure that a Gaddafi exit would result in a reconciliation; indeed, no one has really considered what comes after Gaddafi. The entire North African situation, as bad as it is already, could rapidly deteriorate as long-oppressed factions fight for power if he dies, or even if he remains incapacitated.
On the other hand, without independent confirmation, this report should be taken with a major grain of salt. Palestinian newspapers are not reknowned for their accuracy or allegiance to truth, and some factions within the PA have a heavy reliance on Saudi support. Ma’an might have indulged some wish fulfillment.
If not, though, we may have a short opportunity to work with Libyans to move their nation even further away from terrorism and oppression. Hopefully the State Department has its fingers on the pulse.
UPDATE: Via Allahpundit, he must be a rather active coma patient:
Libya’s leader Moammar Gadhafi has denied a Palestinian news wire report that he is fatally ill, Italy’s ANSA news agency said Monday.
Gadhafi called Monday to Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi saying he was in good health, the agency reported.