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It’s not easy speaking for Qaddafi

The Telegraph‘s correspondent in Libya, Damien McElroy, suggests that one reason for Moussa Kusa’s defection may have been that he was growing tired of trying to spin his boss’s bizarre pronouncements: He was notably uncomfortable in making public statements on behalf of the regime in recent weeks. One Libyan official said that Mr Koussa deliberately ...

The Telegraph‘s correspondent in Libya, Damien McElroy, suggests that one reason for Moussa Kusa’s defection may have been that he was growing tired of trying to spin his boss’s bizarre pronouncements:

He was notably uncomfortable in making public statements on behalf of the regime in recent weeks. One Libyan official said that Mr Koussa deliberately timed his statements to present a "rational" argument in the immediate aftermath of Col Muammar Gaddafi’s rambling statements on national television.

Figuring out how to make the Libyan government’s position sound rational, without contradicting the colonel, has been a challenge for all the regime’s spokesmen, particularly Mussa Ibrahim, who has become a familiar face in the Western press in recent days:

The difficulty for men like Dr Mussa is to know which Gaddafi to represent to the world – the eccentric, full of violent rhetoric, or the jolly new friend of European prime ministers. One day, Dr Mussa tried valiantly to explain that when Col Gaddafi threatened retaliation against civilian “air and maritime” traffic if Libya were attacked, he was not making some reference to his past support for terrorism. He was warning that without the bulwark of Libyan security, the Mediterranean would be exposed to everything from Islamic extremism to African illegal migrants. No one believed him.

There was also his frustrating back-and-forth with Anderson Cooper over Qaddafi’s claims that the rebels were being manipulated through hallucinogenic drugs.

 Twitter: @joshuakeating

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