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Cablegate: Colonel Al-Qadhafi's Summer Reading List

VZCZCXRO9531
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHTRO #0833 2941344
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 201344Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4009
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0913
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0601
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 4530

C O N F I D E N T I A L TRIPOLI 000833

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/20/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR KBIO LY
SUBJECT: COLONEL AL-QADHAFI'S SUMMER READING LIST

CLASSIFIED BY: Chris Stevens, CDA, Embassy Tripoli, Department
of State.
CLASSIFIED BY: Chris Stevens, CDA, Embassy Tripoli, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 1. (C) During a recent meeting at the office of MFA Secretary for the Americas (A/S-equivalent), Dr. Ahmed Fituri, P/E Chief commented on a stack of English-language books on current affairs on Fituri's desk. Fituri offered that he had been personally tasked by the Leader, Muammar al-Qadhafi, to read and summarize in four- to seven-page Arabic-language reports "significant" English-language books dealing with American politics and policy, current affairs and history. The books on his desk were those on which he was currently working. Fituri said the Leader occasionally assigned Fituri to translate particular books. Fituri, an academic by training with a Phd from the University of Michigan, said he had begun the work several years ago, before assuming his position at the MFA. Characterizing al-Qadhafi as an avid consumer of television and print media, he said other "trusted officials" were similarly tasked with preparing summaries of books written in other non-Arabic languages. He noted that al-Qadhafi's demand for these translations had somewhat diminished in the past year. 2. (C) Fituri estimated that he has summarized six to eight books per year, as well as miscellaneous articles from key journals and magazines. He was currently summarizing Fareed Zakaria's latest book, "The Post-American World" and was about to begin work on Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat 3.0". He had recently translated in full the Secretary's article in the Foreign Affairs journal. Other books Fituri had summarized in the past year included Zakaria's "The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad" (which al-Qadhafi liked), Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope" and George Soros' "The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror". 3. (C) Fituri offered that al-Qadhafi and External Security Organization Director Musa Kusa had asked him about six months ago to undertake a similar program for Muatassim al-Qadhafi, son of Muammar al-Qadhafi and National Security Adviser, with an emphasis on security/intelligence issues and European and American politics and history. Fituri had so far only sent Muatassim summaries of articles and books he had already prepared for his father. Kusa, he said, had complained to him in August that Muatassim was "not an avid reader" and had to be prodded to read even summaries. Stressing that Muatassim had "his own strengths", Fituri offered that many in senior GOL circles did not consider Muatassim to be as intellectually curious as either his father or his older brother, Saif al-Islam, who is enrolled in a Phd program at the London School of Economics. 4. (C) Comment: The beginning of the relative downtick in the Leader's reading roughly coincides with the period early last summer in which al-Qadhafi reportedly suffered a series of minor strokes. Fituri's characterization of Muatassim's less than enthusiastic embrace of the reading program is no surprise, given what we've heard from other contacts, who describe him as a traditional strongman who has focused on consolidating his power-base and pursuing his business interests and social life. End comment. STEVENS

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