Al-Qaddafi's Son: Arabs Should Back U.S. Call for Democracy

The son of Libyan leader Moammar al-Qaddafi (search) said Wednesday Arab countries should support President Bush's campaign to promote democracy in the Middle East.

Numerous Arab governments have rejected Bush's democracy initiative, notably Egypt's and Saudi Arabia's, as an imposition unsuited to Arab culture and traditions.

"Instead of shouting and criticizing the American initiative, you have to bring democracy to your countries, and then there will be no need to fear America or your people," said Seif al-Islam al-Qaddafi (search). "The Arabs should either change or change will be imposed on them from outside."

Seif denied reports that he is a candidate to succeed his father, who rules Libya (search) with little tolerance of opposition.

"Many Arab countries are now following the policy of inheriting the leadership, but there are hundreds of Libyans who are better [suited] than I," Seif said.

Seif even praised Israel, saying that unlike Arab countries, sons do not tend to succeed their fathers in power there.

"We don't put the appropriate person in the right place, but Israel is a democratic country," told the Al-Jazeera television station.

In Syria, Bashar Assad (search) became president on the death of his father in 2000, and in Egypt, the son of President Hosni Mubarak (search) is playing an increasing important role in affairs of state and the ruling party.

Seif said Libya has its own version of democracy. He said it was a formula based on "human rights, democracy, protecting the individual and the society."

Seif heads the al-Qaddafi International Association for Charitable Organizations, which has played a major role in trying to soften the image of Libya and return it to the international mainstream.