Before the civil unrest began in Libya, dictator Muammar Gaddafi's 27-year-old son, Khamis, was exchanging handshakes with top business executives and being shown around Houston and a number of American universities, according to ABC News affiliate KTRK.
Khamis was on an internship program sponsored by AECOM, a Los Angeles-based engineering firm that has business dealings with Libya. It is reported that the visit was also an attempt to forge a consulting deal so that the firm could do work on Libyan ports.
Much has changed since January. U.S. officials have been waging war against Khamis Gaddafi, who has been in charge of one of the special forces units in charge of repressing the rebels. They have labeled him "bloodthirsty."
While some reports said that he had been killed in an airplane, CNN.com reports that live Monday night footage from Libyan state television showed Khamis alive and well, dressed in full uniform and rallying the people around him.
European and American forces have joined to aid the rebels in overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi. President Obama recently addressed the nation during a televised speech on Monday night. He said that the conflict was a necessary one, because the United States does not turn a blind eye to atrocities in the world – despite critics noting that this policy may be inconsistent, since American forces have not entered the ongoing turmoil in Bahrain and Yemen, where protesters are still being brutally repressed.
Obama also sought to distance the Libyan engagement from Iraq, stressing that the United States would aid the rebel efforts but, at the same time, avoid any nation-building tactics because the price in Iraq was too high.
Some conservatives have agreed with the major focus of the speech, but others still protest the cost and the timing.
"I want the United States to be seen throughout the world as a noble country… The president seems to want that as well, but he is not loud enough about it," Bill O'Reilly wrote on FoxNews.com.