August 25th, 2011
11:22 PM ET

Smitten Gadhafi? Rebels find Condoleezza Rice photo book

We'd long heard that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi admired former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In 2007, he called her "Leeza ... my darling black African woman" whom he loved "very much."

Just words? Perhaps. Or maybe, as a discovery this week suggests, he really was quite impressed.

Rebels ransacking his Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli found a photo album of Rice, The New York Times reports.

A description of the album, from the Times:

"There she is, in one (picture), smiling off to the side, her flip-do accented perfectly for the camera. And there she is in another, smiling next to you-know-who during that visit to Tripoli. He is wearing a flowing white robe with purple sash and Africa pin; she looks more businesslike in a gray pinstripe suit with white pearls, her flip-do having given way to a page-boy bob."

Rice was with the Bush administration when the United States restored relations with Libya in 2005, after Gadhafi decided to abandon his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, renounce terrorism and compensate victims of a 1986 disco bombing in Berlin and the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.

In a 2007 interview with Al Jazeera, Gadhafi said this about Rice:

"I support my darling, black African woman. ... I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders. ... I love her very much. I admire her, and I'm proud of her because she's a black woman of African origin."

Gadhafi met with Rice the next year, when Rice made the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state to Libya in more than 50 years. CNN's Elise Labott reported on their meeting in a reception room at Gadhafi’s Tripoli compound:

"Gadhafi, wearing a white robe and a black fez but not his trademark dark sunglasses, shook the hands of the male members of Rice's staff but not Rice, instead offering the traditional greeting of his hand over his heart for her," Labott reported in her CNN.com piece, noting that Muslim men are prohibited from shaking hands with women to whom they are not related.

Rice's office, when reached by CNN on Thursday for reaction to the photo album, said she'd reserve comment until the release of her book on November 1.

Fouad Ajami, a Middle East expert, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and an outspoken critic of Gadhafi, provided some context regarding why Gadhafi would stress Rice's African roots and comment on her dealings with Arab leaders.

"He ... fancied himself at one point as something of an African," Ajami told CNN's Joe Johns on Thursday. "He basically said at one point that Libya is an African country, (that) it has nothing to do with the Arabs. And he dubbed himself king of the kings of Africa, and he turned his back on the Arabs."

Ajami said he wouldn't think Rice is thrilled.

"Secretary Rice is an esteemed colleague ... at Hoover and something of a friend, so I don't think she's flattered by this," Ajami told Johns on "The Situation Room."

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Filed under: Condoleezza Rice • Libya
soundoff (553 Responses)
  1. bailoutsos

    At least he was interested in someone smart.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. dsfdsf

    So he's a fan of CL... What about it? What's the big deal??

    August 26, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. kilyo

    Bravo Ms Condi! You're truely attractive. True African beauty! Dont mind the jealous heads.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. johnnybgood

    Did they find it under his matress....surprised they could turn the pages...figured they would be stuck together...

    August 26, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Steve

    Dang, he was a stalker to?

    August 26, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. David M

    "Leeza" is smarter in five minutes than Gadaffy is in a life time. She should be running for President.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • older bull

      And I'd be running from her...scary woman...

      August 26, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • mike

      AMEN!

      August 26, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      (that's AMEN to Condi running for president. She'd restore order to the chaos and esteem to the office).

      August 26, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      she wants roger goodell 's job. (where she'd be better off)

      August 26, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. R. George

    Prof. Fouad Ajamiis statements are always dubbed in puppetry, Whats wrong if Ghadhafi sees himself as an African, What wrong in being an African Prof. in African. The majority of the people in Southern Libya is Black African none Arabs and these are the people he must know will suffer the most if Libyan Arabs failed to respect that fact, these are the people Ghadhafi looked out for and that is why they are dying for him today and that why they are being killed and tortured by some of the Libyan Arabs rebels. Libya will be the next Somolia if Libyan listen to people like Fouad Ajamis .

    August 26, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • AjamiTheIdiot

      Who made this Ajami clown an expert. Listening to this clown makes you think that this guy is a kiss A.S.S.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. Reine

    "fancies himself African" . When was the last time you looked at the globe, idiot. Leave it to the "expert" to decide who is african or not. Idiot..

    August 26, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. older bull

    A dictator's pin-up girl? The dude gets freakier and freakier...what's next a Bachman Mmsiac in his shower?

    August 26, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Politicalfool

    This piece on Dr.Condoleezza Rise and Moammar Gadhafi is amusing but I did not understand Mr. Ajami’s comment about the confusion of Libya being part of Africa. Libya is part of Africa and that fact is ok… Noone should get mad about that concept including Arabs. It sounds Mr. Ajami and Mr. Johns is making a mockery of black African origin. If you study history you will see that Arabs have Black African Blood too. It is nothing wrong with a pro African Arab… Wake up folks!!!

    August 26, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Oyster

    They make a beautiful couple. And by "beautiful" I mean horrific.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Ed Sr

    Condo Rice is a VERY attractive and a smart lady....I don't blame him for having a crush on her! That is the ONLY smart thing he has done!

    August 26, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • mom

      lol..you are funny

      August 26, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. huxley

    Maybe we could have ended this all peacefully if we just sent Rice over there.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Marcos

    Tyrants love tyranny! Condoleeza was part of America's one and only fascist police state, no wonder Ghadaffi loves her!

    August 26, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. MFStout

    Rice should never have been in that job. And she turned out to be one of the better ones in the nightmare that was W.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse | Reply
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