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. Conguero

    Eye Condi?

    August 26, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Conguero: Good one! How about "Condoleeza Vice"?

      August 26, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. john

    I'm not sure who is more ugly, Cadhafe or Noriaga. They both look like something you dig up out in your back yard

    August 26, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ProvidencePatriot

    "Ooooo, come into my tent Condi, and I will read to you the story of the Arabian Nights."

    "Oh, Moamar, is that a weapon of mass destruction under your robe, or are you just happy to see me."

    "Oh, Condi, you are some big American kidder."

    August 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Billy Davis

    I they said she was sleeping with Bush. And all along Moammar was hitting that.

    August 26, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ume

    Mr expert, Libya is in Africa continent not in Arab middle east. My point is, Libya people are african. Africa wants unity not division.

    August 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • NatR

      Your comment is useless. have u heard of an arabic continent? Arab countries have 1 thing in common, speak and understand the Arabic language. Arabic countries are divided between 2 continents Asia and Africa. So to be an african or asian country does not disqualify a country from being an arabic country einstein!

      August 26, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Muri

      Boy, talk about the blind leading the blind. Both of your assessments of the situation couldn't be farther off. Why don't you do yourselves a favor and actually pull some factual information before spewing out of your face hole, yes?

      August 26, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Craig

    Were the pages stuck together?

    August 26, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      It looks laminated for easy wipe down

      August 26, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Texas 44

    Hurricanes...Wars...Unemployment...Bad Economy and CNN finds this dribble worthy of a highlight. WOW!!!

    August 26, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick0011

      You saying there is no article about any of the things you listed?

      August 26, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike B

    NO ACCOUNTING FOR TASTE WITH SOME WOMEN I GUESS LOL

    August 26, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Paul

    I personally think she would have looked darling in a Burqa. Ah, missed opportunities.

    August 26, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    Frankly, the thought of Gadhafi doing the nasty with Condi Rice makes me wonder if I can keep down lunch.

    August 26, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. vatoloke

    Of course she loved him too. With W's bunch, all roads led to oil.

    August 26, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Maude

    I like poptarts.

    August 26, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. usaalltheway!

    ralph in orange park: i dont think mr bush had a size to even penetrate he was to old.

    August 26, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chester

    Whaddya expect from this nut...he's just like John Hinckley fixated on Jodie Foster. Jodie probably thinks he is more alien than she imagined in the movies; in fact, rather imagines him not worthy of being an alien that we would ever meet. Any aliens out there would be the best of the best of their people to rate commanding a ship that cost those people trillions in their dollars.

    August 26, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Duane - St.Pete FL

    oh come on....all you libs are just upset that the GOP has all the good looking gals.....

    August 26, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
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