World and Nation

Among Rice’s diplomatic groupies: Moammar Gadhafi

When you’re the single, attractive secretary of state for the United States, you’re bound to pick up groupies in all corners of the international diplomatic scene.

But for Condoleezza Rice, who has charmed diplomats from Rome (the Italian foreign minister, Massimo D’Alema) to London (Foreign Minister Jack Straw of Britain) to Pictou, Nova Scotia (the Canadian defense minister, Peter MacKay), perhaps the strangest of all has always been Moammar Gadhafi of Libya.

“Leezza, Leezza, Leezza, I love her very much,” Gadhafi, the now-fugitive Libyan leader, told Al-Jazeera in 2007, calling her his “darling black African woman.”

When Rice visited him in 2008, at the same compound that Libyan rebels are now ransacking (more on that in a second), back during the brief period when Gadhafi was in good graces with the United States, the Libyan dictator put his hand against his heart in greeting.

And, as it now comes out, he apparently assembled — or had a minion assemble — a photo album of Rice. Which brings us to the matter at hand now, the ransacking of Gadhafi’s compound under way in Tripoli.

Rebels going through the Gadhafi compound unearthed the photo album stocked with Rice’s visage on every page. There she is, in one, 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 pageboy bob.