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Qaddafi’s quirky crush on Condoleezza Rice

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Sergey Ponomarev/AP

(Read caption) Rebel fighters look through an album they found containing photos of Condoleezza Rice inside Muammar Qaddafi's compound in Bab Al-Aziziya in Tripoli, Libya, on Aug. 24.

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Just call it the Neverland of Libya: Among the items rebels found during an Aug. 24 raid on embattled Libyan leader Muammar Qaddifi’s lavish and kitschy Bab al-Aziziya compound were a golden mermaid sofa with the face of Qaddafi’s daughter, Aisha, a merry-go-round made with giant teacups – and a photo album published by MSNBC that is entirely devoted to former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Ms. Rice, whom he called "Leezza" and "my darling black African woman" in a 2007 interview with Al-Jazeera television, made a diplomatic visit to Libya in 2008, when she had a two-hour dinner with an adoring Mr. Qaddafi, according to the Washington Post. The US embassy had previously warned Rice in a cable later released by Wikileaks that Qaddafi “avoids making eye contact” but that he was eager to share with her his views on global affairs.

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While the adulation of Rice is understandable, Qaddafi is know for his eccentricities: wearing flamboyant clothing, employing a team of female bodyguards, and insisting on sleeping in a tent during his world travels, among others. His latest eyebrow-raising move during the height of the rebel siege on Tripoli was to call his Russian friend Kirsan N. Ilyumzhinov, the president of the World Chess Federation, who has claimed to talk to aliens.

What on earth did they discuss? Perhaps Mr. Ilyumzhinov has secret chess move that will get Qaddafi out of this jam – or maybe the Colonel’s salvation will come from outer space.