Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi blessed U.S. President Barack Obama as a “friend” over the weekend in a speech published by the London-based al-Hayat newspaper, labeling him “an African from Arab descent, from Muslim descent.”
Gaddafi's speech was delivered in the city of Sirt at an event marking the 24th anniversary of a U.S. attack on Libya.
Gaddafi was quoted by the Arabic-language newspaper as saying that any dispute between Libya and the United States had since vanished. “Now, ruling America is a black man from our continent,” he explained, “an African from Arab descent, from Muslim descent, and this is something we never imagined – that from Reagan we would get to Barakeh (Arabic for Barack) Obama.” He called Obama's presence in the White House “a major historical gain.”
The Libyan leader went on to say that he personally considered the American president “a friend,” explaining, "He knows he is a son of Africa. Regardless of his African belonging, he is of Arab Sudanese descent, of Muslim descent. He is a man whose policy should be supported, and he should be assisted in implementing it in any way possible, since he is now leaning towards peace.”
Gaddafi also pointed out that regardless of what Arab leaders might say in public for English-language consumption, the truth comes out in private conversation, and in Arabic-language speeches at home.
“The Arabs hate America, there is no doubt. There is not an Arab that loves America,” he admitted, “and even the leaders who the United States considers allies or friends, hate it. The external love is merely hypocrisy or pragmatism.”
Gaddafi blamed “Palestine” for the hatred, saying “The Palestinians today are like the Jews of the past – dispersed in exile and persecuted. Now the Palestinians are at a point where they deserve to have the United States on their side and not on the side of the Israelis.”
The Libyan leader has been campaigning for a one-state solution – to be called “Isratine” – in which the so-called “Right of Return” would be implemented for millions of foreign-born Arabs, descendants of those who fled the area during the 1948 War for Independence. The bi-national state that would be created in Gaddafi's vision would be a democratic, nuclear-free country populated equally by Arabs and Jews, and would not be a Jewish nation. Israel, in its current form, would cease to exist.