Qaddafi Enjoys Chess with Champion as World Backs Rebels
Germany and the UAE have recognized Libyan rebels, but the country’s eccentric dictator Muammar Qaddafi seemed unworried – he was busy playing chess with a world champion. Qaddafi settled for a stalemate after his opponent helped him.
Libya’s official state television showed Qaddafi playing chess with Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the Russian president of the World Chess Federation, known as an "eccentric" who claims, among other things. to have met with creatures from outer space. He has claimed that he was abducted by aliens who landed a spaceship on his balcony in 1997.
Back on earth, he visited Qaddafi, and their match ended in a draw. Meanwhile, the UAE pledged to help its "Libyan brothers" and announced it would open an office in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.
"This recognition affirms that the UAE is committed to maintaining strong ties with the Libyan people and to its Arab stand," said Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed.
He added, "We will work towards helping our Libyan brothers out of this difficult situation and look forward to building a brighter future that will enable Libya to regain its natural position among countries of the world."
Germany has joined the United States, France and Britain and recognized Libya’s National Transitional Council on Monday. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, during a visit to Benghazi, said Monday that the NTC is "the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.”
Qaddafi’s government did not respond to diplomatic support of rebels. While Qaddafi was playing chess, government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim repeated previous statements that the NTC is an “illegal body."
Fighting continues between the rebels and Qaddafi’s forces, with no end in sight as both sides struggle for control of the port city of Misrata and the oil refining town of Brega, east of Tripoli.
NATO helicopters are attacking anti-aircraft systems and cutting supply lines as the rebels fight on several ground fronts. They lost more than two dozen fighters in the past three days.