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Friday, June 13, 2008

Black president bad for America, warns Gaddafi

TRIPOLI - If Barack Obama wins the US election in November it's a fair bet that Tripoli will not be an early port of call. On Wednesday, the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, reinforced his reputation for provocative speaking by suggesting that because Obama was "black with an inferiority complex" he might end up being "worse than whites" if he becomes president.

Gaddafi's put-down of the Democratic candidate focused in part on Obama's pledge of "unshakeable" support for Israel, which caused dismay, if not surprise, across the Arab and Muslim worlds last week. "Obama's announcement that unified Jerusalem should be the eternal capital of Israel and that he will support it with $30bn during the next 10 years has disappointed our hopes and that of the Africans," the Libyan leader complained.

"The statements of our Kenyan brother of American nationality Obama on Jerusalem ... show that he either ignores international politics and did not study the Middle East conflict or that it is a campaign lie," Gaddafi said in a speech marking the evacuation of the last US airbase in Libya after he seized power in 1969.

Obama should promise to give Africa the money Washington allocates to Israel to "build a dam on the Congo river to supply the whole African continent with power", he urged. "We fear that Obama will feel that, because he is black with an inferiority complex, this will make him behave worse than the whites. This will be a tragedy," Gaddafi added. "We tell him to be proud of himself as a black and feel that all Africa is behind him."

The man once denounced by Ronald Reagan as a "mad dog" has cleaned up his act in recent years, halting support for terrorist groups, handing over the men accused of the Lockerbie bombing and surrendering his nuclear weapons programme. In return he has seen western leaders and investors flock to Libya, though domestic political change has not kept pace with accelerating reintegration into the global economy.

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