The 'Delusional' Qaddafi: Examining His ABC Interview

"They love me. All my people with me, they love me."

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After reviewing Col. Muammar Qaddafi's interview with ABC's Christiane Amanpour, UN ambassador Susan Rice had one word to describe the Libyan dictator: "delusional." The sit-down chat between Qaddafi, Amanpour and two British journalists revealed a leader stridently disconnected with the world around him. "They love me. All my people with me, they love me," he said, as Libyan rebels clashed violently with military for the 11th day. The best moments of the interview come when Amanpour and the BBC's Jeremy Bowen try to pin him down on basic facts: it gets pretty surreal. Here are our favorite parts (for the full interview, go here):

Qaddafi and Bowen Disagree About Demonstrations in Libya

Qaddafi: "Did you see demonstrations?"

Bowen: "Yes, I have."

Qaddafi: "Where?"

Bowen: "I saw some today."

Qaddafi: "Where?"

Bowen: "I saw some in Zawiya. Yesterday I saw demonstrations."

Qaddafi: "Are they supporting us?"

Bowen: "No, they're not supporting you. Some were against you, and some were for you."

Qaddafi: "They are not against us. No-one is against us. Against us for what? Because I'm not a president. They love me. All my people are with me, they love me all. They will die to protect me, my people."

Qaddafi and Bowen Disagree About Qaddafi Being the Leader of Libya

Qaddafi: What do I step down from? I'm not a monarch or a king... It's honorary - it's nothing to do with exercising power or authority. In Britain, who has the power? Is it Queen Elizabeth or David Cameron? You don't understand the Libyan system."

Bowen: "We have a head of state who is the Queen, and we have an elected prime minister who is Mr Cameron. Are you thinking then of having an election for prime minister?"

Qaddafi: "You don't really understand the type of system that is being practised here in Libya."

Bowen: "I understand the system you have here, but internationally you are regarded as the leader."

Qaddafi: "You don't understand the system here. Don't say 'I understand' - you don't understand. And the world doesn't understand the system here. The authority of the people. You don't understand it."

Qaddafi and Amanpour Talk Al-Qaida

Amanpour: "If you say they do love you, then why are they capturing Benghazi and saying they're against you?"

Qaddafi: "It's al-Qaeda. It's not my people. They came from outside... It was al-Qaeda which went into military compounds and police stations, seized ammunitions and arms, and now it is terrorising the people and they have taken to the streets... The people who had the weapons were youngsters. They're starting to lay down their weapons now, as the drugs al-Qaeda gave them wear off."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.