NATO bombs rain down on Moammar Gadhafi’s compound, the daughter of the Libyan dictator says she’s been telling her three young children bedtime stories about the afterlife “to make them ready.”
“In a time of war, you never know when a rocket or a bomb might hit you, and that will be the end,” Aisha Gadhafi, 36, told The New York Times in her first interview with the Western press in several months. She spoke to the newspaper Sunday at her charitable foundation in Tripoli, just hours before beefed-up NATO airstrikes hit the nearby family compound again.
Once dubbed “North Africa’s Claudia Schiffer” for her glamorous blond looks, Aisha Gadhafi is notoriously shy but has appeared twice in public since fighting broke out in Libya, pumping her fists and proclaiming her father’s supremacy from the balcony of the family’s Tripoli compound.
Gadhafi studied law in Paris and once volunteered to work on Saddam Hussein’s legal team. This year she was stripped of her title as U.N. goodwill ambassador — something she poked fun at in the Times interview. She said the United Nations had been “begging” her to be a peace envoy, and laughed at how the U.N. has now referred her to the International Criminal Court.
Wearing tight jeans and Gucci shoes, Gadhafi also poked fun at U.S. President Barack Obama, saying he has “achieved nothing so far,” and hurled personal insults at Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. “Why didn’t you leave the White House when you found out about the cheating of your husband?” she asked rhetorically about Clinton, laughing.
Gadhafi also denied reports of sibling rivalry among her seven brothers, saying they always maintain “a dialogue … and exchange points of view” before making decisions as a family. She refused to comment on reports that two of her brothers have endorsed a plan to push their father from power. Asked how her family believes it can stay in power, she repeatedly said, “We have a great hope in God.”
Despite several high-profile defections from her father’s government, Gadhafi said that some longtime Libyan officials who’ve now joined the rebels are actually still in touch with the government.
“There are many members of the [rebel] council who have worked with my father for 42 years and been loyal to him,” she noted. “Do you think they would just go like that?”
She also issued seemingly contradictory messages, repeatedly calling for dialogue with the West but issuing threats as well. She predicted that the Libya situation would prompt “every country that has weapons of mass destruction to keep them or make more so they will not meet the same fate.”
“The opposition in Iraq told the West that when you come to Iraq they will greet you with roses,” she said. “Almost 10 years later, they are receiving the Americans with bullets, and, believe me, the situation in Libya will be much worse.”