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Report: Qaddafi wrote to Berlusconi near the end

During his last, desperate days, Colonel Qaddafi may have turned to an old friend, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for help in trying to avert the international action being undertaken by NATO's forces.

In a letter published by French weekly tabloid, Paris Match, Qaddafi allegedly wrote to Berlusconi, asking him to help stop the bombing and "turn the page" on the relationship between the Libyan people and Italy.

One quote, translated from Paris Match's website:

Stop the bombings that kill our Libyan brothers and our children. Talk to your [new (striped)] friends and allies (1) to achieve [a solution that guarantees the great Libyan people the total freedom of choice that leads (striped)] that this aggression continues against my country (1).

The controversial relationship between Berlusconi and Qaddafi has been well publicized. In 2009, Berlusconi shut down Rome's largest park to allow Qaddafi and his entourage of female body guards to set up a Bedouin style camp during a state visit. This comes on top of the extensive economic relations between Italy and Libya; along with being Libya's largest trading partner, Libya's sovereign wealth funds had invested in many Italian companies, including football club Juventus F.C. Initially, Berlusconi opposed the NATO mission over Libya, but had an about face in August, as he stood beside interim Prime Minister Jibril, announcing the release of frozen assets to the NTC.

If this letter is true, Berlusconi may have been one of the last world leaders to have received direct communication with Qaddafi before his death. South African President Jacob Zuma may have been the last to meet the Colonel, after an attempt in late May to negotiate an end to the fighting.

LIVIO ANTICOLI/AFP/Getty Images

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Ron Paul to meet with French far-right leader

Marine Le Pen, leader and presidential candidate for the anti-immigrant National Front party,  is planning a visit to the United States in hopes of establishing ties with the U.S. political leaders, particularly the Tea Party movement. Thus far, the only presidential candidate she's lined up a meeting with is Ron Paul:

"Madame Le Pen has requested a meeting and Congressman Paul has agreed to a meeting, if he is in town, and as of today it looks like he will be," Paul's communications director, Rachel Mills, told AFP by email.

"Congressman Paul is also open to meeting with any of the other candidates, it should be noted," she said, referring to France's 2012 presidential race.[...]

Le Pen specifically cited hopes of meeting Ron Paul, calling him "a great defender of an international monetary system anchored on the gold standard."

 

Le Pen, who inherited leadership of the party from her father, has worked to shed the Front's image as a racist fringe movement and move it more toward the mainstream, even as the French government itself tacks toward the right on immigration. All the same, she seems to be slipping in the polls after several weeks where it looked like she had a good shot at making the second round.

It will be interesting to see what other U.S. politicians follow Paul's lead and take the chance to meet with her. Even if GOP candidates might like her stances of immigration and Islam, they probably won't see eye-to-eye on economics:     

“For a long time, the National Front upheld the idea that the state always does things more expensively and less well than the private sector,” she told me. “But I’m convinced that’s not true. The reason is the inevitable quest for profitability, which is inherent in the private sector. There are certain domains which are so vital to the well-being of citizens that they must at all costs be kept out of the private sector and the law of supply and demand.” The government, therefore, should be entrusted with health care, education, transportation, banking and energy.

When I pointed out that in the U.S. she would sound like a left-wing politician, she shot back, “Yes, but Obama is way to the right of us,” and opined that proper government oversight would have averted the American financial crisis.

ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images