Exclusive Interview: Gaddafi on Obama, Israel and Iran

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi

Given your experience in dealing what the United States offered in return for giving up your [nuclear] program, what advice would you give to a country like Iran? And what advice would you give to the United States in dealing with Iran's nuclear ambitions?
America has the responsibility to reward and encourage such countries who take such decisions, so that they will be able to use nuclear energy or nuclear power in peaceful means. (Watch the video of TIME's interview with Libya's Muammar Gaddafi.)

Upon the advice of our American friends, and others, when they told us to maybe get in touch with Pyongyang and Iran, and encourage them and talk to them so that they would not go to the use of nuclear energy for military purposes, divert the potentials of the capability they have for peaceful means, the actions or the answers from those such countries was, What did Libya gain in the trade?

Are you saying that Iranians and North Koreans don't think that Libya got enough benefits for giving up its program?
Indeed that's what they said to us. Indeed.

Libya spoke to both the Iranians and the North Koreans on this topic?
Yes, indeed. Of course, I mean we have conveyed to them the wish of the friends, that they got in touch with us, mainly in the interest, the wish that they would take the peaceful road.

You're chairman of the African Union at the moment. You referred to President Obama in your speech yesterday as the "son of Africa." Do you feel a kinship with President Obama? And what would you like the United States to do in Africa?
Indeed this kinship is there, is existing.

Regarding the second part of the question, Africa, I mean there are good intentions, legitimately speaking, particularly with international governing toward Africa — some sort of sympathy.

In the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people you have advocated a one-state solution. Many people criticize that kind of idea as something that would lead to the end of Israel as a Jewish state, a homeland for the Jews. Do you believe that Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state?
I am keen and anxious for the safety of both the Jews and the Palestinians.

The position that we are in, the road that the world is going on, would lead to the destruction of the Jews. Because generally speaking, Jews as a community are limited, their number is limited, all over the world. We know that they're not that big. Unfortunately, they were persecuted by all nations. They were persecuted by the Romans and King Edward I. And we all know the Holocaust during Hitler's time. Once seeing the history like that we can only but sympathize with them as Jews. The Arabs actually were the ones who gave them the safe haven and the protection along all these areas when they were persecuted. (See pictures of the rise of Gaddafi.)

As recent as '48 or '49 — I was a little boy at the time but I can still remember — the Jews were there in Libya. There was no animosity, no hatred between us. They were merchants, moving from one place to the other, traders ... and they were very much respected and very much sympathized with. I mean, they did their own prayers and we saw them. They spoke Arabic, wearing Libyan uniforms, Libyan clothes.

So that's why I said, the way things are going, in the end they would — it will be the eradication of them, or the extinction of such a community. And I believe that the whole world is plotting against them, against the Jews. They want to get rid of them, the world wants to. And things that happened in the past indicate or give witness to this idea or this notion. It was the Holocaust in Europe. We all know that, this is a fact. (Read TIME's 1981 cover story about Libya.)

So what is the answer?
The answer is as follows: That we have to serve God, or guarantee the safety of the Jews. And this can be done by them accepting the Palestinians, recognizing the Palestinians, accepting that fact that they should live with the Palestinians in one state, together. Unfortunately, the Jews are fighting or struggling against their own friend — the Arabs. The Arabs did not do the Holocaust, and the Arabs are not the Romans who persecuted them or massacred them. The only way open for them is to accept the Arabs and to accept to live with them, to co-exist with them. Because the establishment of a pure Hebrew state is not in their own interest. That would be a target. Their protection comes from being part of the Arab scene. Mixing with the Arabs. I believe that the youth supports me, supports my idea ... Investors would prefer this mixing with the Arabs, being with the Arabs, living with the Arabs, co-existing with the Arabs. But they have to accept refugees that were kicked out in 1948. This is a fundamental thing, a basic thing. Otherwise, war will continue, the struggle will continue.

Some Americans still view you, and view Libya, with some suspicion, despite the normalization of relations. How can that impression be changed and do you think it ever will change?
This is the result of accumulation of so many years of strained relations between our two peoples and our two countries. It was propaganda ... against us. It was very much exaggerated, this information campaign, this sustained campaign against us. But if I may ... Over the process of years it will thaw out. I mean, just gradually through contact, through dialogue, through investment.

I know that the Lockerbie case has come to a legal end, but there are people in the United States who would still say, in 2003, Libya accepted responsibility for its officials but it would be wonderful if it was a heartfelt expression of remorse and an apology for what happened. That might help thaw the ice.
It was always said that it is not us who did that and they don't accept the fact that they have a responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing. And all the nonaligned nations used to support the Libyan claim. But we go through the resolutions adopted by ... more than 150 countries, both of the resolutions of the Arab League, all of the resolutions adopted by the African Union, all of the organizations ... conflict resolutions.

But of course, Americans, Libyans, the whole world express sympathy or regret over such tragedies. No one would be happy over such tragedies, no one would welcome such a tragedy, indeed, of course. Do the American people feel happy, are the American people happy over the killing of the Libyan citizens in 1986? And is the world happy about the Gaza massacre? By the same token none of us are happy over the tragedy of Lockerbie. Up to now, if you visit the house that was bombed in the American raid, you will find a picture of my daughter, a picture of the daughter of Jim Swire, in a frame there, and everybody goes there. Our children are all victims. I mean, these pictures, just to say the fact that we are all fathers of victims.

Tell us about your impressions of America.
We didn't see anything because of the security measures.

Is there any place in America that you have always wanted to see?
America is so afraid of terror and terrorism to the point that they don't allow people to move around freely and see what they wish to see. I really wish to see the whole of America, if it is possible.

Detroit: The Death — and Possible Life — of a Great City

Detroit: The Death — and Possible Life — of a Great City

Abandoned homes in Detroit.
Abandoned homes in Detroit.
Sean Hemmerle for TIME

If Detroit had been savaged by a hurricane and submerged by a ravenous flood, we'd know a lot more about it. If drought and carelessness had spread brush fires across the city, we'd see it on the evening news every night. Earthquake, tornadoes, you name it — if natural disaster had devastated the city that was once the living proof of American prosperity, the rest of the country might take notice.

But Detroit, once our fourth largest city, now 11th and slipping rapidly, has had no such luck. Its disaster has long been a slow unwinding that seemed to remove it from the rest of the country. Even the death rattle that in the past year emanated from its signature industry brought more attention to the auto executives than to the people of the city, who had for so long been victimized by their dreadful decision-making.

By any quantifiable standard, the city is on life support. Detroit's treasury is $300 million short of the funds needed to provide the barest municipal services. The school system, which six years ago was compelled by the teachers' union to reject a philanthropist's offer of $200 million to build 15 small, independent charter high schools, is in receivership. The murder rate is soaring, and 7 out of 10 remain unsolved. Three years after Katrina devastated New Orleans, unemployment in that city hit a peak of 11%. In Detroit, the unemployment rate is 28.9%. That's worth spelling out: twenty-eight point nine percent.

If, like me, you're a Detroit native who recently went home to find out what went wrong, your first instinct is to weep. If you live there still, that's not the response you're looking for. Old friends and new acquaintances, people who confront the city's agony every day, told me, "I hope this isn't going to be another article about how terrible things are in Detroit."

It is — and it isn't. That's because the story of Detroit is not simply one of a great city's collapse. It's also about the erosion of the industries that helped build the country we know today. The ultimate fate of Detroit will reveal much about the character of America in the 21st century. If what was once the most prosperous manufacturing city in the nation has been brought to its knees, what does that say about our recent past? And if it can't find a way to get up, what does that say about our future?

Giant Baby Born in Indonesian Hospital

Giant Baby Born in Indonesian Hospital

baby sleeping
Robert Benson / Aurora Photos / Corbis

(KISARAN, Indonesia) — Spectators flocked to an Indonesian hospital Friday for a glimpse of the country's largest ever recorded baby — a 19.2-pound (8.7 kilogram) boy born by cesarean section to a diabetic mother.

The delivery of Akbar Risuddin, or Risuddin the Great in Arabic, took 40 minutes and the operation was complicated because of his unusual weight and size. The mother and child were both in good condition, Dr. Binsar Sitanggang said Friday.

Crowds hoping to get a peek of the extraordinary Indonesian boy, who measured nearly 24 inches (62 centimeters) when he was born Monday, gathered at the Abdul Manan hospital in the town of Kisaran, in the strictly Islamic province of North Sumatra.

"He is greedy and has a strong appetite, nursing almost nonstop," Dr. Sitanggang said.

Risuddin's extreme weight was the result of excessive glucose from his mother during pregnancy, the doctor said.

Risuddin is the third child of father Muhammad Hasanuddin, 50, and mother Ani, 41, who like many Indonesian goes by a single name. His two "little" brothers weighed 11.6 pounds (5.3 kilograms) and 9.9 pounds (4.5 kilograms) at birth.

The former Indonesian record holder was a 14.7-pound (6.7 kilogram) baby boy born on the outskirts of the capital, Jakarta, in 2007.

Guinness World Records cites the heaviest baby as being born in the U.S. in 1879, weighing 23.75 pounds (10.4 kilograms). However, it died 11 hours after birth. The book also cites 22.5-pound (10.2-kilogram) babies born in Italy in 1955 and in South Africa in 1982.