Special Report

The Qaddafi Files

The Qaddafi Files

How much do we really know about the private life of Muammar al-Qaddafi? Foreign Policy digs deep into the secret archives and family photo albums of Libya’s toppled tyrant to consider his legacy. In this special section, FP presents an exclusive collection of never-before-seen pictures and documents from Qaddafi’s private homes and state intelligence ministries, collected by Human Rights Watch emergencies director Peter Bouckaert and photographed by freelance photojournalist Michael Brown. These images range from intimate portraits of Qaddafi with family members to shocking photos of torture victims; from a lean, handsome revolutionary, beaming in the early days after the coup, to the grizzled, bloated outcast he would become. It’s a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the curious and dynamic dictator, and we invite readers to assist us in identifying individuals and events in this rare trove of images.


  • When They Were Kings

  • Qaddafi’s Family Scrapbook

  • The Brother Leader’s War Machine

  • Qaddafi’s Arms Smugglers, a Mystery

  • The Young Qaddafi

  • Qaddafi’s Close-Ups


These never-before-seen photos offer an unprecedented look at the Libyan leader.


The Qaddafi Files
How we found this secret trove of private photographs — and what they tell us.

Mogadishu on the Med
Muammar al-Qaddafi is dead. Now comes the hard part.

Did His End Justify the Means?
How Libya changed the face of humanitarian intervention.

The Death of a Tyrant
Regrets of a Libyan after the Brother Leader’s demise.

Getting Libya’s Rebels Wrong
Don’t buy Qaddafi’s line: The rebels aren’t al Qaeda.

The Dark Corners of A Police State
A look at Libya’s haunted places.

Harvard for Tyrants
How Muammar al-Qaddafi taught a generation of bad guys.