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Monday, July 16, 2012

Muammar Gaddafi, Libyan leader (1969–2011), died from a shot he was 69.

Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi[7] , commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011. Gaddafi seized power in a bloodless military coup from King Idris in 1969 and served as the country's head of state until 1977, when he stepped down from his official executive role as Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council of Libya and claimed subsequently to be merely a symbolic figurehead.[8][9] He styled himself as "Leader of the Revolution"; in 2008 a meeting of traditional African rulers bestowed on him the title "King of Kings".[10] A leading advocate for a United States of Africa, he served as Chairperson of the African Union (AU) from 2 February 2009 to 31 January 2010.

(June 1942[nb 1] – 20 October 2011)

Gaddafi replaced the Libyan Constitution of 1951 with laws based on the political ideology[11] he had formulated, which he called the Third International Theory and published in The Green Book.[12][13] After establishing the Jamahiriya (جماهيرية, "state of the masses") system in 1977, he officially stepped down from power and after that time held a largely symbolic role within the country's official governance structure.[8][9] Rising oil prices and extraction in Libya led to increasing revenues. By exporting as much oil per capita as Saudi Arabia and through various welfare programs, Libya achieved the highest living standards in Africa; Libya remained debt-free.[14]
Critics long described Gaddafi as having been Libya's autocrat[15][16] or demagogue,[17] despite the Libyan state's denial of his holding any power.[8][9] In the 1980s, he acquired chemical weapons,[18] leading to some calling Libya under Gaddafi a pariah state[19][20] and countries around the world imposing sanctions.[21] Six days after the capture of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in 2003 by the United States,[22] Gaddafi renounced Tripoli's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs and welcomed international inspections to verify that he would follow through on the commitment.[23]
In February 2011, following revolutions in neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia, protests against Gaddafi's rule began. These escalated into an uprising that spread across the country, with the forces opposing Gaddafi establishing a government, based in Benghazi, named the National Transitional Council (NTC). This act led to a civil war, which precipitated military intervention by a NATO-led coalition to enforce a UN Security Council Resolution 1973 calling for a no-fly zone and protection of civilians in Libya. The assets of Gaddafi and his family were frozen, and both Interpol and the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants on 27 June for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and his brother-in-law Abdullah Senussi, concerning crimes against humanity.[7][24][25] Gaddafi and his forces lost the Battle of Tripoli in August and on 16 September 2011 the NTC took Libya's seat at the UN, replacing Gaddafi.[26] He retained control over parts of Libya, most notably the city of Sirte, to which it was presumed that he had fled.[27] Although Gaddafi's forces initially held out in the battle for Sirte against NATO's bombing attacks and the NTC's advances, Gaddafi was captured alive in Sirte by members of the Libyan National Liberation Army (NLA) after his convoy was attacked by NATO warplanes as Sirte fell on 20 October 2011.[28] Gaddafi was then killed by NLA fighters.[29] His 41-year leadership prior to the civil war made him the fourth-longest-serving non-royal leader since 1900, as well as the longest-serving Arab leader.[30]

Early life and military academy

Muammar Gaddafi was born in 7 June 1942 in Qasr Abu Hadi, a rural farming area located just outside the town of Sirte in western Libya.[31] He was raised in a Bedouin tent in the Libyan desert near Sirte. According to many biographies, he came from an Arab tribal family called the al-Qadhafah. At the time of his birth, Libya was an Italian colony. According to Gaddafi, his paternal grandfather, Abdessalam Bouminyar, fought against the Italian occupation of Libya and died as the "first martyr in Khoms, in the first battle of 1911".[32] In 1948, when he was six years old he was wounded and witnessed the death of two cousins when an old mine left by soldiers of the colonial Italian Royal Army exploded near Sirte. This incident is said to have influenced his later views towards the former colonialist powers in general and towards Italy in particular.[33]
Gaddafi attended a Muslim elementary school far from home in Sabha, during which time he was profoundly influenced by major events in the Arab world and the Arab nationalist movement. He admired Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and looked to him as a hero during his rise to power in 1952. In 1956 Gaddafi took part in anti-Israeli protests during the Suez Crisis.[34] In Sabha he was briefly a member of Scouting.[35] He finished his secondary school studies under a private tutor in Misrata, concentrating on the study of history. In 1951, Libya gained independence under the Western-allied King Idris.
Gaddafi entered the Royal Libyan Military Academy at Benghazi in 1961, and graduated in 1966. After graduating, Qaddafi steadily rose through the ranks of the military, and joined a group in hopes of deposing King Idris due to increasing dissatisfaction with his rule. Both towards the end of his course and after graduation, Gaddafi pursued further studies in Europe. False rumours have been propagated with regards to this part of his life, for example, that he attended the United Kingdom's Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.[36] He did in fact receive four months' further military training in the United Kingdom in advanced communications as a Signals officer, and spent four months in London.[37][38] After this, as a commissioned officer he joined the Engineers Corps.[39] Although often referred to as "Colonel Gaddafi", he was in fact only a Lieutenant when he seized power in 1969.[40] He was promoted to Colonel after his coup.

Libyan revolution of 1969

Flag of the Libyan Arab Republic (1969-1977), the government established directly after the overthrow of the monarchy and lasting until the establishment of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in 1977
In Libya, as in a number of other Arab countries, admission to a military academy and a career as an army officer only became available to members of the lower economic strata after independence. A military career offered an opportunity for higher education, for upward economic and social mobility, and was for many the only available means of political action. For Gaddafi and many of his fellow officers, who were inspired by Nasser's brand of Arab nationalism, a military career was a revolutionary vocation.
As a cadet, Gaddafi associated with the Free Officers Movement. Most of his future colleagues on the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) were fellow members of his graduating class at the military academy. The frustration and shame felt by Libyan officers by Israel's massive defeat of the Arab armies on three fronts in 1967 fuelled their determination to contribute to Arab unity by overthrowing the Libyan monarchy. As disaffection with King Idris grew, Gaddafi became involved with a movement of young officers to overthrow the king while a cadet.
On 1 September 1969, a small group of junior military officers led by Gaddafi successfully staged a bloodless coup d'état against King Idris while the king was in Turkey for medical treatment. Idris's nephew, Crown Prince Sayyid Hasan ar-Rida al-Mahdi as-Sanussi, was formally deposed by the revolutionary Gaddafi officers and put under house arrest; having overthrown and abolished the monarchy, they proclaimed the Libyan Arab Republic.[41]
Gaddafi was named commander-in-chief of the armed forces and chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, Libya's new ruling body. At age 27, Gaddafi had become the ruler of Libya.

Leader of Libya

Gaddafi (left) with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1969
On gaining power he immediately ordered the shutdown of American and British military bases, including Wheelus Air Base. He told Western officials that he would expel their companies from Libya's oil fields unless they shared more revenue. In his warning, he alluded to consultation with Nasser. The oil companies complied with the demand, increasing Libya's share from 50 to 79 percent.[42] In December 1969, Egyptian intelligence thwarted a planned coup against Gaddafi from high-ranking members of his leadership. Many of the dissenters had grown uneasy with his growing relationship to Egypt.[43]
Gaddafi soon replaced country's official Gregorian calendar with an Islamic calendar and forbade the sale of alcohol[44] He renamed the months of the calendar. August, named for Augustus Caesar, was renamed Hannibal, and July, after Julius Caesar, was renamed Nasser, for Gamal Abdel Nasser. Gaddafi increasingly devoted himself to "contemplative exile" over the months following an attempted assassination attempt,[11] writing a manifesto, The Green Book (an allusion to Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book), in which he denounced capitalism and communism as variations on "slavery" and spurned all political parties as forms of "dictatorship". In the manifesto, he advocated direct rule by People’s Committees according to Islamic law. At this time, routine administrative tasks fell to Major Abdessalam Jalloud, who became prime minister in place of Gaddafi in 1972. Two years later, Jallud assumed Gaddafi's remaining administrative and protocol duties, to allow Gaddafi to devote his time to revolutionary theorizing. Gaddafi remained the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the effective head of state. The foreign press speculated about an eclipse of his authority within the RCC, but Gaddafi soon dispelled such theories by imposing measures to restructure Libyan society.[citation needed]
In 1970, Gaddafi expelled the remaining Italian settlers from Libya, and emphasized what he saw as the battle between Arab nationalism and western imperialism.[45] He vocally opposed Zionism and Israel, and expelled the Jewish community from Libya.[45] Having appointed close family and friends to all positions of power, those close to Gaddafi were amassing large fortunes in oil revenue.[46] In the early 1970s, Gaddafi created the Revolutionary Committees as conduits for raising political consciousness, with the aim of direct political participation by all Libyans rather than a traditional party-based representative system. In 1979, however, some of these committees had eventually evolved into self-appointed, sometimes zealous, enforcers of revolutionary orthodoxy.[47]
The Revolutionary Committees occasionally kept tight control over internal dissent; reportedly, ten to twenty percent of Libyans worked as informants for these committees, with surveillance taking place in the government, in factories, and in the education sector.[48] During the 1970s, Libya executed members of the Islamist fundamentalist Hizb-ut Tahrir faction, and Gaddafi often personally presided over the executions.[49][50]

Early reforms and actions

Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi and the Commissioner General José López Rega, who served as Minister of Social Welfare during the 3rd government of Lt. Gen. Juan Domingo Peron.
Gaddafi signed an agreement with Tunisian president Habib Bourguiba to merge nations in 1974.[51] The pact came as a surprise because Bouguiba had rebuked similar offers for over two years previously.[52] Weeks after the agreement, he postponed a referendum on the issue, effectively ending it weeks later. The idea of merging states was highly unpopular in Tunisia, and cost Bourguiba much of his people's respect. The agreement was said to allow Bourguiba the presidency while Gaddafi would be defence minister. A later treaty with Morocco's Hassan II in 1984 broke down in two years when Hassan II met with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres.[53] Gaddafi said recognition of Israel was "an act of treason".[54]

Increase of revenue from oil

From the beginning of his leadership, Gaddafi confronted foreign oil companies for increases in revenues. Immediately after assuming office, he demanded that oil companies pay 10 percent more taxes and an increased royalty of 44 cents per barrel. Gaddafi argued that Libyan oil was closer to Europe, and was cheaper to ship than oil from the Persian Gulf. Western companies refused his demands, and Gaddafi asserted himself by cutting the production of Occidental Petroleum, an American company in Libya, from 800,000 to 500,000 that year.[46] Occidental Petroleum's President, Armand Hammer, met with Gaddafi in Tripoli and had difficulty understanding exactly what he wanted at first. He said at one meeting, Prime Minister Abdessalam Jalloud finally took out his gun belt and left the loaded revolver in full view. Later, Hammer recalled that moment and said he felt then "that Gaddafi was ready to negotiate".[55][56] In The Age of Oil, historians considered Gaddafi's success in 1970 to be the "decisive spark that set off an unprecedented chain reaction" in oil-producing nations.[57] Libya continued a winning streak against the oil companies throughout the 1970s energy crisis; Later that year, the Shah of Iran raised his demands to match those of Gaddafi. OPEC nations began a game of "leap frogging" to win further concessions from the oil companies after following Gaddafi's lead.[46]
Gaddafi and the Shah of Iran both argued for quadrupling the cost of oil in 1975.[58] In 1975, Gaddafi allegedly organized the hostage incident at OPEC in Vienna, Austria.[59]

Establishment of the Jamahiriya

From 1971 to 1977, Gaddafi approved the Arab Socialist Union, modeled on Egypt's Arab Socialist Union, to function as a political party in Libya.[60] In 1976 the rank of Major General was conferred upon him by his own Arab Socialist Union's National Congress. Gaddafi accepted the honorary rank, but stated that he would continue to be known as "Colonel" and to wear the rank insignia of a Colonel when in uniform.[61]
On 2 March 1977, the GPC, at Gaddafi's behest, adopted the "Declaration of the Establishment of the People's Authority" and proclaimed the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. In the official political philosophy of Gaddafi's state, the "Jamahiriya" system was unique to the country, although it was presented as the materialization of the Third International Theory, proposed by Gaddafi to be applied to the entire Third World. From 1977 onward, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya officially declared itself to be a direct democracy state in which the people ruled themselves through local popular councils and communes, named Basic People's Congresses, where all adult Libyans were allowed to participate and vote on national decisions.[62][63] These people's congresses were, in principle, the country's highest authority, with major decisions proposed by government officials or Gaddafi himself requiring the consent of the people's congresses.[63] Despite officially stepping down from power in 1977 and no longer holding any governmental position, Gaddafi continued to exert considerable influence over the country's affairs, with many of his critics insisting that the structure of Libya's direct democracy gave him "the freedom to manipulate outcomes",[62] comparing him to a demagogue.[17] The other surviving members of the Libyan Revolutionary Command Council remained with positions in office by virtue of leading the revolution and were thus not subject to election.[citation needed]
Gaddafi's image in the Arab world was damaged severely in 1978 when Shia imam Musa al-Sadr disappeared en route to Libya.[64] The Libyan government consistently denied responsibility, but Lebanon held Gaddafi responsible, and continues to do so. Allegedly, Yasser Arafat asked Gaddafi to eliminate al-Sadr because of his opposition to Palestinians in the Lebanese Civil War.[65][64] In 1981, Shia Lebanese vigilantes hijacked two Libyan aircraft, demanding information on al-Sadr's whereabouts. Shia Muslims across the Arab world continue to view Gaddafi negatively since this incident. His relations with Shia-populated Lebanon and Iran soured as a result (though he did support Iran later on during the Iran-Iraq War, somewhat improving his image there).[66] Lebanon formally indicted Gaddafi in 2008 for al-Sadr's disappearance.[67][68]

War against Egypt

Anwar Sadat, Muammar Gaddafi and Hafez al-Assad signing in 1971 the federation agreement of the three countries within the Union of Arab Republics
The disappointment and failure Nasser faced for his lost Six-Day War motivated Gaddafi to better coordinate Arab attacks on Israel.[69] Beginning in 1972, Gaddafi granted financial support and military training to Palestinian militant groups against Israel.[70][71][72] He also strengthened his unity with Egypt, and in 1972, convinced Anwar Sadat to share the same flag and join a partial union with Libya. Gaddafi had offered a fully unified state where Sadat would be president and he would be defence minister. Sadat distrusted Gaddafi and refused. Gaddafi was further disappointed with Egypt's political system, as he spoke to Egypt's Arab Socialist Union and was suggested "a partial merger, in order to allow time for thorough and careful study". Gaddafi quipped back, saying "There's no such thing as a partial merger".[73] In 1973, Gaddafi secretly sent Libyan military planes to join the Egyptian Air Force. The outbreak of the Yom Kippur War surprised Gaddafi, as Egypt and Syria planned it without his knowledge.[66] Gaddafi felt that the war wasted resources and manpower to chase limited objectives, and accused Sadat of trying to weaken the FAR by launching the War. According to Gaddafi, Assad and Sadat were foolish to fight for small areas of Israeli-occupied territory when the entire land could be returned to the Palestinians outright. He said, "I will participate only in a war if the aim is to oust the usurpers and send the Jews back to Europe from where they have come since 1948 to colonize an Arab land. Jews from Arab countries ...are our cousins... they will live amongst us in peace as they have done for the past centuries."[74]
Gaddafi's relationship with Egypt further weakened because he opposed a cease-fire with Israel and called Sadat a coward for giving up after one Israeli counteroffensive. Gaddafi also believed that the Soviet Union and the United States would join forces with Israel, and would deploy troops on the demarcation lines to invade and "colonize" the Arab nations.[75] Anwar Sadat was equally angry with Gaddafi and revealed that he was responsible for foiling a 1973 submarine attack Libya planned for sinking the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 during an Israeli cruise. Gaddafi fired back, saying the Arabs could have destroyed Israel within 12 hours if they had adopted a sound strategy. Gaddafi charged Egyptian reporters with the breakdown of Libyan-Egyptian relations in 1973, and said Sadat was partly to blame because he had "no control" of Egyptian information media.[76] Egypt's peace talks in 1977 led to the Steadfastness and Confrontation Front, a group Gaddafi formed to reject the recognition of the Israeli state. Libya's relations with Egypt broke down entirely that year, leading to the short-lived Libyan–Egyptian War. During the war, Libya sent its military across the border, but Egyptian forces fought back and forced them to retreat. Gaddafi's animosity with Sadat was so high that in 1981, Gaddafi declared his death a national holiday.[77] He called it a just "punishment" for his role in the Camp David Accords.[76]

Activities in Sudan and Chad

After Nasser's death, Gaddafi attempted to become the leader of Arab nationalism. He wanted to create a "Great Islamic State of the Sahel", unifying the Arab states of North Africa into one. As early as 1969, Gaddafi contributed to the Islamization of Sudan and Chad, granting military bases and support to the FROLINAT revolutionary forces.[78] In 1971, when Muslims took power in Sudan, he offered to merge Libya with Sudan.[79] Gaafar Nimeiry, the President of Sudan, turned him down and angered Gaddafi by signing a peace settlement with the Sudanese Christians.[78] Gaddafi took matters into his own hands in 1972, organizing the Islamic Legion, a paramilitary group, to arabize the region.[80] He dispatched The Islamic Legion to Lebanon, Syria, Uganda, and Palestine to take active measures to ensure Islamic control. The Islamic Legion was highly active in Sudan and Chad, and nearly removed the Toubou population of southern Libya through violence.[81]
Through the 1970s and 1980s, Gaddafi led an armed conflict against Chad, and occupied the Aouzou strip. During the 1970s, two Muslim leaders, Goukouni Oueddei and Habre, were fighting against the Christian southerners for control of Chad. Gaddafi supported them, and when they seized control in 1979, he offered to merge with Chad. Goukouni turned him down, and Gaddafi withdrew Libyan troops in 1981 because of growing opposition from France and neighboring African nations. Gaddafi's withdrawal left Goukouni vulnerable in Chad, and in 1982, his former partner, Habre, led a coup to remove him from Chad. Gaddafi helped Goukouni regain territory in Chad, and fought with Habre's forces.[82] As a side note, Gaddafi's occupation of Chad led to the liberation of French archaeologist Françoise Claustre in 1977.[83] In 1987, Gaddafi engaged in a full-out war with Chad, suffering a humiliating loss in 1987 during the Toyota War. Libya took heavy casualties, losing one tenth of its army (7,500 troops) and 1.5 billion dollars worth of military equipment.[84] Chad lost 1,000 troops, and was supported by both the United States and France.[85] During the war, Gaddafi lost his long-time ally, Goukouni Oueddei, who repaired his relationship with Habre in 1987. Gaddafi gave Habre an offer to make complete peace, and promised to return all Chadian prisoners in Libya. He also promised to pay reparations for the damage done to Chad, and promised financial support to fight poverty. He also announced that he would push to end the death penalty in Libya, end "revolutionary" courts, free hundreds of political prisoners, and warmed relations with African leaders concerned about his "Green revolution."[86] Former Libyan soldiers and rebel groups supported by Libya continued to fight the Chadian government independent of Gaddafi. Their organization, the Arab Gathering, was an Arab supremacist group that also contributing to violence in Sudan. Members of this group later developed into leaders of the Janjaweed.[87]

Dissent and Revolutionary Committees

Gaddafi with his Amazonian Guard in Damascus, Syria
During the early 1980s, the committees established by Gaddafi had considerable power and became a growing source of tension within the Jamihiriya,[88] to the extent that Gaddafi sometimes criticized their effectiveness and excessive repression,[47][88] until the power of the Revolutionary Committees were eventually restricted in the late 1980s.[88] Libya faced internal opposition during the 1980s because of the highly unpopular war with Chad. Numerous young men cut off a fingertip to avoid conscription at the time.[89] A mutiny by the Libyan Army in Tobruk was violently suppressed in August 1980.[90] In 1981, Gaddafi expressed doubts over the effectiveness of the Revolutionary Committees, due to the growing tension they were causing within the Jamahiriya.[88]
In 1982, there were cases of arbitrary arrest and detention, which led some Libyans to be hesitant when speaking with foreigners.[91] The government conducted executions and mutilations of political opponents in public and broadcast recordings of the proceedings on public television. Dissent was illegal under Law 75 of 1973, which limited freedom of expression at the time.[48][92] From time to time, opposition was met with violence. Between 1980 and 1987, a network of diplomats and recruits were employed to assassinate at least 25 critics living abroad.[48][93] The Revolutionary Committees called for the assassination of Libyan dissidents living abroad in April 1980, sending Libyan hit squads abroad to murder them. On 26 April 1980, Gaddafi stated that a deadline was set for 11 June 1980, for dissidents to return home or be "in the hands of the revolutionary committees".[94] In 1982, Gaddafi stated that they should "repent" and return to the Jamahiriya, that "Such people are charged with high treason because of their collaboration with the Israelis and Americans," and that "It is the Libyan people's responsibility to liquidate such scums who are distorting Libya's image."[95] Libyan agents assassinated dissidents in the United States,[96] Europe,[97] and the Middle East.[48][95][98]
Following an abortive 1986 attempt to replace English with Russian as the primary foreign language in education,[99] English has been taught in recent years in Libyan schools from primary level, and students have access to English-language media.[100] In 2004, Libya posted a $1 million bounty for journalist Ashur Shamis, under the allegation that he was linked to Al-Qaeda and terror suspect Abu Qatada.[101] During the 2005 civil unrest in France, Gaddafi called Chirac and offered him his help in quelling the resistors, who were largely North African.[65] There were indications that Libya's Gaddafi-era intelligence service had a relationship with intelligence organizations such as the CIA, who voluntarily provided information on Libyan dissidents to the regime in exchange for using Libya as a base for extraordinary renditions.[102][103][104] In 2010, Libya's press was rated as 160th out of 178 nations in the Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders.[105] In January 2011, the state's policies on human rights, including freedom of expression, were generally well received by the United Nations Human Rights Council, where most countries largely praised the country's human rights record.[106]
In 1988, Gaddafi criticized the excessive measures taken by the Revolutionary Councils, stating that "they deviated, harmed, tortured" and that "the true revolutionary does not practise repression."[47] That same year, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya issued the Great Green Document on Human Rights, in which Article 5 established laws that allowed greater freedom of expression. Article 8 of The Code on the Promotion of Freedom stated that "each citizen has the right to express his opinions and ideas openly in People’s Congresses and in all mass media."[106] A number of restrictions were also placed on the power of the Revolutionary Committees, leading to a resurgence in the Libyan state's popularity by the early 1990s.[88]

State-sponsored terrorism

Oil Rich Libya.ogv
1972 newsreel about Libyan support for the IRA and other groups
Gaddafi supported militant organizations that held anti-Western sympathies around the world.[107] The Foreign Minister of Libya called the massacres "heroic acts".[108] Gaddafi fueled a number of Islamist and communist militant groups in the Philippines, including the New People's Army of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The country still struggles with their murders and kidnappings.[48][109][110] In Indonesia, the Organisasi Papua Merdeka was a Libyan backed militant group. Vanuatu's ruling party also enjoyed Libyan support. In Australia he attempted to radicalize Australian Aborigines, left-wing unions,[111] Arab Australians,[111] against the "imperialist" government of Australia.[93][93] In the United Kingdom he financed the Workers Revolutionary Party.[111][112]
In 1979, Gaddafi said he supported the Iranian Revolution, and hoped that "...he (the Shah) ends up in the hands of the Iranian people, where he deserves."[113] Gaddafi also financed and supported Nelson Mandela[114] and his African National Congress party,[115] who had for a long time been designated as terrorists by the United States up until 2008.[116][117]
Gaddafi explicitly stated that it "is the Libyan people's responsibility to liquidate" Libyan dissidents that had escaped from Libya, unless they "repent" and return to the Libyan Jamahiriya, raising tensions with refugee countries and European governments. In 1985, he stated that he would continue to support the Red Army Faction, the Red Brigades, and the Irish Republican Army (IRA), as long as European countries supported anti-Gaddafi Libyans.[70] In 1976, after a series of attacks by the IRA, Gaddafi announced that "the bombs which are convulsing Britain and breaking its spirit are the bombs of Libyan people. We have sent them to the Irish revolutionaries so that the British will pay the price for their past deeds".[70] In April 1984 some Libyan refugees in London protested the execution of two dissidents. Libyan diplomats shot at 11 people and killed Yvonne Fletcher, a British policewoman. The incident led to the cessation of diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and Libya for over a decade.[118] In June 1984 Gaddafi asserted that he wanted his agents to assassinate dissident refugees even when they were on pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca and, in August that year, a Libyan plot in Mecca was thwarted by Saudi Arabian police.[95]

Berlin discotheque bombing

On 5 April 1986, Libyan agents bombed "La Belle" nightclub in West Berlin, killing three and injuring 229. Gaddafi's plan was intercepted by several national intelligence agencies and more detailed information was retrieved four years later from Stasi archives. The Libyan agents who had carried out the operation, from the Libyan embassy in East Germany, were prosecuted by the reunited Germany in the 1990s.[119]
In response to the discotheque bombing, joint United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps air-strikes took place against Libya on April 15, 1986 and code-named Operation El Dorado Canyon and known as the 1986 bombing of Libya. Following the 1986 bombing of Libya, Gaddafi intensified his support for anti-American government organizations. He financed Jeff Forts Al-Rukn faction of the Chicago Black P. Stones gang, in their emergence as an indigenous anti-American armed revolutionary movement.[120] Members of Al-Rukn were arrested in 1986 for preparing to conduct strikes on behalf of Libya, including blowing up U.S. government buildings and bringing down an airplane; the Al-Rukn defendants were convicted in 1987 of "offering to commit bombings and assassinations on U.S. soil for Libyan payment."[120] In 1986, Libyan state television announced that Libya was training suicide squads to attack American and European interests. He began financing the IRA again in 1986, to retaliate against the British for harboring American fighter planes.[121]
Gaddafi also sought close relations with the Soviet Union and purchased arms from the Soviet bloc.

Lockerbie bombing

During Gaddafi's time in power, the Libyan government was implicated in the financing many anti-western groups, including some terror plots. The Black Panther Party, Nation of Islam, and the Irish Republican Army all allegedly had links to Muammar Gaddafi.[122] Due of Libya's links to Irish terrorism, the United Kingdom cut off diplomatic relations with Libya for more than a decade. However, in the most famous instance, Libya was implicated in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. During this event, the plane Pan Am Flight 103, carrying 270 people exploded near Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. On 22 February 2011 during the Libyan civil war, the former Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Abdul Jalil in an interview with the Swedish newspaper "Expressen", claimed to have evidence that Muammar Gaddafi had personally ordered the bombing.[123][124] In 1988, U.S. warplanes carried out bombings in Libya, in a failed attempt to kill Gaddafi.

Alliances with authoritarian national leaders

Jakaya Kikwete, the president of Tanzania, embraces Gaddafi during the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2 February 2009.
Despite backing pro-democracy causes in Africa, Gaddafi fuelled rebellions in countries such as Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as having a close relationship to Uganda's infamous dictator Idi Amin, whom he sponsored and advised. When Amin's government began to crumble, Gaddafi sent troops to fight against Tanzania on behalf of Amin, and 600 Libyan soldiers were killed during combat operations.[125] Nevertheless, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni who had played major role in overthrowing Idi Amin said in February, "Muammar Gaddafi, whatever his faults, is a true nationalist. I prefer nationalists to puppets of foreign interests."[114] Museveni also said "Therefore, the independent-minded Gaddafi had some positive contribution to Libya, I believe, as well as Africa and the Third World [...] We should also remember, as part of that independent-mindedness, he expelled British and American military bases from Libya [after he took power]."
Gaddafi ran a school near Benghazi called the World Revolutionary Center (WRC). A notable number of its graduates have seized power in African countries.[126] Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso and Idriss Déby of Chad were graduates of this school, and are currently in power in their respective countries.[127] Gaddafi trained and supported Charles Taylor of Liberia, Foday Sankoh, the founder of Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front, and Jean-Bédel Bokassa, the Emperor of the Central African Empire.[125][128] Gaddafi also financed Mengistu Haile Mariam's military junta in Ethiopia, which was later convicted of one of the deadliest genocides in modern history.[128]

Muammar Gaddafi at the podium the first Africa-Latin America summit, in 2006, in Abuja (Nigeria), speaking before the Commission Chairman of the African Union Alpha Oumar Konaré and President of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
In a BBC interview after Gaddafi's death, Kenya's Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula said the late Libyan leader sometimes showed a violent side at African Union meetings, saying "He really suppressed Libyan people and vanquished them to the extent that in one of many AU meetings we saw him slap his foreign minister in our presence, which is something unexpected of any dignified and self-respecting head of state."[114] Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe since 1980 having spearheaded Zimbabwe's independence struggle, remained a staunch ally of Col Gaddafi until his death.
In Europe, Gaddafi had close ties with Serbian and later Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević, and with the controversial Austrian politician Jörg Haider. According to the Daily Mail, Jörg Haider received tens of millions of dollars from both Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein.[129] Gaddafi also aligned himself with the Orthodox Serbs against Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo, supporting Milošević even when he was charged with large-scale ethnic cleansing against Albanians in Kosovo.[130][131]
Gaddafi developed an ongoing relationship with the revolutionary Colombian Marxist–Leninist guerrilla group FARC, becoming acquainted with its leaders at meetings of revolutionary groups which were regularly hosted in Libya.[126][127]
During the Falklands War Gaddafi provided the Argentinian regime with 20 launchers and 60 SA-7 missiles, as well as machine guns, mortars and mines. These were delivered in four trips by two Boeing 707 of the AAF, refuelled in Recife with the knowledge and consent of the Brazilian government.[132]
Gaddafi developed a friendship with Hugo Chávez, and in March 2009, Libya's Olympics Committee named a stadium after the Venezuelan leader.[133] Strategic analysis groups, along with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos reported that both Chávez and Gaddafi supported the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which produces "more than half of the world’s cocaine,"[126][134][135] however this relationship was disputed by the Venezuelan government.[136] In September 2009, at the Second Africa-South America Summit on Isla Margarita, Venezuela, Gaddafi joined Chávez in calling for an "anti-imperialist" front across Africa and Latin America. Gaddafi proposed the establishment of a South Atlantic Treaty Organization to rival NATO, saying: "The world’s powers want to continue to hold on to their power. Now we have to fight to build our own power."[137]

Focus on activities in Africa

Muammar al-Gaddafi attends the 12th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in February 2009
In the early 1980s, Gaddafi played a key role in the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa. His image as a revolutionary inspired many South Africans to fight for their liberation, and he was largely responsible for funding and arming the Anti-Apartheid Movement as it fought the Apartheid regime and white minority rule. As a result, Gaddafi began gaining considerable popularity in South Africa and other African countries. He was also responsible for supporting and funding Nelson Mandela's election campaign. He continued to maintain a close friendship with Mandela, who named his grandson after Gaddafi. In turn, Mandela later played a key role in helping Gaddafi gain mainstream acceptance in the Western world later in the 1990s.[114][138] Over the years, Gaddafi would be seen as a hero in much of Africa.[115] In 2008, after being declared "King of Kings" by African traditional rulers in Libya, Gaddafi said:
We want an African military to defend Africa, we want a single African currency, we want one African passport to travel within Africa
—Muammar Gaddafi[114]
In 1998, Gaddafi turned his attention away from Arab nationalism. He eliminated a government office in charge of promoting pan-Arab ideas and told reporters "I had been crying slogans of Arab Unity and brandishing standard of Arab nationalism for 40 years, but it was not realised. That means that I was talking in the desert. I have no more time to lose talking with Arabs...I am returning back to realism...I now talk about Pan-Africanism and African Unity. The Arab world is finished...Africa is a paradise...and it is full of natural resources like water, uranium, cobalt, iron, manganese."[139] Public television networks switched from Middle-Eastern soap operas to African themes involving slavery. The background of a unified Arab League that had been a staple of Libyan television for over two decades was replaced by a map of Africa. Gaddafi said, "Libya is an African country. May Allah help the Arabs and keep them away from us. We don't want anything to do with them."[114] Gaddafi sported a map of Africa on his outfits from then forward, and further stated that, "I would like Libya to become a black country. Hence, I recommend to Libyan men to marry only black women and to Libyan women to marry black men."[140][141]

Muammar al-Gaddafi wearing an insignia showing the image of the African continent
In addition to supporting African movements, such as the African National Congress in South Africa, Liberian rebels during the First Liberian Civil War, and cetain factions in the Sierra Leone Civil War,[115] his support also sometimes went to leaders described by the United Nations as dictators and warlords. Gaddafi used anti-Western rhetoric against the UN, and complained that the International Criminal Court was a "new form of world terrorism" that wanted to recolonize developing countries.[142] Gaddafi opposed the ICC's arrest warrant for Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir and personally gave refuge to Idi Amin in Libya after his fall from rule in 1979.[143]
According to the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Charles Taylor's orders for "The amputation of the arms and legs of men, women, and children as part of a scorched-earth campaign was designed to take over the region’s rich diamond fields and was backed by Gaddafi, who routinely reviewed their progress and supplied weapons".[127][144] Gaddafi intervened militarily in the Central African Republic in 2001 to protect his ally Ange-Félix Patassé from overthrow. Patassé signed a deal giving Libya a 99-year lease to exploit all of that country's natural resources, including uranium, copper, diamonds, and oil.[126] Gaddafi acquired at least 20 luxurious properties after he went to rescue Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.[126]
Gaddafi's strong military support and finances gained him allies across the continent. He was bestowed with the title "King of Kings of Africa" in 2008, as he had remained in power longer than any African king. Gaddafi was celebrated in the presence of over 200 African traditional rulers and kings, although his views on African political and military unification received a lukewarm response from their governments.[10] His 2009 forum for African kings was canceled by the Ugandan hosts, who believed that traditional rulers discussing politics would lead to instability.[145] On 1 February 2009, a 'coronation ceremony' in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was held to coincide with the 53rd African Union Summit, at which he was elected head of the African Union for the year.[146] When his election was opposed by an African leader, Gaddafi arranged with Silvio Berlusconi to have two escorts sent to that leader to have him change his mind. It worked, and he was elected Chairman of the African Union from 2009 to 2010.[147] Gaddafi told the assembled African leaders: "I shall continue to insist that our sovereign countries work to achieve the United States of Africa."[148]
In 1986, 2000, and the months prior to the 2011 civil war, Gaddafi announced plans for a unified African gold dinar currency, to challenge the dominance of the US$ and Euro currencies. The African dinar would have been measured directly in terms of gold, which would mean a country’s wealth would depend on how much gold it had rather than how many dollars it traded, allowing a greater sharing of the wealth and self-determination in Africa.[149][150]
In 1989, Gaddafi was overjoyed by the Maghreb Pact between Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya. Gaddafi saw the Pact as a first step towards the formation of "one invincible Arab nation" and shouted for a state "from Marrakesh to Bahrain", pumping his fists in the air.[151] In 1995 Gaddafi expelled 30,000 Palestinians living in Libya, a response to the peace negotiations that had commenced between Israel and the PLO.[152]

Western acceptance

Gaddafi (at far right) attending the G-8 Summit in 2009.
As early as 1981, Gaddafi feared that the Reagan Administration would combat his leadership and sought to reduce his maverick image. He and his cabinet talked frequently about the pullout of American citizens from Libya. Gaddafi feared that the United States would be plotting economic sanctions or military action against his government. In 1981, he publicly announced that he would not send any more hit teams to kill citizens in Europe, and quickly obeyed a 1981 armistice with Chad.[153] In 1987, Gaddafi proposed an easing of relations between the United States and Libya. Speaking of the 1986 bombing of Libya, he said, "They trained people to assassinate me and they failed. They tried all the secret action against us and they failed. They have not succeeded in defeating us. They should look for other alternatives to have some kind of rapprochement."[154]

Gaddafi with Spanish President of the Government José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero at the third EU-Africa Summit in Tripoli in November 2010.
After the fall of Soviet client states in eastern Europe, Libya appeared to reassess its position in world affairs and began a long process of improving its image in the West.[155] In 1994, Gaddafi eased his relationship with the Western world, beginning with his atonement for the Lockerbie bombings. For three years, he had refused to extradite two Libyan intelligence agents indicted for planting a bomb on Pan Am Flight 103. South African president Nelson Mandela, who took special interest in the issue, negotiated with the United States on Gaddafi's behalf. Mandela and Gaddafi had forged a close friendship starting with his release from prison in 1990. Mandela persuaded Gaddafi to hand over the defendants to the Scottish Court in the Netherlands, where they faced trial in 1999. One was found not guilty and the other, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, was given a life sentence.[156] For Gaddafi's cooperation, the UN suspended its sanctions against Libya in 2001. Two years later, Libya wrote to the UN Security Council formally accepting "responsibility for the actions of its officials" in respect to the Lockerbie bombing. It was later claimed by Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem and his son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi that they did not believe they were responsible and that they simply wrote the letter to remove UN sanctions.[157] Gaddafi agreed to pay up to US$2.7 billion to the victims' families, and completed most of the payout in 2003. Later that year, Great Britain and Bulgaria co-sponsored a UN resolution to remove the UN sanctions entirely.[158] In 2004, Shukri Ghanem, then-Libyan Prime Minister, openly told a Western reporter that Gaddafi was "paying for peace" with the West, and that there was never any evidence or guilt for the Lockerbie bombing.[159] Indeed, many legal experts as well as the United Nations observer at the Lockerbie trial, Hans Köchler, voiced strong reservations about the Lockerbie trial, and in 2007 the sworn affidavit of a key witness indicated that the decisive physical evidence used to convict al-Megrahi had been planted.[160]

Gaddafi meeting with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou
Gaddafi's government faced growing opposition from Islamic extremists during the 1990s, particularly the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which nearly assassinated him in 1996. Gaddafi began giving counter-terrorism intelligence to MI6 and the CIA in the 1990s, and issued the first arrest warrant for Osama bin Laden in 1998, after he was linked to the killing of German anti-terrorism agents in Libya.[161] Gaddafi also accused the United States of training and supporting bin Laden for war against the Soviet Union. He said the United States was bombing al-Qaeda camps that they had supported and built for him in the past. Gaddafi also claimed that the bombing attempts by Bill Clinton were done to divert attention from his sex scandal.[162]

Gaddafi meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin
Intelligence links from Gaddafi's regime to the U.S. and the U.K. deepened during the George W. Bush administration; the CIA began bringing alleged terrorists to Libya for torture under the "extraordinary rendition" program. Some of those renditioned were Gaddafi's political enemies, including one current rebel leader in the 2011 NATO-backed war in Libya. The relationship was so close that the CIA provided "talking points for Gaddafi, logistical details for [rendition] flights, and what seems to have been the bartering of Gaddafi’s opponents, some of whom had ties to Islamist groups, for his cooperation."[163]

During his 2008 visit to Russia, Gaddafi pitched his Bedouin tent in the grounds of the Moscow Kremlin. Here he is joined by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and French singer Mireille Mathieu.
He offered to dismantle his active weapons of mass destruction program in 1999. In 2002, Saddam Hussein paid Gaddafi $3.5 billion to save him should he have an internal coup or war with America.[164] In 2003, following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by U.S. forces, Gaddafi again admitted to having an active weapons of mass destruction program, and was willing to dismantle it. His announcement was well-publicized and during interviews, Gaddafi confessed that the Iraq War "may have influenced him", but he would rather "focus on the positive", and hoped that other nations would follow his example.[165] Gaddafi's commitment to the War against Terror attracted support from the United States and Britain. Prime minister Tony Blair publicly met with Gaddafi in 2004, commending him as a new ally in the War on Terror. During his visit, Blair lobbied for the Royal Dutch Shell oil company, which secured a deal in Libya worth $500 million.[166]
The United States restored its diplomatic relations with Libya during the Bush administration, removing Libya from its list of nations supporting terrorism.[167] President George W. Bush and Dick Cheney portrayed Gaddafi's announcement as a direct consequence of the Iraq War. Hans Blix, then UN chief weapons inspector, speculated that Gaddafi feared being removed like Saddam Hussein: "I can only speculate, but I would imagine that Gaddafi could have been scared by what he saw happen in Iraq. While the Americans would have difficulty in doing the same in Iran and in North Korea as they have done in Iraq, Libya would be more exposed, so maybe he will have reasons to be worried."[168] Historians have speculated that Gaddafi was merely continuing his attempts at normalizing relations with the West to get oil sanctions removed.[169][170]
There is also evidence that his government was weakened by falling gas prices during the 1990s and 2000s (decade),[171] and his rule was facing significant challenges from Libya's high unemployment rate at the time.[172] The offer was accepted and international inspectors in Libya were led to chemical weaponry as well as an active nuclear weapons program.[18][173] In 2004, inspectors from the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) verified that Libya had owned a stockpile of 23 metric tons of mustard gas and more than 1,300 metric tons of precursor chemicals. By 2006, Libya had nearly finished construction of its Rabta Chemical Destruction facility, which cost $25 million,[174][175] and Libyan officials were angered by the fact that their nuclear centrifuges were given to the United States rather than the United Nations. British officials were allowed to tour the site in 2006.[166]

Gaddafi during a meeting with Dmitri Medvedev
In 2007, the Bulgarian medics were returned to Bulgaria, where they were released. Representatives of the European Union made it clear that their release was key to normalizing relations between Libya and the EU. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, visited Libya in 2007 and signed a number of bilateral and multilateral agreements with Gaddafi, including a deal to build a nuclear-powered facility in Libya to desalinate ocean water for drinking.[176] Gaddafi and Vladimir Putin reportedly discussed establishing a Russian military base in Libya.[177] In August 2008, Gaddafi and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi signed a landmark cooperation treaty in Benghazi.[178][179]
Gaddafi met with then U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice in September 2008,[180] where she pressed him to complete his payout for the Lockerbie bombings. Libya and the United States finalized their 20-year standoff over the Lockerbie bombings in 2008 when Libya paid into a compensation fund for victims of the Lockerbie bombing, 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing, and to American victims of the 1989 UTA Flight 772 bombing. In exchange, President Bush signed Executive Order 13477 restoring the Libyan government's immunity from terrorism-related lawsuits and dismissing all of the pending compensation cases in the United States.[181] In June 2009, Gaddafi made his first visit to Rome, where he again met Berlusconi, president Giorgio Napolitano and senate president Renato Schifani. Chamber president Gianfranco Fini cancelled the meeting because of Gaddafi's delay.[182] The Democratic Party and Italy of Values opposed the visit[183][184] and many protests were staged throughout Italy by human rights non-governmental organizations and Italian Radicals.[185] Gaddafi also took part in the G8 summit in L'Aquila in July as Chairman of the African Union.[186] During the summit a handshake between U.S. President Barack Obama[186] and Muammar Gaddafi marked the first time the Libyan leader had been greeted by a serving U.S. President.[186] Italian President Giorgio Napolitano hosted a dinner where Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister and G8 host, overturned protocol at the last moment by having Gaddafi sit next to him, just two places away from president Obama who was seated on Berlusconi's right-hand side.[187]
Gaddafi also met with United States Senator John McCain in 2009.[188] In August 2009, convicted bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was released to Libya on compassionate grounds and was received with a large celebration. Gaddafi and his government were criticized by Western leaders for his participation in this celebration.[189][190][191] In 2010, Gaddafi agreed to pay US$3.5 billion to the victims of IRA attacks he assisted during the 1980s.[192]

Speech to the U.N. General Assembly

On 23 September 2009, Muammar Gaddafi addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York, making his first appearance despite 40 years in power.[193] Gaddafi was introduced in the General Assembly Hall as the “leader of the revolution, the president of the African Union, the king of kings of Africa,” and made speech that lasted for 90 minutes rather than the allotted 15. During his speech, Gaddafi criticized the United Nations' inability to prevent wars, saying that "sixty-five aggressive wars took place without any collective action by the United Nations to prevent them.” Gaddafi noted the Iraq war in particular as being the "mother of all evils" and suggested that those who caused the “mass murder” committed there be tried, and also defended the right of the Taliban to establish an Islamic emirate.[194] Gaddafi raised the point of whether swine flu was made in a laboratory as a weapon, saying "The swine virus may have gotten out in the open after escaping from a laboratory. It may have been put together in a lab by the military…. We do sometimes make viruses in a laboratory and then they make viruses for capitalist companies who will make vaccinations and make money.”[194] Gaddafi also demanded a thorough re-investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy as well as the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.[195]
Gaddafi main point was the inequality of the United Nations, which gives five permanent members of the Security Council more power than the all the other nations that make up the General Assembly. Gaddafi criticized the Security Council, saying the council “is political feudalism for those who have a permanent seat [...] it should not be called the Security Council, it should be called the terror council. Permanent is something for God only. We are not fools to give the power of veto to great powers so they can use us and treat us as second-class citizens.”[194] At one point in his speech, Colonel Gaddafi waved a copy of the United Nations Charter and seemed to tear it, saying he did not recognize the authority of the document. He suggested that the United Nations headquarters be moved to Libya. Further, Gaddafi repeated his longstanding proposal that Israel and the Palestinian territories be combined into one state called Isratine. While being critical of the United States and its foreign policy, Gaddafi praised the idea that the United States had elected Barack Obama president, whom Gaddafi referred to as a “son of Africa”.[193] Gaddafi said, "Obama is a glimpse in the darkness after four or eight years. We are content and happy if Obama can stay forever as president of the United States."[195]

Libyan civil war

People protesting against Gaddafi in Dublin, March 2011.
On 17 February 2011, major political protests began in Libya against Gaddafi's government. During the following week these protests gained significant momentum and size, despite stiff resistance from the Gaddafi government. By late February the country appeared to be rapidly descending into chaos,[196] and the government lost control of most of Eastern Libya. Gaddafi fought back, accusing the rebels of being "drugged" and linked to al-Qaeda.[197] His military forces allegedly killed rebelling civilians, and relied heavily on the Khamis Brigade, led by one of his sons Khamis Gaddafi, and on tribal leaders loyal to him.[198] He allegedly imported foreign mercenaries to defend his government,[199] reportedly paying Ghanaian mercenaries as much as US$2,500 per day for their services.[198] Reports from Libya also confirmed involvement with Belarus,[200][201] and the presence of Ukrainian and Serbian mercenaries.[202][203]
The violent response to the protesters prompted defections from his government.[196][nb 2][204] Gaddafi's "number two" man, Abdul Fatah Younis, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil and several key ambassadors and diplomats resigned from their posts in protest.[198] Other government officials refused to follow orders from Gaddafi, and were jailed for insubordination.

Rally from Tripoli in support of Gaddafi (March 2011).
At the beginning of March 2011, Gaddafi returned from a hideout, relying on considerable amounts of Libyan and U.S. cash that had apparently been stored in the capital.[205] Gaddafi's forces had retaken momentum and were in shooting range of Benghazi by March 2011 when the UN declared a no fly zone to protect the civilian population of Libya.[206] On 30 April the Libyan government claimed that a NATO airstrike killed Gaddafi's sixth son and three of his grandsons at his son's home in Tripoli. Government officials said that Muammar Gaddafi and his wife were visiting the home when it was struck, but both were unharmed. Gaddafi son's death came one day after the Libyan leader appeared on state television calling for talks with NATO to end the airstrikes which had been hitting Tripoli and other Gaddafi strongholds since the previous month. Gaddafi suggested there was room for negotiation, but he vowed to stay in Libya. Western officials remained divided over whether Gaddafi was a legitimate military target under the United Nations Security Council resolution that authorized the air campaign. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that NATO was "not targeting Gaddafi specifically" but that his command-and-control facilities were legitimate targets—including a facility inside his sprawling Tripoli compound that was hit with airstrikes 25 April.[207]
In June 2011, an investigation carried out by Amnesty International found that many of the allegations against Gaddafi and the Libyan state turned out to either be false or lack any credible evidence, noting that rebels appeared to have knowingly made false claims or manufactured evidence. According to the Amnesty investigation, the number of casualties was heavily exaggerated, some of the protesters may have been armed, "there is no proof of mass killing of civilians on the scale of Syria or Yemen," there is no evidence that aircraft or heavy anti-aircraft machine guns were used against crowds, and there is no evidence of African mercenaries being used, which it described as a "myth" that led to lynchings and executions of black people by rebel forces. It criticized the "Western media coverage" which "has from the outset presented a very one-sided view of the logic of events, portraying the protest movement as entirely peaceful and repeatedly suggesting that the regime's security forces were unaccountably massacring unarmed demonstrators who presented no security challenge."[208]

International Criminal Court

The UN referred the claims of massacres of unarmed civilians to the International Criminal Court.[209] Among the crimes being investigated by the prosecution was whether Gaddafi purchased and authorized the use of Viagra-like drugs among soldiers for the purpose of raping women and instilling fear.[210] His government's heavy-handed approach to quelling the protests was characterized by the International Federation for Human Rights as a strategy of scorched earth. The acts of "indiscriminate killings of civilians" was charged as crimes against humanity, as defined in Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.[211] Gaddafi himself stated "I'm going to march with the masses, to purify Libya inch by inch. House by house. Room by room. Street by street. One by one. Until the country is cleansed of filth."[212] The validity of the rape allegations and claims of other abuses have been doubted by Amnesty International, which has not found evidence to back up the claims and notes that there are indications that on several occasions the rebels appeared to have knowingly made false claims or manufactured evidence.[208]
The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants on 27 June 2011 for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and his brother-in-law Abdullah Senussi, head of state security for charges, concerning crimes against humanity.[7][213][214] According to Matt Steinglass of The Financial Times the charges call for Gaddafi, and his two co-conspirators, to "stand trial for the murder and persecution of demonstrators by Libyan security forces since the uprising based in the country’s east that began in February."
Libyan officials rejected the ICC's authority, saying that the ICC has "no legitimacy whatsoever" and that "all of its activities are directed at African leaders".[215] A Libyan government representative, justice minister Mohammed al-Qamoodi, responded by saying, "The leader of the revolution and his son do not hold any official position in the Libyan government and therefore they have no connection to the claims of the ICC against them ..."[213] This warrant rendered Gaddafi the second still-serving state-leader to have had a warrant issued against them, the first being Omar al-Bashir of Sudan who is still wanted.[214]
Russia and other countries, including China and Germany, abstained from voting on the issue in the UN[216] and did not join the NATO coalition, bombed the Libyan government's forces. Mikhail Margelov, the Kremlin special representative for Africa, said that the "Kremlin accepted that Col Gaddafi [sic] had no political future and that his family would have to relinquish its vice-like grip on the Libyan economy."[217] He also said that "It is quite possible to solve the situation without the colonel."[217]

Loss of international recognition

In connection with the Libyan uprising, Gaddafi's attempts to influence public opinion in Europe and the United States came under increased scrutiny. Since the beginning of the 2011 conflict a number of countries pushed for the international isolation of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.[1][218]
On 15 July 2011, at a meeting in Istanbul, more than 30 governments recognised the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the legitimate government of Libya. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "The United States views the Gaddafi regime as no longer having any legitimate authority in Libya ... And so I am announcing today that, until an interim authority is in place, the United States will recognize the TNC as the legitimate governing authority for Libya, and we will deal with it on that basis." Gaddafi responded to the announcement with a speech on Libyan national television, in which he said "Trample on those recognitions, trample on them under your feet ... They are worthless".[1]
On 25 August 2011, with most of Tripoli having fallen out of Gaddafi's control, the Arab League proclaimed the anti-Gaddafi National Transitional Council to be "the legitimate representative of the Libyan state", on which basis Libya would resume its membership of the League.[3]

Battle of Tripoli

Gaddafi's residence in Benghazi during the civil war that ousted him from power
On 23 August, during the Battle of Tripoli, Gaddafi lost effective political and military control of Tripoli after his compound was captured by rebel forces.[2] Rebel forces entered Green Square in the city center, tearing down posters of Gaddafi and flying flags of the rebellion. He continued to give addresses via radio, calling upon his supporters to crush the rebels.
On 24 August 2011, after the capture of his stronghold of Bab al-Azizia by rebel forces, a photo album filled with pages of pictures of Condoleezza Rice was discovered inside the compound; the discovery was confirmed by an AP reporter, though it could not be confirmed that the album had belonged to Gaddafi. In a 2007 television interview, Gaddafi had previously praised Rice, saying "I support my darling black African woman. I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders... Leezza, Leezza, Leezza... I love her very much."[219][220] During Rice's visit to Libya as Secretary of State, the wealthy Gaddafi showered her with gifts, including a diamond ring in a wood box, a locket with his photograph and a DVD with a musical instrument, with a total value of $212,225 (2008 value).[221][222] During the visit, Gaddafi also showed the photo album to Rice, dubbed by State Department spokesman Sean McCormack as "not standard diplomatic practice."[223]
In September, an underground chamber was discovered beneath Tripoli's Al Fatah University, the largest university in the city, containing (among other things) a bedroom, a Jacuzzi, and a fully equipped gynecological operating chamber. Only Gaddafi and his top associates had been allowed access to it in the past.[224][225] In the 1980s, several students were hanged in public on the university campus premises. On at least one of these occasions, young high school students as well as other university students were brought by the bus loads to witness the hangings. The victims were typically accused of pursuing activities against the Al Fatah Revolution and the Libyan People.[226][227]

Capture and death

On 20 October 2011, a National Transitional Council (NTC) official told Al Jazeera that Gaddafi had been captured that day by Libyan forces near his hometown of Sirte.[228][229] He had been in a convoy of vehicles that was targeted by a French Air Force strike on a road about 3 kilometres (2 mi) west of Sirte, killing dozens of loyalist fighters. Gaddafi survived but was shortly afterwards captured by a rebel militia who claimed he had taken refuge with several of his bodyguards in a drain underneath the road west of the city. Later reports suggest he may have actually been deliberately forced inside, in a symbolic reference to his "threat to kill the rats who opposed him."[230] Around noon[4] NTC fighters found the group and took Gaddafi prisoner. Shortly afterward, he was shot dead. At least four mobile phone videos showed rebels beating Gaddafi and manhandling him on the back of a utility vehicle before his death. One video pictured Gaddafi "sodomized with some kind of stick or knife"[231] or possibly a bayonet, after his capture.[232] In another video, he was seen being rolled around on the ground as rebels pulled off his shirt, though it was unclear if he was already dead. Later pictures of his body showed that he had wounds in the abdomen, chest, and head.[233][234] A rebel who identified himself as Senad el-Sadik el-Ureybi later claimed to have shot and killed Gaddafi. He claimed to have shot Gaddafi in the head and chest, and that it took half an hour for him to die.[235] The transitional government originally planned to bury Gaddafi’s body within 24 hours of his death following Islamic rites, but was delayed after the U.N. human rights office opened an investigation into his death.[236] Gaddafi's body was subsequently flown to Misrata[237] and was placed in the freezer of a local market alongside the bodies of Defence Minister Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr and his son and national security adviser Mutassim Gaddafi. The bodies were put on public display for four days, with Libyans from all over the country coming to view them.
Libya's Prime Minister[238] and several NTC figures confirmed Gaddafi's death, claiming he died of wounds suffered during his capture.[239][240][241] News channels aired a graphic video claiming to be of Gaddafi's bloodied body after capture.[242][243] However on 28 October 2011, widespread revulsion outside Libya at the manner of Gaddafi's death prompted the interim government to promise to bring his killers to trial.[232]
On 25 October 2011, the National Transitional Council announced that Gaddafi was buried at an unidentified location in the desert. Later Al Aan TV showed amateur video footage of the funeral taking place at an undisclosed location.[244][245] Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, told the United Nations that NATO troops would be investigated alongside rebel soldiers and regime forces for alleged breaches of the laws of war during the battle to overthrow Col Muammar Gaddafi.[246]
Many Muslims in Sierra Leone held a vigil and expressed sadness on the news of Gaddafi's death because even "though he initially sponsored a vicious war in Sierra Leone, had tried to make amends by reaching out to the populace herein with financial and religious assistance.".[247]


Parts 1 (English edition) and 3 (Russian edition) of Gaddafi's Green Book
On the Muslim prophet Muhammad's birthday in 1973, Gaddafi delivered his famous "Five-Point Address" which officially implemented Sharia.[48] Gaddafi's ideology was largely based on Nasserism, blending Arab nationalism,[43] aspects of the welfare state, and what Gaddafi termed "popular democracy",[248] or more commonly "direct, popular democracy". He called this system "Islamic socialism", as he disfavored the atheistic quality of communism. While he permitted private control over small companies, the government controlled the larger ones. Welfare, "liberation" (or "emancipation" depending on the translation),[249] and education[250] were emphasized. He also imposed a system of Islamic morals[251][252] and outlawed imbibing alcohol and gambling. School holidays were cancelled to allow the teaching of Gaddafi's ideology in the summer of 1973.[48]
From early in his rule he acquired a reputation for unpredictability and eccentricity. He once said that HIV was "a peaceful virus, not an aggressive virus" and assured attendees at the African Union that "if you are straight you have nothing to fear from AIDS".[253] He also said that the H1N1 influenza virus was a biological weapon manufactured by a foreign military, and he assured Africans that the tsetse fly and mosquito were "God's armies which will protect us against colonialists". Should these 'enemies' come to Africa, "they will get malaria and sleeping sickness".[253] On one occasion, he was reported to have said that the Christian Bible was a "forgery".[254]
Gaddafi had also been labeled a proponent of Islamic socialism, a system of government adopted by some Muslim countries which marries the teachings of Islam with the economic principles of socialism.[255]
In 2006, Gaddafi predicted Europe would become a Muslim continent within a few decades as a result of its growing Arab population.[256] In 2008 he suggested that Barack Obama's foreign policy may have been formed by a fear of assassination by Israeli agents, "the same fate as former US President John F. Kennedy when he promised to look into Israel's nuclear programme".[257][258] In 2007, he suggested a single-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, at first saying "This is the fundamental solution, or else the Jews will be annihilated in the future, because the Palestinians have [strategic] depth".[259] In 2009, in a New York Times commentary, he wrote that a single-state solution would "move beyond old conflicts and look to a unified future based on shared culture and respect."[260]
During Gaddafi's speech to the United Nations General Assembly on 23 September 2009,[261] he blamed the United Nations for failing to prevent 65 wars[262] and claimed that the Security Council had too much power and should be abolished.[263][264] He demanded that Europe pay its former colonies $7.77 trillion dollars to pay for past imperialism or face "mass immigration".[265]

Support for the Nation of Islam

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan called Gaddafi a "friend and Muslim brother who's lent the Nation of Islam movement $8 million over the years".[266] Farrakhan explained, "I love Moammar Gadhafi, and I love our president. It grieves me to see my brother president set a policy that would remove this man not only from power, but from the earth."[72] Farrakhan portrayed Gaddafi as a fellow revolutionary and longtime friend to the Nation of Islam, which reportedly used $3 million it borrowed from Libya in the 1970s to acquire the building and land which formerly housed the St. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church on Chicago's South Side.[72] Years later, a $5 million loan was used to pay back taxes and costs for the home of the movement's former leader Elijah Muhammad.[72] Despite Gaddafi's connection to the Lockerbie Bombing, Farrakhan said, "I don't care what Gadhafi has done wrong, he is not the 'mad dog of the Middle East.'"[72] A song by Belgian electronic musicians Front 242 entitled "Funkahdafi" begins with a clip of a speech in which Farrakhan is introducing Gaddafi to an assembly.

Campaign against Berber culture

Gaddafi often expressed an overt contempt for the culture of the Berbers, a non-Arab people of North Africa, and for their language, maintaining that the very existence of Berbers in North Africa is a myth created by colonialists. He adopted new names for Berber towns, and on official Libyan maps, referred to the Nafusa Mountains as the "Western mountains".[267] In a 1985 speech, he said of the Berber language, "If your mother transmits you this language, she nourishes you with the milk of the colonialist, she feeds you their poison" (1985).[268] The Berber language was banned from schools and up until 2009, it was illegal for parents to name their children with Berber names.[269] Berbers living in ancient mud-brick caravan towns such as Ghadames were forced out and moved into modern government-constructed apartments in the 1980s.[11] During the 2011 civil war, Berber towns rebelled against Gaddafi's rule and sought to reaffirm their ancient identity as Berbers.[270][271][272] Gaddafi's government strengthened anti-Berber sentiment among Libyan Arabs, weakening their opposition.[273]

Economic policies

Gaddafi with Russian president Vladimir Putin
The country of Libya enjoys large natural resources,[274] which Gaddafi utilized to help develop the country. Under Gaddafi's Jamahiriya "direct democracy" state,[62] the country's literacy rate rose from 10% to 90%, life expectancy rose from 57 to 77 years, equal rights were established for women and black people, employment opportunities were established for migrant workers, and welfare systems were introduced that allowed access to free education, free healthcare, and financial assistance for housing.[275] In addition, financial support was provided for university scholarships and employment programs.[276] Gaddafi also initiated development of the Great Manmade River,[275] in order to allow free access to fresh water across large parts of the country.[275] The country was developed without taking any foreign loans, and, as a result, Libya was debt-free.[14]
Despite his role in developing the country,[14][275] critics have accused Gaddafi of concentrating a large part of the country's high gross domestic product on his family and his elites, who allegedly amassed vast fortunes.[274] Many of the business enterprises were allegedly controlled by Gaddafi and his family.[277] Despite the regime providing financial assistance for housing,[275] segments of the population continued to live in poverty, particularly in the eastern parts of the country.[278][279]
When the rising international oil prices began to raise Gaddafi's revenues in the 1970s, Gaddafi spent much of the revenues on arms purchases and on sponsoring his political projects abroad.[280] Gaddafi's relatives adopted lavish lifestyles, including luxurious homes, Hollywood film investments and private parties with American pop stars.[281][282]
The Economy of Libya was centrally planned and followed Gaddafi's socialist ideals. It benefited greatly from revenues from the petroleum sector, which contributed most export earnings and 30% of its GDP. These oil revenues, combined with a small population and by far Africa's highest Education Index gave Libya the highest nominal GDP per capita in Africa. Between 2000 and 2011, Libya recorded favourable growth rates with an estimated 10.6 percent growth of GDP in 2010, the highest of any state in Africa. Gaddafi had promised "a home for all Libyans" and during his rule, new residential areas rose in empty Saharan regions. Entire populations living in mud-brick caravan towns were moved into modern homes with running water, electricity, and satellite TV.[11]
At the time Gaddafi died, some of the worst economic conditions were in eastern Libya.[278][279] 97% of urban dwellers have access to "improved sanitation facilities" in Libya, this was 2% points lower than the OECD average, or 21% points above the world average.[283] During Gaddafi's rule, infant mortality rates went from 125 per 1000 live births, about average for Africa at the time, to 15 per 1000, the best rate in Africa.
Libyans have described the Great Manmade River, a project initiated by Gaddafi, as the "Eighth Wonder of the World".[284] The Great Manmade River also holds the record as the world's largest irrigation project.[285] Gaddafi also initiated the Libyan National Telescope Project, costing about 10 million euros.[286]
On 4 March 2008, Gaddafi announced his proposal to dissolve the country's existing administrative structure and disburse oil revenue directly to the people. The plan included abolishing all ministries; except those of defence, internal security, and foreign affairs, and departments implementing strategic projects.[287] His reason for this plan was because he believed that the ministries were failing to manage the country’s oil revenues.[288] Gaddafi claimed he was planning to combat corruption in the state by proposing reforms where oil profits are handed out directly to the country's five million people[289] rather than to government bodies, stating that "as long as money is administered by a government body, there would be theft and corruption."[290] Gaddafi urged a sweeping reform of the government bureaucracy, suggesting that most of the cabinet system should be dismantled to "free Libyans from red tape" and "protect the state's budget from corruption." According to Western diplomats, this move appeared to be aimed at putting pressure on the government to speed up reforms.[289] Gaddafi claimed that the ministries were failing to manage the country’s oil revenues,[288] and that his "dream during all these years was to give power and wealth directly to the people."[63]
A national vote on Gaddafi's plan to disband the government and give oil money directly to the people was held in 2009, where Libya's people's congresses, the country's highest authority, voted to delay implementation. The General People's Congress announced that, out of 468 Basic People's Congresses, 64 chose immediate implementation while 251 endorsed implementation "but asked for (it) to be delayed until appropriate measures were put in place." This plan led to dissent from top government officials, who claimed it would "wreak havoc" in the economy by "fanning inflation and spurring capital flight." Gaddafi acknowledged that the scheme, which promised up to 30,000 Libyan dinars ($23,000) annually to about a million of Libya's poorest, may "cause chaos before it brought about prosperity," but claimed that "Do not be afraid to experiment with a new form of government" and that "This plan is to offer a better future for Libya's children."[63][291]
In December 2009, Gaddafi personally told government officials that Libya would soon experience a "new political period" and would have elections for important positions such as minister-level roles and the National Security Advisor position (a Prime Minister equivalent). He also promised to include international monitors to ensure fair elections. His speech was said to have caused quite a stir. These elections were planned to coincide with the Jamahiriya's usual periodic elections for members of the Popular Committees, Basic People's Committees, Basic People's Congresses, and General People's Congress, in 2011[292] 2012.

Assassination attempts and plots

  • In 1969, the British Special Air Service (S.A.S.) was contacted by the Libyan Royal Family and planned an assassination attempt to restore the Libyan monarchy. The plan was dubbed the "Hilton Assignment", named after a Libyan jail. The plan was to release 150 political prisoners from a jail in Tripoli as a catalyst for a general uprising. The prisoners would be recruited for a coup attempt, and the British agents would leave them to take over the nation. The plan was called off at a late stage by the British Secret Intelligence Service because the United States government decided that Gaddafi was anti-Marxist and therefore acceptable.[293][294]
  • In 1976, Tunisia's state television reported that Gaddafi had been fired at by a lone assailant. None of the shots hit him.[295]
  • In 1981, French president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing plotted an assassination attempt with Egypt. His administration spoke with the Reagan administration for approval, but the United States did not support the measure. The plot was abandoned after Giscard d'Estaing's term in office ended.[296][297]
  • In 1986, the United States bombed Libya, including Gaddafi's family compound in the vast Bab al-Azizia Barracks in southern Tripoli. The U.S. Government consistently said that the bombings were "surgical strikes" and were not intended to kill Gaddafi. However, Lt Col. Oliver North did devise a plot at the time to lure Gaddafi into his compound using Terry Waite. The plot violated United States law, which prohibited assassinations, and was never put into action.[298] On 15 April, Gaddafi and his family fled his compound in the Bab al-Azizia Barracks moments before it was bombed. He received a phone call the night of 15 April, warning him about an attack. The origin of the phone call remains under speculation, but Maltese Prime Minister Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici and Italian politician Bettino Craxi have been primary suspects.
  • In 1993, over 2,000 Libyan soldiers plotted to assassinate Gaddafi.[299] The soldiers were members of the Warfalla tribe, which rebelled because it was not well-represented in the upper ranks of the Libyan Army. The coup attempt was crushed by the Libyan Air Force, which was entirely made of members of the Qadhadhfa tribe, which Gaddafi belonged to. The tribal tensions that resulted with the Warfalla and the Magariha caused Gaddafi to place his second-in-command, Abdessalam Jalloud, a Magariha, under house arrest, and led to oppression of the Warfalla.[300] The rebellion was largest in the city of Misrata. Libyan media did not cover any reports on the rebellion, but European diplomats saw large numbers of wounded and casualties in the hospitals.[301]
  • In June 1998, Islamic militants opened fire on Gaddafi's motorcade near the town of Dirnah. One of his Amazonian Guards sacrificed herself to save his life. He was injured in the elbow according to witnesses.[305]

Marriages and children

Muammar Gaddafi's son Mutassim with Hillary Clinton, Treaty Room, Washington, DC, 21 April 2009.

Gaddafi in 1976 with a child on his lap
Gaddafi's first wife was Fatiha al-Nuri (1969–1970). His second wife was Safia Farkash (1970–2011),[306] née el-Brasai, a former nurse from Obeidat tribe born in Bayda.[307][308] He met her in 1969, following the revolt, when he was hospitalized with appendicitis; the couple remained married until his death. Gaddafi had eight biological children, seven of them sons.
  • Muhammad Gaddafi (born 1970), his eldest son, was the only child born to Gaddafi's first wife, and ran the Libyan Olympic Committee.[307] On 21 August 2011, during the Battle of Tripoli, rebel forces of the National Transitional Council claimed to have accepted Muhammad's surrender as they overtook the city.[309] This was later confirmed when he gave a phone interview to Al Jazeera, saying that he had surrendered to the rebels and had been treated well.[310] He reportedly escaped the next day with the aid of remaining loyalist forces, fleeing to neighbouring Algeria with his step-mother, another brother and his sister.[311]
  • Saif al-Islam Gaddafi (born 25 June 1972), his second son, is an architect who was long-rumoured to be Gaddafi's successor. He was a spokesman to the Western world and he has negotiated treaties with Italy and the United States. He was viewed as politically moderate, and in 2006, after criticizing his father's government, he briefly left Libya. In 2007, Gaddafi exchanged angry letters with his son regarding his son's statements admitting the Bulgarian nurses had been tortured.[312] During the Battle of Sirte on 20 October 2011, he tried to escape and it was incorrectly reported that he was captured by rebel forces and was flown to a hospital.[313] He was arrested on 19 November in the town of Ubari, near Sabha in southern Libya, 640 kilometres (400 mi) from Tripoli. It is reported that he had been flown to Zintan by plane. His capture was confirmed by the International Criminal Court (ICC).[314]
  • Al-Saadi Gaddafi (born 25 May 1973), is a professional football player. On 22 August 2011, he was reported to have been arrested by the National Liberation Army.[315] However, this turned out to be incorrect.[316] On 30 August, a senior NTC official claimed that Al-Saadi Gaddafi had made contact to discuss the terms of his surrender, indicating also that he would wish to remain in Libya.[317]
  • Mutassim Gaddafi (18 December 1974 – 20 October 2011), Gaddafi's fourh son, was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Libyan Army. He later served as Libya's National Security Advisor. He was seen as a possible successor to his father, after Saif al-Islam. Mutassim was killed along with his father during the Battle of Sirte.[318]
  • Hannibal Muammar Gaddafi (born 20 September 1975),[319] is a former employee of the General National Maritime Transport Company, a company that specialized in oil exports. He is best known for his violent incidents in Europe, attacking police officers in Italy (2001), drunk driving (2004), and for assaulting a girlfriend in Paris (2005).[320] In 2008, he was charged with assaulting two staff at a Swiss hotel and was imprisoned by Swiss police. The arrest created a strong standoff between Libya and Switzerland.[321] He fled to neighbouring Algeria with his mother, another brother and his sister.
  • Ayesha Gaddafi (born 1976), Gaddafi's only biological daughter, is a lawyer who joined the defence teams of executed former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi.[307] She is married to her father's cousin. She fled to neighbouring Algeria with her mother and two of her brothers, where she gave birth to her fourth child.
  • Saif al-Arab Gaddafi (1982 – 30 April 2011) was appointed a military commander in the Libyan Army during the Libyan civil war. Saif al-Arab and three of Gaddafi's grandchildren were reported killed by a NATO bombing in April 2011. This is disputed by the organizations alleged to be responsible.[322]
  • Khamis Gaddafi (27 May 1983 – 29 August 2011), his seventh son, was serving as the commander of the Libyan Army's elite Khamis Brigade. On 30 August 2011, a spokesman for the NTC said it was "almost certain" Khamis Gaddafi had been killed in Tarhuna two days earlier, during clashes with units of the National Liberation Army.[323]
He is also said to have adopted two children, Hanna and Milad.[324][325]
  • Hana Moammar Gadafi[326] (claimed by Gaddafi to be his adopted daughter, but most facts surrounding this claim are disputed) was apparently killed at the age of four, during the retaliatory U.S. bombing raids in 1986.[327][328] She may not have died; the adoption may have been posthumous; or he may have adopted a second daughter and given her the same name after the first one died.[329] Following the taking by rebels of the family residence in the Bab al-Azizia compound in Tripoli, The New York Times reported evidence (complete with photographs) of Hana's life after her declared death, when she became a doctor and worked in a Tripoli hospital. Her passport was reported as showing a birth date of 11 November 1985, making her six months old at the time of the US raid.[330] In August 2011 the Daily Telegraph reported on the finding of dental records relating to a Hana Gaddaffi by NLC staff taking over the London embassy. This report, which also cites her 1999 spotting by Chinese officials, cites an unnamed Libyan government spokesman as stating that Gaddafi had adopted a second daughter, and named her Hana in honor of the first one who had been killed in the 1986 raid.[331]
Gaddafi's brother-in-law, Abdullah Senussi, was believed to have headed Libya's military intelligence until the Gaddafi government was overthrown.[332]

Flight to Algeria

As the Battle for Tripoli reached a climax in mid-August 2011, the family was forced to abandon their fortified compound. With the National Transitional Council in almost complete control of the country, on 27 August it was reported by the Egyptian news agency Mena that Libyan rebel fighters had seen six armoured Mercedes-Benz sedans, possibly carrying top Gaddafi regime figures, cross the border at the south-western Libyan town of Ghadames towards Algeria,[333] which at the time was denied by the Algerian authorities.
On 29 August, the Algerian government officially announced that Safia together with daughter Ayesha and sons Muhammad and Hannibal, had crossed into Algeria early on Monday 29 August.[333][334] An Algerian Foreign Ministry official said all the people in the convoy were now in Algiers, and that none of them had been named in warrants issued by the International Criminal Court for possible war crimes charges. Mourad Benmehidi, the Algerian permanent representative to the United Nations, later confirmed the details of the statement. The family had arrived at a Sahara desert entry point, in a Mercedes and a bus at 8:45 am local time. The exact number of people in the party was unconfirmed, but there were "many children" and they did not include Colonel Gaddafi. Resultantly the group was allowed in on humanitarian grounds, and the Algerian government had since informed the head of the Libyan National Transitional Council, who as of yet has made no official request for their return.[335]

Honorary qualifications

Gaddafi held an honorary degree from Megatrend University in Belgrade, which was conferred upon him by former Yugoslavian president Zoran Lilić.[336]

Personal wealth

Italian companies had a strong foothold in Libya. In January 2002 Gaddafi purchased a 7.5% share of Italian football club Juventus for US$21 million, through the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company.[337] This followed a long-standing association with Italian industrialist Gianni Agnelli and car manufacturer Fiat.[338]
On 25 February 2011, Britain's Treasury set up a specialised unit to trace Gaddafi's assets in Britain.[339] Gaddafi allegedly worked for years with Swiss banks to launder international banking transactions.[274] In November 2011, The Sunday Times identified property worth £1 billion in the UK that Gaddafi owned.[340]
Gaddafi had an Airbus A340 private jet, which he bought from Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia for $120 million in 2003.[341] Operated by Tripoli-based Afriqiyah Airways and decorated externally in their colours, it was used in 2009 to repatriate Lockerbie bomber Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi, on his licensed release from prison in Scotland. The plane was captured at Tripoli airport in August 2011 as a result of the Libyan civil war, and found by BBC News reporter John Simpson to contain various luxuries including a jacuzzi.[342][343]


A Revolutionary Command Council was formed to rule the country, with Gaddafi as chairman. He added the title of prime minister in 1970, but gave up this title in 1972. Unlike other military revolutionaries, Gaddafi did not promote himself to the rank of general upon seizing power, but rather accepted a ceremonial promotion from lieutenant to colonel[344] and remained at this rank. While at odds with Western military ranking, where a colonel would not rule a country or serve as commander-in-chief of its military, in Gaddafi's own words Libya's society is "ruled by the people", so he did not need a more grandiose title or supreme military rank.[11]

Public image

In the 1970s, the Western media initially portrayed Gaddafi in a positive manner as a freedom fighter. A Readers Digest article at the time, for example, compared his freedom-fighting ideals to Che Guevara and noted his popularity among Libyans.[115] This changed in the 1980s, when Gaddafi began being frequently portrayed a dictator and tyrant who was erratic, conceited, and mercurial in nature. During the Reagan administration, the United States regarded him as "public enemy number one"[345] and Reagan famously dubbed him the "mad dog of the Middle East".[346] In keeping with the negative image of Gaddafi held by the West, writer Tahar Ben Jelloun was quoted as saying:
Succeeding in forcing an entire people on its knees, making it endorse extravagant and irrational concepts, keeping it in ignorance and poverty: this is what this man, who has survived 42 years without ever hesitating to suffocate any attempt at opposition, has achieved. No journalists, no witnesses, he is unapproachable, the arrogant, absolute master. Often, his psychological problems are brought up, but a sophisticated analysis is not needed to pin them down. One need only look at him: his narcissism is pathological, his egocentrism pathetic, and his arrogance terrifying.
Tahar Ben Jelloun in in L'Espresso (3 March 2011)[347]
However, some were more supportive of Gaddafi's regime and ideology. Yasser Arafat, who aligned himself with Gaddafi for much of his career, said Gaddafi was the "knight of revolutionary phrases". On Gaddafi's resistance to the 2011 uprising, Cuba's Fidel Castro commented that, "If he resists and does not yield to their demands, he will enter history as one of the great figures of the Arab nations."[348] Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez -- one of Gaddafi's few allies on the international stage—said that the former Libyan leader will be remembered “as a great fighter, a revolutionary and martyr" on 20 October 2011.[349] Manny Ansar, director of a popular annual music festival in Mali, said:
Love him or not, we must recognize that this is one of the greatest African leaders who influenced several generations, including mine, and found in the constancy and courage of his positions what we research in a hero. In a word: pride.
—Manny Ansar, October 2011 interview with The New York Times[350]
During a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, he was said to be highly curious, asking a lot of questions and being especially interested in Malaysia's economic success.[351] The attacks on Gaddafi's image became less common as his relations with the West improved. He modeled many of his political ideals from the likes of Kwame Nkrumah, Gamal Abdul Nasser and Mao Zedong.
Gaddafi and his government helped finance Moustapha Akkad's film Lion of the Desert (1981) starring Anthony Quinn as Libyan resistance leader Omar Mukhtar.[352][353]
In contrast to his often negative image in the West, Gaddafi's image has mostly been positive in much of Africa, where he is often seen as a "hero".[115] Nelson Mandela, whose Anti-Apartheid Movement was supported and funded by Gaddafi, remained a close friend, named his grandson after Gaddafi, and helped him gain mainstream Western acceptance in the 1990s. Following Gaddafi's death, Mandela was quoted as saying, "In the darkest moments of our struggle, when our backs were to the wall, Muammar Gaddafi stood with us."[114]
Gaddafi funded the construction of and supported two mosques in Africa. One is the largest mosque in Uganda, located on Kampla Hill in the Old Kampala district of Kampala, Uganda.[254] The other being the Freetown Central Mosque at Rokupa in the east-end of Freetown, Sierra Leon where a vigil was held when he died.[354]
In his own estimation, Gaddafi considered himself an intellectual and philosopher.[355] His former aides said he was "obsessive" about his image. He gave gold watches with images of his face to his staff as gifts. In 2011, a Brazilian plastic surgeon told the Associated Press that Gaddafi had been his patient in 1995 to avoid appearing old to the Libyan people.[356] He was known for a flamboyant dress sense, ranging from safari suits and sunglasses to more outlandish outfits apparently influenced by Liberace or Hollywood film characters.[357] He changed his clothing several times each day, and according to his former nurses, "enjoy[ed] surrounding himself with beautiful things and people."
He hired several Ukrainian nurses to care for his and his family's health.[358] Beginning in the 1980s he traveled with his Amazonian Guard, which was all-female, and reportedly was sworn to a life of celibacy. (however, Dr. Seham Sergheva claimed in 2011 that some of them were subjected to rape and sexual abuse by Gaddafi, his sons, and senior officials[359]). In 2009, it was revealed that he did not travel without his trusted Ukrainian nurse Halyna Kolotnytska, noted as a "voluptuous blonde".[360] Kolotnytska's daughter denied the suggestion that the relationship was anything but professional.[361] Gaddafi also allegedly made sexual advances on female journalists.[362][363]
Gaddafi made very particular requests when traveling to foreign nations. During his trips to Rome, Paris, Moscow, and New York,[364][365] he resided in a bulletproof tent, following his Bedouin traditions.[366][367] While in Italy, he paid a modeling agency to find 200 young Italian women for a lecture he gave urging them to convert to Islam.[368] According to a 2009 document release by WikiLeaks,[369] Gaddafi disliked flying over waters and refused to take airplane trips longer than 8 hours. His inner circle stated that he could only stay on the ground floor of buildings, and that he could not climb more than 35 steps.
The Libyan postal service, General Posts and Telecommunications Company (GPTC), has issued numerous stamps, souvenir sheets, postal stationery, booklets, etc. relating to Gaddafi.[370][371]

Transliteration of his Arabic name

Because of the lack of standardization of transliterating written and regionally pronounced Arabic, Gaddafi's name has been romanized in many different ways. Even though the Arabic spelling of a word does not change, the pronunciation may vary in different varieties of Arabic, which may suggest a different romanization. In Literary Arabic, the name مُعَمَّر القَذَّافِي can be pronounced /muˈʕammaru lqaðˈðaːfiː/. Geminated consonants can be simplified. In Libyan Arabic, /q/ (ق) is replaced with [ɡ]; and /ð/ (ذ), as "th" in "this", is replaced with [d]. Vowel [u] often alternates with [o] in pronunciation in other regions. Thus, /muˈʕammar alqaðˈðaːfiː/ is normally pronounced in Libyan Arabic [muˈʕæmmɑrˤ əlɡædˈdæːfi]. The definite article al- (ال) is often omitted.
In August 2011, following the capture of Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli in the later stages of the Libyan civil war, Gaddafi's diplomatic passport was discovered. The Latin transliteration of his surname on the passport read "Al-Gathafi".[372] This spelling corresponds to the title of the homepage of, which reads "Welcome to the official site of Muammar Al Gathafi".[373]
"Muammar Gaddafi" is the spelling used by Time, Newsweek, Reuters, BBC News, the majority of the British press, the English service of Al Jazeera, and the English Wikipedia.[374] The Associated Press, MSNBC, CNN, NPR, PBS, and the majority of the Canadian press use "Moammar Gadhafi". The Library of Congress uses "Qaddafi, Muammar" as the primary name. The Edinburgh Middle East Report uses "Mu'ammar Qaddafi" and the U.S. Department of State uses "Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi", although the White House chooses to use "Muammar el-Qaddafi".[375] The Xinhua News Agency uses "Muammar Khaddafi" in its English reports.[376] The New York Times uses "Muammar el-Qaddafi". The Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times of the Tribune Company, and Agence France-Presse use "Moammar Kadafi".[377][378]
In 1986, Gaddafi reportedly responded to a Minnesota school's letter in English using the spelling "Moammar El-Gadhafi".[379] Until that point, his name had been pronounced with an initial 'k' in English.
A 2007 interview with Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi confirms that he uses the spelling "Qadhafi",[380] and Muhammad Gaddafi's official passport uses the spelling "Al-Gathafi".[381][382]
An article published in the London Evening Standard in 2004 lists a total of 37 spellings of his name, while a 1986 column by The Straight Dope quotes a list of 32 spellings known from the Library of Congress.[383] ABC and MSNBC identified 112 possible spellings.[384][385] This extensive confusion of naming was used as the subject of a segment of Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update on 12 December 1981.[386] In short, the alternative spellings for each part of his name are shown in brackets:

Not all are possible, as some alternatives are most probably combined with others, or even impossible with others (for example, simplification of geminated /mm/ usually implies simplification of /aː/).
The Arabic verb قَذَفَ qaðafa has various meanings centering on "he threw".

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