MANY SAY “WHAT GOES ROUND COMES AROUND ” AND LET US NOT FORGET GADDAFI’S APPARENT INVOLVEMENT IN THE DEATH OF BRITISH WPC YVONNE FLETCHER .
AN HISTORIC MOMENT IN WORLD HISTORY – THE BARBARIC DEATH OF A BARBARIC DICTATOR !!
HERE’S AN IMAGE OF AN INSCRIBED AND SIGNED PHOTOGRAPH OF GADDAFI FROM 1987 SENT FROM HIS LIBYAN OFFICE TO THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION AND NOW HERE ON DISPLAY ALONG WITH A MONTAGE COVERING HIS LIFE AND GRUESOME DEATH BY HIS OWN PEOPLE ON THE 20TH OCTOBER 2011.
Gaddafi dead: ‘Colonel Gaddafi captured but died of injuries’, Libya transitional council official claims
FUGITIVE Colonel Muhammar Gaddafi was killed today during a final rebel attack on his birthplace.
The toppled Libyan leader was badly wounded in both legs and shot in the head as rebels backed by NATO attacked a convoy fleeing the coastal town of Sirte, it was claimed.
He said: “We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed.”
Gaddafi was executed in cold blood in a drainage ditch desperately begging for his life, it emerged this afternoon.
The toppled despot is thought to have fled his car after his speeding convoy fleeing his Sirte stronghold was attacked in a NATO airstrike at 6am UK time.
Two fighter jets attacked the vehicles as they fled the Sirte assault, although neither of the planes that struck the convoy was flown by the RAF.
Another two-plane formation of British Tornado ground attack aircraft were on surveillance and reconnaissance missions over Libya at the time.
As the NATO strike on Gaddafi’s convoy hit the lead vehicles his aides started trying to exit from cars and escape on foot, realising the game was up.
Then as Gaddafi and several aides tried to run into the safety of a drainage ditch they were shot dead by rebel fighters pursuing them on foot.
Libyan National Transitional Council official Abdel Majid Mlegta said this morning Gaddafi was captured and wounded in both legs at dawn today as he tried to flee in a convoy which NATO warplanes attacked.
“He was also hit in his head.” the official said. “There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.”
Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam says he has confirmed that Gaddafi is dead after talking to fighters who said they saw the body.
He says he expects the prime minister to confirm the death soon, noting that past reports emerged “before making 100% confirmation’.
NTC vice-chairman Abdul Hafiz Ghoga told a news conference later: “We announce to the world that Muammar Gaddafi has been killed at the hands of the revolutionaries.
“We will announce the liberation of Libya within hours, maybe sooner.”
An image reported to be of Colonel Gaddafi
Colonel Gaddafi’s reign has ended
Fighters celebrate the fall of Sirte
A man holds up what is thought to be Gaddafi’s golden gun
A large concrete pipe where Gaddafi is thought to have been hiding
The area where Gaddafi was captured
Television broadcasts showed footage of NTC troops celebrating the fall of Sirte and the apparent capture of Gaddafi, who was wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
There were fierce gun battles on the streets of the coastal city in the morning, bringing an end to a siege which has lasted almost two months since the fall of capital Tripoli to rebel troops in August.
“Our forces control the last neighbourhood in Sirte,” NTC member Hassan Draoua said. “The city has been liberated.”
Shortly afterwards senior National Transitional Council commanders claimed Gaddafi had died from wounds sustained in the final assault.
NATO said it was checking reports of the capture of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and said they could take some time to confirm.
‘’We are checking and assessing the situation.’’ a NATO official said. ‘’Clearly these are very significant developments, which will take time to confirm. “
Gaddafi has been rumoured to be hiding in Sirte for many weeks, although it was also believed he may be in his desert stronghold of Bani Walid, to the south.
A Libyan transitional forces commander said Moussa Ibrahim, former spokesman for Muammar Gaddafi’s fallen government, was captured near the city of Sirte this afternoon.
Abdul Hakim Al Jalil, commander of the 11th brigade, also said he had seen the body of the chief of Gaddafi’s armed forces, Abu Bakr Younus Jabr.
“I’ve seen him with my own eyes.” he said and displayed a picture of Jabr’s body.
“Moussa Ibrahim was also captured and both of them were transferred to our operations room.”
Libya’s son Mo’tassim was reported to have been captured alive.
Colonel Roland Lavoie, spokesman for Nato’s operational headquarters in Naples, said its aircraft today struck two vehicles of pro-Gaddafi forces “which were part of a larger group manoeuvring in the vicinity of Sirte”.
The Ministry of Defence in London confirmed that Nato warplanes today attacked a convoy of vehicles fleeing Sirte.
It is not known whether Gaddafi was in any of vehicles.
“It was targeted on the basis that this was the last of the pro-Gaddafi forces fleeing Sirte,” a spokesman said.
RAF fighters were not involved in the attack, although RAF reconnaissance aircraft were in the area.
The ecstatic former rebels celebrated the fall of Sirte after weeks of bloody siege by firing endless rounds into the sky, pumping their guns, knives and even a meat cleaver in the air and singing the national anthem.
In the central quarter where the final battle took place, the fighters looking like the same ragtag force that started the uprising eight months ago, jumped up and down with joy and flashed V-for-victory signs.
Some burned the green Gaddafi flag, then stepped on it with their boots.
They chanted “Allah akbar” or “God is great”, while one fighter climbed a traffic light pole to unfurl the revolution’s flag, which he first kissed.
Discarded military uniforms of Gaddafi’s fighters littered the streets. One revolutionary fighter waved a silver trophy in the air while another held up a box of firecrackers, then set them off.
A Libyan fighter claimed Gaddafi was hiding in a hole in his hometown of Sirte shouting: “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot.”
In a statement on NTC-controlled state television, a presenter draped in the flag of liberated Libya said: “Gaddafi is in the hands of the rebels. Gaddafi personally is in the hands of the rebels.
“We have captured Gaddafi. Libya is joyous, Libya is celebrating, Libya has given a lesson to all those who want to learn.
“I salute you, rebels. I salute you, revolutionaries. You have captured this criminal who has killed the mothers of the martyrs.”
Libyan fighters had earlier overrun the last positions of Gaddafi loyalists holding out in his hometown Sirte.
Sirte has been taken by the National Transitional Council
Colonel Gaddafi pictured in March
Revolutionary fighters celebrate the capture of Sirte
An anti-Gaddafi fighter prepares ammunition in the centre of Sirte
An image of Gaddafi next to a copy of the Economist among belongings in a Sirte house
Anti-Gaddafi fighters celebrate
Anti-Gaddafi fighters hug after the capture of Sirte
Fighters are jubilant
The final push to capture the remaining pro-Gaddafi positions began around 8 am and was over after about 90 minutes.
Just before the assault, about five carloads of loyalists tried to flee the enclave down the coastal highway but were killed by revolutionaries.
Revolutionaries began searching homes and buildings looking for any Gaddafi fighters who may be hiding there.
“Our forces control the last neighbourhood in Sirte,” said Hassan Draoua, a member of Libya’s interim National Transitional Council.
“The city has been liberated.”
After the battle, revolutionaries began searching homes and buildings looking for any Gaddafi fighters who may be hiding there. At least 16 pro-Gaddafi fighters were captured, with multiple cases of ammunition and trucks loaded with weapons.
Reporters saw revolutionaries beating captured Gaddafi men in the back of trucks and officers intervening to stop them.
Celebratory gunfire echoed through Sirte, which fell into the hands of revolutionaries almost two full months after they overrun Tripoli and many other parts of the country.
An anti-Gaddafi fighter takes a break during clashes with pro-Gaddafi forces in Sirte
Anti-Gaddafi fighters celebrate the fall of Sirte
A fighter shoots into the air in celebration
A group of fighters celebrate
Anti-Gaddafi fighters celebrate in the back of a pick-up
Despite the fall of Tripoli on August 21, Gaddafi loyalists mounted fierce resistance in several areas, including Sirte, preventing Libya’s new leaders from declaring full victory in the eight-month civil war.
Earlier this week, revolutionary fighters gained control of one stronghold, Bani Walid, and by Tuesday said they had squeezed Gaddafi ‘s forces in Sirte into a residential area of about 700 square metres but were still coming under heavy fire from surrounding buildings.
Deputy defence minister Fawzi Abu Katif said on Wednesday that authorities still believe Gaddafi’s son Muatassim is among the ex-regime figures holed up in the diminishing area in Sirte. He was not seen on the ground after the final battle today.
In an illustration of how difficult and slow the fighting for Sirte was, it took the anti-Gaddafi fighters two days to capture a single residential building.
It is unclear whether Gaddafi loyalists who have escaped might continue the fight and attempt to organise an insurgency using the vast amount of weapons Gaddafi was believed to have stored in hideouts in the remote southern desert.
Unlike Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi had no well-organised political party that could form the basis of an insurgent leadership. However, regional and ethnic differences have already appeared among the ranks of the revolutionaries, possibly laying the foundation for civil strife.
Gaddafi issued several audio recordings trying to rally supporters. Libyan officials have previously said they believe he is hiding somewhere in the vast south-western desert near the borders with Niger and Algeria.
Libyans celebrate at Martyrs square in Tripoli
Celebrations in Martyrs Square
Libyans welcome the news
Martyrs Square is packed
|Gaddafi at an African Union summit (2009)|
|Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution of Libya|
2 March 1977 – 23 August 2011
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
|Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council of Libya|
1 September 1969 – 2 March 1977
|Prime Minister||Mahmud Sulayman al-Maghribi
Abdul Ati al-Obeidi
|Preceded by||Idris (King)|
|Succeeded by||Himself (Secretary General of the General People’s Congress)|
|Secretary General of the General People’s Congress of Libya|
2 March 1977 – 2 March 1979
|Prime Minister||Abdul Ati al-Obeidi|
|Preceded by||Himself (Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council)|
|Succeeded by||Abdul Ati al-Obeidi|
|Prime Minister of Libya|
16 January 1970 – 16 July 1972
|Preceded by||Mahmud Sulayman al-Maghribi|
|Succeeded by||Abdessalam Jalloud|
|Chairperson of the African Union|
2 February 2009 – 31 January 2010
|Preceded by||Jakaya Kikwete|
|Succeeded by||Bingu wa Mutharika|
|Born||June 1942[nb 1]
Sirte, Italian Libya
|Died||20 October 2011 (aged 69)
Sirte or between Sirte andMisrata, Libya
|Political party||Arab Socialist Union (1971–1977)|
|Spouse(s)||Fatiha al-Nuri (1969–1970)
Safia el-Brasai (1971–2011)
|Alma mater||Benghazi Military University Academy|
|Allegiance|| Kingdom of Libya (1961–1969)
Libyan Arab Republic(1969–1977)
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya(1977–2011)
|Years of service||1961–2011|
|Commands||Libyan Armed Forces|
2011 Libyan civil war
|Awards||Order of the Yugoslav Star
Order of Good Hope
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (Arabic: مُعَمَّر القَذَّافِي Muʿammar al-Qaḏḏāfī audio (help·info);[variations] (June 1942[nb 1] – 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi /ˈmoʊ.əmɑr ɡəˈdɑːfi/ or Colonel Gaddafi, was Libya’s head of state from 1969, when he seized power in a bloodless military coup, 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. Critics have often described him as Libya‘s de facto autocrat, a claim his Libyan regime officially denied. In 2011, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya regime he established was overthrown in a civil war which consisted of an uprising aided by a NATO intervention. His 42-year leadership prior to the uprising made him the fourth longest-serving non-royal leader since 1900, as well as the longest-serving Arab leader. He variously styled himself as “the Brother Leader” and “Guide of the Revolution”; in 2008 a meeting of traditional African rulers bestowed on him the title “King of Kings”.
After seizing power in 1969, he abolished the Libyan Constitution of 1951. He established laws based on the political ideology he had formulated, called the Third International Theory and published in The Green Book. After establishing the jamahiriya (“state of the masses”) system in 1977, he officially stepped down from power and had since then held a largely symbolic role within the country’s offical governance structure. 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; though not as high as several similarly oil-rich Gulf countries, Libya remained debt-free under his regime.Gaddafi started several wars and acquired chemical weapons. The United Nations called Libya under Gaddafi a pariah state. In the 1980s, countries around the world imposed sanctions against Gaddafi. Six days after the capture of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003 by United States troops, Gaddafi renounced Tripoli’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs and welcomed international inspections to verify that he would follow through on the commitment. 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.
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 led to the 2011 Libyan Civil War, which included a military intervention by a NATO-led coalition to enforce a UN Security Council Resolution 1973calling 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 al-Senussi, concerning crimes against humanity. 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. He retained control over parts of Libya, most notably the city of Sirte, to which it was presumed that he had fled. Although Gaddafi’s forces initially held out against the NTC’s advances, Gaddafi was captured alive as Sirte fell to the rebel forces on 20 October 2011 and died the same day under unclear circumstances.
Early life and military academy
Muammar Gaddafi was born in Qasr Abu Hadi, a large, rural farming area located just outside Sirte. He was raised in a Bedouin tent in the desert near Sirte. According to many biographies, his family belongs to a small tribe of Arabs, the Qadhadhfa. They are mostly herders that live in the Hun Oasis. 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”. 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. He was passionate about the success of the Palestinians and was deeply disappointed by their defeat by Israeli forces in 1948. 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. In Sabha he was briefly a member of Scouting. He finished his secondary school studies under a private tutor in Misrata, concentrating on the study of history.
Gaddafi entered the Royal Libyan Military Academy at Benghazi in 1961, and graduated in 1966. 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. He did in fact receive four months’ further military training in the United Kingdom, and spent some time in London. After this, as a commissioned officer he joined the Signal Corps. Although often referred to as “Colonel Gaddafi”, he was in fact only a Lieutenant when he seized power in 1969. He was, nonetheless, a holder of the honorary rank of Major General, conferred upon him in 1976 by his ownArab 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.
Libyan revolution of 1969
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. An early conspirator, Gaddafi first started planning the overthrow of the monarchy while a cadet.
On 1 September 1969 a small group of junior military officers led by Gaddafi staged a bloodless coup d’état against King Idris of Libya while the king was inTurkey for medical treatment. Idris’s nephew, Crown Prince Sayyid Hasan ar-Rida al-Mahdi as-Sanussi, was formally deposed by the revolutionary army officers and put under house arrest; they abolished the monarchy and proclaimed the Libyan Arab Republic.
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. 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. In response to the failed coup, Gaddafi criminalized all political dissent and shared power only with his family and closest associates.
Gaddafi expelled Italian settlers in Libya in 1970. Despising the Christian calendar, he replaced it as the country’s official with an Islamic calendar. 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. From 1971 to 1977, Gaddafi approved the Arab Socialist Union, modeled on Egypt’s Arab Socialist Union (Egypt), to function as a political party in Libya.
Gaddafi increasingly devoted himself to “contemplative exile” over the next months, caught up in apocalyptic visions of revolutionary pan-Arabism and Islam locked in a mortal struggle with what he termed the encircling, demonic forces of reaction, imperialism, and Zionism. As a result, routine administrative tasks fell to Major Jallud 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.
Elimination of dissent
In 1969, Gaddafi created Revolutionary committees to keep tight control over internal dissent. Ten to twenty percent of Libyans worked as informants for these committees. Surveillance took place in the government, in factories, and in the education sector. People who formed a political party were executed, and talking about politics with foreigners was punishable by up to 3 years in jail. Arbitrary arrests were common and Libyans were hesitant to speak with foreigners. The government conducted executions and mutilations of political opponents in public and broadcast recordings of the proceedings on state television. Dissent was illegal under Law 75 of 1973, which denied freedom of expression. In 2010, Libya’s press was rated as 160th out of 178 nations in the Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders.
During the 1970s, Libya executed members of the Islamist fundamentalist Hizb-ut Tahrir faction, and Gaddafi often personally presided over the executions. 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. A mutiny by the Libyan Army in Tobruk was violently suppressed in August 1980.
From time to time Gaddafi responded to external opposition with violence. Between 1980 and 1987, Gaddafi employed his network of diplomats and recruits to assassinate at least 25 critics living abroad. His 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 set a deadline of 11 June 1980 for dissidents to return home or be “in the hands of the revolutionary committees”. Gaddafi stated explicitly in 1982 that “It is the Libyan people’s responsibility to liquidate such scums who are distorting Libya’s image abroad.” Libyan agents have assassinated dissidents in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. As of 2004 Libya still provided bounties on critics, including $1 million for one journalist. During the 2005 civil unrest in France, Gaddafi called Chirac and offered him his help in quelling the resistors, who were largely North African. There are growing indications that Libya’s Gaddafi-era intelligence service had a cozy relationship with western spy organizations including the CIA, who voluntarily provided information on Libyan dissidents to the regime in exchange for using Libya as a base for extraordinary renditions.
Following an abortive 1986 attempt to replace English with Russian as the primary foreign language in education, English has been taught in recent years in Libyan schools from primary level, and students have access to English-language media.
Campaign against Berber culture
Gaddafi often expressed an overt contempt for 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”. 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). The Berber language was banned from schools and up until 2009, it was illegal for parents to name their children with Berber names. Berbers living in ancient mud-brick caravan towns such as Ghadames were forced out and moved into modern government-constructed apartments in the 1980s. During the 2011 civil war, Berber towns rebelled against Gaddafi’s rule and sought to reaffirm their ancient identity as Berbers. Gaddafi’s government strengthened anti-Berber sentiment among Libyan Arabs, weakening their opposition.
Libya enjoys large natural resources, which Gaddafi utilized to help develop the country. Under Gaddafi’s jamahiriya direct democracy system, 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. The Great Manmade River was also built to allow free access to fresh water across large parts of the country. In addition, financial support was provided for university scholarships and employment programs. The country was developed without taking any foreign loans. As a result, Libya wasdebt-free under Gaddafi’s regime.
Despite his role in developing the country, 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. Many of the business enterprises were allegedly controlled by Gaddafi and his family. Despite the regime providing financial assistance for housing, segments of the population continued to live in poverty, particularly in the eastern parts of the country.
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.Gaddafi’s relatives adopted lavish lifestyles, including luxurious homes, Hollywood film investments and private parties with American pop stars.
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. A leaked diplomatic cable describes Libyan economy as “a kleptocracy in which the government – either the al-Gaddafi family itself or its close political allies – has a direct stake in anything worth buying, selling or owning”.
At the time Gaddafi died, some of the worst economic conditions were in the eastern parts of the state. The sewage facilities in Banghazi were over 40 years old, and untreated sewage flowed into ground and coast. 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. In the first 15 years of Gaddafi rule, the number of doctors per 1000/citizens increased by seven times, with the number of hospital beds increasing by three times. 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 who could afford it often had to seek medical care in neighboring countries such as Tunisia and Egypt because of lack of decent medical care in Libya.
Libyans have described the Great Manmade River, built under Gaddafi’s regime, as the “Eighth Wonder of the World“. Gaddafi also initiated the Libyan National Telescope Project, costing about 10 million euros.
On 4 March 2008 Gaddafi announced his intention 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. In 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.
Libya’s society became increasingly Islamic during Gaddafi’s rule. His “purification laws” were put into effect in 1994, punishing theft by the amputation of limbs, and fornication and adultery by flogging. Under the Libyan constitution, homosexual relations are punishable by up to 5 years in jail.
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 theFROLINAT revolutionary forces. In 1971, when Muslims took power in Sudan, he offered to merge Libya with Sudan. Gaafar Nimeiry, the President of Sudan, turned him down and angered Gaddafi by signing a peace settlement with the Sudanese Christians. Gaddafi took matters into his own hands in 1972, organizing the Islamic Legion, a paramilitary group, to arabize the region. 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 Touboupopulation of southern Libya through violence. 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. As a side note, Gaddafi’s occupation of Chad led to the liberation of French archeologist Françoise Claustre in 1977. 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. Chad lost 1,000 troops, and was supported by both the United States and France. 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.” 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.
War against Egypt
The disappointment and failure Nasser faced for his lost Six-Day War motivated Gaddafi to better coordinate Arab attacks on Israel. Beginning in 1972, Gaddafi granted financial support and military training to Palestinian militant groups against Israel. 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 defense 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”. 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. 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.” 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. 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 in-part to blame because he had “no control” of Egyptian information media. 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. He called it a just “punishment” for his role in the Camp David Accords.
Gaddafi signed an agreement with Tunisian president Habib Bourguiba to merge nations in 1974. The pact came as a surprise because Bouguiba had rebuked similar offers for over two years previously. 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 defense 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. Gaddafi said recognition of Israel was “an act of treason”. 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.
Gaddafi’s image in the Arab world was damaged severely in 1978 when Shia imam Musa al-Sadr disappeared en route to Libya. 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. Shia Lebanese vigilantes hijacked two Libyan aircraft in 1981, 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. Lebanon formally indicted Gaddafi in 2008 for al-Sadr’s disappearance. Some reports claim that al-Sadr still lives and secretly remains in jail in Libya.
Weapons of mass destruction programs
In 1977, he tried to get a bomb from Pakistan, but Pakistan severed ties before Libya succeeded in building a weapon. After ties were restored, Gaddafi tried to buy a nuclear weapon from India, but instead, India and Libya agreed for a peaceful use of nuclear energy, in line with India’s “atoms for peace” policy.
Several people around the world were indicted for assisting Gaddafi in his chemical weapons programs. Thailand reported its citizens had helped build a storage facility for nerve gas. Germany sentenced a businessman, Jürgen Hippenstiel-Imhausen, to five years in prison for involvement in Libyan chemical weapons.
Inspectors from the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) verified in 2004 that Libya owned a stockpile of 23 metric tons of mustard gas and more than 1,300 metric tons of precursor chemicals. Disposing of such large quantities of chemical weapons was expected to be expensive. Following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by US forces in 2003, Gaddafi announced that his nation had an active weapons of mass destruction program, but was willing to allow international inspectors into his country to observe and dismantle them. US President George W. Bush and other supporters of theIraq War portrayed Gaddafi’s announcement as a direct consequence of the Iraq War. Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, a supporter of the Iraq War, was quoted as saying that Gaddafi had privately phoned him, admitting as much. Many foreign policy experts, however, contend that Gaddafi’s announcement was merely a continuation of his prior attempts at normalizing relations with the West and getting the sanctions removed. To support this, they point to the fact that Libya had already made similar offers starting four years before one was finally accepted. International inspectors turned up several tons of chemical weaponry in Libya, as well as an active nuclear weapons program.
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. 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”. 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. 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.
Alliances with other authoritarian national leaders
Gaddafi had a close relationship with Idi Amin, whom he sponsored and gave some of the key ideas, such as expulsions of Indian-Ugandans. When Amin’s government began to crumble, Gaddafi sent troops to fight against Tanzania on behalf of Amin and 600 Libyan soldiers lost their lives. Gaddafi also financed Mengistu Haile Mariam‘s military junta in Ethiopia, which was later convicted of one of the deadliest genocides in modern history.
Gaddafi ran a school near Benghazi called the World Revolutionary Center (WRC). A notable number of its graduates have seized power in African countries. Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso andIdriss Déby of Chad were graduates of this school, and are currently in power in their respective countries. Gaddafi trained and supported Charles Taylor of Liberia, Foday Sankoh, the founder ofRevolutionary United Front, and Jean-Bédel Bokassa, the Emperor of the Central African Empire.
In Europe, Gaddafi had close ties with Slobodan Milošević and Jörg Haider. According to the Daily Mail, Jörg Haider received tens of millions of dollars from both Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein. 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.
Gaddafi developed a friendship with Hugo Chávez and in March 2009 a stadium was named after the Venezuelan leader. Documents seized during a 2008 raid on FARC showed that both Chavez and Gaddafi backed the group. Gaddafi developed an ongoing relationship with FARC, becoming acquainted with its leaders at meetings of revolutionary groups which were regularly hosted in Libya. In September 2009, at the Second Africa-South America Summiton 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.”
Focus on activities in Africa
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.” Gaddafi’s state-run 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 sported a map of Africa on his outfits from then forward. He also 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.”
Gaddafi’s support frequently went to leaders recognized 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. 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.
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”.
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.
Gaddafi’s strong military support and finances gained him several 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. His 2009 forum for African kings was canceled by the Ugandan hosts, who believed that traditional rulers discussing politics would lead to instability. 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. 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. Gaddafi told the assembled African leaders: “I shall continue to insist that our sovereign countries work to achieve the United States of Africa.”
Gaddafi supported militant organizations that held anti-Western sympathies around the world. The Foreign Minister of Libya called the massacres “heroic acts”. 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. 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, Arab Australians, against the “imperialist” government of Australia. In New Zealand he financed the Workers Revolutionary Party and attempted to radicalize Maoris.
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.”
Gaddafi explicitly stated that he would kill Libyan dissidents that had escaped from Libya, 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. 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”. 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. 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.
On 5 April 1986 Libyan agents bombed “La Belle” nightclub in West Berlin, killing three and injuring 229. Gaddafi’s plan was intercepted by Western intelligence and more detailed information was retrieved some years later from Stasi archives. Libyan agents who had carried out the operation, from the Libyan embassy in East Germany, were prosecuted by the reunited Germany in the 1990s.
Following the 1986 bombing of Libya, Gaddafi intensified his support for anti-American government organizations. He financed the Nation of Islam, which emerged as one of the leading organizations receiving assistance from Libya; and Al-Rukn, in their emergence as an indigenous anti-American armed revolutionary movement. 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.” 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.
Seeking international acceptance
Gaddafi with Spanish President of the Government José Luis Rodríguez Zapateroat the third EU-Africa Summit in Tripoli in November 2010.
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. 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.”
In 1994, Gaddafi eased his relationship with the Western world, beginning with his atonement for the Lockerbie bombings. For three years, he had refused toextradite 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. 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. 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, Britain and Bulgaria co-sponsored a UN resolution to remove the UN sanctions entirely. 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.
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. 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.
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.”
He offered to dismantle his active weapons of mass destruction program in 1999. Gaddafi denounced the al-Qaeda bombers for the 11 September attacks and appeared on American television for an interview with George Stephanopoulos. In 2002, Saddam Hussein paid Gaddafi $3.5 billion to save him should he have an internal coup or war with America. 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. 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. The United States restored its diplomatic relations with Libya during the Bush administration, removing Libya from its list of nations supporting terrorism.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.” Historians have speculated that Gaddafi was merely continuing his attempts at normalizing relations with the West to get oil sanctions removed. There is also evidence that his government was weakened by falling gas prices during the 1990s and 2000s, and his rule was facing significant challenges from its high unemployment rate. The offer was accepted and international inspectors in Libya were led to chemical weaponry as well as an active nuclear weapons program. 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, 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.
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. Gaddafi and Vladimir Putin reportedly discussed establishing a Russian military base in Libya. In August 2008, Gaddafi and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi signed a landmark cooperation treaty in Benghazi.
Gaddafi met with then U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice in September 2008, 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.
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. The Democratic Party and Italy of Values opposed the visit and many protests were staged throughout Italy by human rights non-governmental organizations and Italian Radicals. Gaddafi also took part in the G8 summit in L’Aquila in July as Chairman of the African Union. During the summit a handshake between U.S. President Barack Obama and Muammar Gaddafi marked the first time the Libyan leader had been greeted by a serving U.S. President. 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.
He also met Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman in 2009. 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. On 23 September 2009, Muammar Gaddafi addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York. In 2010, Gaddafi agreed to pay US$3.5 billion to the victims of IRA attacks he assisted during the 1980s.
2011 Libyan civil war
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,and the government lost control of most of Eastern Libya. Gaddafi fought back, accusing the rebels of being “drugged” and linked to al-Qaeda. His military forces 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. He imported foreign mercenaries to defend his government, reportedly paying Ghanaian mercenaries as much as US$2,500 per day for their services.Reports from Libya also confirmed involvement with Belarus, and the presence of Ukrainian and Serbian mercenaries.
Gaddafi’s violent response to the protesters prompted defections from his government.[nb 2] Gaddafi’s “number two” man, Abdul Fatah Younis, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil and several key ambassadors and diplomats resigned from their posts in protest. Other government officials refused to follow orders from Gaddafi, and were jailed for insubordination.
At the beginning of March 2011, Gaddafi returned from a hideout, relying on considerable amounts of Libyan and US cash that had apparently been stored in the capital. 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. 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 have 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.
Crimes against humanity arrest warrant
The UN referred the massacres of unarmed civilians to the International Criminal Court. 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. 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.
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 al-Senussi, head of state security for charges, concerning crimes against humanity. 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”. 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 …” This makes Gaddafi the second still-serving state-leader to have warrants issued against them, the first being Omar al-Bashir of Sudan.
Russia and other countries, including China and Germany, abstained from voting in the UN and have not joined the NATO coalition, which has taken action in Libya by bombing the government’s forces. Mikhail Margelov, the Kremlin special representative for Africa, speaking in an interview for Russian newspaper Izvestia, 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.” He also said that “It is quite possible to solve the situation without the colonel.”
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. On 15 July 2011, at a meeting in Istanbul, more than 30 governments recognised the Transitional National Council (TNC) 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”.
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.
Battle of Tripoli
During the Battle of Tripoli, Gaddafi lost effective political and military control of Tripoli after his compound was captured by rebel forces. 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 through radio, calling upon his supporters to crush the rebels.
On 24 August 2011, after the capture of his stronghold of Bab al-Azizia by loyalist 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.” 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). During the visit, Gaddafi also showed the photo album to Rice, who described it then as “not standard diplomatic practice.”
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. In the 1980s, several students were allegedly hanged in public on the university campus premises. On at least one of these occasions, young high school students were apparently brought by the bus loads to witness the hanging. The victims were typically accused of pursuing activities against the Al Fatah Revolution and the Libyan People.
Capture and death
On 20 September 2011, Gaddafi made a final speech, declaring that “Anyone who says Qaddafi’s government has fallen is nothing but ridiculous and a joke. Qaddafi doesn’t have a government, therefore that government can’t fall. Qaddafi is out of power since 1977 when I have passed the power to the People’s Committees of the Jamahiriya. When 2,000 tribes meet and declare that only the Libyan people represent Libya, doesn’t that say enough? This is the answer to NATO which has said the National Transitional Council from Benghazi represents the Libyan people. The Libyan people are here and they are with me, nobody can represent us. So no legitimacy to anything else or anyone else, the power belongs to the people. All Libyans are members of the People’s Committees. Anything else is false.”
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. He had been in a convoy of vehicles that was targeted by a French air strike on a road about 3 kilometres (2 mi) west of Sirte, killing dozens of loyalist fighters. Gaddafi survived but was wounded and took refuge with several of his bodyguards in a drain underneath the road west of the city. Around noon 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 suggested a Libyan fighter sodomized him “with some kind of stick or knife” after his capture. 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. A rebel fighter 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. Gaddafi’s body was subsequently flown to Misrata and was placed in the freezer of a local market alongside the bodies of Defense Minister Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr and his son and national security adviser Moatassem Gaddafi. The bodies were put on public display, with Libyans from all over the country coming to view them. Many took pictures on their cell phones.
Libya’s Prime Minister and several NTC figures confirmed Gaddafi’s death, claiming he died of wounds suffered during his capture. News channels aired a graphic video claiming to be of Gaddafi’s bloodied body after capture.
On the Muslim prophet Muhammad‘s birthday in 1973, Gaddafi delivered his famous “Five-Point Address” which officially implemented Sharia. Gaddafi’s ideology was largely based on Nasserism, blending Arab nationalism, aspects of the welfare state, and what Gaddafi termed “popular democracy”, 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), and education was emphasized. He also imposed a system of Islamic morals and outlawed alcohol and gambling. School vacations were canceled to allow the teaching of Gaddafi’s ideology in the summer of 1973.
Gaddafi was known for erratic statements, and commentators often expressed uncertainty about what was sarcasm and what was simply incoherent. Over the course of his four-decade rule, he accumulated a wide variety of eccentric and often contradictory statements. He once said that HIV was “a peace virus, not an aggressive virus” and assured attendees at the African Union that “if you are straight you have nothing to fear from AIDS”. He also said that the H1N1 virus was a biological weapon manufactured by a foreign military, and 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”.
Gaddafi was an unabashed proponent of Islam, often with blatant disregard for religious tolerance. He said that Islam is the one true faith and that those who do not follow Islam are “losers”. On another instance, he said that the Christian Bible was a “forgery” and that Jesus Christ was a messenger for the sons of Israel only. In 2006, he predicted Europe would become a Muslim continent within a few decades as a result of its growing Arab population. He endorsed the concept of a peaceful Muslim nation-state. Gaddafi expressed violent hostility towards Israel and the Jewish people throughout his career. At first, he expelled Jews from Libya and sided with Arab states for the elimination of the state of Israel. He funded and supported governments and paramilitary organizations that fought Israel. He said Arab nations that negotiate with Israel are “cowardly”, and on multiple occasions, he encouraged Palestinians to rise up against Israel. He believed in conspiracy theories that Israeli agents had assassinated John F. Kennedy and that Barack Obama’s foreign policy was influenced by fears of being assassinated by Israel.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”. In 2009, he moderated his proposal in a New York Times commentary, saying a single-state solution would “move beyond old conflicts and look to a unified future based on shared culture and respect.”
During Gaddafi’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on 23 September 2009, he blamed the United Nations for failing to prevent 65 wars and claimed that the Security Council had too much power and should be abolished. He demanded that Europe pay its former colonies $7.77 trillion dollars to pay for past imperialism or face “mass immigration”. He opposed the War in Afghanistan, saying the Taliban‘s religious state was peaceful and not linked to bin Laden. He also defended Somali pirates, claiming they protected Somali waters from foreigners.
Despite his ongoing hostility to Jews, rumors arose that he had Jewish heritage. Two Israeli women came forth on Israel’s Channel 2 News to claim that they were close blood relations with Gaddafi. Guita Brown claimed that she was Gaddafi’s second cousin. Brown’s daughter, Rachel Saada, elaborated that Gaddafi’s grandmother was Jewish, and that she left her first husband and married a Muslim man in her second marriage. The older woman also spoke with Israel National News (which identified her as Gita Boaron), and repeated the same claim.
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.
- In 1976, Tunisia’s state television reported that Gaddafi had been fired at by a lone assailant. None of the shots hit him.
- 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’s term in office.
- 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, Oliver North did devise a plot at the time to lure Gaddafi into his compound using Terry Waite. The plot violated US law, which prohibited assassinations, and was never put into action. On 15 April, Gaddafi and his family had 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. 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 belongs 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. 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.
- In February 1996, Islamic extremists attacked Gaddafi’s motorcade near the city of Sirte. Allegedly, Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service was involved, which was denied by future foreign secretary Robin Cook. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office later stated: “We have never denied that we knew of plots against Gaddafi.” In August 1998, former British MI5 officer David Shayler renewed his attacks on the secret services, claiming that MI6 had invested GB£100,000 in a plot to assassinate Gaddafi.
- 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.
Marriages and children
Gaddafi’s first wife was Fatiha al-Nuri (1969–1970). His second wife was Safia Farkash, née el-Brasai, a former nurse from Obeidat tribe born inBayda. 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 al-Gaddafi (born 1970), his eldest son, was the only child born to Gaddafi’s first wife, and ran the Libyan Olympic Committee. 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. 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. He reportedly escaped the next day with the aid of remaining loyalist forces, fleeing to neighboring Algeria with his mother, another brother and his sister.
- 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. During the Battle of Sirte on 20 October 2011, he tried to escape and it has been reported that he was captured by rebel forces and was flown to a hospital but this has not been confirmed.
- Al-Saadi al-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. However, this turned out to be incorrect. In the late evening of 22 August 2011 he spoke with members of the international press.On 30 August, a senior NTC official claimed that Al-Saadi al-Gaddafi had made contact to discuss the terms of his surrender, indicating also that he would wish to remain in Libya.
- Hannibal Muammar Gaddafi (born 20 September 1975), 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). In 2008, he was charged with assaulting two of staff in Switzerland, and was imprisoned by Swiss police. The arrest created a strong standoff between Libya and Switzerland. He fled to neighboring Algeria with his mother, another brother and his sister.
- Ayesha Gaddafi (born 1976), Gaddafi’s only biological daughter, is a lawyer who joined the defense teams of executed former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi.She is married to her father’s cousin. She fled to neighboring Algeria with her mother and two of her brothers, where she gave birth to her fourth child.
- Moatassem Gaddafi (1977 – 20 October 2011), Gaddafi’s fifth 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. Moatassem was killed along with his father during the battle of Sirte.
- Saif al-Arab al-Gaddafi (1982 – 30 April 2011) was appointed a military commander in the Libyan Army during the 2011 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.
- 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.
- Hana Moammar Gadafi (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 USbombing raids in 1986. 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. 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. However, a Libyan official told the Daily Telegraph that Gaddafi adopted a second daughter and named her Hana in honor of the first one who was killed.
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, 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.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 had made no official request for their return.
Italian companies had a strong foothold in Libya. Italy buys a quarter of Libya’s oil and 15% of its natural gas. The LIA owned significant shares in Italy’s Eni oil corporation, Fiat, UniCredit bank, andFinmeccanica. 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. This followed a long-standing association with Italian industrialist Gianni Agnelli and car manufacturer Fiat.
On 25 February 2011 Britain’s Treasury set up a specialised unit to trace Gaddafi’s assets in Britain. Gaddafi allegedly worked for years with Swiss banks to launder international banking transactions.
Gaddafi had an Airbus A340 private jet, which he bought from Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia for $120 million in 2003. 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.
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 some 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 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.
Gaddafi was frequently portrayed as erratic, conceited, and mercurial in nature. During the Reagan administration, the United States regarded him as “public enemy number one” and Reagan dubbed him the “mad dog of the Middle East”. Western media[who?] have since speculated that Gaddafi suffered from manic depression, schizophrenia, and megalomania. Among those who worked with Gaddafi, Anwar Sadat called him “unbalanced and immature” and “a vicious criminal.”Gaafar Nimeiry called him an “evil” person, however 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.” 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. 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.
In his own estimation, Gaddafi considered himself an intellectual and philosopher. 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. 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. 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. 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 reported in 2011 that some of them were subjected to rape and sexual abuse by Gaddafi, his sons and senior officials.) In 2009, it was revealed that he did not travel without his trusted Ukrainian nurse Halyna Kolotnytska, noted as a “voluptuous blonde”. Kolotnytska’s daughter denied the suggestion that the relationship was anything but professional. Gaddafi frequently made sexual advances on female journalists, and successfully bedded a few in exchange for interviews.
Gaddafi made very particular requests when traveling to foreign nations. During his trips to Rome, Paris, Moscow, and New York, he resided in a tent, following his Bedouin traditions. 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. According to a 2009 document release by WikiLeaks, 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.
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.
“Muammar Gaddafi” is the spelling used by Time, Newsweek, Reuters, BBC News, the majority of the British press, and the English service of Al-Jazeera. 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”. The Xinhua News Agency uses “Muammar Khaddafi” in its English reports. 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”.
In 1986, Gaddafi reportedly responded to a Minnesota school’s letter in English using the spelling “Moammar El-Gadhafi”. Until that point, his name had been pronounced with an initial ‘k’ in English.
The title of the homepage of algathafi.org reads “Welcome to the official site of Muammar Al Gathafi”. A 2007 interview with Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi confirms that he uses the spelling “Qadhafi”, and Muhammad Gaddafi‘s official passport uses the spelling “Al-Gathafi”.
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. ABC and MSNBC identified 112 possible spellings. This extensive confusion of naming was used as the subject of a segment of Saturday Night Live‘s Weekend Update on 12 December 1981. 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”.