Mr Hague said: ‘They fully understand that it is very important to us to deal with the tragic issues left behind by Colonel Gaddafi in our country, on top of all the damage that he did to Libya.
‘But as they often point out they need to be able to form a government and have functioning ministries in order to be able to do that. These events yesterday bring closer the day that we can get all of that.’
Wounded: Three officers desperately attempt first aid on W.P.C. Fletcher as she lies injure on the road outside the embassy
No-one has ever been charged over the death of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan Embassy . One of the men linked with the murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher in London in 1984 has been found dead in Libya, according to Libyan opposition officials.
Abdulqadir al-Baghdadi had been named as a suspected “co-conspirator” in the officer’s killing in documents handed to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said the UK wanted to know “a great deal more” about what had happened to him.
The UK is seeking permission for UK investigators to visit Libya.
No-one has ever been charged with the murder of PC Fletcher, who was shot while policing a demonstration outside the Libyan embassy in London.
Mr al-Baghdadi is one of three former diplomatic staff alleged to have been involved in the killing, according to a witness statement given to UK prosecutors – details of which emerged on Saturday.
The account named Mr al-Baghdadi and Matouk Mohammed Matouk as “co-conspirators” who could potentially face prosecution, while alleging that it had been Abdulmagid Salah Ameri, a more junior diplomat at the time, who had actually fired the gun.
All diplomatic staff claimed diplomatic immunity after the murder and were deported.
Amid renewed efforts to find PC Fletcher’s killers, officials from the National Transitional Council – the body recognised by the UK as Libya’s sole governing authority – announced that one of the alleged suspects was dead.
“We can confirm today the death of Abdulqadir al-Baghdadi who is the head of the Revolutionary Guards. He was a minister and he was also accused of shooting Yvonne Fletcher in London in 1984,” deputy head of Tripoli’s council, Usama El-Abed, said.
“We just found the body and he was shot in the head.”
He suggested he had been killed as a result of an “inside vendetta” within groups loyal to the deposed former leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
The Foreign Office said it could not confirm the death and was seeking more details.
“I don’t want to prejudge immediately what has been announced,” Mr Hague told BBC News.
“Of course, we will want to know a great deal more about what the NTC has said has happened in this case. I am sure the police will want to know what has happened and assess themselves whether it affects their investigation in any way.”
One senior NTC figure recently appeared to rule out the possibility of any Libyan being extradited to the UK to face charges in connection with the murder, saying it was not allowed under Libyan law.
But Mr Hague insisted that the NTC had offered to co-operate fully with the police inquiry.
“We, in the Foreign Office, will assist the police in pursuing the investigation in the future, including continuing it in Libya itself,” he added. “The change that is happening in Libya may give additional opportunities to take this investigation forward.”
Downing Street has said it would raise the issue with the NTC and hoped an agreement could be reached on granting UK police investigators access to Libya soon.
Prime Minister David Cameron is due to hold talks with members of the NTC in Paris on Thursday as part of an Anglo-French summit designed to pave the way for it to formally assume power in Libya.
The agenda for the summit was one of a range of issues discussed by ministers in a meeting of the National Security Council, also including efforts to track down Col Gaddafi and a full-scale humanitarian aid drive once fighting has ceased.
Rebel leaders have warned that unless troops loyal to Col Gaddafi in the city of Sirte – his birthplace and one remaining stronghold – surrender by Saturday, they will use force.
Murdered PC Yvonne Fletcher’s suspected killer will not be given up by Libyan rebels – despite William Hague insisting that he will.
Junior diplomat Abdulmagid Salah Ameri has emerged as the prime suspect in the 1984 killing of unarmed Yvonne.
She was 25 when she was gunned down outside the Libyan embassy in London.
Painter and decorator David Robertson claimed he had seen Ameri pointing a gun out of the embassy, according to a previously secret report which was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service in 2007.
The revelation brought hope that Yvonne’s killer could finally be brought to justice but members of Libya’s National Transitional Council insisted they would block any attempt to extradite him.
Hassan al-Sagheer, a legal expert and member of the NTC, said that the rebels did not want to hand anyone over.
Mr al-Sagheer said: “Libya has never extradited or handed over its citizens to a foreign country. We shall continue with this principle.”
Fellow NTC member Fawzi al-Ali added: “According to our laws, no one can be handed over unless there are previous agreements or special arrangements to do so.”
However the Foreign Secretary William Hague yesterday played down the rebuff, which is highly embarrassing for the Government after the help Britain has given the rebels.
Mr Hague said NTC chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil had promised on his recent UK visit that he would help bring the police officer’s killer to justice.
The minister claimed: “When Chairman Jalil of the National Transitional Council was with us in London in May he committed himself and the council to co-operating fully.
“It is true, it is a fact, there is no extradition treaty with Libya, but we look to them to co-operate fully. So I would not take what has been reported today as the last word.”
Mr Hague said that the ongoing police investigation into Yvonne’s death made it “quite difficult” for him to comment any further.
“The police investigation has full diplomatic support and NTC have promised full co-operation,” he added.
BELOW IS AN ICONIC POSTER SIGNED BY JOHN McALEESE AS JOHN MAC PICTURED HERE ON THE FRONT BALCONY AT THE TIME OF THE FINAL ASSAULT ON THE IRANIAN EMBASSY 5 MAY 1980
“WHO DARES WINS” …. WITH OUR ALWAYS HEROIC AND NO HOLDS BARRED SAS (SPECIAL AIR SERVICE) HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , LITTLEDEAN JAIL., FOREST OF DEAN, GLOUCESTERSHIRE,UK. AND NOT FORGETTING OF COURSE THE SBS (SPECIAL BOAT SERVICE) , UK SPECIAL FORCES , BRITISH POLICE AND OTHER EMERGENCY SERVICES , ETC .IT’S ALL COVERED AND TOUCHED UPON HERE AT THE JAIL.
MORE ITEMS BEING ADDED TO THE COLLECTION ON AN ONGOING BASIS , MAKING THIS A PERMANENT AND UNIQUE ADDITION TO THE DIVERSE COLLECTIONS HERE ON DISPLAY .
BELOW IS THE ORIGINAL METROPOLITAN POLICE FORENSIC EXHIBIT IDENTIFICATION TAG (FORM 420) THAT WAS ATTACHED TO THE WEAPON FIRED BY SAS TROOPER- JOHN McALEESE DURING THE IRANIAN EMBASSY SIEGE ON THE 5TH MAY 1980. PERSONALLY SIGNED BY BOTH HIM AND THE INVESTIGATING OFFICERS WHO WERE HANDED ALL THE USED WEAPONS AFTER THE SUCCESSFUL OPERATION . NOW ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL AS PART OF THE “SAS -WHO DARES WINS” EXHIBITION
Original various SAS Counter Revolutionary Warfare(CRW) black-kits and Bravo Two Zero desert warfare kit as on display at Littledean Jail’s …. SAS WHO DARES WINS COUNTER REVOLUTIONARY WARFARE (CRW) EXHIBITION
HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL IN AND AMONGST OUR MANY DIVERSE TRUE CRIME AND OTHER INEXTRICABLY LINKED COLLECTIONS , MEMORABILIA AND EPHEMERA, WE ALSO PROVIDE AN INTRIGUING INSIGHT AND BRIEF EXHIBITION TOUCHING UPON THE HEROICS OF THE BRITISH ARMY’S SAS, INCLUDES THE 1980’S IRANIAN EMBASSY SIEGE, SAS BLACK ASSAULT KITS, WEAPONRY, AUTHENTIC SAS SIGNED ITEMS , COMMEMORATIVE AND PRESENTATION PIECES,SAS ACTION MAN FIGURES ……….. TO NAME BUT A FEW ITEMS HERE ON DISPLAY .
AN EVER GROWING SAS EXHIBITION WELL WORTH A VISIT,.SO IF IN THE AREA PLEASE DO COME AND SEE IT…..
BELOW ARE A FEW IMAGES OF SOME OF THE HEROIC FORMER SAS COMMANDERS, SOLDIERS ETC THAT WE FEATURE HERE ON DISPLAY IN OUR BRIEF SAS EXHIBITION HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL ALONG WITH A PICTORIAL INSIGHT INTO JUST A FEW OF THE EVER INCREASING ARRAY OF SAS MEMORABILIA AND EPHEMERA HERE ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL
Original various SAS Counter Revolutionary Warfare(CRW) black-kits and Bravo Two Zero desert warfare kit as on display at Littledean Jail’s …. SAS WHO DARES WINS COUNTER TERRORISM EXHIBITION
BELOW ARE A FEW MORE IMAGES OF VARIOUS ADDITIONAL SAS COUNTER REVOULTIONARY WARFARE (CRW) – BLACK-KIT ITEMS NOW HERE ON DISPLAY ALONG WITH AN EVER INCREASING ARRAY OF ORIGINAL SAS USED EQUIPMENT AND OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST.
HOPEFULLY OF HISTORICAL REFERENCE PURPOSES TOO FOR VARIOUS FORUMS RELATING TO THE SAS , OPERATION NIMROD – IRANIAN EMBASSY SIEGE (1980)
HERE BELOW IS SOME SCARCE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTARY FOOTAGE FROM THE 1980 IRANIAN EMBASSY SIEGE .
WE ARE OBVIOUSLY KEEN TO WORK WITH OR ALONGSIDE ANY RELEVANT SAS RELATED FORUMS AND INVITE ANY CONTACTS FOR FUTURE PRIVATE ACQUISITIONS FOR DISPLAY HERE IN THE FUTURE .
Original various SAS Counter Revolutionary Warfare(CRW) black-kits and Bravo Two Zero desert warfare kit as on display at Littledean Jail’s …. SAS WHO DARES WINS COUNTER TERRORISM EXHIBITION
Original various SAS Counter Revolutionary Warfare(CRW) black-kits and Bravo Two Zero desert warfare kit as on display at Littledean Jail’s …. SAS WHO DARES WINS COUNTER TERRORISM EXHIBITION
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF A BRUTAL TYRANT – SADDAM HUSSEIN …..
A GREAT MANY WOULD SAY AND FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT SADDAM HUSSEIN SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DEPOSED BY INTERFERING WESTERN POLITICAL LEADERS AND SHOULD HAVE REMAINED IN POWER ???
POLITE WARNING… WE ARE PREDOMINANTLY A HISTORICAL AND HOPEFULLY EDUCATIONAL MUSEUM OF CRIME, SLEAZE, SCANDAL AND THE TABOO ….THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION, HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL IS NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN OR THOSE EASILY DISTURBED OR OF A SENSITIVE NATURE ….
TRUE CRIME MURDERABILIA, MAIMERABILIA, DISMALABILIA AND MUCH MORE HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , LITTLEDEAN JAIL, FOREST OF DEAN, GLOUCESTERSHIRE, UK .
ON DISPLAY WE HAVE A VAST ARRAY OF TRUE CRIME RELATED MEMORABILIA ITEMS COVERING MANY OF THE WORLDS MOST EVIL MEN AND WOMEN, TYRANTS, WARLORD, SERIAL KILLERS, GANGSTERS, CRIMINALS, ETC.
A UNIQUE PRIVATE COLLECTION LIKE NO OTHER
BELOW IS THE GENUINE ORIGINAL TOILET SEAT REMOVED FROM SADDAM HUSSEIN’S BASRA PRESIDENTIAL PALACE AT THE TIME OF LIBERATION IN 2003 BY NEWS OF THE WORLD REPORTER CHRIS BUXTON WHO WAS THERE WITH THE UK’S DESERT RATS ON 7 APRIL 2003 . THIS NOW ON DISPLAY HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , LITTLEDEAN JAIL
Below : News Of The World Journalist Chris Buxton pictured at Saddam Hussein’s Basra Palace in Iraq inside the toilet area
BELOW: CLOSE UP OF SADDAM’S TOILET SEAT, UNDOUBTEDLY USED BY SADDAM AND HIS ROYAL FAMILY ON A GREAT MANY OCCASSIONS PRIOR TO THE LIBERATION OF IRAQ AND HIS SUBSEQUENT CAPTURE IN 2003
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti (Arabic: صدام حسين عبد المجيد التكريتي Ṣaddām Ḥusayn ʿAbd al-Maǧīd al-Tikrītī; 28 April 1937 – 30 December 2006) was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003. A leading member of the revolutionary Iraqi Ba’ath Party, which espoused a mix of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism, Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup that brought the party to long-term power of Iraq.
As vice president under the ailing General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, and at a time when many groups were considered capable of overthrowing the government, Saddam created security forces through which he tightly controlled conflict between the government and the armed forces. In the early 1970s, Saddam nationalized oil and other industries. The state-owned banks were put under his control, leaving the system eventually insolvent. Through the 1970s, Saddam cemented his authority over the apparatuses of government as oil money helped Iraq’s economy to grow at a rapid pace. Positions of power in the country were filled with Sunnis, a minority that made up only a fifth of the population.
Saddam suppressed several movements, particularly Shi’a and Kurdish movements seeking to overthrow the government or gain independence, respectively. Saddam maintained power during the Iran–Iraq War of 1980 through 1988. In 1990 he invaded and looted Kuwait. An international coalition came to free Kuwait in the Gulf War of 1991, but did not end Saddam’s rule. Whereas some venerated him for his aggressive stance against Israel, including firing missiles at Israeli targets, he was widely condemned for the brutality of his dictatorship.
In March 2003, a coalition of countries led by the U.S. and U.K. invaded Iraq to depose Saddam, controversially citing his weapons of mass destruction and terror links. Saddam’s Ba’ath party was disbanded and the nation made a transition to a democratic system. Following his capture on 13 December 2003 (inOperation Red Dawn), the trial of Saddam took place under the Iraqi interim government. On 5 November 2006, he was convicted of charges related to the 1982 killing of 148 Iraqi Shi’ites and was sentenced to death by hanging. The execution of Saddam Hussein was carried out on 30 December 2006.
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was born in the town of Al-Awja, 13 km (8 mi) from the Iraqi town of Tikrit, to a family of shepherds from the al-Begat tribal group, a sub-group of the Al-Bu Nasir (البو ناصر) tribe. His mother, Subha Tulfah al-Mussallat, named her newborn son Saddam, which in Arabicmeans “One who confronts”; he is always referred to by this personal name, which may be followed by the patronymic and other elements. He never knew his father, Hussein ‘Abid al-Majid, who disappeared six months before Saddam was born. Shortly afterward, Saddam’s 13-year-old brother died of cancer. The infant Saddam was sent to the family of his maternal uncle Khairallah Talfah until he was three.Youth
His mother remarried, and Saddam gained three half-brothers through this marriage. His stepfather, Ibrahim al-Hassan, treated Saddam harshly after his return. At about age 10, Saddam fled the family and returned to live in Baghdad with his uncle Kharaillah Tulfah. Tulfah, the father of Saddam’s future wife, was a devout Sunni Muslim and a veteran from the 1941 Anglo-Iraqi War between Iraqi nationalists and the United Kingdom, which remained a major colonial power in the region. Later in his life relatives from his native Tikrit became some of his closest advisors and supporters. Under the guidance of his uncle he attended a nationalistic high school in Baghdad. After secondary school Saddam studied at an Iraqi law school for three years, dropping out in 1957 at the age of 20 to join the revolutionary pan-Arab Ba’ath Party, of which his uncle was a supporter. During this time, Saddam apparently supported himself as a secondary school teacher.
Revolutionary sentiment was characteristic of the era in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. In Iraq progressives and socialists assailed traditional political elites (colonial era bureaucrats and landowners, wealthy merchants and tribal chiefs, monarchists). Moreover, the pan-Arab nationalism of Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt profoundly influenced young Ba’athists like Saddam. The rise of Nasser foreshadowed a wave of revolutions throughout the Middle East in the 1950s and 1960s, with the collapse of the monarchies of Iraq, Egypt, and Libya. Nasser inspired nationalists throughout the Middle East by fighting the British and the French during the Suez Crisis of 1956, modernizing Egypt, and uniting the Arab world politically.
In 1958, a year after Saddam had joined the Ba’ath party, army officers led by General Abd al-Karim Qasim overthrew Faisal II of Iraq. The Ba’athists opposed the new government, and in 1959 Saddam was involved in the unsuccessful United States-backed plot to assassinate Qasim.
Rise to power
Army officers with ties to the Ba’ath Party overthrew Qasim in a coup in 1963. Ba’athist leaders were appointed to the cabinet and Abdul Salam Arif became president. Arif dismissed and arrested the Ba’athist leaders later that year. Saddam returned to Iraq, but was imprisoned in 1964. Just prior to his imprisonment and until 1968, Saddam held the position of Ba’ath party secretary. He escaped from prison in 1967 and quickly became a leading member of the party. In 1968, Saddam participated in a bloodless coup led by Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr that overthrew Abdul Rahman Arif. Al-Bakr was named president and Saddam was named his deputy, and deputy chairman of the Baathist Revolutionary Command Council. According to biographers, Saddam never forgot the tensions within the first Ba’athist government, which formed the basis for his measures to promote Ba’ath party unity as well as his resolve to maintain power and programs to ensure social stability.
Iraq was a strategic buffer state for the United States against the Soviet Union, and Saddam was often seen as an anti-Soviet leader in the 1960s and 1970s. Some even suggested that John F. Kennedy’s administration supported the Ba’ath party’s takeover. Although Saddam was al-Bakr’s deputy, he was a strong behind-the-scenes party politician. Al-Bakr was the older and more prestigious of the two, but by 1969 Saddam Hussein clearly had become the moving force behind the party.
Promoting women’s literacy and education in the 1970s
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, as vice chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, formally the al-Bakr’s second-in-command, Saddam built a reputation as a progressive, effective politician. At this time, Saddam moved up the ranks in the new government by aiding attempts to strengthen and unify the Ba’ath party and taking a leading role in addressing the country’s major domestic problems and expanding the party’s following.
After the Baathists took power in 1968, Saddam focused on attaining stability in a nation riddled with profound tensions. Long before Saddam, Iraq had been split along social, ethnic, religious, and economic fault lines: Sunni versus Shi’ite, Arab versus Kurd, tribal chief versus urban merchant, nomad versus peasant. Stable rule in a country rife with factionalism required[dubious – discuss] both massive repression and the improvement of living standards.
Saddam actively fostered the modernization of the Iraqi economy along with the creation of a strong security apparatus to prevent coups within the power structure and insurrections apart from it. Ever concerned with broadening his base of support among the diverse elements of Iraqi society and mobilizing mass support, he closely followed the administration of state welfare and development programs.
At the center of this strategy was Iraq’s oil. On 1 June 1972, Saddam oversaw the seizure of international oil interests, which, at the time, dominated the country’s oil sector. A year later, world oil prices rose dramatically as a result of the 1973 energy crisis, and skyrocketing revenues enabled Saddam to expand his agenda.
Within just a few years, Iraq was providing social services that were unprecedented among Middle Eastern countries. Saddam established and controlled the “National Campaign for the Eradication of Illiteracy” and the campaign for “Compulsory Free Education in Iraq,” and largely under his auspices, the government established universal free schooling up to the highest education levels; hundreds of thousands learned to read in the years following the initiation of the program. The government also supported families of soldiers, granted free hospitalization to everyone, and gave subsidies to farmers. Iraq created one of the most modernized public-health systems in the Middle East, earning Saddam an award from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO).
With the help of increasing oil revenues, Saddam diversified the largely oil-based Iraqi economy. Saddam implemented a national infrastructure campaign that made great progress in building roads, promoting mining, and developing other industries. The campaign helped Iraq’s energy industries. Electricity was brought to nearly every city in Iraq, and many outlying areas.
Before the 1970s, most of Iraq’s people lived in the countryside and roughly two-thirds were peasants. This number would decrease quickly during the 1970s as global oil prices helped revenues to rise from less than a half billion dollars to tens of billions of dollars and the country invested into industrial expansion.
Saddam was lucky for the revenue. The Economist described the sentiments, stating that “Much as Adolf Hitler won early praise for galvanising German industry, ending mass unemployment and building autobahns, Saddam earned admiration abroad for his deeds. He had a good instinct for what the “Arab street” demanded, following the decline in Egyptian leadership brought about by the trauma of Israel’s six-day victory in the 1967 war, the death of the pan-Arabist hero, Gamal Abdul Nasser, in 1970, and the “traitorous” drive by his successor, Anwar Sadat, to sue for peace with the Jewish state. Saddam’s self-aggrandising propaganda, with himself posing as the defender of Arabism against Jewish or Persian intruders, was heavy-handed, but consistent as a drumbeat. It helped, of course, that his mukhabarat (secret police) put dozens of Arab news editors, writers and artists on the payroll.”
In 1972 Saddam started developing his chemical weapons program. In 1973 he signed a 15-year Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with the Soviet Union.
Saddam focused on fostering loyalty to the Ba’athists in the rural areas. After nationalizing foreign oil interests, Saddam supervised the modernization of the countryside, mechanizing agriculture on a large scale, and distributing land to peasant farmers. The Ba’athists established farm cooperatives and the government also doubled expenditures for agricultural development in 1974–1975. Saddam’s welfare programs were part of a combination of “carrot and stick” tactics to enhance support for Saddam. The state-owned banks were put under his thumb. Lending was based on cronyism
Development went forward at such a fevered pitch that two million people from other Arab countries and even Yugoslavia worked in Iraq to meet the growing demand for labor.
In 1976, Saddam rose to the position of general in the Iraqi armed forces, and rapidly became the strongman of the government. As the ailing, elderly al-Bakr became unable to execute his duties, Saddam took on an increasingly prominent role as the face of the government both internally and externally. He soon became the architect of Iraq’s foreign policy and represented the nation in all diplomatic situations. He was the de facto leader of Iraq some years before he formally came to power in 1979. He slowly began to consolidate his power over Iraq’s government and the Ba’ath party. Relationships with fellow party members were carefully cultivated, and Saddam soon accumulated a powerful circle of support within the party.
In 1979 al-Bakr started to make treaties with Syria, also under Ba’athist leadership, that would lead to unification between the two countries. Syrian President Hafez al-Assad would become deputy leader in a union, and this would drive Saddam to obscurity. Saddam acted to secure his grip on power. He forced the ailing al-Bakr to resign on 16 July 1979, and formally assumed the presidency.
Shortly afterwards, he convened an assembly of Ba’ath party leaders on 22 July 1979. During the assembly, which he ordered videotaped (viewable via this reference), Saddam claimed to have found a fifth column within the Ba’ath Party and directed Muhyi Abdel-Hussein to read out a confession and the names of 68 alleged co-conspirators. These members were labelled “disloyal” and were removed from the room one by one and taken into custody. After the list was read, Saddam congratulated those still seated in the room for their past and future loyalty. The 68 people arrested at the meeting were subsequently tried together and found guilty of treason. 22 were sentenced to execution. Other high-ranking members of the party formed the firing squad. By 1 August 1979, hundreds of high-ranking Ba’ath party members had been executed.
Saddam was notable for terror against his own people. The Economist described Saddam as “one of the last of the 20th century’s great dictators, but not the least in terms of egotism, or cruelty, or morbid will to power”.
The New York Times described in its obituary how Saddam “murdered as many as a million of his people, many with poison gas. He tortured, maimed and imprisoned countless more. His unprovoked invasion of Iran is estimated to have left another million people dead. His seizure of Kuwait threw the Middle East into crisis. More insidious, arguably, was the psychological damage he inflicted on his own land. Hussein created a nation of informants — friends on friends, circles within circles — making an entire population complicit in his rule”. Others have estimated 800,000 deaths caused by Saddam not counting the Iran-Iraq war. Estimates as to the number of Iraqis executed by Saddam’s regime vary from 300–500,000 to over 600,000, estimates as to the number of Kurds he massacred vary from 70,000 to 300,000, and estimates as to the number killed in the put-down of the 1991 rebellion vary from 60,000 to 200,000. Estimates for the number of dead in the Iran-Iraq war range upwards from 300,000.
Iraqi society is divided along lines of language, religion and ethnicity; Saddam’s government rested on the support of the 20% minority of Sunnis. The Ba’ath Party was increasingly concerned about potential Shi’a Islamist influence following the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The Kurds of northern Iraq (who are Sunni, but not Arabs) were also permanently hostile to the Ba’athist party’s pan-Arabism. To maintain power Saddam tended either to provide them with benefits so as to co-opt them into the regime, or to take repressive measures against them. The major instruments for accomplishing this control were the paramilitary and police organizations. Beginning in 1974, Taha Yassin Ramadan (himself a Kurd Baathist), a close associate of Saddam, commanded the People’s Army, which was responsible for internal security. As the Ba’ath Party’s paramilitary, the People’s Army acted as a counterweight against any coup attempts by the regular armed forces. In addition to the People’s Army, the Department of General Intelligence (Mukhabarat) was the most notorious arm of the state security system, feared for its use of torture and assassination. It was commanded by Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Saddam’s younger half-brother. Since 1982, foreign observers believed that this department operated both at home and abroad in their mission to seek out and eliminate Saddam’s perceived opponents.
As a sign of his consolidation of power, Saddam’s personality cult pervaded Iraqi society. Thousands of portraits, posters, statues and murals were erected in his honor all over Iraq. His face could be seen on the sides of office buildings, schools, airports, and shops, as well as on Iraqi currency. Saddam’s personality cult reflected his efforts to appeal to the various elements in Iraqi society. He appeared in the costumes of the Bedouin, the traditional clothes of the Iraqi peasant (which he essentially wore during his childhood), and even Kurdish clothing, but also appeared in Western suits, projecting the image of an urbane and modern leader. Sometimes he would also be portrayed as a devout Muslim, wearing full headdress and robe, praying toward Mecca.
He erected statues around the country, which Iraqis toppled after his fall.
Iraq’s relations with the Arab world have been extremely varied. Relations between Iraq and Egypt violently ruptured in 1977, when the two nations broke relations with each other following Iraq’s criticism of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat‘s peace initiatives with Israel. In 1978, Baghdad hosted an Arab League summit that condemned and ostracized Egypt for accepting the Camp David accords. However, Egypt’s strong material and diplomatic support for Iraq in the war with Iran led to warmer relations and numerous contacts between senior officials, despite the continued absence of ambassadorial-level representation. Since 1983, Iraq has repeatedly called for restoration of Egypt’s “natural role” among Arab countries.
Saddam developed a reputation for liking expensive goods, such as his diamond-coated Rolex wristwatch, and sent copies of them to his friends around the world. To his ally Kenneth Kaunda Saddam once sent a Boeing 747 full of presents — rugs, televisions, ornaments. Kaunda sent back his own personal magician.
Saddam had close relationship with Russian intelligence agent Yevgeny Primakov and apparently Primakov helped Saddam to stay in power in 1991.
Several Iraqi leaders, Lebanese arms merchant Sarkis Soghanalian and others have told that Saddam financed Chirac’s party. In 1991 Saddam threatened to expose those who had taken largasse from him: “From Mr. Chirac to Mr. Chevènement, politicians and economic leaders were in open competition to spend time with us and flatter us. We have now grasped the reality of the situation. If the trickery continues, we will be forced to unmask them, all of them, before the French public.” France armed Saddam and it was Iraq’s largest trade partner throughout Saddam’s rule. Seized documents show how French officials and businessmen close to Chirac, including Charles Pasqua, his former interior minister, personally benefitted from the deals with Saddam.
Because that Saddam Hussein rarely left Iraq, Tariq Aziz, one of Saddam’s aides, traveled abroad extensively and represented Iraq at many diplomatic meetings. In foreign affairs, Saddam sought to have Iraq play a leading role in the Middle East. Iraq signed an aid pact with the Soviet Union in 1972, and arms were sent along with several thousand advisers. However, the 1978 crackdown on Iraqi Communists and a shift of trade toward the West strained Iraqi relations with the Soviet Union; Iraq then took on a more Western orientation until the Gulf War in 1991.
After the oil crisis of 1973, France had changed to a more pro-Arab policy and was accordingly rewarded by Saddam with closer ties. He made a state visit to France in 1975, cementing close ties with some French business and ruling political circles. In 1975 Saddam negotiated an accord with Iran that contained Iraqi concessions on border disputes. In return, Iran agreed to stop supporting opposition Kurds in Iraq. Saddam led Arab opposition to the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel (1979).
Saddam initiated Iraq’s nuclear enrichment project in the 1980s, with French assistance. The first Iraqi nuclear reactor was named by the French “Osirak“. Osirak was destroyed on 7 June 1981 by an Israeli air strike (Operation Opera).
Nearly from its founding as a modern state in 1920, Iraq has had to deal with Kurdish separatists in the northern part of the country. Saddam did negotiate an agreement in 1970 with separatist Kurdish leaders, giving them autonomy, but the agreement broke down. The result was brutal fighting between the government and Kurdish groups and even Iraqi bombing of Kurdish villages in Iran, which caused Iraqi relations with Iran to deteriorate. However, after Saddam had negotiated the 1975 treaty with Iran, the Shah withdrew support for the Kurds, who suffered a total defeat.
In early 1979, Iran’s Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was overthrown by the Islamic Revolution, thus giving way to an Islamic republic led by the Ayatollah Khomeini. The influence of revolutionary Shi’ite Islam grew apace in the region, particularly in countries with large Shi’ite populations, especially Iraq. Saddam feared that radical Islamic ideas — hostile to his secular rule — were rapidly spreading inside his country among the majority Shi’ite population.
There had also been bitter enmity between Saddam and Khomeini since the 1970s. Khomeini, having been exiled from Iran in 1964, took up residence in Iraq, at the Shi’ite holy city of An Najaf. There he involved himself with Iraqi Shi’ites and developed a strong, worldwide religious and political following against the Iranian Government, whom Saddam tolerated. However, when Khomeini began to urge the Shi’ites there to overthrow Saddam and under pressure from the Shah, who had agreed to a rapprochement between Iraq and Iran in 1975, Saddam agreed to expel Khomeini in 1978 to France. However this turned out to be an imminent failure and a political catalyst, for Khomeini had access to more media connections and also collaborated with a much larger Iranian community under his support whom he used to his advantage.
After Khomeini gained power, skirmishes between Iraq and revolutionary Iran occurred for ten months over the sovereignty of the disputed Shatt al-Arabwaterway, which divides the two countries. During this period, Saddam Hussein publicly maintained that it was in Iraq’s interest not to engage with Iran, and that it was in the interests of both nations to maintain peaceful relations. However, in a private meeting with Salah Omar Al-Ali, Iraq’s permanent ambassador to the United Nations, he revealed that he intended to invade and occupy a large part of Iran within months. Later (probably to appeal for support from the United States and most Western nations), he would make toppling the Islamic government one of his intentions as well. Iraq invaded Iran, first attackingMehrabad Airport of Tehran and then entering the oil-rich Iranian land of Khuzestan, which also has a sizable Arab minority, on 22 September 1980 and declared it a new province of Iraq. With the support of the Arab states, the United States, and Europe, and heavily financed by the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Saddam Hussein had become “the defender of the Arab world” against a revolutionary Iran. The only exception was The Soviet Union, who initially refused to supply Iraq on the basis of Neutrality in the conflict, although in his memoirs, Mikhail Gorbachev claimed that Leonid Brezhnev refused to aid Saddam over infuriation of Saddam’s treatment of Iraqi Communists. Consequently, many viewed Iraq as “an agent of the civilized world”. The blatant disregard of international law and violations of international borders were ignored. Instead Iraq received economic and military support from its allies, who conveniently overlooked Saddam’s use of chemical warfare against the Kurds and the Iranians and Iraq’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
In the first days of the war, there was heavy ground fighting around strategic ports as Iraq launched an attack on Khuzestan. After making some initial gains, Iraq’s troops began to suffer losses from human wave attacks by Iran. By 1982, Iraq was on the defensive and looking for ways to end the war.
At this point, Saddam asked his ministers for candid advice. Health Minister Dr. Riyadh Ibrahim suggested that Saddam temporarily step down to promote peace negotiations. Initially, Saddam Hussein appeared to take in this opinion as part of his cabinet democracy. A few weeks later, Dr. Ibrahim was sacked when held responsible for a fatal incident in an Iraqi hospital where a patient died from intravenous administration of the wrong concentration of potassium supplement.
Dr. Ibrahim was arrested a few days after he started his new life as a sacked Minister. He was known to have publicly declared before that arrest that he was “glad that he got away alive.” Pieces of Ibrahim’s dismembered body were delivered to his wife the next day.
Iraq quickly found itself bogged down in one of the longest and most destructive wars of attrition of the twentieth century. During the war, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iranian forces fighting on the southern front and Kurdish separatists who were attempting to open up a northern front in Iraq with the help of Iran. These chemical weapons were developed by Iraq from materials and technology supplied primarily by West German companies as well as  theReagan administration of the United States which also supplied Iraq with “satellite photos showing Iranian deployments” and advised Hussein to bomb civilian targets in Tehran and other Iranian cities. France sold 25 billion dollars worth arms to Saddam.
Saddam reached out to other Arab governments for cash and political support during the war, particularly after Iraq’s oil industry severely suffered at the hands of the Iranian navy in the Persian Gulf. Iraq successfully gained some military and financial aid, as well as diplomatic and moral support, from the Soviet Union, China, France, and the United States, which together feared the prospects of the expansion of revolutionary Iran’s influence in the region. The Iranians, demanding that the international community should force Iraq to pay war reparations to Iran, refused any suggestions for a cease-fire. Despite several calls for a ceasefire by the United Nations Security Council, hostilities continued until 20 August 1988.
On 16 March 1988, the Kurdish town of Halabja was attacked with a mix of mustard gas and nerve agents, killing 5,000 civilians, and maiming, disfiguring, or seriously debilitating 10,000 more. (see Halabja poison gas attack) The attack occurred in conjunction with the 1988 al-Anfal campaign designed to reassert central control of the mostly Kurdish population of areas of northern Iraq and defeat the Kurdish peshmerga rebel forces. The United States now maintains that Saddam ordered the attack to terrorize the Kurdish population in northern Iraq, but Saddam’s regime claimed at the time that Iran was responsible for the attack which some including the U.S. supported until several years later. (See also Halabja poison gas attack.)
The bloody eight-year war ended in a stalemate. There were hundreds of thousands of casualties with estimates of up to one million dead. Neither side had achieved what they had originally desired and at the borders were left nearly unchanged. The southern, oil rich and prosperous Khuzestan and Basra area (the main focus of the war, and the primary source of their economies) were almost completely destroyed and were left at the pre 1979 border, while Iran managed to make some small gains on its borders in the Northern Kurdish area. Both economies, previously healthy and expanding, were left in ruins.
Saddam borrowed tens of billions of dollars from other Arab states and a few billions from elsewhere during the 1980s to fight Iran, mainly to prevent the expansion of Shiite radicalism. However, this had proven to completely backfire both on Iraq and on the part of the Arab states, for Khomeini was widely perceived as a hero for managing to defend Iran and maintain the war with little foreign support against the heavily backed Iraq and only managed to boost Islamic radicalism not only within the Arab states, but within Iraq itself, creating new tensions between the Sunni Baath Party and the majority Shiite population. Faced with rebuilding Iraq’s infrastructure and internal resistance, Saddam desperately sought out cash once again, this time for postwar reconstruction.
Tensions with Kuwait
The end of the war with Iran served to deepen latent tensions between Iraq and its wealthy neighbor Kuwait. Saddam urged the Kuwaitis to forgive the Iraqi debt accumulated in the war, some $30 billion, but they refused.
Saddam pushed oil-exporting countries to raise oil prices by cutting back production; Kuwait refused, however. In addition to refusing the request, Kuwait spearheaded the opposition in OPEC to the cuts that Saddam had requested. Kuwait was pumping large amounts of oil, and thus keeping prices low, when Iraq needed to sell high-priced oil from its wells to pay off a huge debt.
Saddam had always argued that Kuwait was historically an integral part of Iraq, and that Kuwait had only come into being through the maneuverings of British imperialism; this echoed a belief that Iraqi nationalists had voiced for the past 50 years. This belief was one of the few articles of faith uniting the political scene in a nation rife with sharp social, ethnic, religious, and ideological divides.
The extent of Kuwaiti oil reserves also intensified tensions in the region. The oil reserves of Kuwait (with a population of 2 million next to Iraq’s 25) were roughly equal to those of Iraq. Taken together, Iraq and Kuwait sat on top of some 20 percent of the world’s known oil reserves; as an article of comparison, Saudi Arabia holds 25 percent.
Saddam complained to the U.S. State Department that Kuwait had slant drilled oil out of wells that Iraq considered to be within its disputed border with Kuwait. Saddam still had an experienced and well-equipped army, which he used to influence regional affairs. He later ordered troops to the Iraq–Kuwait border.
As Iraq-Kuwait relations rapidly deteriorated, Saddam was receiving conflicting information about how the U.S. would respond to the prospects of an invasion. For one, Washington had been taking measures to cultivate a constructive relationship with Iraq for roughly a decade. The Reagan administration gave Saddam roughly $40 billion in aid in the 1980s to fight Iran, nearly all of it on credit. The U.S. also gave Saddam billions of dollars to keep him from forming a strong alliance with the Soviets. Saddam’s Iraq became “the third-largest recipient of U.S. assistance”.
U.S. ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie met with Saddam in an emergency meeting on 25 July 1990, where the Iraqi leader stated his intention to give negotiations only… one more brief chance before forcing Iraq’s claims on Kuwait. U.S. officials attempted to maintain a conciliatory line with Iraq, indicating that while George H. W. Bush and James Baker did not want force used, they would not take any position on the Iraq–Kuwait boundary dispute and did not want to become involved. Whatever Glaspie did or did not say in her interview with Saddam, the Iraqis assumed that the United States had invested too much in building relations with Iraq over the 1980s to sacrifice them for Kuwait. Later, Iraq and Kuwait met for a final negotiation session, which failed. Saddam then sent his troops into Kuwait. As tensions between Washington and Saddam began to escalate, the Soviet Union, under Mikhail Gorbachev, strengthened its military relationship with the Iraqi leader, providing him military advisers, arms and aid.
On 2 August 1990, Saddam invaded Kuwait, initially claiming assistance to “Kuwaiti revolutionaries,” thus sparking an international crisis. On 4 August an Iraqi-backed “Provisional Government of Free Kuwait” was proclaimed, but a total lack of legitimacy and support for it led to an 8 August announcement of a “merger” of the two countries. On 28 August Kuwait formally became the 19thGovernorate of Iraq. Just two years after the 1988 Iraq and Iran truce, “Saddam Hussein did what his Gulf patrons had earlier paid him to prevent.” Having removed the threat of Iranian fundamentalism he “overran Kuwait and confronted his Gulf neighbors in the name of Arab nationalism and Islam.”
When later asked why he invaded Kuwait, Saddam first claimed that it was because Kuwait was rightfully Iraq’s 19th province and then said “When I get something into my head I act. That’s just the way I am.” With Saddam’s seizure of Kuwait in August 1990 an UN coalition led by the United States drove Iraq’s troops from Kuwait in February 1991. The ability for Saddam Hussein to pursue such military aggression was from a “military machine paid for in large part by the tens of billions of dollars Kuwait and the Gulf states had poured into Iraq and the weapons and technology provided by the Soviet Union, Germany, and France.”
Shortly before he invaded Kuwait, he shipped 100 new Mercedes 200 Series cars to top editors in Egypt and Jordan. Two days before the first attacks, Saddam reportedly offered Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak 50 million dollars in cash, “ostensibly for grain”.
U.S. President George H. W. Bush responded cautiously for the first several days. On one hand, Kuwait, prior to this point, had been a virulent enemy of Israel and was the Persian Gulf monarchy that had had the most friendly relations with the Soviets. On the other hand, Washington foreign policymakers, along with Middle East experts, military critics, and firms heavily invested in the region, were extremely concerned with stability in this region. The invasion immediately triggered fears that the world’s price of oil, and therefore control of the world economy, was at stake. Britain profited heavily from billions of dollars of Kuwaiti investments and bank deposits. Bush was perhaps swayed while meeting with British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who happened to be in the U.S. at the time.
Co-operation between the United States and the Soviet Union made possible the passage of resolutions in the United Nations Security Council giving Iraq a deadline to leave Kuwait and approving the use of force if Saddam did not comply with the timetable. U.S. officials feared Iraqi retaliation against oil-rich Saudi Arabia, since the 1940s a close ally of Washington, for the Saudis’ opposition to the invasion of Kuwait. Accordingly, the U.S. and a group of allies, including countries as diverse as Egypt, Syria and Czechoslovakia, deployed a massive amount of troops along the Saudi border with Kuwait and Iraq in order to encircle the Iraqi army, the largest in the Middle East.
Saddam’s officers looted Kuwait, stripping even the marble from its palaces to move it to Saddam’s own palace.
During the period of negotiations and threats following the invasion, Saddam focused renewed attention on the Palestinian problem by promising to withdraw his forces from Kuwait if Israel would relinquish the occupied territories in the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and the Gaza Strip. Saddam’s proposal further split the Arab world, pitting U.S.- and Western-supported Arab states against the Palestinians. The allies ultimately rejected any linkage between the Kuwait crisis and Palestinian issues.
Saddam ignored the Security Council deadline. Backed by the Security Council, a U.S.-led coalition launched round-the-clock missile and aerial attacks on Iraq, beginning 16 January 1991. Israel, though subjected to attack by Iraqi missiles, refrained from retaliating in order not to provoke Arab states into leaving the coalition. A ground force consisting largely of U.S. and British armoured and infantry divisions ejected Saddam’s army from Kuwait in February 1991 and occupied the southern portion of Iraq as far as the Euphrates.
On 6 March 1991, Bush announced:
What is at stake is more than one small country, it is a big idea — a new world order, where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind: peace and security, freedom, and the rule of law.
In the end, the over-manned and under-equipped Iraqi army proved unable to compete on the battlefield with the highly mobile coalition land forces and their overpowering air support. Some 175,000 Iraqis were taken prisoner and casualties were estimated at over 85,000. As part of the cease-fire agreement, Iraq agreed to scrap all poison gas and germ weapons and allow UN observers to inspect the sites. UN trade sanctions would remain in effect until Iraq complied with all terms. Saddam publicly claimed victory at the end of the war.
Iraq’s ethnic and religious divisions, together with the brutality of the conflict that this had engendered, laid the groundwork for postwar rebellions. In the aftermath of the fighting, social and ethnic unrest among Shi’ite Muslims, Kurds, and dissident military units threatened the stability of Saddam’s government. Uprisings erupted in the Kurdish north and Shi’a southern and central parts of Iraq, but were ruthlessly repressed.
The United States, which had urged Iraqis to rise up against Saddam, did nothing to assist the rebellions. The Iranians, despite the widespread Shi’ite rebellions, had no interest in provoking another war, while Turkey opposed any prospect of Kurdish independence, and the Saudis and other conservative Arab states feared an Iran-style Shi’ite revolution. Saddam, having survived the immediate crisis in the wake of defeat, was left firmly in control of Iraq, although the country never recovered either economically or militarily from the Gulf War. Saddam routinely cited his survival as “proof” that Iraq had in fact won the war against the U.S. This message earned Saddam a great deal of popularity in many sectors of the Arab world. John Esposito, however, claims that “Arabs and Muslims were pulled in two directions. That they rallied not so much to Saddam Hussein as to the bipolar nature of the confrontation (the West versus the Arab Muslim world) and the issues that Saddam proclaimed: Arab unity, self-sufficiency, and social justice.” As a result, Saddam Hussein appealed to many people for the same reasons that attracted more and more followers to Islamic revivalism and also for the same reasons that fueled anti-Western feelings. “As one U.S. Muslim observer noted: People forgot about Saddam’s record and concentrated on America … Saddam Hussein might be wrong, but it is not America who should correct him.” A shift was, therefore, clearly visible among many Islamic movements in the post war period “from an initial Islamic ideological rejection of Saddam Hussein, the secular persecutor of Islamic movements, and his invasion of Kuwait to a more populist Arab nationalist, anti-imperialist support for Saddam (or more precisely those issues he represented or championed) and the condemnation of foreign intervention and occupation.”
Saddam, therefore, increasingly portrayed himself as a devout Muslim, in an effort to co-opt the conservative religious segments of society. Some elements of Sharia law were re-introduced, and the ritual phrase “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”), in Saddam’s handwriting, was added to the national flag. Saddam also commissioned the production of a “Blood Qur’an“, written using 27 litres of his own blood, to thank God for saving him from various dangers and conspiracies.
Relations between the United States and Iraq remained tense following the Gulf War. The U.S. launched a missile attack aimed at Iraq’s intelligence headquarters in Baghdad 26 June 1993, citing evidence of repeated Iraqi violations of the “no fly zones” imposed after the Gulf War and for incursions into Kuwait.
The United Nations sanctions placed upon Iraq when it invaded Kuwait were not lifted, blocking Iraqi oil exports. This caused immense hardship in Iraq and virtually destroyed the Iraqi economy and state infrastructure. Only smuggling across the Syrian border, and humanitarian aid ameliorated the humanitarian crisis. On 9 December 1996 the UN allowed Saddam’s government to begin selling limited amounts of oil for food and medicine. Limited amounts of income from the United Nations started flowing into Iraq through the United Nations Oil for Food program.
U.S. officials continued to accuse Saddam of violating the terms of the Gulf War’s cease fire, by developing weapons of mass destruction and other banned weaponry, and violating the UN-imposed sanctions. Also during the 1990s, President Bill Clinton maintained sanctions and ordered air strikes in the “Iraqi no-fly zones” (Operation Desert Fox), in the hope that Saddam would be overthrown by political enemies inside Iraq. Western charges of Iraqi resistance to UN access to suspected weapons were the pretext for crises between 1997 and 1998, culminating in intensive U.S. and British missile strikes on Iraq, 16–19 December 1998. After two years of intermittent activity, U.S. and British warplanes struck harder at sites near Baghdad in February 2001.
Saddam’s support base of Tikriti tribesmen, family members, and other supporters was divided after the war, and in the following years, contributing to the government’s increasingly repressive and arbitrary nature. Domestic repression inside Iraq grew worse, and Saddam’s sons, Uday and Qusay Hussein, became increasingly powerful and carried out a private reign of terror.
Iraqi co-operation with UN weapons inspection teams was intermittent throughout the 1990s.
Saddam continued involvement in politics abroad. Video tapes retrieved after show his intelligence chiefs meeting with Arab journalists, including a meeting with the former managing director of Al-Jazeera, Mohammed Jassem al-Ali, in 2000. In the video Saddam’s son Uday advised al-Ali about hires in Al-Jazeera: “During your last visit here along with your colleagues we talked about a number of issues, and it does appear that you indeed were listening to what I was saying since changes took place and new faces came on board such as that lad, Mansour.” He was later sacked by Al-Jazeera.
In 2002 Austrian prosecutors investigated Saddam government’s transactions with Fritz Edlinger that possibly violated Austrian money laundering and embargo regulations. Fritz Edlinger, president of the General Secretary of the Society for Austro-Arab relations (GÖAB) and a former member of Socialist International‘s Middle East Committee, was an outspoken supporter of Saddam Hussein. In 2005 an Austrian journalist revealed that Fritz Edlinger’s GÖAB had received $100,000 from an Iraqi front company as well as donations from Austrian companies soliciting business in Iraq.
In 2002, a resolution sponsored by the European Union was adopted by the Commission for Human Rights, which stated that there had been no improvement in the human rights crisis in Iraq. The statement condemned President Saddam Hussein’s government for its “systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law“. The resolution demanded that Iraq immediately put an end to its “summary and arbitrary executions … the use of rape as a political tool and all enforced and involuntary disappearances”.
In the United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme, Saddam was supposed to trade oil for food. In practice, the program benefitted political parties, politicians, journalists, companies, and individuals around the world.
The Russian state was the largest beneficiary.
Satellite channels broadcasting the besieged Iraqi leader among cheering crowds as U.S.-led troops push toward the capital city.
4 April 2003.
The international community, especially the U.S., continued to view Saddam as a bellicose tyrant who was a threat to the stability of the region. After the September 11 attacks, Vladimir Putin began to tell the United States that Iraq was preparing terrorist attacks against the United States. In his January 2002 state of the union address to Congress, President George W. Bush spoke of an “axis of evil” consisting of Iran, North Korea, and Iraq. Moreover, Bush announced that he would possibly take action to topple the Iraqi government, because of the threat of its weapons of mass destruction. Bush stated that “The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade … Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror.” Saddam Hussein claimed that he falsely led the world to believe Iraq possessed nuclear weapons in order to appear strong against Iran.
With war looming on 24 February 2003, Saddam Hussein took part in an interview with CBS News reporter Dan Rather. Talking for more than three hours, he expressed a wish to have a live televised debate with George W. Bush, which was declined. It was his first interview with a U.S. reporter in over a decade. CBS aired the taped interview later that week.
The Iraqi government and military collapsed within three weeks of the beginning of the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq on 20 March. By the beginning of April, U.S.-led forces occupied much of Iraq. The resistance of the much-weakened Iraqi Army either crumbled or shifted to guerrilla tactics, and it appeared that Saddam had lost control of Iraq. He was last seen in a video which purported to show him in the Baghdad suburbs surrounded by supporters. When Baghdad fell to U.S-led forces on 9 April, marked symbolically by the toppling of his statue by iconoclasts, Saddam was nowhere to be found.
Photograph taken by American soldiers during Saddam’s capture.
Saddam shortly after capture by American forces, and after being shaved to confirm his identity
In April 2003, Saddam’s whereabouts remained in question during the weeks following the fall of Baghdad and the conclusion of the major fighting of the war. Various sightings of Saddam were reported in the weeks following the war, but none was authenticated. At various times Saddam released audio tapes promoting popular resistance to his ousting.
Saddam was placed at the top of the U.S. list of “most-wanted Iraqis“. In July 2003, his sons Uday and Qusay and 14-year-old grandson Mustapha were killed in a three-hour gunfight with U.S. forces.
On 13 December 2003, Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces at a farmhouse in ad-Dawr near Tikrit in a hole in Operation Red Dawn. Following his capture on 13 December Saddam was transported to a U.S. base near Tikrit, and later taken to the U.S. base near Baghdad. The day after his capture he was reportedly visited by longtime opponents such as Ahmed Chalabi.
On 14 December 2003, U.S. administrator in Iraq L. Paul Bremer confirmed that Saddam Hussein had indeed been captured at a farmhouse in ad-Dawr near Tikrit. Bremer presented video footage of Saddam in custody.
Saddam was shown with a full beard and hair longer than his familiar appearance. He was described by U.S. officials as being in good health. Bremer reported plans to put Saddam on trial, but claimed that the details of such a trial had not yet been determined. Iraqis and Americans who spoke with Saddam after his capture generally reported that he remained self-assured, describing himself as a “firm, but just leader.”
The guards at the Baghdad detention facility called their prisoner “Vic,” and let him plant a little garden near his cell. The nickname and the garden are among the details about the former Iraqi leader that emerged during a 27 March 2008 tour of prison of the Baghdad cell where Saddam slept, bathed, and kept a journal in the final days before his execution.
On 30 June 2004, Saddam Hussein, held in custody by U.S. forces at the U.S. base “Camp Cropper“, along with 11 other senior Baathist leaders, were handed over legally (though not physically) to the interim Iraqi government to stand trial for crimes against humanity and other offences.
A few weeks later, he was charged by the Iraqi Special Tribunal with crimes committed against residents of Dujail in 1982, following a failed assassination attempt against him. Specific charges included the murder of 148 people, torture of women and children and the illegal arrest of 399 others.
Saddam and his lawyers’ contesting the court’s authority and maintaining that he was still the President of Iraq.
The assassinations and attempts on the lives of several of Saddam’s lawyers.
The replacement of the chief presiding judge, midway through the trial.
On 5 November 2006, Saddam Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging. Saddam’s half brother, Barzan Ibrahim, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, head of Iraq’s Revolutionary Court in 1982, were convicted of similar charges. The verdict and sentencing were both appealed, but subsequently affirmed by Iraq’s Supreme Court of Appeals. On 30 December 2006, Saddam was hanged.
Saddam was hanged on the first day of Eid ul-Adha, 30 December 2006, despite his wish to be shot (which he felt would be more dignified). The execution was carried out at Camp Justice, an Iraqi army base in Kadhimiya, a neighborhood of northeast Baghdad.
The execution was videotaped on a mobile phone and his captors could be heard insulting Saddam. The video was leaked to electronic media and posted on the Internet within hours, becoming the subject of global controversy. It was later claimed by the head guard at the tomb where his body remains that Saddam’s body was stabbed six times after the execution.
Not long before the execution, Saddam’s lawyers released his last letter. The following includes several excerpts:
To the great nation, to the people of our country, and humanity,Many of you have known the writer of this letter to be faithful, honest, caring for others, wise, of sound judgment, just, decisive, careful with the wealth of the people and the state … and that his heart is big enough to embrace all without discrimination.You have known your brother and leader very well and he never bowed to the despots and, in accordance with the wishes of those who loved him, remained a sword and a banner.This is how you want your brother, son or leader to be … and those who will lead you (in the future) should have the same qualifications.Here, I offer my soul to God as a sacrifice, and if He wants, He will send it to heaven with the martyrs, or, He will postpone that … so let us be patient and depend on Him against the unjust nations.
Remember that God has enabled you to become an example of love, forgiveness and brotherly coexistence … I call on you not to hate, because hate does not leave a space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking and keeps away one from balanced thinking and making the right choice.
I also call on you not to hate the peoples of the other countries that attacked us and differentiate between the decision-makers and peoples. Anyone who repents — whether in Iraq or abroad — you must forgive him.
You should know that among the aggressors, there are people who support your struggle against the invaders, and some of them volunteered for the legal defence of prisoners, including Saddam Hussein … some of these people wept profusely when they said goodbye to me.
Dear faithful people, I say goodbye to you, but I will be with the merciful God who helps those who take refuge in him and who will never disappoint any faithful, honest believer … God is Great … God is great … Long live our nation … Long live our great struggling people … Long live Iraq, long live Iraq … Long live Palestine … Long live jihad and the mujahedeen.
Saddam Hussein President and Commander in Chief of the Iraqi Mujahed Armed Forces
Additional clarification note:
I have written this letter, because the lawyers told me that the so-called criminal court — established and named by the invaders — will allow the so-called defendants the chance for a last word. But that court and its chief judge did not give us the chance to say a word, and issued its verdict without explanation and read out the sentence — dictated by the invaders — without presenting the evidence. I wanted the people to know this.
— Letter by Saddam Hussein
A second unofficial video, apparently showing Saddam’s body on a trolley, emerged several days later. It sparked speculation that the execution was carried out incorrectly as Saddam Hussein had a gaping hole in his neck.
Saddam married his first wife and cousin Sajida Talfah (or Tulfah/Tilfah) in 1958 in an arranged marriage. Sajida is the daughter of Khairallah Talfah, Saddam’s uncle and mentor. Their marriage was arranged for Hussein at age five when Sajida was seven. They were married in Egypt during his exile. The couple had five children.
Uday Hussein (18 June 1964 – 22 July 2003), was Saddam’s oldest son, who ran the Iraqi Football Association, Fedayeen Saddam, and several media corporations in Iraq including Iraqi TV and the newspaper Babel. Uday, while originally Saddam’s favorite son and raised to succeed him he eventually fell out of favour with his father due to his erratic behavior; he was responsible for many car crashes and rapes around Baghdad, constant feuds with other members of his family, and killing his father’s favorite valet and food taster Kamel Hana Gegeo at a party in Egypt honoring Egyptian first lady Suzanne Mubarak. He became well known in the west for his involvement in looting Kuwait during the Gulf War, allegedly taking millions of dollars worth of Gold, cars, and medical supplies (which was in short supply at the time) for himself and close supporters. He was widely known for his paranoia and his obsession with torturing people who disappointed him in any way, which included tardy girlfriends, friends who disagreed with him and, most notoriously, Iraqi athletes who performed poorly. He was briefly married to Izzat Ibrahim ad-Douri‘s daughter, but later divorced her. The couple had no children.
Qusay Hussein (17 May 1966 – 22 July 2003), was Saddam’s second — and, after the mid-1990s, his favorite — son. Qusay was believed to have been Saddam’s later intended successor, as he was less erratic than his older brother and kept a low profile. He was second in command of the military (behind his father) and ran the elite Iraqi Republican Guard and the SSO. He was believed to have ordered the army to kill thousands of rebelling Marsh Arabs and was instrumental in suppressing Shi’ite rebellions in the mid-1990s. He was married once and had three children.
Raghad Hussein (born 2 September 1968) is Saddam’s oldest daughter. After the war, Raghad fled to Amman, Jordan where she received sanctuary from the royal family. She is currently wanted by the Iraqi Government for allegedly financing and supporting the insurgency and the now banned Iraqi Ba’ath Party. The Jordanian royal family refused to hand her over.
Rana Hussein (born c. 1969), is Saddam’s second daughter. She, like her sister, fled to Jordan and has stood up for her father’s rights. She was married to Saddam Kamel and has had four children from this marriage.
Hala Hussein (born c. 1972), is Saddam’s third and youngest daughter. Very little information is known about her. Her father arranged for her to marry General Kamal Mustafa Abdallah Sultan al-Tikriti in 1998. She fled with her children and sisters to Jordan.
Saddam married his second wife, Samira Shahbandar, in 1986. She was originally the wife of an Iraqi Airways executive, but later became the mistress of Saddam. Eventually, Saddam forced Samira’s husband to divorce her so he could marry her. There have been no political issues from this marriage. After the war, Samira fled to Beirut, Lebanon. She is believed to have mothered Hussein’s sixth child. Members of Hussein’s family have denied this.
Saddam had allegedly married a third wife, Nidal al-Hamdani, the general manager of the Solar Energy Research Center in the Council of Scientific Research.
Wafa el-Mullah al-Howeish is rumoured to have married Saddam as his fourth wife in 2002. There is no firm evidence for this marriage. Wafa is the daughter of Abdul Tawab el-Mullah Howeish, a former minister of military industry in Iraq and Saddam’s last deputy Prime Minister.
In August 1995, Raghad and her husband Hussein Kamel al-Majid and Rana and her husband, Saddam Kamel al-Majid, defected to Jordan, taking their children with them. They returned to Iraq when they received assurances that Saddam would pardon them. Within three days of their return in February 1996, both of the Kamel brothers were attacked and killed in a gunfight with other clan members who considered them traitors.
In August 2003, Saddam’s daughters Raghad and Rana received sanctuary in Amman, Jordan, where they are currently staying with their nine children. That month, they spoke with CNN and the Arab satellite station Al-Arabiya in Amman. When asked about her father, Raghad told CNN, “He was a very good father, loving, has a big heart.” Asked if she wanted to give a message to her father, she said: “I love you and I miss you.” Her sister Rana also remarked, “He had so many feelings and he was very tender with all of us.”
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 jamahiriyadirect 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.
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.
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.
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.
In 1995 Gaddafi expelled some 30,000 Palestinians living in Libya, a response to the peace negotiations that had commenced between Israel and the PLO.
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.
Gaddafi and the Shah of Iran both argued for quadrupling the cost of oil in 1975. In 1975, Gaddafi allegedly organized the hostage incident at OPEC in Vienna, Austria.
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 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.”
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 acquired at least 20 luxurious properties after he went to rescue Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.
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.”
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.
Gaddafi (at far right) attending the G-8 Summit in 2009. Barack Obama is visible just below the globe-emblem. Most web-circulated photos captioned as “Obama / Gaddafi meeting” actually just show the handshake from this event.
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 Order13477 restoring the Libyan government’s immunity from terrorism-related lawsuits and dismissing all of the pending compensation cases in the United States.
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.
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.
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.
Gaddafi’s Green Book, English and Russian editions
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.”
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 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
His sons, Moatassem(pictured) and Saif, were prominent in government politics. There was speculation about a succession struggle between the two. Moatassem withHillary Clinton, Treaty Room, Washington, DC, 21 April 2009.
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.
He is also said to have adopted two children, Hanna and Milad.
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.
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.
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.
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 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”.
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”.