Muammar al Gaddafi
1 September 1969 – 23 August 2011
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
1 September 1969 – 2 March 1977
|Prime Minister||Mahmud Sulayman al-Maghribi|
Abdul Ati al-Obeidi
|Preceded by||Idris (King)|
|Succeeded by||Himself (Secretary General of the General People's Congress)|
2 March 1977 – 2 March 1979
|Prime Minister||Abdul Ati al-Obeidi|
|Preceded by||Himself (Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council)|
|Succeeded by||Abdul Ati al-Obeidi|
16 January 1970 – 16 July 1972
|Preceded by||Mahmud Sulayman al-Maghribi|
|Succeeded by||Abdessalam Jalloud|
2 February 2009 – 31 January 2010
|Preceded by||Jakaya Kikwete|
|Succeeded by||Bingu wa Mutharika|
Sirte, Italian Libya
|Died||20 October 2011 (aged 69)|
Sirte or between Sirte and Misrata, Libya
|Political party||Arab Socialist Union (1971–1977)|
|Spouse(s)||Fatiha al-Nuri (1969–1970)|
Safia el-Brasai (1971–2011)
|Alma mater||Benghazi Military Academy|
|Allegiance|| Kingdom of Libya (1961–1969)|
Libyan Arab Republic (1969–1977)
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (1977–2011)
|Years of service||1961–2011|
|Commands||Libyan Armed Forces|
2011 Libyan civil war
|Awards||Order of the Yugoslav Star|
Order of Good Hope
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (June 1942 – 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was Libya's autocratic ruler from 1969, when he seized power in a bloodless military coup, until 2011 when the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya regime he established was overthrown in a civil war which consisted of an uprising aided by a NATO intervention. His 42-year leadership prior to the uprising made him the fourth longest-serving non-royal leader since 1900, as well as the longest-serving Arab leader. He variously styled himself as "the Brother Leader" and "Guide of the Revolution"; in 2008 a meeting of traditional African rulers bestowed on him the title "King of Kings".
After seizing power in 1969, he abolished the Libyan Constitution of 1951. He established laws based on the political ideology he had formulated, called the Third International Theory and published in The Green Book. After establishing the jamahiriya ("state of the masses") system in 1977, he officially stepped down from power and has since then held a largely symbolic role within the country's governance.
In February 2011, following the "Arab Spring", protests against Gaddafi's rule began. These escalated into an uprising that spread across the country, with the forces opposing Gaddafi establishing a government based in Benghazi named the National Transitional Council (NTC). This led the Libyan Civil War", which included a military intervention by a NATO-led coalition to enforce a UN Security Council Resolution 1973 calling for a no-fly zone and allegedly the "protection of civilians in Libya". The assets of Gaddafi and his family were frozen, and both Interpol and the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants on 27 June for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and his brother-in-law Abdullah al-Senussi, concerning crimes against humanity.
Gaddafi and his forces lost the Battle of Tripoli in August, and on 16 September 2011 the NTC took Libya's seat at the UN, replacing Gaddafi. He retained control over parts of Libya, most notably the city of Sirte, to which it was presumed that he had fled. Although Gaddafi's forces initially held out against the NTC's advances, Gaddafi was captured alive as Sirte fell to the rebel forces on Thursday the 20 October 2011, later he had been beaten and killed soon after.
|“||There are millions of blacks who could come out of the Mediterranean to cross to France and Italy, and Libya plays a role in the security of the Mediterranean.||”|
Gaddafi was the youngest child born into a peasant family. He grew up in the desert region of Sirte. He was given a traditional religious primary education and attended the Sebha preparatory school in Fezzan from 1956 to 1961. Gaddafi and a small group of friends that he met in this school went on to form the core leadership of a militant revolutionary group that would eventually seize control of the country. Gaddafi's inspiration was Gamal Abdel Nasser, president of neighboring Egypt, who rose to the presidency by appealing to Arab unity. In 1961, Gaddafi was expelled from Sebha for his political activism.
Gaddafi went on to study law at the University of Libya, where he graduated with high grades. He then entered the Military Academy in Benghazi in 1963, where he and a few of his fellow militants organized a secretive group dedicated to overthrowing the pro-Western Libyan monarchy. After graduating in 1965, he was sent to Britain for further training at the British Army Staff College, now the Joint Services Command and Staff College, returning in 1966 as a commissioned officer in the Signal Corps.
Military Coup d'état
On September 1, 1969, a small group of military officers led by Gaddafi staged a bloodless coup d'état against King Idris I, while he was in Kammena Vourla, an area in Greece for medical treatment. His nephew the Crown Prince Hasan as-Senussi was set to become King on September 2 when the abdication of King Idris dated August 4 was to take effect. Before the end of September 1 the monarchy was abolished and the Libyan Arab Republic was proclaimed with the Crown Prince being placed under house arrest.
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 captain to colonel and has remained at this rank. While at odds with western military ranking for a colonel to rule a country and serve as Commander-in-Chief of its military, in Gaddafi's own words Libya's utopian society is "ruled by the people", so he needs no more grandiose title or supreme military rank. Gaddafi's decision to remain a colonel is not a new concept among military coup leaders; Gamal Abdel Nasser remained a colonel after seizing power in Egypt, and Jerry Rawlings, President of Ghana, held no military rank higher than flight lieutenant. In the same fashion, the Republic of El Salvador was ruled by Lieutenant Colonel Oscar Osorio (1950-1956), Lieutenant Colonel José María Lemus (1956-1960), and Lieutenant Colonel Julio Adalberto Rivera (1962-1967).
Gaddafi based his new regime on a blend of Arab nationalism, aspects of the welfare state and what Gaddafi termed "direct, popular democracy." He called this system "Islamic socialism" and while he permitted private control over small companies, the government controlled the larger ones. Welfare, "liberation," and education were emphasized. He also imposed a system of Islamic morals, outlawing alcohol and gambling. To reinforce the ideals of this socialist-Islamic state, Gaddafi outlined his political philosophy (which seeks for a third way between socialism and capitalism) in his Green Book, published in three volumes between 1975 and 1979. In practice, however, Libya's political system is thought by some to be somewhat less idealistic and from time to time Gaddafi has responded to domestic and external opposition with violence. His revolutionary committees called for the assassination of Libyan dissidents living abroad in April 1980, with Libyan hit squads sent abroad to murder them. On April 26, Gaddafi set a deadline of June 11 for dissidents to return home or be "in the hands of the revolutionary committees". Nine Libyans were murdered during that time, five of them in Italy. Gaddafi was the target of the Bombing of Libya in 1986 after he was accused of aiding terrorism by the United States.
Gaddafi has eight children, seven of them sons. His eldest son, Muhammad Gaddafi, was born to a wife now in disfavour, but runs the Libyan Olympic Committee and owns all the telecommunication companies in Libya.
The next eldest, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, was born in 1972 and is a painter. He runs a charity which has been involved in negotiating freedom for hostages taken by Islamic militants, especially in the Philippines. In 2006, after sharply criticizing his father's regime, Saif Al Islam briefly left Libya, reportedly to take on a position in banking outside of the country. He returned to Libya soon after, launching an environment friendly initiative to teach children how they can help clean up parts of Libya. He has also been on the forefront of resolving the HIV case of a Palestinian doctor and Bulgarian nurses described previously.
The third eldest, Al-Saadi Gaddafi, is married to the daughter of a military commander. Al Saadi runs the Libyan Football Federation, plays for Italian Serie A team U.C. Sampdoria, made billions of dollars in the petrol industry and produces films.
The fourth eldest, Mutasim-Billah Gaddafi, was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Libyan army. He fled to Egypt after allegedly masterminding an Egyptian backed coup attempt against his father. Gaddafi forgave Mutasim-Billah and he returned to Libya where he now holds the post of national security adviser and heads his own unit within the army. Saif Al Islam and Mutasim-Billah are both seen as possible successors to their father.
The fifth eldest, Hannibal once worked for a public marine transportation company in Libya. He is most notable for being involved in a series of violent incidents throughout Europe, including charges against him for beating up his then pregnant girlfriend, Alin Skaf. (In September 2004, Hannibal was involved in a police chase in Paris.)
Gaddafi has two younger sons, Saif Al Arab and Khamis, a police officer in Libya.
Gaddafi's only daughter is Ayesha Gaddafi, a lawyer who had joined the defense team of executed former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. She married a cousin of her father in 2006.
In January 2002, Gaddafi purchased a 7.5% share of Italian football club Juventus for USD 21 million, through Lafico ("Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company"). Though Gaddafi is an avid football fan, this more importantly continued a longstanding association with the late Gianni Agnelli, the primary investor in Fiat. Gaddafi has also become involved in chess: in March 2004, FIDE, the game's world governing body, announced that he would be providing prize money for the World Championship, held in June-July 2004 in Tripoli.
Lahore, Pakistan's primary cricket stadium, Gaddafi Stadium, is named after him.
In addition to his Green Book, al-Gaddafi is the author of a 1996 collection of short stories, Escape to Hell.
In November 2002, he hosted the Miss Net World beauty pageant, a first for Libya and as far as is known, the world's first to be held on the internet.
Gaddafi's personal bodyguard, the Amazonian guard, is composed of women who are martial arts experts and highly-trained in the use of weapons. The Amazonian guard accompanied him on his 2004 visit to Brussels.
The Amazonian Guard sparked an international incident in 2006 when Gaddafi landed in Nigeria with over two hundred armed guards for a summit. Nigerian security officials refused to allow the Libyans entry based on their armaments, and Gaddafi angrily resolved to set off on foot 40 kilometres to Nigeria's capital from the airport. The Nigerian President personally intervened, and a compromise was sought. However, the Libyans rejected mediation and threatened to fly home, whereupon the Nigerians revoked their compromise offers and announced that the Libyans could only bring in 8 pistols, which is the limit for international delegations. The Libyans finally backed down and complied with the Nigerians after several hours.
- "Israel is a colonialist-imperialist phenomenon. There is no such thing as an Israeli people. Before 1948, world geography knew of no state such as Israel. Israel is the result of an invasion, of aggression."
- "The Libyans said they'll buy their way out of these three [terrorism] black lists. We'll pay so much, to hell with $2 billion or more. It's not compensation. It's a price. The Americans said it was Libya who did it. It is known that the president was madman Reagan who's got Alzheimer's and has lost his mind. He now crawls on all fours."
- "I have nothing but scorn for the notion of an Islamic bomb. There is no such thing as an Islamic bomb or a Christian bomb. Any such weapon is a means of terrorizing humanity, and we are against the manufacture and acquisition of nuclear weapons. This is in line with our definition of—and opposition to—terrorism."
- Charles Féraud, "Annales Tripolitaines", the Arabic version named "Al Hawliyat Al Libiya", translated to Arabic by Mohammed Abdel Karim El Wafi, Dar el Ferjani, Tripoli, Libya, vol. 3, p.797.
- Salak, Kira (2008). Libya: The Land of Cruel Deaths. kirasalak.com. Retrieved on 29 August 2011.
- Daniel Don Nanjira, African Foreign Policy and Diplomacy: From Antiquity to the 21st Century, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2010, p. 279 n. 2
- Background Notes, (November 2005) "Libya – History", United States Department of State. Retrieved on 14 July 2006.
- Wynne-Jones, Jonathan (19 March 2011). Libyan minister claims Gaddafi is powerless and the ceasefire is 'solid'. The Telegraph. Retrieved on 22 October 2011.
- Gaddafi: Libya dignity under attack. Al-Jazeera (2 March 2011). Retrieved on 22 October 2011.
- Lederer, Edith (16 September 2011). "UN approves Libya seat for former rebels". San Jose Mercury News. http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_18910663. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- Anti-Gadhafi tribes clash in two Libyan locales – CNN.com
- 'Gaddafi was caught alive, later beaten, killed by rebels'. The Jerusalem Post. Reuters (20 October 2011). Retrieved on 22 October 2011.
- "Gadhafi, Libya's leader for 42 years, killed". WRAL. 20 October 2011. http://www.wral.com/news/political/story/10279722/. Retrieved 2011-10-20.
- YouTube video – Gaddafi captured alive
- Green Book (English)