American USSR

An Extensive Archive of America's Hundreds of Lies, Treacheries, Wars, False Operations, Torture, and Murders

American USSR:




Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi[4][variations] (Arabic: مُعَمَّر ٱلْقَذَّافِيّ Muʿammar al-Qaḏḏāfī About this sound audio ; born 7 June 1942), commonly referred to as Colonel Gaddafi, has been the ruler of Libya since a military coup on 1 September 1969, when he overthrew King Idris and established the Libyan Arab Republic.[5] His 42 years in power make him one of the longest-serving rulers in history.[6] Gaddafi renamed the Libyan Arab Republic to Jamahiriya in 1977, based on his socialist and nationalist political philosophy published in The Green Book. In 1979, he relinquished the title of prime minister, and was thereafter called "The Brother Leader" or "The Guide" in Libya's Socialist Revolution.[7][8]

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Libya under Gaddafi was considered a pariah state by the West,[9][10] which alleged oppression of internal dissidence, acts of state-sponsored terrorism, assassinations of expatriate opposition leaders, and crass nepotism exhibited in amassing a multi-billion dollar fortune for himself and his family.[11] Gaddafi was a firm supporter of OAPEC and led a Pan-African campaign for a United States of Africa.[12] After the 1986 Bombing of Libya and the 1993 imposition of United Nations sanctions, Gaddafi established closer economic and security relations with the west, cooperated with investigations into previous Libyan acts of state-sponsored terrorism and paid compensation, and ended his nuclear weapons program, resulting in the lifting of UN sanctions in 2003.

In early February 2011, major political protests, inspired by recent protests in Tunisia, Egypt and other parts of the Arab world, broke out in Libya against Gaddafi's government and turned into a civil war. Gaddafi vowed to "die a martyr" if necessary in his fight against the rebels and external forces.[13][14]

Early life

Muammar al-Gaddafi was born in a bedouin tent in the desert near Sirt in 1942. His family belongs to a small tribe of arabized Berbers, the Qadhadhfa, who are stockherders with holdings in the Hun Oasis. As a boy, Gaddafi attended a Muslim elementary school, during which time the major events occurring in the Arab world—the Arab defeat in Palestine in 1948 to Israeli forces and Gamal Abdel Nasser's rise to power in Egypt in 1952—profoundly influenced him. He finished his secondary school studies under a private tutor in Misrata, emphasizing the study of history.

In Libya, as in a number of other Arab countries, admission to the military academy and a career as an army officer became available to members of the lower economic strata only 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 animated by Nasser's brand of Arab nationalism as well as by an intense hatred of Israel, a military career was a revolutionary vocation.

Gaddafi entered the Libyan military academy at Benghazi in 1961 and, along with most of his colleagues from the Revolutionary Command Council, graduated in the 1965–66 period. Gaddafi's association with the Free Officers Movement began as a cadet. The frustration and shame felt by Libyan officers who stood by helplessly at the time of Israel's swift and humiliating defeat of Arab armies on three fronts in 1967 fueled their determination to contribute to Arab unity by overthrowing the monarchy. An early conspirator, Gaddafi began his first plan to overthrow the monarchy while in military college.

Gaddafi pursued further studies in Europe. Many false rumors circulated with regards to this part of his life. Gaddafi did not attend the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.[15] He did receive further military training at the Hellenic Military Academy in Athens, Greece[16] and somewhere in the United Kingdom.[17]

Military coup d'état

Gaddafi (left) with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1969

On 1 September 1969, a small group of junior military officers led by Gaddafi staged a bloodless coup d'état against King Idris while he was in Turkey for medical treatment. His nephew, the Crown Prince Sayyid Hasan ar-Rida al-Mahdi as-Sanussi, was formally deposed by the revolutionary army officers and put under house arrest; they abolished the monarchy and proclaimed the new Libyan Arab Republic.[18]

A plan to use mercenaries to restore the monarchy was organised by David Stirling, founder of the British Special Air Service, who had been approached by a member of the royal family. The plan—dubbed "Hilton Assignment" in an ironic reference to Libyan jails—was to spring 150 political prisoners from Tripoli jail as a catalyst for a general uprising; the mercenaries were to slip away quietly as the locals took over. Despite Stirling's confidence, the plan was called off at a late stage by the British Secret Intelligence Service, allegedly because the United States Government felt that Gaddafi was sufficiently anti-Marxist and thus acceptable.[19][20]

In power

Political repression

addafi's Revolutionary committees resembled similar systems in communist countries. Reportedly 10 to 20 percent of Libyans worked in surveillance for these committees, a proportion of informants on par with Saddam Hussein's Iraq or Kim Jong-il's North Korea. The surveillance took place in government, in factories, and in the education sector.[21] Dissent is illegal under Law 75 of 1973. Gaddafi has said that "execution is the fate of anyone who forms a political party".[21]

Engaging in political conversations with foreigners was a crime punishable by three years in prison. Gaddafi removed foreign languages from school curricula. One protester in 2011 described the situation as: "None of us can speak English or French. He kept us ignorant and blindfolded".[22]

The regime often executed dissidents publicly and the executions are rebroadcast on state television channels.[21][23]

Libya under Gaddafi was the most censored country in the Middle East and North Africa, according to the Freedom of the Press Index.[24]

In October 1993, elements of the Libyan Army unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate Gaddafi. On 14 July 1996, a football match in Tripoli, organised by his son, was followed by bloody riots protesting Gaddafi.

Fathi Eljahmi was a prominent dissident who was imprisoned from 2002 until his death in 2009 for calling for increased democratization in Libya. Human Rights Watch did not call for investigation in the death and avoided criticism of human rights in Libya.[25]

In 2003 Libyan official Najat al-Hajjajia was selected to chair the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Reporters Without Borders (RWB) stated, "Censorship, arbitrary detention, jailings, disappearances, torture; at last the UN has appointed someone who knows what she’s talking about". The commission subsequently banned RWB from its meetings.[26][27]

A number of political groups opposed Gaddafi, including National Conference of the Libyan Opposition, National Front for the Salvation of Libya and Committee for Libyan National Action in Europe. A website, actively seeking his overthrow, was set up in 2006 and listed 343 victims of murder and political assassination.[28]

The Libyan League for Human Rights—based in Geneva—petitioned Gaddafi to set up an independent inquiry into the February 2006 unrest in Benghazi in which some 30 Libyans and foreigners were killed.


The Economy of Libya is centrally planned and follows Gadaffi's Socialist ideals. It depends primarily upon revenues from the petroleum sector, which contributes practically all export earnings and over half of GDP. These oil revenues and a small population have given Libya the highest nominal per capita GDP in Africa.[29] Since 2000, Libya has recorded favourable growth rates with an estimated 10.6% growth of GDP in 2010.

Assassinations abroad

It is the Libyan people's responsibility to liquidate such scums who are distorting Libya's image abroad.
—Gaddafi talking about exiles in 1982.[30]

Gaddafi employed his network of diplomats and recruits to assassinate dozens of critics around the world. Amnesty International listed at least 25 assassinations between 1980 and 1987.[21][31]

In 1980, a Libyan agent attempted to assassinate dissident Faisal Zagallai, a graduate student at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. The bullets partially blinded Zagallai.[32]

Gaddafi's agents were active in the United Kingdom, where many Libyans had sought asylum.[citation needed] In April 1984 the United Kingdom broke off diplomatic relations with Libya after shots were fired from the Libyan People's Bureau in London, killing a British policewoman, Yvonne Fletcher, and the wounding ten anti-Gadaffi demonstrators.[33] The United Kingdom restored relations in 1999 after the Libyan Government accepted "general responsibility" and paid Fletcher's family more than £100,000 in compensation.[33]

Gaddafi asserted in June 1984 that killings could be carried out even when the dissidents were on pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca. In August 1984, one Libyan plot was thwarted in Mecca.[30]

In 1993, Mansour Kikhia, a former Libyan diplomat, disappeared from a Cairo hotel while working with an Arab human rights organization. According to a 1997 CIA report, he was kidnapped with the help of Egyptian agents and taken back to Libya where he was executed. Kikhia was four-months away from receiving U.S. citizenship.[21][34]

As of 2004, Libya still provided bounties on critics, including 1 million dollars for Ashur Shamis, a Libyan-British journalist.[35]

Weapons of mass destruction program

Gaddafi's attempts to procure weapons of mass destruction began in 1972, when Gaddafi tried to get the People's Republic of China to sell him a nuclear bomb.[36]

In 1977, he tried to get a bomb from Pakistan, but Pakistan severed ties before Libya succeeded in building a weapon.[36] 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.[37]

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, Jurgen Hippenstiel-Imhausen, to five years in prison for involvement in Libyan chemical weapons.[36][38]

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.[39] Following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by U.S. 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. U.S. President George W. Bush and other supporters of the Iraq 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.[40][41] International inspectors turned up several tons of chemical weaponry in Libya, as well as an active nuclear weapons program. As the process of destroying these weapons continued, Libya improved its cooperation with international monitoring regimes to the extent that, by March 2006, France was able to conclude an agreement with Libya to develop a significant nuclear power program.

On 15 May 2006, the U.S. State Department announced that it would restore full diplomatic relations with Libya, once Gaddafi declared he was abandoning Libya's weapons of mass destruction program. The State Department also said that Libya would be removed from the list of nations supporting terrorism.[42]

Efforts to merge with other countries

In 1971, Gaddafi offered to merge Libya with Sudan, but Sudanese President Gaafar Nimeiry turned down that offer.[43] Nimeiry said of Gaddafi: "He has a split personality—both parts evil."[44]

With respect to Libya's neighbors, Gaddafi followed Gamal Abdel Nasser's ideas of pan-Arabism and became a fervent advocate of the unity of all Arab states into one Arab nation. He also supported pan-Islamism, the notion of a loose union of all Islamic countries and peoples. After Nasser's death on 28 September 1970, Gaddafi attempted to take up the mantle of ideological leader of Arab nationalism. He proclaimed the "Federation of Arab Republics" (Libya, Egypt, and Syria) in 1972, hoping to create a pan-Arab state, but the three countries disagreed on merger terms (though all three did adopt the same flag).

In 1974, he signed an agreement with Tunisia's Habib Bourguiba on a merger between the two countries, but this also failed to work in practice and ultimately differences between the two countries deteriorated into strong animosity.

In 1984, he signed the Oujda treaty with Morocco's Hassan II, with the aim of the union of both countries, centered in economic, cultural and political cooperation. It was also an instrument to end the support of Morocco to the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, with Libya taking the same decision with the Polisario Front.[45] The treaty was broken by Hassan II in 1986, after the visit to Ifrane (Morocco) of then Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, that was qualified by the Libyan government as "an act of treason".[46]

Islamic Legion

In 1972, Gaddafi created the Islamic Legion as a tool to unify and Arabize the region. The priority of the Legion was first Chad, and then Sudan. In Darfur, a western province of Sudan, Gaddafi supported the creation of the Arab Gathering (Tajammu al-Arabi), which according to Gérard Prunier was "a militantly racist and pan-Arabist organization which stressed the 'Arab' character of the province."[47] The two organizations shared members and a source of support, and the distinction between the two is often ambiguous.

This Islamic Legion was mostly composed of immigrants from poorer Sahelian countries,[48] but according to a source, thousands of Pakistanis who had been recruited in 1981 with the false promise of civilian jobs once in Libya.[49] Generally speaking, the Legion's members were immigrants who had gone to Libya with no thought of fighting wars, but had been provided with inadequate military training and had little commitment. A French journalist, speaking of the Legion's forces in Chad, observed that they were "foreigners, Arabs or Africans,mercenaries in spite of themselves, wretches who had come to Libya hoping for a civilian job, but found themselves signed up more or less by force to go and fight in an unknown desert."[48]

At the beginning of the 1987 Libyan offensive into Chad, the Legion maintained a force of 2,000 in Darfur. The nearly continuous cross-border raids that resulted greatly contributed to a separate ethnic conflict within Darfur that killed about 9,000 people between 1985 and 1988.[50] Janjaweed, a group that was accused of carrying out a genocide in the 2000s, emerged in 1988. Some of its leaders were former legionnaires.[51][52]

United States of Africa

On 29 August 2008, Gaddafi held a public ceremony in Benghazi in the presence of over 200 African traditional rulers and kings, in which he was bestowed the title of King of Kings of Africa as part of a grassroots effort to encourage African heads of state and government to follow Gaddafi towards greater political integration. Gaddafi's views on African political and military unification received a lukewarm response from the other African governments.[53]

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.[54] Gaddafi told the assembled African leaders: "I shall continue to insist that our sovereign countries work to achieve the United States of Africa."[55] His January 2009 forum for African kings, however, was cancelled by the Ugandan hosts, since the invitation of traditional rulers to a discussion of political affairs contravened Uganda's current constitution, and according to Ugandan foreign ministry spokesperson James Mugume, could have led to instability.[56]

Public works

The Great Manmade River is a network of pipes that supplies 6,500,000 cubic metres (230,000,000 cu ft) of fresh water per day from beneath the Sahara Desert, from the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System fossil aquifer, to northern cities, including Tripoli, Benghazi and Sirt.[57] The project consists of more than 1,300 wells, most more than 500 meters (1,640 ft) deep. Gaddafi described it as the "Eighth Wonder of the World" and presented the project as a gift to the Third World.

Gaddafi ordered the Libyan National Telescope Project, costing nearly 10 million euros, expressing his passionate interest in astronomy. The robotic telescope was planned to be two metres in diameter and remote-controlled, to be built by France's REOSC,[58] the optical department of the SAGEM Group. It was to be housed in an air-conditioned building, with a network of four weather stations deployed at a distance of 10 kilometers (6 mi) around it to warn of impending sandstorms that could damage its fragile optics.[59] A desert site at 2,200 meters (7,218 ft) above sea level near Kufra was chosen as the site, hosting North Africa's largest astronomical observatory.

Postage stamps and currency

Libyan dinars printed in 2004 contain Gaddafi's image[60]

The Libyan Posts (General Posts and Telecommunications Company, GPTC) released many postage issues (stamps, souvenir sheets, postal stationery, booklets, etc.) relating to Gaddafi. The first issue was a souvenir sheet celebrating the 6th Anniversary of the September Revolution in 1975.[61][62]

Chad and Egypt

As early as 1969 Gaddafi waged a campaign against neighbouring Chad. Libya was also involved in a sometimes-violent territorial dispute with Chad over the Aouzou Strip, which Libya occupied in 1973. This dispute eventually led to a Libyan invasion and a conflict that ended with a 1987 ceasefire. The dispute was in the end settled peacefully in June 1994 when Libya withdrew from Chad due to a judgement of the International Court of Justice issued on 13 February 1994.[63]

The Chad government, headed by Chadian President Hissène Habré, received extensive U.S. and French help, which finally led to a Chadian victory in the so-called Toyota War. The 1987 war resulted in a heavy defeat for Libya, which, according to American sources, lost one tenth of its army, with 7,500 troops killed and 1.5 billion dollars worth of military equipment destroyed or captured.[64] Chadian losses were 1,000 troops killed.[65]

Gaddafi dispatched his military across his Egyptian border in the 1977 in the Libyan–Egyptian War, but Egyptian forces fought back, forcing Gaddafi to retreat.


The Italian population in Libya almost disappeared after Gaddafi ordered the expulsion of Italians in 1970.[66]

Gaddafi's World Revolutionary Center (WRC) near Benghazi became a training center for groups backed by Gaddafi.[67] Graduates in power as of 2011 included Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso and Idriss Déby of Chad.[68]

Gaddafi trained and supported Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, who was indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the conflict in Sierra Leone.[69] Foday Sankoh, the founder of Revolutionary United Front, was also Gaddafi's graduate. According to Douglas Farah, "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".[68] Gaddafi aided Jean-Bédel Bokassa, the Emperor of the Central African Empire.[70][71]

After the International Criminal Court (ICC) filed international arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir in connection to the Darfur genocide, Gaddafi complained that the ICC represented a "new form of world terrorism" that wanted to recolonise developing countries.[72]

Gaddafi supported the Soviet protege in Ethiopia Mengistu Haile Mariam,[71] who was later convicted of one of the deadliest genocides in modern history.[citation needed]

Gaddafi intervened militarily in the Central African Republic in 2001 to protect his ally Ange-Félix Patassé. 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.[67]

Australia/New Zealand

In Australia Libya attempted to radicalise Australian Aborigines and provided paramilitary training in Libya. Libya put several left-wing unions on the Libyan payroll, such as the Food Preservers Union (FPU) and the Federated Confectioners Association of Australia (FCA). Labor Party politician Bill Hartley, the secretary of the Libya-Australia friendship society, was a long-term supporter of Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein.[31][73][74] In the 1980s Libya purchased advertisements in Australian Arabic language newspapers asking Australian Arabs to join the military units of his worldwide struggle against imperialism. In part because of this, Australia banned recruitment of foreign mercenaries.[73] In May 1987, Australia broke off relations with Libya because Libya had fueled violence in Oceania.[31][73][74]

Gaddafi financed publications such as The Socialist Labour League's Workers News: "in among the routine denunciations of uranium mining and calls for greater trade union militancy would be a couple of pages extolling Gaddafi's fatuous and incoherent green book and the Libyan revolution."[73]

In New Zealand Libya attempted to radicalize Maoris.[74] Gaddafi's best-known political political subsidiary was the Workers Revolutionary Party.[73][75]


Gaddafi with Serbian President Boris Tadić

After the December 1985 Rome and Vienna airport attacks, which killed 19 and wounded around 140, Gaddafi indicated in his speech that he would continue to support the Red Army Faction, the Red Brigades, and the Irish Republican Army as long as European countries supported anti-Gaddafi Libyans.[76] The Foreign Minister of Libya called the massacres "heroic acts".[77]

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. More detailed information was retrieved years later in 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.[78]

In Austria, Jörg Haider reportedly received tens of millions dollars from Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein.[79]

Libya had close ties with Slobodan Milošević's regime. Gaddafi aligned himself with the Orthodox Serbs against Bosnia's Muslims and Kosovo's Albanians. Gaddafi supported Milošević even when Milošević was charged with large-scale ethnic cleansing against Albanians in Kosovo.[80][81][82]


In August 1978, Lebanese Shia leader Musa al-Sadr and two companions departed for Libya to meet with government officials. They were never heard from again. Musa al-Sadr had founded Amal Movement, a liberal-Shia Lebanese resistance movement (which later went on to oppose the Israeli invasion of Lebanon). However the rise of Amal Movement annoyed the PLO which was based primarily in south Lebanon. Libya consistently denied responsibility, claiming that al-Sadr and his companions left Libya for Italy. Some reports claimed that he remained secretly in jail in Libya. Al-Sadr's disappearance remained a major dispute between Lebanon and Libya. Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri claimed that the Libyan regime, and particularly the Libyan leader, were responsible for the disappearance of Imam Musa Sadr.[83]

According to Iranian General Mansour Qadar, the then head of Syrian security, Rifaat al-Assad, told the Iranian ambassador to Syria that Gaddafi was planning to kill al-Sadr. On 27 August 2008, Gaddafi was indicted in Lebanon for al-Sadr's disappearance.[84]


On 11 June 1972, Gaddafi announced that any Arab wishing to volunteer for Palestinian terrorist groups "can register his name at any Libyan embassy will be given adequate training for combat". He also promised financial support for attacks.[85][86][87] During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Gaddafi sent one armored brigade, two fighter squadrons, and financial aid to Egypt.

In 1995, Gaddafi expelled some 30,000 Palestinians living in Libya, in response to the peace negotiations that had commenced between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.[88]

In January 2009, Gaddafi contributed an editorial to The New York Times, suggesting that he was in favor of a single-state solution to the Israeli and Palestinian conflicts that moved beyond old conflicts and looked to a unified future of shared culture and mutual respect.[89]


Gaddafi was a close supporter of Ugandan President Idi Amin. Gaddafi sent troops to fight against Tanzania on Amin's behalf. About 600 Libyan soldiers died defending Amin's collapsing regime.[70] After his fall in April 1979, Amin fled to Libya, remaining there until 1980. Amin's rule cost an estimated 300,000 Ugandans' lives.[90]

United Kingdom

In 1976 after a series of terror attacks by the Provisional 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".[85]

In April 1984, Libyan refugees in London protested the execution of two dissidents. Libyan diplomats shot at 11 people and killed a British policewoman. The incident led to the cessation of diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and Libya for over a decade.[91] An alleged plot by Britain's Secret Intelligence Service to assassinate Gaddafi, when rebels attacked Gaddafi's motorcade near the city of Sirte in February 1996, was denied by former foreign secretary Robin Cook, although the FCO later stated: "We have never denied that we knew of plots against Gaddafi."[92]

United States

In 1981 Gaddafi talked about assassinating new American president Ronald Reagan.[93]

Reagan dubbed Gaddafi the "mad dog of the Middle East". In December 1981, the U.S. State Department invalidated U.S. passports for travel to Libya, and in March 1982, the United States banned the import of Libyan oil.[94]

In 1984. Gaddafi started plotting terrorist acts inside the United States. One of the leading groups receiving Gaddafi's money was the Nation of Islam. Al-Rakr, a Libyan-financed gang in Chicago, declared in 1984 that it was preparing for a "race war" to "settle scores with whites". Members of the gang were arrested in 1986 for preparations to bomb government buildings and bring down American planes.[95] In 1986 Libyan state television announced that Libya was training suicide squads to attack American and European interests.

On 14 April 1986, the United States carried out Operation El Dorado Canyon against Gaddafi, bombing air defenses, three army bases, and two airfields in Tripoli and Benghazi. The "surgical strikes" failed to kill Gaddafi but he lost a few dozen military officers. Gaddafi then spread propaganda about how it had killed his "adopted daughter" and how victims had been all civilians. The campaign was successful as large portions of the Western press reported the regime's stories as facts.[5][23] Gaddafi announced that he had won a spectacular military victory over the United States and the country was officially renamed the "Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah".[30] However, his speech appeared devoid of passion and even the "victory" celebrations appeared unusual. Criticism of Gaddafi by ordinary Libyan citizens became more bold, such as defacing Gaddafi posters.[30] The raids brought the regime to its the weakest point in 17 years.[30]

In June 2008, Gaddafi strongly criticised U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama for saying Jerusalem should remain the undivided capital of Israel, saying "The statements of our Kenyan brother of American nationality, Obama, on Jerusalem ... show that he either ignores international politics and did not study the Middle East conflict or that it is a campaign lie."[96]

In September 2008, U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice became the first in her position to visit Libya since 1953 and said about the visit; "It demonstrates that when countries are prepared to make strategic changes in direction, the United States is prepared to respond."[97]


Gaddafi developed a friendship with Hugo Chávez; in March 2009 Libya named a stadium after the Venezuelan leader.[98]

Documents seized during a raid against FARC in 2008 showed that both Chavez and Gaddafi backed the group.[68] Gaddafi developed an ongoing relationship with the FARC, becoming acquainted with its leaders in meetings of revolutionary groups regularly hosted in Libya.[67][68]

In September 2009, at the Second Africa-South America Summit on Isla Margarita in Venezuela, Gaddafi joined host 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."[99]


Gaddafi (right) with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad in 1977

On 7 October 1972, Gaddafi praised the Lod Airport massacre, carried out by the Japanese Red Army, and demanded that Palestinian terrorist groups carry out similar attacks.[85]

Gaddafi asserted in June 1984 that he wanted his agents to assassinate dissident refugees even when they were on pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca. In August 1984, one Libyan plot in Mecca was thwarted by Saudi Arabian police.[30]

Gaddafi fueled a number of Islamist and communist terrorist groups in the Philippines, including the New People’s Army of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The country still struggles with their murders and kidnappings.[21][74][76][100][100][101] In Indonesia the Organisasi Papua Merdeka was a Libyan backed militant group.Vanuatu's ruling party enjoyed Libyan support.[74]

Gaddafi sought close relations with the Soviet Union, and purchased arms from the Soviet bloc. Gaddafi's support for paramilitary groups and international terrorism often extended to groups with ideologies far removed from his own, including [102][103] European terrorists in France[30][77] and Germany,[31][74][76] the United States, and Latin America.[104][105]

In October 1981 Egypt's President Anwar Sadat was assassinated. Gaddafi applauded the murder and remarked that it was a punishment.[93]

Partial rapprochement

After the fall of the Soviet Empire, Libya appeared to reassess its position in world affairs and began a long process of rejoining the larger world.

In his four decades as Libya's 'Brother Leader', Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has gone from being the epitome of revolutionary chic to an eccentric statesman with entirely benign relations with the West.
David Blair, diplomatic editor for The Daily Telegraph[106]

Gaddafi also appeared to be attempting to improve his image in the West. Two years[when?] prior to the 11 September attacks, Libya pledged[citation needed] its commitment to fighting al-Qaeda and offered to open its weapons programme to international inspection. Neither the Clinton[citation needed] nor Bush[citation needed] administrations pursued the offer at the time since Libya's weapons program was not then regarded as a threat, and the matter of handing over the Lockerbie bombing suspects took priority. Following the attacks of 11 September, Gaddafi made one of the first, and firmest, denunciations of the Al-Qaeda bombers by any Muslim leader.[citation needed] Gaddafi also appeared on ABC for an open interview with George Stephanopoulos, a move that would have seemed unthinkable less than a decade earlier.[citation needed]

Lockerbie bombings

For most of the 1990s, Libya was under economic and diplomatic sanctions as a result of Gaddafi's refusal to allow the extradition to the United States or Britain of two Libyans accused of planting a bomb on Pan Am Flight 103, which came down on Lockerbie, Scotland. Through the intercession of South African President Nelson Mandela—who made a high-profile visit to Gaddafi in 1997—and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Gaddafi agreed in 1999 to a compromise that handed over the defendants to the Netherlands for trial under Scots law.[107] UN sanctions were thereupon suspended, but U.S. sanctions against Libya remained in force.

After diplomatic negotiations held through the various countries' secret services, led by Stephen Kappes of the CIA and Sir Mark Allen of MI6,[108] in August 2003, two years after Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's conviction, Libya wrote to the United Nations formally accepting 'responsibility for the actions of its officials' in respect of the Lockerbie bombing and agreed to pay compensation of up to US$2.7 billion—or up to US$10 million each—to the families of the 270 victims. The same month, Britain and Bulgaria co-sponsored a UN resolution which removed the suspended sanctions. (Bulgaria's involvement in tabling this motion led to suggestions that there was a link with the HIV trial in Libya in which five Bulgarian nurses, working at a Benghazi hospital, were accused in 1998 of infecting 426 Libyan children with HIV.)[109] Forty percent of the compensation was then paid to each family, and a further 40% followed once U.S. sanctions were removed. Because the United States refused to take Libya off its list of state sponsors of terrorism, Libya retained the last 20% ($540 million) of the $2.7 billion compensation package. In October 2008 Libya paid $1.5 billion into a fund which will be used to compensate relatives of the Lockerbie bombing victims with the remaining 20%, American victims of the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing, American victims of the 1989 UTA Flight 772 bombing and Libyan victims of the 1986 U.S. bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi. In exchange, President Bush signed Executive Order 13477 restoring the Libyan government's immunity from terror-related lawsuits and dismissing all of the pending compensation cases in the United States, the White House said.[110]

On 28 June 2007, Megrahi was granted the right to a second appeal against the Lockerbie bombing conviction.[111] One month later, the Bulgarian medics were released from jail in Libya. They returned home to Bulgaria and were pardoned by Bulgarian president, Georgi Parvanov.

Gaddafi with then-President of Russia Vladimir Putin in 2008
Gaddafi with Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

Gaddafi's 2009 celebration of the return of convicted Lockerbie bomber Megrahi, who was released from prison on compassionate grounds, attracted criticism from Western leaders.[112][113][114]


In July 2007, French president Nicolas Sarkozy visited Libya and signed a number of bilateral and multilateral (European Union) agreements with Gaddafi.[115]

Gaddafi and Vladimir Putin reportedly discussed establishing a Russian military base in Libya.[116]

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.[117]


On 30 August 2008, Gaddafi and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi signed a landmark cooperation treaty in Benghazi.[118][119][120] Under its terms, Italy agreed to pay $5 billion to Libya as compensation for its former military occupation. In exchange, Libya would take measures to combat illegal immigration coming from its shores and boost investments in Italian companies.[119][121] The treaty was ratified by Italy on 6 February 2009,[118] and by Libya on 2 March, during a Berlusconi visit to Tripoli.[119][122] In June Gaddafi made his first visit to Rome, where he again met Berlusconi, President Giorgio Napolitano and Senate President Renato Schifani; Chamber President Gianfranco Fini cancelled the meeting because of Gaddafi's delay.[119] The Democratic Party and Italy of Values opposed the visit,[123][124] and many protests were staged throughout Italy by human rights organizations and the Italian Radicals.[125] Gaddafi also took part in the G8 summit in L'Aquila in July as Chairman of the African Union.[119] During the summit a handshake between U.S. President Barack Obama and Muammar Gaddafi marked the first time the Libyan leader had been greeted by a serving U.S. president.[126] At the official dinner hosted by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister and G8 host, overturned protocol at the last moment by having Gaddafi sit next to him (just two places away from President Obama, seated on Berlusconi's right).[127][128][129][130][131] During a two-day visit to Italy in August 2010 Gaddafi upset his hosts by stating that Europe should convert to Islam. During a lecture to 200 young women whom Gaddafi had paid a modeling agency to send, he urged the women to convert to Islam and, according to one of them, said "Islam should become the religion of all of Europe." Each woman received a copy of the Qur'an.[132] Gaddafi, in a speech that aired on Al-Jazeera TV on 10 April 2006, said: "There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe–without swords, without guns, without conquests. The 50 million Muslims of Europe will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades."[133][134]

United Kingdom

In March 2004, British Prime Minister Tony Blair became one of the first Western leaders in decades to visit Libya and publicly meet Gaddafi. Blair praised Gaddafi's recent acts, and stated that he hoped Libya could now be a strong ally in the international War on Terror. In the run-up to Blair's visit, the British ambassador in Tripoli, Anthony Layden, explained Libya's and Gaddafi's political change:

35 years of total state control of the economy has left them in a situation where they're simply not generating enough economic activity to give employment to the young people who are streaming through their successful education system. I think this dilemma goes to the heart of Colonel Gaddafi's decision that he needed a radical change of direction.[135]

On 31 August 2006, however, Gaddafi openly called upon his supporters to "kill enemies" of his revolution and anyone who asks for political change within Libya.[136]

UN General Assembly speech

On 23 September 2009, Colonel Gaddafi addressed the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, his first visit to the United States.[137] Gaddafi spoke for one hour and 36 minutes.[138] A translation of the speech courtesy of Jamahiriya News Agency (JANA) the official Libyan news agency, is available on the internet.[139]

Gaddafi spoke in favor of the preamble to the United Nations Charter, but rejected several provisions of the rest of the Charter; and criticized the United Nations for failing to prevent 65 wars, and invited the General Assembly to investigate the wars that the Security Council had not authorized, and for those responsible to be brought before the International Criminal Court. He also defended the Taliban and Somali Pirates. He also claimed that a foreign military was responsible for the H1N1 outbreak, accused Israel of assassinating John F. Kennedy, and called for a one-state solution for Palestine and Israel, and referred to Barack Obama as "son of Africa".[140]

Following Colonel Gaddafi's speech, in which he criticized the UN Security Council (UNSC) calling it the "Terror Council",[141] and claimed that it practised "security feudalism" preferencing those who had a protected seat.[142] Gaddafi failed to attend a special Security Council heads-of-state meeting on 24–September–2009, when a resolution calling for a reduction in the number of nuclear weapons passed unanimously.[143]

The Libyan leader demanded representation for the African Union. His appearance generated demonstrations both for and against Gaddafi.[144] A Libyan diplomat, Ali Treki, has just become president of the General Assembly for 2009–10.

Gaddafi preferred to reside in a tent when travelling.[145] His plans to erect a tent in Central Park and on Libyan government property in Englewood, New Jersey during Gaddafi's stay at the UN were protested by community leaders and subsequently cancelled by Gaddafi.[146][147][148] His tent was moved to an estate belonging to Donald Trump in Bedford, until the local government issued a work stop order, claiming the tent needed a permit, and Trump told him to go elsewhere.[149][150]


Gaddafi's Green Book

In addition to The Green Book (1975), Gaddafi has authored other works, including Escape to Hell and Other Stories (1998)[151] and "The One-State Solution", an op-ed piece which appeared in The New York Times in 2009.[152]

Gaddafi is known for erratic statements, and commentators often express uncertainty about what is sarcasm and what is simply incoherent. Over the course of his four-decade rule, he accumulated a wide variety of eccentric and often contradictory statements.[153]

Political philosophy and personal bias

On Prophet Muhammad's birthday in 1973, Gaddafi delivered his famous "Five-Point Address" which: suspended existing laws and implemented Sharia; announced the purging of the country's "politically sick"; created a "people's militia" to "protect the revolution"; announced an administrative and cultural revolution.[21] School vacations were canceled to allow the teaching of Gaddafi's ideology in the summer of 1973.[21]

Gaddafi blended Arab nationalism,[154][155] aspects of the welfare state,[156][157][158] and what Gaddafi termed "popular democracy",[159] or more commonly "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" (or "emancipation" depending on the translation),[160] and education[161] was emphasized. He also imposed a system of Islamic morals,[162][163] outlawing alcohol and gambling.

Gaddafi uses the second part of his Green Book to justify the confiscation of private businesses, nationalization of private property, and cap on the income of Libyan families.[21] In the third part Gaddafi undercuts the position of the "feebler sex" and berates black Africans, whom he calls a lazy race liable to multiply without limit.[21]

In 1977, Gaddafi proclaimed that Libya was changing its form of government from a republic to a "jamahiriya"—a neologism that means "mass-state" or "government by the masses". In theory, Libya became a direct democracy governed by the people[164] through local popular councils and communes.[165] At the top of this structure was the General People's Congress,[166] with Gaddafi as secretary-general.

From time to time, Gaddafi responded to domestic and external opposition with violence. 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".[167]

Notwithstanding his claims of concern for his African roots, Gaddafi has 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 several measures forbidding the use of Berber, and often attacks this language in official speeches, with statements like: "If your mother transmits you this language, she nourishes you with the milk of the colonialist, she feeds you their poison" (1985).[168]

Gaddafi defended the actions of Somalian pirates, "It is a response to greedy Western nations, who invade and exploit Somalia’s water resources illegally. It is not a piracy, it is self defence... If they (Western nations) do not want to live with us fairly, it is our planet and they can go to other planet."[169]


Gaddafi once characterized HIV as "a peaceful virus, not an aggressive virus". In the African Union summit in Maputo in July 2003, Gaddafi asserted "if you are straight you have nothing to fear from AIDS".[170]

Angered at the arrest of his son, Hannibal Gaddafi, for battery by Geneva police, Gaddafi at the 35th G8 summit publicly called for the dissolution of Switzerland, its territory to be divided among France, Italy and Germany.[171] In August 2009, Hannibal Gaddafi stated that if he had nuclear weapons, he would "wipe Switzerland off the map".[172]

2011 civil war

On 17 February 2011, major political protests began in Libya against Gaddafi's government. During the following week, these protests gained significantly in momentum and size despite stiff resistance from the Gaddafi regime. By late February, the country appeared to be rapidly descending into chaos as a 'credible' death toll is reported to now be approaching 1,000.[173] On February 27 the International Federation for Human Rights concluded: "Gaddafi is implementing a strategy of scorched earth. It is reasonable to fear that he has, in fact, decided to largely eliminate, wherever he still can, Libyan citizens who stood up against his regime and furthermore, to systematically and indiscriminately repress civilians. These acts can be characterized as crimes against humanity, as defined in Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court."[174]

On Monday, February 21, 2011, Shaykh Yûsuf al-Qaradâwî talked about the 2011 Libyan civil war and issued a fatwa calling for the killing of Muammar Gaddafi:[175] Gaddafi was reported to have imported foreign mercenaries to defend his regime, and large swaths of the country, particularly in Eastern Libya, were reported to have fallen into the hands of anti-Gaddafi elements.[176] According to other sources "It is a myth that the Africans fighting to defend the Jamahiriya and Muammar Qaddafi are mercenaries being paid a few dollars."[177]

Former top officials, including Gaddafi's former "number two" man, Interior Minister General Abdel Fattah Younes al-Abidi, the former justice minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil (who became the head of the provisional government in Benghazi), and several key ambassadors and diplomats resigned their posts in protest over Gaddafi's heavy handed response to the demonstrators. General Al-Abidi issued a plea to whatever military personnel may have felt some loyalty towards Gaddafi to "join the people in the intifada." Already, he said, "many members" of the security forces had defected, including those in the capital, Tripoli.[178]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she considered Gaddafi's Tuesday, 22 February 2011 speech as the equivalent of "him declaring war on his own people".[173]

People protesting against Gaddafi.

At the beginning of March 2011, Gaddafi returned from a hideout, relying on considerable amounts of Libyan and U.S. cash apparently stored in the capital.[179]

In connection with the Libyan uprising, Gadaffi's attempts to favorably influence public opinion in Europe and the United States came under increased scrutiny.

As of March 2011, as part of the 2010–2011 Middle East and North Africa protests, the 2011 Libyan civil war had become a mass uprising against Gaddafi, costing him control of some parts of the country. Gaddafi's former justice minister, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, has told the Swedish newspaper Expressen that he has evidence that Gaddafi had personally ordered the Lockerbie bombing of 1988.

On 17 March 2011 the United Nations declared a no fly zone in Libya, one of a series of measures intended to protect the civilian population of Libya.[180] A NATO airstrike on April 30th killed the youngest son of Gaddafi and three of his grandsons at his son's home in Tripoli, the Libyan government said. Regime officials said that Muammar Gaddafi and his wife were visiting the home when it was struck, but both were unharmed. Gaddafi son’s death comes 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 last month. Gaddafi suggested there was room for negotiation, but he vowed to stay in Libya. Western officials have been divided in recent weeks over whether Gaddafi is a legitimate military target under the United Nations Security Council resolution that authorized the air campaign. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that NATO was "not targeting Gaddafi specifically" but that his command-and-control facilities - including a facility inside his sprawling Tripoli compound that was hit with airstrikes April 25th - were legitimate targets.[181]

Gaddafi supporters

Gaddafi's influential Defense Minister resigned because he did not wish to order to shoot Libyans. Gaddafi reportedly has jailed him.[182]

The Khamis Brigade was an important asset for Gaddafi and killed rebelling civilians. It was led by Khamis Gaddafi, one of Gaddafi's sons who trained in Libya and Russia. The brigade was the military's best-equipped unit. Gaddafi also relied heavily on two generals from his own tribe, Sayed Qaddaf Eddam and Ahmed Qaddaf Eddam.[182] Gaddafi was reportedly paying Ghanaian mercenaries as much as 2,500 U.S. dollars per day for their services. Advertisements for mercenaries appeared in Nigerian newspapers.[182]

A Serbian newspaper reported that Serbian mercenaries were among the first to kill protesting civilians.[183] Reports from Libya confirmed the presence of Ukrainian and Serbian mercenaries.[184] A Libyan economist claimed[who?] that Serbian pilots were flying the planes that bombed protesting civilians because Libyan pilots refused to do so.[185] Gaddafi also used Serbian fighters when he put down a civilian uprising in the 1990s.[186][187]

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reported that in the middle of February a Libyan transport plane visited a Belarussian military base that handled stockpiled weaponry and military equipment.[188]

Prosecution for massacres

The United Nations referred the massacres of unarmed civilians to the International Criminal Court.[189]

Personal life and family

His second wife is Safia Farkash, née el-Brasai, former nurse from Al Bayda.[190][191][192] Gaddafi had eight biological children, seven of them sons.

Moatessem-Billal al-Gaddafi with Hillary Clinton, Treaty Room, Washington, DC, 21 April 2009

His eldest son, Muhammad al-Gaddafi, born to Gaddafi's first wife, runs the Libyan Olympic Committee.[190]

The next eldest son, by his second wife Safia, is Saif al-Islam Muammar al-Gaddafi, who was born in 1972. Saif serves as a politician in his father's government, including as a spokesperson during the 2011 uprising, and works as an architect. He runs a charity (GIFCA) which was 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 soon after, and launched an environment-friendly initiative to teach children how to help clean up parts of Libya. He was involved in compensation negotiations with Italy and the United States.

The third eldest, Al-Saadi al-Gaddafi, married the daughter of a military commander. Saadi runs the Libyan Football Federation and signed to play for various professional teams including Italian Serie A team Perugia Calcio, although appearing only once in first team games.

The fourth, Hannibal Muammar al-Gaddafi, is a former employee of General National Maritime Transport Company, a company that specialized in oil exports. He is most notable for involvement in a series of violent incidents throughout Europe. In 2001, Hannibal attacked three Italian policemen with a fire extinguisher; in September 2004, he was briefly detained in Paris after driving a Porsche at 140 kilometres per hour (90 mph) in the wrong direction and through red lights down the Champs-Élysées while intoxicated; and in 2005, Hannibal in Paris allegedly beat model and then-girlfriend Aline Skaf, who later filed an assault suit against him.[193] He was fined and given a four month suspended prison sentence after this incident. In December 2009 police were called to Claridge's hotel in London after staff heard a scream from Hannibal's room. Skaf, later his wife, suffered facial injuries including a broken nose, but charges were not pressed after she maintained she had sustained the injuries in a fall.[194] On 15 July 2008, Hannibal and his wife were held for two days and charged with assaulting two of their staff in Geneva, Switzerland and then released on bail on 17 July. The government of Libya subsequently boycotted Swiss products, reduced flights between Libya and Switzerland, stopped issuing visas to Swiss citizens, recalled diplomats from Bern, and forced all Swiss companies such as ABB and Nestlé to close offices. General National Maritime Transport Company, which owned a large refinery in Switzerland, halted oil shipments to Switzerland.[195] Two Swiss businessmen who were in Libya at the time were denied permission to leave the country and held hostage for some time. (see Switzerland-Libya conflict). At the 35th G8 summit in July 2009, Gaddafi labeled Switzerland a "world mafia" and called for the country to be split between France, Germany and Italy.[196]

Gaddafi's fifth son, Al-Mu'tasim-Billah al-Gaddafi, is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Libyan Army. He later serves as Libya's National Security Advisor, in which capacity he oversaw the nation's National Security Council. His name مُعْتَصِمٌ (بِٱللّٰهِ) /muʿtaṣimu-n (bi l–lāhi)/ could be Latinized as Mutassim, Moatessem or Moatessem-Billah. Saif Al-Islam and Moatessem-Billah were both seen as possible successors to their father.[citation needed]

Gaddafi's sixth son was Saif al-Arab al-Gaddafi ("the sword of the Arabs"). Saif was appointed a military commander in the Libyan Army during the 2011 Libyan uprising. Saif al-Arab and three of Gaddafi's grandchildren were reported killed by a NATO bombing in April 2011. Like the death of Hanna, this is disputed by the organizations alleged to be responsible.[197]

Gaddafi's seventh son is Khamis al-Gaddafi, who serves as the commander of the Libyan Army's elite Khamis Brigade.

Gaddafi's only natural daughter is Ayesha al-Gaddafi, a lawyer who joined the defense teams of executed former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi.[190] She is married to a cousin of her father's.

He is also said to have adopted two children, Hanna and Milad.[198][199] Hanna was apparently killed in 1986 at the age of four, during retaliatory US bombing raids; the facts are disputed however,[200] and this adoption may have been posthumous.

Gaddafi's brother-in-law Abdullah Senussi‎, who married to Gaddafi's wife's sister, is believed to head military intelligence.[201]

The family's main residence is on the Bab al-Azizia military barracks, located in the southern suburbs of Tripoli.

Gaddafi holds an honorary degree from Megatrend University in Belgrade conferred on him by former Yugoslav President Zoran Lilić.[202]

Gaddafi fears flying over water, prefers to stay on buildings' ground floors and almost never travels without his trusted Ukrainian nurse Halyna Kolotnytska, a "voluptuous blonde," according to a U.S. document released by WikiLeaks late 2010.[203] Halyna's daughter denied the suggestion that the relationship is anything but professional.[204]

Family wealth

Until the uprising in 2011, the Gaddafi family held vast amounts of wealth outside Libya as well as full control of the Libyan economy. The main vehicle for the Gaddafi's wealth was the $70 billion Libyan Investment Authority (LIA). Gaddafi's sons, Saif, Muatassim and Hannibal were accustomed to live in luxury in the West, circulating with other rich people and gaining respect by giving money to causes that they supported. The London School of Economics was a beneficiary of a donation given by Saif al Islam Gaddafi. Many British companies gained a foothold in the lucrative Libyan market by building relationships with the Gaddafi family.[citation needed]

Italian companies had a strong foothold in Libya. The country buys a quarter of Libya's oil and 15 per cent of its natural gas. The LIA owned significant shares in Italy's Eni oil corporation, Fiat, Unicredit bank and Finmeccanica.[205] In January 2002, Gaddafi purchased a 7.5% share of Italian football club Juventus for USD 21 million, through ("Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company"[206]). This followed a long-standing association with Italian industrialist Gianni Agnelli and car manufacturer Fiat.[207]

The family also hold important investments in Zimbabwe, Chad, Sudan, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

On 25 February 2011 Britain's Treasury set up a specialised unit to trace Gaddafi's assets in Britain.[205]

Gaddafi allegedly worked with Swiss banks to launder international banking transactions for years.[179]

Public relations

At 27, Gaddafi, with a taste for safari suits and sunglasses, sought to become the new "Che Guevara of the age".[106] To accomplish this Gaddafi turned Libya into a haven for anti-Western radicals, where any group, supposedly, could receive weapons and financial assistance, provided they claimed to be fighting imperialism.[106] The Italian population in Libya almost disappeared after Gaddafi ordered their expulsion in 1970.[66]

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 captain to colonel and 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 society is "ruled by the people", so he did not need a more grandiose title or supreme military rank.[5]

Alleged plastic surgery

In 2011, Brazilian plastic surgeon Liacyr Ribeiro claimed to have performed a secret operation on Gaddafi in January 1995, since he did not want to appear old to Libyan youth. Another Brazilian plastic surgeon, Fabio Naccache, confirmed that he had been part of the surgical team. According to Ribeiro, a world-renowed expert on cosmetic surgery, he had been speaking at a conference in Tripoli on cosmetic breast surgery, after which he was approached by Libyan government official Mohamed Zaid, who asked him if he wanted to meet "someone who Libyans love very much". After Ribeiro agreed, he was driven to a heavily guarded house, and taken to a library in a tent set up inside the building, where he met with Gaddafi, and agreed to perform a cosmetic procedure. Ribeiro then assembled a surgical team. The surgery was performed in Gaddafi's bunker, which had "two fully equipped and very modern operating rooms, a gym and a swimming pool", and was done with local anesthesia, as Gaddafi wanted to remain alert. During the surgery, fat was removed from Gaddafi's belly and injected into wrinkles on his face, and he also underwent a hair transplant. According to Naccache, about halfway through the operation, Gaddafi said he was hungry, and "hamburgers were brought in for all and surgery was interrupted for several minutes while we ate". After the surgery, Zaid handed Ribeiro an envelope filled with United States dollars and Swiss francs. Ribeiro remained in Tripoli for ten days while Gaddafi recovered. Ribeiro said that he assumes Gaddafi turned to him because Libyan surgeons were either "incapable of doing what I did or too scared that he would die on the operating table".[208]


Because of the lack of standardization of transliterating written and regionally pronounced Arabic, Gaddafi's name was 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 ٱلْقَذَّافِيّ can be pronounced /muˈʕamːaru lqaðˈðaːfiː/. [ʕ] represents a voiced pharyngeal fricative (ع). Geminated consonants can be simplified. In Libyan Arabic, /q/ (ق) may be replaced with [ɡ] or [k] (or even [χ]); and /ð/ (ذ) (as "th" in "this") may be replaced with [d] or [t]. Vowel [u] often alternates with [o] in pronunciation. Thus, /muˈʕamːar alqaðˈðaːfiː/ is normally pronounced in Libyan Arabic [muˈʕæmːɑrˤ əlɡædˈdæːfi]. The definite article al- (ال) is often omitted.

"Muammar Gaddafi" is the spelling used by TIME, BBC News, the majority of the British press and by the English service of Al-Jazeera.[209] The Associated Press, MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News use "Moammar Gadhafi". The Library of Congress uses "Qaddafi, Muammar" as the primary name. The Edinburgh Middle East Report uses "Mu'ammar Qaddafi" and the U.S. Department of State uses "Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi", although the White House chooses to use "Muammar el-Qaddafi".[210] The Xinhua News Agency uses "Muammar Khaddafi" in its English reports.[211] The New York Times uses "Muammar el-Qaddafi". The Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times of Tribune Company use "Moammar Kadafi".[212][213]

In 1986, Gaddafi reportedly responded to a Minnesota school's letter in English using the spelling "Moammar El-Gadhafi".[214] The title of the homepage of reads "Welcome to the official site of Muammar Al Gathafi".[215]

An article published in the London Evening Standard in 2004 lists a total of 37 spellings of his name, while a 1986 column by The Straight Dope quotes a list of 32 spellings known at the Library of Congress.[216] ABC identified 112 possible spellings.[217] This extensive confusion of naming was used as the subject of a segment of Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update on 12 December 1981.[218]

In short, the alternative spellings for each part of his name are shown in brackets:


However, not all are possible, as some alternatives are most probably combined with others, or even impossible with others (for example, simplification of geminated [m:] usually implies simplification of [a:]).

See also



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