North Africa

Libya History Part 2

Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

Colonel Muamar el Gaddafi took power in 1969 through a coup d’état and established a government that he defined as socialist (considered by his enemies in the West as authoritarian) known as Yamahiriyya (State of the Masses), a system of direct government where the people exercise power through direct and leading participation in decision-making (Popular Power).

Defender of pan – Arabism and Islam, Gaddafi was accused by Western countries of sponsoring terrorism and attacking mainly American targets. Ronald Reagan ordered the bombing of the two main Libyan cities, Tripoli and Benghazi, in 1986 ; in an unprecedented action in which for the first time the United States used its armed forces with the objective of assassinating a president of a sovereign nation. Several civilians were killed in the bombings, including a daughter of Gaddafi.

From 1978 to 1987, there were conflicts between Libya and Chad, due to Libya’s participation in the civil war in Chad. Libyan forces supported a faction, contributed troops and supplies in the border area and at one point managed to advance to the capital. Finally the Chadians got the Libyans to withdraw from their territory, in the so-called ” Toyota War “.

In the late eighties of the twentieth century two civilian aircraft were destroyed as a result of terrorist attacks, one in the UK and one in Africa. The United States, United Kingdom and France accused Libya of these actions and launched a series of sanctions that led to the isolation of the country.

The African Union was officially formed in March 2001, during a ceremony held in the Libyan city of Sirte.

At the beginning of 2003, by virtue of the economic agreement on compensation reached between Libya and the claimant countries, the United Kingdom and France, the UN Security Council lifted the 1992 sanctions against Libya, a country located in Africa according to MILITARYNOUS.

In May 2006, the United States announced the withdrawal of Libya from the list of terrorist countries and the establishment of full diplomatic relations. In 2006 and 2007, France and the United States signed nuclear cooperation agreements for peaceful purposes; In May 2007, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair visited Gaddafi and then British Petroleum signed an allegedly “hugely important” contract for the exploration of gas fields. [1]

In December 2007, Gaddafi paid two visits to France and signed contracts for military and civilian equipment worth 10 billion euros. Millionaire contracts were signed with important NATO countries. As well as how he maintained contacts and made visits to the main industrialized capitalist countries.

Civil war

At the end of February 2011 the political situation in Libya deteriorated rapidly. Numerous demonstrations against Colonel Gaddafi followed one another across the country, encouraged by Western governments. Several high-ranking officials decided to ignore the authority of the government and join the insurrection. The insurgents announced the formation of a parallel government in Benghazi under the name of the National Transitional Council. This government was led by Mustafa Abul Jalil, who until February 21 served as Gaddafi’s Minister of Justice. Two months earlier, Amnesty International had placed him on the list of those responsible for human rights violations in North Africa.

In the first two months of the conflict, the rebels dominated the east of the country, basing themselves in Benghazi, and some isolated points from the rest of the country. The offensive of the Libyan army, supported by the aviation, was about to annihilate them when the armed intervention of NATO took place, covered by a United Nations resolution that allowed them to create a no-fly zone.

NATO immediately violated the UN resolution and began an open intervention in favor of the rebels, bombing Gaddafi’s forces by sea and air and destroying their equipment, aviation, armored forces and supply lines. This produced a radical turn in the war and the rebels, in the middle of a great media campaign, entered Tripoli in August. They were quickly recognized by most of the international community, despite the fact that various regions of Libya were still fighting.

In October, Gaddafi was surprised by a NATO bombing while leaving Sirte in a motorcade. Captured wounded by the rebel militiamen, he was lynched by them and his body was publicly displayed. After the death of the Libyan leader and the fall of Bani Walid, the war ended with the victory of the rebels.

New interim government

A month after the assassination of Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, the National Transitional Council (CNT) approved the formation of the new interim cabinet, which would be tasked with drafting a new Constitution and preparing elections in June 2012. The “transitional government, headed by Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib, consisted of 25 portfolios, two headed by women. [2]

Shortly after its establishment, the new cabinet announced that it had captured Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi’s eldest son. The International Criminal Court in the Netherlands quickly announced its wishes to try Saif for “crimes against humanity”, but the head of the military council of the town of Zintan, Colonel Mohamed al-Khabash, said that Seif al-Islam would be detained in that village until “a judicial system was established in Libya.” [3]

At the end of November 2011, a report released at the UN indicated that at least 7,000 people, including women and children, many of them foreigners, were detained in Libya without prior trial and access to protection. The report, read by the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon added that:

“Much remains to be done to put prison laws in order, prevent human rights violations, and ensure the release of those whose incarceration should not continue” [4]

Threats of autonomy

The 6 of March of 2012 the oil region of Cyrenaica in eastern Libya declared as semiautonomous. [5] Thousands of tribal leaders and militiamen attended the ceremony in Benghazi city. The National Transitional Council assured that the initiative of a federal Libya launched from Benghazi endangers the unity of the country.

“Today as CNT we are surprised by those voices that call for the division of Libya and I urge all Libyans to rally around the CNT”

Mustafa Abdulyalil, President of the CNT

Libya History 2