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Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi(June 7, 1942  – 20 October 2011), commonly known as Colonel Gaddafi, was a Libyan revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He governed Libya as Revolutionary Chairman of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then as the “Brotherly Leader” of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011. He was initially ideologically committed to Arab nationalism and Arab socialism, but he came to rule according to his own Third International Theory.

Gaddafi was born near Sirte to an impoverished Bedouin family. He became an Arab nationalist while at school in Sabha, later enrolling in the Royal Military Academy, Benghazi. Within the military he founded a revolutionary cell which, in a 1969 coup, deposed the Western-backed Senussi monarchy of Idris. Having taken power, Gaddafi converted Libya into a republic governed by his Revolutionary Command Council. Ruling by decree, he ejected both Italian colonists and Western military bases from Libya while strengthening ties to Arab nationalist governments—particularly Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt—and unsuccessfully advocating Pan-Arab political union. An Islamic modernist, he introduced sharia as the basis for the legal system and promoted “Islamic socialism”. The oil industry was nationalised, with the increasing state revenues used to bolster the military, fund foreign revolutionaries, and implement social programs emphasising house-building, healthcare, and education projects. In 1973, he initiated a “Popular Revolution” with the formation of General People’s Committees, purported to be a system of direct democracy, but retained personal control over major decisions. He outlined his Third International Theory that year, publishing these ideas in The Green Book.

In 1971 Qadhdhafi tried to reintroduce Islamic law in Libya. In 1973 the first steps of the “popular revolution” were taken, and this process led to the proclamation of the Arab Popular Socialist Libyan Jamahiriyah. The Jamahiriyah is supposed to be a new system of government: placing power in the hands of the masses, it is expressed by a peculiar structure of committees that represent the decision-making and executive bodies of the state. As a consequence, a division arose between power and revolution, until then united.

From 1977 onward there were two further important elements: the replacement of a rigid and repressive policy at home by a more moderate attitude, especially in economics; and the failure of Libyan foreign policy (in the case of Chad, for example). This second issue determined the marginal role played by Libya in the Arab world, although Qadhdhafi is periodically identified by the United States as a symbolic enemy to be crushed at all costs. The latter response is due to his more or less active support of international terrorism by such groups as the Irish Republican Army, the Basques, and radical Palestinian groups.

In 1977, Gaddafi transformed Libya into a new socialist state called the Jamahiriya (“state of the masses”). Officially he adopted a symbolic role in governance but remained head of both the military and the Revolutionary Committees responsible for policing and suppressing dissent. During the 1970s and 1980s, Libya’s unsuccessful border conflicts with Egypt and Chad, support for foreign militants, and alleged responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing left it increasingly isolated on the international stage. A particularly hostile relationship developed with the United States, United Kingdom, and Israel, resulting in the 1986 U.S. bombing of Libya and United Nations-imposed economic sanctions. From 1999, Gaddafi rejected Arab socialism and encouraged economic privatisation, rapprochement with Western nations, and Pan-Africanism; he was Chairperson of the African Union from 2009–10. Amid the 2011 Arab Spring, protests against widespread corruption and unemployment broke out in eastern Libya. The situation descended into civil war, in which NATO intervened militarily on the side of the anti-Gaddafist National Transitional Council (NTC). The government was overthrown and Gaddafi, who had retreated to Sirte, was captured and killed by NTC militants.

A highly divisive figure, Gaddafi dominated Libya’s politics for four decades and was the subject of a pervasive cult of personality. He was decorated with various awards and lauded for his anti-imperialist stance, his support for Arab and then African unity, and for significant improvements that his government brought to the Libyan people’s quality of life. Conversely, domestically his social and economic reforms were strongly opposed by Islamic fundamentalists and he was internationally condemned as a dictator whose authoritarian administration violated the human rights of Libyan citizens and financed global terrorism.

Death and Turmoil

On October 20, 2011, Libyan officials announced that Muammar al-Qaddafi had died near his hometown of Sirte, Libya. Early reports had conflicting accounts of his death, with some stating that he had been killed in a gun battle and others claiming that he had been targeted by a NATO aerial attack. Video circulated of Qaddafi’s bloodied body being dragged around by fighters.

On the afternoon of Gaddafi’s death, NTC Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril publicly revealed the news. Gaddafi’s corpse was placed in the freezer of a local market alongside the corpses of Yunis Jabr and Mutassim; the bodies were publicly displayed for four days, with Libyans from all over the country coming to view them. In response to international calls, on 24 October Jibril announced that a commission would investigate Gaddafi’s death. On 25 October, the NTC announced that Gaddafi had been buried at an unidentified location in the desert. Seeking vengeance for the killing, Gaddafist sympathisers fatally wounded one of those who had captured Gaddafi, Omran Shaaban, near Bani Walid in September 2012.

For months, Qaddafi and his family had been at large, believed to be hiding in the western part of the country where they still had small pockets of support. As news of the former dictator’s death spread, Libyans poured into the streets, celebrating the what many hailed as the culmination of their revolution.

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Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/qadhdhafi-muammar-al/

  • writerPosted On: July 5, 2017
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