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The Warfalla (Arabic: ورفلة‎) is one of branches of the tribe Houara, Live in the west of Libya, in Bani Walid. While the Warfalla tribe has often been identified with the Gaddafi regime, there are many Warfalla who actively opposed his rule, including Mahmoud Jibril (el-Warfally), the titular head of the opposition National Transitional Council (NTC).

The Warfalla historically inhabited the area of what is between the towns of Bani Walid and Sirte. Due to their support to the Gaddafi during 42 years of his reign, the Warfalla tribe became the most armed and powerful tribe in Libya

The Warfalla tribe is composed of 52 sub-tribes that consist of Individual bayts or Clans. They claim lineage from the Banu Hilal tribe which swept North Africa from Arabia via Egypt in the 11th century. Intermarriage with Libyans tribesmen resulted in the complete Arabization of the region by the time of the Ottoman conquest in the 16th century.[1]

During the Italian invasion of Libya the Warfalla tribe, under the leadership of Bel Khayre, fought against the invaders until the fall of Bani Walid, the Warfalla tribe's territory in December 1923.[2] There was a civil war between the tribes and peasants of the Jabal al Gharbi District from 1920 to 1922.[3]

Gaddafi has drawn many of his security personnel from the Warfalla tribe,[4]:407 and placed certain Warfalla leaders in his "revolutionary committees" (besides members of the Maqarha and his own Qadhafa tribe),[5] Members of the Warfalla tribe had participated in the unsuccessful 1993 Libyan coup attempt against Gaddafi, as a result, a number of Warfalla leaders and civilians were either imprisoned or executed.[6] In the early weeks of the 17 February 2011 Revolution the Warfalla tribe leaders gave their support to the Gaddafi regime.


  1. ^ Ahmida, Ali Abdullatif (March 1994). The making of modern Libya: state formation, colonization, and resistance, 1830-1932 (Hardcover ed.). SUNY Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-7914-1761-4. 
  2. ^ Ahmida, Ali Abdullatif (March 1994). The making of modern Libya: state formation, colonization, and resistance, 1830-1932 (Hardcover ed.). SUNY Press. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-7914-1761-4. 
  3. ^ Ahmida, Ali Abdullatif (March 1994). The making of modern Libya: state formation, colonization, and resistance, 1830-1932 (Hardcover ed.). SUNY Press. p. 189. ISBN 978-0-7914-1761-4. 
  4. ^ Kelly, Sanja; Walker, Christopher; Dizard, Jake, eds. (2008). Countries at the crossroads: a survey of democratic governance. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 708. ISBN 978-0-7425-5899-1. 
  5. ^ Dirk J. Vandewalle, A history of modern Libya, Cambridge University Press, 2006, p.152. ISBN 978-0-521-85048-3.
  6. ^ Amin Saikal, Albrecht Schnabel, Democratization in the Middle East: experiences, struggles, challenges, United Nations University Press, 2003, ISBN 978-92-808-1085-1, p. 196.
  • In terms of scientific rules it is not right to let political preferences affect the scientific reality in reference to what has been written about the number of Warfalla tribe population. There has been no any scientific scenes (public or private) that is based on tribe category and much of what have been written is not more than rhetoric but there are unofficial stimulation say that Warfalla tribe is the biggest Arab tribe in Libya with more than 1 million people. Moreover, there has been no any credible historical evidence supporting the idea that Warfalla tribe is belonging to barbarian roots. If somebody prefers to say that Warfalla is loyalist to Gaddafi regime, it is true that Warfalla's belief and value system doesn't allow its individuals to act against their religious, ethical and morale principles. This doesn't mean that they were in a full harmonization with the regime. They were targeted by the regime for more than 18 years due to the 1993 attempt to overthrow the regime. Because of this Warfalla were put under Misrata's administration. It was not Warfalla, but Misrata were Gaddafi's pet. During Gaddafi's 40 years the Libyans have known well that Misrata took the biggest share of the country's developing plans. More than 80 factories were located in Misrata including the biggest steel and iron complex in North Africa. It was also home to three sea ports, an international airport, and an air-force academy. Misrata is the richest city in Libya and the people of Misrata are the richest between the Libyans. This is because of their closest relationships with the regime that allowed them to gain benefits and accumulated advantages. At least, one-fifth of the every government that took place between 1996 and 2012 were Misratian people. Most of the big companies in and outside the country, crucial embassies, security agencies in Libya were run by Misratian people.

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