The Magarha (also al-Magarha) is one of the major Arab tribes of Libya. They originate from Fezzan province of Libya and have been an influential supporters and beneficiaries of Muammar Gaddafi during his long rule and then Libya's 2011 civil war. Some Magarha have relocated to Sirte and elsewhere along the coast.
The Magarha, along with the Warfalla, have long formed an important alliance with Muammar Gaddafi, with many Magarha located in the upper ranks of Libya's government and security forces. Abdullah Senussi, Muammar Gaddafi's brother-in-law and the chief of military intelligence, is a Magarha.
The Magarha tribe has been semi-nomadic, and their alliances are mentioned in historical texts. The 14th century Islamic texts suggest that the Magarha were one of the tribes that controlled the oases and palm groves in the region that is contemporary west Libya. Their rights were acknowledged in the 16th to 18th century Barbary Corsairs era.
The historical records of the Ottoman Empire suggest that along with Riyyah tribe, the Magarha were Arab tribes of Wadi al-Shatti region, and that they supported the Ottoman's authority in Fezzan region. In exchange for this support, the Ottoman Empire had exempted them from taxes, allowed them to collect a tribute from passing caravans and represented the Ottoman interests as its police force.
Abdullah al-Senussi – the former Libyan intelligence chief, and Abdelbaset al-Megrahi – a Libyan officer convicted of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, were descendants of the Magarha tribe.
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