Libyan Crisis (2011–present)

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Current military situation in the Libyan Civil War (as of 16 August 2015)
  Controlled by the Council of Deputies and Libyan National Army
  Controlled by the Shura Councils of Benghazi, Derna and Ajdabiya
  Controlled by local forces in Misrata district
  Controlled by the Tuareg forces

(For a more detailed map, see military situation in the Libyan Civil War)

The Libyan crisis[1][2] refers to the ongoing conflict in Libya, beginning with the Arab Spring protests, which led to the First Libyan Civil War, foreign military intervention and the ousting and death of Muammar Gaddafi. The civil war's aftermath led to violence and instability across the country, which erupted into renewed civil war in 2014. The ongoing crisis in Libya has so far resulted in tens of thousands of casualties since the onset of violence in early 2011.


The history of Libya under Muammar Gaddafi spanned a period of over four decades from 1969 to 2011. Gaddafi became the de facto leader of the country on 1 September 1969 after leading a group of young Libyan military officers against King Idris I in a bloodless coup d'état. After the king had fled the country, the Libyan Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) headed by Gaddafi abolished the monarchy and the old constitution and proclaimed the new Libyan African Republic, with the motto "freedom, socialism, and unity".[3]

After coming to power, the RCC government initiated a process of directing funds toward providing education, health care and housing for all. Despite the reforms not being entirely effective, public education in the country became free and primary education compulsory for both sexes. Medical care became available to the public at no cost but providing housing for all was a task the RCC government was not able to complete.[4] Under Gaddafi, per capita income in the country rose to more than US $11,000, the fifth highest in Africa.[5] The increase in prosperity was accompanied by a controversial foreign policy, with increased political repression at home.[3][6]


First civil war[edit]

In early 2011, a civil war broke out in the context of the wider "Arab Spring". The anti-Gaddafi forces formed a committee named the National Transitional Council, on 27 February 2011. It was meant to act as an interim authority in the rebel-controlled areas. After a number of atrocities were committed by the government,[7][8] with the threat of further bloodshed,[9] a multinational coalition led by NATO forces intervened on 21 March 2011 with the aim to protect civilians against attacks by the government's forces.[10] At the same time, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Gaddafi and his entourage on 27 June 2011. Gaddafi was ousted from power in the wake of the fall of Tripoli to the rebel forces on 20 August 2011, although pockets of resistance held by forces loyal to Gaddafi's government held out for another two months, especially in Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte, which he declared the new capital of Libya on 1 September 2011.[11] The fall of the last remaining cities under pro-Gaddafi control and Sirte's capture on 20 October 2011, followed by the subsequent killing of Gaddafi, marked the end of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

Inter-civil war violence[edit]

After the first Libyan civil war, violence involving various militias and the new state security forces occurred. The violence included an Islamist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and eventually escalated into the Second Libyan Civil War.

Second civil war[edit]

The second Libyan civil war began when General Khalifa Haftar launched Operation Dignity against Islamist groups.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Libya - Crisis response
  2. ^ Fadel, L. "Libya's Crisis: A Shattered Airport, Two Parliaments, Many Factions".
  3. ^ a b "Libya: History". GlobalEDGE (via Michigan State University). Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Housing". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "African Countries by GDP Per Capita > GDP Per Capita (most recent) by Country". NationMaster. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "Comparative Criminology – Libya". Crime and Society. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Crawford, Alex (23 March 2011). "Evidence Of Massacre By Gaddafi Forces". Sky News. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "Pro-Gaddafi tanks storm into Libya's Misurata: TV". Xinhua. 6 March 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  9. ^ Fahim, Kareem; Kirkpatrick, David D. (23 February 2011). "Qaddafi’s Grip on the Capital Tightens as Revolt Grows". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "NATO Launches Offensive Against Gaddafi". France 24. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  11. ^ "Libya crisis: Col Gaddafi vows to fight a 'long war'". BBC News. 1 September 2011.