Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
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|Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya|
|الجماهيرية العربية الليبية الشعبية الإشتراكية العظمى
Al-Jamāhīriyyah al-ʿArabiyyah al-Lībiyyah aš-Šaʿbiyyah al-Ištirākiyyah al-ʿUẓmā (in Arabic)
|Government||De jure Direct democracy
De facto Authoritarian state
|Leader and Guide of the Revolution|
|•||1972-2011 (de facto)||Muammar Gaddafi|
|Historical era||Cold War, War on Terrorism|
|•||Libya leaves the Federation of Arab Republics||November 19, 1977|
|•||Disestablished||2011 (de facto)|
The Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (Arabic: الجماهيرية العربية الليبية الشعبية الاشتراكية al-Ǧamāhīriyyat al-ʿArabiyyat al-Lībiyyat aš-Šaʿbiyyat al-Ištirākiyyat) was a state that was declared by Muammar Gaddafi. On 2 March 1977, the GPC, at Gaddafi's behest, adopted the "Declaration of the Establishment of the People's Authority" In the official political philosophy of Gaddafi's state, the "Jamahiriya" system was unique to the country, although it was presented as the materialization of the Third International Theory, proposed by Gaddafi to be applied to the entire Third World. Gaddafi was designated the "Leader" (Qāʾid) of the Libyan state and was accorded the honorifics "Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" or "Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution" in government statements and the official press. The Libyan government stated that the Libyan Jamahiriya was a direct democracy without any political parties, governed by its populace through local popular councils and communes (named Basic People's Congresses). Official rhetoric disdains the tribal bonds remaining primary, even within the ranks of the military of Libya.
- 1 Name
- 2 Reforms (1977–1980)
- 3 Military
- 4 International relations
- 5 References
|Look up Jamahiriya in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
Jamahiriya (Arabic: جماهيرية jamāhīriyyah) is an Arabic term generally translated as "state of the masses"; Lisa Anderson  has suggested "peopledom" or "state of the masses" as a reasonable approximations of the meaning of the term as intended by Gaddafi. The term does not occur in this sense in Muammar al-Gaddafi's Green Book of 1975. The nisba-adjective Arabic: جماهيرية ("mass-, "of the masses") occurs only in the third part, published in 1981, in the phrase إن الحركات التاريخية هي الحركات الجماهيرية , translated in the English edition as "Historic movements are mass movements".
The word jamāhīriyyah was derived from jumhūriyyah, which is the usual Arabic translation of "republic". It was coined by changing the component jumhūr — "public" — to its plural form, jamāhīr — "the masses". Thus, it is similar to the term People's Republic. It is often left untranslated in English, with Libya's long-form name thus rendered as Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
After weathering the 1986 bombing by the Reagan administration, Gaddafi added the specifier "Great" ( al-ʿUẓmā العظمى ) to the official name of the country.
Gaddafi as permanent "Leader of the Revolution"
The changes in Libyan leadership since 1976 culminated in March 1979, when the GPC declared that the "vesting of power in the masses" and the "separation of the state from the revolution" were complete. Gaddafi relinquished his duties as general secretary of the GPC, being known thereafter as "the leader" or "Leader of the Revolution." He remained supreme commander of the armed forces. His replacement was Abdallah Ubaydi, who in effect had been prime minister since 1979.
The GPC also adopted resolutions designating Gaddafi as its general secretary and creating the General Secretariat of the GPC, comprising the remaining members of the defunct RCC. It also appointed the General People's Committee, which replaced the Council of Ministers, its members now called secretaries rather than ministers.
All legislative and executive authority was vested in the GPC. This body, however, delegated most of its important authority to its general secretary and General Secretariat and to the General People's Committee. Gaddafi, as general secretary of the GPC, remained the primary decision maker, just as he had been when chairman of the RCC. In turn, all adults had the right and duty to participate in the deliberation of their local Basic People's Congress (BPC), whose decisions were passed up to the GPC for consideration and implementation as national policy. The BPCs were in theory the repository of ultimate political authority and decision making, being the embodiment of what Gaddafi termed direct "people's power." The 1977 declaration and its accompanying resolutions amounted to a fundamental revision of the 1969 constitutional proclamation, especially with respect to the structure and organization of the government at both national and subnational levels.
Continuing to revamp Libya's political and administrative structure, Gaddafi introduced yet another element into the body politic. Beginning in 1977, "revolutionary committees" were organized and assigned the task of "absolute revolutionary supervision of people's power"; that is, they were to guide the people's committees, "raise the general level of political consciousness and devotion to revolutionary ideals". In reality, Gaddafi's revolutionary committees are used to survey the population and repress any political opposition to Gaddafi's autocratic rule. Reportedly 10 to 20 percent of Libyans work in surveillance for these committees, a proportion of informants on par with Saddam Hussein's Iraq or Kim Jong Il's North Korea.
Filled with politically astute zealots, the ubiquitous revolutionary committees in 1979 assumed control of BPC elections. Although they were not official government organs, the revolutionary committees became another mainstay of the domestic political scene. As with the people's committees and other administrative innovations since the revolution, the revolutionary committees fit the pattern of imposing a new element on the existing subnational system of government rather than eliminating or consolidating already existing structures. By the late 1970s, the result was an unnecessarily complex system of overlapping jurisdictions in which cooperation and coordination among different elements were compromised by ill-defined grants of authority and responsibility.
The RCC was formally dissolved and the government was again reorganized into people's committees. A new General People's Committee (cabinet) was selected, each of its "secretaries" becoming head of a specialized people's committee; the exceptions were the "secretariats" of petroleum, foreign affairs, and heavy industry, where there were no people's committees. A proposal was also made to establish a "people's army" by substituting a national militia, being formed in the late 1970s, for the national army. Although the idea surfaced again in early 1982, it did not appear to be close to implementation.
Remaking of the economy was parallel with the attempt to remold political and social institutions. Until the late 1970s, Libya's economy was mixed, with a large role for private enterprise except in the fields of oil production and distribution, banking, and insurance. But according to volume two of Gaddafi's Green Book, which appeared in 1978, private retail trade, rent, and wages were forms of "exploitation" that should be abolished. Instead, workers' self-management committees and profit participation partnerships were to function in public and private enterprises. A property law was passed that forbade ownership of more than one private dwelling, and Libyan workers took control of a large number of companies, turning them into state-run enterprises. Retail and wholesale trading operations were replaced by state-owned "people's supermarkets", where Libyans in theory could purchase whatever they needed at low prices. By 1981 the state had also restricted access to individual bank accounts to draw upon privately held funds for government projects.
Gaddafi's efforts also improved the average health of Libyans. In 2009, the CIA's World Factbook showed the average life expectancy of a Libyan to be 77 years (only one year less than that of an American citizen).
However, the measures created resentment and opposition among the newly dispossessed. The latter joined those already alienated, some of whom had begun to leave the country. By 1982, perhaps 50,000 to 100,000 Libyans had gone abroad; because many of the emigrants were among the enterprising and better educated Libyans, they represented a significant loss of managerial and technical expertise.
The regime also built a trans-Sahara water pipeline from major aquifers to both a network of reservoirs and the towns of Tripoli, Sirte and Benghazi in 2006–2007, ending the city's water shortages, caused by the rising urban population. It is part of the Great Manmade River project, started in 1984. It is pumping large resources of water from the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System to both urban populations and new irrigation projects around the country.
Libya continued to be plagued with a shortage of skilled labor, which had to be imported along with a broad range of consumer goods, both paid for with petroleum income. This same oil revenue, however, made possible a substantial improvement in the lives of virtually all Libyans. During the 1970s, the government succeeded in making major improvements in the general welfare of its citizens. By the 1980s Libyans enjoyed much improved housing and education, comprehensive social welfare services, and general standards of health that were among the highest in Africa.
Wars against Chad and Egypt
As early as 1969, Gaddafi waged a campaign against Chad. Part of his hostility was apparently because Chadian President François Tombalbaye was a black African and a Christian. Libya was also involved in a sometimes violent territorial dispute with neighbouring Chad over the Aouzou Strip, which Libya occupied in 1973. This dispute eventually led to the Libyan invasion of the country and to a conflict that was ended by a ceasefire reached in 1987. The dispute was in the end settled peacefully in June 1994 when Libya withdrew troops from Chad due to a judgement of the International Court of Justice issued on 13 February 1994.
Libyan military adventures in Chad failed, e.g., the prolonged foray of Libyan troops into the Aozou Strip in northern Chad began in 1976 was finally repulsed in 1987, when extensive U.S. and French help to Chadian rebel forces and the government headed by former Defence Minister Hissein Habré finally led to a Chadian victory in the so-called Toyota War. Gaddafi dispatched his military across the border to Egypt in 1977, but Egyptian forces fought back in the Libyan–Egyptian War and Gaddafi had to retreat.
In 1972, Gaddafi created the Islamic Legion as a tool to unify and Arabize the region. The priority of the Legion was first Chad, and then Sudan. In Darfur, a western province of Sudan, Gaddafi supported the creation of the Arab Gathering (Tajammu al-Arabi), which according to Gérard Prunier was "a militantly racist and pan-Arabist organization which stressed the 'Arab' character of the province." The two organizations shared members and a source of support, and the distinction between the two is often ambiguous.
This Islamic Legion was mostly composed of immigrants from poorer Sahelian countries, but also, according to a source, thousands of Pakistanis who had been recruited in 1981 with the false promise of civilian jobs once in Libya. Generally speaking, the Legion's members were immigrants who had gone to Libya with no thought of fighting wars, and had been provided with inadequate military training and had sparse commitment. A French journalist, speaking of the Legion's forces in Chad, observed that they were "foreigners, Arabs or Africans, mercenaries in spite of themselves, wretches who had come to Libya hoping for a civilian job, but found themselves signed up more or less by force to go and fight in an unknown desert."
At the beginning of the 1987 Libyan offensive into Chad, it maintained a force of 2,000 in Darfur. The nearly continuous cross-border raids that resulted greatly contributed to a separate ethnic conflict within Darfur that killed about 9,000 people between 1985 and 1988.
Attempts at nuclear and chemical weapons
In 1972 Gaddafi tried to get the People's Republic of China to sell him a nuclear bomb. He then tried to get a bomb from Pakistan, but Pakistan severed its ties before it succeeded in building a bomb.
Thailand reported its citizens had helped build storage facilities for nerve gas. Germany sentenced a businessman, Jurgen Hippenstiel-Imhausen, to five years in prison for involvement in Libyan chemical weapons.
Gulf of Sidra incidents and US air strikes
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When Libya was under pressure from international disputes, on August 19, 1981, a naval dogfight occurred over the Gulf of Sidra in the Mediterranean Sea. U.S. F-14 Tomcat jets fired anti-aircraft missiles against a formation of Libyan fighter jets in this dogfight and shot down two Libyan Su-22 Fitter attack aircraft. This naval action was a result of claiming the territory and losses from the previous incident. Again, a second dogfight happened on January 4, 1989; U.S. carrier-based jets also shot down two Libyan MiG-23 Flogger-Es in the same place, adding up to a disastrous loss of the enemy's air force.
A similar action took place on March 23, 1986; U.S. naval forces attacked a sizable enemy naval force while patrolling the Gulf, and various SAM sites defending Gaddafi's territory. U.S. fighter jets and fighter-bombers destroyed SAM launching facilities and sank various naval vessels, killing 35 seamen. This was a reprisal for terrorist hijackings between June and December 1985.
On April 15, 1986, U.S. naval forces launched an air strike into Libya as a reprisal for the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing, destroying military defenses and installations, diplomatic and civilian sites, and a number of city blocks. The combination of U.S. attacks resulted in material losses to Libya, held responsible for the training of terrorists and the shipment of arms.
Gaddafi sent thousands of troops to fight against Tanzania on behalf of Idi Amin. About 600 Libyan soldiers lost their lives attempting to defend the collapsing presidency of Amin. Amin exiled from Uganda to Libya.
Gaddafi's World Revolutionary Center (WRC) near Benghazi become a training center for groups backed by Gaddafi. Graduates in power as of 2011 include Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso and Idriss Déby of Chad.
Gaddafi trained and supported Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, who was indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the conflict in Sierra Leone. Foday Sankoh, the founder of Revolutionary United Front, was also Gaddafi's graduate. According to Douglas Farah, "The amputation of the arms and legs of men, women, and children as part of a scorched-earth campaign was designed to take over the region's rich diamond fields and was backed by Gaddafi, who routinely reviewed their progress and supplied weapons".
Gaddafi intervened militarily in the Central African Republic in 2001 to protect his ally Ange-Félix Patassé. Patassé signed a deal giving Libya a 99-year lease to exploit all of that country's natural resources, including uranium, copper, diamonds, and oil.
Gaddafi and international terrorism
In 1971 Gaddafi warned that if France opposes Libyan military occupation of Chad, he will use all weapons in the war against France including the "revolutionary weapon". On 11 June 1972, Gaddafi announced that any Arab wishing to volunteer for Palestinian militant groups "can register his name at any Libyan embassy will be given adequate training for combat". He also promised financial support for attacks. On 7 October 1972, Gaddafi praised the Lod Airport massacre, executed by the communist Japanese Red Army, and demanded Palestinian groups to carry out similar attacks.
Reportedly, Gaddafi was a major financier of the "Black September Movement" which perpetrated the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics. In 1973 the Irish Naval Service intercepted the vessel Claudia in Irish territorial waters, which carried Soviet arms from Libya to the Provisional IRA. In 1976 after a series of terror activities by the Provisional IRA, Gaddafi announced that "the bombs which are convulsing Britain and breaking its spirit are the bombs of Libyan people. We have sent them to the Irish revolutionaries so that the British will pay the price for their past deeds".
In the Philippines, Libya has backed the extremist Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which kills people in the name of establishing a separate Islamic state in the southern Philippines. Libya has also supported the New People's Army and Libyan agents were seen meeting with the Communist Party of the Philippines. Jihadist extremist group Abu Sayyaf has also been suspected of receiving Libyan funding.
In 2002, he paid a ransom reportedly worth tens of millions of dollars to Abu Sayyaf to release a number of kidnapped tourists. He presented it as an act of goodwill to Western countries; nevertheless the money helped the terrorist group to expand its operation.
Gaddafi also became a strong supporter of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which support ultimately harmed Libya's relations with Egypt, when in 1979 Egypt pursued a peace agreement with Israel. As Libya's relations with Egypt worsened, Gaddafi sought closer relations with the Soviet Union. Libya became the first country outside the Soviet bloc to receive the supersonic MiG-25 combat fighters, but Soviet-Libyan relations remained relatively distant. Gaddafi also sought to increase Libyan influence, especially in states with an Islamic population, by calling for the creation of a Saharan Islamic state and supporting anti-government forces in sub-Saharan Africa.
In the 1970s and the 1980s, this support was sometimes so freely given that even the most unsympathetic groups could obtain Libyan support; often the groups represented ideologies far removed from Gaddafi's own. Gaddafi's approach often tended to confuse international opinion.
In 1981 Gaddafi was found talking about assassinating new American president Ronald Reagan. In October 1981 Egypt's President Anwar Sadat was assassinated. Gaddafi applauded the murder and remarked that it was a punishment.
American President Ronald Reagan dubbed Gaddafi the "mad dog of the Middle East". In December 1981, the US State Department invalidated US passports for travel to Libya, and in March 1982, the U.S. declared a ban against the import of Libyan oil.
In April 1984, Libyan refugees in London protested against execution of two dissidents. Communications intercepted by MI5 show that Tripoli ordered its diplomats to direct violence against the demonstrators. Libyan diplomats shot at eleven people and killed British policewoman Yvonne Fletcher. The incident led to the breaking off of diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and Libya for over a decade.
After December 1985 Rome and Vienna airport attacks, which killed nineteen and wounded around 140, Gaddafi indicated that he would continue to support the Red Army Faction, the Red Brigades, and the Irish Republican Army as long as European countries support anti-Gaddafi Libyans. The Foreign Minister of Libya also called the massacres "heroic acts".
In 1986, Libyan state television announced that Libya was training suicide squads to attack American and European interests.
Gaddafi claimed the Gulf of Sidra as his territorial waters and his navy was involved in a conflict from January to March 1986.
On 5 April 1986, Libyan agents bombed "La Belle" nightclub in West Berlin, killing three people and injuring 229 people who were spending evening there. Gaddafi's plan was intercepted by Western intelligence. More-detailed information was retrieved years later when Stasi archives were investigated by the reunited Germany. Libyan agents who had carried out the operation from the Libyan embassy in East Germany were prosecuted by reunited Germany in the 1990s.
West Germany and the U.S. learned that the bombing in West Berlin had been ordered from Tripoli. On 14 April 1986, the U.S. carried out Operation El Dorado Canyon against Gaddafi and members of his regime. Air defenses, three army bases, and two airfields in Tripoli and Benghazi were bombed. The surgical strikes failed to kill Gaddafi but he lost a few dozen military officers. Gaddafi then spread propaganda how it had killed his "adopted daughter" and how victims had been all "civilians". Despite some absurdity and variations of the stories, the campaign was so successful that a large proportion of the Western press reported the regime's stories as complete facts.
Gaddafi announced that he had won a spectacular military victory over the U.S. and the country was officially renamed the "Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah". However, his speech appeared devoid of passion and even the "victory" celebrations appeared unusual. Criticism of Gaddafi by ordinary Libyan citizens became more bold, such as defacing of Gaddafi posters. The raids against Libyan military had brought the regime to its weakest point in seventeen years.
Many Western European countries took action against Gaddafi's support of terrorism and other activities in following years to thwart his plans.
In late 1987, French authorities stopped a merchant vessel, the MV Eksund, which was delivering a 150-ton Libyan arms shipment to European terrorist groups.
Gaddafi fueled a number of radical Islamist and communist terrorist groups in the Philippines, including the New People's Army of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The country still struggles with their murders and kidnappings.<
In Australia, there were several cases of attempted radicalisation of Australian Aborigines, with individuals receiving paramilitary training in Libya. Libya put several left-wing unions on the Libyan payroll, such as the Food Preservers Union (FPU) and the Federated Confectioners Association of Australia (FCA). Labour Party politician Bill Hartley, the secretary of Libya-Australia friendship society, was long-term supporter of Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein.
In the 1980s, the Libyan government purchased advertisements in Arabic-language newspapers in Australia asking for Australian Arabs to join the military units of his worldwide struggle against Western imperialism. In part of because this, Australia banned recruitment of foreign mercenaries in Australia.
Gaddafi developed ongoing relationship with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a terrorist group which may produce more than half of world's cocaine, becoming acquainted with its leaders in meetings of revolutionary groups regularly hosted in Libya.
Some publications were financed by Gaddafi. The Socialist Labour League's Workers News was one such publication: "in among the routine denunciations of uranium mining and calls for greater trade union militancy would be a couple of pages extolling Gaddafi's fatuous and incoherent green book and the Libyan revolution."
International sanctions after the Lockerbie bombing (1992–2003)
Libya was accused in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland; UN sanctions were imposed in 1992. UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs) passed in 1992 and 1993 obliged Libya to fulfill requirements related to the Pan Am 103 bombing before sanctions could be lifted, leading to Libya's political and economic isolation for most of the 1990s. The UN sanctions cut airline connections with the outer world, reduced diplomatic representation and prohibited the sale of military equipment. Oil-related sanctions were assessed by some as equally significant for their exceptions: thus sanctions froze Libya's foreign assets (but excluded revenue from oil and natural gas and agricultural commodities) and banned the sale to Libya of refinery or pipeline equipment (but excluded oil production equipment).
Under the sanctions Libya's refining capacity eroded. Libya's role on the international stage grew less provocative after UN sanctions were imposed. In 1999, Libya fulfilled one of the UNSCR requirements by surrendering two Libyans suspected in connection with the bombing for trial before a Scottish court in the Netherlands. One of these suspects, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, was found guilty; the other was acquitted. UN sanctions against Libya were subsequently suspended. The full lifting of the sanctions, contingent on Libya's compliance with the remaining UNSCRs, including acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials and payment of appropriate compensation, was passed 12 September 2003, explicitly linked to the release of up to $2.7 billion in Libyan funds to the families of the 1988 attack's 270 victims.
Normalization of international relations (2003–2010)
In December 2003, Libya announced that it had agreed to reveal and end its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction and to renounce terrorism, and Gaddafi made significant strides in normalizing relations with western nations. He received various Western European leaders as well as many working-level and commercial delegations, and made his first trip to Western Europe in 15 years when he traveled to Brussels in April 2004. Libya responded in good faith to legal cases brought against it in U.S. courts for terrorist acts that predate its renunciation of violence. Claims for compensation in the Lockerbie bombing, LaBelle disco bombing, and UTA 772 bombing cases are ongoing. The U.S. rescinded Libya's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism in June 2006. In late 2007, Libya was elected by the General Assembly to a nonpermanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2008–2009 term. Currently, Operation Enduring Freedom - Trans Sahara is being fought in Libya's portion of the Sahara Desert. Relations deteriorated once again in 2011, with the Libyan government's crackdown on protesters. On March 17, 2011, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1973, which authorized a no-fly zone over much of Libya. On March 19, a coalition led by NATO and including several Arab states began enforcement of the resolution. During this period, the civil war reached a stalemate for several months, until the rebels made a successful offensive to capture Tripoli on August 22, 2011. Following this, Gaddafi loyalists retreated to Sirte and held out for two more months, until Gaddafi was captured and killed in Sirte on October 20, 2011.
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