Muammar Gaddafi

Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (Arabic: معمر محمد أبو منيار القذافي‎) (June 1942 – 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi /ˈmoʊ.əmɑr ɡəˈdɑːfi/ (Arabic: مُعَمَّر القَذَّافِي‎ Muʿammar al-Qaḏḏāfī audio) or Colonel Gaddafi, was a Libyan revolutionary, politician and political theorist. He served as the ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011. Politically an Arab nationalist and socialist, he formulated his own ideology, known as Third Universal Theory, while under his administration Libya was converted into a socialist state with industry and business being nationalized under state ownership. He later came to embrace Pan-Africanism, and served as Chairperson of the African Union (AU) from 2009 to 2010.

Born the son of an impoverished Bedouin goatherd, Gaddafi became involved in Arab nationalist politics while at school in Sabha, subsequently enrolling in the Royal Military Academy, Benghazi. Founding a revolutionary organization, the Free Officers Movement, within the ranks of the Libyan military, he undertook training in England before returning to Libya and seizing power from King Idris in 1969 in a bloodless military coup. Becoming leader of the governing Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), he dissolved the monarchy and proclaimed the Libyan Arab Republic. Ruling by decree, he implemented measures to remove foreign influence from Libya, considering it imperialist, and strengthened ties to other countries with Arab nationalist governments. Intent on pushing Libya towards socialism, he nationalized the country's oil industry and increased revenues, which were then used to bolster the military and implement social programs to improve housing and healthcare. In 1973 he announced the start of a "Popular Revolution" in Libya with the formation of General People's Committees, a system of direct democracy, but retained personal control over major decisions. He outlined his Third Universal Theory that year, publishing these ideas in a political tract, The Green Book.

In 1977, he dissolved the Republic and announced the creation of the Jamahiriya (جماهيرية, "state of the masses"), officially stepping down from power and adopting a largely symbolic role within the country's governance structure. Throughout Libya, Revolutionary Committees were formed to accompany the General People's Committees, with Gaddafi as their leader; utilizing violence to suppress counter-revolutionary elements, Gaddafi later admitted that they had caused excessive internal problems. Libya remained debt-free and achieved the highest living standards in Africa. In the 1980s, the country acquired chemical weapons, leading to some calling it a pariah state and countries around the world imposing sanctions; many were lifted when Gaddafi renounced these programs in 2003. In February 2011, following revolutions in neighbouring Egypt and Tunisia, an anti-Gaddafist uprising led by the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) broke out, resulting in the Libyan civil war. A NATO-led coalition intervening militarily on the side of the NTC, resulting in the defeat of Gaddafi's government. Gaddafi himself retreated to Sirte, but was captured and executed by rebel militia.

Gaddafi is a controversial and highly divisive world figure, being lauded as a champion of anti-imperialism and both Arab and African nationalism by his supporters, but his critics have accused him of being a dictator and autocrat whose authoritarian administration has overseen multiple human rights abuses both at home and abroad. He styled himself as "Leader of the Revolution"; in 2008 a meeting of traditional African rulers bestowed on him the title "King of Kings".

Read more about Muammar GaddafiIdeology, Economic Policies, Assassination Attempts and Plots, Marriages and Children, Honors, Personal Wealth, Titles, Public Image, Transcription of His Arabic Name

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July 2011 - Portal:Current Events
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