Skip to content

Some Useful History of Libya

February 22, 2011



Fred Halliday (British author of Middle East subjects of long standing) on the background of the Khadaffi years in Libya

Libya At Forty

The fortieth anniversary of the Libyan “revolution” of 1969 – more accurately a coup d’etat by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and some of his associates and relatives – brings to mind a conversation I had just after that event with a friend who was (and remains) a senior Algerian diplomat. The Algerian government had been as surprised and bemused as any other about the emergence of this bizarre, radical and eccentric regime in a fellow north African state. The then Algerian president, Houari Boumedienne, had asked my friend to visit Tripoli and assess the new leadership there. To continue, click here.

Libyan F-1 Mirage Jet Fighter in Malta. Its pilot defected rather than bomb Libyan protesters. Another jet fighter and now it appears two warships have also defected to Malta

2. Robert Fisk on Khadaffi (note…the latter’s name is spelled a number of different ways…

Gaddafi raved and cursed, but he faces forces he cannot control

So he will go down fighting. That’s what Muammar Gaddafi told us last night, and most Libyans believe him. This will be no smooth flight to Riyadh or a gentle trip to a Red Sea holiday resort. Raddled, cowled in desert gowns, he raved on.

He had not even begun to use bullets against his enemies – a palpable lie – and “any use of force against the authority of the state shall be punished by death”, in itself a palpable truth which Libyans knew all too well without the future tense of Gaddafi’s threat. On and on and on he ranted. Like everything Gaddafi, it was very impressive – but went on far too long. To continue, click here.

3. Pepe Escobar – The Roving Eye (name of his column in Asia Times) – The Tribes Against The Bunker.

The Tribes against the bunker

Libya’s is a tribal revolution. It was not, and it is not, being led by young urban intellectuals, like in Egypt, or by the working class (most of it in fact composed of foreign workers). Even though the actors of the anti Muammar Gaddafi uprising may be a mix of ordinary Libyans, educated and/or unemployed youth, a section of the urban middle classes and defectors from the army and the security services, what trespasses all them is the tribe. Even the Internet, in the Libyan chapter of the great 2011 Arab revolt, has not been an absolutely decisive factor.

Libya is tribal from A to Z. There are 140 tribes (qabila), 30 of them key, one of them – Warfalla – boasting 1 million people (out of a population of 6.2 million). Click here to continue

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: