|Libyan Arab Republic|
|UN Member State|
Libya is an Arab state on the north coast of Africa. It shares borders with Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan and Egypt, and shares many similarities with these nations. It has an expansive Mediterranean coastline to its north.
Throughout 2011, the county has seen great turmoil and fighting, with a large international presence (although the United Nations Security Council has denounced any foreign occupation force). The head of state, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was accused of war crimes, and it was feared that he would soon attack the openly rebellious region known as Benghazi. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 declared a no-fly zone, and permitted NATO forces, (primarily led by France) to engage in military action against the state's army in order to protect civillian lives. Since then the rebels and their political leaders, the National Transitional Council, have taken control of most of the country and forced Gaddafi into hiding.
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi came into power in 1969, and is currently the longest ruling African non-monarch in recorded history. This means that he has plenty of connections and many followers outside of his native Libya. He formed the fully legitimate and universally recognised Libyan Arab Republic. Gaddafi had been a military leader, and usurped the ruling of the country from its monarchy in a relatively bloodless coup. At varying times in his 42 years as head of state, Gaddafi has been both friendly to, and hostile towards, many international powers. More recently he chaired the African Union from 2 February 2009 to 31 January 2010.
Upon his coup, he wrote the Third International Theory in his published “Green Book” (an obvious copy of Chairman Mao’s quotations about Communism from his “Little Red Book”), and established his own government, built military installations and bunkers.
He had been rumoured to be progressing with WMD programmes, but publically announced that he would end these in 2003, following the fall of Saddam Hussein and perhaps expecting a similar fate.
Gaddafi is seen to be the lynch-pin in his government, so it is worth mentioning that the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest against him and a small number of the country’s other leaders. This does not mean that the official government of Libya is wholly suspected, although internationally it is believed that the government will not be able to function since Gaddafi had been removed.
The National Transitional CouncilEdit
The NTC was formed in the early months of 2011 as a political body (as opposed the Rebel army) and did not style itself as an interim government. Their position as “rulers” of Libya only came around at a later date when it became clear that Gaddafi was losing his grip on the country. The "Declaration of the founding of the Transitional National Council" states the main aims of the council are as follows:
- Ensure the safety of the national territory and citizens
- Coordination of national efforts to liberate the rest of Libya
- Support the efforts of local councils to work for the restoration of normal civilian life
- Supervision of the Military Council to ensure the achievement of the new doctrine of the Libyan People's Army in the defense of the people and to protect the borders of Libya.
- Facilitate the election of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution for the country; be put to a popular referendum
- Form a transitional government to pave the holding of free elections
- Guide the conduct of foreign policy, and the regulation of relations with other countries and international and regional organizations, and the representation of the Libyan people.
Once rebel armies had taken control of Tripoli, the Libyan capital, the governing body of the NTC set up temporary offices and started working on the day-to-day running of the state, working with humanitarian groups to provide aid and food supplies, and to coordinate the reinstatement of the nation's infrastructure.
With those troops still loyal to Col. Gaddafi surrounded in a few towns near to the capital, the NTC issued an ultimatum, insisting that military forces must surrender by September 10th in order to avoid more warfare. Convoys of military hardware were permitted to escape into Niger (with NATO escort) before this deadline, although Col. Gaddafi insisted he was still in Libya and in control.
With the uprisings in the Middle East termed "the Arab Spring", politicians from around the world were keen to throw their weight around andshow their sympathy or outrage at the events in the country.
Many countries, including the UK, expelled the ambassadors from Libya, and worked with members of the NTC to take their places. Funding that had been confiscated from Gaddafi was been returned to the NTC.
For many in the west, it is considered obvious that the NTC now rules the country, but the Arab League and the African Union may disagree. Foremost in their objections is the nature of the rebels. Rebellions and armed militia groups have been commonplace in African and Middle-Eastern countries for decades. The peaceful transition of power in Egypt was a rare event. If they were to legitimise a military uprising by the people, many African and Arab nations will fear for similar bloodshed in their own territories by rebels citing the Libyan NTC as their right to legitimacy.
The final few holdouts of soldiers loyal to Gadaffi slowly began to be overrun by the NTC war effort. On 20th October 2011, the town of Sirte was captured, and news reports stated that Colonel Gadaffi had been captured and had since died. An investigation into his death was ordered and the NTC announced an end to the Libyan hostilities.