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Profile of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi

08-22-2011 10:41 BJT Special Report:Int'l Intervention in Libya |

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Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is the longest-serving leader in both Africa and the Arab world, having ruled Libya since he toppled King Idris in a military coup in 1969. He has a reputation among many Africans as a maverick statesman. Here is a short biography of Muammar Gaddafi.

Gaddafi was born in 1942 in the coastal area of Sirte to nomadic parents. In his youth, he was an admirer of Egyptian leader and Arab hero Gamal Abdel Nasser, taking part in anti-Israel protests during the Suez crisis in 1956.

He first hatched plans to topple the monarchy at military college, and received further army training in Britain before returning to the Libyan city of Benghazi and launching his coup there on September 1st, 1969.

Muammar Gaddafi: Libyan leader at time of Lockerbie bombing Photo: Getty Images

After seizing power, he laid out a pan-Arab, anti-imperialist philosophy, blended with aspects of Islam. He also created a system called "state of the masses", in which power is meant to be held by thousands of "people's committees."

Among his many eccentricities, Gaddafi is known to sleep in a Bedouin tent guarded by dozens of female bodyguards on trips abroad.

In the West, Gaddafi is strongly associated with "terrorism". Libya's alleged involvement in the 1986 bombing of a Berlin nightclub prompted US air attacks on Tripoli and Benghazi, killing Gaddafi's adopted daughter.

Gaddafi has blamed the uprising against his rule on both al-Qaeda and a 'colonialist plot' [Reuters]

The 1988 bombing of the Pan Am Flight over Lockerbie in Scotland is possibly the most well known and controversial incident in which Gaddafi has been associated with. US-Libya relations have suffered since then.

From the 1990s, Gaddafi turned his gaze towards Africa, proposing a "United States" for the continent.

At the turn of the millennium, Gaddafi began to spruce up his country's relations with the West. In 2008, Libya reached a final compensation agreement over Lockerbie and other bombings, allowing normal ties with Washington to be restored.

At the UN General Assembly in 2009, Gaddafi accused the body of being a terrorism group like al-Qaeda [EPA]

 

Editor:Li Wanran |Source: CNTV.CN

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