History of Libya: Instability and The Rise of Qaddafi

History of Libya: Instability and The Rise of Qaddafi Last updated on Wednesday 21st April 2010

In the late 1960s anti-western feeling gradually spread from Egypt into Libya, and the country became politically unstable once more. The path of Libya's history was radically altered in 1969 by a military coup which successfully overthrew the monarchy. Led by a group of young army officers under Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi, the country was re-established as a republic and became known as the Libyan Arab Republic.

The country welcomed Colonel Qaddafi as a strong nationalist leader. He immediately embarked on a bold series of programmes designed to establish himself as the focus of a united Arab world. Alcohol was banned from Libya, all foreign languages were vetoed in official business, banks were nationalized and all private sector economic activities were abolished. Oil resources were also nationalized, and trade embargoes were encouraged against those nations which supported Israel.

Qaddafi's Green Book set out his ideas on Arab socialism, declaring that democracy was an unworkable system. In its place he set up people's committees in all administrative districts, and these committees reported annually to a General People's Congress.

Qaddafi made concerted efforts towards Arab unity, with attempts to merge Libya with a succession of countries. These included Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Chad, Morocco and Algeria. Although a federation was formed in 1971 between Egypt, Libya and Syria, in order to strengthen their military position against Israel, this was later abandoned, and all similar attempts at unity likewise failed.

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