Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi was born in Sirte(Libya) in 1942. He belonged to a poor family of Libya. His childhood passed in poverty and struggle. Like most Libyans he too lived in a tent house in the desert of Libya. In 1951 H e joined The Libyan military service as it was the only opportunity for an average Libyan to live life luxuriously and see the world. This was the most important period of his life. The lessons which he learned during this time changed his future course of life. During this time Gamal Abdel Nasser lead a revolution in Egypt which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan. Nasser modernized Egypt, ended Suez crisis, built Dam Aswan and developed the sense and pride Nationalism in people of Egypt. Because of all this he was seen with respect in the Arab world, Gaddafi was no exception to this. He was inspired from Nasser’s revolution and also considered him as his ideal. Egypt’s defeat in six day war with Israel in 1965 saddened Gaddafi. Being a supporter of Arab nationalism Israel was natural enemy to him and now U.S was also added to his black list because Israel couldn’t have survived against collective forces of Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Badin and Jordan if it wasn’t supported by U.S.
After his completion of military training and his Graduation in History he went to U.K for further studies. There became an incident which planted the seeds of oil politics in his brain. Once he went to a casino in London with some of his Arab and British friends. There he saw King Idris’ personal adviser spending millions of $ on gambling. His blood boiled since an average Libyan was compelled to live a miserable life of poverty and King and his aides were spending millions and billions on there lavish life style. The main cause of this situation was vast Oil reserves in Libya. Geographically Libya was situated in the desert of Africa, having no other natural resources except plenty of oil underneath its land. In spite of blessed with significant oil reserves Libya remained poor because multi-national oil companies achieved contracts for extracting oil on throw away prices from King Idris. He got another reason to fight against U.S. Next few years Gaddafi spend in studying lives and times of great military commanders like Field Marshall Rommel, Field Marshall Montgomery etc. very carefully. During this period he also meticulously planned strategies regarding how to use oil as a weapon in his war against western world.
In1969 Gaddafi became Colonel in the Libyan Army. During the same year Occidental Oil Company of U.S completed the construction of oil pipeline on the northern coast of Libya. For its inauguration ceremony Armand hamer the chairman of Occidental Oil Company himself came to Libya. He was given “Guard of Honor” on his arrival. Incidentally Colonel Gaddafi was the commanding officer of that marching contingent. He couldn’t tolerate this humiliation that Libyan Army was giving Guard of Honor to a chairman of U.S’ Oil Company. He decided to end this slavery by dethroning King Idris.
When King Idris was out of Libya, Gaddafi with some of his trusted allies carried on coup and captured the power. Neither superior officers of Gaddafi nor people opposed this rebellion since everyone was tired of Idris. Initially the world thought that Gaddafi and his boys have indulged in blind dare. Since king Idris was puppet of U.S, by deposing him in this manner Gaddafi has thrown direct challenge to the supremacy of U.S. However Gaddafi proved to be smarter than all the political analysts who forecasted premature end of his rule.
Immediately after acquiring power Gaddafi abolished the old constitution of 1951 and instead formed 12 members directorate called Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) which acted as government in the Libya. RCC declared Libya as “Libyan Arab Republic” and announced bringing freedom, unity, and social justice, guaranteeing the right of equality to its citizens, and opening before them the doors of honorable work as its main objective. Thus he won the hearts of Libyan people. He also affirmed that treaties and agreements signed by ousted monarch would be respected and property and lives of foreign nationals would be protected. This helped him to earn recognition of not only Libyan people but also of the other countries of the world. In this condition U.S was left with no excuse to topple Gaddafi, hence soon U.S recognized Gaddafi as a genuine leader of Libya.
After consolidating his power he began the game for which he had arranged this coup. He sent notice to U.S and U.K to shut down their military bases operating on the land of Libya. Now U.S was trapped since being a leader of Libya he had every right to tell foreign powers to wind up their military bases from his land. After driving off foreign military Gaddafi increased the oil prices. This technique was called as ‘participation’ in which neither oil companies are nationalized nor are private companies given complete free hand. In participation oil companies are allowed to work in oil producing nations however greater control remains in the hands of government of host nation and they can increase the price of oil at their will.
Because of greater control over oil assets and growing oil prices Libya prospered economically. Libya became the nation with highest nominal per capita GDP in Africa. Literacy rate in Libya rose from 10% to 90%. As there was no river in Libya Gaddafi also completed the development of artificial river Great Manmade River, without any foreign financial assistance.
Later on rulers like Saddam Hussein of Iraq and ruling Saud family of Saudi Arabia too utilized the weapon of price rise to achieve their political ends. King Fahad of Saudi Arabia used oil embargo to prevent U.S from rendering military assistance to Israel during Yom Kippur war fought between Egypt and Syria on one side and Israel on the other. King Fahad also convinced OPEC countries about the effectiveness of this weapon. Because of which members of OPEC countries revived this dormant organization once again to exploit the benefits of collective bargaining in oil prices. Use of oil as a weapon not only harmed U.S but also dazzled other developing economies of the world. India itself is spending 1/3 of its For-ex reserves to import oil.
Even after repetitive efforts when he failed to hurl any serious blow to U.S or Israel, he started sponsoring terrorist activities in Europe, Australia, U.S and middle -East. Later on countries like Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia also started walking on his path. Ruling Saud family used money earned through oil to spread radical Islam in the world. They also sponsored Sunni Iraq against Shea Iran in the Iran-Iraq war of 1980 in which more than 10,00,000 people on both the sides lost their lives. Trails of direct involvement of Saud family in the 9/11 attack on World Trade Center were also found later wards.
Although Gaddafi was involved in many terrorist activities but serious evidence about his involvement in terrorist activities came out during investigation of Lockerbie bombing case. Pan Am Flight 103 of Pan American World Airways was blown off b y bomb on 21 December 1988 in the sky of Lockerbie town of southern Scotland. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi who was the secret agent of Gaddafi was main culprit in this case. He was convicted and sentenced for life imprisonment.
He also wanted to make nuclear bomb to destroy U.S and Israel. Over the years his obsession with nuclear bomb grew so much that a legend says once he went to China at 2 P.M in the night, without informing Chinese authorities in advance about his arrival. When asked about such sudden visit he showed them two big suitcase full of $ and told them “take all this money but give me one atom bomb I want to hurl it on U.S.”. He also openly supported and sponsored Pakistan’s nuclear weapon program. In recognition of his help Pakistan renamed cricket stadium in Lahore as Gaddafi stadium in 1974.
Absolute power and unquestionable authority turned him into a narcissistic jerk. He had acquired personal wealth worth of approximately 70 billion U.S $. He started spending money earned through oil for his personal luxuries. He had undergone several plastic and cosmetic surgeries to remain young forever. He liked to be surrounded by beautiful women bodyguards and nurses. There are many legends about his and his son’s relationships with his lady bodyguards and nurses.
Gaddafi abducted power in Libya on the name of fighting tyranny of King Idris but he himself proved to be a greater evil then Idris. In his rule Libyan people were devoid of their fundamental rights like Right to speech and freedom of expression. Price rise of petroleum only initially helped Libya later on all this money was spent on Gaddafi’s luxuries and in executing his utopian ideas. People wanted change however unlike democracy in autocratic states change of rule is possible only by either death or retirement of dictator(read -Revolution in India? No way!!!!!!).
|Dead body of Gaddafi|
Since 2010 uprising took place in many Arab countries like Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia etc. this revolts also sparked off rebellion in Libya. In the initial stage people’s movement was non violent however Gaddafi’s soldiers opened fire on protesters and rape d women to crush the anti Gaddafi movement ruthlessly. This ignited the anger of people and they took arms against Gaddafi. Such inhuman response to protesters also cost him the loss of international recognition. In the month of August 2011 Arab league declared NTC as legitimate representative of Libya. His overseas accounts were freezed by western countries. NATO forces led by U.S and France supported rebellion National Transitional Council (NTC) in the war. Finally Gaddafi was captured alive on 20 October 2011 and was given brutal death.