Muammar al-Gaddafi

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Muammar al-Gaddafi at the summit meeting of the African Union as its president, 2009
Muammar al-Gaddafi, around 1970
Signature of Muammar al-Gaddafi

Muammar Muhammad Abdassalam Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi or Muʿammar Muhammad Abdassalam Abu Minyar al-Qaddhafi ( Arabic معمر القذافي Muʿammar al-Qaddhāfī , DMG Muʿammar al-Qaḏḏāfī audio ? / i ; * officially June 19, 1942 in Sirte ; † October 20, 2011 in or near Sirte) wasthe head of state of Libya since a bloodless military coup from September 1, 1969 to 1979. As the leader of the revolution , he dictatorially determined the politics of Libya from 1979 to 2011. In 1975 Gaddafi published The Green Book , in which he outlined his political goals, an eclecticism out of socialismAudio file / audio sample , Anarchism , natural law and nationalism . Gaddafi was President of the African Union from February 2009 to January 2010 .

Gaddafi was the longest ruling ruler of Libya and one of the longest ruling rulers outside of monarchies at all; about 80 percent of the Libyans living at the time of his death were born under his rule. Gaddafi also secured his power internally through a rent- based distribution system based on the export proceeds of oil and gas. He also instrumentalized and politicized the tribes according to the principle of divide and rule .

Nationwide uprisings broke out in Libya in February 2011, and towards the end of the month Gaddafi lost control of large parts of the Libyan east to rebels. In March, on the basis of a UN resolution , the United States, Canada and several Western European countries began air strikes on Libya with the aim of enforcing a no-fly zone ( International Military Operation in Libya 2011 ). As of June 27, 2011, Gaddafi was wanted as a suspected war criminal and for crimes against humanity by arrest warrant worldwide. He was considered deposed on August 22, 2011 and was wanted by the police, on October 20, 2011 he was killed. The exact circumstances of death were not revealed and remain unexplained.

Origin and youth

Muammar al-Gaddafi was born on June 19, 1942 in Sirte, according to later information. Other sources give Qasr Abu Hadi near Sirte as the place of birth . He came from a family of Bedouins from the less influential Guededfa tribe . His father, Mohammed Abdul Salam bin Hamed bin Mohammed Al-Gaddafi, known as Abu Meniar, earned a meager living as a goat and camel herder; his mother was called Aisha Gaddafi. Semi-nomadic Bedouins were illiterate at the time and did not hold birth certificates, so the place and date of birth cannot be given with certainty. Muammar al-Gaddafi was the only surviving son of his parents and had three older sisters.

Al-Gaddafi learned about the colonial occupation of his country by Italy and the African campaign of the great powers in World War II as a small child . His grandfather was killed in action against the Italians in 1911, his father fought against the Italians in 1915 in Gardabia , one of his uncles lost his life in the process, his father and another uncle were imprisoned in fascist internment camps for a long time . The Arab-socialist and nationalist ideologies of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser already inspired him as a teenager. He first attended a primary school in Sirte , then a high school in Sabha , from which he was expelled for political activities. However, he was able to finish his school education in Misrata , then he studied history and law at the University of Benghazi from 1962 , gave up his studies in 1963 in favor of an officer training at the military academy in the same city, which he said he graduated with honors as a lieutenant in 1965. However, according to the British head of the academy, Colonel Ted Lough, he was the worst of all cadets and was one of the two percent of students who failed the exam. He then tried to apply to the US embassy in Tripoli for a military training course in the USA. The diplomat in charge was impressed by Gaddafi's leadership qualities, but he was not granted a visa for the United States. However, he was given the opportunity to attend a four-week course in military telecommunications in the UK . In 1966 he founded - also influenced by Nasser - the union of free officers .

Seizure of power and rule


Muammar al-Gaddafi with his idol Gamal Abdel Nasser (1969)

With his "League of Free Officers" he overthrew King Idris on September 1, 1969 , while he was in Turkey, in a bloodless coup and took power as the leader of a military junta organized in the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), while King Idris, who first described the revolution as unimportant, and Queen Fatima later went into exile to Cairo via Greece . The RCC proclaimed the Libyan Arab Republic and declared unity, freedom and socialism to be the national goals. The new cabinet was appointed on September 8th. At the time of the coup, Gaddafi held the rank of captain , after which he was promoted to colonel .

Gaddafi transformed the kingdom into a socialist state, which from 1977 was officially called the Socialist Libyan Arab Jamahiriya . He orientated himself on the Arab nationalism of Nasser , who supported him with the restructuring of the education sector and the administration with Egyptian advisors. At the same time, however, he made no secret of his disdain for Gaddafi and clearly distanced himself after the first meeting of the two. In December 1969, the Egyptian secret service warned Gaddafi of a planned coup attempt by two ministers. In the weeks that followed, the RCC seized total control of the country. From 1970 onwards, after Anwar al-Sadat , who mistrusted Gaddafi, became President of Egypt, relations were less close and the pan-Arab plan to establish an Egyptian-Libyan union failed in 1976.

Soon after he came to power, Gaddafi founded the World Islamic Call Society . He started an Arabization and Islamization campaign based on Salafist rhetoric in order to push back Western influences. Alcohol was banned, US and UK military bases were closed, and foreigners and much of the Jewish community were expelled from the country. The Catholic Cathedral of Tripoli was converted into the Gamal Abdel Nasser Mosque and Italians living in Libya were forced to exhume their dead and transfer them to Italy. Sufism , which had prevailed up to then mainly in Kyrenaica and which goes back to Muhammad as-Sanussi , was also fought and its mosque and university torn down.

Domestically, Gaddafi propagated the system of people 's congresses as direct democracy without parliamentarianism . From 1971 to 1977 this model was based on a unity party named after the Nassist movements, the Arab Socialist Union (ASU) , which emerged from the movement of the People's Committees . The establishment of political parties was banned in 1972.

For his oil policy, Gaddafi took advice from the Saudi oil expert Abdullah Al-Tariki . In 1970 he asked the oil companies operating in the country to raise their production prices considerably, as well as the state's share of the profits, which until then had been 50%. Even under King Idris, Libya had pursued the strategy of giving preference to smaller companies for oil concessions because they had fewer alternatives to the oil produced in Libya. These now had to gradually respond to the demands. Libya was the first Arab country to have its share of oil profits increased to 55%. Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia followed suit.

In 1973, Libya provoked a conflict with Chad when it called for borders to be corrected at the expense of Chad and occupied the Aouzou Strip . In the Libyan-Chadian border war from 1978 to 1987, four interventions were made against the president in Chad in favor of parliamentary groups there. In 1978, 1983 and 1986 France intervened militarily to prevent the overthrow of the regime in N'Djamena . Despite a ceasefire in 1987, the Libyan troops did not withdraw from northern Chad until 1994 after the International Court of Justice had awarded the Aouzou Strip to Chad.

In 1975 Gaddafi published The Green Book (an eclecticism of Marxism, anarchism, natural law and nationalism), at the same time he advocated pan-Arab approaches at the beginning of his political career . However, various unification projects with Arab and African states , including the Maghreb states or Egypt , could not be realized - for example a failed union with Tunisia in 1974. The attraction of these attempts to take on Nasser's role as pan-Arab leader was based solely on money, which Libya had due to its raw material deposits. In 1977 he dissolved the RCC, which had exercised collective leadership since 1969, and proclaimed the rule of the masses (Jamahiriya) in the form of grassroots people's congresses at a congress where Fidel Castro was the guest of honor . Through this organization and the revolutionary committees founded in the same year, he succeeded in consolidating his authoritarian power over society. Two years later, Gaddafi officially resigned from the state leadership and assumed the title of leader of the revolution . His dominant influence over the affairs of state, especially the total control over financial policy and the military , he retained; he also remained in command of the armed forces. The decision on the Libyan-Chadian border war, in which the original motive was the annexation of the Aouzou strip, was taken by Gaddafi alone without the General People's Congress .

He reacted to the failure of his pan-Arab projects by turning to pan-Africanism , which culminated in the PR staging of a coronation as “King of the Kings of Africa” in 2008. He threw Palestinian guest workers out of the country in the course of this political change of course. One attempt to expand its political scope was a conference on "Anti-colonialism in the South Pacific " in 1987. It is believed that Gaddafi's Libya subsequently supported radical groups in the French colony of New Caledonia and on Sumatra . There were also contacts with the Abu Sajaf group in the Philippines , which later made it possible to liberate kidnapped vacationers with Libyan help.

Since he seized power, Gaddafi has built up an extravagant cult around his person , which also included larger-than-life pictures of him in dark sunglasses or in brightly colored robes, which were also present in the entire public space. In 1992 a postage stamp was issued in Libya on the anniversary of the revolution, on which Gaddafi is shown on a white horse on which he appears to rise into the sky. This is to be understood as an allusion to Buraq and the Ascension of Muhammad .


In 1980, the first foreign assassination attempt on a Libyan dissident, allegedly ordered by Gaddafi, happened at Colorado State University . In this decade in particular, the revolutionary committees, whose task, among other things, was to oversee the popular congresses, spread a climate of state terror.

A visit to Gaddafi in 1982 by a delegation from the German Green Party , including former party members Otto Schily and Alfred Mechtersheimer and board member Roland Vogt , caused considerable irritation in the Federal Republic, also because Gaddafi was at times considered a supporter of the RAF . In March 1982, at the invitation of the Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky ( SPÖ ) , Gaddafi made a state visit to Vienna - which was recognized internationally with great incomprehension. In the years that followed, however, Gaddafi was a welcome guest among many European politicians.

After the bomb attack on the La Belle discotheque in Berlin on the night of April 4 to 5, 1986, US President Ronald Reagan accused Gaddafi of ordering the assassination attempt to avenge the sinking of two Libyan warships by US forces . Reagan then gave the order to bomb Tripoli and Benghazi : During Operation El Dorado Canyon , US warplanes shelled the Libyan capital Tripoli on April 15, 1986, killing 36 civilians. It was also reported that Gaddafi's adopted daughter was killed, who was previously unknown in Libya and whose age is said to have been between one and five years. The story was spread around the world.

In 1988 Gaddafi began the policy of opening up (Infitah), with which the socialist state and planned economy was gradually ended. The appointment of the economist and reformer Schukri Ghanim , who studied in the USA, as prime minister on June 14, 2003 is considered to be the beginning of the market economy age .


In the course of this decade, the mood of the population became increasingly irritated, as oil production had fallen by a third compared to the 1970s due to the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council and poor planning by the state, while at the same time the population had fallen to over 5.5 million people had risen, which had a negative impact on the state oil rent. There was an increase in unemployment and a strengthening of the Islamists . At this time, among other things, returnees from the war in Afghanistan founded the Libyan Islamic Combat Group (LIFG), which was based mainly in Cyrenaica and attempted an assassination attempt on Gaddafi in 1996. There have been several overthrow attempts during this decade. By then, at the latest, key posts in the security apparatus were only assigned within the Gaddafi family or their tribe.

In 1993 Gaddafi founded the People's Leadership Committee, in which the tribal leaders and traditional elites were represented and through which the distribution of part of the oil rents was handled. With this instrument he was able to integrate the most influential tribes into his system.

In February 1996, a bomb attack on Gaddafi's escort failed. According to an August 5, 1998 newspaper report in the New York Times, MI6 supported the attack with US $ 160,000 . Gaddafi, who was supposed to be killed in the attack, was unharmed; instead, several followers were killed. In 1997 the law on collective punishment was introduced, through which the state could hold families and hometowns liable for the crimes of individuals.

On April 5, 1999, Gaddafi had the two Libyan secret service agents who had been charged with the attack on Pan American Flight 103 in 1988 over the Scottish city of Lockerbie extradited to The Hague , where the trial took place on neutral ground. On the same day, the UN lifted its sanctions against Libya. Following the conviction of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi in January 2001, Libya offered on May 29, 2002 a sum of 2.7 billion US dollars as compensation for the relatives of the 270 people who died.

In July 1999, Gaddafi expelled the Palestinian Abu Nidal Organization , which was held responsible for several attacks, including at airports and synagogues. On December 2, 1999, the Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema visited Libya as the first Western head of government in 15 years.

The internal human rights situation remained poor during Gaddafi's entire rule, despite temporary liberalization. Freedom of the press and freedom of expression did not exist, and all media were dominated by Gaddafi's personality cult . There were numerous arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances , torture and arbitrary executions, particularly in the 1970s to 1990s . The victims came from all political and social groups. The domestic intelligence service ISA, which was responsible for the persecution of political opponents, had two prisons of its own in Abu Salim and Ain Zara . In 1996, up to 1,200 prisoners were executed without trial in Abu Salim prison, presumably after prisoners revolted against the conditions. Only in 2004 did Gaddafi admit this to Amnesty International. Oppositionists were also persecuted and murdered abroad.


Poster in Tripoli 2006

During this decade, the Gaddafi regime was able to stabilize again. In addition to the ongoing normalization of foreign policy and the end of the UN sanctions, the high oil price and the increasing demand for Libyan oil contributed to this. Measures such as the announcement of an 80 percent wage increase for the public sector in 2007 have dampened public resentment about poor living conditions. The human rights situation remained precarious, even in an intra-Arab comparison, Libya performed poorly in terms of the rule of law, participation and corruption control in the middle of this decade.

While Gaddafi used appropriate rhetoric of brotherhood to encourage Africans to enter Libya and to offer easier residence and work permits, social, political and economic problems soon arose. In 2000, for example, there were riots in which 50 African immigrants were killed. Since 2003 the European Union has been cooperating with the Libyan regime to keep African refugees away from their external borders. According to human rights activists, the EU also accepted inhumane conditions and torture in Libyan internment camps, some of which it financed.

In 2000, Gaddafi acted as a mediator for the hostage drama on the Philippine island of Jolo . The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 , helped him insofar as they offered the opportunity to legitimize the repression, especially against the opposition Islamists, internationally and to cooperate with Western secret services before the sanctions were formally lifted. In 2003, Gaddafi announced that his country was developing weapons of mass destruction . He disclosed the ABC weapons program and subsequently had it dismantled. From then on, Gaddafi's relationship with the West improved considerably. The then British Prime Minister visited him in March 2004 ; Tony Blair broke through Libya's long isolation. Gerhard Schröder followed in October as the first German Chancellor .

A demonstration against the Mohammed caricatures in Benghazi in February 2006 turned into a rally against the regime, during which the offices of the Revolutionary Committee were set on fire and portraits of Gaddafi were destroyed. More than a dozen demonstrators were shot dead by security forces.

On the 37th anniversary of his takeover of power, Gaddafi publicly called for the murder of political opponents in September 2006. On learning of the execution of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein on 30 December 2006 ordered Gaddafi for his country a three-day national mourning on.

Gaddafi in April 2008 with Vladimir Putin

In the east of the country, which Gaddafi systematically neglected, there were increasing signs of armed Islamist activity from 2006 onwards, and there were repeated anti-regime riots. This region was already in the 1990s because of the sympathy of the local population for Islamism with collective punishments such. B. Subsidy cuts have been proven. In the summer of 2007 there were armed clashes between Islamists and security forces in Benghazi and Darna , in which several people were killed.

On December 10, 2007, World Human Rights Day , he visited Paris again after 34 years . About 100 people demonstrated against his visit on the Champ de Mars . The French journalist Memona Hintermann, chief reporter of France 3 , told the television channel Canal + that in 1984 she had Gaddafi take her to a military barracks to interview the head of state. There he tried to rape her.

On September 23, 2009, Gaddafi caused a scandal with his first speech at the General Assembly of the United Nations . In his speech he quoted from the UN Charter and tore up a few pages in protest.

For a number of years, Gaddafi tried to promote African unity. The African Union (AU), which was founded at Gaddafi's instigation in 2002 (as the successor organization to the Organization for African Unity (OAU)) and of which he was chairman from February 2009 to January 2010, has the EU as a model and aims to become a uniform in the long term Lead economic area in Africa.

In July 2008, Gaddafi's son Hannibal and his wife were reported while they were in Geneva and charged with assault, threats and coercion . The Swiss police temporarily arrested the couple, which sparked a diplomatic crisis between Libya and Switzerland .

The HIV trial against five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor, which lasted from 2000 to 2007 in several trials, caused a sensation . The indictment was based on Gaddafi's allegation that the CIA and Mossad- controlled suspects deliberately infected hundreds of Libyan children with the virus. The accused were tortured and exculpatory evidence was ignored by the Libyan courts. The death sentences were commuted to life sentences after several countries had made “compensation payments” and the prisoners were extradited to Bulgaria, where they were pardoned a day later.

The scope for expressing opinions and criticism increased somewhat in the last few years before the start of the civil war, but criticism of Gaddafi or the Third Universal Theory remained prohibited. In the case of theft and adultery, the courts sometimes ordered hadd punishments such as B. flogging. In April 2010, Gaddafi had parts of the Abu Salim prison torn down, probably to cover up traces of a massacre. According to information from several NGOs, more than 1,200 political prisoners are said to have been murdered there in 1996 (see section 1990s).

Civil War 2011

In February 2011, following the unrest in the neighboring states of Egypt and Tunisia , an uprising also broke out in Libya, during which the overthrow of Gaddafi was publicly demanded for the first time. Over 400 people are said to have died in this uprising within a few days.

In the course of the civil war, Gaddafi's foreign accounts were blocked in Europe and the USA. The Swiss Federal Council decided on 24 February 2011 to terminate all possible assets Gaddafi and its environment in Switzerland with immediate effect, in order to avoid misappropriation of state-owned Libyan. 29 people are affected, including Muammar al-Gaddafi and his family, other relatives and Libyan business leaders. On May 16, 2011, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court , Luis Moreno Ocampo , requested an arrest warrant against Gaddafi, his son Saif al Islam and his brother-in-law and alleged intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senussi . They were charged with crimes against humanity in the course of the attacks against the insurgents that they initiated. On June 27, 2011, the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued arrest warrants for all three.

Libya's relations, in particular with Italian companies and politicians, as well as the increasing refugee problem led to conflicts within the EU and made a coordinated reaction of the EU, which Gaddafi had long recognized as a guarantor of stability in the region, difficult. On February 22, 2011, Gaddafi refused to give in to demands of the rebels (also in the face of threats with international military intervention ).

Circumstances of death

On September 9, 2011, Muammar al-Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and the head of the secret service, Abdullah al-Senussi, were put out to be wanted by Interpol . Gaddafi, who holed up in his hometown of Sirte after the fall of Tripoli, tried to flee the besieged city in a car convoy on October 20, 2011. According to Rami El-Obeidi, head of the secret service of the Libyan interim government, NATO received information about his exact whereabouts from the Syrian secret service. In return, NATO should stay out of internal Syrian conflicts. When the convoy was heavily shelled by NATO planes and Gaddafi sought shelter in the concrete tube of a dry canal, he was captured and ill-treated by rebels. Several badly bleeding wounds were inflicted on him. His security chief Mansur Dao , who was arrested, was also with him.

According to the Transitional Council, Gaddafi died in the hours that followed from a shot in the head that hit him in a crossfire between supporters and opponents on the transport to hospital. The autopsy result leaves questions unanswered, an unequivocal description of the circumstances of death has not yet taken place. Both the UN Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court are demanding clarification of the circumstances . The investigation of the chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo , on "strong suspicions" that Gaddafi's death might be a war crime , has been blocked by the new government. Videos of his arrest appear to indicate that Gaddafi was ill-treated and injured before he died. Gaddafi's body and that of his son Mutassim , who had also been killed , were buried on October 25 at a secret location in the Libyan desert .

The circumstances of the death, which are unclear according to independent sources, are the subject of unproven allegations and speculations, for example about the involvement of secret services in Gaddafi's death.

Political ideology

Gaddafi first presented his ideological ideas to a broader public in Zuwara on April 15, 1973, the then Mawlid an-Nabi , the holiday in honor of the birthday of Mohammed , in his five-point speech. In this address he called for the introduction of Sharia law , the cleansing of the country from all "politically ill" people, the creation of militias to protect the revolution, an administrative upheaval and a cultural revolution. This speech marks the beginning of Gaddafi's absolute claim to leadership.

Gaddafi's ideology was eclectically composed of Marxism, anarchism, natural law and nationalism and contained elements of direct democracy in the form of people's congresses and people's committees , but also revolutionary institutions that were not subject to control, such as the revolutionary committees founded in 1977 to promote revolutionary values, the people put strong pressure with dissenting opinions.

Gaddafi himself had no official position in the grassroots democratic structures that formally hold government power in Libya. As the leader of the revolution, he presided over the revolutionary institutions and commanded the armed and security forces. Officially known as "the Brother Leader", he set the agenda for the basic congresses and decisions of the government with his speeches and ideological ideas.

In his Green Book , published from 1976 to 1981, he described his program as the third universal theory and presented its main features. Gaddafi presented it as an alternative to communism and capitalism for the states of the third world, which combines socialist-egalitarian with Islamic principles.

Gaddafi's views on the role of women stood in marked contrast to other Arab socialists. In the Green Book , he explained that women and men in all of nature - and thus also in humans - have different characteristics: women are made delicate and beautiful, while men are strong and resilient. This results in different tasks for the two sexes: women are made for working in the house and bringing up children, but unsuitable for physical work. The woman should be the owner of the house because nature intended her to raise children; Gaddafi compared daycare centers to poultry farms. Menstruation and pregnancy are also states of weakness that make it necessary to share tasks between men and women. Nature intended motherhood, housework and child-rearing as natural tasks for women. A woman who works physically is not free, even if she doesn't feel that way herself. The true liberation of women would be the recognition of their natural being.

The practical implementation of the theory consisted in the fact that women were allowed to keep their house or apartment in the event of a divorce. Despite Gaddafi's theory, there were day-care centers for working women as well as women in traditional “male professions” such as police officers and female pilots. In 1979 Gaddafi set up a military academy for women. Most educated women were employed in health care and teaching, and the female employment rate was below 10% in the mid-1990s. In contrast to neighboring Tunisia, polygamy remained permitted in Libya; the man only had to obtain the permission of the other wife to marry a second wife.

The traditional instruments of liberal-democratic rule in Western societies - parliaments and parties - were rejected and people's committees and people's congresses were put in their place. The General People's Congress with 760 members could adopt only laws of the individual, almost 500 according to this model  based People's Congresses were discussed, the theoretically assemble the entire adult population and proposed. Gaddafi saw family, tribe and nation as the three main levels of society, which are organized along kinship lines.

The country still does not have a constitution, which made it difficult to delimit the various existing structures in the Libyan political system. Although the People's Congress and the regions were gaining in importance, according to the Federal Foreign Office, contrary to its own portrayal as grassroots democracy, the real power lay not with the democratic institutions, but with Gaddafi and his environment. The work of the people's congresses was controlled by committees related to Gaddafi. These revolutionary committees monitored the entire public space, were integrated in the administration, education and economy, had informants among the population and ran security prisons. Among other things, delegates were arrested there who spoke out against the agenda set by Gaddafi in the public votes at the grassroots people's congresses. In 2004 the US State Department estimated that 10 to 20 percent of Libyans were active in this network.

The Austrian journalist Renate Poßarnig described the urge for self-expression as the most important driving force of Gaddafi, before which political content was ultimately meaningless:

“When the Americans say: Gaddafi is the head of all terrorists, then he is happy. When someone else says: Gaddafi is a top agent of US imperialism, he is just as happy. He just has to be at the forefront of reporting. At least once a week. You mustn't forget Gaddafi! "

- Renate Poßarnig : Gaddafi. Enfant terrible of world politics. Hamburg 1983, p. 189

Gaddafi also tried to spread the political theory he laid down in the Green Book internationally. He paid particular attention to Africa and Europe. In 1982, Bruno Kreisky was the first Western head of government to invite Gaddafi to Vienna. Here Gaddafi made contact with the German and Austrian Greens , including Hubert Kleinert . In July 1982 a delegation of green politicians, including Alfred Mechtersheimer and Otto Schily , visited Gaddafi in his Bedouin tent in Libya. In 1983 Gaddafi declared: “The Greens are the alternative for Europe.” He began financing the “Green Alternative Monthly Magazine” (“ MOZ ”), which has been published in Austria since 1984. Initially, the management was a Palestinian with a Libyan passport, Abdul Ghani Elmani, and since 1986 has consisted entirely of Libyans. The publisher was later used as a cover for the purchase of weapons-grade chemicals.

Since the mid-1990s, Gaddafi had also maintained good relations with right-wing extremist politicians. His “Green Book” was delivered in Germany by the Bublies-Verlag , whose owner was a long-time republican functionary . The most spectacular was his friendship with Jörg Haider , which also contributed to extensive economic contacts between Haider-ruled Carinthia , the FPÖ and Libya. The relationship was brokered by Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam, who temporarily studied at the IMADEC private school in Vienna , which was then recognized as a university. Group trips by the FPÖ to Libya were financed by the Kärntner Landesbank Hypo Alpe Adria , which later also had legal consequences. Gaddafi also maintained contacts with British, Spanish, Italian and Belgian right-wing extremists.

The Austrian writer Fritz Edlinger, who visited Gaddafi in 1974 as a member of an SJÖ delegation, considers him to be a personality who was inconsistent and logical according to European thought patterns. Rather, he seems to have united several extremely contradicting identities: that of a media-seeking self-promoter who gradually lost all seriousness and credibility with his appearances; that of a thinker and reformer whose theories were adventurously eclectic and not taken seriously by anyone; that of a Bedouin son who mourns the vanished old way of life of his ancestors and that of a desperate, resigned and defeated who suffered from the passive rejection of his “revolution” by his own people.

In a speech to the highest Libyan body, the “General People's Congress”, Gaddafi announced far-reaching privatizations, even in the oil sector, in 2003, spoke of a failed policy of the past three decades and thus effectively distanced himself from the “Third Universal Theory”.

Connection with international terrorism

Gaddafi was said to have links with international terrorism as early as the early 1980s . The then US President Ronald Reagan made Gaddafi personally responsible for the bomb attack on the La Belle nightclub in 1986 . On December 21, 1988, the Lockerbie attack resulted in 270 deaths, for which a member of the Libyan secret service was convicted by a Scottish court in 2001. In 2002, Libya accepted "responsibility for the actions of its officials" and paid $ 2.46 billion in compensation to the survivors of the victims. According to the former Justice Minister of Libya, Mustafa Abdel Jalil , Gaddafi personally gave the order for the attack. Since the 1970s Gaddafi has been supporting the IRA with arms deliveries, which he saw as allies in the fight against “British imperialism ”.

Gaddafi was also seen as the mastermind behind the attack on UTA flight 772 on September 19, 1989, in which a French scheduled flight over the Niger was brought down and 170 people were killed. His motive was retaliation for the defeat in the Libyan-Chadian War , for which he blamed France as well as the USA. In 1999, a French court convicted six Libyan officials in absentia for their involvement in the attack, which Gaddafi subsequently refused to extradite.

In all of these cases, however, there were also considerable doubts about the perpetrators of Libya - and thus Gaddafi. In the case of the La Belle discotheque, the results of the investigation indicated Syrian involvement , as the West Berlin police and the State Department announced in 1988. In the Lockerbie and UTA flight 772 cases, there are also indications that Syria, Iran or the Palestinian PFLP-GC were responsible . Libya was then charged because the USA, Great Britain and France shied away from a confrontation with these two states before the Second Gulf War .

Gaddafi supported the Palestinian underground organizations Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine . The Abu Nidal Organization had its headquarters in Libya for years. Furthermore, he is seen as a supporter of various armed Tuareg groups in the southern Sahara ( Mali , Niger ), who in the early 1990s and increasingly since 2006 both fight against the military and carry out attacks on the civilian population. With this support on the one hand and his role as negotiator on the other, Gaddafi hoped to gain greater influence on the governments of the countries concerned.

According to a study published in the Sunday Times in 1986 , only 1 percent of the international terrorism budget, estimated at £ 700 million, was of Libyan origin.


When Gaddafi came to power in 1969, the persecution and discrimination of Libyan Jews , which had already resulted in pogroms and arbitrary arrests in previous decades, particularly during the Six Day War and afterwards , reached its climax. Gaddafi ordered that all Jewish property should be expropriated and that all debts that non-Jews had with Jews should be null and void. Although Gaddafi imposed a travel ban, the vast majority of Libyan Jews managed to flee abroad in the following years. After all, there have been no Jews living in Libya since the 21st century.

The policy towards the Libyan Jews was related to a foreign policy called "aggressive and anti-Israeli" by Gaddafi, who called Israel the "colonialist-imperialist outpost of the USA". Gaddafi supported Egypt in the run-up to the war with grants of around one billion dollars for rearmament and gave the Egyptians 110 new French Mirage fighter-bombers. However, Libyan troops never took part in fighting against Israel. He never supported the PLO as a whole, but always only splinter groups like the Abu Nidal Organization , which he gave financial and logistical support in their terrorist attacks on Israeli and Western targets. In doing so, however, he rather contributed to the dispute within the Palestinian movement.

Gaddafi also called on Palestinians to carry out suicide bombings in the early 1970s . Its declared aim was the complete annihilation of the Jewish state. At the same time, however, he denied the systematic expulsion of the Palestinians by Israel, known as naqba in the Arab world . Peace negotiations with Israel by allies such as Egypt under Anwar as-Sadat in 1979 or the PLO under Yasser Arafat in 1995 were described by Gaddafi as a betrayal of the Arab people. In September 1989 Gaddafi proposed that a state for Jews be set up in Alsace-Lorraine . In September 1995, Gaddafi evicted some 30,000 Palestinians from Libya under the pretext of "punishing the Israeli and Palestinian leaders for making peace" and has since recognized neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority. The real reason for the mass deportation was Gaddafi's fear of the spread of Islamism.

As Libya opened up to the West in the new millennium, Gaddafi began to signal a willingness to compromise on compensation for displaced and dispossessed Libyan Jews. However, there were no concrete results during his lifetime. His statements and attitudes towards Israel also changed, but remained largely hostile. His idea, published in 2009 in the New York Times , of a “peaceful one-state solution ” that provides for free, UN-controlled elections, the renaming of the state to Isratine and the return of all Palestinian refugees, became popular. Jews who do not agree should emigrate to Hawaii or Alaska. A few months later, at a meeting of the African Union , Gaddafi described Israel as "responsible for all conflicts in Africa" ​​and called on the states of the Union to close their Israeli embassies. Gaddafi also supported the radical Islamic Hamas .

The International Gaddafi Prize for Human Rights , which Gaddafi initiated and endowed and which has been awarded several times in the past to politicians classified as anti-Semites such as Louis Farrakhan , Roger Garaudy and Mahathir bin Mohamad , has repeatedly attracted media attention . The last winner was Recep Tayyip Erdoğan .

Planned and failed attacks on Gaddafi

There have been repeated attacks by various political opponents who aimed to kill Gaddafi. In 1969 the British Special Air Service developed a plan to take power in Libya under the name “Hilton Assignment”. This should primarily be implemented by foreign mercenaries in cooperation with released Libyan prisoners. However, it was never put into practice. In 1976, Gaddafi was fired from an individual but missed. At the initiative of the French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing , a plot against Gaddafi was worked out in cooperation with Egypt, but this failed because the USA did not agree. In 1988 a bodyguard is said to have saved Gaddafi's life in an Islamist attack by throwing herself over him, and she herself was killed.

When an Italian traffic plane was shot down near Ustica in 1980 , the Italian examining magistrate Rosario Priore suspected an attack on Gaddafi's plane planned by France as the cause.


Gaddafi's first marriage in 1969 to a wealthy officer's daughter and teacher. From this marriage comes his first son Muhammad Gaddafi . Six months after the marriage, the marriage ended in divorce.

He was married to the nurse Safaja Farkash since 1970 and had seven other biological children, six sons and a daughter with her. Libyan state propaganda also reported that Gaddafi adopted a daughter in the 1980s who was believed to have died in a US air strike on April 15, 1986 between the ages of one and five. Gaddafi is also said to have adopted his nephew Milad Abustaia al Gaddafi. According to a Libyan legend, he saved his life in the US air strike.

According to estimates by Libyan opposition activists, the Gaddafi family is said to have assets of between 80 and 150 billion US dollars. In particular, Gaddafi has made profits from the oil and gas sector his own for decades. Some of his sons are said to have gone to the head of the National Oil Company (NOC) on occasion, without consulting their father, in order to forcefully claim millions from the oil business for private purposes. Gaddafi was also active in the German market with the petrol station chains Tamoil and HEM .

In addition, dispatches from the US embassy in Tripoli indicate that Gaddafi's assets are invested in investments in the construction and infrastructure, telecommunications, hotels, press and consumer goods sectors. In 2002 the Gaddafi family invested 22.9 million euros (7.5 percent) in the Italian football club Juventus Turin . It is not clear how much money Gaddafi made abroad. There should be accounts in the Arab Gulf States.

In the course of the civil war in Libya on April 30, 2011, the sixth son, Saif al-Arab al-Gaddafi, and three of his grandchildren were said to have died in a NATO air strike on a house in Tripoli. Gaddafi and his wife are said to have been in this house at the time.

Gaddafi's children

Gaddafi with a strange child on his lap (1976)
  • Muhammad Gaddafi : The eldest son, born in 1970 and the only son from Gaddafi's first marriage, studied computer science, headed the Libyan Olympic Committee and is said to have owned the two Libyan cell phone companies Libyanna and Al-Madar . He also chaired the state post and telecommunications company. On August 29, 2011, according to Algerian sources, he fled to Algeria with his stepmother, a half-brother and his half-sister.
  • Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi : The second oldest son was born in 1972, studied architecture in Tripoli and for a few years management at a private university in Vienna, where he also made contact with the Austrian politician Jörg Haider . In 2002 he began his doctoral studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science . Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi owned various companies active in the economic and media sectors and founded a foundation for development in 1999, through which he also acted as Libya's development minister as an intermediary between foreign governments such as oil companies and his father. He sought the release of Western hostages who had been kidnapped by Islamists (for example in the Philippines), was involved in environmental protection and, along with Mutasim-Billah Gaddafi, was considered a possible successor to his father. On November 19, 2011, Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi was arrested in southern Libya and sentenced to death in July 2015 after an internationally controversial trial. In June 2017 he was released as part of a general amnesty .
  • Al-Saadi Gaddafi : The third son of Gaddafi, born in 1973, is married to the daughter of a military commander and attended a Libyan military academy, where he achieved the rank of colonel. In the 1990s he headed an elite brigade that fought Islamists and is said to have commanded the Special Forces from 2006. He headed the Libyan Football Federation and played on the Italian soccer team Perugia Calcio . He made a fortune in the oil industry and as a film producer. He was arrested on August 22, 2011 as a result of the War in Libya. According to Nigerien information from September 11, 2011, Saadi then fled to Niger and asked for asylum . He was granted this on November 11, 2011 on humanitarian grounds. On March 6, 2014, he was extradited to Libya.
  • Mutasim-Billah Gaddafi : The fourth son, born between 1974 and 1977, was a lieutenant colonel in the Libyan army . After an alleged plan to overthrow his father, he fled to Egypt. When Gaddafi forgave him, he returned to Libya and became the leader of the Presidential Guard. On April 21, 2009, he met with Hillary Clinton in the United States, marking the highest-level diplomatic exchange between these countries since their relations were resumed. Mutasim-Billah Gaddafi is said to have been an advisor or chairman of the National Security Council. He and Saif al-Islam were traded as possible successors to their father. On October 20, 2011, Mutasim-Billah was captured with his father in Sirte and killed in an apparently defenseless prisoner status without trial. Also in October 2011, the model Vanessa Hessler statedin an interview that she had been in a relationship with Mutasim for four years.
  • Hannibal Gaddafi : The fifth son, born in 1975, attracted attention in 2004 when he drove alongthe Paris Champs-Elysées at 140 kilometers an hour. He was also involved in a number of violent incidents, including beating his pregnant girlfriend, Aline Skaf . In July 2008, he was arrested in a Geneva hotel along with Skaf, who is now his wife. After two days, they were both released on bail. The Swiss judiciary accuses the couple of bodily harm, threats and coercion of two domestic workers. As a result, there was a conflict between Libya and Switzerland (see Libya affair (Switzerland) ). Hannibal Gaddafi is said to have held a military leadership position in the Benghazi region since 2007. On August 29, 2011, according to Algerian information, he fled to Algeria with his mother, half-brother and sister.
  • Saif al-Arab al-Gaddafi : The sixth son was born in 1982. In 2006 he came to Munich on an Italian tourist visa. In Germany he came into conflict with the law on various occasions - among other things because of traffic offenses, arms smuggling and bodily harm. After he left Munich for Libya, the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior declared that his settlement permit had expired. He was also banned from entering Germany. On April 30, 2011, Saif al-Arab al-Gaddafi and three of the grandsons of Muammar al-Gaddafi were killed in a NATO air strikeon Bab al-Aziziya , his father's residence in Tripoli, as part of the international military operation in Libya, according to Libyan information killed. The grandchildren were the two year old daughter of son Hannibal, the six month old daughter of Aisha and the 15 month old son of Muhammad Gaddafi.
  • Khamis (Chamis) Gaddafi : Gaddafi's seventh and youngest son was born in 1983. Little is known about him. He is believed to have pursued a career in the security forces similar to his brothers Al-Saadi and Mutasim-Billah. According to press reports, he died in March 2011 of serious burn injuriessustainedin a kamikaze attack by a Libyan air force pilot at his residence at Bab al-Aziziya base. The Libyan regime denied the pilot's crash. On 28/29 In March 2011, pictures of Khamis were shown on Libyan state television, during which he was cheered by supporters of the regime. It was not possible to establish with certainty whether these were new recordings. Most recently he was in command of an elite unit. According to the Libyan rebels, Khamis and Abdullah al-Sanusi died on August 27, 2011 near the cities of Tarhuna and Bani Walid , 80 kilometers southeast of the capital Tripoli .
  • Aisha Gaddafi : Gaddafi's only biological daughter is a lawyer and joined Saddam Hussein's defense team in 2004. In 2006 she married her father's cousin, Army Colonel Ahmed al-Gaddafi al-Qahsi . In 2009 she was made an honorary ambassador for the UN Development Program, where she campaigned against the spread of AIDS and the oppression of women in the Arab world. However, the UN split from her during the 2011 civil war. On August 29, 2011 she fled to Algeria with her mother and two brothers, heavily pregnant, according to Algerian information. She then went to Oman .
  • Hana Gaddafi , born on November 11, 1985, is an adopted daughter of Gaddafi. After Operation El Dorado Canyon , Gaddafi's regime claimed her death. However, it is said to give evidence that she studied medicine and held a leadership position in Libyan health care.

Name spelling variations

Due to different procedures for the transcription from Arabic and a dialect-dependent pronunciation, there are many different spellings for Gaddafi's first and last names, such as "Qaddafi", "Khaddafi" or "Gheddafi" (see section In other languages ). The American Library of Congress lists 72 different spellings of the name in the documents it has, while researchers for the American news broadcaster ABC found in 2009 that the New York Times , the Associated Press and Xinhua in addition to these 72 in the period from 1998 to 2008 40 other spellings were used.


With the title The village, the village, the earth, the earth and the suicide of the astronaut (1993) Gaddafi proved himself, according to the foreword author Gernot Rotter, "a talented socio-critical satirist". The volume contains "twelve essays on the socially uprooted life in the big city, the greatness of divine creation and the tyranny of the masses who tend to send their leaders into the desert."

Gaddafi was the only Arab leader to have a positive view of the Kurdish struggle for independence. During a state visit in 1996, he called on the Turkish Prime Minister Erbakan to grant independence to the country's Kurds, which was met with strong opposition in Turkey. He compared the capture of Öcalan with the actions of the Ottoman Empire against Arab nationalists and called on the Kurds to continue their struggle for national independence.

When traveling abroad, Gaddafi used to live mostly in a Bedouin tent. He was often accompanied by the sensational Amazon Guard , a group of bodyguards.

Several reports appeared after Gaddafi's death alleging that he had kidnapped, detained and raped Libyan girls and boys for years. However, the identity of the victims remained unknown in all cases and verifiable evidence for the allegations could not be produced.

In 2008 he was proclaimed the " King of Kings " of Africa by over 200 African kings and traditional tribal rulers.

In 2009 Gaddafi designed the first Libyan car model, the Saroukh el-Jamahiriya , in collaboration with an Italian company . Only individual copies of the vehicle were made.

In 2013 it became known that Gaddafi was depositing billions of dollars in South African banks.

The Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore in Pakistan has been named in his honor since 1974 .


  • Min maktabat al-fikr al-gamahiri (MFG). Collection of statements, speeches and conversations by Muammar al-Gaddafi, ed. by Al-markaz al`-alami li-dirasat wa-abhat al-kitab al-ahdar (International Center for the Study and Research of the Green Book, Tripoli), Tripoli from September 1969 annually.
  • The story of the revolution. Beirut 1975.
  • The Green Book . Verlag Siegfried Bublies, Koblenz 1990, ISBN 3-926584-02-5 . (Full text, German (PDF) ( Memento from February 20, 2015 in the Internet Archive )).
  • The village, the village, the earth, the earth and the astronaut's suicide. (Translated from Arabic, commented and with a foreword by Gernot Rotter . With the illustrations from the original edition.) Belleville Verlag, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-936298-11-4 .
  • Illegal Publication: Four Essays. Belleville Verlag, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-933510-52-5 .
  • Vision. Talks and an open exchange of views with Edmond Jouve. (Translated from English by Hans Schmid.) Belleville Verlag, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-933510-51-8 .
    • Mouammar Kadhafi: Dans le concert des nations, Libres propos et entretiens avec Edmond Jouve. Edition de l'Archipel, Paris 2004 (first edition)
    • Muammar Gaddafi: My Vision, Conversations and Frank Exchanges of Views with Edmond Jouve. (Translated into English by Angela Parfitt.) John Blake, London 2005.
  • Dialogue with the Islamic scholars, (first Arabic July 3, 1978) in Andreas Meier, Ed .: Political currents in modern Islam. Sources and Comments. Federal Agency for Civic Education , BpB, Bonn 1995 ISBN 3-89331-239-0 ; and Peter Hammer Verlag , Wuppertal 1995 ISBN 3-87294-724-9 , pp. 137-144


  • Yasmina Khadra : La dernière nuit du Raïs. Julliard, Paris 2015; Translator Regina Keil-Sagawe: The Last Night of Muammar al-Gadafi. Novel. Osburg, Hamburg 2015.

Web links

Commons : Muammar al-Gaddafi  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: Muammar al-Gaddafi  - in the news

Individual evidence

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