World Crisis Database

  • Type: Dictator
  • Location: Libya
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Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi

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Muammar al-Qaddafi was born in a Bedouin tent in 1942. He joined the military and staged a coup to seize control of Libya in 1969, ousting King Idris. Though his Arab nationalist rhetoric and socialist-style policies gained him support in the early days of his rule, his corruption, military interference in Africa, and record of human rights abuses turned much of the Libyan population against him. Accused of supporting terrorism, in the last decade of his rule Qaddafi reached a rapprochement with Western leaders, and Libya became a key provider of oil to Europe. During the "Arab Spring" of 2011, NATO troops supported dissidents attempting to overthrow Qaddafi's government. After months on the run, on October 20, 2011, Qaddafi was killed in his hometown of Surt.

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