Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi came to power in Libya in 1969 through a military coup.  His regime was one of secret police forces, media censorship, ruthless political assassinations, and financial bribery of tribal and clan leaders. Amidst the “Arab Spring” in 2011, he was captured and killed by armed rebels with the assistance of air bombardment by the French, Italian and US air forces.


“I called the State Department to request information about economic sanctions against Libya and the rules about American travelers. They told me that travel to Libya was not forbidden, but I could not use my American passport and I could not spend any money. Our Tunisian host said that he would guarantee that our passports would not be stamped and that he would cover all expenses. So, off we went across the border in a high-speed automobile.” (Page 119)

“He also revealed a distinct strain of paranoia. At one point he jumped into the middle of a sentence to ask, “Why does the CIA destabilize countries all over the world?” The question had no relevance to the issue we were discussing. I must have had a surge of adrenaline, as I responded to his outburst with, “Leader, we are a superpower. That is what we do.”  I was lucky that he smirked. (Page 120)

Gaddafi’s “official” security guard was made up of lady parachute “soldiers” who walked around in combat uniforms with high heels and colorful trousers. During this particular meeting, Gaddafi was constantly catching the eyes of these young commando-damsels on the prowl and waving at them quite warmly, as if he were saying, “See you later, sweetie.” (Page 123)

Gaddafi’s Background

  • Born in 1942 near the city of Sirte on the Mediterranean, halfway between Benghazi and Tripoli.
  • Entered the military college in Benghazi in 1961.  
  • In 1969, Gaddafi and a group of his fellow younger military officers staged a bloodless coup that overthrew the Idris monarchy, which had been in place since Libya gained independence from Italian, British, and French occupation in 1951.
  • Between 1969 and 1977, Gaddafi consolidated his power by marginalizing his initial revolutionary colleagues.
  • Under his system, the political power was supposed to belong to the Revolutionary committees, building up from the villages. The committees existed but in reality, Gaddafi and his family exercised all the power and controlled all of the oil revenues.
  • When the “Arab Spring” hit in 2011, Gaddafi deployed African mercenary troops.
  • He was captured and killed by armed rebels.