Col Muammar Gaddafi’s 42 years of tyranny has finally ended. After months of heavy resistance, the National Transitional Council aided by the NATO forces took the Libyan leader’s bastion in Sirte where he has taken his last stand.
The rebel forces pushed their way into the cities after taking the capital of Tripoli and mounted a series of takedowns in pursuit of the former dictator. He was found in his hometown in Sirte and was shot dead in the firefight, although reports are still divided about the exact details of his death.
Who is Muammar Gaddafi?
The former dictator of Libya held a position in the military which he used to organize a coup and overthrow the former tyranny of King Mohammed Idris. Gaddafi pursues the heir while the king was in Turkey, the time when Libya obtained independence from the British and French federal monarchy. During his reign, the democratic state of Libya was converted into an authoritarian state.
He abolished the 1951’s Libyan Constitution and made arbitrary laws based on his own philosophy. Libyan administration was subdivided into General People’s Congress and General Peoples Committee, but all aspects of the government structures are still manipulated by Gaddafi’s control, including most of the business enterprises of Libya.
He organized four crack brigade units under his command and assembled his Libyan Army of 50,000 fully-equipped and well trained soldiers composed of his own tribesmen as well as other tribes who are loyal to him. One of the most powerful brigades was led by Khamis, Gaddafi’s son. On the other hand, the regular army units of Libya were poorly trained and impoverished in contrast to his enormous forces.
Interesting Facts: Libyan Revolution
The events that led to the numerous casualties including innocent civilians and demonstrators escalated into a full-blown armed conflict between loyalists and rebel forces. Foreign intervention became necessary as mercenaries from other countries took part in Gaddafi’s reign of terror. Here are some interesting facts about the Libyan incident:
- Between 600-700 demonstrators died during the protest in Green Square, Tripoli on February 20, 2011. Survivors that were brought to the hospitals were summarily executed by security forces.
- Around 130 soldiers were executed by their own commanders for refusing to obey Gaddafi’s order to fire on the demonstrators. Some of them were burned alive.
- Killing people of the same tribal group is a taboo. This led Gaddafi to employ foreign mercenaries who have a reputation for killing Libyans in cold blood.
- Libya was termed as “North Korea with palm trees” under Gaddafi’s rule due to its overly stringent rules against journalists who come to the country.
- Gaddafi’s forces employ the so-called “human shield” to protect them from air strikes. They surrounded themselves with civilian settlements and facilities to deter any military action that may cause civilian casualties.
- The aftermath of the revolution left around 6,500 people dead.
A new interim prime minister will soon be appointed and a cabinet will be established over the next month. This marks the new beginning of Libya.