Rebels Capture Libyan Dictator Muammar Gaddafi

World | October 20, 2011, Thursday // 14:24
Bulgaria: Rebels Capture Libyan Dictator Muammar Gaddafi A file photograph dated 10 April 2011, shows Libya`s leader Muammar Gaddafi waving from a car in the heavily fortified military barracks and compound of Bab Al Azizia in Tripoli, Libya. EPA/BGNES

Fugitive Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi has been captured by the rebel forces of the so called Transitional National Council.

After almost 42 years in power, notorious Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, has been toppled by the popular uprising in the country.

"He's captured. He's wounded in both legs ... He's been taken away by ambulance," Abdel Majid, a rebel commander, announced, as cited by international media.

After almost two months in hiding, Gaddafi was arrested Thursday afternoon, after the rebel forces overwhelmed his last stronghold and hometown Sirte.

The demise of Gaddafi's regime came after a nine-month civil war struggle. Libya's long-serving dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled by a popular uprising on August 22, 2011

Gaddafi's dictatorship has been power in Libya since September 1, 1969, after Gaddafi removed Libyan King Idris in a bloodless coup.

Gaddafi's nearly 42 years in power have made him the fourth longest-serving non-royal ruler since 1900, as well as the longest-serving Arab leader.

Gaddafi has technically ruled Libya under a political philosophy of his own termed the Third International Theory, which rejects both capitalism and communism (in the Cold War Days), and was based on ideals of Arab nationalism and socialism, combined with aspects of Islam.

He laid out his political philosophy in the 1970s in his Green Book. In 1977, he invented a system called the "Jamahiriya" or "state of the masses", in which power is meant to be held by thousands of "peoples' committees".

The United Nations called Libya under Gaddafi a pariah state, and the United States held Libya on its list of states sponsoring terrorism from 1979 to 2006.

In 1986, Gaddafi's compound and much of Libya was bombed by the United States in retaliation for the 1986 Berlin disco bombing. He was described as a “mad dog” by US President Ronald Reagan.

The 1988 bombing of the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie in Scotland is possibly the most well known international incident in which Gaddafi has been involved.

For many years, Gaddafi denied involvement, resulting in UN sanctions and Libya’s status as a pariah state. Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence agent, was convicted in 2001 for planting the bomb, and was released by the UK in 2009.

In 1999-2007, the Gaddafi regime arrested, imprisoned and tortured five Bulgarian nurses and one Bulgarian doctor, and twice sentenced to them death for allegedly infecting 400 Libyan children with AIDS, the so called Libyan HIV trial. The Bulgarian medics were brought back to Bulgaria and then pardoned by Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, after increased international pressure on Gaddafi, especially by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, among other factors.

In early February 2011, Gaddafi's government faced major political protests following in the wake of demonstrations in Tunisia, Egypt, and other parts of the Arab world. The protests quickly turned into a civil war. Gaddafi vowed to "die a martyr" if necessary in his fight against rebels and external forces, saying that those rebelling against his government deserved to die.

On March 19, 2011, NATO-led international forces started air and rocket strikes against the Gaddafi regime under a UN Security Council mandate.

Operation Odyssey Dawn was the US code name for the US part of the international military operation in Libya to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 during the initial period of 19–31 March 2011, which continued afterwards under NATO command as Operation Unified Protector.

The initial operation implemented a no-fly zone that was proposed during the 2011 Libyan civil war to prevent government forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi from carrying out air attacks on anti-Gaddafi forces.

The US initially had strategic command of the military intervention but passed complete military command of the operation to NATO and took up a support role on 31 March 2011.

On 27 June 2011 the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Gaddafi for crimes against humanity.

On 20 August, the rebellion against his rule reached Tripoli, with a large uprising taking place. The Battle for Tripoli spanned several days ended with the unconditional capture of the Libyan capital.

Gaddafi's last remaining strongholds – Bani Walid, Sabha, and Sirte – were overwhelmed by the rebels in September-October 2011.

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Tags: dictator, Libyan, transitional National Council, Tripoli, Bani Walid, Sabha, Sirte, Libya, rebels, Muammar Gaddafi, civil war
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