Gaddafi Is Dead, Libya Jubilant

World | October 20, 2011, Thursday // 17:36
Bulgaria: Gaddafi Is Dead, Libya Jubilant Mahmoud Jibril, Chairman of the Board of Libya's Transitional National Council, has formally confirmed the death of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi has died of his wounds after he was captured by the rebel forces, Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril has confirmed, ending all speculations and reports.

"We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed," Jibril, chairman of the executive board of the Transitional National Council, i.e. de facto PM, told a news conference in Tripoli, as cited by the BBC.

He added that the rebel government will wait until later today or Friday to officially declare what it calls a state of liberation.

The National Transition Council earlier on Thursday said that its fighters found and shot Gaddafi in Sirte, which finally fell to the rebels after weeks of tough fighting. Rebels now control the entire country.

The tyrant dictator was in power for almost 42 years before he was technically brought down in August 2011 when the Libyan rebels captured the capital city of Tripoli.

Word of Gaddafi's death triggered celebrations in the streets of Tripoli with insurgent fighters waving their weapons and dancing jubilantly.

Al Jazeera aired photos and video of what appeared to be the dead leader, which showed Gaddafi lying in a pool of blood in the street, shirtless, and surrounded by people.

Libya's Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam told the Associated Press that Gadhafi was in a convoy when he was attacked by rebels.

A NATO official said that its jet fighters struck two military vehicles "which were part of a larger group that was maneuvering in the vicinity of Sirte conducting military operations that presented a clear threat to civilians." But NATO would not confirm whether Gaddafi was part of that convoy.

Gaddafi had been on the run for weeks after being chased out of the capital Tripoli by NATO bombers and rebel troops.

He had been believed to be hiding in the vast Libyan desert while calling on his supporters to rise up and sweep the rebel "dogs" away, but his once fearsome power was scoffed at by Libyans who had ransacked his palace compound and hounded him into hiding.

Gaddafi, 69, ruled Libya with an iron fist for almost 42 years. 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: civil war, dictator, Libyan, transitional National Council, Tripoli, Bani Walid, Sabha, Sirte, Libya, rebels, Muammar Gaddafi, mahmoud jibril

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