Libya. According to
CountryAAH, Libya continued to improve its relations with the
outside world. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
announced May 15 that the United States would restore full
diplomatic relations and remove Libya from the list of
countries supporting international terrorism, where Libya
has been since 1979. The United States had already imposed a
number of sanctions in 2004 when Libya said it would stop
trying develop weapons of mass destruction.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited
Libya in November on a tour of North Africa and met with
Libyan leader Muammar al-Khadaffi. In January 2007, Germany
takes over the EU Presidency. Steinmeier was also joined by
a business delegation.
At the end of July, international experts collected
another 3 kg of high-enriched uranium from Libya. It was
flown to Russia for reprocessing. Shortly before,
al-Khadaffi had stated in a speech that Libya was close to
developing its own nuclear weapons, although some experts
The human rights group Human Rights Watch reported in
January that Libya has made some progress in human rights,
but criticized how trials were conducted and restrictions on
freedom of expression.
In March, 130 prisoners were released, most of them
members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who have been imprisoned
since the 1990s.
In October, Amnesty International reported that a prison
riot demanded a death victim when security forces struck
about 190 prisoners protesting over delayed trials.
In May, the trial resumed against five Bulgarian nurses
and a Palestinian doctor who was sentenced to death in 2004
for deliberately infecting 426 children with HIV. In
December 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that the trial should
be rerun. In November, around 100 Nobel laureates appealed
to Libya's leaders to ensure a fair process. On December 19,
however, a new death sentence was announced, which was
criticized by the outside world and threatened to disrupt
ties to, among other things. The EU.
In a speech in August, one of al-Khadaffi's sons
criticized the lack of democracy and widespread corruption
among government employees. Sayf al-Islam al-Khadaffi leads
a charity group and is considered one of the father's
closest confidants. In November, his son visited Morocco for
talks with King Muhammad VI, who sought support for a plan
to introduce self-government in Western Sahara, which was
annexed in 1975.
During the summer, a wave of refugees was reported to
have migrated from Africa to Italy and Malta from Libya,
which has become a major transit country. Dozens of refugees
were reported to have died in the Mediterranean.
The Danish Mohammed drawings triggered riots on February
17 in the port city of Benghazi. Eleven people were killed
as security forces opened fire on protesters attacking the
Italian consulate. The unrest erupted after an Italian
minister, Roberto Calderoli from populist Lega Nord, was
seen on TV wearing a T-shirt adorned with cartoons. He
resigned afterwards. Libya's parliament withdrew from the
riots and Interior Minister Nasser al-Mabrouk was
In March, the government was reformed. New Prime Minister
became Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmudi. He replaced Shokri Ghanem
who has been sitting since 2003. Ghanem became head of the
state oil company.
Libya's recent history
Libya's recent history is considered here as the time
from ancient Kyrenaika was conquered by the Ottoman Empire
in 1517 and until Libya became a republic in 1969.
After several centuries of Arab rule, the Ottoman Empire
advanced in North Africa from the early 16th century, having
taken Egypt in 1517. The Arabs had been challenged by both
local Berber tribes and European powers; the Turkish
Ottomans should be the same. After Spanish forces conquered
Tripoli in 1510, control in 1530 was transferred to the
Order of Johannite to keep the city as a defense against
Islam. The temple order was displaced by the Turks in 1551,
and Libya (Kyrenaika and Tripolitania) was incorporated into
the Ottoman Empire.
Kyrenaika was taken by the Ottomans in 1517; Tripoli was
conquered by corsars under the leadership of Darghut in
1551, after which they transferred control to the Ottoman
sultan. The Turks more allied to the rulers of Fezzan to
take part in trade through the Sahara; the trade consisted
of a large proportion of slaves brought to the Mediterranean
coast. The Ottomans took control of Fezzan in 1577.
There were several attempts by the Christian world to
regain control of Tripoli after the city fell to the Turks,
including the Knights of Malta in 1552. In 1560 King Philip
II of Spain sent a naval force of Pan, German and Italian
soldiers, and took the island of Djerba outside Tunisia, but
failed to capture Tripoli.
The Italians called the pirates from North Africa "barbareschi",
and for a long time the term barbarian states was used about
the city states west of Egypt. Norwegian seafarers were also
victims of pirates from here, taken prisoners and made
slaves. Christian slaves were used to both build and man the
Corsar vessels, which were a threat to international
shipping in the Mediterranean as far back as the 1800s.
In 1638, Tripoli was bombarded by a French fleet, which
retaliated after a voyage to the coast of Provence. France
then entered into a treaty with Tripoli, and set up a
consulate there. Several European states, as well as the
United States, followed, and agreements were made to secure
merchant ships free passage, against charges to the Ottoman
rulers. Also Denmark-Norway and Sweden entered into such
agreements. At the same time, several European great powers
from time to time sent warships to the area to show power -
and reduce the power of the barbarian states. A British
fleet launched a blockade of Tripoli in 1675, seized the
city's fortifications, burned portions of the Corsar fleet
and freed British slaves. French naval forces did the same,
and set free slaves from many countries, in 1685 and 1692.
During the same period, Tripoli was weakened, politically
The Ottomans ruled their possessions through governors
and passersby, and the individual areas most often had
considerable autonomy, supported by Ottoman forces: Janits.
The first ruler of Libyan origin was Ahmed Karamanli, an
administrator who seized power, supported by the Janits,
during an uprising in 1711. The Sultan of Constantinople
then recognized him as the Pasha of Tripoli.
The Karamanli dynasty retained power, securing continued
revenue from the Corsarian business. When the United States
refused to pay the multiplied fees, Tripoli seized American
ships. President Thomas Jefferson replied in 1804 with
sending warships attacking the Corsair fleet, and a smaller
land force with soldiers, including the Marine Corps. A
French squadron sailed to Tunis and Tripoli in 1830, forcing
the ruler, Yusuf Karamanli, to conclude a deal that ended
the charges. After the Napoleonic wars, France and Britain
deployed warships, ending the piracy business around 1830.
Although part of the Ottoman Empire, Libya was governed
relatively independently. In 1834, Sultan Muhammad 2
appointed Ali Karamanli as Pasha, who became the last ruler
of this dynasty. When an Ottoman fleet arrived in Tripoli in
1835 to strike a revolt against him, he was deposed. In
doing so, the Turks occupied for the second time
Tripolitania, and thus also ceased its independence within
the Ottoman Empire. Insurgency also erupted against the new
Ottoman governors, and the Turks launched several military
campaigns to take control of the country, strengthening its
presence in all three provinces - all the way south to
Tibesti in today's Chad.
From 1879, Kyrenaika was ruled separate from Tripolitania;
directly from Istanbul, and with Benghazi as the
administrative unit. In 1908, the three Libyan territories
sent representatives to the parliament in Istanbul. During
this period, the Muslim sanusi order strengthened in
Kyrenaika. This Sufi movement became the foundation for the
resistance to Turkish first, then Italian occupation, and
gained a great influence over recent Libyan history. The
Ottomans were keen to conquer Tripolitania and Fezzan, and
for a long time left much of Kyrenaika to the Sanusians, who
in effect ruled the area on behalf of the Turks.