Libya. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Libya include Independence Day (December 24) and New Year (January 1). 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 expressed doubts.
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 temporarily suspended.
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 and economically.
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.