The story

Muammar Gaddafi

Muammar Gaddafi

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Libyan general and politician (9 / 1942-). Born in Sirte, follows military career and at 23 becomes official by the Libyan Military Academy. In 1969 leads a military coup overthrowing the pro-Western Libyan monarchy, commanded by King Idris I.

Until 1977 he chairs the Libyan Revolutionary Command Council. It confiscates the assets of the Italian and Jewish communities, nationalizes foreign companies and imposes a military dictatorship. In 1977 he becomes secretary general of the People's General Congress - the only party recognized by the constitution promulgated that year - and president of the country.

It combines extreme nationalism with religious radicalism, defending an Islamic socialism. Partisan of the union of Arab-speaking and civilizing countries, he undertakes a policy of intervention, especially in African countries. On behalf of the Palestinian cause, it sponsors terrorist actions in the Middle East and Europe.

In 1991, Libyans are accused of the bomb attack that in 1988 blew up a Pan American jet in Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. The UN Security Council imposes an air embargo on Libya. In the 1990s, Gaddafi moderates political action.

It opens the economy to foreign capital, starts privatization and, since 1993, fights Islamic fundamentalism by breaking with Iran, which supports extremist groups. In 1999, the UN suspends sanctions and Gaddafi visits South Africa, his first official trip abroad.