/lib"ee euh/, n.
1. Anc. Geog. the part of N Africa W of Egypt.
2. Italian, Libia. a republic in N Africa between Tunisia and Egypt: formerly a monarchy 1951-69. 5,648,359; 679,400 sq. mi. (1,759,646 sq. km). Cap.: Tripoli.

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Introduction Libya
Background: Since he took power in a 1969 military coup, Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI has espoused his own political system - a combination of socialism and Islam - which he calls the Third International Theory. Viewing himself as a revolutionary leader, he used oil funds during the 1970s and 1980s to promote his ideology outside Libya, even supporting subversives and terrorists abroad to hasten the end of Marxism and capitalism. Libyan military adventures failed, e.g., the prolonged foray of Libyan troops into the Aozou Strip in northern Chad was finally repulsed in 1987. Libyan support for terrorism decreased after UN sanctions were imposed in 1992. Those sanctions were suspended in April 1999. Geography Libya -
Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Tunisia
Geographic coordinates: 25 00 N, 17 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 1,759,540 sq km water: 0 sq km land: 1,759,540 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly larger than Alaska
Land boundaries: total: 4,348 km border countries: Algeria 982 km, Chad 1,055 km, Egypt 1,115 km, Niger 354 km, Sudan 383 km, Tunisia 459 km
Coastline: 1,770 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 NM note: Gulf of Sidra closing line - 32 degrees, 30 minutes north
Climate: Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior
Terrain: mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Sabkhat Ghuzayyil -47 m highest point: Bikku Bitti 2,267 m
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, gypsum
Land use: arable land: 1.03% permanent crops: 0.17% other: 98.8% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 4,700 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: hot, dry, dust-laden ghibli is a southern wind lasting one to four days in spring and fall; dust storms, sandstorms Environment - current issues: desertification; very limited natural fresh water resources; the Great Manmade River Project, the largest water development scheme in the world, is being built to bring water from large aquifers under the Sahara to coastal cities Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
agreements: Change, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note: more than 90% of the country is desert or semidesert People Libya
Population: 5,368,585 note: includes 662,669 non- nationals, of which an estimated 500,000 or more are Africans living in Libya (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 35% (male 958,243; female 917,940) 15-64 years: 61% (male 1,694,986; female 1,581,400) 65 years and over: 4% (male 105,500; female 110,516) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.41% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 27.59 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 3.5 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.95 male(s)/ female total population: 1.06 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 27.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 75.86 years female: 78.11 years (2002 est.) male: 73.71 years
Total fertility rate: 3.57 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.05% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Libyan(s) adjective: Libyan
Ethnic groups: Berber and Arab 97%, Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, Tunisians
Religions: Sunni Muslim 97%
Languages: Arabic, Italian, English, all are widely understood in the major cities
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 76.2% male: 87.9% female: 63% (1995 est.) Government Libya
Country name: conventional long form: Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya conventional short form: Libya local short form: none local long form: Al Jumahiriyah al Arabiyah al Libiyah ash Shabiyah al Ishtirakiyah al Uzma
Government type: Jamahiriya (a state of the masses) in theory, governed by the populace through local councils; in fact, a military dictatorship
Capital: Tripoli Administrative divisions: 25 municipalities (baladiyat, singular - baladiyah); Ajdabiya, Al 'Aziziyah, Al Fatih, Al Jabal al Akhdar, Al Jufrah, Al Khums, Al Kufrah, An Nuqat al Khams, Ash Shati', Awbari, Az Zawiyah, Banghazi, Darnah, Ghadamis, Gharyan, Misratah, Murzuq, Sabha, Sawfajjin, Surt, Tarabulus, Tarhunah, Tubruq, Yafran, Zlitan; note - the 25 municipalities may have been replaced by 13 regions
Independence: 24 December 1951 (from Italy)
National holiday: Revolution Day, 1 September (1969)
Constitution: 11 December 1969, amended 2 March 1977
Legal system: based on Italian civil law system and Islamic law; separate religious courts; no constitutional provision for judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch: chief of state: Revolutionary Leader Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI (since 1 September 1969); note - holds no official title, but is de facto chief of state elections: national elections are indirect through a hierarchy of people's committees; head of government elected by the General People's Congress; election last held 2 March 2000 (next to be held NA) election results: Mubarak al-SHAMEKH elected premier; percent of General People's Congress vote - NA% cabinet: General People's Committee established by the General People's Congress head of government: Secretary of the General People's Committee (Premier) Mubarak al-SHAMEKH (since 2 March 2000)
Legislative branch: unicameral General People's Congress (NA seats; members elected indirectly through a hierarchy of people's committees)
Judicial branch: Supreme Court Political parties and leaders: none Political pressure groups and various Arab nationalist movements
leaders: with almost negligible memberships may be functioning clandestinely, as well as some Islamic elements International organization ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, AMU,
participation: CAEU, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAPEC, OAU, OIC, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO Diplomatic representation in the US: Libya does not have an embassy in the US Diplomatic representation from the the US suspended all embassy
US: activities in Tripoli on 2 May 1980
Flag description: plain green; green is the traditional color of Islam (the state religion) Economy Libya -
Economy - overview: The socialist-oriented economy depends primarily upon revenues from the oil sector, which contributes practically all export earnings and about one-quarter of GDP. These oil revenues and a small population give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, but little of this income flows down to the lower orders of society. Import restrictions and inefficient resource allocations have led to periodic shortages of basic goods and foodstuffs. The nonoil manufacturing and construction sectors, which account for about 20% of GDP, have expanded from processing mostly agricultural products to include the production of petrochemicals, iron, steel, and aluminum. Climatic conditions and poor soils severely limit agricultural output, and Libya imports about 75% of its food. Higher oil prices in 1999 and 2000 led to an increase in export revenues, which improved macroeconomic balances and helped to stimulate the economy. The suspension of UN sanctions in 1999 also boosted growth. Libya's January 2002 51% devaluation of the official exchange rate of the dinar is another fiscal plus, although it will also bring higher inflation.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $40 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $7,600 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 7% industry: 47% services: 46% (1997 est.) Population below poverty line: NA% Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): 13.6% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 1.5 million (2000 est.) Labor force - by occupation: services 54%, industry 29%, agriculture 17% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate: 30% (2000 est.)
Budget: revenues: $9.3 billion expenditures: $9.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
Industries: petroleum, food processing, textiles, handicrafts, cement Industrial production growth rate: NA% Electricity - production: 19.4 billion kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 18.042 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus, vegetables, peanuts, soybeans; cattle
Exports: $13.1 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Exports - commodities: crude oil, refined petroleum products
Exports - partners: Italy 42%, Germany 19%, Spain 13%, Turkey 6%, France 4%, Switzerland 3%, Tunisia 2% (2000)
Imports: $8.7 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery, transport equipment, food, manufactured goods
Imports - partners: Italy 25%, Germany 10%, UK 8%, France 7%, Tunisia 7%, South Korea 4% (2000)
Debt - external: $4.7 billion (2001 est.) Economic aid - recipient: $7 million (1999 est.)
Currency: Libyan dinar (LYD)
Currency code: LYD
Exchange rates: Libyan dinars per US dollar - 0.6501 (December 2001), 0.6501 (2001), 0.5403 (2000), 0.5403 (1999), 0.3785 (1998), 0.3891 (1997); market rate for Libyan dinars per US dollar - 1.55 (January 2002) note: Libya devalued its official rate for foreign trade on 1 January 2002 to 21.30 dinars per US dollar; the previous official rate was 0.63 dinar per US dollar (Dec 2001)
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Libya Telephones - main lines in use: 380,000 (1996) Telephones - mobile cellular: NA
Telephone system: general assessment: telecommunications system is being modernized; mobile cellular telephone system became operational in 1996 domestic: microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, cellular, tropospheric scatter, and a domestic satellite system with 14 earth stations international: satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat, NA Arabsat, and NA Intersputnik; submarine cables to France and Italy; microwave radio relay to Tunisia and Egypt; tropospheric scatter to Greece; participant in Medarabtel (1999) Radio broadcast stations: AM 17, FM 4, shortwave 3 (1998)
Radios: 1.35 million (1997) Television broadcast stations: 12 (plus one low-power repeater) (1998)
Televisions: 730,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .ly Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
Internet users: 20,000 (2001) Transportation Libya
Railways: note: Libya has had no railroad in operation since 1965, all previous systems having been dismantled; current plans are to construct a 1.435-m standard-gauge line from the Tunisian frontier to Tripoli and Misratah, then inland to Sabha, center of a mineral-rich area, but there has been little progress; other plans made jointly with Egypt would establish a rail line from As Sallum, Egypt, to Tobruk with completion originally set for mid- 1994; Libya signed contracts with two private companies - Bahne of Egypt and Jez Sistemas Ferroviarios of Spain - in 1998 for the supply of crossings and pointwork (2001)
Highways: total: 24,484 km paved: 6,798 km unpaved: 17,686 km note: data for the length of unpaved roads include the assumption that because they were listed as secondary roads, they are unpaved; some may be paved and some part of the primary roads may not be paved (1996)
Waterways: none
Pipelines: crude oil 4,383 km; petroleum products 443 km (includes liquefied petroleum gas or LPG 256 km); natural gas 1,947 km
Ports and harbors: Al Khums, Banghazi, Darnah, Marsa al Burayqah, Misratah, Ra's Lanuf, Tobruk, Tripoli, Zuwarah
Merchant marine: total: 23 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 209,000 GRT/278,277 DWT ships by type: cargo 9, chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 3, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 4, short- sea passenger 4 note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Algeria 1, Kuwait 1, United Arab Emirates 1 (2002 est.)
Airports: 136 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 58 over 3,047 m: 23 2,438 to 3,047 m: 6 914 to 1,523 m: 5 under 914 m: 2 (2001) 1,524 to 2,437 m: 22 Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 78 under 914 m: 18 (2001) over 3,047 m: 4 2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 914 to 1,523 m: 40 1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
Heliports: 1 (2001) Military Libya
Military branches: Armed Peoples on Duty (Army), Navy, Air and Air Defense Command (includes Air Force) Military manpower - military age: 17 years of age (2002 est.) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 1,503,647 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 890,783 (2002 est.)
service: Military manpower - reaching males: 61,694 (2002 est.)
military age annually: Military expenditures - dollar $1.3 billion (FY99/00)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 3.9% (FY99/00)
GDP: Transnational Issues Libya Disputes - international: Chadian rebels from Aozou region reside in Libya; Libya claims about 19,400 sq km in Niger as well as part of southeastern Algeria in currently dormant disputes

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officially Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamāhīriyyah

Country, North Africa.

Area: 678,400 sq mi (1,757,000 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 5,368,000. Capital: Tripoli. Berbers, once the major ethnic group, have been largely assimilated into the Arab culture. Italians, Greeks, Jews, and sub-Saharan Africans are among the other ethnic groups. Languages: Arabic (official), Hamitic (Berber). Religions: Islam (official), small percentage Christianity. Currency: dinar. All but two tiny fractions of Libya are covered by the Sahara: Tripolitania in the northwest and Cyrenaica in the northeast. Tripolitania is Libya's most important agricultural region and its most populated area. The production and export of petroleum are the basis of Libya's economy; other resources include natural gas, manganese, and gypsum. Livestock raising, including sheep and goats, is important in the north. Libya is a socialist state with one policy-making body; the head of government is the prime minister, but Muammar al-Qaddafi has been the de facto head of state and real power in Libya since 1970. The early history is that of Fezzan, Cyrenaica, and Tripolitania, which the Ottoman Empire combined under one regency in Tripoli in the 16th century. In 1911 Italy claimed control of Libya, and by the outbreak of World War II (1939–45) 150,000 Italians had immigrated there. The scene of much fighting in the war, it became an independent state in 1951 and a member of the Arab League in 1953. The discovery of oil in 1959 brought wealth to Libya. A decade later a group of army officers led by al-Qaddafi deposed the king and made the country an Islamic republic. Under al-Qaddafi, Libya supported the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and allegedly provided aid for international terrorist groups. Intermittent warfare with Chad that began in the 1970s ended with Libya's defeat in 1987. International relations in the 1990s were dominated by the consequences of a U.S. trade embargo (endorsed by the UN) that was imposed on Libya for its purported connection to terrorism.

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▪ 2009

1,759,540 sq km (679,362 sq mi)
(2008 est.): 5,871,000
Tripoli (policy-making body intermittently meets in Surt)
Chief of state:
(de facto) Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi; (nominal) Secretaries of the General People's Congress Zentani Muhammad al-Zentani and, from March 3, Muftah Muhammad Kaiba
Head of government:
Secretary of the General People's Committee (Prime Minister) Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmudi

      Five years of fence mending between Libya and Western countries culminated in a visit to Tripoli in September 2008 by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice—the first direct contact by a high-ranking U.S. official since 1957, when Vice Pres. Richard M. Nixon visited the country. Rice's trip marked a major thaw in relations between the two countries and paved the way for trade and investment by American corporations, particularly in the energy sector, and negotiations for U.S. arms deals. Although in late October Libya completed the compensation payments to the families of the victims of the December 1988 Pan Am disaster over Lockerbie, Scot., the moneys due to the families of the victims of the 1986 Berlin disco bombing, for which Libya took responsibility, were yet to be paid. The U.S. Congress blocked the establishment of formal diplomatic relations and the exchange of ambassadors until this had been settled. Libya's record of human rights and persecution of dissidents also remained contentious.

      During his August visit to Libya, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi offered a formal apology for Italy's years of colonial rule as well as $5 billion in compensation for having occupied (1911–43) the country. In return, Italy was expected to receive favourable concessions in the energy sector and cooperation by Libyan authorities in combating illegal boat immigrants who sailed from Libyan territorial waters.

      Despite differences with Egypt over French Pres. Nicolas Sarkozy's proposed Union for the Mediterranean, Libya maintained warm relations with Cairo. Libyan leader Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi opposed the proposal because it conflicted with both Arab and African unity, but Egypt agreed to chair the southern Mediterranean coalition of the partnership. During talks in July and September with Pres. Hosni Mubarak, Qaddafi discussed bilateral, Arab, and African relations. An announcement revealed that Libya was to pump $10 billion into Egyptian industrial, commercial, and agricultural projects. In a goodwill gesture, Libya released 128 Egyptians who had been serving jail sentences for various criminal offenses.

      In another development related to the distant past, Lebanese magistrate Samih al-Hajj requested that an arrest warrant be served on Qaddafi and six other Libyans on charges of having plotted the kidnapping and detention in August 1978 of Lebanese Shiʿite leader Imam Musa al-Sadr, founder of the Amal movement. Imam al-Sadr and two companions disappeared shortly after their arrival in Libya and were believed dead.

Ayman M. El-Amir

▪ 2008

1,759,540 sq km (679,362 sq mi)
(2007 est.): 6,342,000
Tripoli (policy-making body intermittently meets in Surt)
Chief of state:
(de facto) Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi; (nominal) Secretary of the General People's Congress Zentani Muhammad al-Zentani
Head of government:
Secretary of the General People's Committee (Prime Minister) Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmudi

 After nearly eight years of political and legal squabbles, in 2007 the case was settled involving five Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor who had been sentenced to death by Libyan courts on charges of having infected 426 Libyan children with HIV/AIDS. On July 24 all six were released and flown to Sofia, Bulg., to a jubilant welcome led by Bulgarian Pres. Georgi Purvanov, who immediately issued them a general pardon. Libya's Supreme Judicial Council had commuted their death sentences to life imprisonment, and though a legal agreement between Libya and Bulgaria called for the six to serve their sentences in their home country, President Purvanov said that Libya had ignored evidence pointing to their innocence. The Palestinian doctor had been granted Bulgarian citizenship while in Libyan custody.

      The defendants said that they were tortured to give false confessions, and their lawyers blamed the children's infection on poor health standards. Independent experts maintained that the charges were unfounded, and Saif ul-Islam al-Qaddafi, the son of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi, later disclosed in a TV interview that the case was “contrived” and that the police investigation involved “manipulation” that led to presentation of misinformation to the courts. (See Bulgaria .) Meanwhile, an Egyptian Foreign Ministry official revealed that 640 Egyptian nationals were being held in Libyan jails, with about 33 of them on death row. Negotiations were reportedly under way with Libyan authorities to settle these cases.

      In October Libya was elected as a nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council for a period of two years. Needing to garner a two-thirds majority in balloting by the 192-member UN General Assembly, Libya collected 178 votes and would begin its term on the Council in January 2008. Also in October, Libya's conciliatory initiative to bring all of the parties involved in the Darfur crisis in The Sudan to the negotiating table faltered as key rebel figures refused to attend a conference held in Sirte.

      Shukri Ghanem, president of the Libyan Oil Co., announced that 12 concessions would be awarded to foreign companies for offshore gas prospecting in 41 areas, including Surt basin in the north and Gdamis and Marzak in the south. In May Libya signed a $900 million contract with British Petroleum to drill for oil and gas in a concession area—an indication that earlier Western sanctions were being phased out.

Ayman M. El-Amir

▪ 2007

1,759,540 sq km (679,362 sq mi)
(2006 est.): 5,968,000
Tripoli (policy-making body intermittently meets in Surt)
Chief of state:
(de facto) Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi; (nominal) Secretary of the General People's Congress Zentani Muhammad al-Zentani
Head of government:
Secretaries of the General People's Committee (Prime Ministers) Shukri Ghanem and, from March 5, Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmudi

      Libya's change of policy and confidence-building measures with the international community began to pay dividends in 2006. The United States removed the country's name from the list of state sponsors of terrorism and restored full diplomatic relations in May. Following 25 years of estrangement between the two countries, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (Rice, Condoleezza ) (see Biographies) met with Libya's Foreign Minister Muhammed ʿAbd al-Rahman Shalgam on September 23 in New York City. A U.S. decision to lift the embargo on aircraft exports to Libya and a British-Libyan agreement providing for British support to Libya through the UN Security Council against any aggression were additional indicators of the country's reintegration in the international fold. The U.K. also offered Libya assistance to convert its weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities into civilian production plants.

      In domestic affairs both Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi and his son Saif ul-Islam called for the acceleration of economic liberalization, including continued privatization of public corporations, especially in the banking and communications sectors; modernization and diversification of the economy; the release of political prisoners; investigations into cases of torture and human rights abuse; and the drafting of a permanent constitution. Starting in 2007, foreign banks would be able to establish branch offices in Libya. The government's five-year plan (2006–11) reportedly envisaged a GDP annual growth of 6%.

      A private investors' conference in July set a goal to raise private capital investment in nonpetroleum business from $1 billion in 2005 to $5 billion by 2010. The Libya Foreign Investment Board announced a series of incentives to attract foreign investors to participate in 139 nonpetroleum projects that would create an estimated 12,000 job opportunities for the country's labour force.

      With estimated oil reserves of 37 billion bbl, Libya planned to increase daily production from 1.6 million bbl to 2 million by mid-2007 and to invest $30 billion over the next 10 years in oil development. In September the National Oil Company provided 41 of the 250 remaining oil and gas concessions to international corporations.

      In June Libya hosted the eighth summit conference of the heads of state and governments of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States. Talks focused on regrouping subregional African economic groups, a settlement of the Darfur crisis within an African context, mediation between The Sudan and Chad, creation of a free-trade zone among members of the group, and measures to confront desertification. A plan was adopted for the creation of a Libya-Chad-Niger railway line as part of the New Partnership for Africa's Development framework.

Ayman M. El-Amir

▪ 2006

1,759,540 sq km (679,362 sq mi)
(2005 est.): 5,853,000
Tripoli (policy-making body intermittently meets in Surt)
Chief of state:
(de facto) Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi; (nominal) Secretary of the General People's Congress Zentani Muhammad al-Zentani
Head of government:
Secretary of the General People's Committee (Prime Minister) Shukri Ghanem

      Libya's international relations continued to improve in 2005, especially on the African continent. The Libyan leadership cooperated with the U.S. in Africa south of the Sahara, and the leaders of African countries were frequent visitors to Tripoli and to Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi's tent in Surt. U.S. strategic goals in Africa—diversifying sources for U.S. energy needs, stabilizing the continent to create a good investment climate, and containing global terrorism—were no longer in conflict with Libya's objectives. Libya's new capacity to cultivate its old alliances was significantly reinforced by the high level of its oil revenues.

      In 2005 the economic mood in Libya paralleled that of the 1970s, when unlimited supplies of capital fueled high investment and rapid infrastructure development. The problems of managing the economy were also remarkably similar, with absorptive capacity the main constraint then and in 2005. Libya was also, however, finding that the earlier socialist development model was no longer the obvious way forward. The necessary transition from a radical socialist mode to a mixed and substantially privatized system was proving very difficult to bring about. Qaddafi was not yet able to redirect the socialist mind set of the loyal group of officials and advisers close to him. Old beliefs from the 1970s were running smack into reform initiatives, which Qaddafi was trying to ventriloquize through the person of his prime minister, Shukri Ghanem.

      Libya sought to increase oil exports from about 1.7 million bbl a day to 3 million; investments of $30 billion would be required. The international oil companies all clamoured to share in the exploration. Libya had always enjoyed a sound relationship with international oil companies and had a well-functioning petroleum law. In the first round of bidding in January 2005, most exploration lots went to American companies. American producers Occidental Petroleum, Chevron, and Amerada Hess won 11 of 15 permits alone or jointly with other companies; no producer from Europe or Japan was successful in this round of bidding. In October Italy's ENI Spa gained four permits; Japan's Mitsubishi Oil and the British BG Group also gained acreage, while ExxonMobil was the only successful American company. These arrangements were all preliminary, but by year's end a number of contracts had been signed. The winners would cooperate with Libya's state-owned National Oil Corp.

J.A. Allan

▪ 2005

1,759,540 sq km (679,362 sq mi)
(2004 est.): 5,659,000
Tripoli (policy-making body intermittently meets in Surt)
Chief of state:
(de facto) Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi; (nominal) Secretary of the General People's Congress Zentani Muhammad al-Zentani
Head of government:
Secretary of the General People's Committee (Prime Minister) Shokri Ghanem

      In 2004 Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi (see Biographies (Qaddafi, Muammar al- )) realized the rapprochement with the United States and its European allies that he had been signaling for more than a decade. The cost paid by Libya to rejoin the international community was high, although it was small compared with the cost of the damaging trade sanctions of the 1990s. Libya's penalty payments included $2.7 billion compensation for the 270 victims of the December 1988 Pan Am disaster over Lockerbie, Scot., $170 million for the 170 victims of the 1989 UTA flight, and $35 million to more than 160 non-American victims of the 1986 Berlin disco bombing. Following the lifting of sanctions by the UN Security Council in 2003, EU countries had intensified their trading activities in Libya, a process that significantly accelerated in 2004. In September 2004 U.S. Pres. George W. Bush lifted the ban on U.S. commercial air services to Libya and released $1.3 billion of frozen assets in recognition of Libya's significant steps in eliminating its weapons programs. Other international airlines had already reestablished air services to Tripoli in 2003.

      Other gestures from Libya, such as its promise in December 2003 to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction, were welcomed by the international community. The initiative prompted a visit to Tripoli by British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the spring of 2004. In February, Libyan Prime Minister Shokri Ghanem stated that several instances of alleged Libyan wrongdoing had not been proved and that the compensation payments were not an admission of guilt. His diplomatic gaffe was quickly repaired by the foreign minister in terms that satisfied the international community, if not the relatives of the victims.

      With world oil prices above $50 a barrel, both the Libyan leadership and the people felt very confident about their immediate economic future. Public debates on the restructuring of the economy intensified, and Qaddafi seemed comfortable with the change from an economy that was mainly dependent on government subsidy and intervention to one in which private initiative and international private-sector synergies would drive economic expansion.

J.A. Allan

▪ 2004

1,759,540 sq km (679,362 sq mi)
(2003 est.): 5,551,000
Tripoli (policy-making body intermittently meets in Surt)
Chief of state:
(de facto) Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi; (nominal) Secretary of the General People's Congress Zentani Muhammad al-Zentani
Head of government:
Secretaries of the General People's Committee (Prime Ministers) Mubarak Abdallah al-Shamikh and, from June 14, Shokri Ghanem

      In August 2003 Libya finally reached a deal that would end 11 years of UN sanctions that had been imposed for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people at Lockerbie, Scot., in December 1988. After years of negotiation (most recently and intensely by British diplomats), Libya agreed to pay $2.7 billion to the families of the victims. On September 12 the UN Security Council lifted its sanctions; the U.S. abstained in the vote. (The sanctions had actually been suspended in 1999 when Libya agreed to give up two agents for trial in a Dutch court.) Libya officially recognized the possibility that a Libyan had planted the bomb, but the blame did not extend to the government or to its leader, Muammar al-Qaddafi.

      The Security Council action was stalled for several weeks because France had threatened to exercise a veto unless the victims of the French UTA Flight 772, downed over the Sahara in 1989, received the same level of compensation—$10 million per victim rather than the previously agreed-upon $194,000. (In 1999 a French court had ordered Libya in absentia to pay a total of $33 million.) After initial hesitation, Libya said that it would pay the additional higher sum. As a result, France also abstained in the Security Council vote.

      The U.S. government was not convinced that the Libyan leadership had renounced terrorism. Therefore, U.S. trade sanctions remained in place. Meanwhile, American companies were eager to get a share of the expanding Libyan market. Months of secret diplomacy bore fruit late in December, however, when Libya agreed to jettison all its unconventional weapons under international supervision, an action that was expected to lead to the lifting of U.S. sanctions.

      Radical economic reforms were being contemplated. For three decades Libya had been a principled socialist state enduring uncomfortably variable levels of oil revenues. It had a low-wage policy, and food and public-utility prices were heavily subsidized. In 2003, however, newly appointed Prime Minister Shokri Ghanem, an economist with wide international experience, launched, with Qaddafi's public blessing, a program to introduce market incentives, privatization, and the reform of economic regulation.

J.A. Allan

▪ 2003

1,759,540 sq km (679,362 sq mi)
(2002 est.): 5,369,000
Tripoli (policy-making body intermittently meets in Surt)
Chief of state:
(de facto) Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi; (nominal) Secretary of the General People's Congress Zentani Muhammad al-Zentani
Head of government:
Secretary of the General People's Committee (Prime Minister) Mubarak Abdallah al-Shamikh

      The Libyan leadership continued to seek improved international relations with the United States and European Union countries. Diplomatic relations had been restored with all except the United States by the beginning of 2002. The outcome of the Lockerbie trial in January 2001 was unconvincing internationally, unsatisfactory from the point of view of the families of the American victims, and unhelpful in advancing the Libyan campaign. The U.S. remained unyielding on the issue that Libya should accept responsibility for the Lockerbie event. By the end of the year and despite serious efforts by U.K. officials and other intermediaries to find a form of words acceptable to both sides regarding “responsibility,” no agreement had been reached. Libya was prepared to pay the families of the victims substantial sums out of funds frozen in American bank accounts, but this did not satisfy the U.S. government in its post-Sept. 11, 2001, determination to punish international terrorism.

      Muammar al-Qaddafi adopted a low profile regarding the major Middle East flash points of Palestine-Israel, the aftermath of Afghanistan, and Iraq. In the past, for example, such aggressive behaviour on the part of the U.S. would have evoked trenchant condemnation from Qaddafi. The Libyan leader reinforced his concern with the affairs of Africa, assisting Zimbabwe with oil in return for property (although the arrangement fell through in late November). Libya looked at a number of ambitious hydraulic projects, notably a massive project to pump water from the Congo River into Lake Chad.

      The Libyan economy prospered during the year as a consequence of relatively high world oil prices. Confidence among those queuing to invest in Libya was enhanced by the promise of even higher oil and gas prices as a result of the disruptions of a Gulf conflict. The domestic economy continued to be afflicted by high levels of unemployment and its unresponsiveness to decades of central direction. The country was locked in a deal made by Qaddafi with his people during the era of austerity imposed by UN and U.S. trade sanctions and low oil prices (the U.S. sanctions remained in place). The deal was over wages and staple commodity prices. High subsidies were introduced nationally on staples and energy, and salaries were fixed at an equivalent low level. The disincentives to enterprise seriously inhibited effective response to Qaddafi's calls for local economic enterprise.

J.A. Allan

▪ 2002

1,757,000 sq km (678,400 sq mi)
(2001 est.): 5,241,000
Tripoli (policy-making body and many secretariats intermittently meet in Surt)
Chief of state:
(de facto) Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi; (nominal) Secretary of the General People's Congress Zentani Muhammad az-Zentani
Head of government:
Secretary of the General People's Committee (Prime Minister) Mubarak Abdallah ash-Shamikh

      In Libya January 2001 was dominated by the trial in The Netherlands of two Libyan officials charged with having downed Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scot., on Dec. 21, 1988. The trial, conducted under Scottish law, found Lamin Khalifa Fhimah not guilty, but ʿAbd al-Baset al-Megrahi was jailed for life. A preliminary administrative hearing of the appeal was held on October 15, and a full hearing was anticipated in January 2002. After 12 years of intense inquiry and an 84-day trial, the case ended abruptly when the defense failed to obtain evidence from the Syrian government. On March 14 the French high court exempted the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi, from prosecution in connection with the bombing of a French UTA DC-10 airliner that killed 170 people over Niger in 1989.

      In March the U.S. and Great Britain conducted a closed-door meeting to discuss the requirements that Libya would have to meet before UN sanctions could be lifted. The U.S. refused to lift its own sanctions, although there was strong evidence that American companies were keen to gain access to the expanding Libyan market and, especially, to oil interests. On October 1 the head of Libya's national oil company met in Vienna with officials of the American oil companies Conoco, Marathon, Amerada Hess, and Occidental.

      In late February Syrian Pres. Bashar al-Assad met with Qaddafi in Tripoli. Qaddafi later attended meetings in Africa, and his assistance to South Africa was rewarded by public statements of support by Nelson Mandela and Pres. Thabo Mbeki. At the Arab League summit in Amman, Jordan, in March, Qaddafi's speech shocked participants by calling on Arabs to “forget about Jerusalem and join Africa.”

      Libya's economy was strengthened by improved oil prices. Annual growth rates of 6.5% had fallen to about 5.5% in 2001, but it was sufficient as oil-exploration deals were struck with European and Asian interests. Commitment to the once-derided tourist sector was reinforced. Technical problems with the Great Man-Made River (GMMR) were overcome, as were the consequent embarrassing contractual relations with the project's bankrupt South Korean contractor. By 2000 desalination costs had fallen to below those of water delivered by the GMMR, however, and a fierce debate became public between the advocates of desalination and those backing the GMMR approach.

      After the terrorist attacks of September 11, the U.S.-Libyan international discourse on terrorism shifted. In early October U.S. and British security officials met in London with a Libyan contingent headed by Musa Kusa, who had been implicated in the shooting of a London policewoman outside the Libyan embassy in 1984.

J.A. Allan

▪ 2001

1,757,000 sq km (678,400 sq mi)
(2000 est.): 5,115,000
Tripoli (policy-making body and many secretariats intermittently meet in Surt)
Chief of state:
(de facto) Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi; (nominal) Secretary of the General People's Congress Zentani Muhammad az-Zentani
Head of government:
Secretaries of the General People's Committee (Prime Ministers) Muhammad Ahmad al-Manqush and, from March 1, Mubarak Abdallah al-Shamikh

      With the 1992 UN trade sanctions lifted in 1999, Libya in 2000 rapidly renewed its worldwide links. The U.S. kept most sanctions in place but abandoned those on the export of food and medicine to Libya. The U.S. was unlikely to lift its sanctions before the conclusion of the trial of the two Libyan nationals accused of the December 1988 downing of a PanAm jetliner over Lockerbie, Scot. The trial began on May 3 in The Netherlands, a compromise venue agreed to by the Libyan, U.S., and U.K. governments to enable the proceedings to be held in a neutral place under Scottish law. The prosecution encountered problems in making its technical case because an important witness, the director of the Swiss manufacturer of the bomb's fuses, proved unreliable.

      Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi received visits from Middle Eastern leaders throughout the year. Egyptian Pres. Hosni Mubarak called on Qaddafi in late July to discuss the Middle East peace process after the failed Camp David talks earlier in the month. In October the Arab League met in an emergency session in Egypt in response to the escalating violence between the Israelis and Palestinians. Denouncing what it described as the league's feeble response to the violence, the Libyan delegation walked out of the conference after six hours.

      Qaddafi continued to make prominent his wish to strengthen his relations with African and European countries. By agreeing to pay the ransoms, Libya played a prominent role in negotiating the release in September of European tourists taken hostage by militants in Malaysia.

      On March 1 Qaddafi announced sweeping changes in Libya's government structure. He dismissed the prime minister and foreign minister and abolished 12 ministries. The functions of the ministries were taken over by provincial and municipal bodies. Evidence of the Libyan leader's fear of internal opposition was revealed by the summary execution of three Islamist militants extradited from Jordan in the first week of April.

J.A. Allan

▪ 2000

1,757,000 sq km (678,400 sq mi)
(1999 est.): 5,114,000
Tripoli (policy-making body and most secretariats meet in Surt)
Chief of state:
(de facto) Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi; (nominal) Secretary of the General People's Congress Zanati Muhammad az-Zanati
Head of government:
Secretary of the General People's Committee (Premier) Muhammad Ahmad al-Manqush

      The crash in Scotland of Pan American Flight 103 on Dec. 21, 1988, dominated news about Libya during the first four months of 1999. In 1991 forensic evidence had led the U.S. and the U.K. governments to demand a trial of Libyan suspects by a Scottish court. Libya's 1992 offer of a trial in a neutral country was finally accepted by the U.K. and the U.S. in 1998. Saudi and South African mediation eventually reassured Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi on the trial procedure and the prison arrangements in the event of a guilty verdict. On April 5, 1999, the two suspects, ʿAbd al-Baset al-Megrahi and Lamin Khalifa Fhimah, were flown to Camp Zeist, a secure former air base in The Netherlands. The pretrial procedures and the presentation of evidence were expected to take two years.

      The seven years of UN embargoes on key items were quickly reviewed in the UN Security Council and lifted on April 5. The most onerous feature of one embargo had been the ban on flights to and from Libya. European countries, including Britain, were swift to take advantage of renewed trade opportunities. Libya had come through the harsh international trading experience in remarkably good financial shape, and the nation's credit rating was sound even if its infrastructure was severely run-down.

      Britain, which had been unrepresented diplomatically in Libya since the murder of a woman in 1984 outside the Libyan embassy in London, resumed diplomatic relations. In December Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema became the first Western head of government to visit Libya since the 1992 sanctions were imposed.

      The dispute over the other 10-year-old air disaster, which killed 170 on a 1989 French flight over Niger, appeared to be settled on July 16 after a trial in Paris. Libya transferred more than F 200 million ($31 million) to compensate the families. The payment followed the handing down by a French court on March 10 of in-absentia life sentences against six Libyans, including Colonel Qaddafi's brother-in-law, held responsible for the bombing. The French government hoped this would be the end of the affair, but on October 6 a French judge demanded that Qaddafi be investigated for his alleged role in the bombing.

J.A. Allan

▪ 1999

      Area: 1,757,000 sq km (678,400 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 5,691,000

      Capital: Tripoli (policy-making body meets in Surt)

      Chief of state: (de facto) Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi; (nominal) Secretary of the General People's Congress Zanati Muhammad az-Zanati

      Head of government: Secretary of the General People's Committee (Premier) ʿAbd al-Majid al-Qaʾud

      After almost eight years of a standoff between Libya and the U.S. and the U.K., there were moments in 1998 when it seemed that a trial of the two Libyans alleged to have been involved in the crash of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scot., on Dec. 21, 1988, would be arranged. The location of the trial had been a source of conflict arising from different interpretations of the Montreal Convention. The convention states that in the event of a case such as the Lockerbie disaster, legal processes can be conducted in the place where the disaster occurred, in the nation from which any of the accused might come, or in a third neutral nation agreed upon by the parties involved.

      Libya had agreed to a trial in a neutral country as early as 1992, but the U.S. and the U.K. insisted on a trial in Scotland or the U.S. Because Libya would not yield the alleged Libyan suspects for trial in Scotland, the U.S. and the U.K. prevailed on the UN General Assembly to impose a severe economic boycott on Libya. A total ban on air traffic was enforced in 1992.

      In August 1998, however, the British government, with U.S. approval, shifted its position and communicated to Libya its willingness to see the case tried in The Netherlands before a Scottish judge according to Scottish law. The initial response from Libya was favourable. By October, however, the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi, had had second thoughts, and his legal advisers communicated that the security arrangements for the two Libyans during the proposed trial were unsatisfactory. He also rejected the condition of the British government that any sentence be served in Scotland. At year's end the positions were deadlocked, and the trial seemed to be as far off as ever.

      The Libyan economy continued to be weakened by the 1992 UN trade embargo and especially by the decline in international oil prices. Libyan oil remained in demand, however, because of its high quality and Libya's location close to Western Europe. In regard to the embargo, Qaddafi became dissatisfied during the year with his Arab neighbours, stating that much stronger support for his position was coming from African governments south of the Sahara. He particularly welcomed the initiative of the heads of state of Uganda, Chad, Niger, and Eritrea, who ignored the UN air traffic embargo and flew to a meeting in Surt on September 30 to discuss the emergency in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


▪ 1998

      Area: 1,757,000 sq km (678,400 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 5,648,000

      Capital: Tripoli (policy-making body meets in Surt)

      Chief of state: (de facto) Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi; (nominal) Secretary of the General People's Congress Zanati Muhammad az-Zanati

      Head of government: Secretary of the General People's Committee (Premier) ˋAbd al-Majid al-Qa'ud

      Libya's international relations in 1997 were again dominated by the decade-long consequences of the December 1988 bombing of a U.S. airliner over Lockerbie, Scot. Libya's leader, Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi, refused to allow the two Libyan nationals accused of the crime by Scottish investigators to be tried in a Scottish court. The U.S. government remained adamant that there could be no compromise on the issue and continued to insist that the damaging U.S.-led and UN-endorsed air-traffic and selective trade embargo should remain in place against Libya.

      Colonel Qaddafi indicated his personal frustration with the flight embargo by flying in his own jet to Niger and Nigeria for diplomatic meetings in the spring. He knew that most Middle Easterners and Africans did not agree with Western governments on many aspects of the Lockerbie case. Egypt, for example, counseled compromise and urged that the case be tried in a neutral court in a neutral country, and Pres. Nelson Mandela of South Africa, who met with Qaddafi in Tripoli in October, expressed his belief that the accused Libyans would not receive a fair trial in Great Britain. Jim Swire, the most prominent of the bereaved family campaigners in the impasse, stated that the bereaved also wanted a trial in a neutral venue.

      At home the year started with the execution on January 2 of eight Libyans—six army officers and two civilians—after they had been found guilty of spying with equipment supplied by the CIA. The accused came from the Warfalla, one of the three tribes on which Qaddafi had depended for support since the revolution in September 1969. Attempts by Qaddafi to persuade the Warfalla to deal with the problem failed. The decision to execute the men was seen as an attempt by Qaddafi to signal to the Warfalla that his leadership of the country remained strong.

      The economy was steady in 1997. Libyan oil remained in demand by European importers. Though the inconvenience of the trade embargo remained, the period of austerity in its most unpleasant form was consigned to the past.

      A significant economic initiative was the change in the official attitude toward tourism. The government gave the green light to a sector that had been regarded throughout the 1970s and '80s as an unimportant and undignified activity. International travel consultants and local entrepreneurs were active throughout the year. An emphasis was being placed on "desert tourism."


      This article updates Libya, history of (Libya).

▪ 1997

      A socialist country of North Africa, Libya lies on the Mediterranean Sea. Area: 1,757,000 sq km (678,400 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 5,446,000. Cap.: Tripoli (policy-making body meets in Surt). Monetary unit: Libyan dinar, with (Oct. 11, 1996) an official rate of 0.36 dinar to U.S. $1 (0.56 dinar = £ 1 sterling). De facto chief of state in 1996, Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi; secretary of the General People's Congress (nominal chief of state), Zanati Muhammad az-Zanati; secretary of the General People's Committee (premier), 'Abd al-Majid al-Qa`ud.

      Libya's refusal to hand over two men accused of involvement in the bombing of a U.S. airliner over Scotland in 1988 continued to isolate the nation in 1996. The U.S.-led and UN-endorsed trade and air-traffic embargo again severely impaired the performance of the Libyan economy.

      The opening of the western section of the Great Man-Made River was a major stage in Libya's massive water engineering project. Started in the early 1980s, this project would, when completed, secure fresh water supplies from the southern desert regions for Libya's heavily concentrated population on the Mediterranean coast. (See Sidebar (Great Man-Made River ).)

      The Libyan economy benefited from the increase in oil prices during the second half of the year. Spot prices rose almost 40%. Thus, the national economy, though severely stretched by the heavy investment in the Great Man-Made River, was strengthened.

      A visit by the prime minister of Turkey, Necmettin Erbakan, in October for the purpose of improving relations between the two Islamic countries backfired. At a meeting with Erbakan and in front of 50 accompanying Turkish journalists, Libya's chief of state, Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi, criticized Turkey for its suppression of Kurdish separatists and also for providing the U.S. with air bases from which attacks on Arab countries had been made.

      During a football (soccer) match in Tripoli on July 9, a number of armed guards protecting a relative of Colonel Qaddafi opened fire on fans shouting protests against a call the referee had made in favour of a team controlled by Qaddafi's sons. A stampede ensued, and there were a number of deaths. Only a week earlier a riot in one of the nation's prisons had resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 prisoners.

      The nation's experiment with liberalization of retailing was given a severe jolt in mid-August when Qaddafi ordered the arrest of 1,500 businessmen and traders on charges of corruption and trade in foreign goods. He stated that he was anxious about the direction the domestic economy was taking. (J.A. ALLAN)

      This article updates Libya, history of (Libya).

▪ 1996

      A socialist country of North Africa, Libya lies on the Mediterranean Sea. Area: 1,757,000 sq km (678,400 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 5,407,000. Cap.: Tripoli (policy-making body meets in Surt). Monetary unit: Libyan dinar, with (Oct. 6, 1995) an official rate of 0.36 dinar to U.S. $1 (0.56 dinar = £ 1 sterling) and a private-import rate of 1.02 dinar to U.S. $1 (1.61 dinar to £1 sterling). De facto chief of state in 1995, Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi; secretary of the General People's Congress (nominal chief of state), Zanati Muhammad az-Zanati; secretary of the General People's Committee (premier), 'Abd al-Majid al-Qa`ud.

      Libya remained isolated during 1995 despite continued overtures to the Western governments responsible for its status. Their investigations of the December 1988 sabotage of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and of a French flight over the Sahara discovered evidence of Libyan involvement, and the U.S., the U.K., and France subsequently used their influence to have the UN impose a trade and international flight embargo on Libya. In regard to the Lockerbie issue, Libya offered that Libyan suspects be tried at the International Court of Justice by a Scottish judge.

      The U.K. government was also particularly insistent that Libya provide details of its involvement in arming the Irish Republican Army during 1984-87. In October it appeared that Egyptian mediation had contributed to a promise by Libya to provide sufficient detail.

      The Libyan leader, Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi, had been unusually reticent during the major Middle East peace talks and agreements during 1992-95. Previously his position on the Palestinian issue had been uncompromising and confrontational. With the unfolding of Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations, however, Qaddafi began to reverse his position, and at the beginning of September he initiated a campaign to expel Palestinians from Libya. In early October it was estimated that 10,000 would be deported. A camp was set up close to the Egyptian border, and the international media were invited to record the visit of the Libyan leader to the site when he argued that Palestinians should now return to their own homelands.

      The embargo continued to make it difficult for Libyans to travel and for overseas visitors to reach Libya. It also severely restricted the Libyan economy, which was already in poor shape after the difficult 1980s. As an oil economy, Libya endured that decade's reduction in world demand for oil as well as the fall in the value of the dollar, in which the international oil trade is denominated.

      At home the trend toward the reduction of the role of the public sector continued. The international restrictions on trade provided an additional impetus for local enterprises, and the agricultural sector, which had never been nationalized, was stimulated to meet the national demand for food. The capacity to produce sufficient staple foods for the growing national economy remained an impossible challenge, however, because of the limited water resources of the country. The remarkable Great Man Made River brought new water from the highlands to the coast but at a cost that was too high for agricultural purposes. Despite current problems, the future appeared to be brighter, as a number of international companies were looking closely at the possibility of playing a role in a new phase of oil exploration and development.

      Qaddafi announced in the autumn that workers and their families from Palestine and neighbouring North African countries had to leave Libya. The Libyan leader doubted the loyalty of these people to his regime and sought by this move to reduce Libyan dependence on overseas workers.

      (J.A. ALLAN)

      This updates the article Libya, history of (Libya).

▪ 1995

      A socialist country of North Africa, Libya lies on the Mediterranean Sea. Area: 1,757,000 sq km (678,400 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 5,225,000. Cap.: Tripoli (policy-making body meets in Surt). Monetary unit: Libyan dinar, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of 0.31 dinar to U.S. $1 (0.49 dinar = £ 1 sterling). De facto chief of state in 1994, Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi; secretary of the General People's Congress (nominal chief of state), Zanati Muhammad az-Zanati; secretaries of the General People's Committee (premiers), Abu Zaid Umar Dourda and, from January 29, 'Abd al-Majid al-Qa`ud.

      Libya became increasingly isolated internationally during 1994. The UN had intensified its trade embargo in 1993, and its ban on international flights continued to impair the national economy severely. Despite efforts by the Libyan leadership, relations with the United States and European countries, especially Britain and France, did not improve. One of the most divisive issues involved the two Libyans suspected of planting the bomb that resulted in the deaths of 259 passengers aboard Pan Am flight 103 and 11 persons on the ground in December 1988. When they were handed over for trial in Libya, it was not in a court favoured by the U.S. and British governments.

      The period of Libya's isolation, which began in 1988, was a significant proportion of the time during which Muammar al-Qaddafi had led the country. He came to power in 1969 and enjoyed a decade of running a cash-rich oil economy. But by the date of the celebrations on September 1 to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1969 revolution, Libya had endured a poor revolutionary economy longer than it had enjoyed a prosperous one. One would expect this to weaken Qaddafi politically, but the hard line taken against him by the international community tended to legitimize him at home because he persuasively projected Libya's difficulties as being caused by its old enemy, the U.S.

      Economic management of Libya had changed during the past five years, with a significant reversal of the trend toward complete government control of all production and distribution. Retailing substantially reverted to a private-sector mode. Although the government remained careful in its overall national economic management, lower oil prices and the impact of UN sanctions forced it to devalue the dinar by 15% on November 3. Three weeks later a two-tier system was introduced, with a new rate of 1.019 dinars to U.S. $1 for use by local companies.

      Long-term projects associated with water remained high on the list of priorities, although payment schedules and construction rates were delayed because of financial constraints. The Western Water Pipeline contract was signed after the promise of assistance from the African Development Bank. Such financing was a departure from the normal fiscal self-reliance of the Libyan government and was a measure both of the economic predicament of Libya and of the severity of the water crisis in the populous al-Jifarah Plain around Tripoli.

      The central government faced internal problems during the year, stemming partly from the breakup of key relationships in Libya's domestic politics. Qaddafi's own tribe, the Quadaffa, was no longer aligned with the Maghara, of which 'Abd as-Salem Jalloud, Qaddafi's deputy since the 1969 revolution, was a member, or with the Warfalla, whose members precipitated the attempted coup in October 1993. The Libyan leader thus had to seek new alliances and did so in Libya's populous urban areas.

      Relations in the southern region of Fezzan became tense after the decision in February by the International Court of Justice rejecting Libya's claim to the Aozou strip, which lies along Libya's southern border with Chad. The people of Fezzan were angry, as they had been deeply involved in the military struggle to establish Libya's claim to Aozou.

      (J.A. ALLAN)

      This updates the article Libya, history of (Libya).

▪ 1994

      A socialist country of North Africa, Libya lies on the Mediterranean Sea. Area: 1,757,000 sq km (678,400 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 4,573,000. Cap.: Tripoli (policy-making body meets in Surt). Monetary unit: Libyan dinar, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a free rate of 0.29 dinar to U.S. $1 (0.45 dinar = £ 1 sterling). De facto chief of state in 1993, Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi; secretary of the General People's Congress (nominal chief of state), Zentani Mohammad Zentani; secretary of the General People's Committee (premier), Abu Zaid Umar Dourda.

      The year 1993 was a difficult one for Libyan leader Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi and his people. The governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, with the approval of the United Nations, imposed embargoes on Libyan trade and air traffic because Libya would not surrender two countrymen—'Abd al-Basset Ali Muhammad al-Meghrabi and al-Amin Khalifa Fahimah—who were suspected of planting a bomb on the Pan Am flight that exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988 and resulted in the deaths of 270 persons.

      In early September there were signs that the Libyan authorities would allow the suspects to face trial in Scotland, but Britain ultimately rejected the initiative because it was not explicit about how the suspects would be handed over and because there was no mention of Libyan cooperation with a judicial investigation of the explosion of a French jetliner over Niger in September 1989, resulting in the deaths of 171 persons. At the end of September, new and tougher sanctions were imposed on Libya. The air and arms embargo was extended to include a ban on oil-refinery equipment and transport, but not oil-drilling equipment, and some Libyan financial assets were frozen. These measures were taken despite intensive activity in Tunisia and Paris, where the Libyan ambassador to Tunis, Abedelati al-Obeidi, discussed the issue with French officials in Paris and with the secretary-general of the United Nations, Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

      On November 11, however, the UN Security Council voted to tighten further the sanctions against Libya, freezing the country's overseas assets and banning sales of oil equipment. The resolution was supported by all members of the Council except China and the three Islamic members—Djibouti, Pakistan, and Morocco—which abstained. The tougher measures went into effect on December 1.

      The embargo affected many aspects of daily life and had a serious impact on the Libyan economy. The volume of movements to and from the country was reduced by the absence of direct flights to Libya, and those movements that did take place were subject to great inconvenience. Some roundabout itineraries included land or sea journeys via Tunisia, Egypt, or Malta to enter the country.

      The economy continued to be weighed down with difficulties. There were not enough funds either to sustain the existing infrastructure or to further urgent development of natural resources. The government had to consider borrowing money from the African Development Bank to fund the next stage of the Great Man-Made River, an ongoing project to pipe water to Libya's most densely settled area on the Al-Jifarah Plain.

      Domestic politics continued to be dominated by Qaddafi, who indicated during the year that he was concerned over the problems of neighbouring countries, where radical Islamic groups were posing a threat to the government. In April he made the rather ambiguous announcement that the implementation of some of the regulations of the Shari'ah (Islamic law) were being contemplated. It appeared that Qaddafi was both placating religious opponents of his regime and forcing the public to confront the realities of a radical Islamic government, already confident that the majority of the population was opposed to a revival of radical Islam. Qaddafi put down a revolt by army units in October.

      In keeping with his policy of reconciliation with the international community, the Libyan leader was generally reticent regarding the peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israelis. He safely placed himself, however, among those Arab leaders who insisted on more immediate concessions for Palestinians. (J.A. ALLAN)

      This updates the article Libya, history of (Libya).

* * *

Libya, flag of   country located in North Africa. Most of the country lies in the Sahara desert, and much of its population is concentrated along the coast and its immediate hinterland, where Tripoli (Ṭarābulus), the de facto capital, and Banghāzī, another major city, are located.

      Libya comprises three historical regions— Tripolitania in the northwest, Cyrenaica in the east, and Fezzan in the southwest. The Ottoman authorities recognized them as separate provinces. Under Italian rule, they were unified to form a single colony, which gave way to independent Libya. For much of Libya's early history, both Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were more closely linked with neighbouring territories than with one other.

      Before the discovery of oil in the late 1950s, Libya was considered poor in natural resources and severely limited by its desert environment. The country was almost entirely dependent upon foreign aid and imports for the maintenance of its economy; the discovery of petroleum dramatically changed this situation. The government has long exerted strong control over the economy and has attempted to develop agriculture and industry with wealth derived from its huge oil revenues. It has also established a welfare state, which provides medical care and education at minimal cost to the people.

Land (Libya)
 Libya is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the north, Egypt on the east, The Sudan (Sudan, The) on the southeast, Niger and Chad on the south, and Tunisia and Algeria on the west.

      Libya is underlain by basement rocks of Precambrian age (from about 4 billion to 543 million years ago) mantled with marine and wind-borne deposits. The major physical features are the Nafūsah Plateau and the Al-Jifārah (Jifārah, al-) (Gefara) Plain in the northwest, the Akhḍar Mountains (“Green Mountains”) in the northeast, and the Saharan plateau, which occupies much of the rest of the country.

      The Al-Jifārah Plain covers about 10,000 square miles (26,000 square km) of Libya's northwestern corner. It rises from sea level to about 1,000 feet (300 metres) at the foothills of the Nafūsah Plateau. Composed of sand dunes, salt marshes, and steppe, the plain is home to most of Libya's population and to its largest city, Tripoli. The Nafūsah Plateau is a limestone massif that stretches for about 212 miles (340 km) from Al-Khums on the coast to the Tunisian border at Nālūt. West of Tarhūnah it rises steeply from the Al-Jifārah Plain, reaching elevations between 1,500 and 3,200 feet (450 and 975 metres).

      In northeastern Libya, the Akhḍar Mountains stretch along the coast between Al-Marj (Marj, Al-) and Darnah. These limestone mountains rise steeply from the coast to about 2,000 feet (600 metres) and then stretch about 20 miles (30 km) inland, reaching nearly 3,000 feet (900 metres) at their highest points.

      The Saharan (Sahara) plateau makes up about nine-tenths of Libya. About half of the plateau is sand desert, making it truly a sea of sand. Al-Harūj al-Aswad (Harūj al-Aswad, Al-) is a hilly basaltic plateau in central Libya. Covered with angular stone fragments and boulders, it rises to about 2,600 feet (800 metres) and is crowned by volcanic peaks. Al-Ḥamrāʾ Plateau (Ḥamrāʾ, al-Ḥammādah al-) lies south of the Nafūsah Plateau. It harbours bare rock outcroppings that rise to 2,700 feet (820 metres). In the Fezzan region in the southwest, a series of long depressions and basins contain wadis (dry riverbeds) and oasis settlements. Mobile sand dunes that reach heights of 300 feet (90 metres) are found in the Fezzan's Marzūq desert and in the eastern Libyan Desert, which extends into Egypt. The country's highest elevations are Bīkkū Bīttī peak (Picco Bette), which rises to 7,436 feet (2,267 metres) on the Libya-Chad border, and Mount Al-ʿUwaynāt, with an elevation of 6,345 feet (1,934 metres) on the Libya-Sudan-Egypt border.

 There are no permanent rivers in Libya. The numerous wadis that drain the uplands are filled by flash floods during the rains but then quickly dry up or are reduced to a trickle. The largest wadi systems are the Wadi Zamzam and Wadi Bayy al-Kabīr, both of which empty into the sea on the western coast of the Gulf of Sidra (Sidra, Gulf of). Other large wadis drain the interior basins of Sirte, Zalṭan, and the Fezzan. There is also, however, extensive underground water. Numerous oases are watered by wells and springs, and artesian wells tap large deep fossil aquifers in the Fezzan and southeastern Libya; the Great Man-Made River was one of the more ambitious projects designed to make use of these underground reserves. (See map—> illustrating the phases of the Great Man-Made River project that were planned or completed in the late 20th century.) Along the coastal strip there are several salt flats, or sabkhas (sabkhah), formed by the ponding and evaporation of water behind coastal dunes. Principal salt flats are found at Tāwurghāʾ, at Zuwārah, and on the Banghāzī Plain.

      The gray-brown soils of the Al-Jifārah Plain and the Nafūsah Plateau in the west are fertile, although overirrigation has led to increased soil salination. In the east, the soils of the Barce plain—which stretches between the Akhḍar Mountains and the sea—are light and fertile. Rich alluvial soils are found in the coastal deltas and valleys of large wadis. On the margins of the Sahara, cultivation and overgrazing have seriously depleted the soil. The rest of the country is covered by wind-eroded sand or stony desert. The soils in these areas are poorly developed, with little organic material.

      Libya's climate is dominated by the hot, arid Sahara, but it is moderated along the coastal littoral by the Mediterranean Sea. The Saharan influence is stronger in summer. From October to March, prevailing westerly winds bring cyclonic storms and rains across northern Libya. A narrow band of semiarid steppe extends inland from the Mediterranean climate of the Al-Jifārah Plain, the Nafūsah Plateau, and the Akhḍar Mountains. The desert climate of the Sahara reaches the coast along the southern fringes of the Gulf of Sidra, where Al-Ḥamrāyah (Sirte) Desert borders the sea. Periodic droughts, often lasting several years, are common in the steppe and desert.

      Along the coast, the Mediterranean climate is characterized by a cool, rainy winter season and a hot, dry summer. The warmest months are July and August, when average temperatures in Banghāzī and Tripoli, in the Mediterranean zone, reach between the low 70s and mid-80s F (low to upper 20s C) and the low 60s and mid-80s F (upper 10s and low 30s C), respectively. The coolest months are January and February; winter monthly temperatures in Banghāzī range from the low 50s to low 60s F (low to mid-10s C), while those in Tripoli range from the upper 40s to low 60s F (low to mid-10s C). The world's highest temperature in the shade, about 136 °F (58 °C), was recorded at Al-ʿAzīziyyah on Al-Jifārah Plain. Banghāzī has an average annual precipitation of about 10 inches (250 mm), and Tripoli receives an annual average of about 15 inches (380 mm).

 Inland from the coast, annual precipitation declines, and its variability increases. Most rain falls in a few days between November and January. Less than 4 inches (100 mm) of rain falls annually in the steppes, and Saharan zones receive less than 1 inch (25 mm). In the Sahara, 200 consecutive rainless days in a year have been recorded in many areas, and the world's highest degree of aridity has been recorded at Sabhā, which averages only 0.4 inch (10 mm) of precipitation annually. Average temperatures at Sabhā are in the low 50s F (low 10s C) in January and in the upper 80s F (low 30s C) in July, but these averages mask the fact that temperatures may vary enormously over the course of a day. The dry climate is exacerbated by the ghibli, a hot, arid wind that blows from the south over the entire country several times a year. It is usually preceded by a short lull in the prevailing winds, followed by the full force of the ghibli. The wind carries large quantities of sand dust, which turns the sky red and reduces visibility to less than 60 feet (18 metres). The heat of the wind is increased by a rapid drop of relative humidity, which can fall dramatically within hours.

Plant and animal life
      In years of ample precipitation, the coastal plains are covered with herbaceous vegetation and annual grasses; the most noticeable plants are the asphodel (an herb of the lily family) and jubule. The northern area of the Akhḍar Mountains—where the influence of the Mediterranean is most dominant—supports low and relatively dense forest (or maquis) of juniper and lentisc. Annual plants are abundant and include brome grass, canary grass, bluegrass, and rye grass. The forest becomes more scattered and stunted south of the mountain crest, and annual plants are less frequent. In the west, plant life is more sparse on the Nafūsah Plateau, where grasslands lie between the barren hills.

      In the semiarid steppes, vegetation is also sparse, characterized by pockets of isolated drought-resistant plants. The most commonly found species are saltwort (a plant used in making soda ash) and spurge flax (a shrubby plant), while goosefoot, wormwood, and asphodel also are widespread. Annual grasses grow in the rainy season, and leguminous plants appear in years of good precipitation. Although precipitation is extremely low in the true desert zone and the vegetation cover is scant, some plants from the semiarid region penetrate the occasional wadi valley, and date palms are grown in the southern oases.

      Wild animals include desert rodents, such as the desert hare and the jerboa; hyenas; foxes, such as the fennec and the red fox; jackals; skunks; gazelles; and wildcats. The poisonous adder and krait are among the reptiles that inhabit the scattered oases and water holes. Native birds include the wild ringdove, the partridge, the lark, and the prairie hen. Eagles, hawks, and vultures are also common.

People (Libya)

Ethnic groups and languages
      Almost all Libyans speak Arabic (Arabic language), the country's official language. They claim descent from the Bedouin Arab tribes of the Banū Hilāl and the Banū Sulaym, who are said to have invaded the Maghrib in the 11th century. The government's embrace of Arab nationalism has reduced Western influences, although English (English language) is still widely used as a second language in international business and politics. At the beginning of the 21st century, Libya's population included a substantial number of foreign migrant workers—largely from sub-Saharan African countries—temporarily residing in the country. The tribe (qabīlah), a form of social organization that allowed the grouping of nomadic peoples scattered across the country's vast spaces, was the foundation of social order for much of Libya's history.

      The Imazighen (Berbers (Berber)) are believed to have been the earliest inhabitants of Libya. The main Amazigh (plural Imazighen) groups were the Luata, the Nefusa, and the Adassa. They lived in coastal oases and practiced sedentary agriculture. Most Imazighen have been assimilated into Arab society except in the Nafūsah Plateau region, Awjilah, Hūn, Socra, and Zuwārah. The Imazighen of Libya speak languages that are classified as Afro-Asiatic but have adopted the Arabic alphabet. Many are bilingual in Nafusi (an Amazigh language) and Arabic; most are Sunni Muslims. There is also a community of some 30,000 people once called Gypsies but known in North Africa as Dom (see also Roma (Rom)), who speak Domari (an Indo-European language).

      Arab migrations to the region began with the rise of Islam in the 7th century. The initial Arab incursions were essentially military and had little effect upon the composition of the population. Oral tradition suggests that invasions of the Banū Hilāl in 1049 and the Banū Sulaym later in the 11th century took major migrations of nomadic tribes from eastern Arabia to Libya. However, scholarship later suggested that these movements too were not invasions but rather slow migrations of Arab peoples that occurred over several centuries.

      The Banū Sulaym were composed of four main groups—the Banū Hebib, the ʿAwf, the Debbab, and the Zegb. The Hebib settled in Cyrenaica, while the others went to Tripolitania. The arrival of these and other Arab groups led to political upheaval and the steady Arabization of Libya's Amazigh populations. The result was that by the 20th century the great majority of Libya's inhabitants were Arabic-speaking Muslims of mixed descent.

      Several other social groups exist alongside the tribes. Among these are the sharifs (sharif) (holy tribes), who came originally from the Fezzan. The sharifs claim direct descent from the Prophet Muhammad; their alleged blood relationship with the Prophet gives them a powerful standing in Muslim society. Extensive tracts of land in the oases of western Libya are under sharifian control.

      The marabouts (marabout) (Muslim religious leaders credited with supernatural powers) arrived in Libya from Saguia el-Hamra, in what is now Western Sahara. The maraboutic tribes are descended from holy men who also claimed a privileged relationship with Muhammad. They believed in an ascetic life, manifested by their hermit lifestyle. In areas where their teachings and way of life made them acceptable to the local inhabitants, they settled and founded tribes pledged to the pure way of life.

      The Koulouglis are descended from the Janissaries (Janissary) (elite Turkish soldiers who ruled Libya following the Ottoman conquest) and the Amazigh and Christian slave women with whom they intermarried. They have served since Ottoman times as a scribal class and are concentrated in and around villages and towns. They speak Arabic and practice Islam.

      The trans-Saharan slave trade, which continued through the early 20th century, took black Africans and their cultures to Libya, particularly to the Fezzan and Tripolitania. Though they previously spoke Nilo-Saharan and Niger-Congo languages of the central Sahara and eastern Sudan, today they speak Arabic and have adopted Islam.

      Small groups of Tuareg nomads live in the southwest, especially around the oases of Ghadāmis and Ghāt. They are gradually assuming a sedentary lifestyle. In the southeast, isolated nomadic Teda (Tubu) communities are slowly gravitating toward the north and the Al-Kufrah oasis in search of employment.

      Most Libyans are Muslim, and the vast majority are Sunnis (Sunnite). There are also very small minorities of Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians. In Cyrenaica the influence of the Sanūsiyyah (Sanūsīyah), a 19th-century militant Islamic brotherhood, remains strong. Although a Jewish minority was long established in Tripolitania, most Jews left the country in the late 1960s, many of them immigrating to Italy.

Settlement patterns
      The majority of the population lives in Tripolitania, mainly in Tripoli and other cities along the coast and on the Nafūsah Plateau. A smaller proportion of the people live in Cyrenaica, primarily in Banghāzī and other coastal cities. The remainder of the population is found in the oasis towns of the Fezzan.

      The vast majority of the rural population lives in oases on the coast and is engaged in irrigation farming; plots of land are usually small and held in individual ownership. On the Nafūsah Plateau, however, where water is less readily available, a sophisticated agrarian system based on olive- and fruit-tree cultivation and associated livestock raising has evolved. In Cyrenaica, the premodern economy was based on nomadic and seminomadic pastoralism. Arable farming has largely been an adjunct of the pastoral system, with shifting dry-land cultivation rarely entailing sedentary farming. In this zone, land ownership is no longer exclusively communal. In southern Libya, isolated irrigated farming in the oases constitutes a third economic system with roots in the premodern era.

      The most common mode of life in rural Libya is sedentary cultivation. In the oases most farmers rely on irrigation, and water is raised from shallow wells either by the animal-powered dalū (a goatskin bag drawn by rope over a pulley) or, increasingly, by electric or diesel pumps. Landholdings in the oases are small and fragmented; the average farm of five to seven acres (two to three hectares) is usually divided into three or four separate parcels. In the coastal regions, lowland farmers normally live on their own plots but enjoy rights to graze stock and undertake shifting grain cultivation on communally held land. In Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, most Arab farmers tend to live on plots of between 12 and 600 acres (5 and 240 hectares) that were once part of large estates belonging to Italian settlers.

      Pastoral nomadism is practiced in the arid and semiarid regions, particularly in the Akhḍar Mountains and surrounding steppe lands in Cyrenaica. Nomadic groups subsist primarily on their herds of sheep, goats, and camels but also practice shifting cereal cultivation. These Bedouins move south as soon as pasture sprouts in the fall and remain there until the grasslands disappear and necessitate their return to the northern hills.

      Fixed, permanently occupied villages were not typical features of nomadic life among the Bedouins of the Libyan steppe and desert, although towns have existed in the coastal zones since Phoenician, Greek, and Roman times. With the arrival of the Ottoman Turks in the 16th century, however, the new authorities founded towns and villages in the hinterland and desert that served as military posts or administrative centres; some of these sites have been occupied ever since. Other smaller, temporary settlements began as gathering places for nomadic tribes during periods of summer residence in the oases or in pastures in the hills. In the west, however, Amazigh populations are thought to have maintained a more or less continuous series of fortified nucleated villages in the western Nafūsah Plateau. In the southern oases, the villages served both as defense posts for the scattered communities and as watering and provisioning points on the trans-Saharan caravan routes. Since independence and the discovery of oil in the mid-20th century, economic development has led to the expansion of villages into towns and has attracted migrants from rural areas to these growing urban centres.

      The two main cities are Tripoli and Banghāzī. They contain about one-third of the country's entire urban population and about one-fourth of the total population. Tripoli, with a metropolitan population of more than two million people, is the de facto political capital and the most important economic centre. Banghāzī, with its metropolitan area of more than one million people, is the primary city in Cyrenaica. The modern cities have developed around the old city centres (medinas), with satellite towns and villages in surrounding oases. Shantytowns housing recent rural-to-urban migrants are also found near the two cities, although the government has built low-income housing.

      Other important centres include Gharyān, Al-Khums (Khums, Al-), Miṣrātah, Tājūrāʾ, Sūq al-Jumʿah, Janzūr, and Al-Zāwiyah (Zāwiyah, Al-) in the west and Ajdābiyā, Al-Marj, Al-Bayḍāʾ, Darnah, and Tobruk (Ṭubruq) in the east. These cities are primarily regional administrative and commercial centres with some light industry. Several have petroleum refineries and petrochemical installations.

Demographic trends
      Libya's rate of population growth is among the highest in North Africa. The influx of foreign workers into the country since the 1960s accounts for part of this rapid growth, but Libya's annual rate of natural increase (birth rate minus death rate) has also been quite high. In the late 20th century and into the early 21st, death rates steadily declined to substantially below the world average, but birth rates remained relatively high. On the whole, Libya's population is quite young: more than two-thirds of the population is younger than 30 years of age; of that, about one-third is younger than 15. Libya's infant mortality rate is the lowest in continental Africa and far below the global rate, portending continued rapid growth well into the 21st century.

      Libya's per capita income is among the highest in Africa. Oil revenues remain Libya's main source of income; at the beginning of the 21st century, oil and natural gas together accounted for almost three-fourths of the national income and nearly all of the country's export earnings, although they employed less than one-tenth of the labour force. The government has long exerted strong control over the economy; the petroleum industry was nationalized in the 1970s, and state trade unions and industrial organizations run most other industries and utilities. To reduce the country's heavy dependence on oil, economic policy has emphasized agricultural and industrial developments. Declining oil revenues during the 1980s, however, led to frequent revisions and delays in planned developments. Domestic reforms designed to liberalize economic policy and encourage private enterprise, begun in the late 1980s, continued into the 21st century.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
 Agriculture is limited by the environment and by shortages of labour. Only about 1 percent of the total land area is cultivated, mostly on the Al-Jifārah and Barce plains, and about one-tenth of that is irrigated. An additional almost one-tenth of the land is in pasture. Agricultural development by land reclamation and irrigation is a government priority. The largest projects are at the Al-Kufrah oasis, Tāwurghāʾ, and Sarīr, on the Al-Jifārah Plain, and in the Akhḍar Mountains. The Great Man-Made River project, begun at the end of the 20th century, is the most ambitious undertaking. Pipelines will carry water from wells in the southern Sahara to Tripoli, Surt, Banghāzī, Tobruk, and the Al-Kufrah oasis.

      Cereals are the major crops throughout the country. Wheat (grown primarily on the eastern and western plateaus) is the largest cereal crop, although barley, which adapts well to different climates and soils, is also a chief cereal and remains a dietary staple. In addition, sorghum is raised in the Fezzan. Olive plantations were introduced by the Italians on the Al-Jifārah Plain and on the Nafūsah Plateau, and there are smaller olive groves in the east. Orchards of almonds, citrus fruit, apricots, and figs grow on small and large farms and on small, crowded plots in the oases. Dates are the principal crop of the southern oases. Grapes, broad beans, and peanuts (groundnuts) also are grown. Tobacco is raised in Tripolitania.

      Animal husbandry is important in Cyrenaica, where the herds are raised on communal grazing lands. Livestock includes sheep, goats, cattle, camels, horses, mules, and donkeys. Animals are raised for their milk, meat, and hides or for their services as a means of transportation. Cattle often serve as draft animals. A small amount of milk is produced commercially, and commercial poultry farms are developing around the larger cities.

      Less than 1 percent of the land is covered by forest. Prior to the 1950s, Libya's sole wooded area lay in the Akhḍar Mountains. Since then, the government has launched a massive forestation program. Between 1957 and 1964, for example, 27 million acacia, eucalyptus, cypress, cedar, and pine trees were planted in Tripolitania.

      There is little demand in Libya for fish, and most fishing is done off the Tripolitanian coast by Libyan, Tunisian, Greek, and Maltese fishermen. The catch includes tuna, sardines, and red mullet. Sponge beds are also important. The sponges are harvested mainly by Greeks licensed by the Libyan government.

Resources and power
       petroleum was first discovered in Libya in 1956 near the Algerian border and is Libya's most important mineral resource. Subsequent finds have been mainly concentrated in onshore reserves located in the Sirte Basin. The major oil fields there include the Bahi, Dahra, and Samāḥ fields, in the west of the basin; the Dafʿ-Wāḥah (Defa-Waha) and Nasser fields, in the north-centre; and the Āmāl, Intiṣār, and Sarīr fields, located toward the east. Additional deposits have been located elsewhere in the country, including near Ghadāmis on the western border, Murzuq in the southwest, and the Al-Kufrah oasis in the southeast. Exploration for new deposits has concentrated on Tripolitania and offshore, where a large field was discovered northwest of Tripoli in 1988. Libya's proven oil reserves represent a large part of Africa's total reserves and about 3 percent of the world's total reserves. Libyan crude oil is low in sulfur content and therefore causes less corrosion and less pollution than most crude oils, which has made it popular in countries that have imposed stringent emissions standards. The deposits are associated with natural gas.

      The first pipeline was constructed from the Zalṭan (later Nasser) field to Marsā al-Burayqah in 1961. Since then, additional lines have been built from Dahra to Al-Sidrah and to Raʾs al-Unūf; other pipelines connect the Tobruk field to Marsā al-Ḥarīqah and the Intiṣār field to Al-Zuwaytīnah. Refineries are located at Al-Zāwiyah, Miṣrātah, Raʾs al-Unūf, and Tobruk. A natural-gas pipeline runs parallel to the oil pipeline from Nasser. The gas liquefaction plant at Marsā al-Burayqah is one of the world's largest.

      Sales of Libyan oil to Europe were enhanced by the closure of the Suez Canal between 1967 and 1975. During the 1980s, however, production and revenues declined because of an increased supply of oil on the world market. Libya has concluded barter agreements with some European and African countries to exchange petroleum for goods and services.

      Other mineral resources are limited. There are important deposits of natron (hydrated sodium carbonate) in the Fezzan and potash in Al-Ḥamrāyah Desert near Marādah. Iron ore deposits at Shāṭiʾ, although low in iron content, supply the iron-steel complex at Miṣrātah. Marine salt is produced in Tripolitania, where there are also small deposits of gypsum, manganese, and lignite coal. Sulfur has been found in Al-Ḥamrāyah Desert, and there are scattered deposits of chalk, limestone, and marble that are quarried for the growing construction trade.

      The production of electricity for public consumption is a government monopoly. There are also private plants, such as the 25,000-kilowatt facility built by an oil company at Marsā al-Burayqah. The total installed capacity, all thermal plants powered by oil, grew more than sevenfold during the 1970s. In the early 21st century, efforts were under way to convert Libya's thermal plants from oil to natural gas in order to maximize petroleum available for export.

      Industrial development is limited, although it expanded during the United Nations (UN) embargo of the country in the 1990s. Most factories are located in Tripoli and Banghāzī and are managed by Arabs. The industrial workforce is small, with many factories employing fewer than 100 people. A majority of the factories manufacture processed food, cement, and textiles. The government maintains monopolies for processing of tobacco, salt, and esparto grass. There are also oil-related industries, which produce steel drums, tanks, and pipe fittings; petrochemical plants are located near refineries.

Finance and trade
      Financial services are headed by the Central Bank of Libya, which supervises the banking system, regulates credit and interest policies, and issues the national currency, the Libyan dinar. The Libyan Arab Foreign Bank has made some investments, primarily in Italy.

      Since 1963, Libya has usually enjoyed a favourable balance of trade. Almost all its exports are represented by crude petroleum, but agricultural products and hides and skins also are exported. Imports consist of equipment for the oil and construction industries, farm machinery, consumer goods, and agricultural products. Most of the country's imports come from Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and South Korea. Exports, almost all petroleum, usually go to Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Tunisia, and Turkey.

      A large proportion of the Libyan workforce is engaged in the service industries. The country's tourism industry, largely underdeveloped during Libya's period under UN sanctions, has undergone significant expansion. In order to promote the growth of tourism, government finances were increasingly dedicated to the construction of hotels and tourist complexes and to the development of coastal areas.

      Independent trade unions are not permitted in Libya. Libyan labourers are organized under the country's single, government-controlled association, the National Trade Unions' Federation, with the exception of foreign workers, who are not permitted to participate.

      The majority of Libya's labour force is employed in the services, with smaller proportions of the working population employed in various other sectors, including manufacturing and agriculture. Libyans are increasingly unable to rely upon employment with the state, where many once sought work. Rates of unemployment are generally high, especially among the country's youth. At the beginning of the 21st century, women participated actively in the labour force, although discrimination in the workplace remained.

      A large number of foreign migrant workers—mostly from sub-Saharan African countries—participate in the Libyan economy, particularly in agriculture and industry. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Libya periodically sought the repatriation of much of its unlicensed migrant population, citing its role in the high level of unemployment among Libyan youth; statements calling for the expulsion of the migrant community, however, were in general not fully implemented.

Transportation and telecommunications
      The main road is the 1,100-mile (1,170-km) national coastal highway between the borders of Tunisia and Egypt. The Sabhā road runs from the coastal highway at Al-Qaddāḥiyyah south and southwest to Ghāt near the Algerian border. Other national roads run from Tripoli to Ghāt and Sabhā and from Ajdābiyā to Al-Kufrah. More than half the country's roads are paved. The two railroads that served Tripoli and Banghāzī were closed in the late 1960s.

      Tripoli is the main port, and Tripoli and Banghāzī together handle most of the country's maritime trade. Tripoli handles the bulk of the imports, particularly those associated with the oil industry and the booming trade in consumer goods. There is also an important port located at Tobruk.

      Petroleum is shipped from Al-Sidrah, Marsā al-Burayqah, Tobruk, and Al-Zuwaytīnah. Miṣrātah, Zuwārah, and Al-Khums have been developed as fishing ports. Libya's merchant fleet is modest, and most oil is shipped in foreign vessels.

      The country has several international airports, located in Tripoli, Banīnah (outside Banghāzī), Sabhā, and Miṣrātah. Domestic airfields include those at Marsā al-Burayqah, Tobruk, Al-Bayḍāʾ, Ghadāmis, and Ghāt. The Libyan Arab Airlines and foreign airlines operate domestic flights and services to countries in the Middle East and North Africa and to several countries in Europe. There are also domestic flights operated by the oil companies.

      At the beginning of the 21st century, Libyan telecommunications services continued to reach a rather low proportion of that country's population. The number of telephone main lines increased during the late 1990s. A mobile telephone system was set up in the mid-1990s, and Internet access increased in the early years of the 21st century.

Government and society

Constitutional framework
      In September 1969 the monarchy of Idris I was overthrown and the constitution suspended in a military coup d'état. In 1977 the 12-member Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) formed after the coup was replaced by the General Secretariat of the General People's Congress (GPC), with Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi (Qaddafi, Muammar al-) as secretary-general. He resigned the post in 1979 but remained the de facto ruler of the country and head of the revolution. A General People's Committee has replaced the original revolutionary cabinet, the Council of Ministers; each of the committee's members is the secretary of a department. In 1988 all but 2 of the 19 secretariats were moved from Tripoli, most of them to Surt. The General People's Congress serves as a parliament.

Local government
      The country is divided into shaʿbiyyāt (municipalities), which in turn are subdivided into smaller administrative units. Citizens are members of more than 500 “basic popular congresses,” each headed by an appointed revolutionary committee. Delegates come together in a General People's Congress on the national level. There are no recognized political parties.

      The judicial system consists of the Supreme Court, located in Tripoli, with five chambers of five justices each; it is the final court of appeal. Regional courts of appeal, located in Tripoli, Banghāzī, and Sabhā, each with three justices, hear appeals from the courts of first instance and from summary courts, the basic judicial unit, each with one justice per court. Separate religious courts were abolished in 1973, and all judicial courts base their rulings on Libyan law, derived from the Sharīʿah (Islamic law).

Political process
      The government is made up of a pyramid-shaped system of congresses and committees topped by the RCC and the GPC. The system's broad base allows for the wide participation of Libyan citizens, with each group active in the selection of the tier above it. Although in principle governmental ideals call for significant decentralization, Libya's political system is in fact quite centralized. A variety of organizations, including a number of Islamic and pro-democracy groups, are in opposition to the government. Women hold seats in the General People's Committee, albeit in a small proportion.

      Libya's armed forces include an army, a navy, and an air force. After the 1970s Libya purchased arms from the Soviet Union and other communist states. Beginning in the mid-1980s, however, military expenditures and arms imports declined. Although Libya had long provided a base and support for foreign militant organizations, by the late 1990s Qaddafi (Qaddafi, Muammar al-)'s policies began to shift. In 2003 he formally renounced terrorism as part of a broader effort to bring the country back into the global community. Internally, however, Qaddafi created a variety of military and quasi-military organizations over the years that reinforced his authority within the country. Initially important were the People's Militia and the Revolutionary Committees, created in 1974 and 1977, respectively. Qaddafi subsequently invested substantial wealth and effort into creating more personal security organizations, such as the Intelligence Bureau of the Leader, the Military Secret Service, the Jamāhīriyyah Security Organization, the Revolutionary Guards, and the People's Guard. Throughout his rule, Qaddafi relied on other informal groups to maintain stability and to protect himself and his interests.

Health and welfare
      The chief health problems are typhoid, leishmaniasis, rabies, meningitis, and schistosomiasis (a parasitic infestation of the liver or intestines). The incidence of malaria has declined, but gastroenteritis and tetanus remain major diseases.

      Medical and hospital care and medicines are free. Health care is provided by a mixture of public and private services. Most care is available in hospitals and at outpatient or specialized-care facilities or clinics.

      Schools for medicine and dentistry opened in the 1970s, but the rapid expansion of facilities necessitated the continued hiring of expatriate staff. The number of medical personnel has been sharply increased. Some graduate medical students study abroad.

      The National Social Insurance Institute operates social security programs. Workers covered by government insurance programs receive medical examinations and treatment, maternity benefits, and dental care. There are also old-age pensions and payments for incapacity or death as a result of work-related accidents.

      Housing shortages in Libya intensified following independence owing to increased rates of urban migration. After coming to power, the RCC worked to expand adequate housing through a number of initiatives. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, funds from both public and private sources were directed toward construction projects to improve housing quality and alleviate the strain; nevertheless, shortages remained into the early 21st century. Some of the poorer migrant communities continue to live in informal settlements on the outskirts of a number of the country's urban areas.

      Public education is free, and primary education is compulsory for both boys and girls. Arabic is the language of instruction at all levels. The school system is composed of a six-year primary level, a three-year intermediate and vocational level, and a three-year secondary and advanced vocational level. There are also Qurʾānic schools, financed by the government. About four-fifths of the adult population is literate. In order to increase the literacy rate, the government has also sponsored an adult educational program.

      Higher education is offered by the state institutions of the University of Libya, subdivided in 1973 into Al-Fāteḥ University, located at Tripoli, and Garyounis (Qāryūnis) University, located at Banghāzī. Advanced religious training is obtained at a branch of the university at Al-Bayḍāʾ. Libyan students also study abroad.

Cultural life

Cultural milieu
      Cultural differences between the regions are significant. The population of the west is on the whole more cosmopolitan than that of the east and includes a higher proportion of people of Amazigh, Sub-Saharan African, and Turkish origin. Cyrenaica was profoundly affected by the teachings of the 19th-century Sanūsiyyah, an Islamic brotherhood, which had little influence in the west and south. The Fezzan was commercially and politically tied to the region historically known as the bilād al-sūdān (Arabic: “land of the black peoples”), which spanned the territory south of the Maghrib, Libya, and Egypt from West Africa to the Nilotic Sudan.

      Since the 1969 coup, lifestyles have been strongly influenced by the revolutionary government's restructuring of national and local government and its efforts to reduce the influence of the tribes. The government has also provided for the education of women and encouraged a broader participation by women in a number of capacities in mainstream Libyan society.

The arts
      Libyan culture highlights folk art and traditions, which are highly influenced by Islam. The arts of weaving, embroidery, metal engraving, and leatherwork rarely depict people or animals because of the traditional Islamic prohibition against such representations. The dominant geometric and arabesque designs are best presented in the stucco and tiles of the Karamanli and Gurgi mosques of Tripoli. Other traditions include festivals, horse races, and folk dances.

      Nonreligious literature has developed largely since the 1960s; nationalistic in character, it nonetheless reveals Egyptian influences. The arts are supported by the government through the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Education and National Guidance, and the Al-Fikr Society, a group of intellectuals and professionals.

Cultural institutions
  Libraries include the Government Library and the National Archives in Tripoli, the National Library of Libya and the Public Library, both in Banghāzī, the library of the Libyan Studies Centre, and the university libraries. The Department of Antiquities is responsible for the Archaeological Museum, the Leptis Magna Museum of Antiquities, the Natural History Museum, and the Sabratha Museum of Antiquities, all in Tripolitania, and the archaeological sites of Ptolemais and Appolonia in Cyrenaica. The Sabhā Museum contains exhibits of ancient remains from the Fezzan region.

 As part of a historical region valued by many successive empires, numerous rich cultural and archaeological sites are located in present-day Libya. The remains of the ancient cities of Cyrene, Leptis Magna, Sabratha, and Ghadāmis, as well as the ancient rock art at Tadrart Acacus, have all been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites (World Heritage site).

Sports and recreation
      Football (football (soccer)) (soccer) is one of the most popular sports in Libya. The top national league includes a number of teams, and Tripoli and Banghāzī are each home to several clubs. Al-Ahlī of Tripoli has won numerous league titles since the 1960s. The national team was prohibited from participating in international competitions during the UN embargo, but the team returned to the world football stage in the spring of 1999 with an exhibition game against Senegal.

      Racing is very popular in Libya. Horse racing is a traditional part of many holiday celebrations, and automobile racing also has a strong following. Tripoli was once a stop on the Grand Prix tour; the 1933 race became infamous when several drivers conspired to fix it. Libyans also enjoy tennis, and water sports are gaining popularity on the coast. Libya made its Olympic (Olympic Games) debut at the 1968 Mexico City Games.

Media and publishing
      The government controls broadcasting and the press. Newspapers and periodicals are published by the Jamahiriya News Agency (JANA), government secretariats, the Press Service, and trade unions. JANA publishes Al-Fajr al-Jadīd (“New Dawn”) in Tripoli. Daily newspapers include Al-Shams (“The Sun”) and Al-Zaḥf al-Akhḍar (“The Green March”). Radio broadcasts from Tripoli and Banghāzī are in Arabic and English; the national television service broadcasts in Arabic, with limited hours in English, Italian, and French. Several publishers of general and academic books are located in Tripoli.

Dennis D. Cordell Mukhtar Mustafa Buru Gary L. Fowler

      This discussion focuses on Libya since the 18th century. For a treatment of earlier periods and of the country in its regional context, see North Africa.

      Largely desert with some limited potential for urban and sedentary life in the northwest and northeast, Libya has historically never been heavily populated or a power centre. Like that of its neighbour Algeria, Libya's very name is a neologism, created by the conquering Italians early in the 20th century. Also like that of Algeria, much of Libya's earlier history—not only in the Islamic period but even before—reveals that both Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were more closely linked with neighbouring territories Tunisia and Egypt, respectively, than with each other. Even during the Ottoman era, the country was divided into two parts, one linked to Tripoli in the west and the other to Banghāzī in the east.

      Libya thus owes its present unity as a state less to earlier history or geographic characteristics than to several recent factors: the unifying effect of the Sanūsiyyah (Sanūsīyah) movement since the 19th century; Italian colonialism from 1911 until after World War II; an early independence by default, since the great powers could agree on no other solution; and the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in the late 1950s. Yet the Sanūsiyyah is based largely in the eastern region of Cyrenaica and has never really penetrated the more populous northwestern region of Tripolitania. Italian colonization was brief and brutal. Moreover, most of the hard-earned gains in infrastructure implanted in the colonial period were destroyed by contending armies during World War II. Sudden oil wealth has been both a boon and a curse as changes to the political and social fabric, as well as to the economy, have accelerated. This difficult legacy of disparate elements and forces helps to explain the unique character of present-day Libya.

Dennis D. Cordell L. Carl Brown

Ottoman (Ottoman Empire) rule
      Part of the Ottoman Empire from the early 16th century, Libya experienced autonomous rule (analogous to that in Ottoman Algeria and Tunisia) under the Karamanli dynasty from 1711 to 1835. In the latter year the Ottomans took advantage of a succession dispute and local disorder to reestablish direct administration. For the next 77 years the area was administered by officials from the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) and shared in the limited modernization common to the rest of the empire. In Libya the most significant event of the period was the foundation in 1837 of the Sanūsiyyah, an Islamic (Islāmic world) order, or fraternity, that preached a puritanical form of Islam, giving the people instruction and material assistance and so creating among them a sense of unity. The first Sanūsī zāwiyah (monastic complex) in Libya was established in 1843 near the ruins of Cyrene in eastern Cyrenaica. The order spread principally in that province but also found adherents in the south. The Grand al-Sanūsī (Sanūsī, as-), as the founder came to be called, moved his headquarters to the oasis of Al-Jaghbūb (Jaghbūb, Al-) near the Egyptian frontier, and in 1895 his son and successor, Sīdī Muḥammad Idrīs al-Mahdī, transferred it farther south into the Sahara to the oasis group of Al-Kufrah (Kufrah, Al-). Though the Ottomans welcomed the order's opposition to the spread of French influence northward from Chad and Tibesti, they regarded with suspicion the political influence it exerted within Cyrenaica. In 1908 the Young Turk (Young Turks) revolution gave a new impulse to reform; in 1911, however, the Italians, who had banking and other interests in the country, launched an invasion.

      The Ottomans sued for peace in 1912, but Italy found it more difficult to subdue the local population. Resistance to the Italian occupation continued throughout World War I. After the war Italy considered coming to terms with nationalist forces in Tripolitania and with the Sanūsiyyah, which was strong in Cyrenaica. These negotiations foundered, however, and the arrival of a strong governor, Giuseppe Volpi, in Libya and a Fascist government in Italy (1922) inaugurated an Italian policy of thorough colonization. The coastal areas of Tripolitania were subdued by 1923, but in Cyrenaica Sanūsī resistance, led by ʿUmar al-Mukhtār, continued until his capture and execution in 1931.

Italian colonization (colonialism, Western)
      In the 1920s and '30s the Italian government expended large sums on developing towns, roads, and agricultural colonies for Italian settlers. The most ambitious effort was the program of Italian immigration called “demographic colonization,” launched by the Fascist leader Benito Mussolini (Mussolini, Benito) in 1935. As a result of these efforts, by the outbreak of World War II, some 150,000 Italians had settled in Libya and constituted roughly one-fifth of that country's total population.

      These colonizing efforts and the resulting economic development of Libya were largely destroyed during the North Africa campaigns of 1941–43. Cyrenaica changed hands three times, and by the end of 1942 all of the Italian settlers had left. Cyrenaica largely reverted to pastoralism. Economic and administrative development fostered by Italy survived in Tripolitania; however, Libya by 1945 was impoverished, underpopulated, and also divided into regions—Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan—of differing political, economic, and religious traditions.

      The future of Libya gave rise to long discussions after the war. In view of the contribution to the fighting made by a volunteer Sanūsī force, the British foreign minister pledged in 1942 that the Sanūsīs would not again be subjected to Italian rule. During the discussions, which lasted four years, suggestions included an Italian trusteeship, a UN trusteeship, a Soviet mandate for Tripolitania, and various compromises. Finally, in November 1949, the UN General Assembly (General Assembly, United Nations) voted that Libya should become a united and independent kingdom no later than Jan. 1, 1952.

      A constitution creating a federal state with a separate parliament for each province was drawn up, and the pro-British head of the Sanūsiyyah, Sīdī Muḥammad Idrīs al-Mahdī al-Sanūsī, was chosen king by a national assembly in 1950. On Dec. 24, 1951, King Idris I declared the country independent. Political parties were prohibited, and the king's authority was sovereign. Though not themselves Sanūsīs, the Tripolitanians accepted the monarchy largely in order to profit from the British promise that the Sanūsīs would not again be subjected to Italian rule. King Idris, however, showed a marked preference for living in Cyrenaica, where he built a new capital on the site of the Sanūsī zāwiyah at Al-Bayḍāʾ (Zāwiyat al-Bayḍāʾ). Though Libya joined the Arab League in 1953 and in 1956 refused British troops permission to land during the Suez Crisis, the government in general adopted a pro-Western position in international affairs.

The discovery of oil (petroleum)
      With the discovery of significant oil reserves in 1959, Libya changed abruptly from being dependent on international aid and the rent from U.S. and British air bases to being an oil-rich monarchy. Major petroleum deposits in both Tripolitania and Cyrenaica ensured the country income on a vast scale. The discovery was followed by an enormous expansion in all government services, massive construction projects, and a corresponding rise in the economic standard and the cost of living.

      Precipitated by the king's failure to speak out against Israel during the June War (Six-Day War) (1967), a coup was carried out on Sept. 1, 1969, by a group of young army officers led by Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi (Qaddafi, Muammar al-), who deposed the king and proclaimed Libya a republic. The new regime, passionately Pan-Arab, broke the monarchy's close ties to Britain and the United States and also began an assertive policy that led to higher oil prices along with 51 percent Libyan participation in oil company activities and, in some cases, outright nationalization.

The Qaddafi regime
 Equally assertive in plans for Arab unity, Libya obtained at least the formal beginnings of unity with Egypt, Sudan, and Tunisia, but these and other such plans failed as differences arose between the governments concerned. Qaddafi's Libya supported the Palestinian cause and intervened to support it, as well as other guerrilla and revolutionary organizations in Africa and the Middle East. Such moves alienated the Western countries and some Arab states. In July–August 1977 hostilities broke out between Libya and Egypt, and, as a result, many Egyptians working in Libya were expelled. Indeed, despite expressed concern for Arab unity, the regime's relations with most Arab countries deteriorated. Qaddafi signed a treaty of union with Morocco's King Hassan II in August 1984, but Hassan abrogated the treaty two years later.

      The regime, under Qaddafi's ideological guidance, continued to introduce innovations. On March 2, 1977, the General People's Congress declared that Libya was to be known as the People's Socialist Libyan Arab Jamāhīriyyah (the latter term is a neologism meaning “government through the masses”). By the early 1980s, however, a drop in the demand and price for oil on the world market was beginning to hamper Qaddafi's efforts to play a strong regional role. Ambitious efforts to radically change Libya's economy and society slowed, and there were signs of domestic discontent. Libyan opposition movements launched sporadic attacks against Qaddafi and his military supporters but met with arrest and execution.

Dennis D. Cordell Nevill Barbour L. Carl Brown
      Libya's relationship with the United States, which had been an important trading partner, deteriorated in the early 1980s as the U.S. government increasingly protested Qaddafi's support of Palestinian Arab militants. An escalating series of retaliatory trade restrictions and military skirmishes culminated in a U.S. bombing raid of Tripoli and Banghāzī in 1986, in which Qaddafi's adopted daughter was among the casualties. U.S. claims that Libya was producing chemical warfare materials contributed to the tension between the two countries in the late 1980s and '90s. Within the region, Libya sought throughout the 1970s and '80s to control the mineral-rich Aozou Strip along the disputed border with neighbouring Chad. These efforts produced intermittent warfare in Chad and confrontation with both France and the United States. In 1987 Libyan forces were bested by Chad's more mobile troops, and diplomatic ties with that country were restored late the following year. Libya denied involvement in Chad's December 1990 coup led by Idriss Déby (see Chad: Civil war (Chad)).

 In 1996 the United States and the UN implemented a series of economic sanctions against Libya for its purported involvement in destroying a civilian airliner (Pan Am flight 103 disaster) over Lockerbie, Scot., in 1988. In the late 1990s, in an effort to placate the international community, Libya turned over the alleged perpetrators of the bombing to international authorities and accepted a ruling by the international court in The Hague (Hague, The) stating that the contested Aozou territory along the border with Chad belonged to that country and not to Libya. The United Kingdom restored diplomatic relations with Libya at the end of the decade, and UN sanctions were lifted in 2003; later that year Libya announced that it would stop producing chemical weapons. The United States responded by dropping most of its sanctions, and the restoration of full diplomatic ties between the two countries was completed in 2006. In 2007 five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor who had been sentenced to death in Libya after being tried on charges of having deliberately infected children there with HIV were extradited to Bulgaria and quickly pardoned by its president, defusing widespread outcry over the case and preventing the situation from posing an obstacle to Libya's return to the international community.

      In the years that followed the lifting of sanctions, one of Qaddafi's sons, Sayf al-Islam al-Qaddafi, emerged as a proponent of reform and helped lead Libya toward adjustments in its domestic and foreign policy. Measures including efforts to attract Western business and plans to foster tourism promised to gradually draw Libya more substantially into the global community.

L. Carl Brown Dennis D. Cordell

Additional Reading

For a comprehensive general work, including a discussion of physical geography, see Harold D. Nelson (ed.), Libya: A Country Study, 3rd ed. (1979). Douglas L. Johnson, Jabal al-Aḵẖḍar, Cyrenaica: An Historical Geography of Settlement and Livelihood (1973), is also useful. John Davis, Libyan Politics: Tribe and Revolution: An Account of the Zuwaya and Their Government (1987), is an ethnographic study. Frank C. Waddams, The Libyan Oil Industry (1980), focuses on the impact of Libyan oil both on the world market and on Libya's economy. Comprehensive analyses of socioeconomic development and planning are J.A. Allan, K.S. McLachlan, and Edith T. Penrose (eds.), Libya: Agriculture and Economic Development (1973); E.G.H. Joffé and K.S. McLachlan (eds.), Social & Economic Development of Libya (1982); M.M. Buru, S.M. Ghanem, and K.S. McLachlan (eds.), Planning and Development in Modern Libya (1985); and Bichara Khader and Bashir El-Wifati, The Economic Development of Libya (1987).Gary L. Fowler

E.E. Evans-Pritchard, The Sanusi of Cyrenaica (1949, reprinted 1973), offers a seminal historical and anthropological study of Libya. The period of Italian colonization is analyzed by Claudio G. Segrè, Fourth Shore: The Italian Colonization of Libya (1974); and two articles in Annals of the Association of American Geographers: Gary L. Fowler, “The Italian Colonization of Tripolitania,” 62(4):627–640 (1972), and “Decolonization of Rural Libya,” 63(4):490–506 (1973). Modern political developments in Libya are analyzed in Majid Khadduri, Modern Libya (1963, reissued 1968); Ruth First, Libya: The Elusive Revolution (1974), a reliable survey; J.A. Allan (ed.), Libya Since Independence (1982); John K. Cooley, Libyan Sandstorm (1982), on the rise to power of Muammar al-Qaddafi; Marius K. Deeb and Mary Jane Deeb, Libya Since the Revolution (1982), a dispassionate description stressing internal social and political developments; John Wright, Libya: A Modern History (1982), and Libya, Chad, and the Central Sahara (1989); Lisa Anderson, The State and Social Transformation in Tunisia and Libya, 1830–1980 (1986); and Lillian Craig Harris, Libya: Qadhafi's Revolution and the Modern State (1986).L. Carl Brown

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