Libya's Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has been Africa's and the Arab world's longest-ruling, most erratic, most grimly fascinating leader - presiding for 42 years over this desert republic with vast oil reserves and just 6 million people.Gaddafi came to power in 1969 after leading a bloodless coup toppling King Idris at the age of 27. He maintained tight control of his oil-rich country for decades by clamping down on dissidents.After seizing power, he laid out a pan-Arab, anti-imperialist philosophy, blended with aspects of Islam. While he permitted private control over small companies, the government controlled the larger ones.He was an admirer of the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser and his Arab socialist and nationalist ideology.He tried without success to merge Libya, Egypt and Syria into a federation. A similar attempt to join Libya and Tunisia ended in acrimony.Gaddafi is known to sleep in a Bedouin tent guarded by dozens of female bodyguards on trips abroad.
Muammar Gaddafi and Terrorism
Muammar Gaddafi is strongly associated with "terrorism", accused of supporting armed groups including FARC in Colombia and the IRA in Northern Ireland.Libya’s alleged involvement in the 1986 bombing of a Berlin nightclub in which two American soldiers were killed prompted US air attacks on Tripoli and Benghazi, killing 35 Libyans, including Gaddafi’s adopted daughter. Ronald Reagan, the then US president, called him a "mad dog".The 1988 bombing of the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie in Scotland is possibly the most well known and controversial international incident in which Gaddafi has been involved.For many years, Gaddafi denied involvement, resulting in UN sanctions and Libya’s status as a pariah state. Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence agent, was convicted for planting the bomb. Gaddafi's regime formally accepted responsibility for the attack in 2003 and paid compensation to the families of those who died.In 2003, Gaddafi broke Libya's isolation from the West by relinquishing his entire inventory of weapons of mass destruction.In September 2004, George Bush, the US president at the time, formally ended a US trade embargo as a result of Gaddafi's scrapping of the arms programme and taking responsibility for Lockerbie.The normalisation of relations with Western powers has allowed the Libyan economy to grow and the oil industry in particular has benefited.
In September 2009, Gaddafi visited the US for the1st time for his 1st appearance at the UN General Assembly. His speech was supposed to be 15 minutes, but exceeded an hour and a half. He tore up a copy of the UN charter, accused the Security Council of being a terrorist body similar to al-Qaeda, and demanded $ 7.7 trillion in
Libyan uprisingInspired by revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, Libyans began to hold peaceful protests against his regime in February of this year.In February, days after the uprising against him began, Gaddafi gave a televised speech amid violent social unrest against his autocratic rule. In the speech, he vowed to hunt down protesters "inch by inch, room by room, home by home, alleyway by alleyway." The speech caused a furor that fuelled the armed rebellion against him
Demonstrations were met with military force and the uprising escalated into a civil war, with NATO-led forces later siding with the rebels.
On June 27, the brutal actions of the government were referred to the International Criminal Court and an arrest warrant for Gaddafi was issued for crimes against humanity.
Gaddafi repeatedly blamed the unrest on al-Qaeda and a "colonialist plot". He called those opposed to him "rats", and alleged that they had been influenced by "hallucinogenic drugs".
Muammar Gaddafi's private plane
The Arabic words - "Be thankful and we give you more".
A swimming pool at Aisha Gaddafi's (daughter of Muammar Gaddafi) compound in Bin Ashour district in Tripoli
A golden plate with a picture of Aisha, the daughter of Muammar Gaddafi inside her house in Tripoli