Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (Arabic: مُعَمَّر القَذَّافِي Muʿammar al-Qaḏḏāfī audio (help·info);[variations] born 7 June 1942), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi /ˈmoʊ.əmɑr ɡəˈdɑːfi/ or Colonel Gaddafi, was the autocratic ruler of Libya from 1969 to 2011, after seizing power in a military coup. As a result of the 2011 Libyan civil war and the creation of the National Transitional Council, Gaddafi has lost almost all domestic and some international recognition, and has lost control of the majority of Libya. He abolished the Libyan Constitution of 1951, and adopted laws based on his political ideology. His 41 years in power prior to the Civil War made him the fourthlongest-ruling non-royal leader since 1900, as well as the longest-ruling Arab leader. He variously styled himself as ‘the Brother Leader’, ‘Guide of the Revolution’ and ‘King of Kings’.
After seizing power, Gaddafi proceeded to eliminate any opposition and severely restricted lives of ordinary Libyans. Gaddafi’s ideology was termed the Third International Theory and it was described in the Green Book. Gaddafi and his relatives took over much of the economy. Gaddafi started several wars, had a role in others, and spent on acquiring both chemical and nuclear weapons. More covertly, he directed the country’s revenues to sponsor terror and other political activities around the world. The United Nations called Libya under Gaddafi a pariah state. In the 1980s countries around the world established sanctions against Gaddafi. Six days after Iraqi dictator Saddam Husseinwas captured, Gaddafi renounced Tripoli’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs and welcomed international inspectors to verify that he would follow through on the commitment. A leading advocate for a United States of Africa, he served as Chairperson of the African Union (AU) from 2 February 2009 to 31 January 2010.
In the wake of Arab Spring in February 2011, a movement demonstrating against Gaddafi spread across the country. Gaddafi responded by dispatching the military and plainclothes armed men on streets to attack demonstrators; however, many switched sides. Gaddafi went into acivil war with the movement. On August 23, 2011, Gaddafi lost control of Tripoli, and effective control of Libya with the rebel’s capture of the Bab al-Azizia compound. Gaddafi’s loyalist forces continue warfare in limited locations.
He faces prosecution by the International Criminal Court, which has issued an arrest warrant for crimes against humanity. Gaddafi’s current whereabouts remain unknown. Billions of dollars of his assets have been frozen. London has recently unfrozen 1.6 billion dollars of his assets and assigned them in humanitarian aid for Tripoli.