LIBYA stretches on 1,760,000 km and has an estimate population of about 6 million people – almost all of them Arab Muslim Sunnites. Most of the population is living along the Mediterranean coast while the rest of the country is a spacious empty desert rich with high quality oil. LIBYA, which was an Italian colony since 1912, became an independent Monarchy on 01/01/1952 and, following a military coup on 09/01/1969, reshaped as an Arab Socialist Republic under the rule of Muammar Gaddafi.
LIBYA was never an Islamic theological center. The political aspirations of Muammar Gaddafi were towards the African World and the Arab World. He believes in nationalism of African nations and unification of the Arab nations under an Arab flag – not a Muslim one. In the years of the Cold War, in the 70s’ and 80s’, LIBYA sponsored and collaborated with nationalists, socialists and Trotskyites terror cell in Europe. LIBYA was involved the 12/21/1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103, which caused the death of 270 people, and other terror attacks. On 03/31/1992 the UN Security Council approved harsh sanctions that isolated LIBYA form the Western Democracies. The ongoing conflict with the Western powers and the sanctions reduced the every day friction with the western culture in LIBYA.
Muammar Gaddafi, which has zero tolerance to Radical Islam – the antithesis of Socialism and nationalism, managed to create for the LIBYAN people an agenda of national pride and a sense of equality toward the Western countries as an alternative agenda to a world wide Islamic solidarity and the feeling of humiliation, which fueled the Global Jihad.
Therefore Radical Islam had only a minor grip on the LIBYAN society. A small Jihadi organization – the ‘LIBYA Islamic Fighting Group’ (LIFG) with the aim of overthrowing LIBYAN leader Muammar Gaddafi operated in LIBYA in 90s’ but never gained the support of the masses.
Since 2003 the country has made efforts to normalize its ties with the European Union and the USA and has even coined the catchphrase: ‘The LIBYA Model’, an example intended to show the world what can be achieved through negotiation rather than force when there is goodwill on both sides.
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