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Libya

LIBYA

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
TOPOGRAPHY
CLIMATE
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENVIRONMENT
POPULATION
MIGRATION
ETHNIC GROUPS
LANGUAGES
RELIGIONS
TRANSPORTATION
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL PARTIES
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
ARMED FORCES
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
ECONOMY
INCOME
LABOR
AGRICULTURE
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
FISHING
FORESTRY
MINING
ENERGY AND POWER
INDUSTRY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DOMESTIC TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
INSURANCE
PUBLIC FINANCE
TAXATION
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
FOREIGN INVESTMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HEALTH
HOUSING
EDUCATION
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
MEDIA
ORGANIZATIONS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS LIBYANS
DEPENDENCIES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

Al-Jamahiriyah al-'Arabiyah al-Libiyah ash-Sha'biyah al-Ishtirakiyah

CAPITAL: Tripoli (Tarabulus)

FLAG: The national flag is plain green.

ANTHEM: Almighty God.

MONETARY UNIT: The Libyan dinar (ld) of 1,000 dirhams is a paper currency. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dirhams, and notes of ¼, ½, 1, 5, and 10 dinars. ld1 = $0.76923 (or $1 = ld1.3) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard, but some local weights and measures are used.

HOLIDAYS: UK Evacuation Day, 28 March; US Evacuation Day, 11 June; Anniversary of the Revolution, 1 September; Constitution Day, 7 October. Muslim religious holidays include 'Id al-Fitr, 'Id al-'Adha', the 1st of Muharram, and Milad an-Nabi.

TIME: 2 pm = noon GMT.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

Situated on the coast of North Africa, Libya is the fourth-largest country on the continent, with an area of 1,759,540 sq km (679,362 sq mi), extending 1,989 km (1,236 mi) senw and 1,502 km (933 mi) nesw. Comparatively, the area occupied by Libya is slightly larger than the state of Alaska. It is bounded on the n by the Mediterranean Sea, on the e by Egypt, on these by the Sudan, on the s by Chad and Niger, on the w by Algeria, and on the nw by Tunisia, with a total land boundary length of 4,348 km (2,702 mi) and a coastline of 1,770 km (1,100 mi).

The Aozou Strip (114,000 sq km/44,000 sq mi) in northern Chad was claimed and had been occupied by Libya since 1973; in a judgment of 3 February 1994, the UN International Court of Justice returned the Aozou strip to Chad. Monitored by an observer force deployed by the UN Security Council, Libyan forces withdrew on 31 May 1994. However, Chadian rebels from the Aozou still reside in Libya. Libya also claims about 19,400 sq km (7,490 sq mi) of Nigerian territory.

Libya's capital city, Tripoli, is located on the Mediterranean coast.

TOPOGRAPHY

Libya forms part of the North African plateau extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. The highest point is Bikku Bitti, or Bette Peak, a 2,267-m (7,438-ft) peak in the extreme south. The chief geographical areas are Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, the Sirte Desert, and Fezzan. Tripolitania, in the northwest, consists of a series of terraces rising slowly from sea level along the coastal plain of Al-Jifara to a sharp escarpment. At the top of this escarpment is an upland plateau of sand, scrub, and scattered masses of stone, with elevations of up to 1,000 m (3,300 ft). Farther south are depressions extending from east to west. Here are found many oases and artesian wells.

The Sirte Desert is a barren area along the Gulf of Sidra separating Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. An upland plateau rising to about 600 m (2,000 ft) gives a rugged coastline to Cyrenaica. This plateau, the Jabal Akhdar, contains three of Libya's leading citiesBanghāzī (or Benghazi), Al Baydā, and Darnah. Farther south the desert is studded with oases such as Jālū and Al Jaghbūb. The Fezzan, in the southwest, is largely a series of depressions with occasional oases. There are no perennial rivers in the country.

CLIMATE

The climate has marked seasonal variations influenced by both the Mediterranean Sea and the desert. Along the Tripolitanian coast, summer temperatures reach between 40 and 46°c (104115°f); farther south, temperatures are even higher. Summers in the north of Cyrenaica range from 2732°c (8190°f). In Tobruk, the average January temperature is 13°c (55°f); July, 26°c (79°f). The ghibli, a hot, dry desert wind, can change temperatures by 1722°c (3040°f) in both summer and winter.

Rainfall varies from region to region. Rain falls generally in a short winter period and frequently causes floods. Evaporation is high, and severe droughts are common. The Jabal Akhdar region of Cyrenaica receives a yearly average of 4060 cm (1624 in). Other regions have less than 20 cm (8 in), and the Sahara has less than 5 cm (2 in) a year.

FLORA AND FAUNA

The primary plant is the deadly carrot (Thapsia garganica). Other flora are various cultivated fruit trees, olive trees, date palms, junipers, and mastic trees. Goats and cattle are found in the extreme north. In the south, sheep and camels are numerous. As of 2002, there were at least 76 species of mammals, 76 species of birds, and over 1,800 species of plants throughout the country.

ENVIRONMENT

A major environmental concern is the depletion of underground water as a result of overuse in agricultural developments, causing salinity and seawater penetration into the coastal aquifers. The Great Manmade River Project, developed to transport water from large aquifers under the Sahara Desert to coastal cities, is the world's most extensive water supply project. Another significant environmental problem in Libya is water pollution. The combined impact of sewage, oil by-products, and industrial waste threatens the nation's coast and the Mediterranean Sea generally. Libya has about 1 cu km of renewable water resources. Only about 68% of the people living in rural areas have pure drinking water. The desertification of existing fertile areas is being combated by the planting of trees as windbreaks.

According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the number of threatened species included 5 types of mammals, 7 species of birds, 3 types of reptiles, 9 species of fish, and 1 species of plant. Endangered species in Libya included the Mediterranean monk seal, the leopard, and the slender-horned gazelle. The Bubal hartebeest and Sahara oryx are extinct.

POPULATION

The population of Libya in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 5,766,000, which placed it at number 106 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 4% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 35% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 107 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 20052010 was expected to be 2.4%, a rate the government viewed as satisfactory. The projected population for the year 2025 was 8,323,000. The overall population density was 3 per sq km (8 per sq mi), but 90% of Libya's inhabitants live in the narrow coastal regions of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania.

The UN estimated that 86% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 2.15%. The capital city, Tripoli (Tarabulus), had a population of 2,006,000 in that year. Banghāzī, another chief city, had an estimated population of 1,033,000.

MIGRATION

The number of Italians was as high as 70,000 during the period of colonial rule. In 1964 Italians numbered 30,000, but most left after their land and property were nationalized in 1970. There were 30,000 Jews in Libya in 1948, but because of the Arab-Israeli conflict the community had virtually disappeared by 1973.

In 1984 there were officially 263,100 non-Libyans in the country, of whom more than 40% were Egyptians and 15% were Tunisians. The remainder came from a variety of other countries in Africa, the Mideast, and elsewhere. This figure was less than half the 569,000 foreigners in 1983, before new restrictions were placed on remittances abroad. In 1992, the foreign population was estimated at two million, half of them Egyptian, and 600,000 from South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. This estimated figure probably reflects illegal immigration. About 100,000 Libyans were in exile in the mid-1980s.

The nomadic inhabitants of Libya follow regular patterns of migration; nomadic tribes in the south normally ignore international frontiers. Since the discovery of oil there has been significant internal migration from rural to urban regions.

In 2000 there were 570,000 migrants living in Libya, including 11,500 refugees. In 2004 there were 12,166 refugees, mainly from Palestine, and 200 asylum seekers, all located in Tripoli. Also, in that same year over 700 Libyans sought asylum in Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Norway. In 2005, the net migration rate was estimated at zero. The government views the immigration level as too high, but the emigration level as satisfactory.

ETHNIC GROUPS

For thousands of years the inhabitants of Libya were Berbers. Arabs started arriving in the 7th century ad, displacing or assimilating their Berber predecessors. The latest estimates indicate that 97% of the total population is comprised of Berbers and Arabs. The remaining 3% are made up of Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians.

LANGUAGES

Arabic is the official language; since 1969, its use in daily life, even by foreigners, has been encouraged by government decree. English, which is also used in some government publications, has replaced Italian as the second language; however, Italian is still widely understood. Berber is spoken by small communities, especially in Tripolitania. Native speakers constitute about 5% of the population.

RELIGIONS

Under the constitution, Islam is Libya's official religion and the government publicly supports a preference for a moderate practice of Islam. About 97% of the people are Sunni Muslim. In an effort to eliminate alternative political power bases, the government banned the once powerful Sanusiyya Islamic order. Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi then established the Islamic Call Society, which is the Islamic arm of the government's foreign policy. The ICS's main goal was to promote a moderate form of Islam, reflecting the views of the government.

Though other religions are generally tolerated, the government places a number of restrictions, which essentially limit the practice of non-Muslim faiths. There are no known places of worship for the small number of Hindus, Baha'is and Buddhists within the country. Proselytizing is prohibited. Members of non-Muslim faiths are, however, free to worship within their own homes. There are about 100,000 Christians in the country, with about half of them being Roman Catholics. Other denominations include Anglican and Coptic and Greek Orthodox. There is also a very small Jewish community.

TRANSPORTATION

Transportation varies from dirt tracks suitable for camels and donkeys to a coastal highway extending for 1,822 km (1,132 mi) between the Tunisian and Egyptian borders. At the end of 1968, this highway was connected with a north-south road to Sabhā. Further extensions to Murzūq and Ghat were later completed, as well as a spur to Birāk. In 1973, a 350-km (217-mi) road between Nalut and Ghadamis was completed. Roads also connect the Cyrenaica coastal centers with the interior. In all, there were an estimated 24,484 km (15,214 mi) of roads in 2002, of which 6,798 km (4,224 mi) were paved. In 2003, there were 368,600 private cars and 354,000 commercial vehicles registered in the country.

As of 2004, Libya had no operating railways, following the closure in the mid-1960s of two railway lines and the dismantling of the rest. However, work has begun on seven new standard gauge lines, totaling 2,757 km (1,715 mi), which it is hoped, will be completed by 2008.

The main ports are Tripoli, Banghāzī, Qasr Ahmad (the port for Mişratāh), and Tobruk. Crude oil export terminals include Port Brega (Marsá al-Burayqah) and Ras Lanuf. Since 1973, Tripoli's harbor has been developed considerably. As of 2005, Libya's merchant fleet had 17 vessels of 1,000 GRT or more, totaling 129,627 GRT.

In 2004, there were an estimated 139 airports. As of 2005, a total of 59 had paved runways, and there were 2 heliports. Libya's two international airports are Tripoli Airport (34 km/21 mi south of Tripoli) and Benina Airport (19 km/12 mi from Banghāzī). In 1968, a new airport at Sabhā in the Fezzan was opened. Libyan Arab Airlines, established in 1965, operates to neighboring Arab countries, central and southern Africa, and Europe. Many major world airlines serve Libya. There is also regular domestic service, with airports at Tobruk, Port Brega, Ghat, Ghadamis, Mişratāh, and Al Baydā. In 2003, about 627,000 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.

HISTORY

Archaeological evidence indicates that a Neolithic culture, skilled in the domestication of cattle and the cultivation of crops, existed as far back as 6000 bc along the Libyan coast. To the south, in what is now the Sahara, hunters and herdsmen roamed what was then a well-watered savanna. Increasing desiccation and the coming of the Berbers about 2000 bc presumably, from southwestern Asia, ended this period. The pharaohs of the so-called Libyan dynasties who ruled Egypt (c.950720 bc) are thought to have been Berbers. Phoenician seafarers, who arrived early in the first millennium bc, founded settlements along the coast, including one that became Tripoli.

Around the 7th century bc, Greek colonists settled in Cyrenaica. In succeeding centuries, the western settlements fell under the sway of Carthage; the eastern settlements fell to the Egyptian dynasty of the Ptolemies in the 4th century bc. When the Romans defeated Carthage in the Punic Wars of the 3rd and 2nd centuries bc, they occupied the regions around Tripoli. In 96 bc, they forced Egypt to surrender Cyrenaica, and Roman influence later extended as far south as the Fezzan. Libya became very prosperous under Roman rule; with the decline of Rome, western Libya fell in the 5th century ad to Germanic Vandal invaders, who ruled from Carthage. In the 6th century, the Byzantines conquered the Vandals and ruled the coastal regions of Libya until the Arab conquest of the 7th century. The Arabs intermixed with the Berbers, who were gradually absorbed into the Muslim Arab culture.

Western Libya was administered by the Aghlabids of Tunisia in the 9th century, and by the Fatimids of Tunisia and then Egypt in the 10th. During the 11th century, invasions by two nomadic Arab peoples, the Banu Hilal and Banu Sulaym, destroyed many of the urban and agricultural areas. Normans from Sicily occupied Tripoli and surrounding regions in 1145 but were soon displaced by the Almohads of Morocco; during the 13th century, the Hafsids of Tunisia ruled western Libya. The eastern regions remained subject to Egyptian dynasties. In the 16th century, Spanish invaders seized parts of the coast, turning over control of Tripoli to the crusading Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. The Ottoman Turks occupied the coastal regions in 1551, ruling the country until 1711, when Ahmad Qaramanli, of Turkish origin, wrested semiautonomous status from Istanbul. Pirate captains, operating out of Tripoli, raided the Mediterranean and the Italian coasts. The Qaramanlis ruled until 1835, when the Ottomans again assumed control.

In September 1911, the Italians invaded Libya, meeting fierce resistance from both Turks and indigenous Libyans. A peace treaty of 17 October 1912 between Turkey and Italy placed Libya formally under Italian rule, but the Libyans continued their resistance. Led by a Muslim religious brotherhood, the Sanusi, the Libyans (with some Turkish help) fought the Italians to a standstill during World War I. Following the war, and particularly after the accession of Benito Mussolini to power in Italy, the Italians continued their often-brutal efforts to conquer Libya. In 1931, 'Umar al-Mukhtar, a leader of the Sanusi, was captured and executed, and in 1932 the Italian conquest was completed. In World War II, Libya became a main battleground for Allied and Axis forces, until it was occupied by victorious British and Free French troops. The Treaty of 1947 between Italy and the Allies ended Italian rule in Libya and, when the Allies could not decide upon the country's future, Libya's fate was left to the UN. On 21 November 1949, the UN General Assembly voted that Libya should become an independent state. On 24 December 1951, Libya gained independence, with Muhammad Idris al-Mahdi as-Sanusi as king. In 1959 significant oil discoveries were made.

On 1 September 1969, a secret army organization, the Free Unionist Officers, deposed the king and proclaimed a republican regime. On 8 September, the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) announced the formation of a civilian government. This government resigned on 16 January 1970, and a new cabinet was formed under Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, chairman of the RCC. Later that year, the United Kingdom and the United States closed their military installations. On 15 April 1973, Qadhafi called for a "cultural revolution" based on Islamic principles. In subsequent months, hundreds of "people's committees" were established to oversee all sectors of the nation's political, cultural, and economic life. In April 1974, Qadhafi withdrew from the supervision of daily administrative functions (these were assumed by Maj. Abdul Salam Jallud), but he remained the effective head of state of Libya.

Qadhafi sought to make Libya the axis of a unified Arab nation. Union was achieved with Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Syria, and Sudan at various times, but only on paper. Subsequent relations with the many Arab nations, including Egypt and Tunisia, have often been tense. Libya itself, despite rhetorical support for radical Palestinians, has stayed on the sidelines in Arab-Israeli conflicts.

Qadhafi has been equally active in Africa. In 1973, he annexed from Chad the disputed Aouzou Strip, an area that may contain rich deposits of uranium. In 1979, his armed forces tried unsuccessfully to prop up the failing regime of Idi Amin in Uganda. Libya sent over 10,000 troops into Chad in 1980 in support of the regime of Goukouni Oueddei, and a union of the two nations was proposed. Intense international pressure, however, led to a Libyan withdrawal in November 1981. After the fall of Oueddei's regime in June 1982, Qadhafi provided military support for Oueddei's efforts to topple the new French-backed government in Chad. Libya's and Oueddei's forces were in control of much of northern Chad until 1987, when Chadian forces ousted them, capturing or destroying $1 billion in Libyan military equipment, and attacking bases inside Libya itself. In 1989, after acknowledging his error in moving into Chad, Qadhafi agreed to a cease-fire and the submission of the dispute over the Aouzou Strip to the Court of International Justice. The Court settled the dispute in Chad's favor in 1994.

Qadhafi has been accused of supporting subversive plots in such countries as Morocco, Niger, Sudan, Egypt, Tunisia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Gambia, Somalia, Senegal, and Mali and of providing material support for a variety of insurgents, including the Irish Republican Army, Muslim rebels in the Philippines, and Japanese and German terrorists. Qadhafi did find some support in small, poor black African countries, eager for Libyan aid. In 1982, however, he suffered a setback when the annual OAU summit scheduled for Tripoli failed to convene because of disputes over Libya's policies in Chad and its support of Polisario guerrillas in Western Sahara. As a result, Qadhafi was denied his term as OAU chairman. In contrast, in February 1997 in a deliberate jab at the UN Security Council's sanctions against Libya over the Lockerbie bombing affair, the OAU Ministerial Council met in Tripoli, the first time this meeting had been convened outside of its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In 1981, two Libyan jets were shot down by US fighters over the Gulf of Sidra, an arm of the Mediterranean claimed by Qadhafi as Libya's territorial waters. In 1982, the United States, charging Qadhafi with supporting international terrorism, banned oil imports from Libya and the export of US technology to Libya. In January 1986, the United States, citing "irrefutable evidence" of Libyan involvement in Palestinian attacks on airports in Rome and Vienna in the previous month, ordered all Americans to leave Libya and cut off all economic ties as of mid-1986. In March, a US naval task force struck four Libyan vessels after US planes entering airspace over the Libyan-claimed Gulf of Sidra were fired upon. On 15 April, following a West Berlin bomb attack in which US servicemen were victims, US warplanes bombed targets in Tripoli and Banghāzī. Libya said that Qadhafi's daughter was killed and two of his sons were wounded in the attack. Qadhafi survived several reported assassination and coup attempts in the 1980s and 1990s as well as the opposition of Islamist groups, which prompted him to crack down on militants in 1993.

Qadhafi's most serious challenge in the recent past was the tough sanctions imposed since 1992 and 1993 on Libya by the UN Security Council after he refused to surrender two men suspected in the terrorist bombing of a Pan American passenger jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. The UN resolutions (nos. 731 and 883) prohibited sales of equipment and air travel to Libya and froze its overseas bank deposits but significantly, did not ban sales of petroleum products. Throughout the period of the sanctions the United States repeatedly attempted to persuade the UN to impose an oil embargo against Libya, but it was not successful. After numerous pleas to the UN by Arab and African countries and organizations to the UN Security Council to lift the sanctions, and numerous rounds of negotiations, in August 1998 Qadhafi agreed to eventually hand over the two Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie bombing for trial in the Netherlands before Scottish judges. The suspects were transferred to the Netherlands in April 1999. This decision led to an easing of tensions, with a suspension of the UN sanctions (although they were not lifted at the time) and Britain resuming full diplomatic relations in July 1999. The United States, however, remained committed to the branding of Libya as a supporter of international terrorism and therefore a pariah state. In January 2001, the Scottish court in the Netherlands found one of the two Libyan defendants guilty of involvement in the Lockerbie bombing, and sentenced him to life imprisonment. The other Libyan was acquitted. US president, George W. Bush, stated sanctions would remain in place not only until Libya compensated for the bombing of the aircraft, but also until Libya admitted guilt and expressed remorse for the act. In mid-2002, Libya stated that it was ready, in principle, to pay families of the victims of the bombing compensation in the amount of us$2.7 billion (us$10 million for each of the 270 victims). In August 2003, Libya accepted the responsibility for the actions of its officials and payment of the compensation to the victims' families. UN sanctions were lifted in September 2003, and US International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) sanctions were lifted in September 2004.

In early September 1995, Libya began deporting thousands of Arab workers, primarily Palestinian, Sudanese, and Egyptian. In a speech on 1 September 1995, Qadhafi stated that foreigners (including some 30,000 Palestinians) were being expelled in order to create jobs for Libyans, although the move was widely interpreted as punishment of the PLO for holding peace talks with Israel. Qadhafi stated that many of those being deported were Islamic militant "infiltrators" posing as migrant workers. On 6 and 7 September, at least 30 people were killed in Banghāzī when armed Islamic militants battled Libyan security forces during a roundup of workers for deportation. By 11 September, 7,000 Egyptians had been expelled, and thousands of Palestinians were stranded either at sea or at the border wi The gypt. The deportations continued into October, when 650 Palestinians were stranded aboard a ferry off the coast of Cyprus, and 850 were still camped on the Egyptian border.

In March 1996, as many as 400 prisonersmany of them government opponents and Islamic militantsbroke out of a prison near Banghāzī. The ensuing clash with Libyan troops was viewed by many observers as an indication of significant antigovernment feeling in eastern Libya. The growth of the Islamist movement in Libya is cause for concern in the region and for Qadhafi's maintenance in power.

In May 2001, Libya sent troops into the Central African Republic to aid President Ange-Félix Patassé and his supporters, to regain power after a failed coup attempt. It withdrew its troops in December 2002; Qadhafi stated the mission of restoring peace and stability to the country had been achieved. That month, Libya denied allegations put forward by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC) that it was sending troops and equipment into Congolese territory along the border with the Central African Republic. On 13 December, the DROC government wrote the UN Security Council to condemn Libya's actions and to demand an immediate withdrawal of Libyan troops from its territory. The DROC accused Libya of aiding the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC), a rebel group.

Qadhafi has long called for reforms in the Arab League, including the creation of a single Arab currency, the forging of closer ties between the Arab League and the African Union, and the use of Arab military force against Israel if it does not agree to the "complete return of the Palestinians to their land."

In January 2003, Libya was elected by secret ballot to head the UN Commission on Human Rights. The votes were 33 in favor, 3 opposed, and 17 abstentions. This caused international controversy, and led to calls for reform of the UN. In 2006, plans were being made to create a new Human Rights Council to replace the UN Commission on Human Rights. The Human Rights Council is meant to be a standing body that would meet year-round to promote and protect human rights with a membership that excluded the worst human rights violators.

In December 2003, Libya publicly announced its intention to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)-class missile programs. Since that time, it has cooperated with the United States, the United Kingdom, the IAEA, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons toward these objectives. Libya also signed the IAEA Additional Protocol, and became a state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

GOVERNMENT

The Libyan Arab Republic was established on 1 September 1969, and a new constitution was announced by the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) on 11 December 1969. The constitution, which has been effectively superseded by the principles of Qadhafi's "Green Book," proclaimed Libya to be "an Arab, democratic, and free Republic, which constitutes part of the Arab nation and whose objective is comprehensive Arab unity." Supreme authority rested with the 12-member RCC, which appointed both the prime minister and cabinet. Qadhafi, as chairman of the RCC, was the effective head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces. In March 1977, the nation's name was changed to the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and the "authority of the people" was proclaimed by a newly convened General People's Congress (GPC). The people theoretically exercise their authority through a system of some 600 people's congresses and committees. At the top of this system is the GPC, which replaced the RCC as the supreme instrument of government. The 760 GPC members are chosen out of about 2,700 representatives of the basic people's congresses. All executive and legislative authority is vested in the GPC, but it meets for only two weeks a year and delegates most of its authority to its own Secretariat and to the General People's Committee, in effect the cabinet, which is appointed by the Secretariat. GPC members serve three-year terms. Voting for local people's congresses, whose elected members select members of the GPC, is mandatory for those over 18. In 1979, Qadhafi gave up his official post as secretary-general of the GPC to become a "private citizen." As "Leader of the Revolution," however, he remains the de facto head of state. He also remains the commander of the armed forces and virtually all power is concentrated in him and his close advisers. In 1988, public discontent with shortages led Qadhafi to limit the authority of revolutionary committees, release many political prisoners, and remove restrictions on foreign travel and private enterprise.

In the 1990s Qadhafi saw his regime challenged by discontented military personnel and Islamist groups. Several assassination attempts have been reported, both within the military and from armed Islamist groups. His intolerance of opposition has continued. In March 1997 the GPC adopted the Charter of Honor, imposing collective punishment on Libyans convicted of crimes of disorder, such as sabotage, drug and arms trafficking, and "terrorists, criminals, saboteurs and heretics." The charter is clearly aimed at opponents of the regime.

POLITICAL PARTIES

Political parties have not played an important role in Libya's history. All political parties were banned in 1947 by British administrators, but many groups soon emerged to debate their country's future. By 1949, the Tripolitanian National Congress Party, led by Bashir Sadawi, was the leading party. However, it was dissolved in 1952, following local disorders, after Libya's first election campaign.

In 1971, the RCC founded the Libyan Arab Socialist Union as an alternative to political parties. It was viewed as an organization to promote national unity but has functioned little since 1977. Seven exiled opposition groups agreed in Cairo in January 1987 to form a joint working group, but their work had no discernible impact on political conditions in Libya. The following groups have been in opposition to the government: Fighting Islamic Group, Islamic Martyrs' Movement, Libyan Baathist Party, Libyan Conservatives' Party, Libyan Democratic Movement, Libyan Democratic Authority, Libyan Democratic Conference, Libyan Movement for Change and Reform, Libyan National Alliance, Movement of Patriotic Libyans, National Front for the Salvation of Libya, Libya Islamic Group, and Supporters of God.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Jamahiriya means "state of the masses" and politically implementing this system would involve a process of total decentralization of power, whereby all decisions would be left to the citizens via direct democracy. One source claims that in 1998 the GPC divided Libya into 26 governorates (Sha'biyah), each to be headed by the secretary of a people's committee. However, other sources differ on the structure of the local government. According to some sources, Libya is divided into 3 provinces, 10 governorates, and 1,500 administrative communes. One source lists a subdivision of 34 governorates. The CIA reports that there are 25 "municipalities," but notes that they may have been replaced by 13 "regions." There are municipal people's congresses, as well as vocational, production, professional, and craft people's congresses. Although in theory Qadhafi plans to decentralize power to the 600 popular congresses, most decision-making power is tightly controlled by the central government. The municipal people's congresses appoint people's committees to execute policy.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

The Proclamation of People's Authority designates the Holy Quran as the law of society. The Libyan legal system largely follows Egyptian codes and precedents. All cases relating to personal status are dealt with according to Muslim law. Minor civil and commercial cases were heard in summary courts by a sitting judge in each village and town until January 2005. Cases of the first instance are heard by courts of first instance, and appeals may be taken to courts of appeal. A separate body called the Shariah Court of Appeals hears cases appealed from the lower courts involving Islamic law. There is also a Supreme Court, consisting of a president and judges appointed by the GPC. It may deal with constitutional and legislative questions referred to it and may hear administrative cases. Special revolutionary courts try political offenses.

The 1994 Purge Law provides for the confiscation of private assets above a certain amount. The law requires that the confiscated property should be given to the poor.

ARMED FORCES

In 2005, the armed forces of Libya numbered 76,000 active and some 40,000 reserve personnel. The Army had an estimated 45,000 personnel armed with 2,025 main battle tanks, 120 reconnaissance vehicles, over 1,000 armored infantry fighting vehicles, 945 armored personnel carriers, and over 2,421 artillery pieces. The Navy had 8,000 personnel including the Coast Guard. Major naval units included 5 tactical submarines, 2 frigates, 4 corvettes and 23 patrol/coastal vessels. The Air Force numbered an estimated 23,000 active personnel, operating 374 combat capable aircraft, including 7 bombers, 229 fighters and 113 fighter ground attack aircraft. The service also had 60 attack helicopters. The military budget was $620 million in 2005.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Libya joined the United Nations on 14 December 1955 and is a member of ECA and several nonregional specialized agencies, such as the FAO, UNESCO, IAEA, IFC, ILO, the World Bank, and the WHO. The country joined the Arab League in 1953, the OAU (now the African Union) in 1963, and OPEC in 1962. In January 1968, it was a founding member of OAPEC, along with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Libya also belongs to the African Development Bank, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa,

the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Council of Arab Economic Unity, the Community of Sahel and Saharan States (CENSAD), the Arab Maghreb Union, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), and G-77. The country is an observer in the WTO.

Libya has been listed as a State Sponsor of Terrorism by the United States, even though the government has offered strong commitments to the United Nations to renounce and fight against terrorism. Libya is part of the Nonaligned Movement. In environmental cooperation, Libya is part of the Basel Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the London Convention, the Montréal Protocol, and the UN Conventions on Climate Change and Desertification.

ECONOMY

Until the late 1950s, Libya was one of the poorest countries in the world. In 1950, per capita annual income was about $40, while Libya's most valuable source of foreign earnings was the revenue received for leasing bases to the United Kingdom and United States (the bases were vacated in 1970). But with the discovery of the Zaltan oil field in 1959, the economic horizons of the country were dramatically enlarged. The first oil pipeline, from B'ir Zaltan to the coast, was opened in 1961. More oil fields were subsequently discovered, until in 1970 a peak oil output of 159.9 million tons was achieved. Production has fallen since then, but its value has increased, and Libya remains one of the world's leading oil producers. Petroleum, petroleum products, and natural gas accounted for almost all the value of exports and for one-quarter of GDP in 2002. As of 2002, Libya had 12 oil fields with reserves of 1 billion barrels or more each, and two others with reserves of 500 million1 billion barrels.

Until the late 1950s, about 80% of the population was engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry; in 1999, however, only 18% of the labor force was engaged in agricultural pursuits. Agriculture, forestry, and fishing represented only 5% of GDP in 1999. A massive water pipeline project, called the Great Man-made River (GMR) project was initiated in 1984, and was expected to take 25 years to complete. The GMR is built to carry water in a 427 km (267mi) pipeline from 225 underground wells to a 3.3 million liter (880,000 gallon) reservoir. This scheme envisaged providing irrigation large areas devoted to cereal cultivation. The government believed that this project would help Libya achieve self-sufficiency in grain (the country has to import at least 75% of its food needs). Total costs of the GMR were likely to exceed $25 billion.

The GDP was believed to have fallen 20% during 198486 due to low oil prices. After 1985, growth rates fluctuated sharply, reflecting changes in the oil market. Growth in GDP fell by 3% in 1998 due, once again, to falling oil prices, but prices rose in 19992000, leading to an increase in export revenues and a rise in GDP growth to 3% in 2001. In 2002, Libya devalued the official exchange rate of the dinar by 51% to increase the competitiveness of its firms and to attract foreign investment. At the same time it cut its customs duty rate by 50% on most imports to offset the effects of the currency devaluation.

Between 1992 and 1999, during the UN-imposed air embargo, many large projects were postponed because of budget restrictions. Libya's isolation slowed the pace of oil exploration through the absence of major foreign oil companies. Lack of outlets limited the development of refineries, petrochemicals, and gas facilities. In 1999, the UN sanctions on Libyaan air and arms embargowere suspended because of the extradition of two suspects in the bombing of the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie. Oil companies are eager to exploit Libya's resources, and Libya as of 2003 was actively courting foreign companies to help develop its production capacity from 1.5 million barrels per day to 2 million barrels per day over a five-year period. Libya is looking to cast itself as a key economic intermediary between Europe and Africa.

The economy expanded by 9.3% in 2004, up from 9.1% in 2003; in 2005, the GDP growth rate was estimated at 8.5%. The inflation rate was in the negatives for some years, and at -3.4% in 2004 it posed problems to the export sector. The unemployment rate was 30% and represented one of the main problems the government had to deal with. The oil sector continued to be the main foreign exchange provider, but revenues from it are unevenly distributed across the different layers of society. The country's geographic location and its poor soils limit agricultural output, which means that most of the food (75%) has to be imported.

INCOME

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Libya's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $48.2 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $8,400. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 8.5%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 7.6% of GDP, industry 49.9%, and services 42.5%.

Foreign aid receipts amounted to $10 million or about $2 per capita.

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Libya totaled $10.97 billion or about $1,973 per capita based on a GDP of $23.5 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings.

LABOR

As of 2005, Libya's labor force totaled an estimated 1.64 million people. Unemployment as of 2004 was put at 30%. It was estimated that for 1997 (the latest year for which data was available), 17% of the workforce was in agriculture, with 29% in industry and 54% in the services sector. Foreign workers, who do much of the bluecollar and technical work, are not treated wi The quality under Libyan labor law, and may only stay in the country for the duration of their employment contracts. The largest employer is the government, which operates public utilities, public works, several banks, the port and harbor organizations, and other enterprises.

The National Trade Unions' Federation is the official trade organization, and any independent union or association is prohibited. All Libyan workers are required to join a trade union. Foreign workers may not join unions and have little protection. There is no collective bargaining; the government controls all employment matters. Strikes are not permitted. Foreign workers make up a large part of the labor force, but are subject to arbitrary treatment.

There is no information about the prevalence of child labor although the minimum age for employment is legally set at 18 years old. The maximum legal workweek is 48 hours. The average family wage is estimated at $170 a month, but it is reported that employees are irregularly paid, especially in the public sector.

AGRICULTURE

Only about 1.2% of the country is cultivated. As of 2003, irrigation covered about 470,000 hectares (1,161,000 acres), or 22% of the cultivated area.

Agriculture is the only economic sector in which private ownership is still important. Cereals are grown in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica; agriculture in the Fezzan is concentrated in the oases. Virtually all crops are grown for domestic consumption. Nevertheless, most agricultural products must be imported; the cost, in 2004, was over $1.1 billion. Estimated agricultural output in 2004, in tons, included potatoes, 195,000; tomatoes, 190,000; wheat, 125,000; and barley, 80,000. The 2004 production of fruits, in tons, included watermelons, 240,000; dates, 150,000; olives, 180,000; oranges, 44,000; and apples, 20,000.

Libya is investing a significant share of national revenues in agriculture in the hope of someday becoming agriculturally self-sufficient; cultivation has been changing from subsistence farming to highly mechanized operations. Development plans aim to increase irrigation and introduce and extend the use of advanced techniques; seeds and fertilizers have been subsidized. Areas singled out for development include the Al-Jifara Plain in Tripolitania; the Jabal Akhdar, east of Banghāzī; part of the Fezzan; and the oases of Kufrah and Sarir. In the Kufrah oasis, large, untapped water reserves are being utilized to help provide fodder for sheep. In 1984, Libya embarked on a massive project to pipe water to the coast from underwater aquifers. The project was designed to transport 2 million cu m of water per day via 2,000 km (1,240 mi) of pipeline from 270 artesian wells in the east to connect Sirte and Banghāzī. The first phase was inaugurated in 1991 at a cost of $5 billion; the total project is estimated to cost $25 billion. In all, the scheme would provide 50 years of irrigation to the coastal areas, where 80% of Libya's agriculture is located.

A government agency markets farm produce and has authority to operate cooperatives and farms. The Agricultural Bank has been provided with sufficient capital to make short- and long-term loans easily available.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Before the transformation of the economy by the discovery of oil, livestock was an important sector, providing transport, clothing, food, and skins for tents. South of the Jabal areas, a wide belt of drought-resistant vegetation extending across most of the country is still used by nomadic and seminomadic herdsmen for grazing. In the Fezzan, the nomads move about between oases or other places where vegetation is suitable for their animals. Libya's livestock are vulnerable to disease and drought, and in past years losses have reached as high as 60%.

The livestock population of Libya in 2005 included 4,500,000 sheep, 1,265,000 goats, 130,000 head of cattle, 47,000 camels, 45,000 horses, 30,000 donkeys, and 25 million chickens. Private dairy farms are allowed to operate, but their milk has to be sold to the state. The government maintains large poultry farms.

New strains of livestock and more efficient grazing practices are being encouraged. The government hopes its development plans will make Libya self-sufficient in meat supplies. Livestock products in 2005 included 142,000 tons of meat, 60,000 tons of eggs, and 130,000 tons of cow's milk.

FISHING

Fishing is of minor importance, but the government is actively supporting extension of fishing and related activities, including the construction of sardine canning factories and modern storage facilities in the principal ports and the creation of local fishing fleets. Libya's excellent fishing grounds contain tuna, sardines, and other fish. The catch was 33,671 tons in 2003. Landings of bluefin and bigeye tuna have sharply increased since 1990. The value of fish exports significantly rose from $380,000 in 1990 to $79.5 million in 2003.

FORESTRY

The only important forest areas in Libya are shrubby juniper growths in the Jabal Akhdar areas of Cyrenaica. A few conifers are found in more isolated districts. Tripolitania has some forest remnants in inaccessible regions. Encroaching sand dunes in the north create a need for afforestation, and many acacia, Aleppo pine, carob, cypress, eucalyptus, olive, and palm trees have been planted. Some 358,000 hectares (884,600 acres) of Libyan territory are classified as "forest," but almost all of this land could more properly be called maquis. Dune fixation, both for reforestation and to preserve agricultural land, has been an important part of the forestry program.

Up to 1976, the government had planted 213 million seedlings, mostly in western Libya. By 1981, 165,405 hectares (408,722 acres) of forest and 63,443 hectares (156,770 acres) of windbreak had been planted. During the 1980s, reforestation was proceeding at the rate of 32,000 hectares (79,000 acres) per year, but that rate slowed to 5,000 hectares (12,300 acres) during the 1990s. In 2004, roundwood removals were estimated at 652,000 cu m (23 million cu ft), of which 536,000 cu m (18.9 million cu ft) were used for fuel.

MINING

The nonfuel sector of the Libyan mining industry was negligible. Petroleum was Libya's leading industry in 2004, although oil production has fallen to under 50% of output in 1970. Libya was the third-largest crude oil producer in Africa, after Nigeria and Algeria. Nonhydrocarbon mineral production in 2004 consisted of lime, gypsum, hydraulic cement, salt, and sulfur (as a by-product of petroleum and natural gas). Estimated production in 2004 included: 1,026,000 metric tons of lime; 175,000 tons of gypsum; 15,000 metric tons of sulfur (by-product of petroleum and natural gas); 3,5 million metric tons of hydraulic cement; and 40,000 metric tons of salt. Libya had large reserves of iron ore in the Fezzan. The Wadi ash-Shatti iron ore deposit was estimated to contain 1,600 million tons of oolitic hematite, limonite, chamosite, and siderite with a grade range of 30%48% iron. There were also deposits of magnesium salts (7.5 million tons) and potassium salts (1.6 million tons) in Maradah, south of the Port Brega oil terminal; potash in the Sirte Desert; and magnetite, phosphate rock, and sulfur.

ENERGY AND POWER

Libya is a major exporter of oil, mainly to Europe, mainly to Italy, Germany, France and Spain. The country is also a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

According to the Oil and Gas Journal, Libya's proven oil reserves, as of 1 January 2005, amount to 39 billion barrels. Although Libya has 12 oil fields, each with reserves of 1 billion barrels or more, plus two other fields with reserves in the 500 million to one billion barrel range, the country remains highly unexplored and is viewed as having excellent potential for additional oil discoveries.

Because Libya is a member of OPEC, its crude oil production is subject to a quota, which as of 1 November 2004, was placed at 1.445 million barrels per day. In 2004, Libya's oil output averaged an estimated 1.60 million barrels per day, of which crude oil accounted for 1.51 million barrels per day, and natural gas liquids at 65,000 barrels per day. Domestic oil demand in 2004 was estimated at an average of 237,000 barrels per day. Net exports in that year were estimated at an average of 1.34 million barrels per day

Libya's domestic refining sector that is made up of five refineries, with a combined capacity of around 380,000 barrels per day, which is greater than its domestic consumption and allows to country to export refined petroleum products. The five refineries and their crude refining capacities are: the Ras Lanuf facility on the Gulf of Sirte (220,000 barrels per day); the Az Zawiya refinery (120,000 barrels per day); the Tobruk refinery (20,000 barrels per day); the Brega (Libya's oldest at 10,000 barrels per day); and the Sarir (10,000 barrels per day). Libya is also a direct distributor and producer of refined products in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Egypt.

In addition to oil, Libya has large proven reserves of natural gas, which as of 1 January 2005, were estimated, by the Oil and Gas Journal, to contain 52 trillion cu ft. However, these reserves are thought to be larger because they are largely unexplored and unexploited. These potential reserves have been placed by Libyan experts at between 70 to 100 trillion cu ft. In 2002, natural gas output was estimated at 219 billion cu ft, with domestic demand in that year estimated at 197 billion cu ft. Libya is looking to expand its output of natural gas, in part as a replacement for oil in electric power generation, thus freeing up more oil for export, and for natural gas exports to Europe.

Libya's electric power generating sector is marked by rapidly increasing demand that has resulted in widespread power shortages. All of the country's existing power stations use conventional thermal fuels. Most facilities use oil, but others have been converted to use natural gas. Total electric power generating capacity in 2002 was estimated at 4.710 million kW, with output in that year at 14.424 billion kWh. Demand for electric power in Libya is growing rapidly at a rate of about 68% per year. In 2002, demand for power came to 13.414 billion kWh. By 2010, demand for power in Libya is anticipated to reach 5.8 GW and 8GW by 2020.

INDUSTRY

Libyan manufacturing industries developed significantly during the 1960s and 1970s, but fell far behind the petroleum sector of the economy in the 1980s. Non-oil manufacturing and construction sectors accounted for about 20% of GDP in 2002.

Libya is Africa's largest oil producer. Libya's oil and gas potential is vast and the country remains largely underexplored. The country's proven oil reserves are 29.5 billion barrels and production is 1.4 million barrels per day. Among the many industries utilizing petroleum products is a natural gas liquefaction plant which went into operation in 1971 at Marsá al-Burayqah (Port Brega). Libya is a direct producer of refined products in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland. The refining sector was adversely affected by the UN embargo; several projects for expanding domestic refining were delayed. When UN sanctions were suspended in 1999, foreign oil companies showed a keen interest in investing in the exploration and production of oil in Libya.

The petrochemicals industry is centered at the Marsá al-Burayqah plant, which produces methanol, ammonia, and urea. Despite the fact that the plant operates at only 35% of capacity, its production of urea and ammonia far exceeds domestic demand. A major plant producing ethylene, propylene, and butene was opened at Ras Lanuf in 1987. A second phase of the Ras Lanuf complex was to produce benzene, butadiene, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), and butane-1, but as of 2000, it was not complete. The Abu Kammash petrochemical complex produces ethylene dichloride (EDC), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM). The iron and steel complex at Mişratāh began operations in 1990. Large natural gas reserves were underdeveloped in 2002; a pipeline network was expected to be planned by 2006.

Libya's other manufacturing industries are small, lightly capitalized, and devoted primarily to the processing of local agricultural products (tanning, canning fruits and vegetables, milling flour, and processing olive oil), and to textiles, building materials, and basic consumer items. Handicraft products include carpets and rugs, silver jewelry, textiles, glassware, and leather goods.

Industry accounted for 49.9% of economic output in 2005, followed by services with a 42.5% share. Agriculture continued to be the weakest economic sector, with just a 7.6% share in the GDP. Oil and gas carry the lion share of industrial output, accounting for around 33% of the GDP. The non-oil manufacturing and construction sectors had expanded and by the early 2000s they included the production of petrochemicals, iron, steel, and aluminum.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

There is a predominance of foreign labor in scientific and technical positions. Al-Fatah University at Tripoli (founded in 1973) has faculties of science, engineering, agriculture, medicine, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, nuclear engineering, and petroleum and mining engineering. The University of Garyounis at Banghāzī (founded in 1955) has faculties of science and engineering. Bright Star University of Technology at Marsá al-Burayqah (founded in 1981) has faculties of basic engineering science, electrical and electronic engineering, mechanical and production engineering, chemical engineering, and petroleum engineering. Al-Arab Medical University at Banghāzī was founded in 1984. Sabhā University has faculties of science, agriculture, medicine, and engineering. A posts and telecommunications institute is at Tripoli.

Despite its abundant oil and gas reserves, Libya is highly interested in nuclear power. A 10-MW research reactor is located at Tajura.

DOMESTIC TRADE

Tripoli, the leading port and transportation center, is the focus of trading activities. In 1978, Qadhafi announced that individuals should cease engaging in trade or marketing, and in 1979 the private import-export trade was banned. In 1981, all shops were closed and replaced by huge supermarkets with stocks purchased by the state. About a dozen basic commodities are price-subsidized, and a rationing system was established in 1984. Because of an acute shortage of consumer goods, including food staples, some private stores were allowed to reopen by 1987. The nation depends heavily on imports for basic food products, since the agricultural sector only provides for about 25% of the nation's food supply as of 2002. The sale of alcohol is prohibited.

An annual international trade fair is held in Tripoli each March. Normal business hours are 7 am to 2 or 2:30 pm, Saturday through Thursday. Banks are open Saturday through Thursday from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm in winter and from 8 am to 12 pm in summer. Summer banking hours also include 4 to 5 pm, Saturday through Wednesday.

FOREIGN TRADE

Libya has long enjoyed a favorable trade balance because of exports of crude oil, mostly to Europe. Crude petroleum and petroleum products make up the majority of Libya's export commodity

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 10,194.9 3,731.5 6,463.4
Italy-San Marino-Holy See 4,343.8 713.1 3,630.7
Germay 1,556.2 440.5 1,115.7
Spain 1,555.0 121.6 1,433.4
Turkey 769.3 36.2 733.1
Tunisia 423.2 189.9 233.3
Greece 270.7 27.4 243.3
United Kingdom 233.6 216.0 17.6
Malta 76.5 39.1 37.4
Netherlands 70.0 87.0 -17.0
Egypt 57.1 68.8 -11.7
() data not available or not significant.

market (93%). Other exports include natural and manufactured gas (3.1%), hydrocarbons (1.5%), and fertilizers (1.1%).

In 2005, exports reached $31 billion (FOBfree on board), while imports grew to $11 billion (FOB). The bulk of exports went to Italy (37%), Germany (16.6%), Spain (11.9%), Turkey (7.1%), and France (6.2%). Imports mainly came from Italy (25.5%), Germany (11%), South Korea (6.1%), the United Kingdom (5.4%), Tunisia (4.7%), and Turkey (4.6%).

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

Libya customarily registered balance-of-payments surpluses from 1962 until 1981, thanks to large trade surpluses derived from the export of oil. Declining oil production caused payments deficits

Current Account 2,136.0
     Balance on goods 2,974.0
         Imports -4,302.0
         Exports 7,276.0
     Balance on services -930.0
     Balance on income 311.0
     Current transfers -219.0
Capital Account
Financial Account -1,045.0
     Direct investment abroad -226.0
     Direct investment in Libya -128.0
     Portfolio investment assets -3.0
     Portfolio investment liabilities
     Financial derivatives
     Other investment assets -315.0
     Other investment liabilities -373.0
Net Errors and Omissions -403.0
Reserves and Related Items -688.0
() data not available or not significant.

from 1981 to 1984. The services and transfers accounts are in deficit because of travel by Libyans abroad, transportation costs, payments to foreign contractors, and remittances by foreign workers. The capital account is also usually in deficit because of Libyan aid and investment abroad. Foreign debt is difficult to calculate because trade debts are often settled by the barter supply of oil.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reported that in 2001 the purchasing power parity of Libya's exports was $13.1 billion while imports totaled $8.7 billion resulting in a trade surplus of $4.4 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 1999 Libya had exports of goods totaling $6.76 billion and imports totaling $4 billion. The services credit totaled $55 million and debit $918 million.

Exports of goods totaled $17 billion in 2004, up from $15 billion in 2003. Imports grew from $7 billion in 2003, to $9 billion in 2004. The resource balance was consequently positive, and fairly constant in both years$8 billion. A similar trend was registered for the current account balance, which improved slightly from $3.6 billion in 2003, to $3.8 billion in 2004. Foreign exchange reserves (excluding gold) grew to almost $26 billion in 2004, covering more than three years of imports.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

The Central Bank of Libya, established in 1956, supervises the national banking system, regulates credit and interest, and issues bank notes. It also regulates the volume of currency in circulation, acts as a banker to the government, provides clearinghouse facilities for the country's commercial banks, and administers exchange control. Since 5 August 1962, the bank has been vested with a monopoly in the import of fine gold.

Libya formerly had branches of many Arab, Italian, and British commercial banks; they were nationalized in 1969. The government ruled that 51% of the capital of each should be taken over by the government, which paid the value of this share. Thus, the Banco di Roma became Umma Bank, Barclays Bank eventually became Jamahiriya Bank, and the Banco di Sicilia became the Sahara Bank. The commercial department of the Central Bank was merged with two small banks to form the National Commercial Bank. In 1972, a reorganization of the commercial banks left the Jamahiriya and Umma banks owned by the Central Bank of Libya; two other institutions, the Sahara Bank and the Wahda Bank, were jointly owned by the Central Bank and private interests.

The National Agricultural Bank, established in 1957, provides advice and guidance on agricultural problems, advances loans to farm cooperatives, and generally assists the agricultural community. The Industrial and Real Estate Bank, founded in 1965, made loans for building, food-processing, chemical, and traditional industries; later it was divided into the Savings and Real Estate Bank and the Development Bank. A decree in 1966 abolished interest on loans made by the government development banks. In 1972/73, the government created the Libyan Arab Foreign Bank, later renamed Jamahiriya Foreign Bank, owned by the Central Bank of Libya, to invest in foreign countries. In 1981, its role in foreign investment was taken over by the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Co.

In 1997, in addition to the central bank, there were eight other banks in Libya: the Agricultural Bank, Jamahiriya Bank, Libyan Arab Foreign Bank, National Commercial Bank, Sahara Bank, Savings and Real Estate Investment Bank, Umma Bank, and Wahda Bank. In 1994, Libyan financial assets frozen in the United States alone amounted to some $1 billion. Interest rates are fixed by the central bank, which has applied a discount rate of 5% since 1980. The maximum lending rate for secured loans and overdrafts currently stands at 7%.

The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $11.3 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $15.2 billion. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 4%. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 5%.

There are no securities exchanges in Libya.

INSURANCE

In 1995, all classes of insurance were available through the Libya Insurance Co. and Al-Mukhtar Insurance Co., both state enterprises. All licensed vehicles require third-party liability insurance, and all imported goods must be insured.

PUBLIC FINANCE

The fiscal year follows the calendar year. There are two budgets, one for ordinary expenses, the other (and larger one) for development. By law, 15% of total oil revenue is put aside yearly into the country's reserves, while 70% of the remainder goes to development expenditures. All non-oil revenues are assigned to cover ordinary expenditures, and any shortfall is made up by transferring some of the petroleum revenues from the development budget. If funds from petroleum revenues are not sufficient to cover development expenses, some planned projects are postponed. Although Libya has used part of its oil revenue to finance internal development (new schools, hospitals, roads) much has been wasted. Limited privatization continued in 1993, involving the sale of some parastatal assets. In 1999, Libya announced the need for $150 billion of investment in the economy in order to retain a growth rate of 5%; 6070% of the funds were to be financed by public monies.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Libya's central government took in revenues of approximately $25.3 billion and had expenditures of $15.4 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately $9.8 billion. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 8% of GDP. Total external debt was $4.267 billion.

TAXATION

Individual income taxes are levied at different rates for income from real estate, agriculture, commerce, industry, crafts, independent professions, and wages and salaries. Corporate taxes range from 2060%. Also levied are a 16.7% royalty on petroleum production, a general income tax of up to 90% and a Jihad tax. Indirect taxes in 2002 were mainly sales taxes at various rates.

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

As of 1996, the average weighted tariff was 21.3%. Import controls remain extremely tight, even by regional standards, keeping Libya a difficult place to do trade.

Libya has a single-column tariff schedule. Goods from all countries are subject to the same duties. Also levied are customs surcharges totaling 15% of the application customs duties. Almost all customs duties are ad valorem.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Outside of the oil industry, foreign investment in Libya is limited. No foreign investment is allowed in certain areas, including banking, insurance, domestic commerce, and foreign aid. A minimum of 51% of the capital of joint stock companies must be held by Libyans and the chairman of the board of directors must be a Libyan national.

With the massive increase in oil revenues in the 1970s, Libya became a major exporter of capital. Economic cooperation agreements were signed with many African countries and in 1976 Libya purchased 10% of the shares of the Italian auto company Fiat; it sold its Fiat holdings in 1986 for about $3 billion.

In 1999, with the lifting of international sanctions on Libya, Qadhafi called for foreign investment in the energy sector (hydrocarbons, power, and water). He also encouraged investment in telecommunications, transport, and electricity generation. Under the current prime minister, Ghanem, a large part of the national companies was privatized, and the economy as a whole is considered to be ripe for modernization and foreign investment. Many international oil companies (e.g. Shell) have recently returned to Libya and the tourism sector will likely benefit from investments in hotels and infrastructure.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Under Libya's first five-year development plan (196368), several long-run measures were taken to raise industrial production and to expand and improve the quality of agriculture. Of the government's oil revenue, 70% was earmarked for the development plan. Of this total, 23% was allocated for public works, 17% for agriculture, 16% for communications, 13% for education, 7% for public health, and 4% for industry. The 197275 development plan targeted a growth of 11% annually in GDP. Investment was allocated as follows: industry and mineral resources, 15%; agriculture, 14%; communications, 14%; housing, 11%; petrochemicals, 11%; and education, 9%. The 197680 development plan invested principally in agriculture, 20%; communications, 14%; industry, 13%; and housing, 12%. The 198185 development plan called for investment in industry, 23%; agriculture, 18%; communications, 12%; and electricity, 12%. The drop in oil income caused a contraction in planned projects, however. The plan for 200105 foresaw $35 billion total of investments, mostly in hydrocarbons, power, and water, with a projected GDP growth rate of 5%.

In 1980, Libyan bilateral aid to developing countries totaled 0.90% of GNP. In 1981, however, the total was only 0.39% of GNP. In 1981, Libya also contributed funds to multilateral aid organizations, principally to the Arab agencies and the OPEC Fund. As of 1987, the investments of the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Co. included 30 companies in Arab countries. There are also significant Libyan holdings in African countries.

According to BIS, Libya increased its deposits in foreign banks in 1986, while at the same time reducing its outstanding debt. By 1989 Libya's net creditor position with BIS reporting banks had declined almost two-thirds in 1987. However, rising deposits in 1990 reflecting soaring oil revenues because of the Persian Gulf crisis, combined with reduced liabilities, led to a positive net balance. Due to the decline in oil export receipts in 1991, this surplus was reduced by one-third. Frozen assets in US banks netted $1 billion in 1994. The 1999 lifting of sanctions saw increased foreign investment.

In 2003, the government planned to diversify the economy away from its total dependence on oil, which accounts for 95% of Libya's foreign currency. Tourism was one sector of the economy targeted for development, and those working in the industry have encouraged the formation of commercial banks to finance tourism projects. The Tourism Development Bank, 80% of whose shares are held by the private sector, was one example of this initiative. Qadhafi in 2003 urged Libyans to undertake investment projects such as road and port projects, and communication and industrial production projects. The oil sector was not to be privatized, but rather open to investment, while the public sector would not be entirely dismantled, but would work with the private sector. Qadhafi reaffirmed the need to establish people's socialism as the foundational economic structure of society, whereby companies would not be owned by the state, but by the people who run them, assisted by foreign investors where necessary. Libya initiated a $35 billion investment plan for 200205. In July 2004, Libya applied for membership in the WTO; as of late 2006, the Working Party committee to consider the application had not met.

The economy was expected to expand vigorously. Thus, by 2006, the GDP growth rate was projected to be 8.1%the result of slower output in the oil sector.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

By law, all employees are entitled to sickness, invalid, disability, death, and maternity benefits and unemployment payments. The cost of these programs is shared by employers, employees, and the government. Survivor benefits are paid to widows, siblings, or sons. Rehabilitation programs are provided for sick and disabled employees to provide them with new employment opportunities. Lump sum grants are provided for maternity, births, and funerals. There is no statutory benefits for unemployment, and there are limited family benefits under Social Care Fund legislation.

Despite a constitutional proclamation providing equality for women, customary Muslim restrictions still apply. Women are granted full legal rights, but few women work outside of the home, and those who do remain in low-paid positions. There is evidence to suggest that younger, urban women are gradually becoming more emancipated. Younger women in urban areas have largely discarded the veil, although in rural areas it is still widely used. Women still must obtain their husband's permission in order to leave the country. Violence against women remains a serious problem and is not discussed publicly.

There have been many reports of continuing human rights violations, including torture. Under Libyan law, persons may be detained incommunicado for unlimited periods, and the government has defended its practice of imprisoning political dissenters. Citizens do not have the right to legal counsel or to fair public trials. The government discriminates against ethnic and tribal minorities, and restricts freedom of speech, press, movement, assembly, religion, and association.

HEALTH

In 2004, there were an estimated 129 physicians, 360 nurses, 14 dentists, and 25 pharmacists per 100,000 people. Approximately 72% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 97% had adequate sanitation.

Widespread diseases include typhoid, venereal diseases, and infectious hepatitis. In 1992, the UN approved trade and air traffic embargoes affecting the economy and health care system. With the assistance of the World Health Organization, Libya has eradicated malaria, once a major problem. Tuberculosis is still prevalent.

As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 27.6 and 3.5 per 1,000 people. The infant mortality rate was 24.6 per 1,000 live births in 2005. The fertility rate in 2000 was 3.5 children per woman during her childbearing years. The maternal mortality rate was estimated at 75 per 100,000 live births. The average life expectancy was 76.50 years in 2005. Immunization rates for children up to one year old were: diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 96%, and measles, 92%. Diarrheal diseases took the lives of 4,683 Libyan children under five years of age in 1995.

The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.30 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 10,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country.

HOUSING

Increasing urbanization has created slum conditions in the major cities. There have been slum clearance and building projects since 1954. Around 125,000 new homes were built between 1969 and 1977. Low-income families were allowed to buy ready-made houses from the state at 10% of cost or to build their own homes with interest-free loans. Real estate was the main area of private investment until 1978, when most tenants were made owners of their residences. The state paid full compensation to landlords for confiscated property and resold it to tenants at subsidized prices. As of the late 1980s, the last period for which housing information was available, total housing units numbered 700,000 with 5.6 people per dwelling.

EDUCATION

When Libya attained independence, about 90% of its population was illiterate, and there were few university graduates. Since then, the government has invested heavily in education, which is free at all levels. In 1985, the number of years of compulsory schooling was increased from six to nine years. Many students are enrolled in kindergarten programs of one or two years. Basic (primary) education covers nine years of study. This is followed by four years of specialized secondary education or four years of vocational school. The academic year runs from September to June.

In 2001, about 8% of children between the ages of four and five were enrolled in some type of preschool/kindergarten program. In 1994, primary schools had 1,357,040 pupils. Secondary schools had 310,556 pupils in 1992. Of these, 26,393 were in teacher training schools and 94,961 were in vocational schools. There has been a rapid increase in the number of students attending vocational schools, from 16,008 in 1980 to 118,564 in 1993.

The two main universities are Al-Fatah University and University of Garyounis in 1976. The Bright Star University of Technology at Marsá al-Burayqah was founded in 1981. There were also two higher institutes of technology and one of mechanical and electrical engineering. In 2003, about 58% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 81.7%, with 91.8% for men and 70.7% for women.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 2.7% of GDP.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

The National Library in Banghāzī holds 150,000 volumes, including the official documents of the Arab League. The public library in Banghāzī had 14,000 volumes in 2002. Libya's largest library, with 295,000 volumes in 2002, is at the University of Garyounis; at that time, the Government Library in Tripoli had 37,000 volumes. The National Archives, which have an extensive collection of documents relating to the history of Tripolitania under Ottoman rule, are in Tripoli. In addition, France and Italy maintain cultural centers with libraries in the national capital. The Libyan Studies Center in Tripoli holds 100,000 volumes.

The museums exhibit mainly antiquities excavated from various Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Arabic sites. The Department of Antiquities is responsible for all museums and archaeological sites in the country. Tripoli houses the Archaeological Museum, Epigraphy Museum, Ethnographic Museum, Natural History Museum, Prehistory Museum, and Islamic Museum. There are other museums, mainly archaeological, at Cyrene, Homs, Gaigab, Germa, Leptis Magna, Tokrah, Zanzur, Marsa Susah, and Sabrata.

MEDIA

Postal, telephone, and wireless services are owned and operated by the government. Radiotelephone ties exist between Tripoli and European centers. In 2003, there were an estimated 136 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were approximately 23 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

The Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Broadcasting Corp. broadcasts on radio in Arabic and English, and on television in Arabic, English, Italian, and French. As of 2005, there were no privately owned broadcasting stations. In 2003, there were an estimated 273 radios for every 1,000 people. The number of televisions stations was not reported in the same survey. The same year, there were 23.4 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 29 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet.

In 2002, there were three major daily newspapers. Al-Fair AlJadeed (The New Dawn) published in Tripoli, with circulation of about 40,000. The other dailies included Al-Jihad and Libyan Press Review. All print media is owned by the government.

The state is said to restrict all expression and opinion on matters deemed crucial to Qadhafi or his regime. All political activities, including publication and broadcasting, which are not officially approved are banned. Vague laws exist by which any speech or expression may be interpreted as illegal. It is said that there is a pervasive system of informants, which creates an atmosphere of mistrust and self-censorship at all levels of society.

ORGANIZATIONS

There are chambers of commerce in Tripoli and Banghāzī. Libya has few nongovernment organizations. Membership in an illegal organization was made a capital offense in 1975. Youth organizations include the General Union of Great Jamahiriya Students, which has a membership consisting of all Libyan students registered at both secondary and tertiary educational institutions throughout the country. There is also a Libyan Public Scout and Girl Guide movement. Several sports associations and clubs are active throughout the country. The Gaddafi Charity Foundation encourages volunteer efforts in social welfare and human rights programs. The Red Crescent Society and Caritas have active national chapters.

TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

Tourists are attracted to Libya's climate, extensive beaches, and magnificent Greek and Roman ruins. However, tourist facilities are not widely available, because tourism has been discouraged during the tenure of Qadhafi. It suffered a further blow with the 1992 imposition of UN sanctions related to the bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland; UN sanctions were lifted in September 2003 when Libya resolved this case.

All visitors, except Arab nationals, need a valid passport and visa. Visitors must register at the nearest police station within three days of arrival to avoid problems either during their stay or when departing. In 2003, Libya had 957,896 foreign visitors. Of these visitors, 44% came from Egypt. There were 12,405 hotel rooms with 20,967 beds and an occupancy rate of 45%.

According to the US Department of State, the 2005 estimated cost of staying in Tripoli was $344.

FAMOUS LIBYANS

As Roman emperor, Septimius Severus (r.193211) was responsible for initiating an extensive building program at his native Leptis Magna. Muhammad bin 'Ali as-Sanusi (1780?1859), the founder of the Sanusi order, established its headquarters in Cyrenaica in the 1840s. Muhammad Idris al-Mahdi as-Sanusi (18901983), his descendant, was Libya's first king, ruling the country from its independence until he was deposed in 1969. Col. Mu'ammar Muhammad al-Qadhafi (b.1942) became the actual ruler of the country at that time. Omar al-Muntasser (19392001) became secretary-general of the General People's Committee in 1987.

DEPENDENCIES

Libya has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Burr, Millard. Africa's Thirty Years War: Libya, Chad, and the Sudan, 19631993. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1999.

Cirincione, Joseph, Jon B. Wolfsthal, and Miriam Rajkumar. Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Threats. 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005.

El-Kikhia, Mansour O. Libya's Qaddafi: The Politics of Contradiction. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1997.

Matar, Khalil I. and Robert W. Thabit. Lockerbie and Libya: A Study in International Relations. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2004.

The Middle East. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2005.

O'Sullivan, Meghan L. Shrewd Sanctions: Statecraft and State Sponsors of Terrorism. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2003.

St. John, Ronald Bruce. Historical Dictionary of Libya. 3rd ed. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1991.

. Historical Dictionary of Libya. [computer file] Boulder, Colo.: netLibrary, Inc., 2000.

. Libya and the United States: Two Centuries of Strife. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002.

Vandewalle, Dirk J. History of Modern Libya. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Zeilig, Leo and David Seddon. A Political and Economic Dictionary of Africa. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2005.

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Libya

Libya

Basic Data
Official Country Name: Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Region: Africa
Population: 5,115,450
Language(s): Arabic, Italian, English
Literacy Rate: 76.2%
Compulsory Schooling: 9 years
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 1,357,040
  Secondary: 294,283
  Higher: 72,899

History & Background

Libya is the fourth largest Arab nation in the world. It is 1.7 million square miles in area, making it larger than the U.S. state of Alaska. It is known to Libyans as the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (Republic). Libya's population is nearly five million people. Its population is growing at 2.4 percent, and 97 percent of Libyans are Sunni Muslims. Over half of all Libyans are less than 15 years of age. Education, especially free education, is a major issue for this youthful population. Ninety-seven percent of Libyans are Berber and Arab in ethnic makeup; the remaining population is Tuareg and indigenous African. The average life expectancy is 74 years for men and 78 years for women. There is 1 doctor for every 948 people, and, since most people live in cities, hospitals and doctors are within easy reach. Education is free and compulsory between the ages 6 and 15 years of age. It is free if students decide to continue their studies thereafter. Adult literacy is high at 76.2 percent; this approaches levels seen in developed nations. The capital Tripoli has a population of 1.6 million people. Roughly one out of every four Libyans lives in the capital city.

Libya is a highly urban society in which 86 percent of its citizens live in cities along the Mediterranean coast. The north is cool and provides many employment opportunities, while the south is hot and dry, sparsely populated, and offers few jobs. Libya is a largely barren, flat, undulating land. It has flat plains and plateaus, as well as depressions. Fertile oases punctuate this landscape that is dry and, in most places, extreme desert. There is a long Mediterranean coast along which most Libyans live. The Cyrenaica province is one of three major provinces that divide Libya. Like the other two provinces, Tripolitana and Fezzan, it has a narrow coastline behind which rises a plateau called the Jabal al-Akhdar or "Green Mountain." Here lies the city of Benghazi, one of Libya's largest cities. This is an industrial seaport. Libya's coast has 13 other major cities. Libya is one of the most urbanized countries in Africa and the Middle East. This province shares its eastern border with Egypt. On the west lies the province of Tripolitana, which is anchored by the city of Tripoli, Libya's capital. Sandwiched between these two great provinces lies the province of Fezzan and Libya's rich, low sulfur oil fields. Here also lie the country's rich uranium fields that extend into neighboring Chad. This province also borders Algeria, Niger, and the Sudan. Libya is the largest producer of oil in Africa, and one of the largest producers in the world. Oil income has transformed Libya from a poor nation into a rapidly developing nation. It has one of the highest per capita incomes in Africa. The principal languages are Arabic, English, and Italian.

Before the 1969 revolution almost 40 percent of Libyans lived in tents or shanty towns. There were 300,000 houses and 365,000 families. Thus, 65,000 families were homeless and an additional 120,000 lived in caves and shacks. Between 1969 and 1974 over 110,000 new homes were built.


Early History: Until recently Libya had no separate identity. It had always been part of some other nation or empire, except in ancient times when Libyans warred with the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Many foreigners, such as the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Ottomans, Italians, British, and the French have dominated Libya. The Tripoli Tania province has always looked seaward to the north for salvation, trade, and cultural ties with Europe. The Cyrenaica province has always looked east for trade and cultural ties with Egypt and the Arab world. The Fezzan is African and looks south for trade, political and military links, and African cultural influences. Before the 1969 revolution, these provinces looked outward more than inward. This made national unity difficult and foreign influence great. Libyan fear of external domination is firmly rooted in experience and justified by their history with outsiders.

Having been divided often, Libya had little sense of a common national identity until 1951. The Sanusiya movement unified eastern Libya. This was a movement dedicated to purifying and reforming Moslems and leading its followers back to a simple community of faith ruled by just leaders. Of all of Libya's invaders, the Arabs have had the most enduring influence by forcing their religion onto Libyan culture. This movement began in the nineteenth century.

History of Education in Libya: The Ottoman empire encouraged Koran schools from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries in Libya. Small kuttabs, or Arab Koran schools, were affiliated with mosques and taught children to read the holy Koran and write Arabic script. Higher order religious training was available through institutes, such as Murad Pasha and Darghut Pasha. Here students could also study law (figh ). Zawiya stressed the study of astronomy, science, geography, history, mathematics, and medicine, as well as religion. Some zawiya also taught military arts to defend the faith.

Italy expanded educational opportunities as compared with the Ottomans. By 1939, Libya had 93 Italian schools. However, these were for the exclusive education of Italian settlers and children of administrators. These schools rivaled schools in Rome, but Arabs and Bedouins could not attend them. In addition to the Italian schools for Italian youth, there were 16 Jewish schools, 1 Greek school, and 418 Arab schools, which were religious schools or Kuttabs for the most part. Libyans graduating from these kuttab schools were not able to compete with Italians. The only secondary schools in the country were built to educate Italian children; Arabs and Bedouins were again not allowed to attend.

Under Italian rule, Libyans were denied education beyond the fourth grade and discouraged from learning either the Bedouin or Arabic language. They were taught Italian, to love Italy, and not to trust Arabs or Bedouins. Poor Italians did menial labor, semi-skilled, and skilled work. Little was left for the Libyans.

Italian schools continued to function, but Libyan Arab education was added. Textbooks and syllabi were rewritten in Arabic. Government primary and secondary schools were built throughout Libya and it reopened Koran schools that had closed during the independence struggle. This gave education a strong religious element. A shortage of qualified Libyan teachers led to rote learning, rather than reasoning. Despite these limitations, school enrollments rose rapidly, especially primary education. Jewish schools declined and closed as Jews migrated to the new state of Israel. Vocational education was added, and Libya's first university was opened in 1955 at Benghazi. Women began to attend school in growing numbers, and adult education was added to the system. Total school enrollment at the end of the colonial era was 34,000. Between 1951 and 1962 enrollment increased to 150,000 and by 1969, just before the revolution, enrollment had increased to 360,000 students. Mobile classrooms became common, as did prefabricated classrooms. Classes were even held in tents in desert oases. Through these efforts, enrollments totaled 1.2 million students by 1986. There were 670,000 males (54 percent) and 575,000 females (46 percent). One third of the Libyan population was enrolled in school or in some other form of educational endeavor. Between 1970 and 1986, Libya built 32,000 new classrooms for primary, secondary, and vocational schools. The number of teachers rose from 19,000 to 79,000 during the same time period. The student teacher ratio also rose and the quality of education suffered.

In 1951, about 10 percent of Libyans were literate. At that time there were no female teachers. Secondary school teachers numbered 25, and only 14 Libyans held university degrees. A national education system was built virtually from scratch. By 1977, literacy rose to 51 percent. The literacy rate for women during the same time-frame rose from 6 percent to 31 percent. By the late 1980s more than 70 percent of men were literate as compared to 35 percent of women.

In the early twenty-first century, education at all levels is free, and university students are given very generous stipends to encourage them to pursue higher education and modernize the workforce. For students ages 6 through 15 years of age, education is compulsory. Roughly 8 percent of Libya's entire budget is dedicated to supporting education up through university level. The revolutionary regime has considerably expanded the educational system that it inherited from the monarchy. All types of education are seen as equal, since human knowledge is viewed as inherent to building a modern civilization. Many schools are needed to fulfill these aims.

Libya still suffers from a shortage of qualified Libyan teachers at all levels, and female attendance at the secondary and higher levels is low. Attempts to close all private and religious schools since 1970 has created problems. Vocational and technical training lag the rest of the system. In 1977, fewer than 5,000 students were enrolled in 12 technical high schools. By 1990, most doctors, dentists, and pharmacists were expatriates, despite having nearly 17,000 Libyan students studying for degrees in these disciplines. Libyan youth avoid scientific and technical training, preferring white-collar jobs associated with prestige and high social status. Reliance on foreign technicians will characterize Libya's economy well into the foreseeable future.

From 1981, compulsory military education for males and females formed part of the curriculum for all secondary schools and universities. Male and female students must wear uniforms to class and attend daily military exercises and physical training. University students are not forced to wear uniforms, but they must attend military camps for training. Females are encouraged to attend special female military academies. These measures are not popular, especially among the families of many females. A backlash might be expected in the future. The increase in female enrollment is remarkable, considering the fundamentally conservative and religious nature of Libya society on gender issues.

Libya's first university was founded at Benghazi in 1955, and it had a branch in Tripoli. These two campuses became separate universities in 1973. In 1976, they were renamed Gar Yunis University and Al Fatah University, respectively. A technical university, specializing in engineering and petroleum, opened at Marsa al Burayqeh in 1981. Al Fatah added schools of nuclear engineering, electronic engineering, and pharmacy during the 1980s. An agriculture college was constructed at Al Bayda and technical institutes exist at Birak, Hun, and Bani Walid. The expansion of opportunities in higher education is seen as vital to meeting personnel requirements by the revolutionary regime. Eventually, many secondary schools will be converted into special training institutes whose curriculums dovetail with those of vocational, technical, and universities.

Technically trained students are compelled to work in the areas of their training, which causes some discontent. The idea is to end dependence on foreign technical workers, but this is unlikely in the near future, especially in light of recent cutbacks in spending on technical education. Enrollment trends for higher education have moved steadily upward from independence to the present. There were 3,000 university students in 1969. By 1975 this number increased to 12,000, and by 1980, it reached 25,000. In 1992, this figure soared to 72,899, of whom 46 percent were female. The increase in female university enrollment is especially impressive, considering that in 1970 females were only 9 percent of the university student population.

Libya formerly paid totally for students to attend foreign universities and, by 1978, some 3,000 Libyans were studying in America. But in 1985, Libya cut back on fellowships for foreign study, forcing many Libyan students to continue their education locally. University students were among the few groups to openly express dissatisfaction with that. Students feel that university education is the path to personal and social advancement best left free from government interference. They resent constant efforts to control their thought and to politicize education at every level. For example, in 1976, university students mounted violent protest in Benghazi and Tripoli over compulsory military training. Students studying French and English at Al Fatah University frustrated efforts to close their departments and destroy their libraries.

Constitutional & Legal Foundations


Constitutional Provisions: The 1969 constitution decreed compulsory free education through the ninth grade. It mandated adult education and began providing more opportunities for women to become educated. This same constitution stated education's aims. Article 28 states that every Libyan shall have the right to an education. The state shall ensure the diffusion of education by means of the establishment of public schools and private schools, which it may permit to be established for Libyans and foreigners under its supervision. Article 29 states that teaching shall be unrestricted so long as it does not constitute a breach of public order and is not contrary to morality. Public education shall be regulated by law. Article 30 states that elementary education shall be compulsory for Libyan children of both sexes; elementary and primary education in the public schools shall be free.

By 1951, a new constitution made primary education free, compulsory, and open to all. The government supervised foreign schools. As of 1967, there were 248,942 students enrolled in Libya's 1,044 schools. Two universities were started, Gar Yunis or the University of Benghazi, specializing in the Arts and Education, as well as commerce and law. The second, Al-Fetah University or the University of Tripoli, specializing in agriculture and teacher training.


Educational Philosophies: When the Free Officer's Movement overthrew the monarchy on 1 September 1969, they initiated a socialist revolution rooted in Muslim values. Colonel Qadhafi was part of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). They rapidly set up a General People's Congress (GPC) as an executive and legislative body with 1,000 members. This organization was reproduced repeatedly down to the local level, where it is known as General People's Committees. Their idea was simple: bring government close to the people and let the "will of the people" rule. This was supposed to bring decision making down to the local level and create widespread participation. Such direct democracy is called "natural socialism" by Qadhafi. It seeks to establish social and economic equality as its ultimate goal. In February 1981, Qadhafi said, "If this nation is to win, then it must not differentiate between men and women, since the enemy is against each one of us." He went on to add, "Education is not a purpose in itself. The purpose is to create the new man. Specialization can be imported from their origin, but the independent citizen cannot. The difference is vast between specialization and liberty. The cost of the first is money, and of the second is 'blood."' In the Green Book, Qadhafi states, "society should provide all types of education, giving people the chance to choose freely any subjects they wish to learn. This requires a sufficient number of schools of all types of education. . .knowledge is a natural right of every human being which nobody has the right to deprive him of." He also stressed the need for religious education in schools.

Teachers are told they can contribute more than their traditional work in the classroom. Their "duty" involves going out to the people's circles and groups around the schools and teaching and guiding everyone toward a better understanding of Libya's revolution. Qadhafi claims that, "If every teacher makes a revolution in his own circle, we will find that the Jamahirya will be covered with all these revolutionary circles. Similarly, doctors, nurses, agricultural instructors, and others need to make such a revolution in their own circles. . .for the total transformation of our society." Even children are taught that they must learn to make revolution because the people are the state. Libyans believe there can be no such thing as individual action. Achievements are made by mass action of the entire nation through people's congresses, committees, and unions. Children are taught that they must participate in revolution, not just accept and obey what their teachers tell them. Students are told that they must transform Libyan society through continual revolution. This is said to be the student's patriotic duty.


Educational SystemOverview


Compulsory Education: In the Libyan Jamahiriya education is free to everyone from elementary school right up to university and post-graduate education, both in Libya and abroad. Pre-university education is divided into primary, preparatory, and secondary education. Schools are everywhere. For nomads, there are mobile classrooms and teachers.


Age Limits: Education is compulsory between age 6 and 15 years of age. Where preschools are available, children begin school at age four. Because of herding responsibilities, some Bedouins do not start school until a more mature age.


Enrollment & Female Participation: In 1978, there were 819,012 students enrolled in Libyan schools. Roughly 18,956 or 2.3 percent were in private schools. The government closed private schools during the 1980s. Most enrolled children of foreign workers. Enrollment in religious schools increased after the revolution. In 1974, there were 15,303 Libyan students enrolled in religious or kuttab schools. By 1980, this number increased to 59,779 with the Islamic University of Sayid Muhammad Ali Sanusi at the zenith of religious education. By 1994, there were over 1.3 million students enrolled in primary school; 49 percent were female. Another 310,556 students were enrolled in secondary schools, and 72,899 university students were enrolled in school, of whom 46 percent were female. (UNESCO 56)

Women are making great progress in Libyan society if education is a barometer of change. In east Libya, schools are coeducational, but in west Libya male and female students attend separate schools. In rural areas, out of economic necessity, because the number of students is so small, boys and girls attend class together, but boys sit at the front of the class and girls at the back.


Academic Year: Libya's school year consists of 35 weeks of instruction. Students attend school 6 days per week or 280 days per year. School begins in September.


Language of Instruction: Arabic is the language of instruction. English and French are taught as second or foreign languages.


Examinations: Rigorous examinations screen students from one level within the system to the next. Beyond classroom examinations, there are two major statewide examinations. Those who pass earn a Primary School Certificate. This allows them to enter intermediate secondary school or junior high school. After graduation from junior high school, students take a state-administered examination to determine entrance into secondary schools and institutes. Those who pass are awarded a certificate that admits them to upper secondary school. During their last year of secondary school, students must pass another state examination to be admitted to universities and other institutions of higher education. Students who pass the upper secondary school examination earn a diploma. These state examinations are created and administered by the Secretariat of Education and Scientific Research. Examination results are published in major newspapers.


Religious Schools: Private schools were discontinued during the 1980s, but religious schools were encouraged. In 1975, there were 181 Koran schools that enrolled 15,303 students. There were 12 Islamic intermediate schools with an enrollment of 674 students. Just 162 students attended religious secondary schools that year. By 1981, with government encouragement, 59,779 students were enrolled in religious schools.


Curriculum: In six-year primary schools, students study mathematics, natural sciences, hygiene, art, crafts, literature, and physical education. In secondary schools, students can choose a literary or scientific program of study. Language studies at this level include English, French, and Italian, as well as Arabic.

After primary school some students follow a vocational or technical school program throughout secondary school. Others continue on to religious secondary schools and universities, which emphasize Islamic law and Arabic.

Textbooks: All textbooks and pedagogical materials are produced by the Secretariat of Education and Culture. Books used in religious schools must also be approved by the Secretariat of Education.


Role of Education in Development: Libya uses education as a tool of development. It makes an inventory of skills needed by Libyan workers and then sets the curriculum and incentives to encourage students to study those fields so that expatriates can be replaced by skilled Libyan workers. A "libyanization" of the workforce is the goal. They hope to break their dependence on foreign labor, given their deep-seated historically rooted mistrust of foreigners. They have been very successful thus far, especially in recruiting women into non-traditional occupations. Modern jobs are being filled by Libyans in industry and agriculture. Schools at each level are directing greater numbers of Libyan students into science and technology to fill Libya's manpower requirements.


Preprimary & Primary Education


General Survey: Few Libyan children attend preprimary schools. In 1997, only 5 percent of preprimary school aged children actually attended such schools in Libya, and most of these were foreigners. Libyans usually begin school when they are six years old or older. In 1989, there were 852,593 students in 31,296 classrooms for an average of 27.2 students per class. School years begin in September and last 280 days, with students attending classes 6 days per week. As of 1992, 92 percent of eligible children were enrolled in primary school, and approximately 48 percent were female students. By 1994 this number had increased to over 1.3 million students, of whom 49 percent were female. This means that 97 percent of eligible students were enrolled in primary schools. Students were strongly encouraged to study science and mathematics. There were 36,591 primary school teachers in Libya in 1980, but by 1996 there were more than 100,000 primary teachers, of whom 47 percent were female teachers. In 1980, Libya had 765,000 illiterates, 28.5 percent of whom were male and 69.4 percent of whom were female. By 2000, Libya had 708,000 illiterates, of whom 9.1 percent were male, and 32.4 percent were female. Illiteracy fell from 47.1 to 20.2 percent of the population because significant strides were made in primary education for the entire Libyan population.


Age Limits: Education is free and compulsory between ages 6 and 15. Preprimary students may enter school as early as four years of age and full-grown adults may attend primary school if they missed it earlier in life. There is no upper limit on age.


Curriculum & Examinations: The six-year primary school's aim is to teach students to read, write, and count, as well as the natural sciences, hygiene, arts and crafts, and physical education. During their final year of primary school, students must pass an examination to qualify to enter junior high school. Junior high school, or Intermediate school, adds three more years to primary education, making it last for nine years in Libya.


Urban & Rural Schools: Urban schools are usually housed in buildings built of permanent materials which are durable. Rural schools are often mobile homes, which are made to serve "double duty" as portable homes for teachers following nomadic students and as mobile classrooms.


Teachers: There were 36,591 primary school teachers in Libya in 1980. By 1990, there were more than 85,537 primary teachers, of whom 47 percent were female teachers. Moreover, most teaching positions were no longer dominated by foreign teachers from Egypt, Palestine, and other nations. Libya has trained Libyan teachers to fill most positions, and 47 percent of these teachers are now women. The teacher to student ratio is 18 to 1.


Repeaters & Dropouts: In 1980, some 9.2 percent of Libyan primary school students repeated a grade. Dropouts declined once Libya abandoned its system of national examinations. Promotions are dependent solely upon passing in class examinations. Nonetheless, 4 percent of females and 2 percent of males dropped out of primary school.


Secondary Education


General Survey: Upon completion of junior secondary school (junior high school), Libyan students advance to secondary school, which is divided into two tracks. The first academic track consists of general preparatory education and pre-college education. A parallel or vocational track leads to the general teacher training institutes. This lasts four years and prepares teachers to educate preprimary and primary school students. Students on this track may also choose to study agriculture, commerce, or industry, as well as enter teacher training.


CurriculumExaminations & Diplomas: The academic track has two phases, and each takes three years to complete. Phase one is preparatory (junior high school) and leads to a certificate. Phase two (high school) also takes three years to complete and terminates in a diploma. The first year of secondary school students take general education requirements, including Arabic, religious studies, geography, science, mathematics, and history. During the second year, they choose either the science program, including geometry, trigonometry and algebra, physics, chemistry, and biology, or a humanities program for the remaining two years of study. This culminates in a national examination leading to a diploma, which enables students to enter Libyan universities. In 1989, there were 95,576 students attending secondary schools in 2,922 classrooms. Average classes had 32 students. Academic track students can choose to study languages, such as English, Italian, French, or Arabic. The curriculum in advanced Koran schools is similar to public schools, except that Islamic law and religious education are stressed. Between 1980 and 2000, gross secondary school enrollments jumped from 76 percent to nearly 100 percent. Of these, 89 percent of males attended, and 63 percent of females who were eligible attended secondary school in 1980. No figures are available for subsequent years.


Teachers: There were 12 students for every 1 secondary school teacher in 1980. That same year, Libya had 24,323 secondary school teachers of whom 24 percent were female.


Repeaters & Dropouts: Approximately 10 percent of secondary school students repeated a grade. The dropout rate was 6 percent, but it was greater for boys (9 percent) than girls (3 percent). Family attitudes account for most dropouts.


Vocational Education: There are 18 vocational and technical training schools in Libya. In 1978, they enrolled 6,267 students. These institutions had 487 teachers. They studied petroleum science, auto mechanics, electricity, mechanics, drilling technology, carpentry, and a variety of other practical subjects needed by Libya's economy.


Higher Education


Public & Private: Libya has three major universities that grant bachelor's degrees: Gar Yunis University, Al-Fetah University, and Marsa Berga Technical University. In 1992, Libyan universities enrolled 72,899 students, of whom 46 percent were female. Females were concentrated in the humanities and males in science, engineering, and business faculties. Government encouragement has led to increased participation of females in the sciences, especially in medicine. Social attitudes concerning the properness of females and males working together either in school, or later in the workplace, inhibit more rapid advancement of women into nontraditional professions. By 1992, some 72,899 students were enrolled in Libya's universities.


Admissions Procedures: Students who earn a secondary school diploma are eligible to enter Libyan universities. Extremely rapid expansion of educational opportunities has led to a decline in the preparation of students and very high grade repetition rates in Libyan universities. In 1976, an estimated 79 percent of engineering students had to repeat their first year at university. Comparable rates in the arts were 74 percent.


Administration: Universities are administered by "People's Committees," consisting of six faculty members, four students, two members of the instructional staff, and one woman. The chancellor of the university is the chair of this committee. The Secretariat of Higher Education exercises oversight and is responsible for the quality of graduates from schools at all levels throughout the Libyan educational system. The language of instruction in universities is Arabic.


Tuition: Because of Libya's tremendous oil wealth, education is free. The Libyan government spends between 9,000 and 13,000 LD per year on each university student, but in return they can more rapidly achieve their goal of placing Libyans in all essential jobs.


Foreign Students: Roughly 16 percent of Libyan university students are non-Libyans from other African and Arab nations. Many foreign students are on scholarships offered to them by Libya as a means of spreading its influence, as well as sharing its wealth.


Libraries: The National Archives are located in Tripoli and are the official repository of historical documents for Libya. This unit consists of 5 libraries containing 55,000 books and documents. In addition, the Government Library is also located in Tripoli and has 35,000 books. There is an Agricultural Research Center Library in Tripoli with 6,000 books and 220 periodicals. The National Library of Libya is located in Benghazi, as is the Public Library of Libya, which contains 11,000 books. Qurinna Library and the University of Gar Younis Library are both located in Behghazi. The Gar Younis Library has 294,844 books; 2,360 periodicals; 70,000 documents; and 10,000 microfilms and rare books.

Beyond this, there are libraries on the campuses of Al-Fateh University, Al-Arab University, Bright Star University of Technology, Sebha University, the African Centre for Applied Research and Training in Social Development, the Arts and Crafts School, the Faculty of Engineering, the Higher Institute of Electronics, the Higher Institute of Technology, the National Institute of Administration, and the Post and Telecommunications Institute Library, all of which help to disseminate knowledge and encourage lifelong learning in Libya.

In 1975 Libya published 129 books, but by 1994 this number had dropped to 26. Hardest hit were books in the Social Sciences, which fell from 28 in 1975 to 2 in 1994, and the Pure Sciences where 21 books were published in 1975, but only 2 in 1994. In 1996, Libya had 4 daily newspapers with a daily circulation of 71,000 papers; this means that 16 out of every 1,000 Libyans are reading a daily paper. Many Libyans get their information through radios, of which there were over 1.3 million in 1997, and televisions, of which Libyans had 730,000 in that same year. They share information by talking, as indicated by the fact that there were 380,000 telephones in Libya or 6.8 telephones per 100 inhabitants in 1996 (UNESCO).


Administration, Finance, & Educational Research


Government & Educational Agencies: Like many things in Libya, education is centrally controlled. The Secretariat of Education and Scientific Research regulates all public schools, Islamic schools, special education schools, teacher training institutes, and vocational and technical institutes and colleges, such as the commercial and applied engineering colleges. The Secretariat of Education supervises all examinations for schools under its authority and establishes educational policy as well. These activities are supported by revenue from oil exports. Post secondary school students at universities receive government stipends to help with living expenses.

The country is divided into education zones, and officials in charge of each zone implement government education policy in their area. Libya has 10 muhafadha or education regions. In 1974, Libya spent more on its students than most other nations in the African and Arab world. Approximately 7 percent of Libya's national budget was devoted to education. Libya spent 400 LD on each primary school student in 1980. About 6,000 LD were spent for each student who earned a secondary diploma. In 1986, Libya spent 7.7 percent of its budget on education or 636 million dinar, which was 9.6 percent of its GNP that year. Capital expenditure that same year was 130 million dinar. No information was available on the amount spent on each Libyan student studying abroad or on education research.


Nonformal Education


Adult Education: Libya confronts colonial neglect when it attacks adult education and tries to remedy past abuses. In 1973, 51 percent of the population was illiterate. By 1980, this had fallen to 47.1 percent or 765,000 people, of whom 253,000 or 28.5 percent were male, and 512,000 or 69.4 percent were female. In 2000, this number declined to 20.2 percent, of whom 9.1 percent were male, and 32.4 percent were female (UNESCO). A variety of successful programs have been directed at illiteracy, and as the numbers show, progress has been made.

There are centers for literacy training in each district. Baladiya or centers for literacy training often have vocational and technical programs attached to functional literacy programs. About 7,000 students per year benefit from these programs. The Secretariat of Labor also runs other programs to help upgrade workers. The Secretariats of Commerce and Electricity run programs to upgrade skills in road maintenance, construction, airport management, telecommunications, and public transportation. The Secretariat of Agriculture trains 700 students per year in tractor operation and management, farm machinery, tool use, and maintenance. Worker development programs help the government impart skills and attack illiteracy simultaneously. Government employees are given full pay and release time to encourage personal growth. Programs vary in intensity and last from one month to four years in duration, depending on the goal of the program. The government's goal is to have each worker reach a fourth grade level in reading and math, as well as to develop specific job related skills. Despite great strides, illiteracy is still considered a major problem in Libyan society. Because of the demand for skilled labor, there is great competition for graduates of each program.


Distance Education: Barnamaj Nahw al-Nur and similar television programs attack adult illiteracy by providing the basics of reading and mathematics to adults in a creative and inviting manner. Through such programs remote populations can be reached, which might otherwise be neglected, but the cost per student is very high.

Teaching Profession


Training & Qualifications: A few teachers work in schools set aside for gifted children. The same is true for special education, as some teachers are trained to work with students who are learning disabled or physically handicapped. These children attend special schools.

Most teachers begin training for primary school teaching after completing a five year post-primary or two year postsecondary diploma. Teacher training programs often take four years to complete. Trainees take general education courses, after which they specialize in one of the following areas: mathematics and science, arts, religion, Arabic, physical education, social studies, English, or music education. Graduates receive a general teacher's certificate. Upper level secondary school teachers attend classes at one of Libya's universities and take courses in the Department of Education leading to a bachelor's degree in education. Some secondary school teachers specialize in education in college, but most specialize in history, math, physics, literature, or the subject they teach.

Rapid expansion of the entire educational system since 1970 has forced Libya to dramatically expand teacher training programs in each region. Several new facilities exclusively train women. The government is encouraging women to take up teaching as a profession. In 1978, there were 11,303 female teachers. This number has increased substantially since then, but no firm numbers are available. Despite major efforts to produce as many teachers as they need to staff an expanding system, Libya still lacks enough qualified teachers. In 1980 Libya had 36,591 primary school teachers, and by 1990 this number rose to 85,537 teachers, of whom 47 percent were female. During the same time frame, Libya had 24,323 secondary school teachers, 20 percent of whom were female. The student-teacher ratio for primary school was 18 to 1 and for secondary school it was 12 to 1 for the period under review.

As noted earlier, Libyans are very sensitive to foreigners; they fear foreign domination. In 1977, of 40,480 teachers, 17,545 were non-Libyan. This number has declined as trained Libyans have been produced to fill these positions, but no current data is available to judge the extent of the change. Libya is committed to replacing non-Libyan teachers with Libyan teachers. But, given continued expansion of the entire educational system, it may be years before this goal can be reached. Non-Libyans will continue to make great contributions to Libyan youth at the secondary and university levels.


Summary

Qadhafi and the Free Officers Movement ushered in an era of monumental change that created universal education as its goal. Educational opportunities expanded in a very dramatic manner at breathtaking speed. This expansion, while good, occurred so fast that Libya ended up with an educational system of average quality. To its credit, education is free for all. Libyans still look down upon manual labor and trades, thus it remains difficult to recruit students for vocational and technical training. Despite making education free and compulsory, some children do not attend school and instead stay home to help their fathers herd camels and livestock in remote rural areas. Females, especially from ethnic minorities such as the Berbers, are more likely than males to miss school. Many rural families still do not believe that girls need an education and that their role is only to marry and produce strong families. Many feel that what schools teach is irrelevant to what a person needs to succeed in life. Illiteracy still makes it difficult to train some Libyans on the job or for job. Many adults do not want to learn anything beyond their special area of job related interest. Closed minds make it difficult to build an open and modern society. Libya's four universities produce thousands of qualified professionals annually, which brings Libya closer each year to its goal of libyanizing the economy. All things considered Libya has done remarkably well in the field of education when considering where they began in 1951.

Examinations, like most things in Libya, are centrally created and implemented. They have little value in terms of predicting future performance either in school or on a job. Decentralizing planning, implementation, and evaluation of examinations might improve the system in the future and make it more reliable. Regions should be allowed to plan their needs with input from the central government but not with centralized control. This prohibits creative solutions by those teachers closest to the problems who would know best how to remedy them. Central planning tracks students into careers for which they may have aptitude, but no interest. Career counselors in each school could work with students to encourage them to enter fields in which they have a genuine interest. This would reduce academic failure, student apathy, and accelerate the rate at which Libya reaches its goal of filling jobs with Libyan personnel.


Bibliography


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Bearman, Jonathan. Qadhafi's Libya. London: Zed Books, 1986.

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Cooley, John. Libyan Sandstorm: The Complete Account of Qadhafi's Revolution. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1982.

El-Fathaly, Omar, et. al. Political Development and Bureaucracy in Libya. Lexington: Lexington Books, 1977.


El-Khawas, Mohamed A. Qaddafi: His Ideology in Theory and Practice. Brattleboro: Amana Books, 1986.


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Dallas L. Browne

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Libya

LIBYA

Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Al-Jamahiriyah al-'Arabiyah al-Libiyah ash-Sha'biyah al-Ishtirakiyah

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

LOCATION AND SIZE.

Libya is a North African country, which shares a border with the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt and Sudan to the east, Niger, Chad and Sudan to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west. With 1,759,540 square kilometers of area (679,358 square miles), it is slightly larger than the State of Alaska. The length of its land border and its coastline is 4,383 kilometers (2,723 miles), and 1,770 kilometers (1,099 miles), respectively. With the exception of Sabha, located in the south, all its major citiesincluding the capital city of Tripoliare along its coastline.

POPULATION.

Libya's population of roughly 5,115,450 (est. July 2000) has seen an annual growth rate of 3.5 percent since 1975, when it was 2,400,000. With a predicated annual growth rate of 2.1 percent, the population will reach 7,600,000 in 2015. In 2000, the birth and death rates were 27.68 births per 1,000 population, and 3.51 deaths per 1,000 population, respectively.

The Arabic-speaking Berbers and Arabs constitute 97 percent of Libya's population. Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians are the significant minority groups.

The Libyan population is relatively young, with 64 percent of the population between the ages of 15 and 64. Only 4 percent of Libyans are over the age of 64. (In contrast, almost 13 percent of the population in the United States is over the age of 64.) In 1998, 86.8 percent of the population was living in urban areas, particularly in Tripoli and Benghazi; this percentage marks a significant growth in urban population since 1975, when it accounted for 60.9 percent of the population. Urban dwellers will constitute roughly 90 percent of the population by 2015.

OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY

After about 5 centuries of colonization by the Ottoman Empire, Italy, Britain, and France, Libya became an independent monarchy in 1951. In 1969, Colonel Muammar Qadhafi staged a coup (an internal military uprising against a government) and established a republic. During its first decade, the new regime nationalized all foreign businesses and weakened the private sector through nationalization, confiscation, and "spontaneous" seizures of private factories by workers. The private sector was confined to retail trade, but the shortage of investments in the late 1980s forced the Libyan government to ease laws restricting its activities. Nevertheless, the private sector is still limited to small-scale activities in agriculture, retail trade, and manufacturing. Various legal and practical restrictions have prevented its rapid expansion, including the absence of respect for private property reflected in the periodic arrest of merchants and shopkeepers, and confiscation of their businesses.

Libya has a single-product economy, which survives on exports of hydrocarbons (oil, gas, and their refined products), accounting for 94 percent of exports in 1998. Thanks to these exports, since the 1960s Libya has had trade surpluses and a small foreign debt (US$3.9 billion in 1999) compared to its foreign exchange reserves (US$7.28 billion in 1999). However, the economy is highly vulnerable to fluctuations in oil prices, which directly affect government revenues. The Libyan government has been successful to a great extent in creating an infrastructure , but it has failed to establish viable industry, agriculture, and service sectors. In particular, it has failed to diversify the economy through establishing desired heavy industries. As a result, the Libyan economy is still an oil-based economy.

Internal and external factors have prevented the economic growth of Libya. Inconsistent planning, frequent changes in government economic policies, and the government's weakening of the private sector have been the major internal factors. External factors include periodic low oil prices, which have deprived the Libyan government of financial means needed to implement fully its development plans. In addition, the imposition of American sanctions in the late 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s on Libya for its alleged involvement in terrorism has limited Libya's income and its access to foreign technology and investment. Additionally, the UN-imposed sanctions on Libya in the 1990s over Libya's refusal to hand over for trial 2 Libyan suspects implicated in the 1988 bombing of a Pan American jetliner further worsened its economic situation. Libya's improving relations with Europe following the suspension of UN sanctions in 1999, and high oil prices have eased pressure on its economy as reflected in a jump from a 2 percent growth rate in 1998 to 5.4 percent in 1999, and to an estimated 6.5 percent in 2000.

POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION

As explained in his manifesto The Green Book, published in the 1970s, Colonel Qadhafi's ideology has shaped the Libyan political system and economy since 1969. As an "alternative" to capitalism and Marxism , this ideology draws on Arab nationalism and Islam, but its economic program is primarily socialist . Accordingly, the state controls the economy, and the private sector assumes a negligible role. The situation has remained the same despite the relaxation of some restrictions on the private sector.

Libya has a peculiar political system known as the Jamahiriya or the "republic of the masses." In theory, this means that the Libyans rule their country directly through a series of popular entities that function as local governments, which are called Basic People's Congresses (BPCs). Each BPC chooses a secretary to represent it in Libya's highest legislative organ, the General People's Congress (GPC). The GPC chooses "the secretaries of the secretariat," (cabinet ministers) who form the cabinet called the General People's Committee, and also the head of the Committee, who presides over the cabinet as the prime minister.

The system has undergone changes in form, but the theoretical concept of running the country through popular entities has been kept. In 1992, Colonel Qadhafi divided Libya into 1,500 mahallat (communes or neighborhoods) and granted each of them its own budget as well as executive and legislative powers. As part of his decentralization policy, in 2000 he transferred most central government executive functions excluding its defense, trade, social security, health, education, and infrastructure to 26 municipal councils represented in the GPC.

Having the title of "Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution," Colonel Qadhafi does not hold any official government position. Theoretically, he has no power and defers to the GPC. However, in practice, the GPC is a rubber stamp for the colonel, who appoints all influential figures and ensures the docility of all security and political organs through the revolutionary committees (associations of pro-Qadhafi young men led by the colonel's appointees). They function as a political police force with the power of arrest and summary execution, although their power has been curtailed to some extent since the late 1980s to appease the growing popular dissatisfaction with their abuses. Since mid-1996, the newly formed "purification committees" have also operated on Colonel Qadhafi's behalf to combat corruption and black-market activities. In short, Libya is run by Qadhafi and a small circle of his close allies.

There is no legal opposition group inside the country with an alternative economic view or with any impact on the economy whatsoever. The government has suppressed various secular and religious political groups and turned them into ineffective political forces based mainly in exile. They include the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, the Militant Islamic Group, and the Libyan Martyrs' Movement.

Fossil-energy exports have been the major contributor to government revenues since the 1960s, accounting for more than 70 percent of these revenues. The Libyan government has failed to reduce its heavy reliance on such exports by increasing its revenue from taxes due to the limited tax base and insignificant private sector activities. In absence of such activities, salaried government employees are the main tax payers, although they make little income that can be taxed. Heavy dependency on energy exports affects government revenues, since world oil prices tend to fluctuate. Due to this vulnerability on energy prices, the Libyan government makes every effort to balance its budgets and avoid deficit spending. While accurate budget figures are difficult to obtain from a relatively closed society, it is estimated that in 1999, government revenues roughly equaled expenditures of US$10.88 billion, of which the share of exports was over US$7 billion.

INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS

Libya has a good infrastructure thanks to its development projects since the 1970s. Its fossil-fuel generators produced electricity at the rate of 16.92 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) in 1998, which was well above consumption (15.736 billion kWh in 1998). There are large-scale plans for their expansionwhich will prepare Libya for increasing consumptionvalued at about US$6 billion.

Libya's land communication system is confined to an extensive road network estimated at 83,200 kilometers (51,700 miles) in 1996 of which 47,590 kilometers (29,572 miles) are paved. They provide adequate access to most of its major rural and urban areas. There is no train service, but there are plans for building north-south and east-west railway lines.

Communications
Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Libya 14 233 126 0.0 3 N/A N/A 0.00 7
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Egypt 40 324 122 N/A 1 0.5 9.1 0.28 200
Algeria 38 241 105 0.0 1 0.2 4.2 0.01 20
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium (http://www.isc.org) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

Sea and air connections are facilitated through several ports and airports. Major ports include Tripoli, Benghazi, Marsa el-Brega, Minsurat and El-Sider (Sidra), and 3 new ports are under construction. There are also 5 major oil terminals at Zuetina, Ras Lanuf, Marsa el-Hariga, Marsa el-Brega, and El-Sider. Libya has 59 airports with paved runways and 83 with unpaved runways. UN sanctions stopped international flights to and from Libya, and lack of spare parts caused by other sanctions grounded about 80 percent of its civilian air fleet in the 1990s. The 1999 suspension of UN sanctions paved the way for the resumption of international flights and for purchasing new aircraft and modernizing the airports.

The state-owned General Post and Telecommunications Company (GPTC) dominates the Libyan telecommunications system. It provides fixed telephone services; a private company (El Mada) in which the GPTC has a 20 percent stake provides cellular telephone services. There are at least 318,000 fixed telephone lines (1995 est.) and 20,000 cellular telephones (2000 est.) in use.

All Libyan radio and television programs are state-run. There were 24 AM, FM and short wave radio programs, and 12 television programs in the late 1990s, but many people in urban areas had access to satellite television programs. There were also 1.35 million radios and 730,000 televisions in use. Internet access is provided by the GPTC.

ECONOMIC SECTORS

After a decade of growth in the 1970s, the state-dominated Libyan economy has suffered from over 2 decades of sanctions. Additionally, the practical exclusion of the private sector from major economic activities has limited the growth and diversification of the 3 economic sectors. Agriculture is the smallest sector with limited farming activities and underdeveloped fisheries; it is unable to feed the population. Industry is the largest sector, almost exclusively because of the large hydrocarbon industry. Oil exports make industry the largest contributor to the economy, and fluctuations in oil prices expand and contract both the sector and the entire economy. The service sector is not underdeveloped, but lacks viable tourist and retail industries. Financial services and transportation, however, make service a significant part of the economy.

AGRICULTURE

Libya has sought to expand its agriculture since the early 1970s. Its success in this regard has been limited despite heavy investments that equaled 30 percent of government expenditures in the 1970s. For example, production of cereals in 1998 (207,000 metric tons) met only 15 percent of the country's needs. Therefore, Libya has remained dependent on large agricultural imports, estimated at about 75 percent of its annual needs.

Libyan agriculture is a small contributor to the work-force (about 17 percent), and to GDP (about 5.6 percent in 1997). Major barriers to its growth are limited arable land (1.7 percent of Libya's area) and water resources, over-use of arable land and fertilizers, and a shortage of labor. Apart from a limited production of barley and wheat, major agricultural products are mostly fruits and vegetables such as dates, almonds, grapes, citrus fruits, watermelon, olives, and tomatoes, which constitute about 80 percent of annual agricultural production. Agricultural activities take place mainly along the coastline. Inland farming is very limited because of water shortages. Rapid urbanization has resulted in a severe shortage of agricultural workers, forcing Libya to rely on foreign farm laborers.

Libya's animal husbandry has suffered from the sanctions, limiting imports of animal feed on which it depends heavily. For example, the production of beef and veal dropped from 22,100 metric tons in 1994 to 2,100 metric tons in 1998.

The low annual catch (34,500 metric tons in 1997) demonstrates the underdeveloped nature of Libya's fisheries, despite the richness of its waters in exportable fish (e.g., tuna and sardines). Low investments in fishing boats, ports, and processing facilities are major obstacles to its growth. The country has 1 major fishing port (Zlitan), 1 tuna plant, and 2 sardine factories with small processing capacities (1,000 metric tons per year each). Libya is planning to build 24 fishing ports in addition to the one under construction at Marsa Zuaga.

INDUSTRY

While its share of GDP is only 52.8 percent (est. 1994), industry is by far the most important segment of Libya's economy, since it encompasses the oil industry, which is vital to the country's economic survival.

OIL.

As the main export item, oil dominates Libya's mining industry. Estimated at 29.5 billion barrels in 1998, Libya's oil reserves ensure exports until 2053 at the 1999 export level of 1,137,000 barrels per day (b/d). The Libyan government owns 5 oil refineries in Libya as well as a network of oil refineries in Italy, Switzerland, and Germany in partnership with European oil companies.

Libya's oil production has decreased significantly since the 1970s. In 1975, the Libyans reduced their production from 3.32 million b/d to 1.48 million b/d, for fear of drying up their resources. Managerial problems, OPEC quotas, and sanction-created shortages of spare parts and investments have further lowered production. Sanctions have also resulted in a decrease or stoppage in production of certain oil products (e.g., gasoline), which then had to be imported. American sanctions are still in force, but the 1999 suspension of UN sanctions opened the way for Europe's involvement in Libya's oil industry.

MINING.

With estimated gas reserves of 1.5 trillion cubic meters, Libya is also rich in natural gas, but most of its reserves are undeveloped. The Libyan government has tried to develop them to increase the life of its oil reserves by replacing oil with gas for domestic consumption, and also to increase its gas exports. Development projects include 2 gas pipelines to connect 4 new gas-powered electricity generators to the national grid, and a US$5.5 billion project with Italy for the development of onshore and offshore gas reserves and the construction of an undersea pipeline to export gas to Italy. On average, 20 to 25 percent of annual gas production (6.4 billion cubic meters in 1998) is exported mainly to Italy and Spain.

Iron ore and salt are other major resources that play a role in Libya's economy. The iron ore resources are estimated at 700 million metric tons and are located in southern Libya far from its iron and steel complex. Their development has been delayed due to the absence of financing for building the required rail link. Libya's salt mineslocated mainly around Tripoli and Benghaziproduce 30,000 metric tons annually. There is also a limited extraction of construction materials (e.g., limestone, clay, and stone).

MANUFACTURING.

Libya's manufacturing industry is not well-developed. Ambitious projects in heavy industries (e.g., aluminum and fertilizer complexes) have been partially realized at best, as various sanctions have limited funds, denied foreign investments, and severely restricted transfer of technology and sale of required equipment. Manufacturing establishments suffer from a shortage of spare parts and poor maintenance, which lower their production. The current share of this industry of GDP must be well below its 1994 share of about 10 percent.

Besides a few joint ventures (mainly with Italy), most manufacturing establishments are Libyan. They are mostly small- and medium-sized factories producing light and consumer goods (e.g., foodstuffs, wood, paper, textiles, and VCRs). The limited heavy industries include an iron and steel complex, a petrochemical complex, and a pharmaceuticals plant. Libya produces about 3,000 cars a year, and assembles trucks in joint venture with Italy. The manufacturing products are far short of domestic demand, making Libya very dependent on imports.

CONSTRUCTION.

Thanks to extensive hydrocarbon supplies and water projects, construction is a major industry. Two long-term major projects are the construction of the Great Man-Made River to transfer water from Libya's southern water resources to its major urban and farming areas in the north. It has received an average of 10 percent of government annual expenditures since 1984. Another project is a large gas development and pipeline construction with Italy. There have been modernization projects in major cities including Tripoli since the suspension of UN sanctions.

SERVICES

Services form a growing economic sector, which accounted for about 40 percent of GDP in 1994. Given the suspension of the UN air embargo against Libya in 1999, the expected growth in tourism in the first decade of the 21st century should strengthen the role of this sector in the Libyan economy.

FINANCIAL SERVICES.

The Libyan government controls the financial system, including banking, insurance, and investment activities. In 1970, it nationalized all financial institutions, but economic problems forced it to allow the operation of private banks in 1993. With one exception in Misurata, no private bank has been established yet. Nor is there any foreign bank, excluding the Arab Banking Corporation, a Baharini bank partly owned by Libya. The banking system consists of the Central Bank of Libya and 8 major banks: the Agriculture Bank, the Jamahiriya Bank, the National Commercial Bank, the Savings and Real Estate Investment Bank, the Umma Bank, the Wahda bank, the Sahara Bank, and the Libyan Arab Foreign Bank. The last 2 are among the top 1,000 banks of the world. State-run companies provide insurance and business services. The Libyan finance ministry conducts foreign investments through the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company, which has invested US$500 million in 45 countries.

TOURISM.

Libya has an underdeveloped tourist industry, although it has the potential to grow. As a Mediterranean country with long warm beaches and historic sites, Libya could attract many Europeans who currently vacation on the inexpensive warm coastlines of Libya's North African neighbors Egypt and Tunisia. The industry, however, lacks an adequate infrastructure such as hotels. Furthermore, the sanction-related fall of tourism has turned many Libyan beaches into garbage dumps. Anticipating an upsurge in the tourist trade in the wake of the lifting of UN sanctions, a tourist center, including a large hotel and entertainment facilities, is being built in Tripoli.

TRANSPORTATION.

The Libyan transportation industry is significant, but has suffered a great deal from sanctions. Its merchant fleet consists of 27 vessels and is oriented towards oil and gas exports. Libya's civilian air fleet, under-utilized from the sanctions, will be expanded by the purchase of 24 Airbuses as part of a government plan announced in 2000.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Libya's international trade has been characterized by a positive balance since the 1960s. One estimate put its 1999 balance as US$7.01 billion in exports, and US$4.21 billion in imports, creating a trade surplus of US$2.79 billion, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. Oil and gas and their refined products accounted for about 95 percent of Libya's exports in 1999. Its major imports are food, capital goods , transport equipment, and iron and steel products.

Libya has reduced its trade with the ex-socialist countries since 1991, while expanding trade with North African and Western countries. The suspension of UN sanctions removed barriers to trade with most Western countries. Italy, Germany, Spain, Turkey, France, Sudan, the UK, and Tunisia have been the major destinations of exports for Libya since 1990. With 40.1 percent, 17.8 percent, and 11.3 percent share of exports, the first 3 countries were the largest destinations in 1998. In that year, Italy, Germany, the UK, France, Tunisia, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, and Japan were the major exporters to Libya. The first 3 were the largest exporters in 1998 with 22.9 percent, 12.2 percent, and 9.1 percent share of exports, respectively.

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Libya
Exports Imports
1975 6.834 3.542
1980 21.910 6.777
1985 10.929 4.101
1990 13.225 5.336
1995 N/A N/A
1998 N/A N/A
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

MONEY

To ensure the stability of its currency, the Libyan government pegged the Libyan dinar (LD) to the U.S. dollar at a fixed exchange rate in 1973. In 1986 it switched to a new system: pegging the dinar to an SDR (special drawing right) at a fixed rate. The SDR is an artificial "basket" of 5 currencies selected and used by the International Monetary Fund for internal accounting purposes. The SDR method allows greater flexibility in stabilizing the value of the dinar as world economic conditions change.

There is a significant difference between official exchange rates and those of the black market. In 1996, the black market rate for the U.S. dollar was 10 times as much as the official one. The government has sought to narrow the gap between the 2 rates by selling dollars to push the black market rate down. This policy showed some success in 1999 when that rate dropped to 3 times the official rate (LD 0.45 = US$1).

There are currency restrictions for Libyans and foreigners. Libyans travelling abroad may purchase a certain amount of currency (about US$6,000 in 2000) while foreigners entering Libya have to declare their currencies and leave the country with no more than the declared amount.

In absence of reliable statistics on fluctuations of price changes, it is difficult to determine inflation rates in Libya. The existing rates for the second half of the 1990s are therefore estimates. The inflation rate was estimated at 18 percent in 1999, a significant decrease from the average annual rate of 28.5 percent for the period 1995 to 1998. A major reason for such high rates is the heavy government subsidies for domestic foodstuffs, which it has kept despite their huge cost for an economy heavily dependent on large food imports. Scarcity of many consumer goods provoked rising prices, which further worsened inflation . Economic sanctions, with their limiting effects on trade, and the closure of many retail stores in the second half of the 1990s as part of a government crackdown on the black market, were 2 major

Exchange rates: Libya
Libyan dinars (LD) per US$1
Jan 2001 0.5101
2000 0.5081
1999 0.4616
1998 0.3785
1997 0.3891
1996 0.3651
Note: Libya currently has two rates for foreign trade; one for government operations and foreign companies and one for Libyan individuals (0.45 dinars per US dollar in December 1998).
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

contributing factors. The suspension of UN sanctions in 1999 improved the availability of consumer goods and paved the way for a higher oil-and natural gas-generated income as European oil companies began to return to Libya. These factors, and lower spending by the Libyan government, helped reduce the inflation rate to 18 percent in 1999. Various government subsidies (e.g., free education and medical services and low-priced foodstuffs) helped the Libyans cope with the impact of Libya's high inflation rates without a sharp decline in their living standards.

POVERTY AND WEALTH

The living standards of Libyans have improved significantly since the 1970s, ranking the country among the highest in Africa. Urbanization, developmental projects, and high oil revenues have enabled the Libyan government to elevate its people's living standards. The social and economic status of women and children has particularly improved. Various subsidized or free services (health, education, housing, and basic foodstuffs) have ensured basic necessities. The low percentage of people without access to safe water (3 percent), health services (0 percent) and sanitation (2 percent), and a relatively high life expectancy (70.2 years) in 1998 indicate the improved living standards. Adequate health care and subsidized foodstuffs have sharply reduced infant mortality, from 105 per 1,000 live births in 1970 to 20 per 1,000 live births in 1998. The government also subsidizes education, which is compulsory and free between the ages of 6 and 15. The expansion of educational facilities has elevated the literacy rate (78.1 in 1998). There are universities in Tripoli, Benghazi, Marsa el-Brega, Misurata, Sebha, and Tobruq. Despite its successes, the educational system has failed to train adequate numbers of professionals, resulting in Libya's dependency on foreign teachers, doctors, and scientists.

Many direct and indirect subsidies and free services have helped raise the economic status of low-income families, a policy which has prevented extreme poverty. As part of its socialist model of economic development,

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Libya N/A 6,700 6,700 7,900 8,900
United States 28,600 30,200 31,500 33,900 36,200
Egypt 2,900 4,400 2,850 3,000 3,600
Algeria 4,000 4,000 4,600 4,700 5,500
Note: Data are estimates.
SOURCE: Handbook of the Nations, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th editions for 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 data; CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online] for 2000 data.

the Libyan government has weakened the private sector and confined it to mainly small-scale businesses. While this policy has damaged the Libyan economy significantly, it has also prevented the accumulation of wealth by a small percentage of the population. While the ruling elite (i.e., top civil servants, military officers, and politicians), enjoys much higher living standards compared to average Libyans, and corruption exists within its ranks, Libya is not a highly polarized society divided between extremes of wealth and poverty.

WORKING CONDITIONS

The Libyan labor law provides for wages and pensions, but prohibits independent trade unions. The government-created National Trade Unions' Federation is the only legal workers' organization. The labor law does not provide for the right to strike, but Qadhafi has confirmed its existence. Collective bargaining is not allowed, since the government must approve all labor agreements. The minimum age of labor is 18, the maximum work week is 48 hours, and the average monthly wage is roughly 270 dinars. At the official exchange rate, this works out to roughly US$750 a month, but is only US$100 at the unofficial (and more realistic) rate. The labor law provides for the equality of women with men, but traditional social restrictions on women's activities outside the home limit the practical effects of the law, and therefore create barriers to full participation of women in the workforce. Foreign workers may be denied rights provided for Libyan workers, and there are restrictions on their repatriation of income.

Libya's workforce is about 1.2 million strong as estimated in 1997. There are also 1 to 2 million foreign workers. The majority of the workforce are government employees. Unemployment was estimated at about 30 percent in 2000. The high unemployment rate is the result of years of sanctions as well as Qadhafi's efforts at preventing the emergence of a viable and growing private sector. Sanctions have been particularly effective in harming Libya's oil and gas exports, thus constraining economic security for many Libyans who directly or indirectly rely on these industries. Large infrastructure projects, financed by the government, also depend on export revenues. Thus, a decline in the activities of the oil and gas industries and large governmental projects has reduced employment opportunities, resulting in a large unemployment rate. This situation will likely change in the near future. In the aftermath of the 1999 suspension of UN sanctions, the growing interest of the European oil companies in the Libyan energy industry will increase its exports, which in turn will generate funds to be invested in the expansion of the industry and also in many other government projects. In short, the revival of the energy industry will surely help reduce unemployment in Libya.

COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

643. The Arabs invade Libya and rule over it until the 1500s when the Ottoman Empire conquers it.

1911. Italy replaces the Ottoman Empire as the colonizer of Libya.

1945. Libya is divided between Britain and France at the end of World War II.

1951. Libya becomes independent, and King Idris establishes a monarchy.

1959. The first commercially viable oilfield is discovered at Zelten.

1960s. Libya emerges as a major oil-producing country.

1969. Colonel Muammar Qadhafi stages a coup and overthrows the monarchy.

1977. Libya was renamed as the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Inspired by Colonel Qadhafi, workers assume control of the private manufacturing sector.

1978. The United States imposes sanctions on Libya for its alleged state terrorism.

1982. The USA bans Libyan crude oil imports.

1992. The United Nations imposes sanctions on Libya for its refusal to hand over suspects implicated in the 1988 bombing of a Pan American airliner.

1993. UN sanctions expand to freeze Libyan financial assets abroad.

1996. The United States imposes secondary sanctions, the "Iran and Libya Sanctions Act," targeting non-American companies wishing to invest more than US$40 million a year in the Iranian and Libyan oil industries.

1999. UN sanctions are suspended as Libya, the United Kingdom, and the United States agree on the trial of the 2 suspects in the Netherlands.

FUTURE TRENDS

The suspension of UN sanctions in 1999 has paved the way for large foreign investments in the Libyan hydrocarbon industries, a necessity for its full operation, expansion, and modernization. The Italian oil companies have been eager to embark on major projects in Libya. Libya will likely further expand its economic ties with European countries in energy and non-energy areas, while American sanctions will exclude American businesses, including oil companies, from investment in that country. The expansion of the Libyan private sector will likely gain momentum, since the liberalization of Libya's centralized economy is a necessity for its development and diversification. In the absence of any significant opposition, there is no serious challenge to the Libyan political system and the authority of Colonel Qadhafi. For the foreseeable future, the Libyan political system led by Colonel Qadhafi will likely remain stable.

DEPENDENCIES

Libya has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Country Risk Service Libya. London: EIU, 16 January 2001.

EIU. Country Profile: Libya, 2000-01. London: EIU, 2000.

EIU. Country Report: Libya. London: EIU, December 2000.

EIU. Country Report: Libya. London: EIU, February 2001.

Economic Research Institute. "LibyaCompensation and BenefitLegislation." http://www.erieri.com/codes/LIBYA.htm. Accessed June, 2001.

Gurney, Judith. Libya: The Political Economy of Oil. Oxford:Oxford University Press, 1996.

United Nations Development Program. Human Development Report 2000. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

United States Central Intelligence Agency. "The World Factbook 2000: Libya." http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/er.html. Accessed January 2001.

United States Department of State. "1999 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices-Libya." http://www.state.gov/www/global/human_rights/1999/eritrea.htm. Accessed January 2001.

Dr.Hooman Peimani

CAPITAL:

Tripoli.

MONETARY UNIT:

Libyan dinar (LD). One Libyan dinar equals 1,000 dirhams. Coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dirhams. Paper currency comes in denominations of .25, .50, 1, 5, and 10 dinars.

CHIEF EXPORTS:

Crude oil, refined petroleum products, and natural gas.

CHIEF IMPORTS:

Machinery, transport equipment, food, and manufactured goods.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

US$39.3 billion (purchasing power parity, 1999 est.).

BALANCE OF TRADE:

Exports: US$6.6 billion (1998 est.). Imports: US$7 billion (1998 est.).

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Libya

LIBYA

Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

Major Cities:
Tripoli, Benghazi, Misratah

Other Cities:
Darnah, Ghadamis, Marsa-el Brega, Tobruk

INTRODUCTION

The north African nation of LIBYA was created from the former Turkish and Italian colonial provinces of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan. Libya was a poor nation until the discovery of oil in the late 1950s brought new wealth and prosperity. Since the ascension to power of Col. Muammar Qadhafi in 1969, Libya has adopted a foreign policy that stresses a strong commitment to Arab unity, a willingness to use oil as a political weapon, and warfare with Israel. Moreover, the Libyans have been accused of sponsoring and offering training facilities for international terrorist groups. Because of its radical policies, Libya has been labeled a renegade nation and treated as an outcast by most of the world community.

MAJOR CITIES

Tripoli

Tripoli is Libya's capital, largest city, and primary seaport. Situated in an oasis between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert, Tripoli is a clean city divided into old and new quarters. The old city consists of narrow streets with small houses of Turkish-Arab design. Wide avenues lined with modern multi-story apartments, villas, and office buildings characterize conditions in the new city. The center of the town consists of a large square, Maidan Ashukada, from which Tripoli's main thoroughfares fan out in all directions. In the last few decades, Tripoli has grown from a sleepy Arab town into a major urban metropolis. In 2000, Tripoli had an estimated population of 2.4 million.

Because Tripoli is located in an oasis, agriculture is possible. Olives, citrus fruit, tobacco, vegetables, and grains are grown near Tripoli. The city is also home to several industries, among them a tanning factory, oil depot, and a gas-bottling plant. Tripoli has an international airport and is linked by road to the Libyan city of Benghazi and Cairo in Egypt.

Education

The Martyrs School (formerly Oil Companies School) is located three miles west of Tripoli. The school was originally designed to meet the educational needs of the major oil companies in Tripoli. However, in recent years, the school has been opened to expatriates not affiliated with the oil industry. The school was founded in 1958 and offers an American-style, coeducational education from pre-kindergarten to tenth grade. Arabic and French are taught as foreign languages.

Situated on a five-acre campus, the Martyrs School consists of 11 buildings, 47 classrooms, a 14,000 volume library, 2 science labs, a computer lab, auditorium, infirmary, gymnasium, and tennis courts. Students are grouped according to their abilities, with an accelerated study program available for gifted students. The school year lasts from September to June.

In addition to its traditional curriculum, the Martyrs School offers an extracurricular program that includes gymnastics, computers, yearbook, school newspaper, field trips, drama, student council, soccer, tennis, floor hockey, basketball, softball, volleyball, and numerous social clubs. The school's mailing address is P.O. Box 860, Tripoli, S.P.L.A.J. (Libya).

Entertainment

Viewing popular dances and shopping for traditional handicrafts are among the entertainment opportunities available in Tripoli. The National Folklore Group and the Libyan Arab Folklore Group often perform traditional dances in Tripoli. Tripoli is the home of the Islamic Artistic and Professional School, where artisans learn and perfect their craft. The school's location in Tripoli ensures that visitors have ample opportunities to view and purchase handmade carpets, pottery and ceramics, textiles, metal and leather handicrafts, and products fashioned from palm tree fibers.

Recreation

Tripoli has several mosques, museums, and monuments that are often toured by visitors. The Karamanli Mosque (also known as Jama ' Ahmed Pasha) is situated in the old quarter of Tripoli. It exhibits a Moorish-style architecture with a line of columns supporting arches, and a roof of domes from which springs a minaret commanding a view of Tripoli. The entrances to the mosque are carved with Arabic inscriptions which praise the mosque's founder, Ahmed Pasha Karamanli. The interior walls of the mosque are covered with blue, green, and yellow Arabic tiles arranged in geometric designs. Scripture writings also adorn the walls. Members of the Karamanli family are buried in the mosque's courtyard.

The Gurgi Mosque is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Tripoli. Built in 1833 by a Tripoli merchant, the mosque is situated on a hill overlooking the old city. The mosque has two balconies and one of the highest minarets in Tripoli, which offers spectacular views of the city. The Mosque of the An-Naga is one of the oldest in Tripoli. Destroyed by fire in 1510, it was rebuilt in 1611. Although the building is simple and without adornments, it is worth visiting.

Tripoli has several interesting monuments, among them the Arch of Marcus Aurelius. Erected in 164 A.D., this monument has been used for various purposes throughout history. Its ornaments and inscriptions are beautiful and well-pre-served. The most outstanding monument in Tripoli is the Castle. It has witnessed all the historical events of Tripoli during the last five hundred years. Heavily damaged during a Turkish invasion in 1551, the Turks captured and rebuilt it. For centuries, the Castle served as the seat of Turkish colonial government. In the 18th century, the building served as the residence and seat of government of the ruling Karamanli family. Several previously unknown areas of the Castle were unearthed in recent years during an excavation. Beautiful gardens, courtyards, and marble fountains make the Castle a favorite stop for visitors. The Castle currently houses the Museums of Ethnography and Natural History.

The Libyan Museum of Natural History provides visitors with a picture of the country's natural history resources. Three halls contain the bird collection, with sea and wading birds displayed in their natural habitats. The Sea Life Hall offers excellent examples of the sponges and coral found off Libya's Mediterranean coast. A Reptile and Amphibian Hall contains examples of turtles, lizards, and snakes indigenous to Libya. An impressive relief map illustrating the geological structure of the country is located in the Geology Hall. Visitors are also welcome at the Archaeological Museum. This museum contains a wide collection of antiquities from ancient times to the present day. It is divided into various sections, according to the ages of antiquity. Among the noteworthy exhibits are a collection of tomb plates dating from the 9th and 10th centuries.

Benghazi

Libya's second largest city, Benghazi, is located on the northeastern coast. Benghazi is built near the site of the ancient city of Hesperides, which was founded by the Greeks around 500 B.C. In 247 B.C., the city was inhabited by the Egyptians and renamed Berenice in honor of Pharaoh Ptolemy III. Around the 3rd century A.D., the Vandals destroyed the city. Benghazi was rebuilt but remained a small town until it was extensively developed by the Italians. During World War II, the city sustained heavy damage after a series of battles were fought for control of Benghazi. The city was finally captured and controlled by the British in late 1942.

Today, Benghazi is a bustling administrative, commercial, and educational center of 1.5 million people (2000 estimate). Like Tripoli, the city consists of two distinct districts. The old city is comprised of clusters of small homes divided by narrow, winding streets. In contrast, new parts of the city offer modern buildings, wide thoroughfares, and public gardens. Benghazi is home to several government ministries. The city's major industries are salt processing, food processing, tanning, brewing, and oil refining. Among Benghazi's major educational centers are the Ghar Younis University and the Benghazi Institute, which serves as a major training center for technicians working in the medical field. Transportation to Benghazi is possible via Benina International Airport, located 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of the city, or by a modern highway system linking Benghazi with other cities along the Libyan coast.

Recreation

Recreational activities in Benghazi are somewhat limited. Many visitors enjoy the city's beautiful bathing beaches, especially those in the Guliana section of Benghazi. Shopping is also possible on Omar Mukhtar Street, the city's main shopping district, or at Suk ad Dalam, a picturesque oriental gallery-market. Handmade wool carpets with beautiful mosaic designs are a popular item among shoppers. Visitors often tour the Roman Catholic cathedral, one of Benghazi's most impressive buildings.

Misratah

Located in northwestern Libya, Misratah (Misurata) is a bustling commercial and administrative center. Like Tripoli and Benghazi, Misratah has two distinct sections. Old Misratah consists of small houses and narrow, arched streets while new areas of the city exhibit modern buildings, tree-lined avenues, and public gardens. Misratah is home to several industries, among them are textiles, hardware, oil refineries, and steel works. A new steel plant was opened in the city in 1990. Due to irrigation, dates, citrus fruits, wheat, and barley are grown near Misratah. A coastal highway links Misratah with Libya's other major cities and Misratah Airport is an important hub for domestic flights. Misratah is served by modern hospitals, colleges, and teaching institutes. The city has an estimated population of 300,000.

OTHER CITIES

The city of DARNAH (also spelled DERNA ) is located east of Benghazi. Founded in the 15th century on the site of an ancient Greek colony, Darnah today is a modern city of whitewashed homes and palm gardens. It has a small manufacturing base with a garment factory serving as an important employer. Several varieties of fruits and vegetables are grown in oases located near the city. These products are exported through Darnah's small port, which is in the process of being reconstructed. The city is a popular winter resort with an estimated population of 37,000.

GHADAMIS is a city situated in northwestern Libya near the Algerian and Tunisian borders. The city, with its covered streets and whitewashed houses, is in an oasis surrounded by a large wall. Within these walls, various ethnic groups are represented. Fruits, vegetables, grains, and dates are grown in Ghadamis and are an important source of income. The city, known for the warm hospitality of its people, is often visited by tourists. Visitors flock to the city's souk or market to buy local products and a comfortable hotel provides tourists with pleasant accommodations. Ghadamis is accessible by air, through organized excursions, or by a paved road.

The small city of MARSA-EL BREGA is the site of Libya's first oil pipeline, which opened in 1961. A refinery and natural-gas liquification plant are also located here. Marsa el-Brega is Libya's major petrochemical center. In 1977, an ammonia-processing plant was opened in the city.

TOBRUK is a very important city because it is Libya's only natural harbor and port. Tobruk was occupied by the Italians during the early twentieth century, where they created a powerful military and air base. During World War II, the city was the scene of several major battles and was virtually destroyed. Tobruk was rebuilt after the war and became the site of a major oil terminal, Marsa el-Hariga. This terminal is linked by pipeline with a large oil field 320 miles (515 kilometers) south of Tobruk. The city's population is estimated at 34,200.

COUNTRY PROFILE

Geography and Climate

Libya is a large country situated on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa. It occupies an area of approximately 679,359 square miles, slightly larger than Alaska. Libya is bordered on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the south by Chad and Niger, on the east by Egypt and Sudan, and on the west by Algeria and Tunisia. Approximately 92 percent of the country consists of barren desert. The narrow strip of land along Libya's Mediterranean coast is more fertile, however. The coastal region has a temperate climate, with mild winters and hot, dry summers. Almost all of Libya's major cities are located along the Mediterranean seacoast.

Because there are no rivers and rainfall is very scarce, Libya suffers from severe water shortages. In an attempt to alleviate this problem, the Libyan government has embarked on a massive irrigation project. This project, called the "Great Man-made River", involves the construction of a series of pipelines that will carry water from huge underground wells in southern Libya to major coastal cities. When completed, it is designed to irrigate approximately 185,000 acres of land and would be the largest irrigation system in the world. The project was started in 1984 and is scheduled to be completed in several years.

Population

The estimated population of Libya is over five million. Approximately 97 percent of the population are Berbers and Arabs. Small minorities of Greeks, Italians, Egyptians, Turks, Maltese, Tunisians, Indians and Pakistanis also live in Libya. Two-thirds of the population live in coastal regions with half of these residing in the city of Tripoli.

A vast majority of Libyans speak Arabic. However, Italian, French, Berber and English are also spoken.

Islam is the official religion of Libya. Roughly 97 percent of the population are Sunni Muslims. The Coptic Orthodox, Anglican and Roman Catholic churches are also represented. The Libyan constitution guarantees the freedom of religion.

History

Throughout its history, Libya has been conquered and settled by various foreign powers. Phoenician sailors visited Libya around 1000 B.C. to trade with native African peoples. They eventually established permanent trading centers, Carthage and Tripoli, on the western coast of Libya. By 517 B.C., Carthage had become a large, prosperous city. This prosperity continued for several centuries until the Phoenicians fought a series of wars with the Romans. The Romans eventually invaded and destroyed Carthage and conquered Libya's western coast.

The eastern coast of Libya was colonized by the ancient Greeks. They founded the city of Cyrene around 630 B.C. and, over time, it became a powerful and wealthy city. In 323 B.C., Cyrene and all of eastern Libya was conquered by the Ptolemies. The Ptolemies, an Egyptian tribe, governed eastern Libya until 96 B.C. In that year Apion, the last Ptolemic ruler, surrendered control of eastern Libya to the Romans.

Libya enjoyed several centuries of prosperity under Roman rule. By the middle of the fourth century A.D., however, the Roman Empire was rapidly deteriorating. Libya again became a tempting target for foreign invaders. In 431 A.D., a Germanic tribe known as the Vandals invaded Libya and drove out the Romans. The Vandals controlled Libya until 642 A.D., when Arab armies overran the country. The Arab conquest had profound and lasting effects on Libya. Libyans embraced the Arab's culture and Muslim faith. From 642 A.D. to 1517, the Arabs maintained control of Libya.

In 1517, Libya entered a new period of turmoil. The Ottoman Turks invaded Libya, defeated the Arabs, and seized control of the country. The Turks ruled Libya until 1911, and the entire period was marked by oppression, corruption, and bloody revolts. On September 29, 1911, Italy declared war on Turkey after a series of disputes between the two countries. Italy attacked and invaded Libya. After a brief but bloody war, the Turks surrendered and withdrew from Libya in 1912.

Beginning in the early 1920's, Italy embarked on several programs to develop Libya. The Italian government encouraged many of its citizens to emigrate to Libya and establish permanent settlements. They enlarged and modernized Libya's coastal cities, planted trees, dug wells, and created an extensive roadway system. In 1939, Italy formally incorporated Libya as its colony.

During World War II, Libya was the scene of several battles between Britain and a combined force of Italian and German troops. In early 1943, the Italians and Germans were defeated and driven from Libya. The country was divided into three occupation zones. Britain controlled the western and eastern provinces of Libya. The French were allowed to administer Libya's southern provinces. Following the completion of World War II, Italy signed a peace treaty in which it relinquished all claims to Libya.

In 1949, the United Nations passed a resolution stating that Libya should become an independent nation. After a series of lengthy negotiations, the Kingdom of Libya was declared on December 24, 1951. King Idris I, a man who led Libyan resistance to Italian occupation, was selected as the new leader. In 1959, significant oil deposits were discovered. Libya began exporting oil in 1961. The discovery of oil was a significant event in Libyan history. Money from petroleum sales helped to bring economic prosperity to what had been one of the world's poorest nations.

On September 1, 1969, King Idris was overthrown by a group of military officers. This group, led by Col. Muammar Qadhafi, established the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). The RCC banned the monarchy and ordered all Italian citizens in Libya to leave the country. The government ordered all foreign-run libraries and cultural centers to close, citing that they promoted anti-Islamic ideals.

During the 1970's, Col. Qadhafi's government pursued a radical foreign policy that promoted violent revolution. Libya provided weapons to revolutionary groups in neighboring Egypt and Sudan and supported terrorist organizations throughout the world. In July 1977, Libya and Egypt fought a short land and air war along their common border. Libya's southern neighbor, Chad, was invaded by Libyan forces in 1979. The Libyans seized the Aouzou Strip, an area of mineral-rich land that both countries claimed as their own. Libyan troops eventually withdrew from Chad in November 1981, but returned a few years later. They were finally driven out by Chadian troops in 1987.

Relations between Col. Qadhafi and the United States government are extremely tense and hostile. The United States has repeatedly accused Libya of masterminding international terrorist attacks, a charge the Libyans have vigorously denied. In 1981, Libya and the United States broke diplomatic relations. On August 2nd of that year, two Libyan jets were shot down over the Gulf of Sidra by U.S. Navy planes. The U.S. Navy was conducting exercises in the Gulf of Sidra which Libya has claimed as its territory.

In early 1986, the United States ordered all Americans living in Libya to leave the country and imposed economic sanctions. In April 1986, the U.S. accused Libya of supporting a series of worldwide terrorist bombings. American war-planes attacked several terrorist-related targets in Tripoli and Benghazi.

Qadhafi did not support Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. Instead, Libya joined other Arab nations in an attempt to resolve the conflict peacefully.

In 1993 the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Libya following Qadhafi's refusal to surrender two men suspected of involvement in the 1988 terrorist bombing of a Pan American passenger jet over Lockerbie, Scotland. UN sanctions were suspended in 1999, but U.S. sanctions remain in place.

Government

From 1969 to 1977, Libya was governed by the Revolutionary Command Council under the leadership of Col. Qadhafi. In March 1977, the Revolutionary Command Council disbanded. Before doing this, they instituted a new form of government known as the "Jamahiriya" (state of the masses) and changed the country's official name to the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

The Jamahiriya is designed so that every adult citizen can help shape government policy. Citizens submit suggestions and ideas to the Basic People's Congress of which there are some 2,000 throughout Libya. All provincial and urban affairs are handled by Municipal People's Congresses. Members of these two Congresses appoint Popular Committees to execute policy. Officials of these congresses and committees form the General People's Congress.

The General People's Congress is the highest policy-making body in Libya. It meets each year for one week. The General People's Congress appoints its own General Secretariat and the General People's Committee, whose members head 13 government departments which implement national and international policy.

Although the General People's Congress exercises great political power, Col. Qadhafi still has supreme authority. He holds the honorary title "Leader of the Revolution" and heavily influences all government decisions.

The flag of Libya is solid green. Green is the traditional color of Islam.

Arts, Science, Education

The Libyan government requires all children between the ages of six and fifteen to attend school. Primary education begins at age six and lasts for six years. At twelve years of age, a student enters secondary education. Secondary education lasts for six years and is comprised of two cycles of three years each.

The University of Libya opened in Benghazi in 1958. In 1973, the university was divided into two separate schools. One is Al-Fatah University and is located in Tripoli. The other university is Ghar Younis University in Benghazi. A third university, the University of Technology, is located in the town of Marsael Brega.

In 1995, an estimated 76 percent of Libyans age 15 and over could read and write.

Commerce and Industry

Only five percent of Libya's land area is suitable for farming. Most fertile land is located along Libya's northern coast, especially around the cities of Tripoli and Benghazi.

Although most of Libya's land consists of barren desert, there are several oases that have fertile soil. The most important oases are Ghadames, Ghat, Socna, Sebha, and Brak. Libya's main crops are barley, dates, wheat, oats, almonds, tomatoes, potatoes, olives and citrus fruits. The country used to have adequate supplies of fruits, vegetables and dairy products to feed its population, but now Libya must import about 75 percent of its food. Approximately 17 percent of Libya's work force is involved in agriculture.

Libya's most important industry is crude oil production, which accounts for 25 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product and nearly all the country's export earnings. Libya is the second largest oil producer in Africa after Nigeria. Primary oil refineries are located in the cities of Misratah, Ras Lanuf, Brega, and Zawia.

Libya has many rich mineral deposits, especially iron ore, magnesium, sulphur, potassium and gypsum. Many of these deposits remain untapped, however, because mining costs are extremely high.

Since coming to power in 1969, Col. Qadhafi has tried to develop Libya's industrial base. Nearly 30 percent of the country's work force is involved in non-oil related industries. These industries include the manufacturing of building materials, textiles and footwear, and food processing. The continued growth of Libyan industries was hampered by the steady decline in world oil prices. With less oil revenue coming into the country, many new industrial projects were delayed or cancelled. However, oil prices rose again in 1999 and 2000, stimulating the economy.

Nearly all of Libya's exports consist of crude oil or refined petroleum products. Other exports include peanuts, olive oil, and hides. Most Libyan exports are purchased by Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Belgium, Turkey and Romania.

Libya's primary imports include machinery, transport equipment, manufactured goods, foodstuffs and chemicals. Italy, Germany, France, Great Britain, Japan and South Korea provide the bulk of Libyan imports.

The unit of currency is the Libyan dinar.

Transportation

All major cities, towns, and desert oases in Libya are accessible by car. The most important road in Libya extends across northern Libya between the borders of Tunisia and Egypt. It passes through the major cities of Tripoli and Benghazi and provides excellent access to the towns of Sebha, Ghat, Ajdabiyah and Kufra. Other roads link Libya's cities to the country's borders with Algeria, Chad and Niger.

It is possible to obtain bus services between Libya's major cities. Local buses also operate in Tripoli and Benghazi. However, buses in Libya are often crowded and unreliable.

Libya's national airline in the Jamahiriya Libyan Arab Airlines. Domestic flights are available between Libya's main cities. The cities of Benghazi and Tripoli are linked by Libyan Arab Airlines and other international airlines to Athens, Rome, Madrid, Malta, Moscow, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt. Libya's main airport is Tripoli International Airport, located 21 miles southwest of Tripoli at Ben Gashir. Travelers to eastern Libya are serviced by Benina Airport near Benghazi.

Because of its location on the Mediterranean Sea, Libya has several excellent deep-water ports. These ports are located at Benghazi, Tripoli, Marsa-el Brega and Misratah.

To date, no commercial railway system is available in Libya.

Communications

Libya's main radio station is the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Broadcasting Corporation. Arabic and English programs are broadcast daily from stations in Tripoli and Benghazi.

In December 1968, a national television service was created. The majority of programs are broadcast in Arabic, although some English, French, and Italian-language programs are shown periodically.

Newspapers and magazines are published by the Jamahiriya News Agency (JANA). The main newspapers are Arraid and El Balaq.

NOTES FOR TRAVELERS

Passports and visas are required. On December 11, 1981, U.S. passports ceased to be valid for travel to, in or through Libya and may not be used for that purpose without a special validation. Passport validation requests for Libya can be forwarded in writing to the following address:

Deputy Assistant Secretary for
Passport Services
U.S. Department of State
1111 19th St., NW, Suite 260
Washington, DC 20522-1705
Attn.: Office of Passport Policy and Advisory Services
Telephone: (202) 955-0231 or 955-0232
Fax: (202) 955-0230

Without the requisite validation, use of a U.S. passport for travel to, in or through Libya may constitute a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1544, and may be punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment.

Persons contemplating travel to Libya should be aware that there is no U.S. mission in Libya and that our interests are being protected and represented by the government of Belgium. This protecting power can provide only limited emergency services, and the normal protection of U.S. diplomatic and consular representatives cannot be provided to Americans traveling in Libya.

On January 7, 1986, the United States imposed economic sanctions against Libya which broadly prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in unauthorized financial transactions involving Libya, including, in part, the following: the exportation to Libya of all goods, services, or technology; the importation of goods or services of Libyan origin; engaging in the performance of a contract in support of an industrial, commercial, or governmental project in Libya; or dealing in any property in which the Government of Libya has any interest. The economic sanctions, in part, prohibit U.S. persons from working in Libya.

These restrictions also prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in unauthorized travel-related transactions to and within Libya. Please note, however, that transactions relating to travel for journalistic activity by persons regularly employed in such capacity by a news gathering organization is exempt from the prohibition. Please note as well that U.S. persons may engage in travel-related transactions for the sole purpose of visiting immediate family members in Libya, provided that the U.S. persons seeking to travel register with the Office of Foreign Assets Control or the Embassy of Belgium in Tripoli.

LOCAL HOLIDAYS

March 3 Declaration of Authority's Power

March 28 Evacuation Day (British)

June 11 National Day

July 23 Egyptian Revolution Day

September 1 Revolution Day

October 7 Evacuation Day (Italian)

Id al-Adah*

Hijra New Year*

Ramadan*

Id al-Fitr*

Mawlid an Nabi*

*variable, based on the Islamic calendar

RECOMMENDED READING

Bagnold, Ralph A. Libyan Sands: Travel in a Dead World. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1987.

Bearman, Jonathan. Qadhafi's Libya. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1986.

Brill, Marlene T. Libya. Chicago:Childrens Press, 1987.

Davis, Brian L. Qaddafi, Terrorism, & the Origins of the U.S. Attack on Libya. Westport, CT: Green-wood, 1990.

Davis, John. Libyan Politics: Tribe & Revolution. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1988.

Deeb, M. J. Libya's Foreign Policy in North Africa. Boulder, CO: West-view Press, 1991.

Harris, Lillian C. Libya: Qadhafi's Revolution & the Modern State. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1986.

Leahy, Anthony. Libya & Egypt in the First Millennium BC. New York: Routledge, 1988.

Lemarchand, Rene, ed. The Green & the Black: Qadhafi's Policies in Africa. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1988.

St. John, Ronald Bruce. Historical Dictionary of Libya. 2d ed. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1991.

Sanders, Renfield. Libya. Let's Visit Places & Peoples of the World Series. New York: Chelsea House, 1987.

Sicker, Martin. The Making of a Pariah State: The Adventurist Politics of Muammar Quaddafi. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1987.

Wright, John L. Libya, Chad, and the Central Sahara. Totowa, NJ: Barnes & Noble Books, 1989.

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Libya

Libya (lĬb´ēə), republic (2005 est. pop. 5,766,000), 679,358 sq mi (1,759,540 sq km), N Africa. It borders on Algeria in the west, on Tunisia in the northwest, on the Mediterranean Sea in the north, on Egypt in the east, on Sudan in the southeast, and on Chad and Niger in the south. Tripoli is the capital of Libya and its largest city. Other cities include Ajdabiyah, Al Bayda, Al Marj, Benghazi, Darnah, Misratah, and Tobruk.

Land and People

Libya falls into three main geographical regions—Tripolitania in the west, Fazzan in the southwest, and Cyrenaica in the east. Tripolitania in turn can be divided into three zones. In the north is a low-lying coastal plain called the Jifarah, which, although mainly arid, has several irrigated areas. It also includes the city of Tripoli. South of the Jifarah is a mountainous zone (highest altitude: c.2,500 ft/760 m) known as the Jabal; it is mostly arid and barren but has scattered areas of cultivation. South of the Jabal is an upland plateau, largely desert, but crossed by a string of oases in the south. South of Tripolitania is the Fazzan region, which is largely made up of sandy desert but has a number of scattered oases.

Cyrenaica is Libya's largest region. In the N along the Mediterranean is a narrow upland plateau (highest altitude: c.2,000 ft/610 m) called the Jabal al Akhdar, which includes the cities of Benghazi and Darnah. In the west the Jabal al Akhdar drops abruptly to the shore of the Gulf of Sidra, which deeply indents Libya's Mediterranean coastline, and in the east it falls gradually toward the Egyptian border, where there is another upland region. South of the Jabal al Akhdar is a vast region of sandy desert, which in the east includes part of the Libyan Desert. Cyrenaica is fringed in the southwest by the Tibesti Massif (located mostly in Chad), which includes Libya's loftiest point, Bikku Bitti, or Bette Peak (c.7,500 ft/2,290 m).

Berbers once constituted the chief ethnic group in Libya but have been largely assimilated into Arab culture, with those of Arab-Berber descent making up over 95% of the population. There are scattered traditional Berber communities, and in Fazzan many persons are of mixed Berber and black African descent. Tribal influences remain relatively strong among Libyan natives. There are also smaller groups of Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, South Asians, and others. Labor shortages in the agriculture and petroleum industries have attracted many foreign workers, mostly from Egypt, Tunisia, and Turkey. Some 5% of the people live as pastoral nomads, mostly in Cyrenaica. Arabic is the official language; Italian and English are also widely understood. The Berber language was banned under Qaddafi's rule. The great majority of the population is Sunni Muslim.

Economy

Libya was a very poor agricultural country with bleak economic prospects until 1958, when petroleum was discovered 200–300 mi (320–480 km) S and SE of the Gulf of Sidra; crude petroleum was exported on an increasingly significant scale between 1961 and 1981. Oil income increased markedly in 1972–73, when the government nationalized (with compensation) 51% ownership in subsidiaries of foreign petroleum firms operating in the country. The remaining subsidiaries were completely nationalized. At the same time, the price of petroleum rose dramatically, further increasing Libya's receipts. Since then, the economy has been almost inextricably linked to world oil prices.

Much of the income from petroleum was used to improve the cities, to modernize transportation, and to build up the military. The resulting migration of Libyans to urban areas created a growth in unemployment, spurring the government to invest in agricultural development in order to make farming more attractive. Although petroleum production has dropped since the 1970s, oil exports continue to generate about 95% of export earnings and 25% of the country's GDP. Libya is also a major exporter of natural gas and has several large gas liquefication plants. In addition, gypsum, salt, and limestone are produced in significant quantities. Libya has increased industrial production in recent years. The principal manufactures are refined petroleum, liquefied natural gas, petrochemicals, iron and steel, aluminum, textiles, handicrafts, and construction materials. Food processing is also important.

Farming is severely limited by the small amount of fertile soil and the lack of rainfall, and Libya must import about 75% of its food. The chief agricultural products are wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus fruit, vegetables, peanuts, and soybeans. Large numbers of cattle, sheep, and goats are raised. Most of the arable land is located in Tripolitania. To increase the amount of cultivatable land, a massive water development project, called "The Great Manmade River," was begun in 1984. It is designed to carry water from underground aquifers in the Sahara through a 2,400 mi (3,862 km) pipeline system to irrigate 313 sq mi (811 sq km) in the coastal region. By 1997, the system was connected to the cities of Tripoli, Surt (Sirte), and Benghazi and also provided thousands of acres of farmland with irrigation water.

Libya's annual earnings from exports are usually much higher than the cost of its imports, and in the 1990s it had the highest per capita GDP in Africa. Crude petroleum and natural gas are by far the leading exports; the main imports are machinery, transportation equipment, foodstuffs, and manufactured consumer goods. The principal trading partners are Italy, Germany, Turkey, France, and Spain.

History

Through the Nineteenth Century

Throughout most of its history the territory that constitutes modern Libya has been held by foreign powers. Tripolitania and Cyrenaica had divergent histories for most of the period up to their conquest by the Ottoman Empire in the mid-16th cent. Fazzan was captured by the Ottomans only in 1842. The Ottomans gained control of most of N Africa in the 16th cent., dividing it into three regencies—Algeria, Tunisia, and Tripoli (which also included Cyrenaica). The Janissaries, professional soldiers of slave origins, became a military caste, wielding considerable influence over the Ottoman governor. From the early 1600s the Janissaries chose a leader, called the dey, who at times had as much power as the Ottoman governor sent from Constantinople. Numerous pirates who preyed on the shipping of Christian nations in the Mediterranean were based at Tripoli's ports.

In 1711 Ahmad Karamanli, a Janissary, became dey, killed the Ottoman governor, and prevailed upon the Ottomans to name him governor. The post of governor remained hereditary in the Karamanli family until 1835. In the 18th cent. and during the Napoleonic Wars, the dey took in great revenues from the pirates and also extended the central government's control to much of the interior.

During 1801–5 the United States and Tripoli fought a war precipitated by disagreements over the amount of tribute to be paid to the dey in order to gain immunity from raids by pirates (see Tripolitan War). After 1815, England, France, and the kingdom of the Two Sicilies undertook a successful campaign against the pirates, which undermined the finances of the dey and thus facilitated the reestablishment of direct Ottoman rule in Tripoli in 1835. During the rest of the 19th cent., the Ottomans contributed little toward the political stability or the economic development of Tripoli. Beginning in the 1840s the Sanusi brotherhood gained many adherents, primarily in Cyrenaica but also in S Tripolitania and Fazzan.

Italian Rule, Independence, and the Discovery of Oil

During the Turko-Italian War of 1911–12, Italy conquered N Tripoli, but by the Treaty of Ouchy, which ended the war, Turkey granted Tripoli and N Libya autonomy. The Libyans continued to fight the Italians, but by 1914 Italy had occupied much of the country. However, Italy was forced to undertake a long series of wars of pacification against the Sanusi and their allies.

Under Italo Balbo, who was governor-general during the 1930s, the country's infrastucture was developed as roads, civic buildings, schools, and hospitals were constructed. In 1934, Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were formally united to form the colony of Libya; Fazzan was administered as part of Tripolitania. About 40,000 colonists were sent from Italy to the plateau regions of Libya at the end of the 1930s. Libya was made an integral part of Italy in 1939, and the Muslim population was granted a limited form of citizenship.

Libya became one of the main battlegrounds of North Africa after Italy entered World War II in June, 1940 (for military details, see North Africa, campaigns in). After the Allied victory over the Axis in N Africa (1943), Libya was placed under an Anglo-French military government. The Big Four (Great Britain, France, the United States, and the USSR) failed to reach agreement on the future of Libya as stipulated in the 1947 peace treaty with Italy. The United Nations was given (1949) jurisdiction and decided that Libya should become independent, which it did on Dec. 24, 1951, as the United Kingdom of Libya. It was ruled by King Idris I, head of the Sanusi brotherhood. Libya joined the Arab League, and in 1955 it was admitted into the United Nations.

The 1950s in Libya were characterized by great poverty; minimal economic development was made possible only by the payments and loans received from various Western nations. In 1958, petroleum was discovered in the country, and by the early 1960s Libya was taking in growing revenues from the exploitation of that resource. A 1953 Anglo-Libyan treaty that had allowed Britain to establish military bases in Libya in return for economic subsidies was terminated by Libya in 1964; most British troops were withdrawn in early 1966.

The Qaddafi Regime

In Sept., 1969, a group of army officers led by 27-year-old Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi ousted King Idris in a coup. The 1951 constitution was abrogated, and government was placed in the hands of a 12-member Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) headed by Qaddafi, who became prime minister. In mid-1972, Qaddafi turned the post of prime minister over to Abdul Salam Jallud, but he remained the RCC's president, the country's most important political and military office.

The regime pursued a policy of Arab nationalism and strict adherence to Islamic law; though Qaddafi espoused socialist principles, he was strongly anti-Communist. He was particularly concerned with reducing Western influences; the British were forced (1970) to evacuate their remaining bases in Libya, and the United States was required to abandon Wheelus Field, a U.S. air force base located near Tripoli. Libya's foreign policy was generally reoriented away from N Africa and toward the heart of the Middle East. Close ties were established with Egypt, and in 1971 Libya joined with Egypt and Syria to form a loose alliance called the Federation of Arab Republics. A "cultural revolution" launched in 1973 sought to make life in the country more closely approximate Qaddafi's socialist and Muslim principles.

An implacable foe of Israel, Libya contributed some men and matériel (especially aircraft) to the Arab side in the Arab-Israeli war of Oct., 1973. After the war, Libya was a strong advocate of reducing sales of petroleum to nations that had supported Israel and was also a leading force in increasing the price of crude petroleum. Qaddafi was severely critical of Egypt for negotiating a cease-fire with Israel, and relations between the two countries declined steadily after 1973 when Qaddafi failed to push through a merger with Egypt.

Qaddafi survived numerous coup attempts and abortive uprisings through the 1990s; in 1980 he began ordering the assassination of Libyan dissidents who were living in exile in Europe. In 1981, two Libyan fighter planes attacked U.S. forces on maneuvers in the Gulf of Sidra (which Libya claims as national waters) and were shot down. Libya's relations with the United States became even more hostile when it began to support international terrorist organizations. The United States placed a ban on Libyan oil imports in 1982. In 1986, in an apparent attempt to kill Qaddafi, U.S. President Reagan ordered air strikes against Tripoli and Benghazi in retaliation for the Libyan-sponsored terrorist attack in West Berlin that had killed two American servicemen. Libya's attempts in the mid-1980s to form a union with Algeria and Tunisia, while not successful, resulted (1989) in the Arab Maghreb Union (see Maghreb).

In 1988, a bomb blew up on a Pan Am commercial airplane over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. International warrants were issued for the arrest and extradition to Great Britain of two Libyan suspects in the case, but the government refused to surrender them. Libya was also implicated in the similar 1989 bombing of a French UTA DC-10 over Niger in which 170 people died. In 1989, it was discovered that a West German company was selling Libya equipment for the construction of a chemical weapons plant at Rabta. These actions, as well as the widespread belief in the United States and Europe that Qaddafi's regime was responsible for terrorist activities, led to American and UN sanctions against Libya in 1992. Libya pulled its troops out of the Aozou Strip, a mineral-rich region of N Chad, in 1994 after the World Court rejected its claim to that territory. In 1995 there were clashes between Libyan security forces and members of Islamic groups in E Libya. The United States charged (1996) that Libya was constructing a chemical weapons plant southeast of Tripoli and said Libya would be prevented from putting it into operation.

Beginning in the late 1990s Libya embarked on a series of moves designed to end its estrangement from Western nations. In Apr., 1999, Libya handed over the suspects in the Lockerbie crash to the United Nations; they were to be tried in the Netherlands under Scottish law. The UN sanctions were suspended, but those imposed by the United States remained in place. In Dec., 1999, Qaddafi pledged not to aid or protect terrorists. Libya agreed in 2003 to a $2.7 billion settlement with the families of the victims. and that and a revised settlement for viction of the UTA bombing led the UN Security Council to lift the sanctions imposed more than a decade earlier. In December, after negotiations with the United States and Great Britain, the government renounced the production and use of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and agreed to submit to unannounced international inspections. Subsequently (Mar., 2004), Libya acknowledged that it had produced and had stockpiles of chemical weapons, and agreed to their destruction (completed 2014). As a result of these events, the United States lifted most sanctions and resumed diplomatic relations with Libya, although it continued to list Libya as a state sponsor of terrorism until mid-2006. The last of three payments due under the 2003 agreement, however, was not made until late 2008. In Sept., 2008, Italy and Libya signed a memorandum under which Italy agreed to pay $5 billion over 20 years as compensation for its three decades of colonial rule in Libya.

In Feb., 2011, antigovernment protests in Libya quickly became a full-scale uprising, as the government lost control of Benghazi and NE Libya as well as a number of cities in NW Libya. By the end of the month, however, the government had brutally suppressed protesters in the capital, and in early March it recaptured many cities it had lost to the rebellion. Hundreds of thousands of foreigners fled the country. The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants in June for Qaddafi and other government members in connection with the killing of protesters.

As Qaddafi's forces advanced on Benghazi, the UN Security Council approved (March) a no-fly zone over Libya; it was enforced by aircraft from a mix of NATO and Arab nations, which at times also attacked government ground forces. The Benghazi-based rebels, who established a governing council, fought a seesawing contest for central N Libya. Misratah and the Nafusa Mtns. became the most signifcant battlegrounds in the west, and after repulsing government forces there, the rebels made some advances by midyear. The rebels benefited from aid from some Western and other nations, and their National Transitional Council (NTC) was recognized by some nations. In August, increasing rebel successes culminated in the fall of Tripoli; in September, the NTC was recognized by the United Nations as Libya's legitimate government.

Rebel forces captured Sirte and Bani Walid, two remaining Qaddafi strongholds, in Oct., 2011; Qaddafi was killed while trying to flee Sirte. At the end of the month, Abdurrahim el-Keib was appointed prime minister by the NTC, and a new cabinet was named in November. The situation remained unsettled, however, with occasional fighting erupting between rival militias and tribes, and in Feb., 2012, leaders in E Libya called for the establishment of the autonomous region of Cyrenaica there, a move that was denounced in W Libya.

In July, the 200-members of the national congress were elected, with no group clearly dominating the result. In September, Mustafa Abu Shagur, who had served as a deputy to el-Keib, was chosen as prime minister, but he proved unable to form an acceptable government. Ali Zeidan, a former diplomat and exile, was chosen to replace him in October, and formed a government. Also in September the U.S. ambassador was killed in an attack by Islamic militants on the Benghazi embassy. The attack led to a crackdown on Libyan militias, but they remained a significant force and problem in the country, and in subsequent years were a factor in a number of deadly clashes including a July, 2014, fight for control of the Tripoli airport. In Jan., 2013, the president of the national congress survived an attempted assassination; attacks against other prominent leaders also occurred.

The congress in May passed a law banning senior officials in the Qaddafi regime from the government; its enactment was forced by armed groups that surrounded government offices. In December the congress voted to make Islamic law the basis of Libyan law, and also voted to extend its mandate by a year, adopting a plan that called for a new constitution to be drafted by Aug., 2014, and a parliament to be elected by Dec., 2014. Meanwhile, groups favoring a federal state sought to establish a government in Cyrenaica and seized control (until mid-2014) of the region's oil resources; Berbers also interrupted oil and gas shipments in an attempt to win political recognition. Such political, and significant religious, regional, and tribal, divisions have thwarted the establishment of a unified national government, and stoked violence and insecurity. In Mar., 2014, after an oil tanker eluded the Libyan navy and left from the port of Sidra in Cyrenaica, Zeidan was dismissed.

Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni became prime minister in April but then announced his resignation following an attack on his family. In May Ahmed Maiteg was elected to succeed al-Thinni under chaotic circumstances, and al-Thinni refused to cede power; ultimately Maiteg's election was ruled invalid. Also in May, forces loyal to former general Khalifa Heftar began attacks against the government (which Haftar accused of supporting terrorism) and against Islamists. An election for a House of Representatives was held in June, but turnout was low; candidates were required to run as individuals instead of on party slates, and in the resulting body the influence of Islamists was greatly diminished. Prior to the election the cabinet called for the new legislature to be based in Benghazi.

The political situation subsequently deteriorated as Islamist and regional militias and government forces fought for control of Tripoli and Benghazi. In August and September, Islamists from Misrata established control over Tripoli and reestablished the national congress, in which Islamists had been dominant. Other Islamists fought government forces for Benghazi, seizing control for a time, but in October the army largely regained the city. The newly elected House meanwhile established itself in Tobruk, and by August Libya had rival legislatures and prime ministers, with al-Thinni again holding that post in Tobruk; his government was generally recognized internationally. In November, the Libyan supreme court, which had remained the Tripoli, declared the election of the House of Representatives unconstitutional; the House denounced the verdict, saying it was influenced by Islamists militias. Forces aligned with the rival governments subsequently fought for control of the country's oilfields and oil terminals, and in 2015 militants aligned with the Islamic State became a significant third force. In early 2015 the Tobruk government overturned the ban on the participation of former Qaddafi officials in the government, and subsequently Khalifa Haftar was appointed to lead its military forces.

Bibliography

See W. C. Askew, Europe and Italy's Acquisition of Libya, 1911–1912 (1942); M. Khadduri, Modern Libya (1963); J. L. Wright, Libya (1969); A. Pelt, Libyan Independence and the United Nations: A Case of Planned Decolonization (1970); M. O. Ansell and I. M. al-Arif, The Libyan Revolution (1972); L. Hahn, Historical Dictionary of Libya (1981); L. C. Harris, Libya (1986); J. Davis, Libyan Politics (1988); J. M. Burr, Africa's Thirty Years' War: Chad, Libya, and the Sudan, 1963–1993 (1999); L. Hilsum, Sandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution (2012); D. Vandewalle, A History of Modern Libya (rev. ed. 2012).

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Libya

LIBYA

In theory, a jamahiriyya (state governed by the masses); in reality, the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriyya is ruled by Muammar al-Qaddafi.

In 2002 Libya's population was about 5.4 million, distributed over 686,000 square miles on the northern coast of Africa, bordered to the north by the Mediterranean Sea, to the west by Tunisia and Algeria, to the south by Niger and Chad, and to the east by Sudan and Egypt. The capital city, Tripoli, and the other principal urban centers, Misurata, Benghazi, and Derna (or Darnah) are on the coast; several large oases, including Sabha (or Sebha), provincial capital of the southern region of Fezzan, and Kufrah, in the southeast, were major trading centers of the trans-Saharan caravan trade, but they are now principally administrative centers. The population clusters along the coast, where two ranges of hillsJabal al-Gharb in the western province, Tripolitania, and Jabal al-Akhdar in Cyrenaica, the eastern regiondivide the narrow coastal plain from the arid plateaus and deserts to the south.


Climate and Resources

Except along the coast, Libya's climate is severe, with wide extremes of temperature, particularly in the mountains and deserts. There is scanty rainfall; even along the coast, the timing of the annual average of 8 inches of rain is unpredictable. As a result, less than 2 percent of the country's surface is arable, and only another 4 to 5 percent is suitable for raising livestock. Historically, much of the country's wealth derived from animal husbandry and from trans-Saharan and coastal trade rather than from agriculture. During the late 1950s, large quantities of petroleum were discovered and by 1968 oil exports accounted for more than 50 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Since then, oil revenues have generally represented one-half to one-third of GDP. In 2002, Libya had one of the highest per capita incomes in Africa, $7,600, and a relatively high population growth rate at 2.4 percent. Thanks to oil, the government provides generous welfare benefits to Libyan citizens and the economy relies heavily on foreign workers; in the 1980s and 1990s, more than half a million foreign nationals, mostly Africans, have found employment there.

Population and Culture

Libya has a largely homogeneous population, both ethnically and religiously. Virtually all the citizens are Arabs practicing Sunni Islam. Small communities of Berbers, many of whom are followers of Ibadi Islam, still reside in the western hill villages, but nothing remains of the once substantial Jewish community, most of which moved to Israel. Libya is not home to any major educational or cultural institutions; apart from some locally venerated saintly families, the people of the area traditionally looked to Tunisia and Egypt for their religious teachers and legal authorities. Despite the contemporary urbanization of the countryover two-thirds of the population live in Tripoli and Benghazi alonethe importance of pastoral nomadism in recent history is evident in the continued social and political significance of kinship and tribal ties. Although women are being educated in increasingly large numbers, they ordinarily marry while in their late teens and are not expected to work outside the home.


Government

The Libyan government structure was designed by Muammar al-Qaddafi (also Muʿammar alQadhdhafi), who holds no formal position of authority but serves as head of state. As he conceives it, Libyans rule themselves, without the intervention of elections, politicians, or political parties, through a system of local and national committees and congresses that deliberate, administer, and supervise the affairs of the country on their behalf. By most accounts, the basic people's congresses and committees do fulfill governmental functions at local levels, but in national, particularly foreign, policymaking, Qaddafi and his immediate advisers are believed to make virtually all important decisions.


History

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, today's Libya was three loosely administered provinces of

the Ottoman Empire, ruled by the local Qaramanli dynasty in Tripoli. In 1835, disturbed by local unrest, the Ottoman central government overthrew the dynasty and thereafter Libya was ruled directly from Istanbul.


Although never a rich province, Libya prospered during the second Ottoman era. As the Ottoman order spread throughout the territory, many nomads settled in coastal villages; local agricultural production and trade increased. The Sanusiyya, a religious brotherhood with political aspirations, saw its substantial trading interests flourish in Cyrenaica and the Sahara.


By the beginning of the twentieth century, Italy had established Libya as a sphere of influence, and in 1911 Rome launched its long-anticipated invasion. The Ottoman government mounted a major war effort to oppose the Italian encroachment but was soon forced to withdraw, preoccupied by unrest and nationalism in the Balkans. Local Libyan leaders took up the cause of resistance, however, and the Italians faced an armed insurgency until well into the 1930s, only to lose the province a decade later in the North African campaigns of World War II. Libya was then governed by British and French military administrations until the country was granted independence by the United Nations at the end of 1951.

The upheavals occasioned by the precipitous withdrawal of the Ottoman administration, the protracted Italian conquest, and the devastating battles
for control during World War II left Libya one of the poorest countries in the Middle East. The population had been nearly halved by famine, war casualties, and emigration. At independence, illiteracy rates were well over 80 percent, and the per capita income was no more than $25 a year; the country's major export was scrap metal scavenged from World War II battlefields.


The leader of the Sanusiyya brotherhood, Idris al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Sanusi, had spent the years between the world wars in exile in Cairo, where he came to know the British authorities, who sponsored him as the king of the new country. Despite qualms in Tripoli about Idris's partiality for Cyrenaica, provincial leaders acquiesced in his accession to ensure the country's unity and independence. In the early years, the British subsidized Libya's operating budget while the king's clientele and local tribes-men staffed the administration.

The export of commercial quantities of oil during the early 1960s coincided with the heyday of Arab nationalism. A new generation of politically active Libyans argued that the monarchy's close ties with Britain and the United States were now both economically unnecessary and politically undesirable. Moreover, the administration proved unequal to the task of allocating the new wealth, and the government foundered in corruption and mismanagement. On 1 September 1969, a twenty-seven-year-old captain, Muammar al-Qaddafi, and a small group of his friends and fellow military officers engineered a bloodless coup; the king abdicated as his government collapsed.


At the outset, the new regime appeared to be a typical Arab nationalist military government, with an additional Islamic coloring, reflecting both Qaddafi's personal piety and the regime's efforts to appeal to the followers of the deposed Sanusi leader.
The British and U.S. military bases were closed, the remaining Italian residents were expelled, alcohol was forbidden, nightclubs and churches were closed, and Qaddafi called his fellow rulers to join him in establishing a unified Arab state.

By the mid-1970s, however, with the publication of the first volume of Qaddafi's Green Book, the Libyan regime began to develop its distinctive profile. Disappointed with the failure of other Arab rulers to heed his calls for immediate and unconditional unity and with the average Libyan's apparent lack of revolutionary fervor, Qaddafi concentrated on domestic affairs, proclaiming a cultural revolution at home. The Declaration of the Establishment of the People's Authority, issued on 2 March 1977, stated that direct popular authority would now be the basis for the Libyan political system. It also changed the official name of the country from Libya to the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriyya. A newly coined Arabic word, jamahiriyya was translated unofficially as "state of the masses." Under the new system, the people exercised authority through people's committees, people's congresses, unions, and the General People's Congress (GPC). Qaddafi was designated GPC general secretary and the remaining members of the now defunct Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) composed the GPC general secretariat.

In part because of accompanying economic reformsretail trade was abolished as exploitative;

wage earners were declared partners in their enterprises; rent was outlawed and houses given to their occupantsopposition to the new edicts grew quickly. The regime reacted harshly. During the early 1980s, "revolutionary committees" were established to ensure the revolutionary enthusiasm of the Libyan people, and it was these committees that carried out the assassination of Libyan opposition figures abroad.


By then the regime had grown disenchanted with Arab leaders and devoted itself to exporting the Libyan revolution throughout the world. As a result, Qaddafi found himself in disputes not only with his neighbors but with the Western powers, particularly the United States. Accusing Qaddafi of having harbored terrorists and sponsored terrorism throughout the world, the administration of Ronald Reagan bombed Tripoli and Benghazi in April 1986 in hopes of reforming (if not removing) the Libyan leader. Despite its international isolation and the economic difficulties precipitated by the fall of oil prices during the mid-1980s, it was not until the implosion of its international patron, the Soviet Union, at the end of the decade, that the Qaddafi regime began to show signs of moderating its opposition to the international status quo.

Domestically, a period of economic and political liberalization, called green perestroika by some observers, marked the late 1980s. Often molding economic and political decisions into a single package, the liberalization program implemented by Qaddafi initially proved popular with the Libyan people. An increased emphasis on human rights and political reform accompanied some liberalization of the economy. The merger of economic and political reforms rolled necessary but painful austerity measures into a generally popular reform package, including curbs on the revolutionary committees, amnesty for political prisoners, and increased tolerance of the exiles constituting the bulk of regime's opposition. Economic components of green perestroika included the legalization of private ownership of shops, small businesses, and farms, together with increased private retail trade incentives. Unfortunately, the program failed to attract long-anticipated, and much desired, foreign investment, largely because modest attempts to create an internal market were not accompanied by the reversal of the political experiments begun in 1969.

Accused of complicity in the December 1988 terrorist bombing of a transatlantic flight, Pan Am 103, Libya was subjected to United Nations (UN)-sponsored economic sanctions in 1991 for failing to extradite the two men indicted for the action. Alleged Libyan involvement in the terrorist bombing of UTA flight 772 over Niger in September 1989 further complicated Libyan external relations in this period. Libya remained under the yoke of UN-sponsored sanctions until 1998, when it accepted a proposal to try the suspects in the Pan Am 103 bombing in the Netherlands under Scottish law. Successful in thwarting opposition on several fronts in the second half of the 1990s, Qaddafi enjoyed a strengthened domestic position at the time, enabling him to remand the two suspects with minimal concern for domestic repercussions.

Following suspension of the UN sanctions, Libya initiated an aggressive international campaign to end its commercial and diplomatic isolation. Initially focused on Africa, Qaddafi launched a series of bilateral and multilateral initiatives, beginning in February 1998 with the creation of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (COMESSA), which linked poor, land-locked African states with oil-rich Libya. In August 1999, he called for the creation of a United States of Africa, including an African central bank. He later added the goal of a pan-African parliament with lawmaking powers. A measure of Libya's improved standing in Africa was the support it received, in the face of determined opposition from the United States and human rights groups, for chairing the UN Human Rights Commission in 2002. In addition to regional initiatives, the Qaddafi regime also aggressively pursued expanded bilateral ties with a number of African states.

At the same time, Libya moved to strengthen economic and political relations with key European states like Britain, Italy, and Russia. The Libyan economy, adversely affected by low oil prices throughout much of the previous decade, stood to benefit from the expanded European trade and investment essential to the revitalization of the petroleum sector. The Qaddafi regime also worked to expand its political options in Europe, increasing its dialogue with bodies like the European Union and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and promoting Libya as a natural bridge between Europe and Africa.

After the special court sitting in the Netherlands found one of the two Pan Am 103 defendants guilty in January 2001, the Qaddafi regime expanded its efforts at global rehabilitation to include the U.S. government. In the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, Libya actively cooperated with the United States and its allies in the war on terrorism. In return, Qaddafi sought Washington's support for a permanent lifting of the UN sanctions, together with the bilateral sanctions progressively imposed by the United States after 1986.

In the longer term, the Qaddafi regime hoped to achieve a restoration of full commercial and diplomatic ties with the United States. Libya took several steps that affected its relations with the United States and the world. In September 2003 Libya agreed to pay $2.7 billion to the families of the victims of Pan Am 103, after which the UN Security Council permanently lifted its sanctions regime. In December 2003 Libya renounced its unconventional weapons programs, agreeing to international inspections to verify compliance. And in January 2004 Libya also reached a final settlement in the UTA 772 case, in which it agreed to pay the families of victims $170 million.

see also basic people's congresses; benghazi; fezzan; green book; idris alsayyid muhammad al-sanusi; jabal al-akhdar, libya; qaddafi, muammar al-; qaramanli dynasty; tripoli.


Bibliography


Davis, John. Libyan Politics: Tribe and Revolution: An Account of the Zuwaya and Their Government. Berkeley: University of California Press; London: I. B. Tauris, 1987.

Khadduri, Majid. Modern Libya: A Study in Political Development. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 1963.

El-Kikhia, Mansour O. Libya's Qaddafi: The Politics of Contradiction. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1997.

Obeidi, Amal. Political Culture in Libya. Richmond, U.K.: Curzon Press, 2001.

St John, Ronald Bruce. Historical Dictionary of Libya, 3d edition. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1998.

St John, Ronald Bruce. Libya and the United States: Two Centuries of Strife. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002.

Vandewalle, Dirk. Libya since Independence: Oil and State-Building. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998.


Vandewalle, Dirk, ed. Qadhafi's Libya, 19691994. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995.

Vikor, Knut S. Sufi and Scholar on the Desert Edge: Muhammad b. Alī al-Sanūsī and His Brotherhood. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1995.

Wright, John. Libya: A Modern History. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982.

lisa anderson
updated by ronald bruce st john

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Libya

Libya

Official name: Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

Area: 1,759,540 square kilometers (679,362 square miles)

Highest point on mainland: Bīkkū Bīttī (Bette Peak) (2,267 meters/7,438 feet)

Lowest point on land: Sabkhat Ghuzayyil (47 meters/154 feet below sea level)

Hemispheres: Northern and Eastern

Time zone: 2 p.m. = noon GMT

Longest distances: 1,989 kilometers (1,236 miles) from southeast to northwest; 1,502 kilometers (933 miles) from northeast to southwest

Land boundaries: 4,383 kilometers (2,723 miles) total boundary length; Algeria 982 kilometers (610 miles); Chad 1,055 kilometers (656 miles); Egypt 1,150 kilometers (715 miles); Niger 354 kilometers (220 miles); Sudan 383 kilometers (238 miles); Tunisia 459 kilometers (285 miles)

Coastline: 1,770 kilometers (1,100 miles)

Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)

1 LOCATION AND SIZE

Libya is located in northern Africa on the southern border of the Mediterranean Sea. The country also shares borders with Egyh2, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Algeria, and Tunisia. With an area of about 1,759,540 square kilometers (679,362 square miles), the country is slightly larger than the state of Alaska. Libya is divided into twenty-five administrative municipalities.

2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES

Libya has no outside territories or dependencies.

3 CLIMATE

The Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert influence Libya's climate. The ghibli (a hot, dry desert wind that lasts one to four days in both spring and fall) causes temperatures to fluctuate by as much as 17° to 22°C (30° to 40°F) in both the summer (June through September) and winter (October through May). Summer highs along the northwestern coast are from 40°C to 46°C (104°F to 115°F), and temperatures farther to the south reach even higher. In the northeastern region, summer temperatures range from 27°C to 32°C (81°F to 90°F). In January, temperatures average 13°C (55°F) in the northern region.

During the summer months in southern Libya, virtually no rain falls and temperatures quickly climb to over 50°C (122°F). Daytime winter temperatures range between 15°C and 20°C (59°F and 68°F) and fall below 0°C (32°F) at night.

Rainfall varies between the different regions. The northeastern region receives 40 to 60 centimeters (16 to 24 inches) of rain yearly, while other regions receive less than 20 centimeters (8 inches). The Sahara Desert receives less than 5 centimeters (2 inches) of rain annually. A short winter period brings most of the rain, which usually causes floods. Evaporation is high between winters, making severe droughts common.

4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS

More than six hundred million years ago, an enormous mountain range once covered Libya, which lies on the African Tectonic Plate. Over the centuries, the sea advanced, then retreated over the region; the corresponding water, wind, and temperature changes eroded the mountains, leaving behind the sands and plateaus that comprise Libya's landscape.

The fourth-largest country in Africa, Libya is sectioned into three main geographical areas: Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan. Tripolitania covers the northwestern corner of the country and the Fezzan covers the land south of Tripolitania. Cyrenaica, the largest geographic region, covers the entire eastern half of the country. Tripolitania and Cyrenaica are made up of low-lying land and plateaus. Tripolitania contains the Nafūsah Plateau and Cyrenaica houses the Jabal al-Akhdar (Green Mountains). Fezzan is home to desert lands, including the Sahara.

5 OCEANS AND SEAS

Seacoast and Undersea Features

Libya has a northern coast along the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean is an almost completely landlocked sea that lies between southern Europe, north Africa, and southwest Asia. It links to the Atlantic Ocean (at its western point) through the Strait of Gibraltar and to the Red Sea (at its southeastern shore) though the Suez Canal. It also connects to the Black Sea in the northeast through the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara, and the Bosporus.

Sea Inlets and Straits

The Gulf of Sidra is nestled between the Trip-olitania and Cyrenaica regions. Important ports are located along the coast, including Benghazi, Tobruk, and Darnah.

Coastal Features

The coastal plain is often marshy, yet beaches stretch for more than 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) along the Mediterranean Sea. Along the shore of the western region surrounding Trip-oli, coastal oases alternate with sandy beaches and lagoons for more than 300 kilometers (180 miles).

6 INLAND LAKES

Although there are no major lakes in Libya, some small seasonal lakes do spring up during the rainy seasons. One small collection of lakes, Ramlet Dawada (Lakes in the Desert), is situated in the Libyan Sahara. This oasis contains eleven lakes surrounded by sand dunes and palms.

7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS

In Libya there are no permanent riversonly wadis (riverbeds that are seasonally or permanently dry). They catch the infrequent runoff from rainfall during the rainy season, which commonly causes flash floods in the surrounding areas. The wadis then dry out during the hot summer months.

8 DESERTS

The southern portion of Libya lies within the Sahara Desert. The part of the Sahara located in eastern Libya, western Egypt, and Sudan is known as the Libyan Desert. Agriculture is possible only in a few scattered oases, which include Jalu and Jaghbub. The three largest oases in Libya's desert region are Al-Kufrah, Ghāt, and Ghadāmis.

The Fezzan, in the southwestern region, is also a desert, with ergs (vast sand dunes) that reach several hundred feet high and change shape slowly in the shifting wind. They cover about one-fifth of the land. Also in this area are sabkhas (depressions on the desert floor) that contain water underground, creating occasional oases. Most of the Fezzan is flat, except for the area along the southern border near Chad, where the rugged mountain range, Tibesti Massif, is located. The range contains Libya's highest point, Bīkkū Bīttī (Bette Peak), at 2,267 meters (7,436 feet).

9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN

In the northeastern area of Cyrenaica (the region that covers almost half of Libya), the land rises from a coastal plain to the Jabal alAkhdar (Green Mountains) with a height of just under 915 meters (3,000 feet). The lower slopes are covered with flowers, and at the higher elevations there are shrubs and juniper. In the southern region, a pastoral zone of sparse grassland gives way to the vast Sahara Desert.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Sahara Desert covers an area of 9,065,000 square kilometers (3,500,000 square miles) and is the largest desert in the world. The Sahara covers the entire region of North Africa, from the Atlantic coast in the west to the Red Sea in the east. It borders the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlas Mountains in the north and extends into a southern region known as the Sahel and the Sudan. Scientists believe that during the Ice Age (about fifty thousand to one hundred thousand years ago), the Sahara was once covered with shallow lakes that provided water for large areas of lush vegetation. Now, it is a vast and barren wasteland of rocky plateaus and sand.

10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES

The Tibesti Massif, a rugged mountain range, runs along the southern border near Chad and houses Libya's highest point, Bīkkū Bīttī (Bette Peak), at 2,267 meters (7,438 feet). The Al-Akhdar Mountains run along the northeastern Mediterranean coast. In the center of the country are the lower Al-Harūj Al-Aswad Hills. These basaltic hills include a series of volcanoes called Qarat as-Sab'ah, which have elevations of up to 1,189 meters (3,900 feet).

11 CANYONS AND CAVES

There are no major caves or canyons in Libya.

12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS

In the northwest region of the country, Tripolitania is home to a series of terraces that rise slowly from sea level along the coastal plain of Al-Jifarahh until they reach the Nafūsah Plateau. This upland plateau is made of limestone and contains sand, shrubs, and scattered masses of stone. Elevations reach 1,000 meters (3,300 feet). Southward from the Nafūsah Plateau is the Al Hamādah Al Hamrā' (the Red Desert), a rocky plateau comprised of red sandstone. Its flat landscape stretches hundreds of miles to the southwest Fezzan Desert region. The rocky plateaus of the Fezzan Desert have been shaped by wind and extreme temperature changes.

13 MAN-MADE FEATURES

The discovery of vast aquifers in the south and southeast regions of Libya prompted the building of an enormous water pipeline to bring water from 225 underground wells to an 880,000-gallon reservoir in the coastal area for use in agriculture and industry. Called the Great Man-made River project, as of 2001 it was still under development. It is among the largest and most expensive engineering projects ever undertaken.

14 FURTHER READING

Books

Brill, M. Libya. Chicago: Children's Press, 1987.

Lawless, Richard I. Libya. Santa Barbara, CA: Clio Press, 1987.

Malcolm, Peter. Libya. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1999.

Metz, Helen Chapin, ed. Libya, a Country Study. 4th ed. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1989.

Web Sites

ArabNet. Libya: Geography. http://www.arab.net/libya/geography/libya_geography.html (accessed April 14, 2003).

"Libya." Virtual Dimensions Inc. http://www.libyaonline.com/libya/index.html (accessed April 14, 2003).

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Libya

Libya

Country statistics

area:

1,759,540sq km (679,358sq mi) 6,984,400

capital (population):

Tripoli (1,223,300)

government:

Single-party socialist republic

ethnic groups:

Libyan Arab and Berber 89%, others 11%

languages:

Arabic (official)

religions:

Sunni Muslim 97%

currency:

Libyan dinar = 1000 dirhams

Republic of n Africa. The North African state of Libya consists of three geographical areas: the nw and ne Mediterranean coastal plains are home to the majority of Libya's population. The ne plain includes Libya's capital, Tripoli; the nw plain its second-largest city, Benghazi. The Sahara occupies 95% of Libya, inhabited only at scattered oases. The desert rises to 2286m (7500ft) at Bette Peak, on the s border with Chad.

Climate and Vegetation

The coastal plains have a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, moist winters. Inland, the average annual rainfall drops to 100mm (4in) or less. Shrubs and grasses grow on the n coasts, with some trees in wetter areas. At the desert oases date palms provide shade from the sun.

History and Politics

The earliest known inhabitants of Libya were the Berbers. Between the 7th century bc and the 5th century ad, the region successively came under the rule of Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, and Vandals. Magnificent Roman ruins survive. Arabs invaded Libya in ad 643, and Islam remains the dominant religion. From 1551 Libya was part of the Ottoman Empire and power resided with local rulers or Janissaries. During the 17th century, Barbary pirates used bases on the Libyan coast to attack shipping.

In the 19th century, US, British, and French forces attempted to curb the pirates. Italy invaded Libya in 1911, and by 1914 conquered the whole territory. Italy made attempts at colonization in the 1930s, and in 1939 Libya was formally incorporated into Italy. Libya was a battleground for many of the North Africa campaigns in World War 2 and, after the Allied victory, it was placed under UN mandate. In 1951, it became an independent monarchy. Libya joined the Arab League in 1953, and became a member of the UN in 1955.

In 1969, Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi toppled King Idris in a military coup. Qaddaffi nationalized industry, established an Islamic state, and reduced foreign interference. In 1970, Britain closed all its military bases. In 1973 Libyan forces occupied the Aozou Strip in n Chad. In 1977, after several failed attempts at federation, Qaddafi proclaimed a "People's Republic", establishing "revolutionary committees" to run the country. Qaddaffi maintained an anti-Israel foreign policy and aided Palestinian guerrillas. In 1981, the USA shot down two Libyan aircraft, which challenged its warplanes. Relations with the West deteriorated and the USA placed an oil embargo on Libya.

In 1986, following evidence of Libyan support for international terrorism, the USA bombed Tripoli and Benghazi. In 1992, Libya was accused of sheltering the terrorists responsible for the bombing of Pan-Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. In 1994, Libya returned the Aouzou Strip to Chad. In 1995, Qaddaffi deported all Palestinians in protest against the Israeli-Palestinian Accord (1993). In 1999, Libya agreed to extradite the two suspects in the Lockerbie case and the UN suspended sanctions. One of the suspects was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 2001, Libya sent troops to help suppress a coup in Central African Republic. In 2003, Libya accepted responsibility for the bombing of Pan-Am Flight 102 and agreed compensation for the families of victims. As a result of this action, the UN lifted sanctions.

Economy

The discovery of oil in 1958 transformed Libya's economy. Oil revenue financed welfare services and development projects. Formerly one of the world's poorest countries, it became Africa's richest in terms of its GDP per capita (2000, US$8900). Oil accounts for more than 95% of exports, and Libya remains a developing country because of this structural imbalance. It has oil refineries and petrochemical plants. Agriculture is important, but Libya depends on food imports.

Political map

Physical map

Websites

http://www.afrika.no/index/Countries/Libya/index.html

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Libya

Libya

Culture Name

Libyan

Alternative Names

The Socialist Popular Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

Orientation

Identification. The Socialist Popular Libyan Arab Jamahiriyaliterally, "state of the masses," is a nation that has been undergoing a radical social experiment over the last thirty years. This experiment has been underwritten by massive oil revenues and directed by the revolutionary government of Muammar Qaddafi.

Location and Geography. Situated on the coast of North Africa, nearly all of the nation's land mass is within the Sahara Desert. The country is bounded to the north by the Mediterranean Sea, to the west by Tunisia and Algeria, and to the south by Chad and Niger. Egypt borders Libya to the east and Sudan is to the southeast. The landmass of 679,500 square miles (1,760,000 square kilometers) makes Libya the fourth largest country in Africa.

Each of the three provinces of LibyaTripolitania on the western coast, Cyrenaica to the east, and Fezzan in the southare influenced by the great Sahara in different ways. Tripolitania is sheltered by barrier mountains, the Jabal Nafusa, south of the coast. While the mountains create a favorable environment for agriculture, the coastal littoral, protected from the Sahara, is still arid and requires irrigation. The capital of Libya, Tripoli, is an oasis on the Tripolitanian coast and its inhabitants rely on aquifers to meet most of their water requirements. The coastal mountain range of Cyrenaica, the Jabal Akhdar, rises to a high plateau, which breaks precipitously down to the sea. There are five distinct ecological zones in this region, from a high plateau in the north to desert in the south, each with different combinations of pastoralism and agriculture. There are large towns in Cyrenaica, but until recently the nomadic Bedouins dominated the countryside.

The Gulf of Sirte is between eastern Tripolitania and the mountain chains in Cyrenaica. Primarily steppe country, it is suited to pastoral pursuits and historically has been a major seasonal grazing ground for some of the powerful tribes who spend winters in the interior of the desert.

South of the two mountain chains and the Gulf of Sirte lies the Sahara Desert and the province of Fezzan. The area is vast, extremely dry, and barren. It is characterized by large sand seas, eroded mountain ranges, and upland mesas. Aridity is a fact of existence in Libya. There is not a single permanent waterway in the whole country.

Permanent settlement in the south is limited to a number of depressions where irrigated agriculture may be pursued due to easily accessible supplies of fresh water from deep aquifers. These oases produce a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and support extensive date plantations. While these areas contain highly productive agricultural systems, they are restricted in population size due to the limitation on amounts of water available for irrigation.

Demography. This vast land has an extremely small population, estimated at 5.1 million in 2000, including approximately 163,000 non-nationals. The indigenous population is homogeneous, with 90 percent claiming to be of Arab ancestry. While largely rural, the massive oil wealth beginning in the 1960s changed the economic and residential profile of the population. For instance, between 1954 and l964, the citizen population of Tripoli grew by 58 percent, while Benghazi grew by 66 percent. A five-year plan introduced in the 1960s was geared to bring prosperity to rural areas. Its success slowed the migration to the urban areas and made paid employment widely available throughout the country. The oil industry brought large numbers of European and North American workers to the country. Oil revenues allowed the state to greatly expand its work force while the wealth stimulated the private sector. Thus, over the years large numbers of guest workers have found their way to Libya from Eastern Europe and the surrounding Mediterranean and Arab states.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Bedouin invasion of North Africa in the eleventh century brought the Arabic language to Libya. In the western mountains of Libya, the Berber language is still spoken in places and remnants of it remain in the southern oases. Still, Libya is culturally homogeneous. Its citizens speak a distinctive dialect of Arabic in public while modern standard Arabic is taught in the schools and used in government and business. In culture, language, and religion, Libya forms a part of the greater Arab world.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. In Libya, as in most of the Middle East and North Africa, the modern concept of the territorially discreet nation is a recent development. Historically, Libya was characterized by sets of connections between relatively autonomous polities. Even under Turkish rule in the nineteenth century, the city of Tripoli was more of a citystate with commercial links to a politically autonomous countryside rather than a center of integrated rule. A large tented population of pastoral nomads, independent and aggressively autonomous, resided in the steppe and desert to the southeast and to the west. Smaller towns, some similar in commerce, trade, and political aspiration to Tripoli, occupied the shores of the Mediterranean to the west and east. The town of Misarata, with the support of the powerful Bedouin tribal allies of the Wafallah confederacy, challenged Tripoli's hegemony. To the south, the richly endowed agricultural communities of the Jabal Nafusa Mountains maintained an opposition to the coastal powers. With abundant rainfall and a temperate climate, crops were plentiful; citrus and olive groves abounded. Communities maintained independence, some supported by their kin among the powerful camel herding tribes to the south. Everyone was aware of the military prowess and political autonomy of the tribes.

Cyrenaica had a similar but more distinct antagonism between the desert and the town, and between pastoral tribal and sedentary agricultural society. Important towns like Ajadabya and Benghazi were isolated from a countryside occupied by Bedouin tribes who numbered over 90 percent of the province's population. The country was divided among the so-called noble tribes (i.e., landowners), all linked to one another through a common genealogical pedigree from a common ancestress, Sa-ada. In the south, there was a similar opposition between the oasis communities and the tribes.

Much of Libya was organized into agricultural centers surrounded by tribally-organized Bedouin nomads. There was no sense of nation; instead there was a series of social structures bound by the material conditions of trade in both practical and luxury goods. The only nineteenth-century institution that might be considered a defining characteristic of the country was the presence of a Turkish administration (the Porte). Even here the Porte was at a loss to exert its influence outside of the administrative centers.

The nascent strides toward a national identity began with the Italian invasion in the early twentieth century. The first Italian invasion in 1911 focused on the fertile coastal plain of Tripolitania and the city of Tripoli where political fragmentation gave the Italians an easy victory. Libyan allies were easy to gain if not to maintain. Having secured a foothold on the coast, the Italians mistakenly turned their attention to the Fezzan. They marched south through the Al Jufrah oases to Sebha, the modern capital of Fezzan, securing towns on their way. Once in Sebha, the tribes rallied, cut off the garrison and harassed the Italians as they tried to fight their way back to the coast. A decisive battle was fought in Sirte where the tribes under the Ulad Sleman defeated the Italians who then withdrew from the countryside.

In 1934, a more determined Italian force invaded. This time the primary opposition came from Cyrenaica where the tribes rallied under the banner of the Sanussi religious order and the leadership of such national heroes such as Umar al Mukhtar. A brutal and bloody ten-year guerilla war followed, pitting the modern military might of the Italians against a largely subsistence-based nomadic society. It is claimed that nearly 50 percent of the population of Cyrenaica perished during the struggle. The guerilla war represents an historic struggle in the minds of the Libyan people and its leader Umar al Mukhtar became Libya's first national hero.

The future king of Libya, Idris, the head of the Sanussi order (an ascetic Muslim sect), remained in exile during the colonial period, a symbol of regional if not national opposition to the Italians. He lent his support and that of his forces to the allied war effort in World War II, in exchange for a promise of national independence. The United Nations awarded Libya independence in 1951 and economic stability was assured by grants in aid from the United States and several European countries.

National Identity. In 1969, Libya underwent a revolution with far reaching consequences for the country both nationally and internationally. Muammar Qaddafi emerged as leader of the country. Under this regime, a series of far reaching social experiments have been tried, producing a somewhat unique political system. Internationally the pan-Arab and leftist leanings of the regime have had an impact, as the immense oil wealth of the country has allowed the leadership a position on the international stage disproportionate to the country's size. The majority of Libyans have a pride in nation. The birth of the nation, the heroics of Umar al Mukhtar, and the 1969 revolution are commemorated in annual national celebrations as are the major religious events on the Islamic calendar.

Ethnic Relations. Although the Libyan people are in culture, language, and religion largely homogeneous, there have been and still are significant cultural minorities. Until the last half of the twentieth century there were relatively large Jewish and Italian communities in the country. Members of the Jewish community began to emigrate to Israel in 1948 and several anti-Israeli riots in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973 encouraged further emigration. In 1973, the revolutionary regime of Muammar Qaddafi confiscated all property owned by nonresident Jews. Also in 1973, Qaddafi's regime "invited" forty-five thousand Italian residents who remained from the Italian colonial era to leave the country, and all Italian properties were confiscated by the State.

Black Libyans are descendants of slaves brought to the country during the days of the slave trade. Some worked the gardens in the southern oases and on the farms along the coast. Others were taken in by Bedouin tribes or merchant families as retainers and domestics.

Berber peoples form a large, but less distinguishable minority in the Libyan population. The original inhabitants in most of North Africa, they were overrun in the eleventh and twelfth centuries by the Bedouin Arab armies of the expanding Islamic empire. Over the centuries, the Berber population largely fused with the conquering Arabs. Evidence of Berber culture still remains. The herdsmen and traders of the great Tuareg confederation are found in the south. Known as the "Blue Men of the Desert," their distinctive blue dress and the practice of men veiling distinguish them culturally from the rest of the population. Historically autonomous and fiercely independent, they stand apart from other Libyans and maintain links to their homelands in the Tibesti and Ahaggar mountain retreats of the central Sahara.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

Modern Libyan architecture throughout the country reflects the impact of the spectacular oil wealth. Modern apartment buildings and government and private office complexes abound in the major urban centers, while government (peoples') housing is a characteristic of the countryside. However, the distribution of political power among the sectors of Libyan society, to some degree, is reflected, still, in traditional forms of architecture. Walled fortifications, a testimony to tribal power as well as a reminder of the past as a piratical state, dominate the old section of Tripoli. Similar concerns for security characterized other ancient Libyan towns. In the mountains of Tripolitania, some settlements were constructed completely underground on hillsides. These towns of troglodytes maintained security by having only one entrance. Further south, the concern for defense also was a characteristic of architecture. Most oasis communities were walled and fortified. In the Sawknah oasis of Al Jufrah, for instance, the fortified wall extended around the entire residential area. There were only two gated entrances to the community, and the wall had parapets at intervals of twenty yards to allow defenders to catch the enemy in crossfire. In the center of the walled town stood a large fort whose ramparts commanded a line of fire on all sections of the outer wall. It stood as the last line and a sanctuary should the town be overrun. In many towns the traditional pattern of residence was a dense settlement of domestic units inside a fortified perimeter with agricultural lands lying at some distance from the residential areas.

Libyan towns are characterized by a strict distinction between public and private use of space. The streets, cafés, mosques, and shops are a man's world, while the domestic compound is the woman's world. The gardens, usually worked by families, are sanctuaries, not to be entered by strangers. The compact nature of fortified residential centers gives them a distinctive character. Streets are narrow and twisting. In some areas, kin groups, looking to extend the space available to developing extended families, have joined houses at the second-story level over the street to extend living quarters. This bridging effect produces long canopied cul-de-sacs, where kin groups may convert public to private space by gating the residential quarter. Whole communities may extend this concept of the privacy of space to the reception of strangers.

The use of space in relation to social distance is a major feature of Libyan custom. Public space is a busy, bustling, man's world. Private space is as rigidly defined for men as is public space for women. Traditional house design presents no windows at the first-floor level. Houses may have windows at the second-story level, but they are barred, sometimes with elaborate iron filigree. There is usually only one entrance, through a heavy wooden door. Some of the more luxurious homes have a large rectangular courtyard with elaborate gardens and fountains. The courtyard is completely enclosed, as is the private world of the immediate family. A wide balcony runs the full length and width of the second story and is accessed by one or two elegantly designed staircases. As the residence of a large extended family, rooms and apartments lead off from the center of the house on all sides and on both levels.

In the houses of prominent persons and local notables, another set of stairs is located immediately inside the front door without a view of the inner sanctuary of the courtyard. These stairs lead to the guestroom or marabour, a quasi-public space within the confines of the intensely private home. The head of the household entertains friends, business associates, clients, political supporters, and delegates in the marabour. Some of these rooms may accommodate as many as fifty guests. The marabour is almost always rectangular with mattresses lining the walls to provide seating and bedding for guests. Guests who are strangers are confined to this chamber and will not meet the women of the household.

In tented societies, spatial use and the distinction between public and private spaces are similar to that observed in the towns. Pastoral society has less of a problem defining public space. Bedouin camps consist of closely-related kin, and the physical distance between family groups in the same tribal section reinforces privacy. For most of the year, Bedouin camps spread across the countryside with groups separated from each other by several miles. Camps consist of discreet domestic units residing in tents that are placed in a single line.

Camps are organized to meet the complex demands of herd management and cottage industry. Individual male herd owners cooperate to accomplish the difficult task of managing several different herds with varied grazing and maintenance requirements. Male cooperation also extends to producing charcoal and to planting and harvesting cereal crops in years of plentiful rainfall. Women aid each other in weaving and spinning the wool and hair from the flocks; making tent tops, blankets, and storage bags; and milking and processing the products from the herds. Although members of the camp cooperate in daily activities, each married male member of the camp is an independent herd owner, with sons receiving their share of the family herd upon marriage.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Food in normal daily life reflects the simplicity of peasant and nomadic life styles. Libyan cooking styles are similar whether rural or urban, sedentary or nomadic. Main courses are almost always onepot dishes. Couscous (cracked wheat), the national dish, is prepared in a spicy sauce of hot peppers, tomatoes, chick peas, and vegetables in season. All meals are eaten out of a communal bowl. Meals are of great symbolic importance; in the houses or the tents of prominent men, the major meal of the day rarely is taken without invited guests.

Most meals are frugal and simple with the daily consumption of meat kept to a minimum. The Bedouin rarely consume meat more than once a month. Agriculturists always seem to have adequate supplies of fruit, vegetables, and grain. Nomads have an abundance of milk, dates, and grain in most seasons. In both town and desert, meals are ended with three glasses of green tea, preparation and consumption of which is a distinct ritual.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Meals are prepared by the women of the household and served to guests by the young men of the household. Food is served on long low tables, tall enough to allow guests to sit cross legged and to belly up to the edge.

Meals served in the tented society vary slightly from presentation in towns. In tented society, important guests are honored with a sacrificial slaughter of a goat or sheep. In towns, sacrifice is not as frequent because there usually is easy access to daily markets. The animal is butchered, and the flesh is boiled to form the essential ingredient of a stew to be served over couscous. Sometimes various types of pasta may be used as a substitute for couscous. The main course usually is preceded by dried dates, milk, and buttermilk. Each liquid is served in a large communal bowl. Libyans drink green tea after all meals and throughout the day.

Lavish meals are prepared for almost all ritual occasions. Special and elaborate meals are prepared daily during the month of Ramadan when the daily fast is broken by a meal after sunset.

Basic Economy. The two major components of the traditional Libyan economy were agriculture and pastoralism, both largely subsistence activities. Most agricultural communities were kin-based, organized through patrilineal descent. Differences in wealth produced a class of local notables who relied upon the community for their influence and power. There was a tendency for communities to view themselves as corporate groups rather than agricultural communities or pastoral hinterlands. There were influential trading families in the larger commercial centers, but their power in the hinterland was limited. Communities tended to be self-contained and were based on subsistence activities in which families provided for most of their needs from their own labor. Surpluses were traded in local markets and exchanged in networks of pastoral families.

The economic specialization of pastoral and agricultural communities fostered cooperation as town and country sought each other's products. The Bedouin supplied the towns with meat, wool, hides, clarified butter, and security; markets in the towns provided necessary and luxury goods from artisans and traders (guns and ammunition) and agricultural products.

Land Tenure and Property. Traditionally, property was occasionally held communally, but most agricultural land was held privately. Land fragmentation led to a degree of local social stratification in which sharecropping developed. Generally, agriculture expanded onto marginal lands, mixing agriculture with herding. These communities were largely egalitarian, and less fortunate members of the community could count on support from their kinsmen.

In the pastoral realm, families owned their herds individually and secured land for grazing and watering rights as members of patrilineally-based corporations. Powerful tribes claimed ownership of discrete blocks of territory. A tribe is composed of a number of corporate land-owning groups who define relationships between themselves according to their relative position on the tribal genealogy. Tribal territory was subdivided between tribal sections following a genealogical charter. This charter of descent links the ancestors of the living corporate land-owning descent groups to each other in clearly defined measures of genealogical closeness or distance. Thus the members of one corporate landowning group see the members of an adjacent group as having rights to their territory by virtue of their descent from the brother of the founder of their own group.

Major Industries. Libya has been described as a "hydrocarbon state" since oil sales have an all pervasive role in the Libyan economy, politics, and social structure The discovery of oil in the late 1950s radically altered development and ushered in a period of massive economic redirection. In the first phase of exploration, the oil companies spent large sums and expenditures increased rapidly.

The first substantial oil revenues were paid to the government in 1962 and these revenues increased dramatically during the 1960s, providing rapid expansion in both the private and public sectors.

Two other industries that grew rapidly during the late 1950s and in the 1960s were construction and transportation. Construction, particularly in the cities, increased dramatically. Whole sections of Tripoli were built during this time. Construction was undertaken to provide suitable quarters for the many new local and foreign companies that grew in Libya. There also was an increase in construction of private dwellings in this period. New construction provided accommodations for the increased population and thriving business community in Tripoli.

Trade. Today, crude oil refined petroleum products and natural gas constitute nearly all Libya's exports, totaling $6 billion (U.S. dollars) in 1989. Major export partners were Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Sudan, and the United Kingdom. Major imports include machinery, transportation equipment, food, and manufactured goods. In 1989, Libya's major import partners were Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Tunisia, and Belgium.

Division of Labor. The increase in prosperity brought about a large-scale change in occupation. There was a major decline in persons working in agriculture but there was a sharp increase in laborers and clerical, sports and recreation, and transportation workers. The oil boom had massively changed the occupational and residential structure of the population in just a few years. In the countryside, the five-year plan of the 1960s ushered into existence a period of rural prosperity when many nomadic families became sedentary in order to take advantage of steady wage employment. A wide-scale patronage system developed that was administered through local political structures. Thus, "lamb barrel" politics, in a situation of radical economic change, reinforced family, lineage, tribal, and village structures. The traditional Libyan economy has continued to shrink as the oil economy has grown. By 1997, agriculture accounted for only 7 percent of the economic sector, while industry and services accounted for 47 percent and 46 percent respectively. But not even a revolution could dismantle the national lamb barrel.

Political Life

Government. On 1 September 1969, a group of army officers staged a successful bloodless coup that forced the king into exile and abolished the existing form of government. Muammar Qaddafi quickly emerged as the undisputed leader. The group of young officers considered themselves revolutionaries, but none of them had a background in revolutionary activity or schooling in radical politics. They aligned themselves with Gamal Abdul Nasser, leader of Egypt. Domestically, the conservative nature of the officers' policies became clear when they permanently closed nightclubs and prohibited the consumption of alcohol. They declared themselves to be socialist in politics and conservative in Islamic religious practices.

Once consolidated in power, the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) undertook a series of radical initiatives to transform the economic, social, and political organization of Libya. Begun in 1973, this transformation was guided by the Green Book written by Qaddafi. The thesis of this book is a critique of participatory democracy in which it is argued that no man should represent another, but that the people should represent themselves directly. A contradictory argument of Qaddafi's is that the building blocks of society are family, tribe, and nation.

In the early 1970s, radical reform of the political process was undertaken to bring about direct participation of the people in the national democratic process. The municipalities in the country were reorganized territorially and their management was placed in the hands of locally elected peoples' committees. These committees were responsible for local government and the development of local budgets. Representatives of local committees presented budgets and other matters through a people's congress, which met once a year to discuss matters of concern and to deliver fiscal demands. This became one mechanism through which Libya redistributed some of the national wealth, and involved its citizens in a democratic process.

In 1975, a crisis developed in the ruling RCC and in the army concerning the course that the revolution should take. There was an attempted coup that was not successful; the army was purged and the RCC disbanded. The five remaining loyal RCC members were assigned to ministerial posts. Qaddafi, now firmly in control of the country, set a course that was enormously disruptive for the country and the international community.

Internally, Qaddafi unleashed the young zealots of the revolution, urging them to form revolutionary committees to instruct the people on the goals of the revolution. A rein of terror followed that was to last for over a decade. Revolutionary courts were soon established and nearly all institutions of government and commerce were put under the scrutiny of these committees. Only the institutions of banking and the oil industry were kept from their reach. Enemies of the revolution were ferreted out, tried secretly in revolutionary courts, jailed, tortured, and subjected to long prison sentences or death. Furor developed on the university campuses and on at least one occasion the student body witnessed the public hanging of fellow students who had been tried by students belonging to the revolutionary committee. There were numerous public hangings of citizens for crimes committed against the revolution, many of which were broadcast on national television. These measures were followed by other "reforms" which tore at the fabric of Libyan society. Private enterprise was abolished and all privately-owned shops were closed and replaced by government run Peoples' Markets. The regime nationalized all non-owner occupied housing and confirmed ownership on the occupants. Bureaucrats were sacked from government ministries and, in 1980, Qaddafi demonetized the currency, severely restricting the amounts of old money that citizens could convert to the new currency. There were reports of outraged citizens burning large piles of currency outside of the National Bank. These measures were adopted at a time when the world price for oil dropped severely, thus ushering in a decade of austerity in Libya. Qaddafi also canceled the stipends of thousands of Libyan students studying abroad and ordered them to return home. Many chose not to return and large numbers of citizens joined them in exile, most from the better-educated classes. By the mid 1980s, as many as 100,000 Libyans were living abroad, many joining political groups opposed to the revolution.

During the 1980s, the consequences of the revolution were being felt abroad. Qaddafi urged that revolutionary committees replace the diplomatic corps in Libyan embassies, renaming them "Peoples' Bureaus." In London a young female constable was shot dead outside the Peoples' Bureau where an anti-Qaddafi rally was under way. Qaddafi stepped up pressure on dissidents and called for the obligatory repatriation of all Libyan exiles. Noncompliance was to result in death. There were gang style executions of Libyan nationals in several European cities.

Internationally, Qaddafi played a controversial role. He fought a war with Chad, skirmished with Egypt, and trained a commando group which attacked a city in southern Tunisia. There were well-publicized financial contributions to Pakistan to aid in building the "Islamic Bomb," and to the Irish Republican Army, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and other revolutionary organizations. There was also growing suspicion in the international community that the Qaddafi regime was involved directly in terrorism itself. These suspicions resulted in the United States and Britain severing diplomatic relations with Libya, putting in place severe economic sanctions and bombing the cities of Tripoli and Benghazi. Subsequently the Pan American Airline explosion over Lockerbie, Scotland was blamed on Libyan agents and the United Nations banned all air travel to Libya until the government was prepared to turn its agents over the Scottish government for trial. By late 1980s, Libya was thoroughly isolated by the international community.

This same period (19861987) marked a turning point in the revolution internally. The revolutionary committees were chastised for excesses. Qaddafi released prisoners from jail, personally supervising the destruction of one prison. He invited dissidents to return home without penalty; allowed citizens to travel freely, giving family members $1,000 (U.S.) each for the journey; and restored free enterprise. The liberalization has resulted in free market conditions with satellite dishes springing up everywhere, cell phones in use, and a full array of goods in the shops. But it does not appear that the liberalization has met with entrepreneurial fervor among the citizens. They seem to know that their mercurial government could change course at a moment's notice.

Libya has many characteristics which distinguish it organizationally from other states. Most importantly, the state does not rely upon taxation of its citizens for revenues. State budgets remain out of the realm of public discussion because those in power do not combine finance with politics. The central power seeks other means to gain compliance from its citizens. While direct democracy is a mechanism for distribution of some of the national wealth to the citizens, most of the national wealth remains to be used by those in power beyond public accountability. For instance, the budget for the military, one of the most important elements of Libya's new elite, is simply not published.

Military. The Libyan military has had a critical role in maintaining the Qaddafi regime in power. This support seems to have functioned from three perspectives. First, the military is extremely well funded. Although exact figures are difficult to obtain, Libya has spent at least $5 billion (U.S.) for military procurements every year since the late 1970s, with occasional military expenditures exceeding 40 percent of total government expenditures. The country spent $1,360 (U.S.) per capita in 1984. These figures are about twice the average per capita spending on defense for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and are rivaled only by Israel, Saudi Arabia, and a few oil rich Gulf Emirates. Second, these figures reflect an enormous procurement process in which the senior military seem to have profited greatly. There are accounts of senior officers living opulent life styles, building stately villas, and acquiring properties outside of normal channels. There is a suggestion here that Qaddafi has bought their loyalty. Third, there is hard evidence that tribalism has a role in the army. Qaddafi, during the revolutionary furor that he unleashed, appointed his family members as his bodyguards, trained his tribal kin as his elite army unit and, during the Revolutionary Committee period, appointed members of his tribe to the committee in the army. Thus opulent economic favor, nepotism, and tribal loyalty combined to assure that the most powerful institution in Libyan society continued to support the revolution and its leader.

Gender Roles and Statuses

The Relative Status of Women and Men. Purdah, the custom of secluding and veiling women, is a traditional feature of Libyan cultural life. Groups of veiled women are still found in markets in the company of kinsmen but they are infrequent visitors to mosques and absent entirely from café life. Women were traditionally placed in seclusion at puberty and appear in public veiled. They are only freed from this custom at menopause. The push toward female emancipation, as exhibited in the opening of public space to women, may be repealed at any time by either domestic male prerogative or national decree. Qaddafi established a military academy for females and, occasionally, has arrived at international meetings accompanied by female bodyguards dressed in battle fatigues.

Qaddifi claims that men and women are radically different in biology and nature. His view is that the nature of woman is to nurture and her role as mother and domestic is part of a natural order.

Where social life outside of the compound may be limiting for women due to the institution of purdah, within the household, the movements of women are not constrained. All are close kin and many are descendants of a common ancestor. As such they share a common daily social life. The movements of women are not restricted within the compound and both sexes may freely enter each other's abodes without invitation.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship

Marriage. Descent kinship and marriage are major organizing factors in social, economic, and political life. Patrilineal descent defines group membership, while kinship is largely the product of marriage arrangements. Where the collective interests of descent groups are clearly defined, the patterns of kinship and marriage will reflect these interests. Marriages are arranged by the parents in consultation with members of the extended family and lineage. Libyan society, like much of the Arab world, places a premium on father's brother's daughter's marriage. This rule of "first right" is so important that in strongly-focused descent groups the male first cousin must waive his right to the girl before she is allowed to take a more socially distant spouse. Girls may marry at age fourteen, while men must usually wait until they are in their mid-to-late twenties. The age qualification for marriage between cousins thus restricts this form of marriage.

Approximately 20 percent of all marriages are "first right." Such arrangements give many descent groups a second set of social relationships. Since the father's brother's daughter's marriage removes the rule against group endogamy found in other societies, people are free to arrange marriages within the group outside the range of siblings and within generation. Thus, multiple strands of kinship crosscut group structure and further reinforce the corporate descent group.

Although groups may strive toward endogamy, other interests of the family and corporate group may lead to marriages being contracted between distant relations. In Bedouin society it is normal for groups to contract marriage with groups in distant ecological zones. Failure of the rains in one territory may lead to an invitation by more fortunate kin to visit and graze and water one's animals on their territory for the season.

Occasionally, there are marriages between the Bedouin and families of trading partners in oases. Marriages between adversaries in a feud may occur at the conclusion of the peace agreement. Marriages also are a way of binding groups in alliance since the offspring of successful unions will have close kin in two different groups. Thus marriage reflects family and group interests, and the patterns weave a web of mutual interest between families, lineages, and tribes.

Marriage arrangements require that siblings are married sequentially according to age. For a man to marry, he must be able to pay a "bride price" to the bride's family. Weddings may tax family resources because the more distantly related the bride, the higher the "bride price." Groups of brothers work together to gather the resources necessary for marriage. In Bedouin society, the resources used to marry come from the family herds. In towns, men contribute a portion of their pay to a brother's bride price.

Indications that in the urban areas some of the structures described above have been modified are manifest in several ways. Many women are now seen unveiled in public. A recent report now claims that there are more female than male university students. And the Qaddafi regime has prohibited the admission of foreign women into the country unaccompanied by senior male kinsmen, as the bride price for mail-order brides from surrounding Arab states is significantly less than for Libyan women. These suggestions of social transformation have not been adequately analyzed as yet.

Domestic Unit. The social makeup of Bedouin camps almost always consists of closely-related patrilineal relatives and their wives. A camp may consist of a large central tent housing a couple and their unmarried sons and daughters. Adjacent tents will house married sons and their wives and children. Occasionally a distant relative or friend and his family may join the camp for a season. In the line of tents, social solidarities are expressed by the proximity of tents in the line. Close kin, brothers, and fathers position their tents so that the tent pegs overlap and the guide ropes of the tents cross one another. The tent of a more remotely related member of the camp will be at the end of the line, a few yards from his neighbor, without guide ropes crossing.

Kin Groups. Descent groups with clearly-focused interests usually reside in contiguous residential structures, marry endogamously, cooperate in all social, economic, and political matters, and have a highly ramified social life within the group. For the most part, life is extremely comfortable.

The tribal land-owning corporations are themselves patrilineal descent groups or lineages whose members acquire rights by virtue of being the sons and daughters of a particular man. In theory all members of the group are patrilineal descendants of the founder. Members are said to be of one flesh and bone with equal rights to territorial resources. Equal rights also implies equal obligations. Members have the obligation to defend the territory against the encroachment of neighboring corporations. Liability is not an individual matter, but a matter between groups. Injury leads to a "state of feud" between groups in which all members of the offended group are required to take revenge against any male member of the offending group; this can lead to anarchy with a continual cycle of killings. Feuds have rules of conduct in which groups may decide to end the matter by a payment of a "blood price" whereby the offending group must compensate the offended group for the loss of life with payment. The members of the offending corporation must all contribute to the blood price, while all members of the offended group share in the compensation.

The institution of the feud makes possible a fairly orderly set of relations between competing groups where there are no institutions of government. While feuds may lead to peace through settlement, the relationships between groups defined through the genealogy will lead to a stand-off of equal numbers through opposition. The tribal segmentary system thus fosters an ethic of egalitarianism with its expression found in the members of the corporate patrilineal descent groups.

Nicknaming within tribes is prevalent as an expression of individual personality. The descent group is an institution that gives pride of place to its members, demands extreme loyalty of them, and provides a warm, nurturing support system to men and women of all ages.

The oil wealth has radically transformed the Libyan economy and its demography with widespread urbanization and wage employment. This process has only partially undermined traditional social structures as they were first reinforced by the pre-Revolutionary patronage system and then by the post-revolution political system. In the urban areas the constraints of family, lineage, and tribe have no doubt loosened. While the upper level bureaucratsa second major section of the new elitemay answer to Qaddafi and his ruling clique, this is not true for the rural areas. There, ties of family, lineage, tribe, and residence still remain the dominant forms of organization. This striking feature of Libyan life is partially the result of the implementation of the political structures described by Qaddafi in the Green Book. Local committee members and bureaucrats are themselves members of local kin-based groups whose loyalty they must retain and whose wishes they must consider. While this is a society where immense oil wealth might lead to radical social transformation, in the rural areas, at least, this has not happened. There, cultural traditions have been slow to change as the political and economic institutions of government are refracted through family, lineage, and tribal interests.

Socialization

Higher Education. Libya has two universities, several technical schools, and a well developed primary and secondary school system. By the mid 1980s, there were 1,245,000 students enrolled in primary and secondary education: 54 percent were males and 46 percent were females. During this period the government claimed to have constructed 32,000 new classrooms while the number of teachers increased from about 19,000 to 79,000.

University enrollments also show dramatic increases from 3,000 students in 1969 to more than 25,000 during the 1980s with female enrollments numbering about 25 percent. Education is free and university students receive generous stipends. Even though large strides have been made in Libyan education, the country still lacks technical expertise in many areas. The military lacks the skilled personnel to adequately maintain its weapons systems. Most doctors, dentists, and pharmacists are foreign nationals, while 60 percent of Libya's top bureaucrats and 40 percent of the work force are expatriates.

Etiquette

A polite stranger, when approaching a camp, will pause about one hundred yards from the line of tents. A series of activities converting private into public space begins. Either one tent in the line will be vacated and converted into a guest tent, or the large tent of the oldest male will be divided down the middle to produce a guest compartment separated from the domestic section. Entertainment of guests in tented society is similar to towns. One difference in tented society is that a guest will not be asked his social identity until after the meal when the breaking of bread has placed the guest under his host's protection. This rule of sanctuary ensures that members of rival groups or those in a feuding relationship may travel the desert in relative safety.

Religion

Religious Beliefs. Most traditional Libyans are devout Muslims and practice a simple and deeply personal religion. Adults follow the strictures of Islam; they pray five times a day, give alms to the poor, and fast for the month of Ramadan. There is a certain austerity to Libyan Islam shaped by the harshness of traditional life. This asceticism was reinforced by the Sanussi order, which was abolished by the Qaddafi regime for political reasons. In its place, the regime instituted fundamentalist practices with very little impact on rural life, where the Libyan version of an ascetic Islam is still practiced.

Religious Practitioners. The Ulama, or religious scholars, have been upstaged by the regime, but in the countryside mosques are well attended. The folk religion of the people subscribes, in part, to a deviation from traditional Islam. In Libya, as in other parts of North Africa, the cult of saints is highly developed. There are individual living saints, marabout, whose miracles are widely reported and whose services in a curative capacity are sought. People also visit the tombs of men of reputation, seeking cures for illness, success in business, and luck in passing an examination. There are small tribes whose members are said to have inherited baraka, the quality of goodness or holiness, and minister to local people. There are also lineages who are said to be descendants of the prophet Mohammed. They are given the title of sharif.

Bibliography

Allan, J. A.Libya. The Experience of Oil, 1981.

. Libya Since Independence: Economic and Social Development, 1982.

Anderson, L. The State and Social Transformation in Tunisia and Libya, 1986.

Arnold, G. The Maverick State. Gaddafi and the New World Order, 1996.

Behnke, R. H., Jr. "The Herders of Cyrenaica: Economy and Kinship Among the Bedouin of Eastern Libya," Illinois Studies in Anthropology, 12; 1980.

Blundy, D. and A. Lycett. Qaddafi and the Libyan Revolution , 1987.

Cockburn, A. "Libya," National Geographic Magazine, March 2001: 2-32.

Cooley, J. K. Libyan Sandstorm: The Complete Account of Qaddafi's Revolution, 1983.

Dalton, W. G. "Economic Change and Political Continuity in a Saharan Oasis Community," Man, 1973.

. "Lunch with Abdullah: An Account of Politics in the Fezzan Region of Libya." Proceeding of the African Studies Association, Brandeis University, 1978.

. "Sedentarization of Nomads: The Libyan Case." In Salzman and Galaty, ed. Nomads in a Changing World, 1990.

Davis, J. Libyan Politics: Tribe and Revolution, 1987.

Evans-Pritcharsd, E. E. The Sanusi of Cyrenaica, 1949.

Farley, R. Planning for Development in Libya: The Exceptional Economy in the Developing Word, 1971.

El-Fathaly, O. and Palmer, M. "Institutional Development in Qaddafi's Libya." In Vanderwalle, D. ed., Qaddafi's Libya 1969-1994.

. Political Development and Bureaucracy in Libya, 1997.

First, R. Libya: The Elusive Revolution, 1975.

Khadduri, M. Modern Libya: A Study in Political Development, 1963.

Khouri, P. and J. Kostiner eds. Tribes and State Formation in the Middle East, 1990.

Library of Congress. Libya, 1987.

National Salvation Front. Libya Under Qaddafi and the NFSL Challenge, 1992.

Pelt, A. Libyan Independence and the United Nations, 1970.

Peters, E. L. "Aspects of the Family Among the Bedouin of Cyrenaica," In M. F. Nomkoff, ed. Comparative Family Systems, 1965.

. "Some Structural Aspects of the Feud Among the Camel-Herding Bedouin of Cyrenaica," Africa 37: 261-82, 1967.

. "The Tied and the Free: An Account of a Type of Patron-Client Relationship Among the Bedouin Pastoralists of Cyrenaica." In J. G. Peristiany, ed. Contributions to Mediterranean Sociology 167-88, 1968.

. "The Proliferation of Segments in the Lineages of the Bedouin of Cyrenaica." In L. M. Sweet, ed. Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East : 363-98, 1970.

Roumani, J. "From Republic to Jamahiriya: Libya's Search for Political Community," Middle East Journal 37 2: 151-68, 1983.

Vandewalle, D. Libya Since Independence, 1998.

Wright, J. Libya: A Modern History, 1982.

William G. Dalton

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Libya

Libya

LIBYANS 167

The people of Libya are called Libyans. More than 90 percent of the population identify themselves as Arab, with most of the remaining minority composed of Berbers (general name for North Africans) and black Africans.

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Libya

LibyaGambia, ZambiaArabia, labia, SwabiaLibya, Namibia, tibia •euphorbia •agoraphobia, claustrophobia, homophobia, hydrophobia, phobia, technophobia, xenophobia, Zenobia •Nubia • rootbeer • cumbia •Colombia, Columbia •exurbia, Serbia, suburbia •Wiltshire • Flintshire •gaillardia, Nadia, tachycardia •steadier • compendia •Acadia, Arcadia, nadir, stadia •reindeer •acedia, encyclopedia, media, multimedia •Lydia, Numidia •India • belvedere • Claudia •Cambodia, odea, plasmodia, podia, roe-deer •Mafia, raffia, tafia •Philadelphia • hemisphere •planisphere • Montgolfier • Sofia •ecosphere • biosphere • atmosphere •thermosphere • ionosphere •stratosphere • headgear • switchgear •logia • nemesia • menhir

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Libya

LIBYA

LIBYA , country in N. Africa, consisting of the regions of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica (see *Cyrene), and Fezzan. Isolated finds of Jewish origin from pre-Exilic Ereẓ Israel were discovered both in Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, but there is no reliable evidence of Jewish presence in those regions before the time of Ptolemy Lagos (ruled Egypt 323–282 b.c.e.); he is reported to have settled Jews in the Cyrenean Pentapolis to strengthen his regime there, probably in 312 b.c.e. The phrases used consistently in the sources point to their distribution around Cyrene presumably as military settlers on royal land. The temporary extension of Ptolemaic control into Tripolitania in the early third century b.c.e. may have occasioned similar Jewish settlement in that area; there are Jewish finds from this date at Busetta and Zliten.

Early History

After the Maccabean breakthrough to Jaffa commerce between Ereẓ Israel and Cyrene appears to have been strengthened (147–43 b.c.e.). ii Maccabees is an abbreviation of a work by Jason of Cyrene. With the political reunion of Egypt and Cyrene under Ptolemy Euergetes ii in 145 b.c.e., a fresh wave of Jewish immigration reached the latter country; the Jewish community of Teucheira, evidenced by their epitaphs, and composed probably of military settlers linked with Egypt, must have originated late in the century. In 88 b.c.e., after Cyrene had been freed from Ptolemaic control, the Jews of the country were involved in an undefined civil conflict perhaps to be connected with contemporary manifestations of Greek anti-Jewishness in Alexandria and Antioch. The Roman exploitation of the royal domains at the expense of their cultivators would have involved numerous Jews, ultimately expropriated, perhaps one of the social bases of the risings of 73 and 115 c.e.

Cyrene became a Roman province in 74 b.c.e.; inscriptions of the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, and Nero at Berenice (Benghazi) indicate a wealthy, well-organized community with an executive board and its own amphitheater for assembly, as well as a synagogue. Jewish urban communities prior to 115 c.e. are further evidenced at Apollonia and Ptolemais. Cyrenean Jewry under Augustus was compelled to defend its right – attacked by Greek cities – to send the half-shekel to Jerusalem, but its privileges were confirmed by the Roman power. A section of the Cyrenean community at this point seems to have obtained improved civic status, and Jewish names appear among graduates of city gymnasia both at Cyrene and Ptolemais, but it is clear that the bulk of the community was considered intermediate between alien residents and citizens. Cyrenean Jewry was nevertheless preponderantly rural; sites of Jewish rural settlement are known at Gasr Tarhuna, Al-Bagga, in the Martuba area, at Boreion (Bu-Grada) in the south (the site of an alleged "temple"), and at an unlocated place called Kaparodis. The Teucheira group was largely agricultural and a Jewish rural population probably existed around Benghazi. The occupations of Cyrenean Jewry included, besides agriculture, those of potter, sailor, stonemason, bronze-worker, and possibly weaver. Commercial elements are likely to have existed at the ports of Benghazi, Apollonia, and Ptolemais. The Jewish aristocracies of Benghazi, Ptolemais, and Cyrene were highly hellenized (cf. a Jew, Eleazar son of Jason, who held municipal office at Cyrene under Nero); though Jewish graduates of gymnasia appear at Teucheira, most of the Jews there were relatively uncultured, and suffered a high rate of child mortality. Cyrenean Jews maintained a synagogue in Jerusalem in the first century c.e.

In 73 c.e. Jonathan the Weaver, a "desert prophet" of the Qumran type and a Zealot refugee from Ereẓ Israel, incited the poorer element of the Jews of Cyrene to revolt, leading them to the desert with promises of miraculous deliverance.

Jonathan was apprehended and his followers were massacred; the Roman governor L. Valerius Catullus also took the opportunity to execute some 3,000 wealthy Jews and to confiscate their property. The Zealot movement was not confined to the city of Cyrene, and the removal of the hellenized Jewish aristocracy led to the radicalization of the rest of the community. Under Vespasian (69–79 c.e.) the recovery and redistribution of the extensive Cyrenean state lands began, resulting in increased friction with the seminomadic transhumant Libyan elements. To the same period belongs the Jewish settlement of Iscina (Scina) Locus Augusti Iudaeorum (Madinat al-Sultan) on the shore of eastern Tripolitania, an imperial foundation which may plausibly be held to reflect a forcible removal of disaffected Jewish elements from Cyrene to the desert borders – a view which finds support in Jewish historical tradition. A Jewish-Libyan rapprochement on the desert borders may well have taken place prior to the rising of 115.

In 115 – during Trajan's Second Parthian campaign – the Jewish revolt broke out in Cyrene, Egypt, and Cyprus. The very heavy gentile casualties in Cyrene and the scope of the destruction wrought by the Jews at Cyrene, probably at Apollonia, Balagrae (Zawiyat Beda), Teucheira, and in the eastern areas, suggest that the rebels, under their leader *Lucuas (or Andreas), who was called by the gentile historians "King of the Jews," intended to quit the country for good. The wholesale destruction of the Roman temples testifies to the Zealot content of the rising. At the end of 116 the Jews broke into Egypt, but cut off from Alexandria were defeated by Marcius Turbo; Lucuas is thought to have been killed in Judea.

Jews may have already been again living in Ptolemais in the third century, and, in the later part of the fourth century, Jewish ships were reaching Cyrene from Egypt. There is much evidence for the existence of a Jewish population in the country on the eve of the Muslim conquest (642), and presumably the numerous Jewish traditions attached to ancient sites throughout the country relate to the Byzantine period. In Tripolitania, except for the appearance of Iscina, the Jewish record is blank until the fourth century. In Africa Vetus (Tunisia) Jewish settlement cannot be proven before the early second century c.e., and the Talmud (Men. 110a) seems to imply a gap in Jewish settlement east of Carthage; Jerome nevertheless believed that in the late fourth century Jewish settlement was continuous from Morocco to Egypt, and numerous place-names on the Tripolitanian coast suggest a very ancient Jewish tradition. A Christian cemetery of the fourth century at Sirte contained chiefly Jewish names, perhaps of people connected with imperial domains of the area. A Jewish community at Oea (now *Tripoli), which possessed competent scholars, is attested by Augustine (fifth century). The Boreion community indicates longstanding settlement; its "temple" was converted into a church, and its Jews were forced to accept Christianity by Justinian (527–65). Ibn Khaldūn (14th century) thought the *Berbers on Mount Nefusa were Judaized, and derived from the Barce area (Cyrene) – like the Jarawa of the Algerian Aurès – but his statement is tentative and the traditions of Judaizing Berber tribes, despite the extensive modern literature concerning them, have been shown not to be pre- or early Islamic.

[Shimon Applebaum]

Arab-Ottoman Period

The Arabs conquered Cyrenaica in 642 and swiftly took the rest of North Africa. They spread *Islam among the local populations, but allowed members of monotheist religions (referred to as People of the Book (ahl al-kitāb)), namely Christians and Jews, to keep their religion by accepting the status of Protected Peoples (ahl al-dhimmah). According to late Arabic sources, the Jews were dispersed among the Berbers who lived around Mount Nefusa (central Tripolitania) before the Arab conquest, but in Jewish sources the Jews of this district are only mentioned from the tenth century onward. The Jews also believed that the Jewish population of the entire region originated there. From the frequent repetitions of the surname al-Lebdi in 11th- and 12th-century sources, it can be concluded that there was also an important Jewish population in Lebda, near the harbor town of Homs, and also in the oasis of G(h)adames. There was also a Jewish population in Barce and in other localities. Between 1159 and 1160 the Jewish population suffered as a result of the victory of the *Almohads but the rulers did not take any lives or force conversion.

There is no extant information on Libyan Jewry during the next 400 years. According to a later source, 800 Jewish families fled from Tripoli to Tajurah – situated to the east of the latter – and to Jebel Gharyān (Garian) – in the interior of Tripolitania – as a result of the Spanish invasion of 1510.

Libya was under Ottoman rule between 1551 and 1911, though in the 1711–1835 period Tripolitania was ruled by the Qaramanlī dynasty, which originated in the Ottoman military and retained nominal allegiance to the *Ottoman Empire. Direct Ottoman rule in Libya resumed in 1835. After the Ottoman conquest of 1551 the Jews prospered again. At that time, R. Simeon *Labi, a Spanish kabbalist refugee, settled in Tripoli (1549–80) rather than continue to the Land of Israel. He strengthened the position of Judaism and introduced Sephardi traditions of Jewish learning. According to a manuscript which belonged to M. Gaster (now bm Or. 12368), "A sad and bitter event happened to the people of the Mahgreb," i.e., the Jews of Libya were in great distress during the years 1588–89 as a result of the revolt against the Turks which was fomented by the mahdi Yaḥyā b. Yaḥyā. Many of them were forcibly converted to Islam, but with the suppression of the revolt, they returned to Judaism. There is, however, no mention or allusion in Jewish sources to this period of persecution.

The community of Tripoli gained in strength with the arrival of Jews from *Leghorn (Livorno, referred to as Gornim), most of whom were merchants of Sephardi origin. In Tripoli, in contrast to some other Mediterranean cities, the Gornim did not constitute a separate congregation, due to their relatively small number, but many of them were of a higher socio-economic level, with strong commercial, social, and familial ties across the Mediterranean. In 1663 the ShabbateanAbraham Miguel *Cardozo arrived there and conducted his Shabbatean campaign. From the second half of the 17th century until the Italian conquest (1911) the Jews of Libya were led by ʾids ("leaders"). These were the temporal leaders of the community and belonged to a small number of wealthy families with strong ties to the Muslim authorities. In 1705 the Jews of Tripoli were saved from the danger of extermination at the hands of Ibrahim ash-Sharif. "Purim of ash-Sharif " on 23 Tevet commemorates this event, about which R. Shabtai Tayyar wrote a poem, Mi Kamokha. During the famine and plague of 1784–85, there was much suffering among the Jews and they were threatened with grave danger when Ali Gurzi, known as "Burgul," was appointed pasha of Libya. After a year and a half he was banished from the town, and in commemoration of their deliverance the Jews of Tripoli celebrate "Purim of Burgul" every 29 Tevet. R. Avraham Khalfon wrote another Mi Kamokha poem in honor of this event. The Jews of Libya lived in special quarters (ḥārah) and streets in various towns. In the two villages of Jebel Gharyān and Tigrinna of central Tripolitania, they lived in underground caves until their immigration to Israel in 1950–51. The Ḥārat al-Yahūd ("Jewish quarter") in Tigrinna contained about 300 Jews. They earned their living as goldsmiths, blacksmiths, and peddlers among the Bedouin in the area.

In the mid-19th century, the traveler Benjamin the Second (Israel Benjamin) found about 1,000 Jewish families (about a third of the population) in Tripoli. There were four competent dayyanim and eight synagogues. In 1906 N. *Slouschz visited Libya and his descriptions have become a historical source of information. Most of the information in his books about the 18th and 19th centuries stems from his guide Mordecai Hacohen, whose history was based on earlier sources and includes numerous observations on current conditions of the Jews in the urban centers and the rural hinterland. At the end of Ottoman rule there were no important incidents in the history of Libyan Jewry, apart from the fact that in 1909 they, like all citizens of the Ottoman Empire, were subject to the compulsory military service law. Jews – of an Orthodox religious background – feared that they would be forced to desecrate the Sabbath and other religious holy days and eat non-kosher food in the course of military service. However, the law was only in force for a short time, since Libya shortly thereafter fell to the Italians, and the Ottoman command respected Jewish religious restrictions. The Jews even benefited from the military training that some 260 of their young men had received, since the latter could protect the community in the interim period between the fall of the Ottoman regime and complete Italian occupation of Tripoli, when the town suffered from attacks by Arab rioters.

[Haïm Z'ew Hirschberg /

Rachel Simon (2nd ed.)]

Italian Rule

On Oct. 11, 1911, Tripoli fell to the Italians, who within two months took the rest of the Mediterranean coastal urban centers of Libya. Most of Tripolitania was also conquered within the next two years, but the Sanusi resistance prevented the conquest of most of Cyrenaica. During World War i, most of the hinterland was regained by the Arab and Berber resistance, with the help of the Ottoman and German military. Following World War i Tripolitania was retaken by the Italians, but internal Cyrenaica was fully conquered only by the early 1930s when the Sanusi-led opposition was crushed. Although there were Jewish communities in the Tripolitanian and Cyrenaican hinterland, most of the Jews were under Italian rule from late 1911. The first 25 years of Italian rule passed peacefully for the Jews as far as Italian treatment of Jews was concerned. They retained equal rights, and the number of those in government employment grew, as did the numbers of those who became prosperous and attended urban Italian state schools. During this period Zionist activity went unhindered. The Jewish population of Libya in 1931 was 21,000 (4% of the total population). They were dispersed in 15 localities, with about 15,000 of them in Tripoli. In 1936 the Italians began to enforce fascist legislation, especially in Tripoli, where most of the trade was in Jewish hands. This legislation aimed at modernizing social and economic structures, similar to the then current conditions in Italy. The authorities started to hinder the freedom of the Jews, who were forced to open their shops on the Sabbath, and those who refused to do so were punished, imprisoned, and some even whipped in public. With the implementation of anti-Jewish racial legislation in late 1938, Jews were removed from municipal councils, some were sent away from government schools, and their papers were stamped with the words "Jewish race."

[Haim J. Cohen /

Rachel Simon (2nd ed.)]

Holocaust Period

When the Benghazi area fell to the British on February 6, 1941, the Jews were overjoyed over their deliverance and their meeting with Jewish Palestinian soldiers serving in the British army. This did not last long, and on April 3, 1941, when the city was recaptured by the Italians, young Arabs assaulted the Jews of Benghazi. The British reoccupied Benghazi briefly on Dec. 24, 1941, and this time the Jews were much more careful regarding their contacts with the British army. The Jan. 27, 1942, reoccupation of *Benghazi by Axis forces was followed by the systematic plunder of all Jewish shops and the promulgation of a deportation order: 2,600 persons were deported into the desert to Giado, 149 mi. (240 km.) south of Tripoli, where they lived under extremely harsh conditions. During their 14-month exile 562 people died of starvation or typhus. In March 1941 the Italian governor of Tripoli took discriminatory measures against all Jews and ordered Jewish organizations to cease all activities. In April 1942 the Jews of Tripoli were compelled to declare all their property, and those between 18 and 45 years of age were sent to forced labor: some 1,400 persons to Homs, and 350 to lay the railway line linking Libya and Egypt. They, together with the rest of the population of Tripoli, were subject to severe bombing by the Royal Air Force. Jews with French and British nationality were declared enemy nationals and were exiled in 1942: the French nationals to *Tunisia and the British nationals first to Italy and then to concentration camps in Austria, Germany, and Poland, though most of them survived the war.

[Robert Attal /

Rachel Simon (2nd ed.)]

During this period, Zionist activity was paralyzed. In general the relations with the Muslim population did not worsen, and village Muslims sometimes gave sanctuary and shelter during the three years to Jews who fled to them, although in the towns fascist propaganda reached and influenced the young Muslims. During World War ii the men of the Jewish Brigade conducted various political and cultural activities among the Jewish population. The Jewish Palestinian soldiers were greatly impressed by the knowledge of Hebrew among Libyan Jews and their Zionist aspirations. Although there was not much Jewish immigration to Palestine prior to the late 1940s, and the community as a whole was pro-Italian, the events of World War ii and the 1945 riots in Tripoli and its vicinity changed the political attitude of the Jews: they did not trust Italy anymore and feared for their life and property under independent Arab rule. This resulted in the mass immigration to Israel of some 95% of the community within three years (1949–51) (see below).

The British Occupation

During the British occupation (1942/43–51) the Jews were able to reopen their schools, although in this period they suffered from persecution by Muslims which was unparalleled in the past. On November 4, 1945, there were Muslim riots against the Jews of Tripoli and neighboring towns. In Tripoli the masses ran wild, killing and wounding many Jews, looting their property, and setting fire to five synagogues. On November 6 troublemakers from Tripoli arrived in Zanzur (c. 30 mi. (48 km.) from Tripoli) and incited the Muslim population against the 150 local Jews, of whom half were murdered. Jews were also killed at Meslātah, Zawiyah, Tajurah (10 mi. (16 km.) from Tripoli), and at Amruz (2½ mi. (4 km.) from Tripoli). According to various estimates, from 121 to 187 Jews were killed and many were wounded during these incidents. Nine synagogues were burned down and damage to property was half a million pounds sterling, a very large sum for a poor community. The British authorities did not succeed in immediately stopping the excesses because they had Arab soldiers and policemen in their service who generally joined in the riots with the masses when sent to protect Jews; only when forces came from outside, especially Sudanese soldiers, were the rioters dispersed. After the riots about 300 rioters were brought to trial, of whom two were sentenced to death. The leniency of the sentences and the incitement by the Arab countries regarding Palestine encouraged Libyan Muslims to persecute the Jews again in June 1948 in Benghazi and Tripoli. However, this time some of the Jews were ready to defend themselves, since after the 1945 attacks a Jewish defense organization with members of both genders was set up in Tripoli by an emissary from Palestine (1946). Tripoli Jews used hand grenades and repelled marauders trying to enter the Jewish quarter; before the rioters could be stopped the police arrived, but 14 Jews had already been killed. Most of the rioters were Tunisian volunteers on the way to the Palestinian front.

Contemporary Period

After the 1945 riots, Jews began leaving Libya, most of them immigrating to Palestine. Between 1919 and 1948 about 450 Jews immigrated to Palestine from Libya, most of them during the years 1946 and 1947 when about 150 immigrated there. When the State of Israel was established, Jewish flight from Libya increased; they left by way of Tripoli and Tunisia; between May 1948 and January 1949 about 2,500 left the country. Only in February 1949 did the British permit legal immigration to Israel, and many immediately registered to emigrate. Several officials of the Jewish Agency and Israeli government ministries operated legally in Tripoli and traveled throughout the country. These few Israelis were assisted by numerous indigenous Jews, and in collaboration with the local authorities prepared the required travel documents. Because disease was widespread among Libyan Jews, medical personnel of the ose health organization (see *OZE) and Israel checked prospective emigrants and treated those who were forbidden to enter Israel prior to recovery. During the mass emigration, most Libyan Jews traveled directly from Tripoli to Haifa in Israeli ships. Israeli officials were also involved in cultural events and teachers' training in Tripoli and its vicinity. Until the end of 1951, some 30,000 Jews emigrated, only about 8,000 Jews remaining in Libya. Most of them lived in Tripoli and about 400 in Benghazi, while the townlets and villages were almost entirely emptied of Jews. Under the independent Libyan regime (from December 24, 1951) Jews did not suffer from persecution and equal rights were guaranteed them under the Libyan constitution. Nevertheless, Libyan citizens were forbidden to return home if they visited Israel (June 1952), and in 1953 the authorities closed the Maccabi club. In June 1967, after the Six-Day War, there were anti-Jewish riots and the Jews locked themselves inside their houses for fear of attack; 17 Jews were murdered and many were arrested. After a time, the majority of the remainder left, mostly to Italy and to Israel. Following the coup by Col. Qadhdhafi on Sept. 1, 1969, the 400–500 Jews remaining in Libya were concentrated in a camp in Tripoli. These included Libyan citizens, bearers of foreign citizenship (British, French, Italian), and those bearing no citizenship. The government claimed that this step was taken to defend the Jews against incursions on their property. After the coup Jews were not allowed to leave Libya, although ultimately all of them were released and some of them succeeded in leaving Libya. On July 21, 1970, the revolutionary regime announced the nationalization of Italian and Jewish property, mostly of Jews who had left Libya indefinitely.

Social, Economic, and Religious-Cultural Conditions

Demographically, it should be noted that Libyan Jews, of whom there were about 20,000 in 1911, were mainly concentrated in the town of Tripoli (c. 12,000), but many were scattered in towns, townlets, and villages all over the country. According to the 1931 census there were 24,534 Jews, and in 1948 about 38,000 Jews in Libya, of whom about 20,000 were in Tripoli. This shows that there was no mass emigration before 1948, nor was there considerable migration within the country. At the end of 1970 only some 90 Jews remained in Libya.

Until the late 19th century, Libyan Jews spoke mostly a Jewish dialect of Maghrebi Arabic, which included Hebrew words. Because Muslim neighbors usually understood the local *Judeo-Arabic, Jewish peddlers often used a unique argot among themselves when doing business with Muslims. Jewish communities in Libya as elsewhere in the Jewish world made sure that boys received formal education in community schools enabling them to read the Bible and prayer books. Studies in these schools consisted of learning the Hebrew alphabet and reciting Hebrew and Aramaic texts. Since the spoken language was Judeo-Arabic, most Jewish men did not understand what they recited nor the readings from the Bible, the Zohar, and other Holy Scriptures at the synagogue which they attended on the evenings or the Sabbath; most of them could not write either. The community did not offer any formal education to Jewish girls. The wide dispersal of Libyan Jewry into dozens of communities, many comprising only a few families, sometimes affected their economic and educational circumstances. With the opening of Christian schools in Tripoli in the 19th century, several Jewish boys and girls, especially those from families with commercial and social ties with Europe, attended these schools. The religious leaders of the community, but even wealthy families with ties to Europe, preferred their children to receive a Jewish education. This prompted Jewish merchants from Tripoli to initiate the opening of an Italian school in Tripoli in 1876 which was run by Italian Jews. This school, which accepted girls from 1877, taught secular subjects, focusing on Italian culture, but included also Hebrew and Jewish subjects.

The Alliance Israélite Universelle opened a school only in Tripoli (in 1890 for boys and in 1896 for girls), with emphasis on French culture and secular subjects, as well as Hebrew and Jewish subjects. In both the Italian and Alliance schools, the Jewish subjects were taught by indigenous teachers who usually did not receive any pedagogic training, while the secular subjects were taught by Italian formally trained teachers and Paris-trained Alliance teachers from France, the Ottoman Empire, and North Africa. Under Italian rule, Italian state schools were established in Libya and many Jews preferred to send their children there, mainly in Tripoli and Benghazi; in many small towns they made do with study at a *heder. For this reason a large proportion of Jewish children outside the main towns received no modern education and girls no formal education whatsoever. However, in comparison to the beginning of the century, the younger generation contained far fewer illiterates. The Jews also opened a private high school in Tripoli in 1936, when they were expelled from Italian high schools for refusing to attend school on the Sabbath, but they were forced to close it in 1939. As a result of the anti-Jewish racial legislation of 1938, Jews could not attend state schools and tried to organize communal education for boys. Following the British occupation (1942/43), Jewish communal education was resumed, and the Jewish Palestinian soldiers in the British army helped the communities of Benghazi and Tripoli to establish schools for boys and girls with a curriculum based on Jewish education in Palestine. Jewish soldiers participated in the teaching and in teacher training for those schools. Many of the teachers in the Tripoli school were previous members of the Ben-Yehudah Society. In 1947 a Hebrew teachers' seminary was opened in Tripoli, with the help of educators from Palestine. It trained teachers for the Hebrew school in Trip-oli and later also for the vicinity, but it closed down after the mass emigration.

Libya's most prominent rabbis included R. Masʿud Hai *Rakaḥ, author of the work Ma'aseh Roke'aḥ on Maimonides; R. Abraham Ḥayyim Adadi, author of Va-Yikra Avraham; and R. Isaac Hai Bukhbaza (d. 1930).

Apart from the Tripoli community which contained a number of important merchants and officials, most Libyan Jews were occupied as artisans; a few were peddlers and farmers and thus worked hard for their living. Peddlers often traveled alone in the countryside for lengthy periods of times, in some instances returning home only for the High Holidays and Passover. Despite the strict segregation between non-kin men and women in Libya, Jewish peddlers could trade directly with Muslim women, and they usually felt safe among the Muslim nomads and rural population. The statements of 6,080 breadwinners who immigrated to Israel from Libya between 1948 and 1951 show that 15.4% were merchants, 7.5% were clerks and administrators, 3.0% were members of the liberal professions (including teachers and rabbis), 6.1% were farmers, 47% were artisans, and 7.1% were construction and transport workers. The remainder (13.9%) worked in personal services or were unskilled laborers.

As a result of their poverty, disease was widespread among Libyan Jewry; they suffered mainly from trachoma, tuberculosis, and eczema, so much so that children in school had to be classified according to illness. Following the inception of legal Jewish immigration to Israel, the ose began work in Tripoli in 1949 to care for schoolchildren and convalescents who were sent to a talmud torah in the town, where healthy children were kept. However, in April 1950 only 30% of the 2,000 Jewish schoolchildren were healthy; thus, the Israel immigration authorities had to screen potential immigrants for illness and provide them with medical care before permitting them to immigrate.

Zionist Activity

By the turn of the 19th century news about the Zionist organization had reached Libyan Jews and several members of the communities of Tripoli and Benghazi tried to establish local Zionist branches. Correspondence kept in the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem includes letters sent from Libya between 1900 and 1904 acknowledging the receipt of Zionist publications in Hebrew, French, and Ladino. The authors of these letters were ready to organize Zionist activities and to collect dues (shekel) for the Zionist organization, and they even sent some dues which they had collected. One letter in particular demonstrates excitement regarding the Zionist idea and readiness to get involved in Zionist activities. It seems, though, that these letters remained mainly unanswered. A short time after Libya was conquered by Italy, contact was made between Libyan Jewry and the Italian Zionist Organization, mainly due to the newspapers that reached Libya. In 1913 some of the readers of these newspapers, led by Elijah Nehaisi (1890–1918) of Tripoli, tried to found a Zionist organization. At first only an evening talmud torah was founded (1914) in order to spread the Hebrew language, and then the Zion Society was established (May 1916), and the committee of this Zionist association succeeded in entering the Tripoli community committee, gaining 11 of the 31 places as members of their association (June 1916). The Zion Society published the first Zionist newspaper in Libya, Degel Ẓiyyon (1920–24). In 1923 the association changed its name to the Tripolitanian Zionist Federation. The Ben Yehuda Association, established in 1931, was very active in spreading the Hebrew language in Tripoli. In 1933 it published a weekly entitled Limdu 'Ivrit! ("Learn Hebrew!"). The association also opened a Hebrew school in Tripoli, ha-Tiqvah, in 1931 for adults and children of both genders, which was attended by 512 pupils (1933); their numbers rose to 1,200 in 1938/39. All the teachers in this school were indigenous self-taught Jews of both genders, and several pupils became teachers as well. This nucleus of teachers was very active in education following the British occupation. In 1939 the school was closed and the association disbanded on government orders as part of the anti-Jewish racial legislation.

When Libya was conquered by the British (November 1942–January 1943) and Jewish Palestinian soldiers came to the country, Zionist work was resumed. A number of Zionist youth organizations were established with the initial help of emissaries from Palestine and several Hebrew newspapers were published (Ḥayyeinu, a Hebrew monthly, 1944; Niẓẓanim, Hebrew monthly, 1945–48; Ḥayyeinu, Hebrew, Italian, and Arabic weekly, 1949–50). In 1943 the He-Ḥalutz ("the Pioneer") organization for youth movement graduates was set up, and an agricultural training farm (hakhsharah) was established near Tripoli; it was abandoned in November 1945 when the anti-Jewish riots broke out; the ten trainees immigrated to Israel (1946). Subsequently, agricultural training was renewed, until the 23 trainees were forced to abandon the farm during the June 1948 pogroms.

In May 1946 an emissary from Ereẓ Israel founded a defense organization in Tripoli, which was trained in the use of weapons and manufactured homemade "bombs"; it defended the Jewish quarter in Tripoli during the June 1948 riots. In 1946 illegal immigration to Ereẓ Israel also began, achieved by illegally crossing the frontier into Tunisia, and from there to Marseilles. In 1948 illegal immigration to Ereẓ Israel was organized through Italy. Hundreds emigrated in this way, until legal immigration became possible (February 1949).

Since Libyan Jews were observant, most of the Zionist organizations were religious, including the youth groups founded after 1943. These were later affiliated to Ha-Po'el ha-Mizraḥi.

[Haim J. Cohen /

Rachel Simon (2nd ed.)]

Attitude Toward Israel

When the un General Assembly resolved (Nov. 21, 1949) that Libya become independent before Jan. 1, 1952, Israel, itself a newcomer to the un, cast its vote for the resolution. This gesture of goodwill received no reciprocation, and Israel did not repeat it in the case of any other Arab state. Anti-Jewish outbursts accompanied the announcement about the impending independence, and Israel took all precautions to enable Libya's Jews who wanted to settle in Israel to reach their destination before the critical date. Close to 90% of Libyan Jewry settled in Israel up to the end of 1951. Independent Libya joined the Arab League in March 1953 and adopted a hostile attitude toward Israel, though it was mainly declaratory. Libya took part in Arab summit conferences, joined the Arab boycott against Israel, conducted anti-Israel propaganda, and attacked Israel at the un. The situation became more critical during the Six-Day War (1967), when widespread strikes of Libyan oil workers, as an expression of Arab solidarity, brought the flow of oil to a temporary stop, hitting the U.S. and Western Europe, which allegedly aided Israel, and shaking the conservative rule of King Idrīs.

After the war, Libya allowed Palestinians to live and work inside its territory, but only in limited numbers. It permitted collections for the Palestinian organizations, founded a school for al-Fatḥ orphans, and played host to several delegations from these organizations. Libya, like other Arab oil states (Saudi Arabia and Kuwait), contributed an annual share ($8,000,000) to Egypt and Jordan, according to the resolution of the 1967 Arab summit conference in Khartoum.

A drastic change occurred in Libya's attitude toward Israel after the overthrow of the monarchy on Sept. 1, 1969, and the rise of a revolutionary regime. Libya now adopted the militant line of the extreme Arab states in regard to Israel, as well as against the West in general. Muammar al-Qadhdhafi, chairman of the Revolutionary Council, announced from the start that the new regime opposed political solutions to the Israel-Arab conflict and did not believe in the possibility of a successful peaceful settlement. He promised to mobilize all Libya's rich resources in order to assist the armed confrontation with Israel. At the Arab summit conference in Rabat (Dec. 21–23, 1969), he also promised to extend a considerable part of Libya's oil revenues (which amounted to $1,000,000,000 annually) to reinforce the Arab front. Libya set up a "holy war fund" out of state grants, special taxes, and individual donations.

The following meeting in Tripoli (Dec. 25–27, 1969) of the presidents of Egypt, Sudan, and Libya, who agreed to establish an alignment of the three countries, underscored the new regime's desire to join the Arab struggle against Israel. Libya drifted more and more into the sphere of influence of *Nasser, who exploited the situation to deepen the Egyptian military and economic penetration into Libya, a step which became possible after the liquidation of the American and British military bases there and expulsion of foreigners in 1970. The regime acquired considerable quantities of arms which could serve the Arab cause at the front. On Nov. 8, 1970, the presidents of Libya, Egypt, and Sudan decided to establish a "union," or federation, of their countries in order to bring about closer military, economic, and political links; in 1971 Syria joined this bloc. Nonetheless, these and other attempts at political-military union proved futile. Libya assisted the Palestine organizations financially and politically.

[Rachel Cohen]

Following the anti-Jewish riots which broke out in Trip-oli in June 1967, in which some 20 Jews were killed and Jewish property set on fire, an almost complete emigration of the 3,500 Jews then in Libya took place. Only 200 to 300 remained in 1969, 90 in 1970, and a mere handful in 1972; there were no Jews left in Libya by the end of the 20th century. There were thus hardly any Jews left in the country when King Idrīs was deposed and the republic proclaimed in September 1969, headed by Col. al-Qadhdhafi who became the most radical and extreme of the anti-Israel, anti-Zionist Arab leaders.

The anti-Zionist and anti-Israel policy of the new government could therefore express itself only with regard to Jewish property. A few days after the proclamation of the republic an edict was issued authorizing the government to sequestrate the assets and property of Jews who had left the country. This edict was made law in February 1970, but in view of its blatant anti-Jewish nature it was suspended and replaced in May by another law which provided for the sequestration and transfer to an official custodian of the property of persons whose names were handed in by the Ministry of Interior. In an appendix, not mentioned in the law itself, 620 names were given, 605 of whom were known to be Jewish.

In July 1970, however, the Libyan government undertook, by a special law, compensation for the confiscated property. According to this law, special government committees were to determine the value of the property and compensation would be paid through government bonds redeemable in 15 years. There is no information whether any such bonds were received, and it is probable that its purpose was merely to give legal sanction to the expropriation of Jewish property.

Following the visit of President Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem in November 1977, Libya joined the Rejection Front of the Arab States which opposed any negotiations with Israel.

[Haim J. Cohen]

bibliography:

early period: P. Monceaux, in: rej, 44 (1902), 1ff.; N. Slouschz, Travels in North Africa (1927); S.A. Applebaum, Yehudim vi-Yevanim be-Kirene ha-Kedumah (1969); Hirsch-berg, in: Journal of African History, 4 (1963), 313ff.; Zion, 19 (1954), 52–56 (a bibl.). modern period: R. De Felice, Jews in an Arab Land: Libya, 18351970 (tr. from Italian by Judith Roumani, 1985); F. Suarez et al. (eds.), Yahadut Luv (1960); I.M. Toledano, Ner ha-Ma'arav (1921), 88; I.S. Bernstein, in: Sinai, 19–20 (1946–47); G. Scholem, Iggeret Avraham Mikha'el Cardozo le-Dayyanei Izmir (1954); Hirschberg, Afrikah, 1 (1965), 5–17, 11, 173–206; idem, in Bar-Ilan, 4–5 (1967), 415–79; R. Attal, in: Sefunot, 9 (1965), a bibl.; I.J. Benjamin, Acht Jahre in Asien und Afrika (18582), 230–7; M. Cohen, Gli ebrei in Libia, usi e costumi (1928); M. Eisenbeth, Les Juifs de l'Afrique du Nord (1936); G.V. Raccah, in: Israel, 23 (Florence, 1938); S. Groussard, Pogrom (1948); R. Attal, Les Juifs d'Afrique du NordBibliographie (1975); H.Y. Cohen, Asian and African Jews in the Middle East18601971; Annotated Bibliography (1976). holocaust period: Rabinowitz, in: Menorah Journal, 23 (1945), 115–26; E. Kolb, Bergen-Belsen (Ger., 1962), 64; P. Juarez et al. (eds.), Yahadut Luv (1960), 197–201. add. bibliography: R. Simon, Change Within Tradition among Jewish Women in Libya (1992); idem, "The Socio-Economic Role of the Tripolitanian Jews in the Late Ottoman Period," in: M. Abitbol (ed.), Communautés juives des marges sahariennes du Maghreb (1982), 321–28; idem, "The Relations of the Jewish Community of Libya with Europe in the Late Ottoman Period," in: J.-L. Miège (de.), Les relations inter-communautaires juives en Mediterranée occidentale xiiiexxe siècles (1984), 70–78; idem, "Jews and the Modernization of Ottoman Libya," in: The Alliance Review, 24 (1984), 33–40; idem, "It Could have Happened There: The Jews of Libya during the Second World War," in: Africana Journal, 16 (1994), 391–422; idem, "Jewish Participation in the Reforms in Libya during the Second Ottoman Period, 1835–1911," in: A. Levy (ed.), The Jews of the Ottoman Empire (1993), 485–506; idem, "Language Change and Political-Social Transformation: The Case of the Libyan Jews (19th–20th Centuries)," in: Jewish History, 4 (1989), 101–21; idem, "Jewish Female Education in the Ottoman Empire, 1840–1914," in: A. Levy (ed.), Jews, Turks, Ottomans: A Shared History, Fifteenth through the Twentieth Century (2002), 127–52; idem, "Shlichim from Palestine in Libya," Jewish Political Studies Review, 9 (1997), 33–57; idem, "Education," in: R.S. Simon, M.M. Laskier, and S. Reguer (eds.), Jews in the Modern Middle East and North Africa (2002), 142–64; idem, "Zionism," in: ibid., 165–79; H.E. Goldberg, "Ecologic and Demographic Aspects of Rural Tripolitanian Jewry, 1853–1949," in ijmes, 2 (1971), 245–65; idem, Cave Dwellers and Citrus Growers: A Jewish Community in Libya and Israel (1972); idem, "Rites and Riots: The Tripolitanian Pogroms of 1945," in: Plural Societies, 17 (1978), 75–87; idem, "Language and Culture of the Jews of Tripolitania: A Preliminary View," in: Mediterranean Language Review, 1 (1983), 85–102; idem, Jewish Life in Muslim Libya: Rivals and Relatives (1990); idem, "Libya," in: R.S. Simon, M.M. Laskier, and S. Reguer (eds.), ibid., 431–43; H.E. Goldberg and C. Segré, "Mixtures of Diverse Substances: Education and the Hebrew Language among the Jews of Libya, 1875–1951," in: S. Fishbane, J.N. Lightstone, and V. Levin (eds.), Social Scientific Study of Judaism and Jewish Society (1990), 151–201; The Book of Mordecai: A Study of the Jews of Libya, trans., ed., and annotated by H.E. Goldberg (1993); M.M. Roumani, "Zionism and Social Change in Libya at the Turn of the Century," in: Studies in Zionism, 8:1 (1987), 1–24.

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Libya

Libya

PROFILE
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-LIBYAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL

Compiled from the October 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

PROFILE

Geography

Location: North Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria, southern border with Chad, Niger, and Sudan.

Area: 1,759,540 million sq. km.

Cities: Tripoli (capital), Benghazi.

Terrain: Mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions.

Climate: Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior.

Land use: Arable land—1.03%; permanent crops—0.19%; other—98.78%.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Libyan(s).

Population: (July 2007 est.) 6,036,914 (includes non-nationals, of which an estimated 500,000 or more are sub-Saharan Africans living in Libya).

Annual growth rate: (2007 est.) 2.262%. Birth rate (2007 est.)—26.09 births/1,000 population. Death rate (2007 est.)—3.47 deaths/1,000 population.

Ethnic groups: Berber and Arab 97%; Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians.

Religions: Sunni Muslim 97%.

Languages: Arabic is the primary language. English, French, and Italian are understood in major cities.

Education: Years compulsory—9. Attendance—90%. Literacy (age 15 and over who can read and write)—total population 82.6%; female 72% (2003 est.).

Health: (2007 est.) Infant mortality rate—22.82 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy—total population 76.88 yrs.; male 74.1 yrs.; female 78.58 yrs.

Work force: (2006 est.) 1.787 million, an estimated 500,000 of whom are sub-Saharan African foreign workers.

Government

Type: “Jamahiriya” is a term Col. Mu′ammar al-Qadhafi coined and which he defines as a “state of the masses” governed by the populace through local councils. In practice, Libya is an authoritarian state.

Independence: December 24, 1951. Revolution: September 1, 1969.

Constitution: December 11, 1969, amended March 2, 1977—established popular congresses and people's committees.

Political subdivisions: 31 municipalities (singular—“shabiya”, plural—”shabiyat”) Butnan, Darnah, Gubba, Al Jabal al-Akhdar, Marj, Green Belt, Benghazi, Ajdabiya, Wahat, Kufra, Surt, Al Jufrah, Misurata, Murgub, Bani-waleed, Tarhuna and Msallata, Tripoli, Jfara, Zawiya, Subrata & Surman, An Nuqat al Khams, Gharyan, Mezda, Nalut, Ghdames, Yefren and Jadu, Wadi Alhaya, Ghat, Sabha, Wadi Shati, Murzuq.

Political parties: Political parties are banned. According to the political theory of Col. Mu′ammar al-Qadhafi, multi-layered popular assemblies (people's congresses) with executive institutions (people's committees) are guided by political cadres (revolutionary committees).

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory.

Economy

Real GDP: (2000$, 2006) $46.451 billion.

GDP per capita: (PPP, 2006) $12,204.

Real GDP growth rate: (2006) 5.6%.

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, gypsum.

Agriculture: Products—wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus, vegetables, peanuts, soybeans; cattle; approximately 75% of Libya's food is imported.

Industry: Types—petroleum, food processing, textiles, handicrafts, cement.

Trade: Exports (2006 est.)—$37.02 billion f.o.b.: crude oil, refined petroleum products. Major markets (2005)—Italy (38%), Germany (15.1%), Spain (9.3%), Turkey (6.2%), France (6.2%), U.S. (5.2%). Imports (2006 est.)—$14.47 billion f.o.b.: machinery, transport equipment, food, manufactured goods. Major suppliers (2003)—Italy (21.2%), Germany (10.2%), Tunisia (5.9%), Turkey (4.8%), U.K. (4.8%), France (4.7%), South Korea (4.6%), China (4.5%).

PEOPLE

Libya has a small population in a large land area. Population density is about 50 persons per sq. km. (80/sq. mi.) in the two northern regions of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, but falls to less than one person per sq. km. (1.6/sq. mi.) elsewhere. Ninety percent of the people live in less than 10% of the area, primarily along the coast. More than half the population is urban, mostly concentrated in the two largest cities, Tripoli and Benghazi. Thirty-three percent of the population is estimated to be under age 15.

Native Libyans are primarily a mixture of Arabs and Berbers. Small Tebou and Touareg tribal groups in southern Libya are nomadic or semi-nomadic. Among foreign residents, the largest groups are citizens of other African nations, including North Africans (primarily Egyptians and Tunisians), West Africans and Sub-Saharan Africans.

HISTORY

For most of their history, the peoples of Libya have been subjected to varying degrees of foreign control. The Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, and Byzantines ruled all or parts of Libya. Although the Greeks and Romans left impressive ruins at Cyrene, Leptis Magna, and Sabratha, little else remains today to testify to the presence of these ancient cultures.

The Arabs conquered Libya in the seventh century A.D. In the following centuries, most of the indigenous peoples adopted Islam and the Arabic language and culture. The Ottoman Turks conquered the country in the mid-16th century. Libya remained part of their empire—although at times virtually autonomous—until Italy invaded in 1911 and, in the face of years of resistance, made Libya a colony.

In 1934, Italy adopted the name “Libya” (used by the Greeks for all of North Africa, except Egypt) as the official name of the colony, which consisted of the Provinces of Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, and Fezzan. King Idris I, Emir of Cyrenaica, led Libyan resistance to Italian occupation between the two World Wars. From 1943 to 1951, Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were under British administration, while the French controlled Fezzan. In 1944, Idris returned from exile in Cairo but declined to resume permanent residence in Cyrenaica until the removal in 1947 of some aspects of foreign control. Under the terms of the 1947 peace treaty with the Allies, Italy relinquished all claims to Libya.

On November 21, 1949, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution stating that Libya should become independent before January 1, 1952. King Idris I represented Libya in the subsequent UN negotiations. When Libya declared its independence on December 24, 1951, it was the first country to achieve independence through the United Nations and one of the first former European possessions in Africa to gain independence. Libya was proclaimed a constitutional and a hereditary monarchy under King Idris.

The discovery of significant oil reserves in 1959 and the subsequent income from petroleum sales enabled what had been one of the world's poorest countries to become extremely wealthy, as measured by per capita GDP. Although oil drastically improved Libya's finances, popular resentment grew as wealth was increasingly concentrated in the hands of the elite. This discontent continued to mount with the rise throughout the Arab world of Nasserism and the idea of Arab unity.

On September 1, 1969, a small group of military officers led by then 28-year-old army officer Mu′ammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi staged a coup d'état against King Idris, who was exiled to Egypt. The new regime, headed by the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), abolished the monarchy and proclaimed the new Libyan Arab Republic. Qadhafi emerged as leader of the RCC and eventually as de facto chief of state, a political role he still plays. The Libyan government asserts that Qadhafi currently holds no official position, although he is referred to in government statements and the official press as the “Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution.”

The new RCC's motto became “freedom, socialism, and unity.” It pledged itself to remedy “backwardness”, take an active role in the Palestinian Arab cause, promote Arab unity, and encourage domestic policies based on social justice, non-exploitation, and an equitable distribution of wealth.

An early objective of the new government was withdrawal of all foreign military installations from Libya. Following negotiations, British military installations at Tobruk and nearby El Adem were closed in March 1970, and U.S. facilities at Wheelus Air Force Base near Tripoli were closed in June 1970. That July, the Libyan Government ordered the expulsion of several thousand Italian residents. By 1971, libraries and cultural centers operated by foreign governments were ordered closed.

In the 1970s, Libya claimed leadership of Arab and African revolutionary forces and sought active roles in international organizations. Late in the 1970s, Libyan embassies were redesignated as “people's bureaus,” as Qadhafi sought to portray Libyan foreign policy as an expression of the popular will. The people's bureaus, aided by Libyan religious, political, educational, and business institutions overseas, exported Qadhafi's revolutionary philosophy abroad. Qadhafi's confrontational foreign policies and use of terrorism, as well as Libya's growing friendship with the U.S.S.R., led to increased tensions

with the West in the 1980s. Following a terrorist bombing at a discotheque in West Berlin frequented by American military personnel, in 1986 the U.S. retaliated militarily against targets in Libya, and imposed broad unilateral economic sanctions.

After Libya was implicated in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, UN sanctions were imposed in 1992. UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs) passed in 1992 and 1993 obliged Libya to fulfill requirements related to the Pan Am 103 bombing before sanctions could be lifted. Qadhafi initially refused to comply with these requirements, leading to Libya's political and economic isolation for most of the 1990s. In 1999, Libya fulfilled one of the UNSCR requirements by surrendering two Libyans suspected in connection with the bombing for trial before a Scottish court in the Netherlands. One of these suspects, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, was found guilty; the other was acquitted. Al-Megrahi's conviction was upheld on appeal in 2002. In August 2003, Libya fulfilled the remaining UNSCR requirements, including acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials and payment of appropriate compensation to the victims’ families. UN sanctions were lifted on September 12, 2003. U.S. International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)-based sanctions were lifted September 20, 2004.

On December 19, 2003, Libya publicly announced its intention to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)-class missile programs. Since that time, it has cooperated with the U.S., the U.K., the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons toward these objectives. Libya has also signed the IAEA Additional Protocol and has become a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention. These were important steps toward full diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Libya.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Libya's political system is in theory based on the political philosophy in Qadhafi's Green Book, which combines socialist and Islamic theories and rejects parliamentary democracy and political parties. In reality, Qadhafi exercises near total control over major government decisions. For the first seven years following the revolution, Colonel Qadhafi and 12 fellow army officers, the Revolutionary Command Council, began a complete overhaul of Libya's political system, society and economy. In 1973, he announced the start of a “cultural revolution” in schools, businesses, industries, and public institutions to oversee administration of those organizations in the public interest. On March 2, 1977, Qadhafi convened a General People's Congress (GPC) to proclaim the establishment of “people's power,” change the country's name to the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and to vest, theoretically, primary authority in the GPC.

The GPC is the legislative forum that interacts with the General People's Committee, whose members are secretaries of Libyan ministries. It serves as the intermediary between the masses and the leadership and is composed of the secretariats of some 600 local “basic popular congresses.” The GPC secretariat and the cabinet secretaries are appointed by the GPC secretary general and confirmed by the annual GPC congress. These cabinet secretaries are responsible for the routine operation of their ministries, but Qadhafi exercises real authority directly or through manipulation of the peoples and revolutionary committees.

Qadhafi remained the de facto chief of state and secretary general of the GPC until 1980, when he gave up his office. Although he holds no formal office, Qadhafi exercises power with the assistance of a small group of trusted advisers, who include relatives from his home base in the Sirte region, which lies between the traditional commercial and political power centers in Benghazi and Tripoli.

In the 1980s, competition grew between the official Libyan Government and military hierarchies and the revolutionary committees. An abortive coup attempt in May 1984, apparently mounted by Libyan exiles with internal support, led to a short-lived reign of terror in which thousands were imprisoned and interrogated. An unknown number were executed. Qadhafi used the revolutionary committees to search out alleged internal opponents following the coup attempt, thereby accelerating the rise of more radical elements inside the Libyan power hierarchy.

In 1988, faced with rising public dissatisfaction with shortages in consumer goods and setbacks in Libya's war with Chad, Qadhafi began to curb the power of the revolutionary committees and to institute some domestic reforms. The regime released many political prisoners and eased restrictions on foreign travel by Libyans. Private businesses were again permitted to operate. In the late 1980s, Qadhafi began to pursue an anti-Islamic fundamentalist policy domestically, viewing fundamentalism as a potential rallying point for opponents of the regime. Qadhafi's security forces launched a pre-emptive strike at alleged coup plotters in the military and among the Warfallah tribe in October 1993. Widespread arrests and government reshufflings followed, accompanied by public “confessions” from regime opponents and allegations of torture and executions. The military, once Qadhafi's strongest supporters, became a potential threat in the 1990s. In 1993, following a failed coup attempt that implicated senior military officers, Qadhafi began to purge the military periodically, eliminating potential rivals and inserting his own loyal followers in their place.

The Libyan court system consists of three levels: the courts of first instance; the courts of appeals; and the Supreme Court, which is the final appellate level. The GPC appoints justices to the Supreme Court. Special “revolutionary courts” and military courts operate outside the court system to try political offenses and crimes against the state. “People's courts,” another example of extrajudicial authority, were abolished in January 2005. Libya's justice system is nominally based on Sharia law.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/1/2008

Col. Muammar al-Qadhafi has no official title, but he runs Libya and is the de facto chief of state. The Secretary of the General People's Congress is chief of state in theory but is not treated as such. The Secretary of the General People's Committee plays the role of prime minister.

Leader: Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI, Col.

Sec. of the Gen. People's Congress: Muhammad al-ZANATI

Asst. Sec. of the Gen. People's Congress: Ahmad Mohamed IBRAHIM

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee (Prime Min.): al-Baghdadi Ali al-MAHMUDI

Asst. Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee: Abd-al-Hafid Mahmud al-ZULAYTINI

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Agriculture & Animal Resources: Abu Bakr Mabruk al-MANSURI

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Culture & Information: Nuri Dhaw al-HUMAYDI

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Economy, Trade, & Investment: Ali Abd al-Aziz al-ISSAWI

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Electricity, Water, & Gas: Umran Ibrahim Abu-KRA’AA

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for General Education: Abd al-Qadir Muhammad al-BAGHDADI

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Finance: Muhammad Ali al-HUWAYZ

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Foreign Liaison & Intl. Cooperation: Abd al-Rahman Muhammad SHALGHAM

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Health & Environment: Muhammad Abu Ujaylah RASHID

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Higher Education: Aqil Husayn AQIL

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Industry & Mines: Ali Yusuf ZIKRI

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Justice: Mustafa Muhammad Abd-al-JALIL

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Planning: al-Tahriri al-Hadi al-JUHAYMI

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Public Security: Salih Rajab al-MISMARI

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Social Affairs: Ibrahim al-ZARRUQ al-SHARIF

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Telecommunications & Transport: Muhammad Abu-Ujayl al-MABRUK

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for the Workforce, Training, & Employment: Matuq Muhammad MATUQ

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Youth & Sports: Mustafa Miftah Bel’id al-DERSI

Governor, Central Bank: Farhat Omer Ben GDARA

Charge d’Affaires, People's Bureau, Washington: Ali Suleiman AUJALI Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Giadalla Azzoz Belgasem ETTALHI

The Libyan Embassy is located at 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Suite 705, Washington DC 20037 (tel. 202-944-9601, fax 202-944-9060).

ECONOMY

The government dominates Libya's socialist-oriented economy through complete control of the country's oil resources, which account for approximately 97% of export earnings, 75% of government receipts, and 54% of the gross domestic product. Oil revenues constitute the principal source of foreign exchange. Much of the country’ income has been lost to waste, corruption, conventional armaments purchases, and attempts to develop weapons of mass destruction, as well as to large donations made to developing countries in attempts to increase Qadhafi's influence in Africa and elsewhere. Although oil revenues and a small population give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, the government's mismanagement of the economy has led to high inflation and increased import prices. These factors resulted in a decline in the standard of living from the late 1990s through 2003.

Despite efforts to diversify the economy and encourage private sector participation, extensive controls of prices, credit, trade, and foreign exchange constrain growth. Import restrictions and inefficient resource allocations have caused periodic shortages of basic goods and foodstuffs.

Although agriculture is the second-largest sector in the economy, Libya imports most foods. Climatic conditions and poor soils severely limit output, while higher incomes and a growing population have caused food consumption to rise. Domestic food production meets about 25% of demand.

On September 20, 2004, President George W. Bush signed an Executive Order ending economic sanctions imposed under the authority of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). U.S. persons are no longer prohibited from working in Libya, and many American companies are actively seeking investment opportunities in Libya. The government has announced ambitious plans to increase foreign investment in the oil and gas sectors to significantly boost production capacity. The government is also pursuing a number of infrastructure projects such as highways, railways, telecommunications backbones, and irrigation.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Since 1969, Qadhafi has determined Libya's foreign policy. His principal foreign policy goals have been Arab unity, elimination of Israel, advancement of Islam, support for Palestinians, elimination of outside—particularly Western—influence in the Middle East and Africa, and support for a range of “revolutionary” causes.

After the 1969 coup, Qadhafi closed American and British bases on Libyan territory and partially nationalized all foreign oil and commercial interests in Libya. He also played a key role in promoting the use of oil embargoes as a political weapon for challenging the West, hoping that an oil price rise and embargo in 1973 would persuade the West—especially the United States—to end support for Israel. Qadhafi rejected both Soviet communism and Western capitalism, and claimed he was charting a middle course. Libya's relationship with the former Soviet Union involved massive Libyan arms purchases from the Soviet bloc and the presence of thousands of east bloc advisers. Libya's use—and heavy loss—of Soviet-supplied weaponry in its war with Chad was a notable breach of an apparent Soviet-Libyan understanding not to use the weapons for activities inconsistent with Soviet objectives. As a result, Soviet-Libyan relations reached a nadir in mid-1987.

After the fall of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union, Libya concentrated on expanding diplomatic ties with Third World countries and increasing its commercial links with Europe and East Asia. Following the imposition of UN sanctions in 1992, these ties significantly diminished. Following a 1998 Arab League meeting in which fellow Arab states decided not to challenge UN sanctions, Qadhafi announced that he was turning his back on pan-Arab ideas, which had been one of the fundamental tenets of his philosophy.

Instead, Libya pursued closer bilateral ties, particularly with North African neighbors Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. It has also sought to develop its relations with Sub-Saharan Africa, leading to Libyan involvement in several internal African disputes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Libya has also sought to expand its influence in Africa through financial assistance, ranging from aid donations to impoverished neighbors such as Niger to oil subsidies to Zimbabwe, and through participation in the African Union. Qadhafi has proposed a borderless “United States of Africa” to transform the continent into a single nation-state ruled by a single government. This plan has been greeted with skepticism. Libya has played a helpful role in facilitating the provision of humanitarian assistance to Darfur refugees in Chad.

One of the longest-standing issues in Libya's relationship with the European Union and the international community was resolved in July 2007 with the release of five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor who had been convicted in 1999 of deliberately infecting over 400 children in a Benghazi hospital with the HIV virus. The six medics were sentenced to death in 2004, a sentence that was upheld by the Libyan Supreme Court but commuted in July 2007 by the Higher Judicial Council to life in prison. Under a previous agreement with the Bulgarian Government on the repatriation of prisoners, the medics were allowed to return to Bulgaria to finish their sentence, where upon arrival the Bulgarian president pardoned all six. The Benghazi International Fund, established by the United States and its European allies, raised $460 million to distribute to the families of the children infected with HIV, each of whom received $1 million.

Terrorism

Libya has taken significant steps to mend its international image and formally renounced terrorism in a letter to the UN Security Council in August 2003. In 1999, the Libyan government surrendered two Libyans suspected of involvement in the Pan Am 103 bombing, leading to the suspension of UN sanctions. On January 31, 2001, a Scottish court seated in the Netherlands found one of the suspects, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, guilty of murder in connection with the bombing, and acquitted the second suspect, Al-Amin Khalifa Fhima. Megrahi's conviction was upheld on March 14, 2002, but an appeals hearing was granted in June 2007 by the Scottish High Court.

UN sanctions were lifted on September 12, 2003 following Libyan compliance with its remaining UNSCR requirements on Pan Am 103, including acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials and payment of appropriate compensation. Libya paid compensation in 1999 for the death of British policewoman Yvonne Fletcher, a move that preceded the reopening of the British Embassy in Tripoli, and paid damages to the families of the victims in the bombing of UTA Flight 772. With the lifting of UN sanctions in September 2003, each of the families of the victims of Pan Am 103 received $4 million of a maximum $10 million in compensation. After the lifting of U.S. IEEPA-based sanctions on September 20, 2004, the families received a further $4 million.

On November 13, 2001, a German court found four persons, including a former employee of the Libyan embassy in East Berlin, guilty in connection with the 1986 La Belle disco bombing, in which two U.S. servicemen were killed. The court also established a connection to the Libyan government. The German Government demanded that Libya accept responsibility for the La Belle bombing and pay appropriate compensation. A compensation deal for non-U.S. victims was agreed to in August 2004. U.S. victims continue to pursue their claims in federal court.

By 2003, Libya appeared to have curtailed its support for international terrorism, although it may have retained residual contacts with some of its former terrorist clients. In August 2004, the Department of Justice entered into a plea agreement with Abdulrahman Alamoudi, in which he stated that he had been part of a 2003 plot to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah (now King Abdallah) at the behest of Libyan government officials.

In 2005, the Saudi Government pardoned the individuals accused in the assassination plot. During the 2005 UN General Assembly session, Foreign Minister Shalgam issued a statement that reaffirmed Libya's commitment to the statements made in its letter addressed to the Security Council on August 15, 2003, renouncing terrorism in all its forms and pledging that Libya will not support acts of international terrorism or other acts of violence targeting civilians, whatever their political views or positions. Libya also expressed its commitment to continue cooperating in the international fight against terrorism. On June 30, 2006, the U.S. rescinded Libya's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.

U.S.-LIBYAN RELATIONS

The United States supported the UN resolution providing for Libyan independence in 1951 and raised the status of its office at Tripoli from a consulate general to a legation. Libya opened a legation in Washington, DC, in 1954. Both countries subsequently raised their missions to embassy level.

After Qadhafi's 1969 coup, U.S.-Libyan relations became increasingly strained because of Libya's foreign policies supporting international terrorism and subversion against moderate Arab and African governments. In 1972, the United States withdrew its ambassador. Export controls on military equipment and civil aircraft were imposed during the 1970s, and U.S. embassy staff members were withdrawn from Tripoli after a mob attacked and set fire to the embassy in December 1979. The U.S. Government designated Libya a “state sponsor of terrorism” on December 29, 1979.

In May 1981, the U.S. Government closed the Libyan “people's bureau” (embassy) in Washington, DC, and expelled the Libyan staff in response to a general pattern of conduct by the people's bureau contrary to internationally accepted standards of diplomatic behavior.

In August 1981, two Libyan jets fired on U.S. aircraft participating in a routine naval exercise over international waters of the Mediterranean claimed by Libya. The U.S. planes returned fire and shot down the attacking Libyan aircraft. In December 1981, the State Department invalidated U.S. passports for travel to Libya and, for purposes of safety, advised all U.S. citizens in Libya to leave. In March 1982, the U.S. Government prohibited imports of Libyan crude oil into the United States and expanded the controls on U.S.-origin goods intended for export to Libya. Licenses were required for all transactions, except food and medicine. In March 1984, U.S. export controls were expanded to prohibit future exports to the Ras Lanuf petrochemical complex. In April 1985, all Export-Import Bank financing was prohibited.

Due to Libya's continuing support for terrorism, the United States adopted additional economic sanctions against Libya in January 1986, including a total ban on direct import and export trade, commercial contracts, and travel-related activities. In addition, Libyan Government assets in the United States were frozen. When evidence of Libyan complicity was discovered in the Berlin discotheque terrorist bombing that killed two American servicemen, the United States responded by launching an aerial bombing attack against targets near Tripoli and Benghazi in April 1986. Subsequently, the United States maintained its trade and travel embargoes and brought diplomatic and economic pressure to bear against Libya. This pressure helped to bring about the Lockerbie settlement and Libya's renunciation of WMD and MTCR-class missiles.

In 1991, two Libyan intelligence agents were indicted by federal prosecutors in the U.S. and Scotland for their involvement in the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103. In January 1992, the UN Security Council approved Resolution 731 demanding that Libya surrender the suspects, cooperate with the Pan Am 103 and UTA 772 investigations, pay compensation to the victims’ families, and cease all support for terrorism. Libya's refusal to comply led to the approval of UNSC Resolution 748 on March 31, 1992, imposing sanctions designed to bring about Libyan compliance. Continued Libyan defiance led to passage of UNSC Resolution 883—a limited assets freeze and an embargo on selected oil equipment—in November 1993. UN sanctions were lifted on September 12, 2003, after Libya fulfilled all remaining UNSCR requirements, including renunciation of terrorism, acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials, and payment of appropriate compensation to the victims’ families.

On December 19, 2003, Libya announced its intention to rid itself of WMD and MTCR-class missile programs. Since that time, it has cooperated with the U.S., the U.K., the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons toward these objectives. Libya has also signed the IAEA Additional Protocol and has become a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

In recognition of these actions, the U.S. began the process of normalizing relations with Libya. The U.S. terminated the applicability of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act to Libya and the President signed an Executive Order on September 20, 2004 terminating the national emergency with respect to Libya and ending IEEPA-based economic sanctions. This action had the effect of unblocking assets blocked under the Executive Order sanctions. Restrictions on cargo aviation and third-party code-sharing have been lifted, as have restrictions on passenger aviation. Certain export controls remain in place. U.S. diplomatic personnel reopened the U.S. Interest Section in Tripoli on February 8, 2004. The mission was upgraded to a U.S. Liaison Office on June 28, 2004, and to a full embassy on May 31, 2006. The establishment in 2005 of an American School in Tripoli demonstrates the increased presence of Americans in Libya, and the continuing normalization of bilateral relations. Libya re-established its diplomatic presence in Washington with the opening of an Interest Section on July 8, 2004, which was subsequently upgraded to a Liaison Office in December 2004 and to a full embassy on May 31, 2006.

On May 15, 2006, the State Department announced its intention to rescind Libya's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism in recognition of the fact that Libya had met the statutory requirements for such a move: it had not provided any support for acts of international terrorism in the preceding six-month period, and had provided assurances that it would not do so in the future. On June 30, 2006, the U.S. rescinded Libya's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. In July 2007, Mr. Gene Cretz was nominated by President Bush as ambassador to Libya.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

TRIPOLI (E) Corithia Hotel Bab Africa Souk Althulata Alkadem, 218-21-335-1848, Fax 218-21-335-1847, Workweek: Sun-Thurs, 08:00-16:45, Website: http://libya.usembassy.gov.

CM:William Milam
CM OMS:Cecile M. Sakla

HRO:
Ross Taggart
MGT:Robyn Hooker
POL ECO:John Godfrey
CON:Greg Segas
DCM:J. Christopher Stevens
PAO:Jennifer Hall-Godfrey
COM:Mike Miller
GSO:Daniel White
RSO:Jim Eisenhut
AFSA:Cecile Sakla
CLO:Shannon Eisenhut
DAO:Ltc. Kyle Carnahan
EEO:Sita Sonty
FMO:Ross Taggart
IMO:Jacquelynn Beres
IRS:Kathy J Beck
ISSO:Ricardo Perez

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

January 16, 2008

Country Description: Officially known as the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Libya has a developing economy. Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation of the country's customs, laws, and practices. Tourist facilities are not widely available.

Entry Requirements: Passports and visas are required. The restrictions on the use of U.S. passports for travel to, in, or through Libya were lifted in February 2004.

Without prior notice, the Libyan government on November 11, 2007 “reinstated” a requirement that all foreign travelers must have an Arabic translation of their personal biographic data added to their passport in order to apply for a Libyan visa, to enter Libya, or to stay in Libya even with a Libyan visa. This requirement includes foreigners who already received visas before the requirement was put into place, including those foreigners currently resident in Libya. Since that date, foreign travelers whose passports do not have Arabic translations have been denied entry into Libya or refused boarding by airlines on flights into Libya.

The U.S. passport is a U.S. travel document that meets all generally recognized international standards. While the Libyan government has the right to impose its own requirements for travelers in connection with obtaining a Libyan visa, it also has the responsibility to give travelers information on where and how to meet these requirements. Travelers should be aware that in some cases, Libyan officials may ask that U.S. citizens obtain translations from U.S. Government-approved translation services. However, U.S. consular officers have no authority to designate or certify private translations; nor do they have authority to place a consular authentication stamp over a privately-obtained translation.

American citizens who hold Libyan visas or who intend to apply for a visa are advised to contact the nearest Libyan embassy or consulate for information on how to obtain an acceptable translation. Information from Libyan embassies and consulates may differ from country to country. American citizens may also contact the Consular Section at the U.S. embassy or consulate for additional information.

In a letter dated January 1, 2008, the Libyan government notified airlines that, beginning January 7, 2008, all tourist visa holders, both individuals and in tour groups, must show that they have at least USD1000 or the equivalent in currency in order to be allowed to enter Libya. Credit cards, bank statements, and traveler's checks will not be accepted to meet this requirement. This requirement applies only to tourist-visa holders; persons traveling to Libya on other types of visas are exempt from the requirement. Americans planning to travel to Libya should contact the Libyan Embassy or their air carrier for further information. Americans should remember to be especially vigilant while carrying the large amount of currency required by this measure.

The Government of Libya does not allow persons with passports bearing an Israeli visa or entry/exit stamps to enter the country. At this time, neither Libya nor the U.S. provides visa services to the general public in each other countries; U.S. visitors to Libya should therefore plan to obtain a visa via a third country. Libyan visas require an invitation or sponsor, can take up to several months to process, and should be obtained prior to travel. All visas are vetted and approved by immigration departments in Tripoli and only issued by the appropriate Libyan Embassy upon receipt of that approval. There may be another wait for actual visa issuance once approval has been received. For tourists, the visa application procedure in most cases requires a letter of invitation from an accredited tour company in Libya; for business travelers, a letter of invitation is needed from the Libyan business entity. Americans who apply for Libyan visas are experiencing significant delays, often waiting several weeks or months if their applications are approved at all. Inconsistent Libyan visa practice is subject to change without notice and visa service to American citizens is often blocked without warning. With few exceptions, Libya has stopped issuing tourist visas to Americans. It is recommended that Americans always obtain individual Libyan visas prior to travel, rather than group visas. Americans who expected to enter on group tour visas or individual airport visas arranged by Libyan sponsors have routinely been denied entry at the air and sea ports and have been forced to turn back at the airport or remain onboard ship at the port while other nationals disembark. The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli cannot provide assistance to American citizens seeking Libyan visas.

Inquiries about obtaining a Libyan is a may be made through the Libyan Embassy in Washington, D.C. The Embassy is located at 2600 Virginia Avenue NW—Suite 705, Washington, DC 20037, phone number 202-944-601, fax number 202-944-9606. Nei-her the Libyan Mission to the UN in New York nor the Libyan Embassy in Washington, DC accepts visa applicaions. The closest Libyan visa-issuing ffice to the continental United States is the Libyan People's Bureau n Ottawa, Canada; however, that ffice frequently declines to accept visa applications from American citizens. The land borders with Egypt and Tunisia are subject to periodic closures even to travelers with valid Libyan visas. Short-term closures of other land borders may occur with little notice. Within three days of arrival, visitors must register at the police station closest to where they are residing or they may encounter problems during their stay or upon departure.

Women and children in Libya are often subject to strict family controls. On occasion, families of Libyan-American women visiting Libya have prevented them from leaving the country. This can be a particular problem for young single women of marriageable age. Although a woman does not need her husband's explicit consent every time she wishes to leave Libya, a Libyan husband may take legal action to prevent his wife from leaving the country, regardless of her nationality. While not illegal, it is not acceptable for women and children to travel alone. Children under 18 whose fathers are Libyan must have the father's permission to depart Libya, even if the mother has been granted full custody by a Libyan court.

The Libyan Government requires all its citizens, including dual nationals of Libyan descent, to enter and depart Libya on Libyan documents. In some cases American citizens of Libyan descent have entered Libya on old or expired Libyan identity document and then discovered that they cannot depart Libya without obtaining a valid Libyan passport, which can be a cumbersome process.

Safety and Security: As Libya has taken steps to cooperate in the global war on terrorism, the Libyan Government's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism was rescinded on June 30, 2006. Recent worldwide terrorist alerts have stated that extremist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in the region. Therefore, any American citizen who decides to travel to Libya should maintain a strong security posture by being aware of surroundings, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, keeping a low profile, and varying times and routes for all required travel.

Security personnel may at times place foreign visitors under observation. Hotel rooms, telephones, and fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be inspected. Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with the authorities.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs’ web site at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, as well as the Worldwide Caution, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.

Crime: Crime against foreigners is a growing problem in Libya. The most common types of crime are property crimes. Pick-pocketing and residential burglaries are also on the increase. Women routinely face verbal harassment. While physical violence is not common, there have been instances of assault against women. These assaults can range from sexual groping or assault/battery, to attempted rape.

In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products may be illegal under local law. In addition, bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/ or fines. More information on this serious problem is available at http://www.cybercrime.gov/18usc2320.htm.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: While some health care providers have been trained in the United States or Europe, basic modern medical care and/or medicines may not be available in Libya. Most Libyan citizens prefer to be treated outside of Libya for ailments such as heart disease and diabetes. A representative list of healthcare providers is available at the U.S. Embassy Tripoli's web site at http://libya.usembassy.gov/medical_information.html.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's web site at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith/en.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Libya is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Paved roads in rural areas are satisfactory; however, many rural roads are unpaved (i.e. dirt roads). Also, major highways along the seacoast and leading south merge into single-lane highways once they are outside the cities. These roads are heavily trafficked and precarious to navigate, especially at night and during the winter rainy season. The presence of sand deposits, and domestic and wild animals that frequently cross these highways and rural roads, makes them even more hazardous.

Availability of roadside assistance is extremely limited and offered only in Arabic. In urban areas and near the outskirts of major cities there is a greater possibility of assistance by police and emergency ambulance services, although they are usually ill equipped to deal with serious injuries or accidents.

Driving in Libya may be hazardous, and there is a high accident rate. Police enforcement of traffic signs and laws is rare. As a result, it is often difficult to anticipate the actions of other drivers on Libyan streets and highways. Wind-blown sand can make roads impassable to all but four-wheel drive vehicles. Road conditions are poor, and public transportation, which is limited to occasional bus service, is poor. Taxis, which are available, are usually on a shared basis, and many taxi drivers are reckless and untrained. Rental cars are often old and poorly maintained, and they are not recommended for long-distance driving. The sidewalks in urban areas are often in bad condition and cluttered, but pedestrians are able to use them.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Libya, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Libya's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: Libya's economy operates on a “cash-only” basis for most transactions, even though U.S. law now permits the use in Libya of credit cards and checks drawn on U.S. banks. Some hotels, restaurants, and major airlines are the only businesses known to accept credit cards (Visa more often than MasterCard). It is recommended that travelers consult their credit card entity prior to travel to ensure that transactions from Libya can be accepted by that entity. A very limited number of ATM machines are being put into service at a few large hotels, major office complexes, the airport, and one or two markets. Service is sporadic and sometimes unreliable. Foreign visitors should be aware that the penalties for use of unauthorized currency dealers are severe. Foreign visitors should also be aware that their passports might be confiscated in business disputes and/ or they may not be permitted to depart Libya until the dispute has been settled. The workweek is Sunday-Thursday. Most U.S. economic sanctions against Libya were terminated effective September 21, 2004. For further information, please contact the Office of Foreign Assets Control at http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac.

On June 30, 2006, the U.S. Department of State officially rescinded Libya's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. On August 31, 2006, the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published an amendment to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) in the Federal Register. This amendment updated BIS’ license requirements for Libya under the EAR due to its removal from the State Sponsors’ List. For further information specific to Libya, contact BIS’ Office of Nonproliferation and Treaty Compliance/Foreign Policy Controls Division at (202) 482-4252. Libya-related information is also found on the BIS web site; http://www.bis.doc.gov.

Libyan customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning the introduction into Libya or removal from Libya of firearms, religious materials, antiquities, medications, and currency. Importation of pornographic materials is illegal. The importation and consumption of alcohol and pork products are illegal in Libya. Any passenger arriving in Tripoli is required to bring into Libya a minimum of $500. This requirement is subject to a border check, and the passenger faces possible deportation if this requirement is not met. It is advisable to contact any Libyan Embassy abroad for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Libyan laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Libya are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living or traveling in Libya are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Libya. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy orConsulate to contact them in case of emergency. Although diplomatic relations were upgraded to embassy status on May 31, 2006, the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli is operating with limited staff and in interim facilities. A consular officer is available to provide assistance to U.S. citizens. Appointments for routine services can be made by telephone from 9am—4 pm Sundays through Thursdays (except U.S. and Libyan holidays) at (218) 21-335-1235 or via e-mail at [email protected]

In the event of an emergency involving an American citizen, the after-hours telephone number is (218) 91-220-0125. General information, including forms, is available on the U.S. Embassy's web site at http://libya.usembassy.gov.

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Libya

LIBYA

Compiled from the November 2005 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya


PROFILE

Geography

Area:

1,759,540 million sq. km.

Cities:

Capital—Tripoli (2003 pop. est. 1,150,000). Other—Benghazi (2003 pop. est. 637,000).

Terrain:

Mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions.

Climate:

Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior.

People

Nationality:

Noun and adjective—Libyan(s).

Population (July 2004 est.):

5,631,585 (includes non-nationals, of which an estimated 500,000 or more are sub-Saharan Africans living in Libya).

Annual growth rate (2004 est.):

2.37%.

Ethnic groups:

Berber and Arab 97%; Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians.

Religion:

Sunni Muslim 97%.

Language:

Arabic is the primary language. English, French, and Italian are understood in major cities.

Education:

Years compulsory—9. Attendance—90%. Literacy—82.6%.

Health (2004 est.):

Infant mortality rate—25.7/1,000. Life expectancy—male, 74.1 yrs.; female, 78.58 yrs.

Work force (2001 est.):

1.6 million, an estimated 500,000 of whom are sub-Saharan African foreign workers. Work force by occupation (1997 est.): Industry—29%. Services and Government—54%. Agriculture—17%.

Government

Official name:

Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

Type:

"Jamahiriya" is a term Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi coined and which he defines as a "state of the masses" governed by the populace through local councils. In practice, Libya is an authoritarian state.

Independence:

December 24, 1951.

Revolution:

September 1, 1969.

Constitution:

December 11, 1969, amended March 2, 1977—established popular congresses and people's committees.

Administrative divisions:

31 municipalities (singular—"shabiya", plural—"shabiyat"): Butnan, Darnah, Gubba, Al Jabal al-Akhdar, Marj, Green Belt, Benghazi, Ajdabiya, Wahat, Kufra, Surt, Al Jufrah, Misurata, Murgub, Bani-waleed, Tarhuna and Msallata, Tripoli, Jfara, Zawiya, Subrata & Surman, An Nuqat al Khams, Gharyan, Mezda, Nalut, Ghdames, Yefren and Jadu, Wadi Alhaya, Ghat, Sabha, Wadi Shati, Murzuq.

Political system:

Political parties are banned. According to the political theory of Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, multi-layered popular assemblies (people's congresses) with executive institutions (people's committees) are guided by political cadres (revolutionary committees).

Suffrage:

18 years of age; universal and compulsory.

Economy

GDP (2003 est.):

$35 billion.

Per capita GDP (2003 est.):

$6,400.

Natural resources:

Petroleum, natural gas, gypsum.

Agriculture:

Products—wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus, vegetables, peanuts, soybeans; cattle; approximately 75% of Libya's food is imported.

Industry:

Types—petroleum, food processing, textiles, handicrafts, cement.

Trade:

Exports (2003 est.)—$14.32 billion: crude oil, refined petroleum products. Major markets (2003)—Italy (39.4%), Germany (13.6%), Spain (13.6%), Turkey 6.6%, France (6.2%). Imports (2003 est.)—$6.282 billion: machinery, transport equipment, food, manufactured goods. Major suppliers (2003)—Italy (27.2%), Germany (10.3%), Tunisia (7.7%), U.K. (6.9%), South Korea (6.9%), France (5.8%).


PEOPLE

Libya has a small population in a large land area. Population density is about 50 persons per sq. km. (80/sq. mi.) in the two northern regions of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, but falls to less than one person per sq. km. (1.6/sq. mi.) elsewhere. Ninety percent of the people live in less than 10% of the area, primarily along the coast. More than half the population is urban, mostly concentrated in the two largest cities, Tripoli and Benghazi. Fifty percent of the population is estimated to be under age 15.

Native Libyans are primarily a mixture of Arabs and Berbers. Small Tebou and Touareg tribal groups in southern Libya are nomadic or semi-nomadic. Among foreign residents, the largest groups are citizens of other African nations, including North Africans (primarily Egyptians and Tunisians), West Africans and Sub-Saharan Africans.


HISTORY

For most of their history, the peoples of Libya have been subjected to varying degrees of foreign control. The Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, and Byzantines ruled all or parts of Libya. Although the Greeks and Romans left impressive ruins at Cyrene, Leptis Magna, and Sabratha, little else remains today to testify to the presence of these ancient cultures.

The Arabs conquered Libya in the seventh century A.D. In the following centuries, most of the indigenous peoples adopted Islam and the Arabic language and culture. The Ottoman Turks conquered the country in the mid-16th century. Libya remained part of their empire—although at times virtually autonomous—until Italy invaded in 1911 and, in the face of years of resistance, made Libya a colony.

In 1934, Italy adopted the name "Libya" (used by the Greeks for all of North Africa, except Egypt) as the official name of the colony, which consisted of the Provinces of Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, and Fezzan. King Idris I, Emir of Cyrenaica, led Libyan resistance to Italian occupation between the two World Wars. From 1943 to 1951, Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were under British administration, while the French controlled Fezzan. In 1944, Idris returned from exile in Cairo but declined to resume permanent residence in Cyrenaica until the removal in 1947 of some aspects of foreign control. Under the terms of the 1947 peace treaty with the Allies, Italy relinquished all claims to Libya.

On November 21, 1949, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution stating that Libya should become independent before January 1, 1952. King Idris I represented Libya in the subsequent UN negotiations. When Libya declared its independence on December 24, 1951, it was the first country to achieve independence through the United Nations and one of the first former European possessions in Africa to gain independence. Libya was proclaimed a constitutional and a hereditary monarchy under King Idris.

The discovery of significant oil reserves in 1959 and the subsequent income from petroleum sales enabled what had been one of the world's poorest countries to become extremely wealthy, as measured by per capita GDP. Although oil drastically improved Libya's finances, popular resentment grew as wealth was increasingly concentrated in the hands of the elite. This discontent continued to mount with the rise throughout the Arab world of Nasserism and the idea of Arab unity.

On September 1, 1969, a small group of military officers led by then 28-year-old army officer Mu'ammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi staged a coup d'etat against King Idris, who was exiled to Egypt. The new regime, headed by the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), abolished the monarchy and proclaimed the new Libyan Arab Republic. Qadhafi emerged as leader of the RCC and eventually as de facto chief of state, a political role he still plays. The Libyan government asserts that Qadhafi currently holds no official position, although he is referred to in government statements and the official press as the "Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution."

The new RCC's motto became "freedom, socialism, and unity." It pledged itself to remedy "backwardness", take an active role in the Palestinian Arab cause, promote Arab unity, and encourage domestic policies based on social justice, non-exploitation, and an equitable distribution of wealth.

An early objective of the new government was withdrawal of all foreign military installations from Libya. Following negotiations, British military installations at Tobruk and nearby El Adem were closed in March 1970, and U.S. facilities at Wheelus Air Force Base near Tripoli were closed in June 1970. That July, the Libyan Government ordered the expulsion of several thousand Italian residents. By 1971, libraries and cultural centers operated by foreign governments were ordered closed.

In the 1970s, Libya claimed leadership of Arab and African revolutionary forces and sought active roles in international organizations. Late in the 1970s, Libyan embassies were redesignated as "people's bureaus," as Qadhafi sought to portray Libyan foreign policy as an expression of the popular will. The people's bureaus, aided by Libyan religious, political, educational, and business institutions overseas, exported Qadhafi's revolutionary philosophy abroad.

Qadhafi's confrontational foreign policies and use of terrorism, as well as Libya's growing friendship with the U.S.S.R., led to increased tensions with the West in the 1980s. Following a terrorist bombing at a discotheque in West Berlin frequented by American military personnel, in 1986 the U.S. retaliated militarily against targets in Libya, and imposed broad unilateral economic sanctions.

After Libya was implicated in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, UN sanctions were imposed in 1992. UN

Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs) passed in 1992 and 1993 obliged Libya to fulfill requirements related to the Pan Am 103 bombing before sanctions could be lifted. Qadhafi initially refused to comply with these requirements, leading to Libya's political and economic isolation for most of the 1990s.

In 1999, Libya fulfilled one of the UNSCR requirements by surrendering two Libyans suspected in connection with the bombing for trial before a Scottish court in the Netherlands. One of these suspects, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, was found guilty; the other was acquitted. Al-Megrahi's conviction was upheld on appeal in 2002. In August 2003, Libya fulfilled the remaining UNSCR requirements, including acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials and payment of appropriate compensation to the victims' families. UN sanctions were lifted on September 12, 2003. U.S. International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)-based sanctions were lifted September 20, 2004.

On December 19, 2003, Libya publicly announced its intention to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)-class missile programs. Since that time, it has cooperated with the U.S., the U.K., the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons toward these objectives. Libya has also signed the IAEA Additional Protocol and has become a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Libya's political system is in theory based on the political philosophy in Qadhafi's Green Book, which combines socialist and Islamic theories and rejects parliamentary democracy and political parties. In reality, Qadhafi exercises near total control over major government decisions. For the first seven years following the revolution, Colonel Qadhafi and 12 fellow army officers, the Revolutionary Command Council, began a complete overhaul of Libya's political system, society and economy. In 1973, he announced the start of a "cultural revolution" in schools, businesses, industries, and public institutions to oversee administration of those organizations in the public interest. On March 2, 1977, Qadhafi convened a General People's Congress (GPC) to proclaim the establishment of "people's power," change the country's name to the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and to vest, theoretically, primary authority in the GPC.

The GPC is the legislative forum that interacts with the General People's Committee, whose members are secretaries of Libyan ministries. It serves as the intermediary between the masses and the leadership and is composed of the secretariats of some 600 local "basic popular congresses." The GPC secretariat and the cabinet secretaries are appointed by the GPC secretary general and confirmed by the annual GPC congress. These cabinet secretaries are responsible for the routine operation of their ministries, but Qadhafi exercises real authority directly or through manipulation of the peoples and revolutionary committees.

Qadhafi remained the de facto chief of state and secretary general of the GPC until 1980, when he gave up his office. Although he holds no formal office, Qadhafi exercises power with the assistance of a small group of trusted advisers, who include relatives from his home base in the Sirte region, which lies between the traditional commercial and political power centers in Benghazi and Tripoli.

In the 1980s, competition grew between the official Libyan Government and military hierarchies and the revolutionary committees. An abortive coup attempt in May 1984, apparently mounted by Libyan exiles with internal support, led to a short-lived reign of terror in which thousands were imprisoned and interrogated. An unknown number were executed. Qadhafi used the revolutionary committees to search out alleged internal opponents following the coup attempt, thereby accelerating the rise of more radical elements inside the Libyan power hierarchy.

In 1988, faced with rising public dis-satisfaction with shortages in consumer goods and setbacks in Libya's war with Chad, Qadhafi began to curb the power of the revolutionary committees and to institute some domestic reforms. The regime released many political prisoners and eased restrictions on foreign travel by Libyans. Private businesses were again permitted to operate.

In the late 1980s, Qadhafi began to pursue an anti-Islamic fundamentalist policy domestically, viewing fundamentalism as a potential rallying point for opponents of the regime. Qadhafi's security forces launched a pre-emptive strike at alleged coup plotters in the military and among the Warfallah tribe in October 1993. Widespread arrests and government reshufflings followed, accompanied by public "confessions" from regime opponents and allegations of torture and executions. The military, once Qadhafi's strongest supporters, became a potential threat in the 1990s. In 1993, following a failed coup attempt that implicated senior military officers, Qadhafi began to purge the military periodically, eliminating potential rivals and inserting his own loyal followers in their place.

The Libyan court system consists of three levels: the courts of first instance; the courts of appeals; and the Supreme Court, which is the final appellate level. The GPC appoints justices to the Supreme Court. Special "revolutionary courts" and military courts operate outside the court system to try political offenses and crimes against the state. "People's courts", another example of extrajudicial authority, were abolished in January 2005. Libya's justice system is nominally based on Sharia law.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 8/16/2005

Leader: Muammar Abu Minyar al-QADHAFI, Col.
Sec. of the Gen. People's Congress: Muhammad al-ZANATI
Asst. Sec. of the Gen. People's Congress: Ahmad Mohamed IBRAHIM
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee (Prime Minister): Shukri Muhammad GHANIM
Asst. Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee: Al-Baghdadi Ali al-MAHMUDI
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Culture: Al-Mahdi Miftah MUBARIJ
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Economy & Trade: Abd al-Qadir BILKHAYR
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Energy: Ahmad Fathi ibn SHATWAN
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Finance: Muhammad Ali al-HUWAYZ
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Foreign Liaison & International Cooperation: Abd al-Rahman SHALGAM
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Higher Education: Abd-al-Salam Abdallah QALLALI
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Planning: al-Tahriri al-Hadi al-JUHAYMI
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Public Security: Nasr al-Mubruk ABDALLAH
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Tourism: Ammar al-Mabruk al-TAYF
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for the Workforce, Training, & Employment: Matuq Muhammad MATUQ
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Youth & Sports: Ali Mursi SHAIRI
Governor, Central Bank: Ahmed Abd al-Hamid MUNAYSI
Chief, Liaison Office, Washington: Ali Suleiman AUJALI
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York:

The Libyan Liaison Office is located at 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Suite 705, Washington DC 20037 (tel. 202-944-9601, fax 202-944-9060).


ECONOMY

The government dominates Libya's socialist-oriented economy through complete control of the country's oil resources, which account for approximately 97% of export earnings, 75% of government receipts, and 54% of the gross domestic product. Oil revenues constitute the principal source of foreign exchange. Much of the country's income has been lost to waste, corruption, conventional armaments purchases, and attempts to develop weapons of mass destruction, as well as to large donations made to developing countries in attempts to increase Qadhafi's influence in Africa and elsewhere. Although oil revenues and a small population give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, the government's mismanagement of the economy has led to high inflation and increased import prices. These factors resulted in a decline in the standard of living from the late 1990s through 2003.

Despite efforts to diversify the economy and encourage private sector participation, extensive controls of prices, credit, trade, and foreign exchange constrain growth. Import restrictions and inefficient resource allocations have caused periodic shortages of basic goods and foodstuffs.

Although agriculture is the second-largest sector in the economy, Libya imports most foods. Climatic conditions and poor soils severely limit output, while higher incomes and a growing population have caused food consumption to rise. Domestic food production meets about 25% of demand.

On September 20, 2004, President George W. Bush signed an Executive Order ending economic sanctions imposed under the authority of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). U.S. persons are no longer prohibited from working in Libya, and many American companies are actively seeking investment opportunities in Libya. The government has announced ambitious plans to increase foreign investment in the oil and gas sectors to significantly boost production capacity. The government is also pursuing a number of infrastructure projects such as highways, railways, telecommunications backbones, and irrigation.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Since 1969, Qadhafi has determined Libya's foreign policy. His principal foreign policy goals have been Arab unity, elimination of Israel, advancement of Islam, support for Palestinians, elimination of outside—particularly Western—influence in the Middle East and Africa, and support for a range of "revolutionary" causes.

After the 1969 coup, Qadhafi closed American and British bases on Libyan territory and partially nationalized all foreign oil and commercial interests in Libya. He also played a key role in promoting the use of oil embargoes as a political weapon for challenging the West, hoping that an oil price rise and embargo in 1973 would persuade the West—especially the United States—to end support for Israel. Qadhafi rejected both Soviet communism and Western capitalism, and claimed he was charting a middle course.

Libya's relationship with the former Soviet Union involved massive Libyan arms purchases from the Soviet bloc and the presence of thousands of east bloc advisers. Libya's use—and heavy loss—of Soviet-supplied weaponry in its war with Chad was a notable breach of an apparent Soviet-Libyan understanding not to use the weapons for activities inconsistent with Soviet objectives. As a result, Soviet-Libyan relations reached a nadir in mid-1987.

After the fall of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union, Libya concentrated on expanding diplomatic ties with Third World countries and increasing its commercial links with Europe and East Asia. Following the imposition of UN sanctions in 1992, these ties significantly diminished. Following a 1998 Arab League meeting in which fellow Arab states decided not to challenge UN sanctions, Qadhafi announced that he was turning his back on pan-Arab ideas, which had been one of the fundamental tenets of his philosophy.

Instead, Libya pursued closer bilateral ties, particularly with North African neighbors Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. It has also sought to develop its relations with Sub-Saharan Africa, leading to Libyan involvement in several internal African disputes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Libya has also sought to expand its influence in Africa through financial assistance, ranging from aid donations to impoverished neighbors such as Niger to oil subsidies to Zimbabwe, and through participation in the African Union. Qadhafi has proposed a borderless "United States of Africa" to transform the continent into a single nation-state ruled by a single government. This plan has been greeted with skepticism. Libya has played a helpful role in facilitating the provision of humanitarian assistance to Darfur refugees in Chad.

Terrorism

Libya has taken significant steps to mend its international image and renounced terrorism in a letter to the UN Security Council in August 2003. In 1999, the Libyan government surrendered two Libyans suspected of involvement in the Pan Am 103 bombing, leading to the suspension of UN sanctions. On January 31, 2001, a Scottish court seated in the Netherlands found one of the suspects, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, guilty of murder in connection with the bombing, and acquitted the second suspect, Al-Amin Khalifa Fhima. Megrahi's conviction was upheld on March 14, 2002.

UN sanctions were lifted on September 12, 2003 following Libyan compliance with its remaining UNSCR requirements on Pan Am 103, including acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials and payment of appropriate compensation. Libya paid compensation in 1999 for the death of British policewoman Yvonne Fletcher, a move that preceded the reopening of the British Embassy in Tripoli, and paid damages to the families of the victims in the bombing of UTA Flight 772. With the lifting of UN sanctions in September 2003, each of the families of the victims of Pan Am 103 received $4 million of a maximum $10 million in compensation. After the lifting of IEEPA-based sanctions on September 20, 2004, the families received a further $4 million.

On November 13, 2001, a German court found four persons, including a former employee of the Libyan embassy in East Berlin, guilty in connection with the 1986 La Belle disco bombing, in which two U.S. servicemen were killed. The court also established a connection to the Libyan government. The German Government demanded that Libya accept responsibility for the La Belle bombing and pay appropriate compensation. A compensation deal for non-U.S. victims was agreed in August 2004. U.S. victims continue to pursue their claims in federal court.

By 2003, Libya appeared to have curtailed its support for international terrorism, although it may have retained residual contacts with some of its former terrorist clients. In August 2004, the Department of Justice entered into a plea agreement with Abdulrahman Alamoudi, in which he stated that he had been part of a 2003 plot to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah at the behest of Libyan government officials.

In 2005, the Saudi Government pardoned the individuals accused in the assassination plot. During the 2005 UN General Assembly session, Foreign Minister Shalgam issued a statement that reaffirmed Libya's commitment to the statements made in its letter addressed to the Security Council on August 15, 2003, renouncing terrorism in all its forms and pledging that it will not support acts of international terrorism or other acts of violence targeting civilians, whatever their political views or positions. Libya also expressed its commitment to continue cooperating in the international fight against terrorism.


U.S.-LIBYAN RELATIONS

The United States supported the UN resolution providing for Libyan independence in 1951 and raised the status of its office at Tripoli from a consulate general to a legation. Libya opened a legation in Washington, DC, in 1954. Both countries subsequently raised their missions to embassy level.

After Qadhafi's 1969 coup, U.S.-Libyan relations became increasingly strained because of Libya's foreign policies supporting international terrorism and subversion against moderate Arab and African governments. In 1972, the United States withdrew its ambassador. Export controls on military equipment and civil aircraft were imposed during the 1970s, and U.S. embassy staff members were withdrawn from Tripoli after a mob attacked and set fire to the embassy in December 1979. The U.S. Government designated Libya a "state sponsor of terrorism" on December 29, 1979.

In May 1981, the U.S. Government closed the Libyan "people's bureau" (embassy) in Washington, DC, and expelled the Libyan staff in response to a general pattern of conduct by the people's bureau contrary to internationally accepted standards of diplomatic behavior.

In August 1981, two Libyan jets fired on U.S. aircraft participating in a routine naval exercise over international waters of the Mediterranean claimed by Libya. The U.S. planes returned fire and shot down the attacking Libyan aircraft. In December 1981, the State Department invalidated U.S. passports for travel to Libya and, for purposes of safety, advised all U.S. citizens in Libya to leave. In March 1982, the U.S. Government prohibited imports of Libyan crude oil into the United States and expanded the controls on U.S.-origin goods intended for export to Libya. Licenses were required for all transactions, except food and medicine. In March 1984, U.S. export controls were expanded to prohibit future exports to the Ras Lanuf petrochemical complex. In April 1985, all Export-Import Bank financing was prohibited.

Due to Libya's continuing support for terrorism, the United States adopted additional economic sanctions against Libya in January 1986, including a total ban on direct import and export trade, commercial contracts, and travel-related activities. In addition, Libyan Government assets in the United States were frozen. When evidence of Libyan complicity was discovered in the Berlin discotheque terrorist bombing that killed two American servicemen, the United States responded by launching an aerial bombing attack against targets near Tripoli and Benghazi in April 1986. Subsequently, the United States maintained its trade and travel embargoes and brought diplomatic and economic pressure to bear against Libya. This pressure helped to bring about the Lockerbie settlement and Libya's renunciation of WMD and MTCR-class missiles.

In 1991, two Libyan intelligence agents were indicted by federal prosecutors in the U.S. and Scotland for their involvement in the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103. In January 1992, the UN Security Council approved Resolution 731 demanding that Libya surrender the suspects, cooperate with the Pan Am 103 and UTA 772 investigations, pay compensation to the victims' families, and cease all support for terrorism. Libya's refusal to comply led to the approval of UNSC Resolution 748 on March 31, 1992, imposing sanctions designed to bring about Libyan compliance. Continued Libyan defiance led to passage of UNSC Resolution 883—a limited assets freeze and an embargo on selected oil equipment—in November 1993. As noted in the terrorism section above, UN sanctions were lifted on September 12, 2003, after Libya fulfilled all remaining UNSCR requirements, including renunciation of terrorism, acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials, and payment of appropriate compensation to the victims' families.

On December 19, 2003, Libya announced its intention to rid itself of WMD and MTCR-class missile programs. Since that time, it has cooperated with the U.S., the U.K., the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons toward these objectives. Libya has also signed the IAEA Additional Protocol and has become a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention. In response, the U.S. terminated the applicability of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act to Libya and the President signed an Executive Order on September 20, 2004 terminating the national emergency with respect to Libya and ending IEEPA-based economic sanctions. This action had the effect of unblocking assets blocked under the Executive Order sanctions. Restrictions on cargo aviation and third-party code-sharing have been lifted, as have restrictions on passenger aviation. Certain export controls remain in place and Libya remains on the state sponsors of terrorism list. U.S. diplomatic personnel reopened the U.S. Interest Section in Tripoli on February 8, 2004. The mission was upgraded to a U.S. Liaison Office on June 28, 2004. Libya re-established its diplomatic presence in Washington with the opening of an Interest Section on July 8, 2004, which was subsequently upgraded to a Liaison Office in December 2004.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

The U.S. Liaison Office in Libya is temporarily located at the Corinthia Bab Africa Hotel, Souk al-Thulatha, Al-Gadim, Tripoli (tel. 218-21-335-1848, fax 218-21-335-1847).

The U.S. consular representative's office is also located at the in the Corinthia Bab Africa Hotel (tel. 218-91-220-0125, fax 218-21-335-1838, email [email protected]). Limited services are available for U.S. citizens.


TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

October 3, 2005

Country Description:

Officially known as the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Libya has a developing economy. Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation of the country's customs, laws, and practices. Tourist facilities are not widely available.

Entry/Exit Requirements:

Passports and visas are required. The restrictions on the use of U.S. passport for travel to, in, or through Libya were lifted in February 2004. The government of Libya does not allow persons with passports bearing an Israel visa or entry/exit stamps to enter the country. At this time, neither Libya nor the U.S. provides visa services in each other's countries; U.S. visitors to Libya should therefore plan to obtain a visa via a third country. Americans who apply for Libyan visas are experiencing significant delays. They must often wait several weeks or months before their applications are approved. On some occasions, Americans who expected to enter on group tour visas or individual airport visas arranged by Libyan sponsors have been denied entry at the air and seaports. Inquiries about obtaining a Libyan visa may be made through the Libyan Liaison Office in Washington, DC. The liaison office is located at 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW – Suite 705, Washington, DC 20037, phone number 202-944-9601, fax number 202-944-9606. (However, neither the Libyan Mission to the UN in NY nor the Libyan Liaison Office in Washington accepts visa applications.) The land borders with Egypt and Tunisia are subject to periodic closures even to travelers with valid Libyan visas. Short-term closures of other land borders occur with little notice. Within three days of arrival, visitors must register at the police station closest to where they are residing or they may encounter problems during their stay or upon departure.

Safety and Security:

Security personnel may at times place foreign visitors under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones and fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched. Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with the authorities.

While Libya has taken steps to cooperate in the global war on terrorism, the Libyan Government remains on the U.S. Government's State Sponsors of Terrorism List.

Recent worldwide terrorist alerts have stated that extremist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in the region. Therefore, any American citizen who decides to travel to Libya should maintain a strong security posture by being aware of surroundings, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, keeping a low profile, and varying times and routes for all required travel.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, the Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement, and the Public Announcement for Libya, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-free line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime:

Crime is a growing problem in Libya. The most common types of crime are auto theft and theft of items left in vehicles, as well as burglaries. Pick pocketing is also a growing problem. The increasing availability of drugs has led to an increase in crime in the past few years. Libya's beaches are the frequent sites of muggings and purse-snatchings. Women often face verbal harassment. While physical violence is not common, there have been instances of assault against women.

Information for Victims of Crime:

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy, Consulate or the U.S. Liaison Office in Tripoli. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy, Consulate or the U.S. Liaison Office in Tripoli for assistance. The staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information:

Basic modern medical care and medicines may not be available in Libya. The hospital with the best reputation in Libya is the "Oil Clinique-N.O.C." There is also a new Swiss clinic and a facility with French doctors known as Medilink, but both are very small. Most Libyan citizens prefer to be treated outside of Libya for ailments such as heart disease and diabetes.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance:

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Libya is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance: The paved roads in rural areas are satisfactory; however, many rural roads are unpaved (i.e. dirt roads). Also, major highways along the seacoast and leading south merge into single-lane highways once they are outside the cities. These roads are heavily trafficked and precarious to navigate, especially at night and during the winter rainy season. The presence of sand deposits and domestic and wild animals that frequently cross these highways and rural roads make them even more hazardous.

Availability of roadside assistance is extremely limited and offered only in Arabic. Inside urban areas and near the outskirts of major cities there is a greater possibility of assistance by police and emergency ambulance services although they are usually ill-equipped to deal with serious injuries or accidents.

Driving in Libya may be hazardous, and there is a high accident rate. Police enforcement of traffic signs and laws is rare. As a result, it is often difficult to anticipate the actions of other drivers on Libyan streets and highways. Wind-blown sand can make roads impassable to all but four-wheel drive vehicles. Road conditions are poor, and public transportation, which is limited to occasional bus service, is poor. Taxis, which are available, are usually on a shared basis. Rental cars are often old and poorly maintained, and they are not recommended for long-distance driving. The sidewalks in urban areas are often in bad condition, but pedestrians are able to use them.

Please also see road safety information on Libya at http://www.arab.net/libya/la_roads.htm.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

Regular connecting service is provided by major European carriers. As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers to the United States at present, the U.S. Federal Aviation n Administration (FAA) has not assessed Libya's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa.

Special Circumstances:

Libya's economy operates on a "cash-only" basis for most transactions, even though U.S. law now permits the use in Libya of credit cards and checks drawn on U.S. banks. Some hotels and major airlines are the only businesses known to accept credit cards (Visa and MasterCard). ATM machines are non-existent. Foreign visitors should be aware that the penalties for use of unauthorized currency dealers are severe. Foreign visitors should also be aware that their passports might be confiscated in business disputes. The workweek is Sunday-Thursday.

In addition to being subject to all Libyan laws, U.S. citizens who also possess the nationality of Libya may be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Libyan citizens, including use of a Libyan passport to enter and depart Libya.

Most U.S. economic sanctions against Libya were terminated effective September 21, 2004. For further information, please contact the Office of Foreign Assets Control at: http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/.

Technologies and goods on the Department of Commerce Export Control List must be licensed by the Department of Commerce for export to Libya. If you have specific inquiries regarding exports to Libya, please contact the BIS Export Counseling Division at 202-482-4811, or submit a query from the BIS webpage, http://www.bis.doc.gov. The mailing address is: U.S. Department of Commerce; Bureau of Industry and Security; Office of Exporter Services; 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW; Washington, DC. 20230.

Libyan customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning the introduction into Libya or removal from Libya of firearms, religious materials, antiquities, medications, and currency. Importation and consumption of alcohol and pork products are illegal in Libya. Any passenger arriving in Tripoli is required to bring into Libya a minimum of $500. This requirement is subject to a border check, and the passenger faces possible deportation if this requirement is not met. It is advisable to contact any Embassy of Libya abroad for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Criminal Penalties:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Libya's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are severe in Libya, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences, heavy fines, and/or flogging or other physical punishment. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Family and Children's Issues:

Children under 18 whose fathers are Libyan must have the father's permission to depart Libya, even if the mother has been granted full custody by a Libyan court. Women and children are often subjected to strict family controls; on occasion, families of Libyan-American women visiting Libya have attempted to prevent them from leaving the country. Young, single women are most likely to encounter opposition from their families when trying to leave. Finally, a Libyan husband is permitted to take legal action to prevent his wife from leaving the country, regardless of her nationality.

For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/U.S. Liaison Office:

Americans living or traveling in Libya are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Libya. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. On June 28, 2004, a U.S. Liaison Office opened in Tripoli. There is no consular officer included among the staff. Thus, due to limited staffing and interim facilities, it can provide only limited services to U.S. citizens. American residents in and visitors to Libya needing emergency assistance may contact U.S. personnel by telephone (091-2200-1250) and e mail [email protected]

Public Announcement

December 23, 2005

This Public Announcement reminds Americans of the current security situation in Libya and provides updated contact information for the U.S. Liaison Office in Tripoli. The United States Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens traveling to Libya to exercise caution. This Public Announcement supersedes the Public Announcement dated November 1, 2005, and expires on June 28, 2006.

The U.S. lifted restrictions on the use of U.S. passports for travel to Libya in February 2004. While Libya has taken steps to cooperate in the global war on terrorism, the Libyan Government remains on the U.S. Government's State Sponsors of Terrorism List.

Recent worldwide terrorist alerts have stated that extremist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in the region. Therefore, any American citizen who decides to travel to Libya should maintain a strong security posture by being aware of surroundings, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, keeping a low profile, and varying times and routes for all required travel.

The U.S. Liaison Office, which opened in June 2004, is currently operating in interim facilities. The Consular Section of the U.S. Liaison Office no longer operates out of the Belgian Embassy and a consular officer is available at the U.S. Liaison Office for limited services to U.S. citizens by appointment. Appointments can be made by telephone from 9 am to 4 pm Sundays through Thursdays (except U.S. and Libyan holidays) at 021-335-1235 or via e-mail at [email protected] In the event of an emergency involving an American citizen, the after-hours telephone number is 091-220-0125.

Most U.S. economic sanctions on Libya were lifted on September 20, 2004. Technologies and goods on the Department of Commerce Export Control List must be licensed by the Department of Commerce for export to Libya. Travelers should be aware that credit cards and checks drawn on U.S. banks generally are not accepted in Libya, and should be prepared to engage in cash-only transactions while in Libya.

Americans who travel to or reside in Libya are strongly encouraged to register through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov. Updated information on travel and security in Libya may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or, from overseas, 1-202-501-4444. Travelers should also consult the Department of State's latest Consular Information sheet for Libya and the current Worldwide Caution and Middle East and North Africa Public Announcements, which are available on the Department's Internet site at http://travel.state.gov.

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Libya

Libya

1 Location and Size

2 Topography

3 Climate

4 Plants and Animals

5 Environment

6 Population

7 Migration

8 Ethnic Groups

9 Languages

10 Religions

11 Transportation

12 History

13 Government

14 Political Parties

15 Judicial System

16 Armed Forces

17 Economy

18 Income

19 Industry

20 Labor

21 Agriculture

22 Domesticated Animals

23 Fishing

24 Forestry

25 Mining

26 Foreign Trade

27 Energy and Power

28 Social Development

29 Health

30 Housing

31 Education

32 Media

33 Tourism and Recreation

34 Famous Libyans

35 Bibliography

Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Al-Jamahiriyah al-’Arabiyah al-Libiyah ash-Sha’biyah al-Ishtirakiyah

CAPITAL: Tripoli (Tarabulus)

FLAG: The national flag is plain green.

ANTHEM: Almighty God.

MONETARY UNIT: The Libyan dinar (ld) of 1,000 dirhams is a paper currency. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dirhams, and notes of ¼, ½, 1, 5, and 10 dinars. ld1 = $0.76923 (or $1 = ld1.3) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard, but some local weights and measures are used.

HOLIDAYS: UK Evacuation Day, 28 March; U.S. Evacuation Day, 11 June; Anniversary of the Revolution, 1 September; Constitution Day, 7 October. Muslim religious holidays include ‘Id al-Fitr, ‘Id al-’Adha’, the 1st of Muharram, and Milad an Nabi.

TIME: 2 pm = noon GMT.

1 Location and Size

Located on the coast of North Africa, Libya is the fourth-largest country on the continent, with an area of 1,759,540 square kilometers (679,358 square miles), slightly larger than the state of Alaska. The country has a total land boundary length of 4,347 kilometers (2,701 miles) and a Mediterranean coastline of 1,770 kilometers (1,100 miles). Libya’s capital city, Tripoli, is located on the Mediterranean coast.

2 Topography

Libya forms part of the North African plateau that extends from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. The highest point is Bette Peak, a 2,267-meter (7,437-foot) peak in the extreme south. The lowest point in the country is at Sabkhat Ghuzayyil in the north, which dips to 47 meters (154 feet) below sea level. The chief geographical areas are Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, the Sirte Desert, and Fezzan.

The Sirte Desert is a barren area along the Gulf of Sidra separating Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. The Sahara Desert cuts through this southern region of the country, where it is often called the Libyan Desert. There are no perennial rivers in the country.

GEOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Geographic Features

Area: 1,759,540 sq km (679,358 sq mi)

Size ranking: 16 of 194

Highest elevation: 2,267 meters (7,437 feet) at Bette Peak (Bikku Bitti)

Lowest elevation: -47 meters (-154 feet) at Sabkhat Ghuzayyil

Land Use*

Arable land: 1%

Permanent crops: 0%

Other: 99%

Weather**

Average annual precipitation: 25.3 centimeters (10.0 inches)

Average temperature in January: 10.9°c (51.6°f)

Average temperature in July: 27.1°c (80.8°f)

* Arable Land: Land used for temporary crops, like meadows for mowing or pasture, gardens, and greenhouses.

Permanent crops: Land cultivated with crops that occupy its use for long periods, such as cocoa, coffee, rubber, fruit and nut orchards, and vineyards.

Other: Any land not specified, including built-on areas, roads, and barren land.

** The measurements for precipitation and average temperatures were taken at weather stations closest to the country’s largest city.

Precipitation and average temperature can vary significantly within a country, due to factors such as latitude, altitude, coastal proximity, and wind patterns.

3 Climate

The climate has marked seasonal variations influenced by both the Mediterranean Sea and the desert. Summer temperatures range between 27 to 46°c (81 to 115°f). The ghibli, a hot, dry desert wind, can change temperatures by 17 to 22°c (30 to 40°f) in both summer and winter. Rain falls generally in a short winter period and frequently causes floods. Evaporation is high, and severe droughts are common. The Sahara Desert has less than 5 centimeters (2 inches) of rain a year.

4 Plants and Animals

The primary plant is the deadly carrot (Thapsia garganica). Other plants are various cultivated fruit trees, date palms, junipers, and mastic trees. Goats and cattle are found in the extreme north. In the south, sheep and camels are numerous. As of 2002, there were at least 76 species of mammals, 76 species of birds, and over 1,800 species of plants throughout the country.

5 Environment

A major environmental concern is the depletion of underground water as a result of overuse in agricultural developments. Another significant environmental problem in Libya is water pollution. The combined impact of sewage, oil byproducts, and industrial waste threatens the nation’s coast and the Mediterranean Sea. The desertification of existing fertile areas is being combated by the planting of trees as windbreaks.

As of 2006, the number of threatened species included five types of mammals, seven species of birds, three types of reptiles, nine species of fish, and one species of plant. Endangered species in Libya include the Mediterranean monk seal, the leopard, and the slender-horned gazelle. The Bubal hartebeest and Sahara oryx are extinct.

6 Population

The population in 2005 was estimated at 5,766,000; a population of 8.323 million is projected for the year 2025. The overall population density was 3 per square kilometer (8 per square mile) in 2005. It is estimated that 86% live in urban areas. The two chief cities, Tripoli and Banghazi, had populations of 2.006 million and 1.033 million, respectively, in 2005.

7 Migration

In 1992, the foreign population was estimated at 2 million, half of them Egyptian and 600,000 from South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. About 100,000 Libyans were in exile in the mid-1980s. The nomadic inhabitants of Libya follow regular patterns of migration; nomadic tribes in the south normally ignore international frontiers. Since the discovery of oil, there has been significant internal migration from rural to urban regions.

In 2000 there were 570,000 migrants living in Libya, including 11,500 refugees. In 2004, there were 12,166 refugees, mainly from Palestine, and 200 asylum seekers, all located in Tripoli. Also, in that year, over 700 Libyans sought asylum in Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Norway. In 2005, the estimated net migration rate was zero.

8 Ethnic Groups

For thousands of years the inhabitants of Libya were Berbers. Arabs started arriving in the seventh century ad, displacing or assimilating their Berber predecessors. The latest estimates indicate that about 97% of Libyans were of Berber and Arab ancestry. The remaining 3% are Greek, Maltese, Italian, Egyptian, Pakistani, Turkish, Indian, and Tunisian.

9 Languages

Arabic is the official language and since 1969, its use in daily life, even by foreigners, has been encouraged by government decree. English, which also is used in some government publications, has replaced Italian as the second language; however, Italian is still widely understood. Berber is spoken by small communities, especially in Tripolitania.

10 Religions

Islam is Libya’s official religion and the government publicly supports a preference for a moderate practice of Islam. About 97% of the people are Sunni Muslim. There are about 100,000 Christians in the country, of whom the majority are Roman Catholics. Other denominations include Anglican and Coptic and Greek Orthodox. There is also a very small Jewish community.

11 Transportation

Transportation varies from dirt tracks suitable for camels and donkeys to a coastal highway extending for 1,822 kilometers (1,132 miles) from the Tunisian to the Egyptian border. In all, there were an estimated 24,484 kilometers (15,214 miles) of roads in 2002, of which 6,798 kilometers (4,224 miles) were paved. In 2003, there were 368,600 private cars and 354,000 commercial vehicles registered in the country. Libya’s two railway lines were closed down in the early 1960s. The main ports are Tripoli,

Banghazi, Qasr Ahmad (the port for Misratah), and Tobruk. Libya’s two international airports are Tripoli Airport and Benina Airport.

12 History

The Berbers entered what is now Libya in about 2000 bc, presumably from southwestern Asia. Phoenician seafarers, who arrived early in the first millennium bc, founded settlements along the coast, including one that became Tripoli. Around the seventh century bc, Greek colonists settled in the Libyan desert known as Cyrenaica. By the fourth century bc, some parts of Libya had fallen to Carthage and others to Egypt. When the Romans defeated Carthage in the Punic Wars of the third and second centuries bc, they occupied the regions around Tripoli. In 96 bc, they forced Egypt to surrender Cyrenaica, and Roman influence later extended far south.

Libya became very prosperous under Roman rule. However, with the decline of Rome, western Libya fell in the fifth century ad to Germanic Vandal invaders, who ruled from Carthage. In the sixth century, the Byzantines conquered the Vandals and ruled the coastal regions of Libya until the Arab conquest of the seventh century. The Arabs intermixed with the Berbers, who were gradually absorbed into the Muslim Arab culture.

Western Libya was administered by Tunisian peoples in the ninth and tenth centuries. During the 11th century, invasions by two nomadic Arab groups destroyed many of the urban and agricultural areas. Normans from Sicily occupied Tripoli and surrounding regions in 1145 but were soon displaced by the Almohads of Morocco; during the 13th century, the Hafsids of Tunisia ruled western Libya. The eastern regions remained subject to Egyptian dynasties. In the 16th century, Spanish invaders seized parts of the coast. The Ottoman Turks occupied the coastal regions in 1551, ruling the country until 1711, when Ahmad Qaramanli, of Turkish origin, won partially independent status for the region. The Qaramanlis ruled until 1835, when the Ottomans again assumed control.

World War II and Independence In September 1911, the Italians invaded Libya, meeting fierce resistance from both Turks and indigenous Libyans. The Italian struggle for control of the region continued until 1932, when its conquest was completed. In World War II (1939–45), Libya became a main battleground for Allied and Axis forces, until it was occupied by victorious British and Free French troops. The Treaty of 1947 between Italy and the Allies ended Italian rule in Libya. When the Allies could not decide upon the country’s future, Libya’s fate was left to the United Nations. On 21 November 1949, the United Nations General Assembly voted that Libya should become an independent state. On 24 December 1951, Libya gained independence, with Muhammad Idris al-Mahdi as-Sanusi as king.

Qadhafi and the Libyan Revolution On 1 September 1969, a secret army organization, the Free Unionist Officers, deposed the king and proclaimed a republican regime. On 8 September, the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) announced the formation of a civilian government. This government resigned on 16 January 1970, and a new cabinet was formed under Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi, chairman of the RCC.

Qadhafi has sought to make Libya the axis of a unified Arab nation, but relations with many Arab nations, including Egypt and Tunisia, have often been tense. Qadhafi has been equally active in Africa, annexing the disputed Aouzou Strip from Chad in 1973, and supporting the failing regimes of Uganda’s Idi Amin in 1979 and Chad’s Goukouni Oueddei in 1980. Qadhafi also has been accused of supporting subversive plots in such countries as Morocco, Niger, Sudan, and Egypt. He also has been accused of providing material support to the Irish Republican Army, the Muslim rebels in the Philippines, and to Japanese and German terrorists.

In 1982, the United States charged Qadhafi with supporting international terrorism. In January 1986, the United States ordered all Americans to leave Libya and cut off all economic ties. On 15 April, following a West Berlin bomb attack in which U.S. servicemen were victims, U.S. warplanes bombed targets in Tripoli and Banghazi.

Qadhafi has survived several reported assassination and coup (forced takeover) attempts, including those in 1984 and 1993. Opposition from Islamic groups prompted him to crack down on militants in 1993. His most serious challenge has been the tough sanctions imposed on Libya by the United Nations Security Council. These sanctions were imposed after he refused to surrender two men suspected in the terrorist bombing of a Pan American passenger jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.

In September 1995, Libya began deporting thousands of Palestinian, Sudanese, and Egyptian workers. Qadhafi claimed the foreigners were being deported to create jobs for Libyans. However, Qadhafi stated that many of those being deported were Islamic militant “infiltrators” pretending to be migrant workers.

In 1996, it was believed that Libya was almost finished building the world’s largest underground chemical weapons plant at Tarhunah, near Tripoli. Intelligence officials from the United States claimed that the facility is capable of producing tons of poisonous gas per day. The Libyan government claimed that the building was a water irrigation system.

As Libya has become, over time, a victim of terrorism, Qadhafi’s preoccupation has become the safety of his own country. In August 1998, Qadhafi agreed to hand over the two Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie bombing for trial in the Netherlands before Scottish judges. This decision led to an easing of tensions. In January 2001, the Scottish court in the Netherlands found one of the two Libyan defendants guilty of involvement in the Lockerbie bombing, and sentenced him to life imprisonment. The other Libyan was found not guilty. U.S. president George W. Bush stated that U.S. sanctions would remain in place not only until Libya provided financial compensation for the bombing of the aircraft, but also until Libya admitted guilt and expressed remorse for the act. In August 2003, Libya agreed to pay families of the victims of the bombing compensation in the amount of $2.7 billion ($10 million per each of the 270 victims). Libya formally took responsibility for the bombing in a letter to the UN Security Council. In September 2003, the Security Council voted to lift UN sanctions against Libya. U.S. sanctions were lifted in September 2004.

In December 2003, Libya announced it would rid itself of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the missiles needed to deliver them. Since that time, it has cooperated with the United States, the United Kingdom, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons toward these objectives. Libya also signed the IAEA Additional Protocol, and became a state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

13 Government

The people theoretically exercise their authority through a system of people’s congresses and committees. At the top of this system is the 760-member General People’s Congress (GPC). Qadhafi, as “Leader of the Revolution,” however, is the de facto head of state. He also is the commander of the armed forces and virtually all power is concentrated in him and his close advisers.

In March 1977, the nation’s name was changed to the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Jamahiriya means “state of the masses,” and putting this system to work would involve a process of total decentralization of power, whereby all decisions would be left to the citizens via direct democracy. In 1998, the GPC divided Libya into 26 governorates (Shabiyah), each to be headed by the secretary of a people’s committee. There are municipal people’s congresses, as well as vocational, production, professional, and craft people’s congresses. Although

BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Name: Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi

Position: Head of state of a military dictatorship

Took Office: 1 September 1969

Birthplace: Sirte, Libya

Birthdate: 1942

Religion: Islam

Education: Military Academy, Benghazi, Libya, 1963

Children: Eight children

in theory Qadhafi plans to decentralize power to 600 popular congresses, most decision-making power is tightly controlled by the central government.

14 Political Parties

Political parties have not played an effective role in Libya’s history. In 1971, the RCC (Revolutionary Command Council) founded the Libyan Arab Socialist Union as an alternative to political parties. It was viewed as an organization to promote national unity but has functioned in a minor capacity since 1977. The following groups have been in opposition to the government: Fighting Islamic Group, Islamic Martyrs’ Movement, Libyan Ba’athist Party, Libyan Conservatives’ Party, Libyan Democratic Movement, Libyan Democratic Authority, Libyan Democratic Conference, Libyan Movement for Change and Reform, Libyan National Alliance, Movement of Patriotic Libyans, National Front for the Salvation of Libya, Libya Islamic Group, and Supporters of God.

15 Judicial System

Minor civil and commercial cases may be heard by a sitting judge in each village and town until January 2005. Other cases are heard initially by courts of first instance, and appeals may be taken to three courts of appeal. A separate body called the Shariah Court of Appeals hears cases appealed from the lower courts involving Islamic law. There also is a supreme court, consisting of a president and judges appointed by the GPC. Special revolutionary courts try political offenses. The 1994 Purge Law provides for the confiscation of private assets above a certain amount. The law requires that the confiscated property should be given to the poor.

16 Armed Forces

In 2005, the armed forces of Libya numbered 76,000 active and some 40,000 reserve personnel. The army had 45,000 personnel, the navy had 8,000 personnel, and the air force numbered 23,000. The military budget was $620 million in 2005.

17 Economy

Until the late 1950s, Libya was one of the poorest countries in the world. But with the discovery of the Zaltan oil field in 1959, the economic horizons of the country were dramatically enlarged. Production has fallen since 1970, but its value has increased, and Libya remains one of the world’s leading oil producers. Until the late 1950s, about 80% of the population was engaged in agriculture and animal farming; in 1999, however, only 18% of the labor force was engaged in agricultural pursuits, contributing 5% to the GDP.

A massive water pipeline project, called the Great Manmade River (GMR) project, began in 1986. The GMR will carry water in a huge 427 kilometer- (267 mile-) long pipeline from 1,000 underground wells to irrigate 1.2 million acres of land used to grow cereal crops. Phase 1 of the project was completed in September 1993, when water was carried from wells near Tazirbu to Banghazi. Phase II, completed in 1996, carried water from western wells to Tripoli. Phase III was planned to link the western and eastern systems, and was ongoing as of early 2007. Libya had spent about $20 billion to complete 5,000 kilometers (3,125 miles) of pipeline during the first two phases.

Yearly Growth Rate

This economic indicator tells by what percent the economy has increased or decreased when compared with the previous year.

Due to the 1992 to 1999 United Nations (UN)-imposed air embargo, many large projects were postponed because of budget restrictions. Libya’s isolation slowed the pace of oil exploration through the absence of major foreign oil companies. Lack of outlets limited the development of refineries, petrochemicals, and gas facilities.

In 1999, the UN sanctions on Libya—an air and arms embargo—were suspended because of the extradition of two suspects in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Oil

Components of the Economy

This pie chart shows how much of the country’s economy is devoted to agriculture (including forestry, hunting, and fishing), industry, or services.

companies are eager to exploit Libya’s resources and Libya as of 2003 was actively courting foreign companies to help develop its production capacity. Libya is looking to put itself forward as an economic intermediary between Europe and Africa.

18 Income

In 2005, Libya’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $48.2 billion, about $8,400 per person. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 8.5%. The average inflation rate in 2004 was approximately -3.4%.

19 Industry

Libyan manufacturing industries had been developing significantly since the early 1960s, but have fallen far behind the petroleum sector of the economy. Libya is Africa’s largest oil producer. The country’s proven oil reserves are 29.5 billion barrels and production is 1.4 million barrels per day. All of Libya’s oil refineries are in need of updating.

A large methanol, ammonia, and urea plant is located at Marsa al-Burayqah and a major plant producing ethylene, propylene, and butene opened in 1987. The $6 billion iron and steel complex at Misratah began operations in 1990. Libya’s other manufacturing industries are devoted primarily to the processing of local agricultural products and to textiles, building materials, and basic consumer items.

20 Labor

According to figures for 2005, the total labor force was 1.64 million people. As of 2004, unemployment was estimated at 30%. All Libyans are required to join a trade union. Foreign workers, who do much of the blue-collar and technical work, are not treated with equality under Libyan labor law and may only stay in the country for the duration of their employment contracts. The government is the largest employer, and operates public utilities, several banks, and port and harbor organizations.

There is no information about child labor although the minimum age for employment is legally set at 18 years. The average family wage is estimated at $170 per month.

21 Agriculture

Only about 1% of the country is cultivated. Virtually all crops are grown for domestic consumption. Estimated agricultural output in 2004 included 195,000 tons of potatoes, 190,000 tons of tomatoes, 125,000 tons of wheat, and 80,000 tons of barley. The 2004 production of fruits included 240,000 tons of watermelons, 44,000 tons of oranges, 150,000 tons of dates, and 180,000 tons of olives.

22 Domesticated Animals

Libya’s livestock are vulnerable to disease and drought. In past years, losses have reached as high as 60%. The livestock population of Libya in 2005 included 4.5 million sheep, 1.265 million goats, 130,000 head of cattle, 47,000 camels, 45,000 horses, 30,000 donkeys, and 25 million chickens. Private dairy farms are allowed to operate, but their milk must be sold to the state. The government maintains large poultry farms. Livestock products in 2005 included 142,000 tons of meat, 60,000 tons of eggs, and 130,000 tons of cow’s milk.

23 Fishing

Libya’s excellent fishing grounds contain tuna, sardines, and other fish. In 2003, the catch was 33,671 tons. Landings of bluefin and bigeye tuna have sharply increased since 1990. The value of fish exports rose significantly to $79.5 million in 2003.

24 Forestry

The only important forest areas in Libya are shrubby juniper growths in the Jabal Akhdar areas of Cyrenaica. Some 358,000 hectares (884,600 acres) of Libyan territory are classified as “forest,” but almost all of this land could more properly be called underbrush. In 2004, round-wood removals were estimated at 652,000 cubic meters (23 million cubic feet), of which 536,000 cubic meters (18.9 million cubic feet) were used for fuel.

Yearly Balance of Trade

The balance of trade is the difference between what a country sells to other countries (its exports) and what it buys (its imports). If a country imports more than it exports, it has a negative balance of trade (a trade deficit). If exports exceed imports there is a positive balance of trade (a trade surplus).

25 Mining

Petroleum was Libya’s leading industry in 2004 and Libya was the third-largest crude oil producer in Africa, after Nigeria and Algeria. Estimated nonhydrocarbon mineral production in 2004 included 1,026,000 tons of lime, 175,000 tons of gypsum, and 15,000 tons of sulfur (a by-product of petroleum and natural gas). Also produced were limestone, nitrogen, and salt. Libya had large reserves of iron ore in the Fezzan. There were also deposits of magnesium salts (7.5 million tons) and potassium salts (1.6 million tons) in Maradah.

26 Foreign Trade

Libya has long enjoyed a favorable trade balance because of exports of crude oil, mostly to

Selected Social Indicators

The statistics below are the most recent estimates available as of 2006. For comparison purposes, data for the United States and averages for low-income countries and high-income countries are also given. About 15% of the world’s 6.5 billion people live in high-income countries, while 37% live in low-income countries.

Indicator Libya Low-income countries High-income countries United States
sources: World Bank. World Development Indicators. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 2006; Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2006; World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.
Per capita gross national income (GNI)*$8,400 $2,258$31,009$39,820
Population growth rate2.0% 2%0.8%1.2%
People per square kilometer of land3 803032
Life expectancy in years: male72 587675
female77 608280
Number of physicians per 1,000 people1.3 0.43.72.3
Number of pupils per teacher (primary school)n.a. 431615
Literacy rate (15 years and older)83% 65%>95%99%
Television sets per 1,000 people149 84735938
Internet users per 1,000 people36 28538630
Energy consumed per capita (kg of oil equivalent)3,191 5015,4107,843
CO2 emissions per capita (metric tons)9.45 0.8512.9719.92
* The GNI is the total of all goods and services produced by the residents of a country in a year. The per capita GNI is calculated by dividing a country’s GNI by its population and adjusting for relative purchasing power.
n.a.: data not available >: greater than <: less than

Europe. In a typical year, oil production and sales account for up to 95% of Libya’s revenues. Other exports include natural and manufactured gas, hydrocarbons, and fertilizers. The most important imports are foodstuffs, machinery, transport equipment, iron and steel products, and basic consumer goods.

In 2005, exports reached $31 billion, while imports grew to $11 billion. The majority of exports went to Italy (37%), Germany (16.6%), Spain (11.9%), Turkey (7.1%), and France (6.2%). Imports mainly came from Italy (25.5%), Germany 11%), South Korea (6.1%), the United Kingdom (5.4%), Tunisia (4.7%), and Turkey (4.6%).

27 Energy and Power

Libya is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Crude petroleum reserves were estimated at 39 billion barrels in January 2005. Libya has 12 oil fields, each with reserves of 1 billion barrels or more, plus two other fields with reserves in the 500 million to 1 billion barrel range; however, the country remains highly unexplored and is viewed as having excellent potential for additional oil discoveries. Because Libya is a member of OPEC, its crude oil production is subject to a quota, which as of 1 November 2004 was placed at 1.445 million barrels per day.

Reserves of natural gas were estimated at 1.47 trillion cubic meters (52 trillion cubic feet) as of 1 January 2005. Production was 6.2 billion cubic meters (219 billion cubic feet) in 2002. Total electric power generation in 2002 was 14.424 billion kilowatt hours.

28 Social Development

By law, all employees are entitled to sickness, invalid, disability, death, and maternity benefits; unemployment payments; and pensions. Profit sharing, free medical care and education, and subsidized food are other social welfare benefits.

Despite a constitutional proclamation providing equality for women, customary Muslim restrictions still apply. Women have been granted full legal rights, but few women work outside the home. There is evidence to suggest that younger, urban women are gradually becoming more emancipated, however. Younger women in urban areas have largely discarded their traditional veiled dress, although in rural areas the veil is still widely worn.

Under Libyan law, an individual may be arrested and detained without a specific charge. Political dissenters are imprisoned. Citizens do not have the right to legal counsel or to fair public trials.

29 Health

As of 2004, there were an estimated 130 physicians, 360 nurses, 14 dentists, and 25 pharmacists per 1,000 people. Widespread diseases include typhoid and infectious hepatitis. As of 2004, there were approximately 10,000 people living with HIV/AIDS. In 2005, the average life expectancy was about 76.5 years.

Increasing urbanization has created slum conditions in the major cities. There have been slum clearance and building projects since 1954, but the housing deficit has not yet been met. Real estate was the main area of private investment until 1978, when most tenants were made owners of their residences.

31 Education

The government has invested heavily in education, which is free at all levels. School is compulsory for nine years. In 2001, about 8% of children between the ages of four and five were enrolled in some type of preschool/kindergarten program. In 1994, primary schools had 1,357,040 pupils. Secondary schools had 310,556 pupils in 1992. The number of students attending vocational schools was 118,564 in 1993.

Al-Fatah University and the University of Garyounis are the two main universities. The Bright Star University of Technology at Marsa al-Brega was founded in 1981. As of 2004, the adult literacy rate was estimated at 83% (males, 91.8%; females, 70.7%).

32 Media

In 2003, there were an estimated 136 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people, and 23 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people. As of 2005, there were no privately-owned broadcasting stations. In 2003, there were an estimated 273 radios for every 1,000 people. There were 23.4 personal computers per every 1,000 people. In 2006, it was estimated that 36 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet and that there were 149 television sets for every 1,000 people.

In 2002, there were three major daily newspapers. Al-Fair Al-Jadeed (The New Dawn) is a government-owned daily published in Tripoli, with circulation of about 40,000. The other dailies included Al-Jihad and Libyan Press Review.

33 Tourism and Recreation

Tourist attractions in Libya are its good climate, extensive beaches, and magnificent Greek and Roman ruins. However, tourist facilities are not widely available, because tourism has mostly been discouraged during the tenure of Qadhafi. It suffered a further blow with the 1992 imposition of UN sanctions related to the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland. In 2003, Libya had 957,896 tourist arrivals. There were 12,405 hotel rooms with 20,967 beds the same year.

34 Famous Libyans

As Roman emperor, Septimius Severus (ruled 193–211) was responsible for initiating an extensive building program at his native Leptis Magna. Muhammad Idris al-Mahdi as-Sanusi (1890– 1983) was Libya’s first king, ruling the country from its independence until he was deposed in 1969. Colonel Muammar Muhammad al-Qadhafi (1942–) has been the actual ruler of the country since that time. Omar al-Muntasser (1939–2001) became secretary-general of the General People’s Committee in 1987.

35 Bibliography

BOOKS

Gottfried, Ted. Libya: Desert Land in Conflict. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1994.

Harmon, Daniel E. Libya. Philadelphia: Mason Crest Publishers, 2003.

Malcolm, Peter. Libya. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1999.

Sanders, Renfield. Libya. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2000.

St. John, Ronald Bruce. Historical Dictionary of Libya. 3rd ed. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1991.

Willis, Terri. Libya. New York: Children’s Press, 1999.

WEB SITES

Aquastat. www.fao.org/ag/Agl/AGLW/aquastat/countries/libya/index.stm. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Country Analysis Briefs. www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Libya/Background.html. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Country Pages. www.state.gov/p/nea/ci/c2415.htm. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

World Heritage List. whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/ly. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

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Libya

Libya

Compiled from the August 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

PROFILE

PEOPLE

HISTORY

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

ECONOMY

FOREIGN RELATIONS

U.S.-LIBYAN RELATIONS

TRAVEL

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 1,759,540 million sq. km.

Cities: Capital—Tripoli (2003 pop. est. 1,150,000). Other—Benghazi (2003 pop. est. 637,000).

Terrain: Mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions.

Climate: Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Libyan(s).

Population: (July 2004 est.) 5,631,585 (includes non-nationals, of which an estimated 500,000 or more are sub-Saharan Africans living in Libya).

Annual growth rate: (2004 est.) 2.37%.

Ethnic groups: Berber and Arab 97%; Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians.

Religion: Sunni Muslim 97%.

Languages: Arabic is the primary language. English, French, and Italian are understood in major cities.

Education: Years compulsory—9. Attendance—90%. Literacy—82.6%.

Health: (2004 est.) Infant mortality rate—25.7/1,000. Life expectancy—male, 74.1 yrs.; female, 78.58 yrs.

Work force: (2001 est.) 1.6 million, an estimated 500,000 of whom are sub-Saharan African foreign workers. Work force by occupation (1997 est.) Industry—29%. Services and Government—54%. Agriculture—17%.

Government

Official name: Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

Type: “Jamahiriya” is a term Col. Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi coined and which he defines as a “state of the masses” governed by the populace through local councils. In practice, Libya is an authoritarian state.

Independence: December 24, 1951.

Revolution: September 1, 1969.

Constitution: December 11, 1969, amended March 2, 1977—established popular congresses and people’s committees.

Political subdivisions: 31 municipalities (singular—”shabiya”, plural—”shabiyat”) Butnan, Darnah, Gubba, Al Jabal al-Akhdar, Marj, Green Belt, Benghazi, Ajdabiya, Wahat, Kufra, Surt, Al Jufrah, Misurata, Murgub, Bani-waleed, Tarhuna and Msallata, Tripoli, Jfara, Zawiya, Subrata & Surman, An Nuqat al Khams, Gharyan, Mezda, Nalut, Ghdames, Yefren and Jadu, Wadi Alhaya, Ghat, Sabha, Wadi Shati, Murzuq.

Political parties: Political parties are banned. According to the political theory of Col. Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi, multi-layered popular assemblies (people’s congresses) with executive institutions (people’s committees) are guided by political cadres (revolutionary committees).

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory.

Economy

GDP: (2003 est.) $35 billion.

Per capita GDP: (2003 est.) $6,400.

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, gypsum.

Agriculture: Products—wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus, vegetables, peanuts, soybeans; cattle; approximately 75% of Libya’s food is imported.

Industry: Types—petroleum, food processing, textiles, handicrafts, cement.

Trade: Exports (2003 est.)—$14.32 billion: crude oil, refined petroleum products. Major markets (2003)—Italy (39.4%), Germany (13.6%), Spain (13.6%), Turkey 6.6%, France (6.2%). Imports (2003 est.)—$6.282 billion: machinery, transport equipment, food, manufactured goods. Major suppliers (2003)—Italy (27.2%), Germany (10.3%), Tunisia (7.7%), U.K. (6.9%), South Korea (6.9%), France (5.8%).

PEOPLE

Libya has a small population in a large land area. Population density is about 50 persons per sq. km. (80/sq. mi.) in the two northern regions of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, but falls to less than one person per sq. km. (1.6/sq. mi.) elsewhere. Ninety percent of the people live in less than 10% of the area, primarily along the coast. More than half the population is urban, mostly concentrated in the two largest cities, Tripoli and Benghazi. Fifty percent of the population is estimated to be under age 15.

Native Libyans are primarily a mixture of Arabs and Berbers. Small Tebou and Touareg tribal groups in southern Libya are nomadic or semi-nomadic. Among foreign residents, the largest groups are citizens of other African nations, including North Africans (primarily Egyptians and Tunisians), West Africans and Sub-Saharan Africans.

HISTORY

For most of their history, the peoples of Libya have been subjected to varying degrees of foreign control. The Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, and Byzantines ruled all or parts of Libya. Although the Greeks and Romans left impressive ruins at Cyrene, Leptis Magna, and Sabratha, little else remains today to testify to the presence of these ancient cultures.

The Arabs conquered Libya in the seventh century A.D. In the following centuries, most of the indigenous peoples adopted Islam and the Arabic language and culture. The Ottoman Turks conquered the country in the mid-16th century. Libya remained part of their empire—although at times virtually autonomous—until Italy invaded in 1911 and, in the face of years of resistance, made Libya a colony.

In 1934, Italy adopted the name “Libya” (used by the Greeks for all of North Africa, except Egypt) as the official name of the colony, which consisted of the Provinces of Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, and Fezzan. King Idris I, Emir of Cyrenaica, led Libyan resistance to Italian occupation between the two World Wars. From 1943 to 1951, Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were under British administration, while the French controlled Fezzan. In 1944, Idris returned from exile in Cairo but declined to resume permanent residence in Cyrenaica until the removal in 1947 of some aspects of foreign control. Under the terms of the 1947 peace treaty with the Allies, Italy relinquished all claims to Libya.

On November 21, 1949, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution stating that Libya should become independent before January 1, 1952. King Idris I represented Libya in the subsequent UN negotiations. When Libya declared its independence on December 24, 1951, it was the first country to achieve independence through the United Nations and one of the first former European possessions in Africa to gain independence. Libya was proclaimed a constitutional and a hereditary monarchy under King Idris.

The discovery of significant oil reserves in 1959 and the subsequent income from petroleum sales enabled what had been one of the world’s poorest countries to become extremely wealthy, as measured by per capita GDP. Although oil drastically improved Libya’s finances, popular resentment grew as wealth was increasingly concentrated in the hands of the elite. This discontent continued to mount with the rise throughout the Arab world of Nasserism and the idea of Arab unity.

On September 1, 1969, a small group of military officers led by then 28-year-old army officer Mu’ammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi staged a coup d’etat against King Idris, who was exiled to Egypt. The new regime, headed by the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), abolished the monarchy and proclaimed the new Libyan Arab Republic. Qadhafi emerged as leader of the RCC and eventually as de facto chief of state, a political role he still plays. The Libyan government asserts that Qadhafi currently holds no official position, although he is referred to in government statements and the official press as the “Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution.”

The new RCC’s motto became “freedom, socialism, and unity.” It pledged itself to remedy “backwardness”, take an active role in the Palestinian Arab cause, promote Arab unity, and encourage domestic policies based on social justice, non-exploitation, and an equitable distribution of wealth.

An early objective of the new government was withdrawal of all foreign military installations from Libya. Following negotiations, British military installations at Tobruk and nearby El Adem were closed in March 1970, and U.S. facilities at Wheelus Air Force Base near Tripoli were closed in June 1970. That July, the Libyan Government ordered the expulsion of several thousand Italian residents. By 1971, libraries and cultural centers operated by foreign governments were ordered closed.

In the 1970s, Libya claimed leadership of Arab and African revolutionary forces and sought active roles in international organizations. Late in the 1970s, Libyan embassies were redesignated as “people’s bureaus,” as Qadhafi sought to portray Libyan foreign policy as an expression of the popular will. The people’s bureaus, aided by Libyan religious, political, educational, and business institutions overseas, exported Qadhafi’s revolutionary philosophy abroad.

Qadhafi’s confrontational foreign policies and use of terrorism, as well as Libya’s growing friendship with the U.S.S.R., led to increased tensions with the West in the 1980s. Following a terrorist bombing at a discotheque in West Berlin frequented by American military personnel, in 1986 the U.S. retaliated militarily against targets in Libya, and imposed broad uni-lateral economic sanctions.

After Libya was implicated in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, UN sanctions were imposed in 1992. UN Security

Council resolutions (UNSCRs) passed in 1992 and 1993 obliged Libya to fulfill requirements related to the Pan Am 103 bombing before sanctions could be lifted. Qadhafi initially refused to comply with these requirements, leading to Libya’s political and economic isolation for most of the 1990s.

In 1999, Libya fulfilled one of the UNSCR requirements by surrendering two Libyans suspected in connection with the bombing for trial before a Scottish court in the Netherlands. One of these suspects, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, was found guilty; the other was acquitted. Al-Megrahi’s conviction was upheld on appeal in 2002. In August 2003, Libya fulfilled the remaining UNSCR requirements, including acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials and payment of appropriate compensation to the victims’ families. UN sanctions were lifted on September 12, 2003. U.S. International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)-based sanctions were lifted September 20, 2004.

On December 19, 2003, Libya publicly announced its intention to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)-class missile programs. Since that time, it has cooperated with the U.S., the U.K., the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons toward these objectives. Libya has also signed the IAEA Additional Protocol and has become a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Libya’s political system is in theory based on the political philosophy in Qadhafi’s Green Book, which combines socialist and Islamic theories and rejects parliamentary democracy and political parties. In reality, Qadhafi exercises near total control over major government decisions. For the first seven years following the revolution, Colonel Qadhafi and 12 fellow army officers, the Revolutionary Command Council, began a complete overhaul of Libya’s political system, society and economy. In 1973, he announced the start of a “cultural revolution” in schools, businesses, industries, and public institutions to oversee administration of those organizations in the public interest. On March 2, 1977, Qadhafi convened a General People’s Congress (GPC) to proclaim the establishment of “people’s power,” change the country’s name to the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and to vest, theoretically, primary authority in the GPC.

The GPC is the legislative forum that interacts with the General People’s Committee, whose members are secretaries of Libyan ministries. It serves as the intermediary between the masses and the leadership and is composed of the secretariats of some 600 local “basic popular congresses.” The GPC secretariat and the cabinet secretaries are appointed by the GPC secretary general and confirmed by the annual GPC congress. These cabinet secretaries are responsible for the routine operation of their ministries, but Qadhafi exercises real authority directly or through manipulation of the peoples and revolutionary committees.

Qadhafi remained the de facto chief of state and secretary general of the GPC until 1980, when he gave up his office. Although he holds no formal office, Qadhafi exercises power with the assistance of a small group of trusted advisers, who include relatives from his home base in the Sirte region, which lies between the traditional commercial and political power centers in Benghazi and Tripoli.

In the 1980s, competition grew between the official Libyan Government and military hierarchies and the revolutionary committees. An abortive coup attempt in May 1984, apparently mounted by Libyan exiles with internal support, led to a short-lived reign of terror in which thousands were imprisoned and interrogated. An unknown number were executed. Qadhafi used the revolutionary committees to search out alleged internal opponents following the coup attempt, thereby accelerating the rise of more radical elements inside the Libyan power hierarchy.

In 1988, faced with rising public dissatisfaction with shortages in consumer goods and setbacks in Libya’s war with Chad, Qadhafi began to curb the power of the revolutionary committees and to institute some domestic reforms. The regime released many political prisoners and eased restrictions on foreign travel by Libyans. Private businesses were again permitted to operate.

In the late 1980s, Qadhafi began to pursue an anti-Islamic fundamental-ist policy domestically, viewing fundamentalism as a potential rallying point for opponents of the regime. Qadhafi’s security forces launched a pre-emptive strike at alleged coup plotters in the military and among the Warfallah tribe in October 1993. Widespread arrests and government reshufflings followed, accompanied by public “confessions” from regime opponents and allegations of torture and executions. The military, once Qadhafi’s strongest supporters, became a potential threat in the 1990s. In 1993, following a failed coup attempt that implicated senior military officers, Qadhafi began to purge the military periodically, eliminating potential rivals and inserting his own loyal followers in their place.

The Libyan court system consists of three levels: the courts of first instance; the courts of appeals; and the Supreme Court, which is the final appellate level. The GPC appoints justices to the Supreme Court. Special “revolutionary courts” and military courts operate outside the court system to try political offenses and crimes against the state. “People’s courts,” another example of extrajudicial authority, were abolished in January 2005. Libya’s justice system is nominally based on Sharia law.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 1/24/2007

Leader: Muammar Abu Minyar alQADHAFI, Col.

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Congress: Muhammad al-ZANATI

Asst. Sec. of the Gen. People’s Congress: Ahmad Mohamed IBRAHIM

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee (Prime Min.): al-Baghdadi Ali alMAHMUDI

Asst. Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee: Abd-al-Hafid Mahmud alZULAYTINI

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee for Agriculture & Animal Resources: Abu Bakr Mabruk al-MANSURI

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee for Culture & Information: Nuri Dhaw alHUMAYDI

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee for Economy, Trade, & Investment: Ali Abdul Aziz al-ISAWI

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee for Electricity, Water, & Gas: Umran Ibrahim Abu-KRA’AA

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee for General Education: Abd al-Qadir Muhammad al-BAGHDADI

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee for Finance: Muhammad Ali alHUWAYZ

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee for Foreign Liaison & Intl. Cooperation: Abd al-Rahman Muhammad SHALGHAM

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee for Health & Environment: Muhammad Abu Ujaylah RASHID

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee for Higher Education: Aqil Husayn AQIL

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee for Industry & Mines: Ali Yusuf ZIKRI

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee for Justice: Mustafa Muhammad Abd-alJALIL

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee for Planning: al-Tahriri al-Hadi alJUHAYMI

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee for Public Security: Salih Rajab alMISMARI

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee for Social Affairs: Ibrahim al-ZARRUQ al-SHARIF

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee for Telecommunications & Transport: Muhammad Abu-Ujayl al-MABRUK

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee for the Workforce, Training, & Employment: Matuq Muhammad MATUQ

Sec. of the Gen. People’s Committee for Youth & Sports: Mustafa Miftah Bel’id al-DERSI

Governor, Central Bank: Farhat Omer Ben GDARA

Chief, Liaison Office, Washington: Ali Suleiman AUJALI

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: The Libyan Embassy is located at 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Suite 705, Washington DC 20037 (tel. 202-944-9601, fax 202-944-9060).

ECONOMY

The government dominates Libya’s socialist-oriented economy through complete control of the country’s oil resources, which account for approximately 97% of export earnings, 75% of government receipts, and 54% of the gross domestic product. Oil revenues constitute the principal source of foreign exchange. Much of the country’s income has been lost to waste, corruption, conventional armaments purchases, and attempts to develop weapons of mass destruction, as well as to large donations made to developing countries in attempts to increase Qadhafi’s influence in Africa and elsewhere. Although oil revenues and a small population give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, the government’s mismanagement of the economy has led to high inflation and increased import prices. These factors resulted in a decline in the standard of living from the late 1990s through 2003.

Despite efforts to diversify the economy and encourage private sector participation, extensive controls of prices, credit, trade, and foreign exchange constrain growth. Import restrictions and inefficient resource allocations have caused periodic shortages of basic goods and foodstuffs.

Although agriculture is the second-largest sector in the economy, Libya imports most foods. Climatic conditions and poor soils severely limit output, while higher incomes and a growing population have caused food consumption to rise. Domestic food production meets about 25% of demand.

On September 20, 2004, President George W. Bush signed an Executive Order ending economic sanctions imposed under the authority of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). U.S. persons are no longer prohibited from working in Libya, and many American companies are actively seeking investment opportunities in Libya. The government has announced ambitious plans to increase foreign investment in the oil and gas sectors to significantly boost production capacity. The government is also pursuing a number of infrastructure projects such as highways, railways, telecommunications backbones, and irrigation.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Since 1969, Qadhafi has determined Libya’s foreign policy. His principal foreign policy goals have been Arab unity, elimination of Israel, advancement of Islam, support for Palestinians, elimination of outside—particularly Western—influence in the Middle East and Africa, and support for a range of “revolutionary” causes.

After the 1969 coup, Qadhafi closed American and British bases on Libyan territory and partially nationalized all foreign oil and commercial interests in Libya. He also played a key role in promoting the use of oil embargoes as a political weapon for challenging the West, hoping that an oil price rise and embargo in 1973 would persuade the West—especially the United States—to end support for Israel. Qadhafi rejected both Soviet communism and Western capitalism, and claimed he was charting a middle course.

Libya’s relationship with the former Soviet Union involved massive Libyan arms purchases from the Soviet bloc and the presence of thousands of east bloc advisers. Libya’s use—and heavy loss—of Soviet-supplied weaponry in its war with Chad was a notable breach of an apparent Soviet-Libyan understanding not to use the weapons for activities inconsistent with Soviet objectives. As a result, Soviet-Libyan relations reached a nadir in mid-1987.

After the fall of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union, Libya concentrated on expanding diplomatic ties with Third World countries and increasing its commercial links with Europe and East Asia. Following the imposition of UN sanctions in 1992, these ties significantly diminished. Following a 1998 Arab League meeting in which fellow Arab states decided not to challenge UN sanctions, Qadhafi announced that he was turning his back on pan-Arab ideas, which had been one of the fundamental tenets of his philosophy.

Instead, Libya pursued closer bilateral ties, particularly with North African neighbors Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. It has also sought to develop its relations with SubSaharan Africa, leading to Libyan involvement in several internal African disputes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Somalia,

Central African Republic, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Libya has also sought to expand its influence in Africa through financial assistance, ranging from aid donations to impoverished neighbors such as Niger to oil subsidies to Zimbabwe, and through participation in the African Union. Qadhafi has proposed a borderless “United States of Africa” to transform the continent into a single nation-state ruled by a single government. This plan has been greeted with skepticism. Libya has played a helpful role in facilitating the provision of humanitarian assistance to Darfur refugees in Chad.

Terrorism

Libya has taken significant steps to mend its international image and formally renounced terrorism in a letter to the UN Security Council in August 2003. In 1999, the Libyan government surrendered two Libyans suspected of involvement in the Pan Am 103 bombing, leading to the suspension of UN sanctions. On January 31, 2001, a Scottish court seated in the Netherlands found one of the suspects, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, guilty of murder in connection with the bombing, and acquitted the second suspect, Al-Amin Khalifa Fhima. Megrahi’s conviction was upheld on March 14, 2002.

UN sanctions were lifted on September 12, 2003 following Libyan compliance with its remaining UNSCR requirements on Pan Am 103, including acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials and payment of appropriate compensation. Libya paid compensation in 1999 for the death of British policewoman Yvonne Fletcher, a move that preceded the reopening of the British Embassy in Tripoli, and paid damages to the families of the victims in the bombing of UTA Flight 772. With the lifting of UN sanctions in September 2003, each of the families of the victims of Pan Am 103 received $4 million of a maximum $10 million in compensation. After the lifting of U.S. IEEPA-based sanctions on September 20, 2004, the families received a further $4 million.

On November 13, 2001, a German court found four persons, including a former employee of the Libyan embassy in East Berlin, guilty in connection with the 1986 La Belle disco bombing, in which two U.S. servicemen were killed. The court also established a connection to the Libyan government. The German Government demanded that Libya accept responsibility for the La Belle bombing and pay appropriate compensation. A compensation deal for nonU.S. victims was agreed in August 2004. U.S. victims continue to pursue their claims in federal court.

By 2003, Libya appeared to have curtailed its support for international terrorism, although it may have retained residual contacts with some of its former terrorist clients. In August 2004, the Department of Justice entered into a plea agreement with Abdulrahman Alamoudi, in which he stated that he had been part of a 2003 plot to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah (now King Abdallah) at the behest of Libyan government officials.

In 2005, the Saudi Government pardoned the individuals accused in the assassination plot. During the 2005 UN General Assembly session, Foreign Minister Shalgam issued a statement that reaffirmed Libya’s commitment to the statements made in its letter addressed to the Security Council on August 15, 2003, renouncing terrorism in all its forms and pledging that Libya will not support acts of international terrorism or other acts of violence targeting civilians, whatever their political views or positions. Libya also expressed its commitment to continue cooperating in the international fight against terrorism. On June 30, 2006, the U.S. rescinded Libya’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.

U.S.-LIBYAN RELATIONS

The United States supported the UN resolution providing for Libyan independence in 1951 and raised the status of its office at Tripoli from a consulate general to a legation. Libya opened a legation in Washington, DC, in 1954. Both countries subsequently raised their missions to embassy level.

After Qadhafi’s 1969 coup, U.S.-Libyan relations became increasingly strained because of Libya’s foreign policies supporting international terrorism and subversion against moderate Arab and African governments. In 1972, the United States withdrew its ambassador. Export controls on military equipment and civil aircraft were imposed during the 1970s, and U.S. embassy staff members were withdrawn from Tripoli after a mob attacked and set fire to the embassy in December 1979. The U.S. Government designated Libya a “state sponsor of terrorism” on December 29, 1979.

In May 1981, the U.S. Government closed the Libyan “people’s bureau” (embassy) in Washington, DC, and expelled the Libyan staff in response to a general pattern of conduct by the people’s bureau contrary to internationally accepted standards of diplomatic behavior.

In August 1981, two Libyan jets fired on U.S. aircraft participating in a routine naval exercise over international waters of the Mediterranean claimed by Libya. The U.S. planes returned fire and shot down the attacking Libyan aircraft. In December 1981, the State Department invalidated U.S. passports for travel to Libya and, for purposes of safety, advised all U.S. citizens in Libya to leave. In March 1982, the U.S. Government prohibited imports of Libyan crude oil into the United States and expanded the controls on U.S.-origin goods intended for export to Libya. Licenses were required for all transactions, except food and medicine. In March 1984, U.S. export controls were expanded to prohibit future exports to the Ras Lanuf petrochemical complex. In April 1985, all Export-Import Bank financing was prohibited.

Due to Libya’s continuing support for terrorism, the United States adopted additional economic sanctions against Libya in January 1986, including a total ban on direct import and export trade, commercial contracts, and travel-related activities. In addition, Libyan Government assets in the United States were frozen. When evidence of Libyan complicity was discovered in the Berlin discotheque terrorist bombing that killed two American servicemen, the United States responded by launching an aerial bombing attack against targets near Tripoli and Benghazi in April 1986. Subsequently, the United States maintained its trade and travel embargoes and brought diplomatic and economic pressure to bear against Libya. This pressure helped to bring about the Lockerbie settlement and Libya’s renunciation of WMD and MTCR-class missiles.

In 1991, two Libyan intelligence agents were indicted by federal prosecutors in the U.S. and Scotland for their involvement in the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103. In January 1992, the UN Security Council approved Resolution 731 demanding that Libya surrender the suspects, cooperate with the Pan Am 103 and UTA 772 investigations, pay compensation to the victims’ families, and cease all support for terrorism. Libya’s refusal to comply led to the approval of UNSC Resolution 748 on March 31, 1992, imposing sanctions designed to bring about Libyan compliance. Continued Libyan defiance led to passage of UNSC Resolution 883—a limited assets freeze and an embargo on selected oil equipment—in November 1993. UN sanctions were lifted on September 12, 2003, after Libya fulfilled all remaining UNSCR requirements, including renunciation of terrorism, acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials, and payment of appropriate compensation to the victims’ families.

On December 19, 2003, Libya announced its intention to rid itself of WMD and MTCR-class missile programs. Since that time, it has cooperated with the U.S., the U.K., the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons toward these objectives. Libya has also signed the IAEA Additional Protocol and has become a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention. In recognition of these actions, the U.S. began the process of normalizing relations with Libya. The U.S. terminated the applicability of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act to Libya and the President signed an Executive Order on September 20, 2004 terminating the national emergency with respect to Libya and ending IEEPA-based economic sanctions. This action had the effect of unblocking assets blocked under the Executive Order sanctions. Restrictions on cargo aviation and third-party code-sharing have been lifted, as have restrictions on passenger aviation. Certain export controls remain in place.

U.S. diplomatic personnel reopened the U.S. Interest Section in Tripoli on February 8, 2004. The mission was upgraded to a U.S. Liaison Office on June 28, 2004, and to a full embassy on May 31, 2006. The establishment in 2005 of an American School in Tripoli demonstrates the increased presence of Americans in Libya, and the continuing normalization of bilateral relations.

Libya re-established its diplomatic presence in Washington with the opening of an Interest Section on July 8, 2004, which was subsequently upgraded to a Liaison Office in December 2004 and to a full embassy on May 31, 2006. Neither country has yet appointed an ambassador.

On May 15, 2006, the State Department announced its intention to rescind Libya’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism in recognition of the fact that Libya had met the statutory requirements for such a move: it had not provided any support for acts of international terrorism in the preceding six-month period, and had provided assurances that it would not do so in the future. On June 30, 2006, the U.S. rescinded Libya’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

TRIPOLI (E) Address: Corithia Hotel Bab Africa Souk Althulata Alkadem; Phone: 218-21-335-1848;

Fax: 218-21-335-1847; Workweek: Sun–Thurs, 08:00–16:45; Website: http://libya.usembassy.gov/.

AMB:Charles O. Cecil
CM OMS:Cecile M. Sakla
DCM:Ethan A. Goldrich
POL/ECO:Elizabeth Fritschle
COM:Mike Miller
CON:Cindy El Khatib
MGT:Sarah Penhune
CLO:Tanya Bowen
DAO:Kyle Carnahan
EST:Christopher Eaves
FMO:Chahrazed Sioud
GSO:Scott Simpson
IMO:Richard T. Bowen III
IRS:Kathy J Beck
PAO:Rafik Mansour
RSO:John Krajicek

Last Updated: 1/28/2007

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet : July 27, 2006

Country Description: Officially known as the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Libya has a developing economy. Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation of the country’s customs, laws, and practices. Tourist facilities are not widely available.

Entry/Exit Requirements: Pass-ports and visas are required. The restrictions on the use of U.S. passport for travel to, in, or through Libya were lifted in February 2004. Please see the section below on Special Circumstances. The Government of Libya does not allow persons with passports bearing an Israeli visa or entry/exit stamps to enter the country. At this time, neither Libya nor the U.S. provides visa services to the general public in each other’s countries; U.S. visitors to Libya should therefore plan to obtain a visa via a third country. Libyan visa practice is subject to change without notice. Most visas require an invitation or sponsor, can take up to several months to process, and should be obtained prior to travel. All visas are vetted and approved by Immigration

Departments in Tripoli and only issued by the appropriate People’s Bureau Office upon receipt of that approval. There may be another wait for actual visa issuance once approval has been received. For tourists, the visa application procedure in most cases requires a letter of invitation from an accredited tour company in Libya; for business travelers, a letter of invitation is needed from the Libyan business entity. Americans who apply for Libyan visas are experiencing significant delays, often waiting several weeks or months if their applications are approved at all. It is recommended that Americans obtain individual Libyan visas prior to travel, rather than group visas. Americans who expected to enter on group tour visas or individual airport visas arranged by Libyan sponsors have routinely been denied entry at the air and sea ports and have been forced to turn back at the airport or remain onboard ship at the port. Because of lengthier administrative processing for American visa applicants, many cruise ship operators no longer include Americans on their group tour applications, creating a great last-minute disappointment for those American passengers who expected to visit Libyan archeological sites.

Inquiries about obtaining a Libyan visa may be made through the Libyan Embassy in Washington, DC. The Embassy is located at 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW – Suite 705, Washington, DC 20037, phone number 202-944-9601, fax number 202-944-9606. Neither the Libyan Mission to the UN in New York nor the Libyan Embassy in Washington, D.C. accepts visa applications. The closest Libyan visa-issuing office to the continental United States is the Libyan People’s Bureau in Ottawa, Canada; however, that office frequently declines to accept visa applications from American citizens. The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli cannot provide assistance to American citizens seeking Libyan visas. The land borders with Egypt and Tunisia are subject to periodic closures even to travelers with valid Libyan visas. Short-term closures of other land borders may occur with little notice. Within three days of arrival, visitors must register at the police station closest to where they are residing or they may encounter problems during their stay or upon departure.

Safety and Security: As Libya has taken steps to cooperate in the global war on terrorism, the Libyan Government’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism was rescinded on June 30, 2006.

Recent worldwide terrorist alerts have stated that extremist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in the region. Therefore, any American citizen who decides to travel to Libya should maintain a strong security posture by being aware of surroundings, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, keeping a low profile, and varying times and routes for all required travel.

Security personnel may at times place foreign visitors under surveil-lance. Hotel rooms, telephones, and fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched. Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with the authorities.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site, where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, the Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement, and the Public Announcement for Libya, can be found.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll- free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-free line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime: Crime is a growing problem in Libya. The most common types of crime are auto theft and theft of items left in vehicles, as well as burglary. Pick pocketing and home invasion are also growing problems. The increasing availability of drugs has contributed to the increase in crime in the past few years. Libya’s beaches are the frequent sites of mugging and purse-snatching. Women routinely face verbal harassment. While physical violence is not extensive, there have been instances of assault against women. These assaults can range from sexual groping or assault/battery, to attempted rape.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while in Libya, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli for assistance. The staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends, and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: While some health care providers have been trained in the United States or Europe, basic modern medical care and/or medicines may not be available in Libya. Most Libyan citizens prefer to be treated outside of Libya for ailments such as heart disease and diabetes. A representative list of healthcare providers is available at the U.S. Embassy Tripoli’s website at http://libya.usembassy.gov/medical_information.html.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Libya is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Paved roads in rural areas are satisfactory; however, many rural roads are unpaved (i.e. dirt roads). Also, major highways along the seacoast and leading south merge into single-lane highways once they are outside the cities. These roads are heavily trafficked and precarious to navigate, especially at night and during the winter rainy season. The presence of sand deposits, and domestic and wild animals that frequently cross these highways and rural roads, makes them even more hazardous.

Availability of roadside assistance is extremely limited and offered only in Arabic. Inside urban areas and near the outskirts of major cities there is a greater possibility of assistance by police and emergency ambulance services, although they are usually ill equipped to deal with serious injuries or accidents.

Driving in Libya may be hazardous, and there is a high accident rate. Police enforcement of traffic signs and laws is rare. As a result, it is often difficult to anticipate the actions of other drivers on Libyan streets and highways. Wind-blown sand can make roads impassable to all but four-wheel drive vehicles.

Road conditions are poor, and public transportation, which is limited to occasional bus service, is poor. Taxis, which are available, are usually on a shared basis. Rental cars are often old and poorly maintained, and they are not recommended for long-distance driving. The sidewalks in urban areas are often in bad condition, but pedestrians are able to use them.

Please also see road safety information on Libya at http://www.arab.net/libya/la_roads.htm.

Aviation Safety Oversight: Major European carriers provide Regular connecting service. As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers to the United States at present, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Libya’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa/.

Special Circumstances: Libya’s economy operates on a “cash-only” basis for most transactions, even though U.S. law now permits the use in Libya of credit cards and checks drawn on U.S. banks. Some hotels, restaurants, and major airlines are the only businesses known to accept credit cards (Visa more often than MasterCard). It is recommended that travelers consult their credit card entity prior to travel to ensure that transactions from Libya can be accepted by that entity. A very limited number of ATM machines are being put into service at a few large hotels, major office complexes, the airport, and one or two markets. Service is sporadic and sometimes unreliable. Foreign visitors should be aware that the penalties for use of unauthorized currency dealers are severe. Foreign visitors should also be aware that their passports might be confiscated in business disputes and/or they may not be permitted to depart Libya until the dispute has been settled. The workweek is Sunday-Thursday.

In addition to being subject to all Libyan laws, U.S. citizens who also possess the nationality of Libya may be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Libyan citizens, including use of a Libyan passport to enter and depart Libya.

Most U.S. economic sanctions against Libya were terminated effective September 21, 2004. For further information, please contact the Office of Foreign Assets Control at: http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/.

Technologies and goods on the Department of Commerce Export Control List must be licensed by the Department of Commerce for export to Libya. If you have specific inquiries regarding re-exports to Libya, please contact the BIS Export Counseling Division at 202-482-4811, or submit a query from the BIS webpage, http://www.bis.doc.gov. The mailing address is:

U.S. Department of Commerce
Bureau of Industry and Security
Office of Exporter Services
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230

Libyan customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning the introduction into Libya or removal from Libya of firearms, religious materials, antiquities, medications, and currency. Importation and consumption of alcohol and pork products are illegal in Libya. Any passenger arriving in Tripoli is required to bring into Libya a minimum of $500. This requirement is subject to a border check, and the passenger faces possible deportation if this requirement is not met. It is advisable to contact any Libyan Embassy abroad for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Libya’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are severe in Libya, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences, heavy fines, and/or flogging or other physical punishment. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Family and Children’s Issues: Children under 18 whose fathers are Libyan must have the father’s permission to depart Libya, even if the mother has been granted full custody by a Libyan court. Women and children are often subjected to strict family controls; on occasion, families of Libyan-American women visiting Libya have attempted to prevent them from leaving the country. Young, single women are most likely to encounter opposition from their families when trying to leave. Finally, a Libyan husband is permitted to take legal action to prevent his wife from leaving the country, regardless of her nationality.

Registration/U.S. Embassy: Americans living or traveling in Libya are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Libya. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. Although diplomatic relations were upgraded to embassy status on May 31, 2006, the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli is operating with limited staff and in interim facilities. A consular officer is available to provide limited assistance to U.S. citizens. Currently, emergency passports cannot be issued in Tripoli. Appointments can be made by telephone from 9am – 4 pm Sundays through Thursdays (except U.S. and Libyan holidays) at (218) 21-335-1235 or via email at [email protected] or [email protected] In the event of an emergency involving an American citizen, the after-hours telephone number is (218) 91-220-0125. General information, including forms, is available on the U.S. Embassy’s new website at http://libya.usembassy.gov.

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Libya

Libya

  • Area: 679,362 sq mi (1,759,540 sq km) / World Rank: 18
  • Location: Northern and Western Hemispheres, on the northern part of the African continent, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on the north, Egypt on the east, the Sudan on the southeast, Chad and Niger on the south, Algeria on the west, and Tunisia on the northwest.
  • Coordinates: 25°00′N, 17°00′E
  • Borders: 2,723 mi (4,383 km) / Algeria, 610 mi (982 km); Chad, 656 mi (1,055 km); Egypt, 715 mi (1,150 km); Niger, 220 mi (354 km); Sudan, 238 mi (383 km); Tunisia, 285 mi (459 km)
  • Coastline: 1,100 mi (1,770 km)
  • Territorial Seas: 12 NM
  • Highest Point: Bjkks Bjttj, 7,438 ft (2,267 m)
  • Lowest Point: Sabkhat Ghuzayyil, 154 ft (47 m) below sea level
  • Longest Distances: 1,236 mi (1,989 km) SE-NW; 933 mi (1,502 km) NE-SW
  • Longest River: No perennial rivers
  • Natural Hazards: Subject to hot, dry, dust-laden ghibli (a southern wind lasting one to four days in spring and fall); dust storms; sandstorms
  • Population: 5,240,599 (July 2001 est.) / World Rank: 105
  • Capital City: Tripoli, in the northern region on the Mediterranean coast
  • Largest City: Tripoli, 2,404,000 (2000 metropolitan est.)

OVERVIEW

More than 600 millions years ago, an enormous mountain range once covered Libya, which lies on the African Tectonic Plate, formed during the Precambrian period 570 million years ago. Over the centuries, the sea advanced, then retreated, over the region, and the water, wind, and temperature changes eroded the mountains, leaving the sands and plateaus that comprise Libya's landscape.

The fourth-largest country in Africa, Libya is sectioned into three main geographical areas: Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan. Tripolitania covers the northwestern corner of the country, Cyrenaica covers the eastern half (and as the country's largest geographic region, it covers almost half of Libya), and the Fezzan covers the land south of Tripolitania. Tripolitania and Cyrenaica are made up of low-lying land and plateaus, with Tripolitania containing the Nafssah Plateau, and Cyrenaica houses the Jabal al-Akhdar (Green Mountains). Fezzan is home to desert lands, including the Sahara.

Libya's climate is influenced by the desert that comprises most of Libya and the Mediterranean Sea. Extreme temperatures dominate the summer months, and winters are mild. At night in the desert, winter temperatures, however, fall below zero. No permanent rivers exist in Libya, only watercourses that frequently flood from runoff during the occasional rainfall.

MOUNTAINS AND HILLS

Mountains

The Tibesti Massif, a rugged mountain range, runs along the southern border near Chad, and it houses Libya's highest point, Bjkks Bjttj (Bette Peak) at 7,436 ft (2,267 m). The Al-Akhdar Mountains run along the northeastern Mediterranean Coast. In the center of the country are the lower Al-Harsj Al-Aswad Hills.

Plateaus

In the northwest region of the country, Tripolitania is home to a series of terraces that rise slowly from sea level along the coastal plain of Al-Jifarahh until they reach Nafssah Plateau. This upland plateau, made of limestone, contains sand, shrubs, and scattered masses of stone, and elevations reach 3,300 ft (1,000 m). Southward from the Nafssah Plateau is the Al Hamadah Al Hamra' (the Red Desert), a rocky plateau comprised of red sandstone. Its flat landscape stretches hundreds of miles to the southwest Fezzan Desert region; the rocky plateaus of the Fezzan Desert have been shaped by wind and extreme temperature changes.

INLAND WATERWAYS

Rivers

In Libya there are no permanent rivers, only wadis (watercourses). They catch the infrequent runoff from rainfall during the rainy season, commonly causing flash floods, then run dry during the hot weather of the summer months.

THE COAST, ISLANDS, AND THE OCEAN

The Mediterranean Sea comprises Libya's northern border. The coastal plain is often marshy, yet beaches stretch more than 1,000 mi (1,600 km) along the Mediterranean Sea. Along the shore of the western region surrounding Tripoli, coastal oases alternate with sandy beaches and lagoons for more than 180 miles (300 km). The Gulf of Sidra is nestled between the Tripolitania and Cyrenaica regions. Important ports are located along the coast, including Benghazi, Tobruk, and Darnah.

CLIMATE AND VEGETATION

Temperature

Libya's climate is influenced by the Mediterranean Sea and Sahara Desert. The ghibli (a hot, dry desert wind that lasts one to four days in spring and fall) varies temperatures by as much as 30° to 40°F (17° to 22°C) in both the summer (June-September) and winter (October-May) months. Summer highs along the northwestern coast are between 104° and 115°F (40° and 46°C), and temperatures in the farther south reach even higher degrees. In the northeastern region, summer temperatures range from 81° to 90°F (27° to 32°C). In January, temperatures average 55°F (13°C) in the northern region.

During the summer months in southern Libya, there is virtually no rainfall and temperatures quickly climb to over 122°F (50°C). Daytime winter temperatures range between 59° and 68°F (15° and 20°C), and fall below 32°F (0°C) at night.

Rainfall

Rainfall varies between the different regions. The northeastern region receives 16 to 24 in (40 to 60 cm) of rain yearly, while other regions receive less than 8 in (20 cm) and the Sahara has less than 2 in (5 cm). A short winter period brings rain, which usually causes floods. Evaporation is high, making severe droughts common.

Grasslands

In the northeastern area of Cyrenaica (the region that covers almost half of Libya), the land rises from a coastal plain to the Jabal al-Akhdar (Green Mountains) to a height of just under 3,000 ft (915 m). The lower slopes are covered with flowers, and at the higher elevations there are shrubs and juniper. In the southern region, a pastoral zone of sparse grassland gives way to the vast Sahara Desert.

Deserts

The Sahara Desert, the largest desert in the world, is located in the southern part of the country. It is a vast barren wasteland of rocky plateaus and sand. The part of the Sahara in eastern Libya and western Egypt and Sudan is known as the Libyan Desert. Agriculture is possible only in a few scattered oases, which include Jalu and Jaghbub. The three largest oases in Libya's desert region are Al-Kufrah, Ghat, and Ghadamis.

The Fezzan, in the southwestern region, is also a desert, with ergs (vast sand dunes) that reach several hundred feet and change shape slowly in the shifting wind. They cover about one-fifth of the land. Also in this area there is a series of sabkhas (depressions on the desert floor) that contain underground water, creating occasional oases. Most of the Fezzan is flat, except for the area along the southern border near Chad, where the rugged mountain range, Tibesti Massif, is located. The range contains Libya's highest point, Bjkks Bjttj (Bette Peak) at 7,436 ft (2,267 m).

Forests and Jungles

Forest areas of shrubby junipers are located in the Jabal al-Akhdar (Green Mountains) in the northeastern area of Cyrenaica. In isolated regions, there are a few conifer trees, and in inaccessible regions in Tripolitania, there are some forests remnants.

HUMAN POPULATION

Ninety percent of the country's population lives near Tripoli, the capital city in the northeastern region of Libya. This coastal area receives enough rainfall to support agriculture. Small oasis communities dot the largely uninhabited desert in the southern regions.

NATURAL RESOURCES

Libya's natural resources are petroleum, natural gas, and gypsum. The discovery of the Zaltan Oil Field in 1959 in the Sahara Desert launched Libya's economic growth, and the country is one of the world's leading oil producers. Natural gas is located in the northern region, and gypsum is located on the northern coast. Reserves of iron ore, potassium, sulfur, and magnesium also exist in the country.

FURTHER READINGS

ArabNet. Libya: Geography.http://www.arab.net/libya/geography/libya_geography.html (Accessed March 4, 2002).

Malcolm, Peter. Libya. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1999.

Miftah Shamali. Libya.http://www.i-cias.com/m.s/libya/index.htm (Accessed March 4, 2002).

Virtual Dimensions Inc. Libya.http://www.libyaonline.com/libya/index.html (Accessed March 14, 2002).

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Libya

Libya

At a Glance

Official Name: Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

Continent: Africa

Area: 679,359 square miles (1,759,540 sq km)

Population: 5,240,599

Capital City: Tripoli

Largest City: Tripoli (858,000)

Unit of Money: Libyan dinar

Major Languages: Arabic (official), Italian, English

Literacy: 76%

Land Use: 1% arable, 8% meadows, 91% other

Natural Resources: Crude oil, natural gas, gypsum

Government: Jamahiriya

Defense: 960 million

The Place

Libya is in North Africa. It is bordered by Algeria to the west, Niger and Chad to the south, and Sudan and Egypt to the East. Its 1,100-mile (1,770-km) coastline in fronts the Mediterranean Sea in the north.

The Sahara—the world's largest desert—covers approximately 95% of the country. The Libyan Desert begins in the middle of Libya and extends to the eastern border. Interior Libya has large sand dunes. The land slowly rises from north to south, and mountains form part of the country's southern border. Bette Peak is Libya's highest elevation at 7,500 feet (2,286 m).

The temperatures in the desert fluctuate greatly each day. During the daytime, temperatures average about 100° F (38° C), but at night they fall to around 50° F (10° C). Along the coast, the climate has warm summers and cool winters. Winters average about 50° F (10° C), and summers are around 80° F (26° C).

The People

Although the population density is just 8 people per square mile (3 people per sq km), towns and cities are fairly crowded. To avoid harsh desert conditions, about 80% of Libyans crowd along the Mediterranean coast. This area is also important for agriculture, which employs about 18% of the population.

About 85% of Libyans live in urban areas. This number has been slowly increasing for the last 50 years. The big cities have skyscrapers and apartment buildings. Many neighborhoods are crowded, and usually immediate family members live together. Urban dwellers may work in industry, services, or government. Life expectancy is 76 years.

In rural areas, most people live in small villages. Their homes are made from stone or brick. Many homes have just one room. It is also common for extended families to share the same home. Some rural dwellers are nomads, who constantly move their flocks to find green pastures.

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Libya

LIBYA

Compiled from the November 2003 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.


Official Name:
Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya


PROFILE
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-LIBYAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL


PROFILE


Geography

Area: 1, 759, 540 million sq. km.

Cities: Capital—Tripoli (1984 pop est. 990,000). Other—Benghazi (1984 pop est. 485,000).

Terrain: Mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions.

Climate: Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior.


People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Libyan(s).

Population: (July 2001 est.) 5,240,599 (includes 662,669 non-nationals, of which an estimated 500,000 or more are sub-Saharan Africans living in Libya.

Annual growth rate: (2001 est.) 2.42%.

Ethnic groups: Berber and Arab 97%; Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians.

Religion: Sunni Muslim 97%

Languages: Arabic, Italian, English, all are widely understood in major cities.

Education: Years compulsory—9. Attendance — 90%. Literacy—72.2%.

Health: (2001 est.) Infant mortality rate—27.67/1,000. Life expectancy—male, 73.53 yrs.; female, 77.88 yrs.

Work force: (2000 est.) 1.5 million, an estimated 500,000 of whom are Sub-Saharan African foreign workers. By occupation (1997 est.) Industry—29%;

services and government—54%; agriculture—17%.


Government

Official name: Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

Type: "Jamahiriya," is a term Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi coined and which he defines as a "state of the masses" governed by the populace through local councils. In fact, the Libyan state is a military dictatorship.

Independence: December 24, 1951. Revolution: September 1, 1969.

Constitution: December 11, 1969, amended March 2, 1977 — established popular congresses and people's committees.

Administrative divisions: 25 municipalities (singular-, "baladiyah"" plural – "baladiyat") Ajdabiya, Al'Aziziyah, Al'Fatih, Al Jabal al-Akhdar, Al Jufrah, Al Khums, Al Kufrah, An Nuqat al Khams, Ash Shati', Awbari, Az Zawiyyah, Benghazi, Darnah, Ghadamis, Gharyan, Misratah, Murzuq, Sabha, Sawfajjin, Surt, Tarabulus, Tarhunah, Tubruq, Yafran, Zlitan.

Political system: Political parties are banned. According to the political theory of Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, multi-layered popular assemblies (people's congresses) with executive institutions (people's committees) are guided by political cadres (revolutionary committees).

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory.


Economy

GDP: (2000 est.) $45.4 billion.

Per capita GDP: (2000 est.) $8,900.

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, gypsum.

Agriculture: Products — wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus, vegetables, peanuts, soybeans; cattle; approximately 75% of Libya's food is imported.

Industry: Types — petroleum, food processing, textiles, handicrafts, cement.

Trade: Exports (2000 est.)—$13.9 billion: crude oil, refined petroleum products. Major markets (1999)—Italy (33%),Germany (24%), Spain (10%), France (5%), Turkey (4%), Tunisia (4%). Imports (2000 est.)—$7.6 billion: machinery, transport equipment, food, manufactured goods. Major suppliers (1999)—Italy (24%), Germany (12%), Tunisia (9%), UK (7%), France (6%), South Korea (5%)


PEOPLE

Libya has a small population in a large land area. Population density is about 50 persons per sq. km. (80/sq. mi.) in the two northern regions of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, but falls to less than one person per sq. km. (1.6/sq. mi.) elsewhere. Ninety percent of the people live in less than 10% of the area, primarily along the coast. More than half the population is urban, mostly concentrated in the two largest cities, Tripoli and Benghazi. Fifty percent of the population is estimated to be under age 15.


Native Libyans are primarily a mixture of Arabs and Berbers. Small Tebou and Touareg tribal groups in southern Libya are nomadic or semi-nomadic. Among foreign residents, the largest groups are citizens of other African nations, including North Africans (primarily Egyptians and Tunisians), West Africans and Sub-Saharan Africans. Specific numbers are not available.




HISTORY

For most of their history, the peoples of Libya have been subjected to varying degrees of foreign control. The Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, and Byzantines ruled all or parts of Libya. Although the Greeks and Romans left impressive ruins at Cyrene, Leptis Magna, and Sabratha, little else remains today to testify to the presence of these ancient cultures.


The Arabs conquered Libya in the seventh century A.D. In the following centuries, most of the indigenous peoples adopted Islam and the Arabic language and culture. The Ottoman Turks conquered the country in the mid-16th century. Libya remained part of their empire—although at times virtually autonomous—until Italy invaded in 1911 and, in the face of years of resistance, made Libya a colony.


In 1934, Italy adopted the name "Libya" (used by the Greeks for all of North Africa, except Egypt) as the official name of the colony, which consisted of the Provinces of Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, and Fezzan. King Idris I, Emir of Cyrenaica, led Libyan resistance to Italian occupation between the two World Wars. From 1943 to 1951, Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were under British administration, while the French controlled Fezzan. In 1944, Idris returned from exile in Cairo but declined to resume permanent residence in Cyrenaica until the removal in 1947 of some aspects of foreign control. Under the terms of the 1947 peace treaty with the Allies, Italy relinquished all claims to Libya.

On November 21, 1949, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution stating that Libya should become independent before January 1, 1952. King Idris I represented Libya in the subsequent UN negotiations. When Libya declared its independence on December 24, 1951, it was the first country to achieve independence through the United Nations and one of the first former European possessions in Africa to gain independence. Libya was proclaimed a constitutional and a hereditary monarchy under King Idris.


The discovery of significant oil reserves in 1959 and the subsequent income from petroleum sales enabled what had been one of the world's poorest countries to become extremely wealthy, as measured by per capita GDP. Although oil drastically improved Libya's finances, popular resentment grew as wealth was increasingly concentrated in the hands of the elite. This discontent continued to mount with the rise throughout the Arab world of Nasserism and the idea of Arab unity.


On September 1, 1969, a small group of military officers led by then 28-year-old army officer Mu'ammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi staged a coup d'état against King Idris, who was exiled to Egypt. The new regime, headed by the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), abolished the monarchy and proclaimed the new Libyan Arab Republic. Qadhafi emerged as leader of the RCC and eventually as de facto chief of state, a political role he still plays. The Libyan Government asserts that Qadhafi currently holds no official position, although he is referred to in government statements and the official press as the "Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution."

The new RCC's motto became "freedom, socialism, and unity." It pledged itself to remedy "backwardness," take an active role in the Palestinian Arab cause, promote Arab unity, and encourage domestic policies based on social justice, non-exploitation, and an equitable distribution of wealth.


An early objective of the new government was withdrawal of all foreign military installations from Libya. Following negotiations, British military installations at Tobruk and nearby El Adem were closed in March 1970, and U.S. facilities at Wheelus Air Force Base near Tripoli were closed in June 1970. That July, the Libyan Government ordered the expulsion of several thousand Italian residents. By 1971, libraries and cultural centers operated by foreign governments were ordered closed.


In the 1970's, Libya claimed leadership of Arab and African revolutionary forces and sought active roles in international organizations. Late in the 1970s, Libyan embassies were redesignated as "people's bureaus," as Qadhafi sought to portray Libyan foreign policy as an expression of the popular will. The people's bureaus, aided by Libyan religious, political, educational, and business institutions overseas, exported Qadhafi's revolutionary philosophy abroad.


Qadhafi's confrontational foreign policies and use of terrorism, as well as Libya's growing friendship with the U.S.S.R., led to increased tensions with the West in the 1980's. Following a terrorist bombing at a discotheque in West Berlin frequented by American military personnel, in 1986 the U.S. retaliated militarily against targets in Libya, and imposed broad unilateral economic sanctions.


After Libya was implicated in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, UN sanctions were imposed in 1992. UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCR) passed in 1992 and 1993 obliged Libya to fulfill requirements related to the Pan Am 103 bombing before sanctions could be lifted. Qadhafi initially refused to comply with these requirements, leading to Libya's political and economic isolation for most of the 1990s.

In 1999, Libya fulfilled one of the UNSCR requirements by surrendering two Libyans suspected in connection with the bombing for trial before a Scottish court in the Netherlands. One of these suspects, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, was found guilty; the other was acquitted. Al-Megrahi's conviction was upheld on appeal in 2002. In August 2003, Libya fulfilled the remaining UNSCR requirements, including acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials and payment of appropriate compensation to the victims' families. UN sanctions were lifted on September 12, 2003. U.S. sanctions against Libya remain in place.


GOVERNMENT

Libya's political system is theoretically based on the political philosophy in Qadhafi's Green Book, which combines socialist and Islamic theories and rejects parliamentary democracy and political parties. In reality, Qadhafi exercises near total control over the government.


For the first 7 years following the revolution, Colonel Qadhafi and 12 fellow army officers, the Revolutionary Command Council, began a complete overhaul of Libya's political system, society and economy. On March 3, 1977, Qadhafi convened a General People's Congress (GPC) to proclaim the establishment of "people's power," change the country's name to the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and to vest, theoretically, primary authority in the GPC.


Qadhafi remained the de facto chief of state and secretary general of the GPC until 1980, when he gave up his office. He continues to control all aspects of the Libyan Government through direct appeals to the masses, a pervasive security apparatus, and powerful revolutionary committees. Although he holds no formal office, Qadhafi exercises absolute power with the assistance of a small group of trusted advisers, who include relatives from his home base in the Surt region, which lies between the rival provinces of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica.


The Libyan court system consists of four levels: summary courts, which try petty offenses, the courts of first instance, which try more serious crimes; the courts of appeals, and the Supreme Court, which is the final appellate level. The GPC appoints justices to the Supreme Court. Special "revolutionary courts" and military courts operate outside the court system to try political offenses and crimes against the state. Libya's justice system is nominally based on Sharia law.


POLITICAL CONDITIONS

After the revolution, Qadhafi took increasing control of the government, but he also attempted to achieve greater popular participation in local government. In 1973, he announced the start of a "cultural revolution" in schools, businesses, industries, and public institutions to oversee administration of those organizations in the public interest. The March 1977 establishment of "people's power"—with mandatory popular participation in the selection of representatives to the GPC —was the culmination of this process.


The GPC is the legislative forum that interacts with the General People's Committee, whose members are secretaries of Libyan ministries. It serves as the intermediary between the masses and the leadership and is composed of the secretariats of some 600 local "basic popular congresses."


The GPC secretariat and the cabinet secretaries are appointed by the GPC secretary general and confirmed by the annual GPC congress. These cabinet secretaries are responsible for the routine operation of their ministries, but Qadhafi exercises real authority directly or through manipulation of the peoples and revolutionary committees.


In the 1980s, competition grew between the official Libyan Government and military hierarchies and the revolutionary committees. An abortive coup attempt in May 1984, apparently mounted by Libyan exiles with internal support, led to a short-lived reign of terror in which thousands were imprisoned and interrogated. An unknown number were executed. Qadhafi used the revolutionary committees to search out alleged internal opponents following the coup attempt, thereby accelerating the rise of more radical elements inside the Libyan power hierarchy.


In 1988, faced with rising public dissatisfaction with shortages in consumer goods and setbacks in Libya's war with Chad, Qadhafi began to curb the power of the revolutionary committees and to institute some domestic reforms. The regime released many political prisoners and eased restrictions on foreign travel by Libyans. Private businesses were again permitted to operate.

In the late 1980s, Qadhafi began to pursue an anti-Islamic fundamentalist policy domestically, viewing fundamentalism as a potential rallying point for opponents of the regime. Ministerial positions and military commanders are frequently shuffled or placed under temporary house arrest to diffuse potential threats to Qadhafi's authority.


Despite these measures, internal dissent continues. Qadhafi's security forces launched a pre-emptive strike at alleged coup plotters in the military and among the Warfallah tribe in October 1993. Widespread arrests and government reshufflings followed, accompanied by public "confessions" from regime opponents and allegations of torture and executions. The military, once Qadhafi's strongest supporters, became a potential threat in the 1990's. In 1993, following a failed coup attempt that implicated senior military officers, Qadhafi began to purge the military periodically, eliminating potential rivals and inserting his own loyal followers in their place.


Principal Government Officials
Last Updated: 10/17/03


Col. Muammar al-Qadhafi has no official title, but he runs Libya and is the de facto chief of state. The Secretary of the General People's Congress is chief of state in theory but is not treated as such. The Secretary of the General People's Committee plays the role of prime minister.


Leader: Qadhafi, Muammar Abu Minyar al-, Col.

Sec. of the Gen. People's Congress:

Zanati, Muhammad al-

Asst. Sec. of the Gen. People's Congress:

Ibrahim, Ahmad Mohamed Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee (Prime Minister): Ghanim, Shukri Muhammad

Dep. Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee: Badri, Abdallah Salim al-

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Economy & Trade: Bilkhayr, Abd al-Qadir

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Finance: Burayni, al-Ujayli Abd al-Salam al-

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Foreign Liaison & International Cooperation: Shalgam, Abd al-Rahman

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Justice & Public Security: Masirati, Mohamed Ali al-

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Planning: al-Juhaymi, al-Tahriri al-Hadi

Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Tourism: al-Tayf, Ammar al-Mabruk

Governor, Central Bank: Hamid, Ahmed Munaysi Abd al-

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Turayki, Ali Abd al-Salam al-




ECONOMY

The government dominates Libya's socialist-oriented economy through complete control of the country's oil resources, which account for approximately 95% of export earnings, 75% of government receipts, and 30% of the gross domestic product. Oil revenues constitute the principal source of foreign exchange. Much of the country's income has been lost to waste, corruption, conventional armaments purchases, and attempts to develop weapons of mass destruction, as well as to large donations made to developing countries in attempts to increase Qadhafi's influence in Africa and elsewhere. Although oil revenues and a small population give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, the government's mismanagement of the economy has led to high inflation and increased import prices, resulting in a decline in the standard of living.

Libya's gross domestic product grew in 2001 due to high oil prices, the end of a long cyclical drought, and increased foreign investment following the suspension of UN sanctions in 1999.


Despite efforts to diversify the economy and encourage private sector participation, extensive controls of prices, credit, trade, and foreign exchange constrain growth. Import restrictions and inefficient resource allocations have caused periodic short ages of basic goods and foodstuffs.


Although agriculture is the second-largest sector in the economy, Libya depends on imports in most foods. Climatic conditions and poor soils severely limit output, while higher incomes and a growing population have caused food consumption to rise. Domestic food production meets about 25% of demand.


The U.S. Government has prohibited the importation of Libyan crude oil into the United States since March 1982, as well as strict controls on U.S.-origin goods intended for export to Libya. On January 7, 1986, the U.S. imposed economic sanctions against Libya which broadly prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in unauthorized financial transactions involving Libya, including, in part, the following: the export to Libya of all goods, services, or technology; the import of goods or services of Libyan origin; engaging in the performance of a contract in support of an industrial, commercial, or government project in Libya; or dealing in any property in which the Government of Libya has any interest. The economic sanctions also prohibit U.S. persons from working in Libya.

Although UN sanctions were suspended in 1999 and lifted in 2003, foreign investment in the Libyan gas and oil sectors has been severely curtailed due to the United States' Iran and Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA), which caps the amount any foreign company can invest in Libya yearly at $20 million (lowered from $40 million in 2001).

Editor's Update
April 2004


A report on important events that have taken place since the last State Department revision of this Background Note.


After nine months of secret negotiations between Libya and the United Kingdom, Libya announced in December 2003 that it had been producing weapons of mass destruction, but agreed to halt the program and submit to international inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In January 2004 it was revealed that Pakistan's former top nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, had been involved in an international network of clandestine nuclear proliferation from Pakistan to Libya, Iran, and North Korea, including the sharing of secret designs for centrifuges capable of producing weapons-grade uranium. After its decision to halt attempts to procure and develop weapons of mass destruction, Libya called on the United States to repeal its 17-year old sanctions regime, saying it was costing Libya's economy $3 billion a year.

In another recent effort taken by Libya to rejoin the international community, Libya announced in February 2004 that it accepted responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, and agreed to pay retributions. Libya agreed to pay $2.7 billion, or $10 million for each victim's family, and hoped that that decision would lead to the lifting of UN and U.S. sanctions. The United States stated Libya's actions would only satisfy the minimum requirements for lifting UN sanctions, but that they would not trigger a lifting of U.S. sanctions, due in part to Libya's poor human rights record, lack of democratic institutions, and a disruptive role in perpetuating regional conflicts in Africa.



FOREIGN RELATIONS

Since 1969, Qadhafi has determined Libya's foreign policy. His principal foreign policy goals have been Arab unity, elimination of Israel, advancement of Islam, support for Palestinians, elimination of outside—particularly Western—influence in the Middle East and Africa, and support for a range of "revolutionary" causes.


After the 1969 coup, Qadhafi closed American and British bases on Libyan territory and partially nationalized all foreign oil and commercial interests in Libya. He also played a key role in promoting the use of oil embargoes as a political weapon for challenging the West, hoping that an oil price rise and embargo in 1973 would persuade the West—especially the United States—to end support for Israel. Qadhafi rejected both Soviet communism and Western capitalism, and claimed we was charting a middle course.


Libya's relationship with the former Soviet Union involved massive Libyan arms purchases from the Soviet bloc and the presence of thousands of east bloc advisers. Libya's use—and heavy loss—of Soviet-supplied weaponry in its war with Chad was a notable breach of an apparent Soviet-Libyan understanding not to use the weapons for activities inconsistent with Soviet objectives. As a result, Soviet-Libyan relations reached a nadir in mid-1987.


After the fall of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union, Libya concentrated on expanding diplomatic ties with Third World countries and increasing its commercial links with Europe and East Asia. Following the imposition of UN sanctions in 1992, these ties significantly diminished. Following a 1998 Arab League meeting in which fellow Arab states decided not to challenge UN sanctions, Qadhafi announced that he was turning his back on pan-Arab ideas, one of the fundamental tenets of his philosophy.


Instead, Libya pursued closer bilateral ties, particularly with North African neighbors Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. It has also sought to develop its relations with Sub-Saharan Africa, leading to Libyan involvement in several internal African disputes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Libya has also sought to expand its influence in Africa through financial assistance, ranging from aid donations to impoverished neighbors such as Niger to oil subsidies to Zimbabwe. Qadhafi has proposed a borderless "United States of Africa" to transform the continent into a single nation-state ruled by a single government. This plan has been moderately well received, although more powerful would-be participants such as Nigeria and South Africa are skeptical.


Terrorism

There have been no credible reports of Libyan involvement in terrorism since 1994, and Libya has taken significant steps to mend its international image. In 1999, the Libyan government surrendered two Libyans suspected of involvement in the Pan Am 103 bombing, leading to the suspension of UN sanctions. On January 31, 2001, a Scottish court seated in the Netherlands found one of the suspects, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, guilty of murder in connection with the bombing, and acquitted the second suspect, Al-Amin Kalifa Fhima. Megrahi's conviction was upheld on March 14, 2002.


UN sanctions were lifted on September 12, 2003 following Libyan compliance with its remaining UNSCR requirements on Pan Am 103, including acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials and payment of appropriate compensation. Libya paid compensation in 1999 for the death of British policewoman Yvonne Fletcher, a move that preceded the reopening of the British Embassy in Tripoli, and paid damages to the families of the victims in the bombing of UTA Flight 772.


On November 13, 2001, a German court found four persons, including a former employee of the Libyan embassy in East Berlin, guilty in connection with the 1986 La Belle disco bombing, in which two U.S. servicemen were killed. The court also established a connection to the Libyan government. The German government has demanded that Libya accept responsibility for the La Belle bombing and pay appropriate compensation.


U.S.-LIBYAN RELATIONS

The United States supported the UN resolution providing for Libyan independence in 1951 and raised the status of its office at Tripoli from a consulate general to a legation. Libya opened a legation in Washington, DC, in 1954. Both countries subsequently raised their missions to embassy level.


After Qadhafi's 1969 coup, U.S.-Libyan relations became increasingly strained because of Libya's foreign policies supporting international terrorism and subversion against moderate Arab and African governments. In 1972, the United States withdrew its ambassador. Export controls on military equipment and civil aircraft were imposed during the 1970s, and U.S. embassy staff members were withdrawn from Tripoli after a mob attacked and set fire to the embassy in December 1979. The U.S. Government declared Libya a "state sponsor of terrorism" on December 29, 1979.


In May 1981, the U.S. Government closed the Libyan "people's bureau" (embassy) in Washington, DC, and expelled the Libyan staff in response to a general pattern of conduct by the people's bureau contrary to internationally accepted standards of diplomatic behavior.


In August 1981, two Libyan jets fired on U.S. aircraft participating in a routine naval exercise over international waters of the Mediterranean claimed by Libya. The U.S. planes returned fire and shot down the attacking Libyan aircraft. In December 1981, the State Department invalidated U.S. passports for travel to Libya and, for purposes of safety, advised all U.S. citizens in Libya to leave. In March 1982, the U.S. Government prohibited imports of Libyan crude oil into the United States and expanded the controls on U.S.-origin goods intended for export to Libya. Licenses were required for all transactions, except food and medicine. In March 1984, U.S. export controls were expanded to prohibit future exports to the Ras al-Enf petrochemical complex. In April 1985, all Export-Import Bank financing was prohibited.


Due to Libya's continuing support for terrorism, the United States adopted additional economic sanctions against Libya in January 1986, including a total ban on direct import and export trade, commercial contracts, and travel-related activities. In addition, Libyan Government assets in the United States were frozen. When evidence of Libyan complicity was discovered in the Berlin discotheque terrorist bombing that killed an American serviceman, the United States responded by launching an aerial bombing attack against targets near Tripoli and Benghazi in April 1986. Since then, the United States has maintained its trade and travel embargoes and has sought to bring diplomatic and economic pressure to bear against Libya.


In 1988, Libya was found to be in the process of constructing a chemical weapons plant at Rabta, a plant which is now the largest such facility in the Third World. Libya is currently constructing another chemical weapons production facility at Tarhunah. Libya's support for terrorism and its past regional aggressions made this development a matter of major concern to the United States. In cooperation with like-minded countries, the United States has since sought to bring a halt to the foreign technical assistance deemed essential to the completion of this facility.


In 1991, two Libyan intelligence agents were indicted by federal prosecutors in the U.S. and Scotland for their involvement in the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103. In January 1992, the UN Security Council approved Resolution 731 demanding that Libya surrender the suspects, cooperate with the Pan Am 103 and UTA 772 investigations, pay compensation to the victims' families, and cease all support for terrorism. Libya's refusal to comply led to the approval of UNSCR 748 on March 31, 1992, imposing sanctions designed to bring about Libyan compliance. Continued Libyan defiance led to passage of UNSCR 883—a limited assets freeze and an embargo on selected oil equipment—in November 1993.

Promulgated in 1996, the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) sought to penalize non-U.S. companies which in vest more than $40 million in Libya's oil and gas sector in any one year. ILSA was renewed in 2001, and the investment cap lowered to $20 million.


Libya refused to comply with any of its UNSCR requirements on Pan Am 103 until 1999, when it turned over two suspects for trial by a Scottish court in the Netherlands. UN sanctions were subsequently suspended. UN sanctions were lifted on September 12, 2003 after Libya fulfilled all remaining UNSCR requirements, including acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials and payment of appropriate compensation to the victims' families. US sanctions remain in force.




TRAVEL


Consular Information Sheet
January 9, 2004


Country Description: Officially known as the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Libya has a developing economy. Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation of the country's customs, laws, and practices. Tourist facilities are not widely available.


Entry Requirements: Passports and visas are required. On December 11, 1981, U.S. passports ceased to be valid for travel to, in, or through Libya and may not be used for that purpose without a special validation. Please see paragraphs below on Passport Validation and U.S. Treasury Economic Sanctions. Visa applications and inquiries must be made through a Libyan Embassy in a third country. Under certain circumstances such as a family visit or business meeting, a person may apply for a visa at the Libyan Mission to the United Nations in New York. The land borders with Egypt and Tunisia are subject to periodic closures even to travelers having valid Libyan visas. Short-term closures of other land borders occur with little notice. Within three days of arrival, visitors must register at the police station closest to where they are residing or they may encounter problems during their stay or upon departure.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure. Foreign women will be asked by Libyan authorities to present a letter of consent signed by their Libyan husband if they apply for an exit visa for themselves and their children.


Dual Nationality: In addition to being subject to all Libyan laws affecting U.S. citizens, individuals who also possess the nationality of Libya may be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Libyan citizens, including use of a Libyan passport to enter and depart Libya. For additional information, please see the Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality flyer.


Safety and Security: Security personnel may at times place foreign visitors under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones and fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched. Taking photographs of any thing that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with the authorities.


For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet website at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings, including the Travel Warning for Libya, and Public Announcements can be found.


The Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747 can answer general inquiries on safety and security overseas. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.


Crime: Crime is a growing problem in Libya. The most common types of crime are auto theft and theft of items left in vehicles, as well as burglaries. Increasing availability of drugs has led to an increase of crime in the past few years. Libya's beaches are the frequent sites of muggings and purse-snatchings. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to the local police, the U.S. Interests Section at the Belgian Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate outside of Libya. The U.S. Interests Section located at the Belgian Embassy in Tripoli can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds can be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.


U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlets, A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlets are available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, via the Internet at www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.


Medical Facilities: Basic modern medical care and medicines may not be available in Libya. The hospital with the best reputation in Libya is the "Oil Clinique-N.O.C." There is also a new Swiss clinic and a facility with French doctors, known as Medelink, but both are very small. Most Libyan citizens prefer to be treated outside of Libya for ailments such as heart disease and diabetes.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation, particularly as there are economic sanctions in place. (See paragraph on U.S. Treasury Sanctions). U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.


When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. However, please note the section on U.S. Treasury Sanctions, which may impact on the ability of insurers to provide payment and air ambulance services to provide assistance in Libya. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.


Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page.

Other Health Information: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.


Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Libya is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.


Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Public transportation, which is limited to occasional bus service, is poor.
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair

The major streets in most cities are maintained properly as a matter of necessity since they are heavily trafficked. Many smaller side streets in urban areas, however, are in poor conditions and are seldom maintained.

Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor

The paved roads in rural areas are satisfactory, however, many rural roads are unpaved (i.e. dirt roads). Also, major highways along the seacoast and leading south merge into single-lane highways once they are outside the cities. These roads are heavily trafficked and precarious to navigate, especially at night and during the winter rainy season. The presence of sand deposits and domestic and wild animals that frequently cross these highways and rural roads make them even more hazardous. Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor

Availability of roadside assistance is extremely limited and offered only in Arabic. Inside urban areas and near the outskirts of major cities there is a greater possibility of assistance by police and emergency ambulance services although they are usually ill equipped to deal with serious injuries or accidents.


Driving in Libya may be hazardous, and there is a high accident rate. Police enforcement of traffic signs and laws is rare. As a result, it is often difficult to anticipate the actions of other drivers on Libyan streets and highways. Wind-blown sand can make roads impassable to all but four-wheel drive vehicles. Road conditions are poor, and public transportation, which is limited to occasional bus service, is poor. Taxis, which are available, are usually on a shared-basis. Rental cars are often old and poorly maintained, and they are not recommended for long-distance driving. The sidewalks in urban areas are often in bad condition, but pedestrians are able to use them.


For additional information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. Please see also road safety information on Libya at http://www.arab.net/libya/transport/la_roads.html.


Aviation Safety Oversight: Commercial air service between the United States and Libya is prohibited by U.S. sanctions, although major European carriers have established regular routes. As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers to the United States at present, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Libya's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Passport Validation: Without the requisite validation, use of a U.S. passport for travel to, in, or through Libya may constitute a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1544, and may be punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment.


The categories of individuals eligible for consideration for a special passport validation are set forth in 22 C.F.R. 51.74 as noted below. Passport validation requests for Libya can be forwarded in writing to the following address:


Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services
U.S. Department of State
2100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, 3rd Floor
Washington, DC 20037
Attn: Office of Passport Policy and Advisory Services
Telephone: 202-663-2662
Fax: 202-663-2654


The request must be accompanied by supporting documentation according to the category under which validation is sought. Currently, the four categories of persons specified in 22 C.F.R. 51.74 as being eligible for consideration for passport validation are as follows:


  1. Professional Reporters: This category includes full-time members of the eporting or writing staff of a newspaper, magazine or broadcasting network whose purpose for travel is to gather information about Libya for dissemination to the general public.
  2. American Red Cross: An applicant in this category must establish that he or she is a representative of the American Red Cross or International Red Cross traveling pursuant to an officially-sponsored Red Cross mission.
  3. Humanitarian Considerations: An applicant in this category must establish that his or her trip is justified by compelling humanitarian considerations or for family unification. At this time, "compelling humanitarian considerations" include situations where the applicant can document that an immediate family member is critically ill in Libya. Documentation concerning family illness must include the name and address of the relative, and be from that relative's physician attesting to the nature and the gravity of the illness. "Family unification" situations may include cases in which spouses or minor children are residing in Libya with and dependent on a Libyan national spouse or parent for their support.
  4. National Interest: For this category, the applicant's request must be otherwise found to be in the national interest.

In all requests for passport validation for travel to Libya, applicants must submit their full name, date and place of birth, telephone number, and U.S. passport number and expiration date for themselves and all individuals requesting validations.


U.S. Treasury Sanctions: In addition to the restrictions on the use of a U.S. passport discussed above, all U.S. persons (defined as all U.S. citizens, permanent alien residents, wherever they are located, all people and organizations physically in the United States and all branches of U.S. organizations throughout the world) are subject to the Libyan Sanctions Regulations administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which generally prohibit any dealings with any Government-of-Libya-owned or controlled entity and any commercial activity with Libya. For up-to-date information about the embargo on Libya, and for a list of Specially Designated Nationals already determined to be owned or controlled by the Government of Libya, please consult OFAC's home page on the Internet at http://www.treas.gov/ofac or via OFAC's Info-by Fax service 202-622-0077.


On January 7, 1986, the United States imposed economic sanctions against Libya, which broadly prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in unauthorized financial transactions involving Libya, including, in part, the following: the export to Libya of all goods, services, or technology; the import of goods or services of Libyan origin; engaging in the performance of a contract in support of an industrial, commercial, or governmental project in Libya; or dealing in any property in which the Government of Libya has any interest. The economic sanctions also prohibit U.S. persons from working in Libya.


In addition, these restrictions prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in unauthorized travel-related transactions to and within Libya. Please note, however, that transactions relating to travel for journalistic activity by persons regularly employed in such capacity by a news gathering organization are exempt from the prohibition. Please note as well that U.S. persons may engage in travel-related transactions for the sole purpose of visiting immediate family members in Libya, provided that the U.S. persons seeking to travel register with the Office of Foreign Assets Control or the U.S. Interests Section at the Embassy of Belgium in Tripoli. To register, U.S. persons who are potential travelers should provide (for each potential traveler - parents and children) the following information:


  1. Name, date and place of birth of the person registering (including the name under which a registrant's most recent U.S. passport was issued, if that is different);
  2. If applicable, place and date of birth of the registrant's naturalization as a U.S. citizen, and the number of the registrant's naturalization certificate, or, for permanent resident aliens, the alien registration number of the registrant's alien registration receipt card;
  3. The name, relationship, and address of the immediate family member in Libya whose relationship forms the basis for the registrant's eligibility; and
  4. The number and issue date of the registrant's current U.S. passport, and the most recent date on which the passport was validated by the U.S. Department of State for travel to Libya; or if the registrant does not hold a U.S. passport, the country issue date and number of the registrant's current passport.

Potential travelers should contact the Treasury Department at the following address and phone number:


Licensing Division
Office of Foreign Assets Control
U.S. Department of the Treasury

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220
Telephone 202-622-2480
Fax: 202-622-1657


Department of Commerce Controls: The U.S. Department of Commerce controls the export and reexport of U.S.-origin goods, technology or software whether such items are exported or re-exported by a U.S. person or a non-U.S. person. The Department of Commerce also controls the export to Libya of foreign manufactured items containing more than 10% U.S.-origin content. For further information about exports and re-exports, please contact the Department of Commerce as follows:


U.S. Department of Commerce
Bureau of Industry and Security
Office of Strategic Trade and Foreign Policy
15th and Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC. 20230
Telephone 202-482-4196
Fax 202-482-6088


UN Sanctions: United Nations sanctions against Libya were lifted on September 12, 2003 after Libya complied with all UN Security Council demands related to the Lockerbie bombing; this included payment of compensation to the victims' families and acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials. Despite the lifting of UN sanctions, U.S. sanctions remain in place.


Customs Regulations: Libyan customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning the introduction into Libya or removal from Libya of firearms, religious materials, antiquities, medications, and currency. Importation of alcohol is forbidden. Any passenger arriving in Tripoli is required to bring into Libya a minimum of $500. This requirement is subject to a border check, and the passenger faces possible deportation if this requirement is not met. It is advisable to contact any Embassy of Libya abroad for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Special Circumstances: Libya's economy operates on a "cash-only" basis for most transactions. ATM machines are non-existent. Foreign visitors should be aware that the penalties for use of unauthorized currency dealers are severe. Foreign visitors should also be aware that their passports might be confiscated in business disputes. There is a Sunday-Thursday workweek.


Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Libya's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are severe in Libya, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences, heavy fines, and/or flogging or other physical punishment.


Family and Children's Issues: Children under 18 whose fathers are Libyan must have the father's permission to depart Libya, even if the mother has been granted full custody by a Libyan court. Women and children are often subjected to strict family controls; on occasion, families of Libyan-American women visiting Libya have attempted to prevent them from leaving the country. Young, single women are most likely to encounter opposition from their families when trying to leave. Finally, a Libyan husband is permitted to take legal action to prevent his wife from leaving the country, regardless of her nationality.

For information on international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://www.travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone the Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747. The OCS call center can answer general inquiries regarding international parental abductions or adoptions and will forward calls to the appropriate officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.


Registration/U.S Interests Section Location: There is no U.S. Embassy in Libya. The U.S. Government is not in a position to accord normal consular protective services to U.S. citizens in Libya. U.S. Government interests are represented by the Government of Belgium, which, as a protecting power, can provide only limited services to U.S. citizens. Inquiries on the present local situation, like currency regulations, should be made to the U.S. Interests Section of the Embassy of Belgium. The Belgian Embassy is located at Dhat al Emad Towers Complex, Tower Number Four, Fifth Floor, Tri-poli; [mailing address is the same as the physical address] Telephone: 00218/21/3350115 or 116, or 00218/21/3350936. Fax: 00218/21/3350118. Email: [email protected]


Travel Warning
November 20, 2003


This Travel Warning is being issued to reflect the lifting of UN sanctions. However, the security situation in Libya remains unstable, and the Department continues to have concerns about travel to Libya. This Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for Libya issued October 7, 2002.


The United States Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to or residence in Libya. There has been evidence of hostility to the United States in some segments of the population and some elements of the Libyan Government.


There is no U.S. Embassy in Libya. Therefore, the U.S. Government is unable to provide any assurances of the safety of travel to Libya by U.S. citizens. U.S. Government interests are represented by the Government of Belgium, which, as a protecting power, can provide only limited emergency services to U.S. citizens.

United Nations sanctions on Libya were lifted on September 12, 2003. U.S. sanctions, however, remain in place. All financial and commercial transactions with Libya by U.S. citizens are prohibited unles slicensed by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. U.S. passports are not valid for travel to, in, or through Libya, unless a special validation is obtained beforehand from the Department of State.


Those Americans who decide to travel to Libya despite the Travel Warning should exercise a high level of caution. Updated information on travel and security in Libya may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or, from overseas, 1-317-472-2328. U.S. citizens who plan to travel to or remain in Libya despite this Travel Warning should consult the Department of State's latest Consular Information sheet for Libya, the current Worldwide Caution and Middle East and North Africa Public Announcements, which are available on the Department's Internet site at http://travel.state.gov.

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Libya

Libya

POPULATION 5,368,585
MUSLIM 98 percent
CHRISTIAN 1 percent
OTHER 1 percent

Country Overview

INTRODUCTION

Known officially as the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Libya extends from the Mediterranean Sea well into the Sahara. The country, which is located at a strategic crossroads of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, has experienced many invaders, with Arabs eventually having the greatest impact on the indigenous Berber people. Beginning in 642 c.e., Arab Muslims swept across North Africa and eventually occupied the area. The Fatimid dynasty, established in North Africa by 910 c.e., then extended its control eastward across Libya. A century later the Fatimids responded to growing Berber opposition by bringing in members of two bedouin tribes, the Beni Hilal and the Beni Sulaim, from Arabia to quell the revolt. Successive waves of Arab invaders stamped their character on the Libyan people, but it was the Beni Hilal and the Beni Sulaim that ensured the Arab and Muslim character of the country.

The Italian occupation, which began in 1911, took some 35,000 immigrants to Libya over the next three decades. Mostly Christian, the Italian population shrank to a few hundred after the revolutionary government seized power in 1969. Similarly, a Jewish population numbering about 35,000 in 1948 shrank to no more than 100 residents by 1973. The non-Muslim population today consists largely of expatriates drawn from countries in Africa, Europe, and East Asia.

RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE

The 1951 constitution of Libya, adopted at independence, declared Islam to be the religion of the state. When the monarchy was ousted by the Great September Revolution of 1969, the revolutionary government issued a constitutional proclamation that made Islam the religion of the state and Arabic, the language of the Koran, the country's official language. The 1977 Declaration of the Establishment of the People's Authority, which amended the constitutional proclamation, made the Koran the law of society in Libya.

Beginning in the 1940s, the Jewish population of Libya suffered increasingly harsh treatment. After centuries of relative tolerance, anti-Jewish riots broke out in late 1945 when the Muslim majority, in the wake of almost three decades of Italian colonial rule, moved to restore what it viewed as the proper order of sovereignty. In consequence, Jews began to emigrate in increasing numbers, with many finding a new home in Israel. Anti-Jewish violence erupted again in 1967, and in 1970 the government confiscated most Jewish property, driving out the remaining Jewish population.

Major Religion

SUNNI ISLAM

DATE OF ORIGIN 642 c.e.
NUMBER OF FOLLOWERS 5.3 million

HISTORY

With the Arab conquest of North Africa in the seventh century, Islam penetrated Libya, and in the course of the next 1,200 years Libya assumed a distinct Arab and Muslim character. In 1842 Sayyid Muhammad bin Ali al-Sanusi founded the Sanusi order. Sanusism was an Islamic revival movement, and for many decades religion in Libya felt its influence. Centered in Cyrenaica, in what is now eastern Libya, the order later spread to the Fezzan in the south. More a religious than a political movement, Sanusism sought to purify Islam and to educate the Libyan people in Islamic principles. Most Libyans today belong to the Sunni branch of Islam and adhere to the Malikite school of Islamic law. One of four orthodox Sunni schools, the Malikite rite holds the Koran, the sacred book of Muslims containing the word of God as revealed to and recited by the Prophet Muhammad, and especially the hadith, the traditions of the Prophet, to be the principal sources of truth.

In response to the Italian invasion of Libya in 1911, the Libyan people declared jihad (struggle), viewing the harsh colonial policies of the occupiers as an attack on Islam. In this context it was more religious zeal than nationalism that motivated the resistance to occupation. Islam as epitomized in the Sanusi movement later provided the monarchy, established at the time of independence in 1951, with legitimacy. After independence the role of religion as a legitimizing force declined for a number of reasons, including increased education and urbanization. Nevertheless, Islam has continued to exert a major influence on the history and society of Libya. Conservative attitudes dominate, and people's values and behavior remain very much a function of their religious background and attachment.

EARLY AND MODERN LEADERS

Sayyid Muhammad bin Ali al-Sanusi advocated a combination of Sufism, or mysticism, and orthodoxy attractive to the bedouins of eastern Libya. After his death in 1859, the brothers of the order, known as ikhwan, carried his message to large parts of Africa, eventually establishing 146 zawaya, or lodges.

With the outbreak of World War I, Sayyid Muhammad Idris al-Mahdi al-Sanusi, grandson of al-Sanusi, assumed the leadership of the Sanusi order and concluded peace agreements with Britain and Italy. These arrangements brought diplomatic and political status to the order, but they did not bring peace to Libya. When Italy resumed its conquest of Libya, Idris fled to Egypt, leaving more martial members of the order to wage a fruitless war against Italy. During World War II, Idris pressed for an independent Libya, and in so doing he was increasingly accepted as the one Libyan able to unite the country. Libya achieved independence in 1951, with Idris as head of state.

With the overthrow of the monarchy in 1969, the leader of the revolution, Muammar al-Qaddafi, moved to reinstate Shariah, Islamic law based on the revelations of the Prophet Muhammad, and to abrogate the European laws imported by the Idris regime. In the process he created the impression that his regime had imposed Islamic law in Libya, when in fact its real accomplishments were more modest. In the subsequent decades opposition to Qaddafi based on Islamic precepts increased steadily but never posed a cohesive, serious threat to the regime. Qaddafi successfully steered a middle course between hardline religious opponents and the Libyan population as a whole, which was largely opposed to militant Islam.

MAJOR THEOLOGIANS AND AUTHORS

Rebuffed by the clerics, the revolutionary government of Muammar al-Qaddafi undertook a determined assault on the religious establishment of Libya. He was largely successful in neutralizing the ulama (religious scholars), and Islamic opposition to the Qaddafi regime became fragmented under constant pressure from government security forces. Although there have been influential ulama, such as Shaykh al-Bishti, the former imam (religious leader) of Tripoli, there are no contemporary theologians or authors in Libya with influence remotely similar to that of Sayyid Muhammad Idris al-Mahdi al-Sanusi.

HOUSES OF WORSHIP AND HOLY PLACES

As in other Muslim countries, the mosque is the house of worship in Libya. Mosques are found throughout the country. Those of notable architectural or historical interest include Al-Jami al-Atiq in Awjilah; Ahmed Pasha Karamanli, Al-Naqah, Draghut, and Gurgi in Tripoli; and Sidi Abdulsalam in Zliten.

WHAT IS SACRED?

Islam traditionally recognizes no distinction between church and state. Religious and secular life merge, as do religious and secular law. A Muslim stands in a personal relationship to God, and there is neither an intermediary nor a clergy in orthodox Islam. In line with their orthodox beliefs, Libyan Muslims practice the Five Pillars of Islam. Otherwise, Islam imposes a code of ethical conduct that encourages generosity, fairness, honesty, and respect.

HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS

Like most Muslim countries, Libya observes the main Islamic festivals as holidays. Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim, or Hegiran, calendar, is a month of fasting. Some Libyan males, even though they may consider themselves unique and lead a debauched life during the rest of the year, conduct themselves with piety during Ramadan. The festival of Id al-Fitr marks the official end to the fast and is celebrated with a feast. Other religious holidays include the Feast, or Festival, of the Sacrifice (Id al-Adha), also called the Major Festival, which is celebrated on the 10th of Dhu al-Hijja, the last month of the Islamic year. Marking the end of the annual pilgrimage, the principal observance is in a village near Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, but Muslims around the word, including those in Libya, celebrate with a feast. Libyans also celebrate the Islamic New Year, although the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad is not a religious holiday in Libya. Friday is a day of rest, on which public offices are closed.

MODE OF DRESS

The traditional Libyan dress for men is the barakan, a length of woven material that is wrapped around the head and body. When men visit mosques or other religious shrines, the emphasis is on clothing that is clean, neat, and respectful. Western-style attire, including business suits, is common in offices. The Islamic dress code for women emphasizes modesty. The use of the veil is not common in Libya, but traditional women often cover the head in public. There is no prescribed dress for religious leaders, and they tend to wear the national dress, with a cap covering the head.

DIETARY PRACTICES

Islam proscribes the consumption of alcohol, blood, carrion, and pork. While the proscription of alcohol is irregularly enforced in many Muslim countries, the government in Libya is strict in ensuring that the prohibition is effective.

RITUALS

Muslims throughout the world follow the same basic set of rituals, with variations in detail generally the result of the various schools of practice. In Libya, where the Malikite school is dominant, these rituals include male circumcision, weddings, religious festivals, funerals, and mourning. At such times it is common in Libya to offer hospitality and food, including sweets and delicacies. Like most Arabs, Libyans value generosity, and an ample table is a mark of good breeding. As elsewhere in the Islamic world, Muslims in Libya observe the Five Pillars of Islam, which include professing their faith, giving alms, praying five times daily, fasting during the month of Ramadan, and making a pilgrimage to Mecca.

RITES OF PASSAGE

Special occasions in the lives of Muslims in Libya have both religious and secular significance. These include birth, circumcision for males, marriage, and death. In addition to their obvious religious overtones, these events are also important social rites for Libyan families, the larger clan of relatives, and often the entire neighborhood or village. In Libya, as in most Muslim countries, an event in which a family takes special pride is a child's memorization of the entire Koran.

MEMBERSHIP

Islam has no ordained priesthood or other sacerdotal institution, and God is equally accessible to all. There are no consecrated centers of worship, the mosque being simply a public hall in which prayers are conducted. The local community normally cares for the mosque, but it does not form a particular community or parish. Consequently, religious life in Libya, as in other Islamic countries, is not strongly congregational.

The Sanusi movement actively proselytized in eastern and southern Libya for much of the nineteenth century, but its efforts largely ended with the Italian occupation. After 1969 the revolutionary government established the Islamic Mission Society to repair and construct mosques and educational institutions around the world. In addition, it organized the Islamic Call Society, ostensibly to serve as a missionary body, although it also engaged in political activities in host countries.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

In its early statements the revolutionary government emphasized the indigenous nature of Libyan socialism, arguing that it stemmed from the heritage of the Libyan people and the heart of the nation. At the same time it gave socialism a strong Islamic basis, depicting Libyan socialism as derived from Islam. Thus, over the next two decades wealth was redistributed and private enterprise virtually eliminated in Libya. The revolutionary government also advanced education, providing free schools at all levels and largely merging religious and secular education. The government developed a poor human rights record, however. Under financial pressure in the 1990s, the Libyan government began to reverse many of the socialist policies it had earlier advocated.

SOCIAL ASPECTS

Some of the practices instituted in Libya by the regime of Muammar al-Qaddafi contradict both the letter and the spirit of Islam and thus, from an Islamic point of view, are seen as violations of human rights. The revolutionary government enacted several laws to improve the legal status of women with respect to marriage and divorce. Restrictions were imposed on Libyan men marrying non-Libyan women, and men employed by the state could not marry non-Arab women. Women in Libya today enjoy divorce rights nearly equal to those of men. On the other hand, while children born of Libyan men are eligible for Libyan citizenship, this is not true of those born of non-Libyan men and Libyan women. Although the overall legal status of women has improved, in traditional sectors of Libyan society there is a reluctance to acknowledge the changes, and many Libyan women are hesitant to claim their privileges.

Marriage in Libya is more a family than a personal affair and more a social contract than a sacrament. With limited contact permitted among the sexes, young men and women enjoy few acquaintances with members of the opposite sex. Consequently, marriages are often arranged by the parents through either friends or a professional matchmaker. The law provides that a couple must consent to a union, but in practice they often play little part in the arrangements.

POLITICAL IMPACT

Religion played a central role in the politics of Libya after independence in 1951, and its role increased after the revolutionary government came to power in 1969. In the Third Universal Theory, set forth in the early 1970s as an attempt to provide a theoretical underpinning for the revolution, Muammar al-Qaddafi argued that nationalism and religion were the paramount drivers of history and mankind. His thoughts on religion focused on the centrality of Islam to religion and of the Koran to Islam. Rejecting formal interpretation of the Koran as blasphemy, he also criticized the hadith on the grounds that the Koran was the only true source of God's word. The revolutionary government's unorthodox interpretation of Islam, coupled with its efforts to use Islam to support the revolution, often put the government in conflict with the traditional religious leadership in Libya.

CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES

One controversial issue in Libya has been the attempt by Muammar al-Qaddafi to manipulate Islam in support of the revolution and for his own ends. Although this has generated considerable internal opposition to the regime, dissent has been neither cohesive nor a part of larger movements outside Libya. Important opposition groups include Apostasy and Migration, Fighting Islamic Group, Islamic Liberation Party, Islamic Martyr's Movement, Libyan Islamic Group, and Muslim Brotherhood.

CULTURAL IMPACT

Because Muslims have traditionally looked askance at the representation of human and animal figures, orthodox Islamic art, including that of Libya, seldom pictures living beings. Since independence Libya has witnessed a modest revival in the pictorial arts, especially calligraphy and painting, but there has been little activity in the fields of theater or film for many years. Traditional Islamic architecture, manifesting itself in places of worship as well as in secular buildings and urban planning, has enjoyed a long, fruitful history in Libya. Traditional folk culture, with Islamic overtones, has remained alive and well, with music and dance troupes often performing at festivals.

Other Religions

No more than a handful of Jews remain in Libya. The resident Christian community, numbering some 50,000, are mainly expatriates working in the petroleum industry. A variety of Christian denominations are found in Libya, with Roman Catholicism, reflecting the relatively large expatriate Italian community, being the most common.

Once dominant throughout Libya, Berbers today largely inhabit desert localities or remote mountainous areas. Unlike the Arabs of Libya, who tend to view themselves as members of the Arab nation, Berbers find identity in a particular group, typically a clan or a tribal section of a small village. Most Berbers belong to the Kharijite sect of Islam, which emphasizes the equality of believers to a greater extent than does the Malikite rite.

A small community of Tuareg nomads, claiming kinship to the larger Tuareg population in Algeria and elsewhere in the Sahara, are scattered in the southwestern desert of Libya. They adhere to a form of Islam that incorporates nonorthodox magical elements. In Tuareg society women enjoy a high status compared with those in other North African societies. Marriage is monogynous, and inheritance is through the female line. A few hundred Tebu also live in small isolated groups in southern Libya. Converted to Islam by the Sanusi movement, they retain some of their earlier beliefs and practices.

Ronald Bruce St. John

See Also Vol. 1: Islam, Sunnism

Bibliography

Ayoub, Mahmoud Mustafa. Islam and the Third Universal Theory: The Religious Thought of Muammar al-Qadhdhafi. London: KPI Limited, 1987.

Deeb, Marius K. "Militant Islam and Its Critics: The Case of Libya." In Islamism and Secularism in North Africa. Edited by John Ruedy, 187–97. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1986.

Felice, Renzo de. Jews in an Arab Land: Libya, 1835–1970. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1985.

Goldberg, Harvey E. Jewish Life in Muslim Libya: Rivals and Relatives. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

Joffé, George. "Qadhafi's Islam in Historical Perspective." In Qadhafi's Libya, 1969–1994. Edited by Dirk Vandewalle, 139–54. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995.

Mason, John Paul. Island of the Blest: Islam in a Libyan Oasis Community. Papers in International Studies, African Series, no. 31. Athens: Ohio University Center for International Studies, 1977.

Peters, Emrys L. The Bedouin of Cyrenaica: Studies in Personal and Corporate Power. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

St. John, Ronald Bruce. Historical Dictionary of Libya. 3rd ed. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1998.

——. Qaddafi's World Design: Libyan Foreign Policy, 1969–1987. London: Saqi Books, 1987.

Vikor, Knut S. Sufi and Scholar on the Desert Edge: Muhammad b. Ali al-Sanusi and His Brotherhood. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1995.

Ziadeh, Nicola A. Sanusiyah: A Study of a Revivalist Movement in Islam. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1983.

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Libya

LIBYA

Compiled from the December 2004 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya


PROFILE

Geography

Area: 1,759,540 million sq. km.

Cities: Capital—Tripoli (2002 pop est. 1,223,300). Other—Benghazi (2002 pop est. 1,080,500).

Terrain: Mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions.

Climate: Mediterranean along coast; dry, extreme desert interior.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Libyan(s).

Population: (July 2004 est.) 5,631,585 (includes non-nationals, of which an estimated 500,000 or more are sub-Saharan Africans living in Libya).

Annual growth rate: (2004 est.) 2.37%.

Ethnic groups: Berber and Arab 97%; Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians.

Religions: Sunni Muslim 97%.

Languages: Arabic, Italian, English, all are widely understood in major cities.

Education: Years compulsory—9. Attendance—90%. Literacy—82.6%.

Health: (2004 est.) Infant mortality rate—25.7/1,000. Life expectancy—male, 74.1 yrs.; female, 78.58 yrs.

Work force: (2001 est.) 1.6 million, an estimated 500,000 of whom are sub-Saharan African foreign workers. Work force by occupation (1997 est.) Industry—29%. Services and Government—54%. Agriculture—17%.

Government

Official name: Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

Type: "Jamahiriya" is a term Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi coined and which he defines as a "state of the masses" governed by the populace through local councils. In fact, the Libyan state is a military dictatorship.

Independence: December 24, 1951. Revolution: September 1, 1969.

Constitution: December 11, 1969, amended March 2, 1977—established popular congresses and people's committees.

Administrative subdivisions: 25 municipalities (singular—"baladiyah", plural—"baladiyat") Ajdabiya, Al'Aziziyah, Al'Fatih, Al Jabal al-Akhdar, Al Jufrah, Al Khums, Al Kufrah, An Nuqat al Khams, Ash Shati', Awbari, Az Zawiyyah, Benghazi, Darnah, Ghadamis, Gharyan, Misratah, Murzuq, Sabha, Sawfajjin, Surt, Tarabulus, Tarhunah, Tubruq, Yafran, Zlitan.

Political parties: Political parties are banned. According to the political theory of Col. Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, multi-layered popular assemblies (people's congresses) with executive institutions (people's committees) are guided by political cadres (revolutionary committees).

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory.

Economy

GDP: (2003 est.) $35 billion.

Per capita GDP: (2003 est.) $6,400.

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, gypsum.

Agriculture: Products—wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus, vegetables, peanuts, soybeans; cattle; approximately 75% of Libya's food is imported.

Industry: Types—petroleum, food processing, textiles, handicrafts, cement.

Trade: Exports (2003 est.)—$14.32 billion: crude oil, refined petroleum products. Major markets (2003)—Italy (39.4%), Germany (13.6%), Spain (13.6%), Turkey 6.6%, France (6.2%). Imports (2003 est.)—$6.282 billion: machinery, transport equipment, food, manufactured goods. Major suppliers (2003)—Italy (27.2%), Germany (10.3%), Tunisia (7.7%), U.K. (6.9%), South Korea (6.9%), France (5.8%).


PEOPLE

Libya has a small population in a large land area. Population density is about 50 persons per sq. km. (80/sq. mi.) in the two northern regions of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, but falls to less than one person per sq. km. (1.6/sq. mi.) elsewhere. Ninety percent of the people live in less than 10% of the area, primarily along the coast. More than half the population is urban, mostly concentrated in the two largest cities, Tripoli and Benghazi. Fifty percent of the population is estimated to be under age 15.

Native Libyans are primarily a mixture of Arabs and Berbers. Small Tebou and Touareg tribal groups in southern Libya are nomadic or seminomadic. Among foreign residents, the largest groups are citizens of other African nations, including North Africans (primarily Egyptians and Tunisians), West Africans and Sub-Saharan Africans.


HISTORY

For most of their history, the peoples of Libya have been subjected to varying degrees of foreign control. The Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, and Byzantines ruled all or parts of Libya. Although the Greeks and Romans left impressive ruins at Cyrene, Leptis Magna, and Sabratha, little else remains today to testify to the presence of these ancient cultures.

The Arabs conquered Libya in the seventh century A.D. In the following centuries, most of the indigenous peoples adopted Islam and the Arabic language and culture. The Ottoman Turks conquered the country in the mid-16th century. Libya remained part of their empire—although at times virtually autonomous—until Italy invaded in 1911 and, in the face of years of resistance, made Libya a colony.

In 1934, Italy adopted the name "Libya" (used by the Greeks for all of North Africa, except Egypt) as the official name of the colony, which consisted of the Provinces of Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, and Fezzan. King Idris I, Emir of Cyrenaica, led Libyan resistance to Italian occupation between the two World Wars. From 1943 to 1951, Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were under British administration, while the French controlled Fezzan. In 1944, Idris returned from exile in Cairo but declined to resume permanent residence in Cyrenaica until the removal in 1947 of some aspects of foreign control. Under the terms of the 1947 peace treaty with the Allies, Italy relinquished all claims to Libya.

On November 21, 1949, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution stating that Libya should become independent before January 1, 1952. King Idris I represented Libya in the subsequent UN negotiations. When Libya declared its independence on December 24, 1951, it was the first country to achieve independence through the United Nations and one of the first former European possessions in Africa to gain independence. Libya was proclaimed a constitutional and a hereditary monarchy under King Idris.

The discovery of significant oil reserves in 1959 and the subsequent income from petroleum sales enabled what had been one of the world's poorest countries to become extremely wealthy, as measured by per capita GDP. Although oil drastically improved Libya's finances, popular resentment grew as wealth was increasingly concentrated in the hands of the elite. This discontent continued to mount with the rise throughout the Arab world of Nasserism and the idea of Arab unity.

On September 1, 1969, a small group of military officers led by then 28-year-old army officer Mu'ammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi staged a coup d'etat against King Idris, who was exiled to Egypt. The new regime, headed by the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), abolished the monarchy and proclaimed the new Libyan Arab Republic. Qadhafi emerged as leader of the RCC and eventually as de facto chief of state, a political role he still plays. The Libyan government asserts that Qadhafi currently holds no official position, although he is referred to in government statements and the official press as the "Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution."

The new RCC's motto became "freedom, socialism, and unity." It pledged itself to remedy "backwardness", take an active role in the Palestinian Arab cause, promote Arab unity, and encourage domestic policies based on social justice, non-exploitation, and an equitable distribution of wealth.

An early objective of the new government was withdrawal of all foreign military installations from Libya. Following negotiations, British military installations at Tobruk and nearby El Adem were closed in March 1970, and U.S. facilities at Wheelus Air Force Base near Tripoli were closed in June 1970. That July, the Libyan Government ordered the expulsion of several thousand Italian residents. By 1971, libraries and cultural centers operated by foreign governments were ordered closed.

In the 1970s, Libya claimed leadership of Arab and African revolutionary forces and sought active roles in international organizations. Late in the 1970s, Libyan embassies were redesignated as "people's bureaus," as Qadhafi sought to portray Libyan foreign policy as an expression of the popular will. The people's bureaus, aided by Libyan religious, political, educational, and business institutions overseas, exported Qadhafi's revolutionary philosophy abroad.

Qadhafi's confrontational foreign policies and use of terrorism, as well as Libya's growing friendship with the U.S.S.R., led to increased tensions with the West in the 1980s. Following a terrorist bombing at a discotheque in West Berlin frequented by American military personnel, in 1986 the U.S. retaliated militarily against targets in Libya, and imposed broad unilateral economic sanctions.

After Libya was implicated in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, UN sanctions were imposed in 1992. UN

Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs) passed in 1992 and 1993 obliged Libya to fulfill requirements related to the Pan Am 103 bombing before sanctions could be lifted. Qadhafi initially refused to comply with these requirements, leading to Libya's political and economic isolation for most of the 1990s.

In 1999, Libya fulfilled one of the UNSCR requirements by surrendering two Libyans suspected in connection with the bombing for trial before a Scottish court in the Netherlands. One of these suspects, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, was found guilty; the other was acquitted. Al-Megrahi's conviction was upheld on appeal in 2002. In August 2003, Libya fulfilled the remaining UNSCR requirements, including acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials and payment of appropriate compensation to the victims' families. UN sanctions were lifted on September 12, 2003.

On December 19, 2003, Libya announced its intention to rid itself of WMD and MTCR-class missile programs. Since that time, it has cooperated with the U.S., the U.K., the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons toward these objectives. Libya has also signed the IAEA Additional Protocol and has become a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Libya's political system is theoretically based on the political philosophy in Qadhafi's Green Book, which combines socialist and Islamic theories and rejects parliamentary democracy and political parties. In reality, Qadhafi exercises near total control over the government. For the first seven years following the revolution, Colonel Qadhafi and 12 fellow army officers, the Revolutionary Command Council, began a complete overhaul of Libya's political system, society and economy. In 1973, he announced the start of a "cultural revolution" in schools, businesses, industries, and public institutions to oversee administration of those organizations in the public interest. On March 3, 1977, Qadhafi convened a General People's Congress (GPC) to proclaim the establishment of "people's power," change the country's name to the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and to vest, theoretically, primary authority in the GPC.

The GPC is the legislative forum that interacts with the General People's Committee, whose members are secretaries of Libyan ministries. It serves as the intermediary between the masses and the leadership and is composed of the secretariats of some 600 local "basic popular congresses." The GPC secretariat and the cabinet secretaries are appointed by the GPC secretary general and confirmed by the annual GPC congress.

These cabinet secretaries are responsible for the routine operation of their ministries, but Qadhafi exercises real authority directly or through manipulation of the peoples and revolutionary committees.

Qadhafi remained the de facto chief of state and secretary general of the GPC until 1980, when he gave up his office. Although he holds no formal office, Qadhafi exercises absolute power with the assistance of a small group of trusted advisers, who include relatives from his home base in the Sirte region, which lies between the rival provinces of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica.

In the 1980s, competition grew between the official Libyan Government and military hierarchies and the revolutionary committees. An abortive coup attempt in May 1984, apparently mounted by Libyan exiles with internal support, led to a short-lived reign of terror in which thousands were imprisoned and interrogated. An unknown number were executed. Qadhafi used the revolutionary committees to search out alleged internal opponents following the coup attempt, thereby accelerating the rise of more radical elements inside the Libyan power hierarchy.

In 1988, faced with rising public dissatisfaction with shortages in consumer goods and setbacks in Libya's war with Chad, Qadhafi began to curb the power of the revolutionary committees and to institute some domestic reforms. The regime released many political prisoners and eased restrictions on foreign travel by Libyans. Private businesses were again permitted to operate.

In the late 1980s, Qadhafi began to pursue an anti-Islamic fundamentalist policy domestically, viewing fundamentalism as a potential rallying point for opponents of the regime. Qadhafi's security forces launched a pre-emptive strike at alleged coup plotters in the military and among the Warfallah tribe in October 1993. Widespread arrests and government reshufflings followed, accompanied by public "confessions" from regime opponents and allegations of torture and executions. The military, once Qadhafi's strongest supporters, became a potential threat in the 1990s. In 1993, following a failed coup attempt that implicated senior military officers, Qadhafi began to purge the military periodically, eliminating potential rivals and inserting his own loyal followers in their place.

The Libyan court system consists of three levels: the courts of first instance; the courts of appeals, and the Supreme Court, which is the final appellate level. The GPC appoints justices to the Supreme Court. Special "revolutionary courts" and military courts operate outside the court system to try political offenses and crimes against the state. Libya's justice system is nominally based on Sharia law.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 9/2/04

Col. Muammar al-Qadhafi has no official title, but he runs Libya and is the de facto chief of state. The Secretary of the General People's Congress is chief of state in theory but is not treated as such. The Secretary of the General People's Committee plays the role of prime minister.

Leader: Qadhafi , Muammar Abu Minyar al-, Col.
Sec. of the Gen. People's Congress: Zanati , Muhammad al-
Asst. Sec. of the Gen. People's Congress: Ibrahim , Ahmad Mohamed
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee (Prime Minister): Ghanim , Shukri Muhammad
Asst. Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee: Mahmudi , Al-Baghdadi Ali al-
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Culture: Mubarij , Al-Mahdi Miftah
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Economy & Trade: Bilkhayr , Abd al-Qadir
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Energy: Shatwan , Ahmad Fathi ibn
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Finance: Huwayz , Muhammad Ali al-
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Foreign Liaison & International Cooperation: Shalgam , Abd al-Rahman
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Higher Education: Qallali , Abd-al-Salam Abdallah
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Planning: al-Juhaymi , al-Tahriri al-Hadi
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Public Security: Abdallah , Nasr al-Mubruk
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Tourism: al-Tayf , Ammar al-Mabruk
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for the Workforce, Training, & Employment: Matuq , Muhammad Matuq
Sec. of the Gen. People's Committee for Youth & Sports: Shairi , Ali Mursi
Governor, Central Bank: Munaysi , Ahmed Abd al-Hamid
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York:

The Libyan Liaison Office is located at 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Suite 705, Washington DC 20037 (tel. 202-944-9601, fax 202-944-9060).


ECONOMY

The government dominates Libya's socialist-oriented economy through complete control of the country's oil resources, which account for approximately 95% of export earnings, 75% of government receipts, and 30% of the gross domestic product. Oil revenues constitute the principal source of foreign exchange. Much of the country's income has been lost to waste, corruption, conventional armaments purchases, and attempts to develop weapons of mass destruction, as well as to large donations made to developing countries in attempts to increase Qadhafi's influence in Africa and elsewhere. Although oil revenues and a small population give Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, the government's mismanagement of the economy has led to high inflation and increased import prices, resulting in a decline in the standard of living.

Despite efforts to diversify the economy and encourage private sector participation, extensive controls of prices, credit, trade, and foreign exchange constrain growth. Import restrictions and inefficient resource allocations have caused periodic shortages of basic goods and foodstuffs.

Although agriculture is the second-largest sector in the economy, Libya imports most foods. Climatic conditions and poor soils severely limit output, while higher incomes and a growing population have caused food consumption to rise. Domestic food production meets about 25% of demand.

On September 20, 2004, President George W. Bush signed an Executive Order ending economic sanctions imposed under the authority of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). U.S. persons are no longer prohibited from working in Libya, and many American companies are actively seeking investment opportunities in Libya. The government has announced ambitious plans to increase foreign investment in the oil and gas sectors to significantly boost production capacity. The government is also pursuing a number of infrastructure projects such as highways, railways, telecommunications backbones, and irrigation.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Since 1969, Qadhafi has determined Libya's foreign policy. His principal foreign policy goals have been Arab unity, elimination of Israel, advancement of Islam, support for Palestinians, elimination of outside—particularly Western—influence in the Middle East and Africa, and support for a range of "revolutionary" causes.

After the 1969 coup, Qadhafi closed American and British bases on Libyan territory and partially nationalized all foreign oil and commercial interests in Libya. He also played a key role in promoting the use of oil embargoes as a political weapon for challenging the West, hoping that an oil price rise and embargo in 1973 would persuade the West—especially the United States—to end support for Israel. Qadhafi rejected both Soviet communism and Western capitalism, and claimed he was charting a middle course.

Libya's relationship with the former Soviet Union involved massive Libyan arms purchases from the Soviet bloc and the presence of thousands of east bloc advisers. Libya's use—and heavy loss—of Soviet-supplied weaponry in its war with Chad was a notable breach of an apparent Soviet-Libyan understanding not to use the weapons for activities inconsistent with Soviet objectives. As a result, Soviet-Libyan relations reached a nadir in mid-1987.

After the fall of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union, Libya concentrated on expanding diplomatic ties with Third World countries and increasing its commercial links with Europe and East Asia. Following the imposition of UN sanctions in 1992, these ties significantly diminished. Following a 1998 Arab League meeting in which fellow Arab states decided not to challenge UN sanctions, Qadhafi announced that he was turning his back on pan-Arab ideas, one of the fundamental tenets of his philosophy.

Instead, Libya pursued closer bilateral ties, particularly with North African neighbors Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. It has also sought to develop its relations with Sub-Saharan Africa, leading to Libyan involvement in several internal African disputes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Libya has also sought to expand its influence in Africa through financial assistance, ranging from aid donations to impoverished neighbors such as Niger to oil subsidies to Zimbabwe, and through participation in the African Union. Qadhafi has proposed a borderless "United States of Africa" to transform the continent into a single nation-state ruled by a single government. This plan has been greeted with skepticism. Libya has played a helpful role in facilitating the provision of humanitarian assistance to Darfur refugees in Chad.

Terrorism

Libya has taken significant steps to mend its international image and renounced terrorism in a letter to the UN Security Council in August 2003. In 1999, the Libyan government surrendered two Libyans suspected of involvement in the Pan Am 103 bombing, leading to the suspension of UN sanctions. On January 31, 2001, a Scottish court seated in the Netherlands found one of the suspects, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, guilty of murder in connection with the bombing, and acquitted the second suspect, Al-Amin Khalifa Fhima. Megrahi's conviction was upheld on March 14, 2002.

UN sanctions were lifted on September 12, 2003 following Libyan compliance with its remaining UNSCR requirements on Pan Am 103, including acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials and payment of appropriate compensation. Libya paid compensation in 1999 for the death of British policewoman Yvonne Fletcher, a move that preceded the reopening of the British Embassy in Tripoli, and paid damages to the families of the victims in the bombing of UTA Flight 772. With the lifting of UN sanctions in September 2003, the families of the victims of Pan Am 103 received $4 million of a maximum $10 million in compensation. After the lifting of IEEPA-based sanctions on September 20, 2004, the families will receive a further $4 million. A final payment of $2 million per family is tied to Libya's removal from the state sponsors of terrorism list.

On November 13, 2001, a German court found four persons, including a former employee of the Libyan embassy in East Berlin, guilty in connection with the 1986 La Belle disco bombing, in which two U.S. servicemen were killed. The court also established a connection to the Libyan government. The German government has demanded that Libya accept responsibility for the La Belle bombing and pay appropriate compensation. A compensation deal for non-U.S. victims was agreed in August 2004. U.S. victims continue to pursue their claims in federal court.

By 2003, Libya appeared to have curtailed its support for international terrorism, although it may have retained residual contacts with some of its former terrorist clients. In August 2004, the Department of Justice entered into a plea agreement with Abdulrahman Alamoudi, in which he stated that he had been part of a 2003 plot to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah at the behest of Libyan government officials. The U.S. takes these charges very seriously. Libya's record of support for terrorism remains under review.


U.S.-LIBYAN RELATIONS

The United States supported the UN resolution providing for Libyan independence in 1951 and raised the status of its office at Tripoli from a consulate general to a legation. Libya opened a legation in Washington, DC, in 1954. Both countries subsequently raised their missions to embassy level.

After Qadhafi's 1969 coup, U.S.-Libyan relations became increasingly strained because of Libya's foreign policies supporting international terrorism and subversion against moderate Arab and African governments. In 1972, the United States withdrew its ambassador. Export controls on

military equipment and civil aircraft were imposed during the 1970s, and U.S. embassy staff members were withdrawn from Tripoli after a mob attacked and set fire to the embassy in December 1979. The U.S. Government declared Libya a "state sponsor of terrorism" on December 29, 1979.

In May 1981, the U.S. Government closed the Libyan "people's bureau" (embassy) in Washington, DC, and expelled the Libyan staff in response to a general pattern of conduct by the people's bureau contrary to internationally accepted standards of diplomatic behavior.

In August 1981, two Libyan jets fired on U.S. aircraft participating in a routine naval exercise over international waters of the Mediterranean claimed by Libya. The U.S. planes returned fire and shot down the attacking Libyan aircraft. In December 1981, the State Department invalidated U.S. passports for travel to Libya and, for purposes of safety, advised all U.S. citizens in Libya to leave. In March 1982, the U.S. Government prohibited imports of Libyan crude oil into the United States and expanded the controls on U.S.-origin goods intended for export to Libya. Licenses were required for all transactions, except food and medicine. In March 1984, U.S. export controls were expanded to prohibit future exports to the Ras al-Enf petrochemical complex. In April 1985, all Export-Import Bank financing was prohibited.

Due to Libya's continuing support for terrorism, the United States adopted additional economic sanctions against Libya in January 1986, including a total ban on direct import and export trade, commercial contracts, and travel-related activities. In addition, Libyan Government assets in the United States were frozen. When evidence of Libyan complicity was discovered in the Berlin discotheque terrorist bombing that killed an American serviceman, the United States responded by launching an aerial bombing attack against targets near Tripoli and Benghazi in April 1986. Subsequently, the United States maintained its trade and travel embargoes and brought diplomatic and economic pressure to bear against Libya. This pressure helped to bring about the Lockerbie settlement and Libya's renunciation of WMD and MTCR-class missiles.

In 1991, two Libyan intelligence agents were indicted by federal prosecutors in the U.S. and Scotland for their involvement in the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103. In January 1992, the UN Security Council approved Resolution 731 demanding that Libya surrender the suspects, cooperate with the Pan Am 103 and UTA 772 investigations, pay compensation to the victims' families, and cease all support for terrorism. Libya's refusal to comply led to the approval of UNSC Resolution 748 on March 31, 1992, imposing sanctions designed to bring about Libyan compliance. Continued Libyan defiance led to passage of UNSC Resolution 883—a limited assets freeze and an embargo on selected oil equipment—in November 1993. As noted in the terrorism section above, UN sanctions were lifted on September 12, 2003, after Libya fulfilled all remaining UNSCR requirements, including renunciation of terrorism, acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials, and payment of appropriate compensation to the victims' families.

On December 19, 2003, Libya announced its intention to rid itself of WMD and MTCR-class missile programs. Since that time, it has cooperated with the U.S., the U.K., the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons toward these objectives. Libya has also signed the IAEA Additional Protocol and has become a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention. In response, the U.S. has terminated the applicability of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act to Libya and the President signed an Executive Order on September 20, 2004 terminating the national emergency with respect to Libya and ending IEEPA-based economic sanctions. This action had the effect of unblocking assets blocked under the Executive Order sanctions. Restrictions on cargo aviation and third-party code-sharing have been lifted, as have restrictions on passenger aviation. Certain export controls also remain in place and Libya remains on the state sponsors of terrorism list. U.S. diplomatic personnel reopened the U.S. Interest Section in Tripoli on February 8, 2004. The mission was upgraded to a U.S. Liaison Office on June 28, 2004. Libya reestablished its diplomatic presence in Washington with the opening of an Interest Section on July 8, 2004, which was subsequently upgraded to a Liaison Office in December 2004.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

The U.S. Liaison Office in Libya is temporarily located at the Corinthia Bab Africa Hotel, Souk al-Thulatha, Al-Gadim, Tripoli, Libya (tel. 218-21-335-1848, fax 218-21-335-1847).

The U.S. consular representative's office is located in the Belgian Embassy at the Dhat al-Emad Towers Complex, Tower 4, Fifth Floor, Tripoli, Libya (tel. 218-21-335-0115 / 218-21-335-0116 / 218-21-335-0936, fax 218-21-335-0118, email [email protected]). Limited services are available for U.S. citizens.


TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

February 17, 2005

Country Description: Officially known as the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Libya has a developing economy. Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation of the country's customs, laws, and practices. Tourist facilities are not widely available.

Entry/Exit Requirements: Passports and visas are required. The restrictions on the use of U.S. passport for travel to, in, or through Libya were lifted in February 2004. Please see paragraphs below on Special Circumstances. The government of Libya does not allow persons with passports bearing an Israel visa or entry/exit stamps to enter the country. At this time, neither Libya nor the U.S. provides visa services in each other's countries; U.S. visitors to Libya should therefore plan to obtain a visa via a third country. Inquiries about obtaining a Libyan visa may be made through the Libyan Liaison Office in Washington, DC. The liaison office is located at 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW – Suite 705, Washington, DC 20037, phone number 202-944-9601, fax number 202-944-9606. (However, neither the Libyan Mission to the UN in NY nor the Libyan Liaison Office in Washington accept visa applications.) The land borders with Egypt and Tunisia are subject to periodic closures even to travelers with valid Libyan visas. Short-term closures of other land borders occur with little notice. Within three days of arrival, visitors must register at the police station closest to where they are residing or they may encounter problems during their stay or upon departure. See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Libya and other countries.

Safety and Security: Security personnel may at times place foreign visitors under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones and fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched. Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with the authorities.

While Libya has taken steps to cooperate in the global war on terrorism, the Libyan Government remains on the U.S. Government's State Sponsors of Terrorism List.

Recent worldwide terrorist alerts have stated that extremist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in the region. Therefore, any American citizen who decides to travel to Libya should maintain a strong security posture by being aware of surroundings, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, keeping a low profile, and varying times and routes for all required travel. In light of these security concerns, U.S. citizens are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Middle East and North Africa Public Announcement, Travel Warnings, including the Travel Warning for Libya, and other Public Announcements can be found.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-free line at 1-317-472-2328. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's pamphlets A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa.

Crime: Crime is a growing problem in Libya. The most common types of crime are auto theft and theft of items left in vehicles, as well as burglaries. Pickpocketing is also a growing problem. The increasing availability of drugs has led to an increase in crime in the past few years. Libya's beaches are the frequent sites of muggings and purse-snatchings.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy, Consulate or the U.S. Liaison Office in Tripoli. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy, Consulate or the U.S. Liaison Office in Tripoli for assistance. The staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

See our information on Victims of Crime at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/emergencies/emergencies_1748.html.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Basic modern medical care and medicines may not be available in Libya. The hospital with the best reputation in Libya is the "Oil Clinique-N.O.C." There is also a new Swiss clinic and a facility with French doctors known as Medilink, but both are very small. Most Libyan citizens prefer to be treated outside of Libya for ailments such as heart disease and diabetes.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Please see our information on medical insurance overseas.

Traffic Safety and road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Libya is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:

The paved roads in rural areas are satisfactory; however, many rural roads are unpaved (i.e. dirt roads). Also, major highways along the seacoast and leading south merge into single-lane highways once they are outside the cities. These roads are heavily trafficked and precarious to navigate, especially at night and during the winter rainy season. The presence of sand deposits and domestic and wild animals that frequently cross these highways and rural roads make them even more hazardous.

Availability of roadside assistance is extremely limited and offered only in Arabic. Inside urban areas and near the outskirts of major cities there is a greater possibility of assistance by police and emergency ambulance services although they are usually ill-equipped to deal with serious injuries or accidents.

Driving in Libya may be hazardous, and there is a high accident rate. Police enforcement of traffic signs and laws is rare. As a result, it is often difficult to anticipate the actions of other drivers on Libyan streets and highways. Wind-blown sand can make roads impassable to all but four-wheel drive vehicles. Road conditions are poor, and public transportation, which is limited to occasional bus service, is poor. Taxis, which are available, are usually on a shared basis. Rental cars are often old and poorly maintained, and they are not recommended for long-distance driving. The sidewalks in urban areas are often in bad condition, but pedestrians are able to use them.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Please also see road safety information on Libya at http://www.arab.net/libya/la_roads.htm.

Aviation Safety Oversight: Regular connecting service is provided by major European carriers. As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers to the United States at present, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Libya's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Special Circumstances: Libya's economy operates on a "cash-only" basis for most transactions, even though U.S. law now permits the use in Libya of credit cards and checks drawn on U.S. banks. Some hotels and major airlines are the only businesses known to accept credit cards (Visa and Mastercard). ATM machines are non-existent. Foreign visitors should be aware that the penalties for use of unauthorized currency dealers are severe. Foreign visitors should also be aware that their passports might be confiscated in business disputes. The workweek is Sunday-Thursday.

In addition to being subject to all Libyan laws, U.S. citizens who also possess the nationality of Libya may be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Libyan citizens, including use of a Libyan passport to enter and depart Libya. For additional information, please see the Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality flyer.

Most U.S. economic sanctions on Libya were terminated on September 20, 2004. For further information, please contact the Office of Foreign Assets Control at: http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/

Technologies and goods on the Department of Commerce Export Control List must be licensed by the Department of Commerce for export to Libya. If you have specific inquiries regarding reexports to Libya, please contact the BIS Export Counseling Division at 202-482-4811, or submit a query from the BIS webpage, http://www.bis.doc.gov. The mailing address is:

U.S. Department of Commerce
Bureau of Industry and Security
Office of Exporter Services
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC. 20230

Libyan customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning the introduction into Libya or removal from Libya of firearms, religious materials, antiquities, medications, and currency. Importation and consumption of alcohol and pork products are illegal in Libya. Any passenger arriving in Tripoli is required to bring into Libya a minimum of $500. This requirement is subject to a border check, and the passenger faces possible deportation if this requirement is not met.

It is advisable to contact any Embassy of Libya abroad for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Libya's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are severe in Libya, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences, heavy fines, and/or flogging or other physical punishment. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. See more information here.

Family and Children's Issues: Children under 18 whose fathers are Libyan must have the father's permission to depart Libya, even if the mother has been granted full custody by a Libyan court. Women and children are often subjected to strict family controls; on occasion, families of Libyan-American women visiting Libya have attempted to prevent them from leaving the country. Young, single women are most likely to encounter opposition from their families when trying to leave. Finally, a Libyan husband is permitted to take legal action to prevent his wife from leaving the country, regardless of her nationality.

For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Consular Representative's Location: Americans living or traveling in Libya are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Libya. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. On June 28, 2004, a U.S. Liaison Office opened in Tripoli. There is no consular officer included among the staff. Thus, due to limited staffing and interim facilities, it can provide only limited services to U.S. citizens. The U.S. consular representative's office is located in the Belgian Embassy at Dhat al Emad Towers Complex, Tower Number Four, Fifth Floor, Tripoli; [mailing address is the same as the physical address] Telephone: 00218/21/3350936 (direct line), or 00218/21/3350115-116 (Belgian Embassy). Fax: 00218/21/3350118. Email: [email protected]

Travel Warning

December 29, 2004

This Travel Warning is being issued to update the security information in Libya. Libya remains on the U.S. Government's State Sponsors of Terrorism List. The United States Department of State warns U.S. citizens traveling to Libya to exercise caution. This Warning supersedes the Travel Warning for Libya issued June 28, 2004.

The U.S. lifted restrictions on the use of U.S. passports for travel to Libya in February 2004. While Libya has taken steps to cooperate in the global war on terrorism, the Libyan Government remains on the U.S. Government's State Sponsors of Terrorism List. Although Libya appears to have curtailed its support for international terrorism, it may maintain residual contacts with some of its former terrorist clients.

Recent worldwide terrorist alerts have stated that extremist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in the region. Therefore, any American citizen who decides to travel to Libya should maintain a strong security posture by being aware of surroundings, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, keeping a low profile, and varying times and routes for all required travel.

In light of these security concerns, U.S. citizens are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.

In June 2004, a U.S. Liaison Office opened in Tripoli. There is no consular officer included among the staff. Thus, due to limited staffing and interim facilities, only limited services are currently available to U.S. citizens.

Most U.S. economic sanctions on Libya were ended on September 20, 2004. Libya remains on the State Sponsors of Terrorism List. Technologies and goods on the Department of Commerce Export Control List must be licensed by the Department of Commerce for export to Libya.

Travelers should be aware that credit cards and checks on U.S. banks generally are not accepted in Libya, and should be prepared to engage in cash-only transactions while in Libya.

Americans who decide to travel to Libya despite this Travel Warning should exercise a high level of caution. Updated information on travel and security in Libya may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or, from overseas, 1-317-472-2328. Those travelers should consult the Department of State's latest Consular Information sheet for Libya and the current Worldwide Caution and Middle East and North Africa Public Announcements, which are available on the Department's Internet site at http://travel.state.gov.

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Libya

Libya

The Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, better known as Libya, is located in central North Africa. It is bounded on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the east by Egypt, on the west by Algeria and Tunisia, and on the south by Chad, Niger, and Sudan. With a surface area totaling 1.76 million square kilometers (680,000 square miles), it is the fourth largest country in Africa and the fifteenth largest in the world.

An arid state, there is not a single permanent river or stream in the entire country, and only 2 percent of Libya receives enough rainfall for settled agriculture. Although the desert predominates in Libya, the country offers surprising geographical diversity. Less than 20 percent is covered by sand dunes, notably the Awbari and Marzuq Sand Seas in the southwest and Kalanshiyu and Rabyanah Sand Seas in the southeast, with much of the remainder covered by rocky or gravel plains.

With the exception of a few oases, the most productive agricultural areas are located on the coastal strip and the highland steppes behind it. The discovery of petroleum deposits in commercial quantities in 1959 dramatically altered the Libyan economy. Libya began exporting high-quality crude oil in 1961, and by 2004 some 90 percent of the country's revenues came from hydrocarbons. Libyan petroleum reserves are estimated to be between 30 billion to 35 billion barrels.

More than two-thirds of the Libyan population, which numbered only 5.6 million people in 2004, lives along the Mediterranean coast with approximately 50 percent of this number residing in Tripoli. The ethnic composition of the country's population is diverse and has changed considerably over the last fifty years. Most of the 30,000 Italians living in Libya at the end of World War II (1939–1945) were expelled by the government in 1970, although some of them later returned to work in the petroleum and related industries. Similarly, a Jewish population estimated to number 35,000 in 1948 had shrunk to almost nothing by the late 1970s. Of the Libyans remaining, more than 95 percent are of Arab or Berber stock with many of them descendants of the Arab tribes that occupied Libya more than nine centuries ago.

nature of government

Situated at a crossroads of Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, Libya's strategic location has played a major role in its historical and modern development. Early African trade routes, many of which transited parts of Libya, ran from Central Africa through the Sahel—the western stretch of the Sahara Desert

bordering on the Atlantic Ocean—to the North African coast. These trade links, coupled with Libya's location well into the Sahara Desert, help explain its longtime involvement in the affairs of central and eastern Africa. A tongue of land of the Libyan Desert, reaching almost to the Mediterranean Sea, has long divided Libya with its eastern half looking to the Mashriq (Eastern Islamic world) and the western part focused on the Maghrib (Western Islamic world).

At the conclusion of World War II, the Big Four powers (France, Great Britain, Soviet Union, and United States) recognized Libya's strategic importance both as a link to the Arab states of North Africa and the Middle East and as a springboard to other African states. Unable to agree after 1945 on a future course for Libya, they referred the issue to the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN). Under the terms of a 1949 General Assembly resolution, the United Kingdom of Libya, the first North African state to achieve statehood and the first state to emerge under UN auspices, was granted independence on December 24, 1951, under the reign of Muhammad Idris al-Mahdi al-Sanussi (1890–1983), a traditional religious leader.

The constitution adopted in 1951 established a hereditary monarchy with a federal state divided into the three provinces of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan. Criticized from the outset, this arrangement was eventually replaced in 1963 with a unitary system that joined the three provinces into a united kingdom with a parliamentary legislature. Under the reign of King Idris, Libya could best be characterized as a conservative, traditional Arab state. In a period of mounting turmoil and radicalism throughout the Arab world, socioeconomic and political forces inside and outside Libya steadily increased the gulf between the traditional ruling elite and emerging new social forces and groups.

On September 1, 1969, with aging King Idris abroad for medical treatment, a group of young army officers, calling themselves the Free Unionist Officers Movement, overthrew the monarchy in a bloodless coup d'etat, initiating what became known as the One September Revolution. The Free Unionist Officers were led by a central committee of twelve men who later designated themselves the ruling Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). The members of the RCC shared similar backgrounds, motivations, and worldviews. Largely drawn from the lower middle class and minor tribes, most of them graduated from the Libyan Military Academy at a time when a military career offered excellent opportunities for upward socioeconomic mobility.

The composition of the RCC remained anonymous for a period of time, but within days, it announced that Muammar al-Qaddafi (b. 1942) had been promoted to commander in chief of the Libyan armed forces. Born near Sirte in northern Libya, Qaddafi was the only surviving son of a poor Bedouin family. First educated in Muslim schools, he later graduated from the Libyan Military Academy in 1965 and completed advanced military training in the United Kingdom. The RCC remained a relatively closed organization, but it was soon apparent that Qaddafi was its chairman and the de facto head of state.

basis for government

The RCC replaced the 1951 constitution with a constitutional proclamation in December 1969. The proclamation described the RCC as the highest authority in the land with both executive and legislative functions. It was empowered to take whatever measures it deemed necessary to protect the regime or the revolution. The 1969 constitutional proclamation also empowered the RCC to appoint a Council of Ministers to run the government. The council's function was to implement state policy as defined by the RCC. Initially intended to remain in force until the completion of the so-called national democratic revolution, the 1969 constitutional proclamation was expected to be replaced later by a permanent constitution. In the early 2000s this had not yet occurred, and the political system bore no resemblance to the one outlined in the proclamation. The RCC also continued a ban on the organization and operation of political parties first imposed by King Idris in 1952. Like many contemporary Islamic thinkers, Qaddafi rejected the political party system, not because it was incompatible with the Qur'an or Islamic law (Shari'a), but because he was unimpressed with party organization and competition.

On April 15, 1973, Qaddafi proclaimed a nationwide popular revolution based on a five-point program. Core elements of the program called for all existing laws to be replaced by revolutionary enactments, an administrative revolution to eliminate all forms of bourgeoisie and bureaucracy, and a cultural revolution to rid Libya of poisonous ideas. To consummate the revolution, Qaddafi urged the Libyan people to seize political power through people's committees, which were to be elected throughout the country on either a geographical and or a functional basis. Geographically, the creation of people's committees through direct popular elections began at the lowest level of government, the zone. The RCC also authorized the election of selected people's committees on a functional basis, for example, in public corporations, universities, and hospitals; however, concerned that anarchy might develop, it prohibited the election of people's committees in government ministries.

Qaddafi began to give his radical approach to government a theoretical underpinning in 1972 with the development of what he termed the Third Universal Theory. In so doing, he attempted to develop an alternative to capitalism and communism, both of which he found unsuitable to the Libyan environment. Condemning the two as monopolistic, Qaddafi characterized communism as a state monopoly of ownership and capitalism as a monopoly of ownership by capitalists and companies. Initially, he grouped the Soviet Union and the United States together as imperialist countries intent on obtaining spheres of influence in the Arab world. Later, Qaddafi developed extensive cultural, economic, military, and political ties with the Soviet Union, but ideological affinity never played a significant role in their relationship.

Qaddafi outlined the major tenets of the Third Universal Theory in the three volumes of The Green Book published after 1975. In the first volume, The Solution to the Problem of Democracy, he developed the political basis for the system of congresses and committees implemented throughout Libya in the first decade of the revolution. In the second volume, The Solution of the Economic Problem "Socialism," he explored the economic dimensions of the Third Universal Theory, relating them to the new political system. The final volume, The Social Basis of the Third Universal Theory, focused on the social aspects of his theory of government.

On September 1, 1976, Qaddafi announced the creation of the General People's Congress (GPC), a national-level representative body. Delegates to the GPC are normally the chairpersons of the basic people's congresses, members of the municipal and branch people's committees, and the representatives of the people's committees elected on a functional basis. The number of delegates varies from session to session but generally approximates one thousand persons. Scheduled to meet annually, the GPC is the principal forum in which the plans, programs, and policies of the government are discussed and ratified. Formal ratification carries with it responsibility for policy implementation at the people's congress and people's committee levels. The general secretary of the GPC is the chief executive, and the general secretariat of the GPC is the chief executive's staff and advisory body.

On March 2, 1977, the revolutionary government issued the "Declaration of the Establishment of the Peoples Authority," which stated that direct popular authority would be the basis for the new Libyan political system. The declaration was not a constitution, as some observers suggested; nevertheless, its central principles related to the people's authority fundamentally revised the governmental structure outlined in the 1969 constitutional proclamation. The March 1977 declaration also changed the official name of Libya to the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiryia. Jamahiriya was a newly coined Arabic word that had no official meaning but was translated unofficially to mean "people's power" or "state of the masses." The revolutionary government used the term to convey the idea that the Libyan people rule themselves without interference from state institutions. After 1986 Libyan officials began to refer to Libya as the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, but no official explanation was given for this slight change in nomenclature. Qaddafi became the general secretary of the GPC in 1977, and the remaining four members of the RCC composed its general secretariat. A General People's Committee was formed at the same time to replace the former Council of Ministers. Members of the General People's Committee were referred to as secretaries rather than as ministers.

Revolutionary committees were another new echelon of government created in 1976 and 1977. Their existence was not widely known until 1979 when the GPC first described their official functions. The revolutionary committee system was established to raise the political consciousness of the Libyan people. Reporting to Qaddafi, members of the revolutionary committees were self-proclaimed zealots who became the true cadre of the revolution. As Qaddafi repeatedly emphasized, the people's committees were responsible for administrative matters, but it was the revolutionary committees that exercised revolutionary control.

Qaddafi remained the general secretary of the GPC until 1979 when he resigned to concentrate on what he described as revolutionary activities, adopting the new title, Leader of the Revolution. The former RCC members constituting the GPC general secretariat resigned their positions at the same time. Nevertheless, Qaddafi and his inner circle continued to control and direct the Libyan government after 1979. Despite the facade of popular participation in the system of congresses and committees, the Leader of the Revolution selects the members of the general secretariat of the GPC, all of whom serve at his convenience.

From the outset, the RCC had stressed that it planned to reform the Libyan judicial system within an Islamic context. In October 1971, the RCC formed a legislative review committee, composed of leading legal experts, to ensure existing laws conformed with the Shari'a. Two years later, it promulgated a law merging the existing civil and Shari'a courts into a single judicial system, consisting of four levels of jurisdiction. The partial court, which exists in most villages and towns, is the lowest level court with the court of first instance serving as a court of appeal for the partial court. Appeals courts in Benghazi, Sabha, and Tripoli hear cases referred from the court of first instance but have limited original jurisdiction. Finally, a Supreme Court, consisting of five chambers, sits in Tripoli.

The GPC appoints all judges. The U.S. Department of State Human Rights Reports consider Libyan courts to be under governmental control and note that security forces have the power to pass sentences without trial. Amnesty International continues to note the existence of unfair trials in partial courts. However, there is some evidence that, with the exception of political cases, judicial independence and due process are generally respected in ordinary litigation.

political life under the regime

After more than three decades of revolution, over half the Libyan population knows no government other than that of Qaddafi. He is the oldest leader in the Arab world, in terms of years in office, and the oldest leader in the world, excepting Cuba's Fidel Castro. With a large percentage of the population sharing a vested interest in the status quo, political apathy is often the norm with many Libyans accepting an implicit trade-off between a lack of social and political freedom and a relatively high standard of living.

fast facts

The Lockerbie Affair was a turning point in the worldwide response to terrorism; afterwards, many nations came together to form a joint resolution, marking the first time separate nations worked as one to effectively suppress international terrorist activities.

In addition, many Libyans have viewed Qaddafi's handling of the Lockerbie affair—in which Libya accepted responsibility for the actions of Libyan officials in the 1998 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 and agreed in 2003 to pay $2.7 billion in compensation to the families of the victims—as something of a diplomatic triumph. Others have remained optimistic about the positive economic results expected to come after 2003 when both the international sanctions imposed by the UN in 1991 and the bilateral sanctions imposed in 1986 by the United States were lifted. Much of the remaining domestic opposition, which was dealt with harshly by the regime in the 1990s, came from Islamic fundamentalist organizations. International human rights groups in 2003 and 2004 documented hundreds of political prisoners or prisoners of conscience in Libya, some held without charge or trial for over a decade. Opposition outside Libya to the Qaddafi regime is located mainly in Europe and has been mostly limited to remote, ineffective criticism of the regime.

In short, Qaddafi's quixotic personality masks a relatively stable political system in which external policies are often linked to issues of domestic legitimacy. Frequent ministerial reshuffles continue to characterize the Libyan system of government, but changes to the government line-up seldom herald a substantive shift in the domestic political environment. On the contrary, they serve to underscore the continuing stability of the power balance in Libya and the dominant position of Qaddafi. Despite occasional signs of public discontent over issues like official corruption or the uneven distribution of resources, the vast majority of Libyans remain either generally supportive of Qaddafi or politically apathetic.

See also: Chad; Shari'a.


bibliography

Amnesty International. "Libya." Amnesty International Report 2004. New York: Amnesty International, 2004. <http://web.amnesty.org/report2004/lby-summary-eng>.

Ben-Halim, Mustafa Ahmed. Libya: The Years of Hope. London: AAS Media Publishers, 1998.

El-Kikhia, Mansour O. Libya's Qaddafi: The Politics of Contradiction. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1997.

"Libya." CIA World Factbook. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2004. <http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ly.html>.

Mezran, Karim. "Libya." In Legal Systems of the World: A Political, Cultural, and Social Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, ed. Herbert M. Kritzer. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC CLIO, 2001.

Obeidi, Amal. Political Culture in Libya. Richmond, UK: Curzon Press, 2001.

Qaddafi, Muammar. Escape to Hell and Other Stories. New York: Stanké, 1998.

St John, Ronald Bruce. Historical Dictionary of Libya, 3rd ed. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1998.

St John, Ronald Bruce. Libya and the United States: Two Centuries of Strife. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002.

St John, Ronald Bruce. "Round Up the Usual Suspects: Prospects for Regime Change in Libya." Journal of Libyan Studies 4, no. 1 (2003):5–21.

St John, Ronald Bruce. "Revolutionary Command Council." In Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East & North Africa, 2d edition, Vol. 3, ed. Philip Mattar. Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference, 2004.

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. "Libya." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2003. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 2003. <http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27933.htm>.

Vandewalle, Dirk. Libya since Independence: Oil and State-Building. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998.

Ronald Bruce St John

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