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State of Libya ( دولة ليبيا )

where it all began

globe
Orthographic projection of Libya

 

Tamurt N Libya

map composition of Libya

 

Libya Facts & Statistics


Country: Libya (ليبيا)
Official Name: State of Libya (دولة ليبيا)
Demonym: Libyan (لیبی , ليبيية)
Continent: Africa (أفريقيا)
Region: North Africa (شمال أفريقيا)
Capital City: Tripoli (طرابلس)
National Symbols: star, crescent, hawk
Flag: red, green, and black with white star & crescent - tiny libyan flag
   
Surface Area: 1,759,540 sq. km
Coastline: 1,770 km
Forested Area: 0.1% (of land area)
Land boundaries: 4,348 km
   
Latitude: top: 33.4; bottom: 19.1 decimal degrees
Longitude: left: 9.1; right: 25.5 decimal degrees
Territorial sea: 12 nmi (nautical miles) = 22.2 kilometre
Exclusive fishing zone: 62 nmi (nautical miles) = 114.8 kilometre
Mean Elevation: 423 m
Lowest Point: Sabkhet Ghuzayyel (near Ajdabiya): -47 m
Highest Point: Bikku Bitti (Tibesti Mountain): 2,266 m
Coastal Climate: Mediterranean; Interior: dry desert
January Temperature: average 53.6 degrees Fahrenheit; 12 degrees Celsius
July Temperature: Average 104 degrees Fahrenheit; 40 degrees Celsius
Annual rainfall: 400 mm
Threatened Species: 54
   
Libyan Population: 5 million approximately
Immigrant Population: 1.5 million approximately
Total Population: 6,461,454 (July 2010)
Population Density: 3.6 (per sq km) (2016)
Male Population: 0-24 years: 1,457,826; 25-54 years: 1,567,608; 55+: 295,873
Female Population: 0-24 years: 1,381,890; 25-54 years: 1,421,246; 55+: 287,333
Literacy: male: 96.7%; female: 85.6%
Urban Population: 78.6%
UPAAGR (1990-2012): 1.8% (UPAAGR = Urban Population Average Annual Growth Rate)
   
Sanitation Facilities: 96% (usage)
Immunization Coverage: 98-99% ( BCG, Polio3, Hib3, HepB3, DPT1, DPT2, MCV
Life expectancy: women: 77 years, men: 72 years
Birth Rate: 18 births/1,000 population
Death Rate: 3.60 deaths/1,000 population
HIV/AIDS: HIV / AIDS: 300 cases (WHO, 2008)
   
Natives Inhabitants: Berbers (Imazighen)
Ethnic Groups: Arabs, Berbers, Tebu
Spoken Languages: Arabic, Tamazight (Berber), Tebu
Official Language: Arabic
Berber Languages: Tamasheqt, Nafusi, Suknah, Ghadamis and Awjilah
   
Internet TLD: .ly (dot ly)
Internet Usage: 19% (2014)
ISO 3166 code: LY
Telephone Code: +218
Time Zone: UTC+2
Emergency: 191
Weights: kilograms
Measurement: meter
Ambulance: 193
Driving: on the right-hand-side of the road
Local Mail: ordinary and express mail
International Mail: DHL (available in big cities)
   
Currency: Libyan Dinar (LYD) (see Money)
GDP per capita: $14,348  (2016)
GDP per capita: $16,000  (2010)
Official Reserves: $106,136,000,000 (December 2010)
Gold Reserves: $6,493,000,000 (December 2010)
Industrial Output: $68,000,000,000 (2008)
Cost of Living Index: 51 [2nd lowest in the world] (2010)
Quality of Life: 75.5/100 (position 52 in world index) (2010)
PPP: 35.9 GDP per head in PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) (2009)
Youth Unemployment: male: 40.8%; female: 67.8%
   
Working Hours: summer: 7:30-3:00 pm ; winter: 8:00-3:30 pm
Week Holidays: Friday & Saturday
Natural Resources: petroleum, gas and gypsum
   
UN Membership Date: 14 December 1955
Constitution: temporary Constitutional Declaration (imposed by NTC)
Kingdom: King Idris: installed on 24 December 1951
Gaddafi: installed on 1 September 1969
February Uprising: 17 February 2011
UN Bombing: 19 March 2011
NTC: National Transitional Council: Installed on 3/10/ 2011
GNC: General National Congress: elected on 7/7/2012
HoR: House of Representatives: elected on 25 June 2014
GNA: Presidency Council installed on 17 December 2015
Women in Parliaments: 16% (2016)
Legislative Government: House of Representative (HoR)
Executive Government: UN-imposed Presidential Council (PC)
Administrative Divisions: 22 districts (see Cities tab for full list)
   
Electricity: 220, 230, 240 volts - 50 Hz
Electrical Plugs: two round pins; three square pins
CO2 Emission: 51041/8.1 (000 tons/tons per capita) (2013 estimate) 
ICR (or IVR): LAR (ICR = International Car (or Vehicle) Registration
CAR prefix: 5A- ; suffix pattern: abc  (CAR = Civil Air Registration)
Natural Hazards: sand storms; hot, dust-laden wind (gibli)
Artificial Hazards: landmines, unexploded ordinance, kidnapping
Alcoholic Drinks: prohibited by Gaddafi (and by the current governments)
Night Clubs: prohibited by Gaddafi (and by the current governments)
   

 

scenes from libya

 

 

Background

Libya is located in North Africa, with 1,770km of coastline along the Mediterranean White Sea. It is bordered by Egypt from the east, Algeria and Tunisia from the west, and Chad, Niger and Sudan from the south.

The name of the country "Libya" was changed by the GNC on the 8th of January 2013 to دولة ليبيا ('The State of Libya').

The current situation of the country (as of 2016) is "stateless". The chaos and instability that resulted from the UN-authorised bombing campaign of 2011 had flung the country back to the stone age.

Libya in prehistoric times was inhabited by the Berbers ('Imazighen')  – the indigenous people of North Africa including most of Ancient Egypt. Many of the Ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses were Berber in origin (see our History page for more information about the Berber-Egyptian period).

According to Herodotus, the ancient Libyans were the first to know civilisation, and no one knew of Poseidon and Athena before them. Among the things invented by the ancient Libyans are the wheel, the chariot, and the banking system (the Berber fortified granaries of today).

The advancements made by the ancient Libyans in the fields of art, science, mythology and in many other aspects of human culture require decades of work to catalogue.

In later times the Libyans comprised two major groups: the agricultural population of the coastal regions, and the shepherds or the nomads, of which Numidae is the Latin form.

The Numidae of the Second Punic War were essentially the Berber tribes of the Masaesyli and the Massyli, the subjects of the Berber kings Syphax and Masinissa respectively.

The Numidian kingdom of Masinissa eventually included all of Tripolitania. In the 7th century Libya was invaded by the Arabs, who, with the later help of European colonial intruders, ended up dividing North Africa into Arab countries such as Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

The term "Arab" was introduced into Libya's official name for the first time in history by Gaddafi when he renamed the Kingdom of Libya "The Libyan Arab Republic" in 1969.

 

 

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hieroglyphic name Rebu
Berber Rebu in hieroglyphics

 

The Origin of The Name Libya

 

The Etymology of The Name Libya

There are several theories attempting to explain the origin of the name, but it is almost certain that it comes from the ancient Berber tribe known to the ancient Egyptians as Rebu or Ribu; from which the Greeks derived "Libya", and which the Arabs of today's Egypt know as Lubia, whence Lubians, in line with their relatives and neighbours the Nubians.

The name "Libia", as found in the archaeological site of Qaser Libia, in Cyrenaica, is widely thought to have been derived from the ancient village of Olbia. Some sources also derive the names "Libya" and "Lubda" (Leptis Magna) from Lewwa, one of the Berber ancestors given by Ibn Khaldun. However, the Greek form Leptis itself was derived from the Berber and Punic Libqi, which Bates linked to the Berber Ribu.

According to the Berber Leo Africanus (1600, p.13), it was called "Libya" by the Greeks, "Because it was in old time conquered by Libs the king of Mauritania. In the holie scriptures it is called Chamesis, by the Arabians and Ethiopians Alkebulam, and by the Indians Besecath.”

 

name of libya in various languages

 

In the Bible the Libyans appeared as the Lubim, the Lehabim of the Old Testament (after the Hebrews decided to add the letter 'h' to several names, like Abram becoming Abraham, and Sara ending up as Sarah), the son of Mizraim, which Oric Bates was the first to identify with the modern variant Ta-Mazight – an appellation widely applied to the proud Berbers of North Africa.

The proposed etymology of 'Libya' being moisture has no support other than the "Libyan wind" which brought rain to Greek mainland; and as it is obvious that Greek Libu is the same as Egyptian Ribu (following the universal linguistic rule of L = R) one does not need to propose a Greek etymology for a name that is not Greek.

The proper etymology must be sought in the mother language of the given word - the ancient Libyan language: Tamazight (else known as 'Berber'). Egyptian and Berber languages are both members of the Hamitic branch of the Hamito-Samitic linguistic family, and many of the ancient Egyptian and Berber mythical gods and goddesses are still represented on the rock art of the great Mother Sahara, in what is known as the largest collection of prehistoric art in the world  – well over one hundred thousand rock art sites.

 

 

ancient Libyans in Egyptian drawings

Ancient Libyans, as pictured by the ancient Egyptians.

 


 

The Mythology of The Name Libya

Libya was also the name of the Goddess known to the Greeks as the Goddess Libya, and also of the whole continent before the Romans named it Africa after the Berber Goddess Afri. Her name also appeared as Libica in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. In mythology, the "Goddess Libya" had three sons by the Libyan Sea-God Poseidon: Belus, Agenor and Lelex. King Belus ruled  at Chemmis or Chamesis of Leo Africanus,  Agenor migrated to Cana'an (the Middle East), and Lelex became king of Megara. The wife of Belus Anchinoe, daughter of the Nile-god Nilus, bore him three sons: Aegyptus, Danaus and Cepheus, and  one daughter:  Lamia, the Libyan Snake-goddess. The myth relates an interesting "deception tale" in which Danaus was sent to rule Libya where he had fifty daughters, and Aegyptus, who had fifty sons, ruled over Egypt.

 

goddess Sibyl postal stamp

Libyan stamp showing the Goddess Libya.

 

The Politics of The Name of Libya

The following map shows how the country looked like during the colonial periods. A look at the map of Egypt (bordered red) shows traces of the ancient Libya, as in the "Libyan Desert", the site of the Libyan Desert Glass, and the "Libyan Plateau".  Not much was left of Libya then; just an Italian-occupied  regency called TRIPOLI. Note how Cyrenaica was made part of British-Egypt before the Italian takeover.

 

 

Map of Libya
Map of Libya & North Africa in 1914, showing The Country Tripoli (in green).
From: Harmsworth's Atlas of The World And Pictorial Gazetteer
With An Atlas of The Great War,
Edited by J. A. Hammerton, The Amalgamated Press, LTD., London, pp. 284-285.

In 1912 the Ottoman Turks surrendered control of Tripoli to Italy in accordance with the Treaty of Lausanne. In 1918 the Tripolitanian Republic was created to become the first ever republic in North Africa & the Middle East; only to be destroyed by the Italians a few years later. Following the Benyadem Peace Accord  the constitution (known as The Primary Law) was created for the republic on May 1919, and  an 8-member government was appointed for the Republic. Unfortunately the Tripolitanian Republic never gained the full support in the 1919 Paris Peace Conference and subsequently disappeared from the pages of history.

 

 

libya map during imperial military geography
1920s Italian Tripoli, from:
"Imperial Military Geography", by D. H. Cole, London, 1928, p. 78.

This map shows how Tripoli was enlarged by the colonial powers in 1919 to arrive at the current map of Libya: the area between the dotted lines and the actual borders (on the left) was given to Italy by France in accordance with the secret treaty of London; while the area between the dotted [red] lines and the actual borders (on the right) was given to Italy by Britain; with some sources saying the British attempt to add Cyrenaica (Barqa) to their Egyptian colony was blocked by the Italians who quickly formulated "Libya" to include Cyrenaica.

Also, note how the borders with Sudan were before 1935, when Italy received the "Aouzou Strip" as a result of the Mussolini-Laval agreement. The Libyans fiercely resisted the Italian takeover (from the Turks) and continued to fight the Italians until 1931, when the fascists hanged the leader of the resistance Omar Almukhtar, in humiliation before his conquered people. Unfortunately foreign powers continue to interfere in other sovereign states with unfortunate consequences being effected in the name of  "independence", "democracy" and now "mistakes".

 

 

 

libya map in 1911

(Image from the Chronicle of the 20th Century, Longman, 1988, p.159).
As part of a larger map of Africa under the year 1911.

The Longman's Chronicle stated that in the last 40 years (prior to 1911) "Africa became the cockpit for colonial rivalries; in one generation the map of a continent has been redrawn with new boundaries, new names and new masters". Libya at the time was disputed between Italy and Turkey.

 

 

libya map under Italian occupation in 1934
Libya under Italian occupation, 1934.
Image based on the image from: Administrative subdivision of Italian Libya,
from "Atlantino storico" (1938), by professor Arcangelo Ghisleri,
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Administrative_subdivision_of_Italian_Libya

 

The actual name "LIBYA" as a state (or a country) came into effect for the first time around 1934 when the provinces of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were united during the Italian occupation; initially Fezzan was not included. In 1943 Italian Tripoli came under the control of the Allied forces: the British took Tripolitania and Cyrenaica (the British Military Administration of Libya), while France took Fezzan (the Military Territory of Fezzan-Ghadames); and hence Britain suggested dividing the country into the previous three regions (Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan) with no success.

In 1949 the United Nations decided to create an independent country which they called Libya. This was the first government in history installed by the UN. Ironically in 2015 the UN also imposed the Presidency Council on the Libyan people four years after it authorised the bombing of Libya back to square one.

Shortly after the UN takeover of Libya King Idris was installed and Libya was granted (fake) independence when all the three provinces were united into one country (namely Libya) on the 24th of December 1951, and thereafter Libya became known as "The United Kingdom of Libya".

Shortly after the installation of Colonel Gaddafi in 1969, Libya was renamed "The Libyan Arab Republic", before it became known as the "Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya", where the last word became synonymous with "Libya".

Many Libyans felt the introduction of the term "Arab" by the government into the name of Libya did not fully represent the population of Libya  –  a country that was originally inhabited by the Berbers ('Imazighen') and still is inhabited by the Berbers in various parts of the country including most of Nafousa Mountain, Zuwarah, Ghadames, Jalo, Awjlah, and most of the Sahara  – the home of the Berber Tuareg confederacies.

 

 

The Current Official Name of Libya

However,  the name "Libya" was back as the official name of the country after the UN removed Gaddafi from power in 2011 (via its 7-month bombing campaign that ended in Gaddafi's grotesque murder) and "subsequently" installed the Qaida-infiltrated National Transitional Council (NTC); only to be changed once more on the 8th of January 2013 by the GNC to دولة ليبيا (meaning "the State of Libya"). This name however is not final and will remain in use until the final name is decided by the forthcoming constitution. No one knows why the word "state" was added to the official name – maybe to distinguish it from the "Goddess Libya"!

 

state of libya passport

Libyan passport showing the official name of Libya: "The State of Libya".
The passport also shows the national emblem to be the star and the crescent.

 

 

 

 

 

map of ancient Libya during the Egyptian empire

Part of the map of Ancient Libya, showing the locations of the native Berber tribes of Ancient Egypt.

 

The above ancient map, which is over 2000 years older than the colonial map, shows there was no Egypt, just a huge expanse of land known to classical geographers and historians as Libya, extending from the Nile to the Atlantic Ocean, to the extent that the name Libya also came to designate the whole continent of Africa. When the Romans arrived through the western gates (Tripolitania and Tunisia), they adopted the name Aprica or Africa, originally from the Berber name of the troglodyte Berbers who inhabited the region, as in Yefren today, and thereafter Libya became known as Africa. This means that the names "Libya" and "Africa" are both Berber in origin.

 

various scenes from libya

 

Brief History of Libya

Generally speaking there are two kinds of history: the popular history written by the invaders, and the suppressed history preserved by the natives. For example, most Arab historians in writing Libya's history fail to mention the Berbers. Instead they use the phrase "ancient Libyans" or, like Gaddafi had said, "the original Arabs". Therefore according to Mr. Bazama: "we write history on the basis of Libya being part of the Arab world” (History of Libya, p. 95).  Even after the so-called February Uprising the situation has not changed – the same history is being propagated, replacing one tyranny with another. Likewise, most western sources fell into the habit of starting Libyan history with the recent Roman invasions, with the occasional exception of mentioning the Phoenicians.

North Africa was originally inhabited by an indigenous group of  Berber tribes whose linguistic unity proves that an ethnic sub-stratum of "autochthons" single race existed in North Africa from the Mediterranean to the Sudan and from the Atlantic to the Red Sea. This ethnicity possibly goes back at least 100,000 years, to the Cave of Haua Fteah' in eastern Libya  – the largest cave in the Mediterranean basin, providing continuous archaeological record from 100,000 years to the present. Recent research suggests the cave was inhabited 200,000 years ago [33].

According to C.B.M McBurney (Libya in History, p. 7), 90,000 years ago Eastern Libya was occupied by an exceptionally inventive and the most advanced group of Paleolithic hunters so far known to have existed at the time. Then around 40,000 years ago Libya was occupied by the large-brained Cro-Magnon  – the direct ancestors of the Berbers and the Iberians.

Cultural evidence from southern Libya, particularly from Fezzan, the later home of the classical Berber Garamantes Kingdom, goes back to more than 30,000 years. The Berbers (including the Garaments) spoke a Hamitic language which together with ancient Egyptian, Chadic, Ethiopian, Semitic and Omotic make up the Afro-Asiatic family of languages. This language family is at least 20,000 years old, with some linguists pushing this date farther back in time (pending future research).

Around 12,000 years ago heavy rainfalls slowly turned the Sahara to lush-green land once more, and consequently a number of civilisations flourished in the area, leaving behind rich representations of what life once was, as preserved by the breathtaking treasures of the Sahara's prehistoric drawings and engravings. For more please see our history page.

The Phoenician Arrival

The Phoenicians arrived in North Africa in the 1st millennium BC and established trade relations with their relatives the Berbers. Carthage was founded around 814BC to become one of the most prosperous cities of the entire Mediterranean, until it was destroyed first by the Romans then by the Arabs.

The Greek Invasions

The Greek invasions began in the seventh century BC in Cyrenaica, where they established 5 colonies known as the Pentapolis: the five cities of Cyrene, Apollonia, Ptolemais, Taucheira and Berenice (Benghazi). Evidence indicates that some of these settlements had indeed existed before the Greek invasion. Apparently the city of Cyrene was invaded upon the oracular advise of Apollo at Delphi by the Greeks of Thera (modern Santorini), and thus (like others) their intrusion was portrayed as a divine mission, rather than a military conquest.

The Roman Invasions

The Romans invaded North-West Africa near the end of the 3rd century BC. They landed along the coasts of western Libya and Tunisia, the Berber troglodyte area from which the Romans renamed the continent "Libya" Aprica ('Africa'), after the name of the local Berber tribes, as in today's Yefren (in Nafousa Mountain). After the Punic Wars  Carthage was finally reduced to rubble and razed to the ground in 146 BC. Shortly after the battle of Zama the Berber kingdoms began to suffer the impact of the Roman invasions, and by 46 BC, Julius Caesar deposed the final Numidian king, Juba I, and thereafter Tripolitania was incorporated into the province of Africa Proconsularis, to begin the export of goods, animals and slaves to Rome. By the end of the first century AD Rome had completed the pacification of Sirtica and Cyrenaica was handed over to them by the Greeks. Under the influence of the Libyan-Berber-Roman emperor Septimius Severus Libya enjoyed a massive development as witnessed by the spectacular architectural development of Leptis Magna, Tripoli and Sabratha.

The Vandals Invasions

The Germanic Vandals invaded North Africa in 429 AD under the command of Genseric. In 432 they seized Hippo Regius and made it their first capital in North Africa. The Berbers, having been already exhausted by centuries of wars against the earlier invaders, have defeated the Vandals on a number of occasions including two major defeats between 496 and 530. After the succession of Hilderic (523–530) the army was left to Hoamer, who was defeated by the Berbers; leading to an internal revolt among the royal Vandals that ended up with Hilderic, Hoamer and their relatives being imprisoned; before the end of the Vandals Kingdom at the hands of the Byzantine Belisarius in 534.

The Arab Invasions

Then Arab invasions of North Africa began around 642 AD. Contrary to popular belief the Berbers' resistance to the Arab invasions was long and fierce. Like the Arab war generals themselves had said (in their wars against the Berber priestess-queen Kahina): whenever a Berber tribe is slaughtered, another emerged from the mirage like the jinn of the desert. Then the Caliph sent Uqba Bin Nafi, who moved towards Fezzan in 663 and took Germa, the capital of the Garamantian Kingdom in the south of Libya, before moving on the province of Africa (Western Libya including today's Tunisia) in 670 AD, where he established another military base at Al Qayrawan. From this base he began to plan his attack on Byzantine Carthage (or what had remained of Carthage), which he finally took in 693 AD. Shortly after their arrival in Morocco the Muslims, under the command of the Berber general Tarek Ben Zeyyad, crossed the sea and moved on to Spain. In short, after nearly three centuries of wars (on and off) with the Arabs the Berbers succeeded in maintaining some form of independence from the sultans of the Middle East; leading to the Berber dynasties to remain very powerful down to the 16th century; after which they began to decline. Combined with the invasions of the Turkish pashas, and subsequently the disastrous European invasions, the official Arabisation of the various Berber confederacies began to take visible shape. All today's borders separating the Berbers' homeland into various Arab countries were drawn and imposed by the colonial invaders at the beginning of the 20th century.

The Turkish Invasions

The Ottoman pashas invaded Libya in 1516, before they occupied Algeria in 1555 and Tunisia in 1574. In 1551 the Arab-Muslims took Tripoli again. Corruption soon followed, piracy thrived, and the trade in human slaves began to peak. It was not until 1714 that Tripolitania began to establish complete independence from the pompous Ottoman pashas. in 1811 Tripoli took Fezzan and gained control over the Tripoli-Bornu route. Unfortunately the Ottomans re-established control over Tripoli in 1832 and continued to dominate Libya until their confrontation with European colonialists at the turn of the 20th century.

Modern European Invasions

In September 1911 Italy accused Turkey of arming tribesmen in Libya and soon afterwards declared war against the Ottoman pashas and captured Tripoli in October the 3rd, before it occupied Cyrenaica's Tobruk and Benghazi. After the hopeless Lausanne Agreement of the 18th of October 1912, without consultation with the Libyan people, of course, Turkey signed a deal with Italy, "granting" independence to Libya; only for the Italians to return with vengeance to capture Tripolitania, take Misrata, ransack Benghazi, and humiliatingly hang the symbol of resistance Omar al-Mukhtar on the 16th of September 1931 – 9 years after Emir Idris Sanusi fled to Egypt. Prison camps were set up for those who refused to give up the fight, where the Barayka Camp alone imprisoned 80,000 Libyan freedom-fighters, 30,000 of whom died within two years of capture.

During the wars that followed the 1911 Italian takeover, Libya was the stage on which a number of crucial battles were orchestrated for the control of the Suez Canal, as it was also the home of the longest ever siege in Allied military history, the bloodiest and most brutal African confrontation in "colonial history", and "the longest resistance to European colonialism" in history. During the "Libya Wars" more than 100,000 Libyans disappeared in Mussolini's fascist dungeons, while the Berenice of the Eusperides (Benghazi) was bombed more than 1000 times.

In 2011 the UN-authorised bombing campaign had destroyed Libya's entire infrastructure, demolished the Libyan army, police and security; opened Libya's borders for human traffickers, drugs and fake goods; and ultimately turned Libya into a jihadist wonderland", infested with militias and radical groups; while at the same time spreading Libya's massive arsenal across the whole region – all in the name of morality, protection of civilians, and, of course, "unintentional mistakes".

 

various scenes from libya

 

 

Regions & Cities

section of map showing some cities of libya

There are three regions in Libya: Tripolitania (the west), Cyrenaica (the east), and Fezzan (the south). These regions were created by the colonial powers when they divided the region among themselves; and as of today they are still a source of insecurity to Libya. Tripolitania's capital is Tripoli; Cyrenaica's main city is Benghazi; and Fezzan's capital is Sabha. For a full list of Libyan cities and sites please see the Cities tab in the above green menu.

 

Borders

borders of libya

Libya is located in North Africa. The Arabs call North Africa "the Maghreb", meaning 'the west'; while the Berbers call it "Tamazgha", meaning 'the land of the Berbers'. The state of Libya is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea from the north; Egypt from the east; Sudan, Chad and Niger from the south; and Tunisia and Algeria from the west.  The land boundaries span 4,348 km, while Libya's coastline is 1,770 km long. For more information please see the Geography tab in the above menu.

 

Governments

logo of HoR: elected government of Libya

As of 2016 there are two governments in Libya: the elected House of Representatives (HoR) in Cyrenaica, and the UN-imposed Presidency Council (PC) in Tripolitania. The HoR has its own government in Albayda, whose prime minister is Mr. Abdullah Althni; while the PC's prime minister is Mr. Fayez al-Sarraj (whose GNA government is still unapproved). The South of Libya is abandoned to warlords and foreign radical groups. For more information about Libyan governments please see the Government tab in the above green menu.


Political Parties

political parties

Shortly after the installation of the NTC hundreds of political parties were created in Libya. Due to the absence of any legal framework from the NTC many Libyans expressed their doubts over the legality of such parties. According to the High National Election Commission's website, 374 political entities were created in 2011 and 2012. Most Libyans blame these parties for the ensued failure. For more information about political parties and the 2012 elections please see our political parties page.

 

Gaddafi

gaddafi smiling

Muammar Abuminyar al-Qaddafi was installed on the 1st of September 1969 in a coup d'etat he claimed was a "White Revolution". He ruled Libya as a dictator until the 20th of October 2011 when he was killed during the UN-authorised bombing campaign. His vision of democracy is described in his "Green Book". Among the first things Gaddafi did was to Arabise Libya and declare the native Berbers the enemy of the revolution. Making all Libyans Arabs and Muslims, he then attacked and banned all political parties in Libya. Soon after his "revolutionary committees" spread fear across the country the people began to tremble with fear upon hearing Gaddafi's name. For more information about Gaddafi please see our page Gaddafi.

February Uprising

february uprising

The February Uprising was started peacefully by women and children in Benghazi; before men took up arms against the state and began burning government buildings. The armed rebels were soon helped by a Western bombing campaign authorised by the UN; destroying Libya's entire infrastructure (including security and border control) and heavily infesting Libya with foreign radicals and immigrants from across the destabilised region. As it stands today Libya is still in complete chaos, drowned in crime and corruption, and the UN's promised protection of civilians had never materialised.  For more information about the mysterious February "Unrest" and the arming of the civilians (including teenagers) please see our 17 February page.

 

Education

education logo

Education in Libya is free. Primary Education , which is compulsory in Libya, consists of 9 years, followed by 3 years of Upper Secondary education - also called Intermediate Education. The intermediate education consists of two sectors:  "Humanities & Arts" sector, and "Technical & Science" sector. After primary education students have the option to go for vocational or technical education to prepare them for employment. Those who complete the intermediate education progress to university. There are 3 stages for university education: Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree, and Doctorate (PhD). For more information please see the Education tab in the above green menu.

Health

health  logo

Health service is free in Libya. After benefiting from a good start in 1980s the system was hit by the UN sanctions in 1990s that practically crippled the health system in Libya. The UN bombing of Libya in 2011 further destroyed what was left, and this was worsened by the installed militias and foreign radical groups that plighted Libya since the bombing was declared success. Reported diseases include (but not limited to) infectious hepatitis, typhoid, rabies, meningitis, and venereal diseases. AIDS and tuberculosis were recently reported. Malaria was eradicated. For more information please see the health tab in the above green menu.

Health Ministry (وزارة الصحة): http://www.health.gov.ly

 

People

people logo

The main ethnic groups of Libya are the Berbers, Arabs and Tebu. The native inhabitants of Libya are the Berbers (or "imazighen" 'the nobel ones'). The Arabs invaded North Africa in the seventh century and since they become the dominant group in Libya. The Berbers and Tebu are persecuted by all the previous regimes of Libya, and the current constitutional declaration still refuses to recognise them officially. For more on Libya tribes please our Libyan People page.

 

 

Museums

red castle museum

There are at least 15 museums in Libya, the most important of which are the Red Castle museum in Tripoli, Cyrene Sculpture museum in Cyrene, and Ghadames Museum in the oasis of Ghadames. Albarouni Museum in Jado contains Berber artifacts. Libya's museums house a number of artifacts from the Berber period (before the Greek and Roman invasions). However, most of the exhibits date to the Roman period. For more on Libyan museums please see our Libyan Museums page.

 

Religion

religion logo

Ancient Libya is the home of Mediterranean mythology and the beginning of the Church. The Berber Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus Christ carry the cross, and Berber Tertullian, Cyprian and Augustine are widely known as the "Fathers of the Church". Berber St. Mark – the author of the first Christian Bible (the "Gospel of Mark") – founded the Church of Alexandria where he began spreading the new religion. Islam arrived in Libya around 642 AD. The Berber leaders accepted Islam but they fiercely resisted the Arab conquest of their homeland, especially by the Berber king Kusila and the Berber Queen Kahina . In the 10th century the Berber Zirid dynasty broke away from the Shiite Fatimids, after which the Fatimids brought the tribes of Bani Hilal and Banu Salim from Arabia to begin the Arabisation of North Africa. For more information please see the Religion tab in the above green menu.

Refugees & Migrants

a man sailing in small boat

Mixing between refugees and immigrants goes against established conventions. Solving the problem of refugees & immigrants does not require any military solution; but to the contrary it is the military interference with those countries that created the problem. The UN bombing campaign of Libya in 2011 (without an exit strategy) is to blame for the current immigration disaster that is plighting Libya more than Europe; and yet the international community seems to blame the Libyan authorities for the imposed catastrophe. Prime minister Mr. Elkeib had warned in 2012 that they inherited the country in a state of "disrepair". For world leaders to turn round a few years later and say Libya was their "biggest mistake" is simply not good enough. They need to apologise, compensate the affected, and then fix their mistake. For more information please see the Refugees tab.

 

Food

photo of bazin

The main ingredients of  Libyan food are olive oil, palm dates, grains and milk, all of which are very ancient foods and thus their use must go back to neolithic times. Grains are used for making bread, cakes, soups, bazin, and other dough-based dishes; dates are dried and stored for the rest of the year, or eaten as they are, or made into syrup ('rreb') which can be eaten with dough (soft bazin). Pasta, rice and couscous are regularly cooked for most of the year, eaten with tomato-based sauce. The sauce usually includes meat or chicken and onions, potatoes, bumpkins, carrots, courgettes, garlic and check peas. For more information please see our Libyan Food page.

Economy

economy logo logo

The Libyan economy collapsed after the UN-authorised bombing campaign of 2011 without an exit strategy allowed radical groups and local militias to take over the country. Libyan economy never recovered since. Various militias and governments (including the UN-imposed PC and its unapproved GNA) have reduced Libya's output of crude oil down to a third of its pre-2011 output (1.6 million barrels per day). In addition to this the crisis of organised trafficking in humans and drugs as well as lack of cash have enabled corruption to establish in the country, practically bringing Libya to its knees. For more information on Libyan economy please the Economy tab.

 

 

hieroglyphic name Rebu

 

Libyan goddess Sibyl

The Great Berber Goddess Libya, by Michelangelo, part of the Sistine Chapel.
Source: Wikipedia Commons.

The Goddess Libya has so many names (or titles) including Sibyl and Libica. The massive book represents the Berber civilisation created by Berber women, before the onslaught of patriarchy sent them back to slavery, where they remained so to this day.

This matriarchal Tamazight civilisation had inspired Libya's neighbours (like Ancient Egypt and Greece) to incorporate the obscure mysteries of Libyan lore into their mythologies long before they ended up as corrupt "political cartoons" in classical mythology.

The powerful muscular body reflects the power Berber women had in prehistoric times before the onslaught of patriarchy. They were the goddesses of the Goddess (regulating religion); the priestesses of  the temple (venerating Mother); the oracles (foretelling the future); the Queens (governing the egalitarian kingdom); and the Amazon fighters (defending the nation). Men then suckled like babies in the cradle of civilisation: LIBYA.

The prophesy of Libyan Sibyl was simple: "coming of the day when that which is hidden shall be revealed." 

 

View larger image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

divided libya

Libya's Regions, Cities, Towns And Villages

There are three regions or provinces in Libya: Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan. The provinces go back to the Ottoman (Turkish) rule, and continued to be recognised when the Italians invaded Libya in 1911. In 1931 Italy united the three regions under the name of "The Libyan Colony". In 1937 the colony became known as "Libya". However, after the Anglo-French invasions of Libya in 1943 the country was divided back into three regions, which became the three *governorates, or muhafazat (in local Arabic) after the installation of King Idris.

Some sources say Libya will be divided into three countries (or states) in the future as a direct result of the chaos inflicted by the UN in 2011. Five years on, there are three governments already in conflict with one another, the last of which was imposed by the UN on the 17th of December 2015. Most Libyans hope Libya would remain united.

Provinces (Regions)

 

Tripolitania

The capital of the western region Tripolitania is Tripoli, the Pride of the Mediterranean. One of the main tourist attractions of this region is the archaeological sites of Berber-Roman Leptis Magna and Sabratha. The main site to see in Tripoli is  The Red Castle Museum, also known as the National Museum. Tripolitania's Nafusa Mountain is predominantly inhabited by the native Berbers.

 

Cyrenaica

The capital of eastern region Cyrenaica is Benghazi (with Bayda being the political capital). The main tourist sites of the region are  Cyrene, Tolmeita, Qasr Libya, Slontha and Apollonia. Also of interest is the pre-Greek Berber site of Slontha, and WWII sites of Tobruk and Bardiya or Burdi. The region's inhabitants had complained in the past about the vast distance they have to travel to the capital Tripoli in order to do basic paper work, and hence many activists had called for semi-autonomy

 

Fezzan

The capital of the southern region Fezzan is Sabha.  The main attractions of this region is the vast amount of prehistoric cave art still neglected across the Sahara's valleys, and, of course, Germa - the capital of the ancient Berber Kingdom of the Garaments. Also of interest is the fantastic range of Ubari's kaleidoscopic lakes and palm-fringed oases that attracted large number of tourists before the destruction of Libya. 

 

 

 

 

 

administrative divisions

Districts (Administrative Divisions of Libya)


The three muhafazat (municipalities) of Libya originally comprised of twenty five districts (or baladiyat ). These were later replaced by thirty two sha'biyat (plus three administrative regions), before they were finally reduced to twenty two districts in 1987, known as sha'biyat or shabiyat (شعبيات), which can be translated as '*populates'.

The current administrative municipalities are as follows (numbers are shown in the above map):

 

An-Nuqat Al-Khams (1)
Az-Zawyah (2)
Tarabulus (Tripoli) (3)
Al-Murgub (4)
Misrata (5)
Surt (6)
Al-Wahat (7)
Benghazi (8)
Al-Marj (9)
Al-Jabal Al-Akhdar (10)
Darnah(11)
Al-Butnan (12)
Al-Kufra (13)
Murzuq (14)
Aj-Jufrah (15)
Sabha (16),
Wadi Al-Hayat (17)
Ghat (18)
Wadi As-Shati (19)
Nalut (20)
Al-Jabal Al-Gharbi (21)
Aj-Jfarah (22)

 

Click here for the administrative municipalities and their constituent towns and cities
as defined by the ousted government.

 

 

 

 

february uprising

List of Main Libyan Cities, Towns And Villages

 

Tripolitania

Starting from the Tunisian border in the west and towards the capital Tripoli:

    Then continuing east:

    • Tajoura
    • Castelverde
    • Tarhuna
    • Msallata
    • Alaluas
    • Khums
    • Leptis Magna
    • Zliten
    • Bani Waled
    • Dafiniyah
    • Misrata
    • Tawergha
    • Saddadah
    • Abugrein
    • Sirte
    • Qasr Abuhadi
    • Nawfaliyah
    • Bin Jawad
    • Sidr
    • Ras Lanuf

    Then continuing south from Tripoli:

    • Aziziyah
    • Qawasim
    • Gharyan
    • Tegrena
    • Yageep
    • Benowazeer
    • Abo Maade
    • Kmishat
    • Bir Ghanam
    • Bir Ayyad
    • Alasaba
    • Kikla
    • Algwalish
    • Yefren
    • Alriyayna
    • Qasr Alhaj
    • Awiniya
    • Shakshuk
    • Jado
    • Rujban
    • Zintan
    • Wefat
    • Winzered & Alibashna
    • Alsheyab
    • Jawsh
    • Badr
    • Tiji
    • Tamzin
    • Kabaw
    • Majabrah
    • Nalut
    • Wazin
    • Khirabh
    • Sinawin
    • Dirj
    • Ghadames
    • Wamis
    • Alwsta
    • Alshgega
    • Mizdah
    • Nasmah
    • Tininai
    • Tabaqah
    • Shwayrif

     

Cyrenaica

    Continuing east from Ras Lanuf:

    • Uqaylah
    • Brega
    • New Brega
    • Ajdabiya
    • Zuwaytinah
    • Qaminis
    • Suluq
    • Tikah
    • Nakheel Beach Village
    • Benghazi(capital of Cyrenaica region)
    • Rajmah
    • Bu Marim
    • Kuwayfiyah
    • Alabyar
    • Militania
    • Daryanah
    • Tocra
    • Dirsiyah (Tolmeitha, or Ptolemais)
    • Baracca
    • Marj
    • Jardas Alabid
    • Bo Traba
    • Battah
    • Esthatha
    • Taknis
    • Bayyadah
    • Marawah
    • Gandula
    • Qasr Libya
    • Zawiat Elargoob
    • Alwardiyah
    • Umar Almukhtar
    • Khadra
    • Suluntah
    • Aqfanta
    • Massah
    • Bayda (political capital of Cyrenaica)
    • Haniyah
    • Cyrene (Shahat)
    • Qayqab
    • Labraq
    • Haniyah
    • Zawiyat Alurqub
    • Alhamamah
    • Apollonia (Susah)
    • Qubah
    • Ras Alhilal
    • Athrun
    • Kirissah
    • Ayn Marrah
    • Derna
    • Mechili
    • Martuba
    • Umm Arrizam
    • Tamimi
    • Acroma
    • Adam
    • Tobruk
    • Kambut
    • Bir Alashhab
    • Zawiyat Zanzur
    • Bardiyah
    • Musaid

    Continuing south and south-east from Ajdabiya:

    • Maradah
    • Zaltan
    • Jakharrad
    • Awjilah
    • Jalu
    • Jaghbub
    • Tazirbu
    • Buzaymah
    • Kufra
    • Aljawf

Fezzan

    • Sawknah
    • Waddan
    • Zillah
    • Fuqaha
    • Samnu
    • Sabha (capital of Fezzan region)
    • Brak
    • Aqar
    • Mahruqah
    • Quttah
    • wanzarik
    • Adiri
    • Tmisan
    • Burik
    • Twash
    • Germa
    • Awbari
    • Acacus
    • Alawenat
    • Ghat
    • Dujal
    • Murzuq
    • Funqul
    • Qatrun
    • Taraghin
    • Aumm Alaranib
    • Zawilah
    • Tarbu 
    • Tmassah
    • Waw Kabir
    • Waw Namous
    • Wath

 

The largest cities in Libya in terms of population:

1 Tripoli: 2,220,000
2 Benghazi: 1,001,000
3 Misrata: 350,000
4 Bayda: 250,000
5 Zawiyah: 234,000
6 Zliten: 200,000
7 Ajdabiya: 184,820
8 Tobruk: 108,771
9 Sabha: 103,743
10 Khums: 88,317
11 Derna: 80,000
13 Zuwarah: 75,893
14 Kufra: 68,940
15 Marj: 62,894
16 Tajoura: 60,681
17 Tarhouna: 50,715
18 Sirte: 48,504
19 Gharyan: 46,455
20 Msallata: 46,169

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Flags of Libya

 

 

Tripolitanian Republic flag

(1): Flag of  the Tripolitanian Republic (1918 - 1923).
Source: Wikipedia.

 

 

 

 

the flag of cyrenaica

(2): Flag of Cyrenaica (1949 - 1951).

The name Sanusi (or Senusi) refers to a political-religious order, said to have been founded in 1837 by the grandfather of King Idris, the Grand Sanusi. The black flag with the white star and the crescent was adopted by Idris after he proclaimed the eastern region of Libya as "The Emirate of Cyrenaica" on the 1st of March 1949, and appointed himself the Emir of Cyrenaica. Even though the UK did acknowledge the Emirate, the UN failed to recognise the new country. Two years later (in 1951) he was installed the King of Libya.

 

 

the flag of the kingdom of Libya

(3): The Flag of "The Libyan Kingdom" (1951 - 1969).

On the 24th of December 1951 the country was declared an independent state, under the name of The Libyan Kingdom, also known as The United Kingdom of Libya - uniting Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan. After the Emir of Cyrenaica was installed the King of Libya, Cyrenaica's flag was modified by the addition of red and green, supposedly to represent Tripolitania and Fezzan.

 

 

 

flag of libya from 1969 to 1972

(4): Flag of the "Libyan Arab Republic" (1969 - 1972).

 

 

flag of libya from 1972 to 1977

(5): Flag of the "Federation of Arab Republics".
The federation is a short-lived union between Libya, Syria and Egypt. (1972 - 1977).
Source: wikipedia

 

 

the green flag of Gaddafi's libya

(6): Flag of "The Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" (1977-2011).

 

 

 

the current flag of Libya 2011

(7): The current official flag of "Libya" (2011).

It is not clear how exactly the flag came to be adopted, nor why a flag of a "corrupt" monarchy should be used to represent what meant to be a "revolutionary" Libya. But like before, the decision was made somewhere, without consulting the Libyan people.

There were a number of Libyan opposition groups that used the monarchy flag in exile during their campaign to depose the ousted despot, and it is possible that one of these groups had re-introduced the flag early on during the uprising. In a matter of weeks it was effectively used all over the country by peaceful protesters, armed rebels, web masters, the NTC, and the international media; followed by a range of flag-decorated products quickly appearing in the market, ranging from hand-held flags, scarves, hats, cups, badges and key-rings among other novelty items.

The flag is now once more the official flag of Libya since the 23rd of October 2011 (The Liberation Day) – the day Libya was prematurely declared liberated by the NTC from the 42-year rule of Gaddafi. The flag was defined by the NTC in its interim Constitutional Declaration (Article 3). The flag was defined by the NTC in its interim Constitutional Declaration's Article 3, in which the white star was referred to as 'planet': كوكب .

 

 

Note:

 

the Berbers' cultural flag

(0): The unofficial, cultural flag of the Berbers (2011).

This flag was used by the Berbers during the uprising as an expression of freedom and  revolt against oppression. It was carried, together with the independence flag, during the February wars by the Berber natives in Zuwarah, Nafousa Mountain, and the oases of the Sahara, as well as by their Libyan Arab brothers from Misrata and Benghazi. The flag does not represent any political inclinations and has nothing to do with dividing the country, as some Libyans were quick to respond. It is a mere gesture of one's identity and culture, previously oppressed by all the regimes of Libya. Nearly all the Berbers are almost united in Libya staying united, and have no separate tendencies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The National Anthem

 

(1)

Arabic


The name of the national anthem is "Libya, Libya, Libya". It is also known also known as "Ya Beladi" ('Oh, My Country'). It was established in 1951. The original anthem was written by al-Bashir al-Oreibi, and composed by Mohammed Abdul Wahab (1907-1991).
After the staged coup of 1969, the anthem was replaced with an Egyptian "marching song", popularised during the Suez Canal War (1956).

 

 

Monarchy & New Libya National Anthem (source: YouTube).

 

 

 

(2)

Berber

After the February Uprising, the Berbers adopted the same monarchy anthem, with the introduction of Tamazight, instead of Arabic. The anthem is not recognised officially and does not represent the official anthem in any way; but the Berbers saw no harm in singing the national anthem in their language. Likewise the Tamazight flag, it is a mere cultural expression of the new freedom, after the long persecution they endured in the past.

 

 

The Independence Anthem in Tamazight,
in Martyrs Square (previously Green Square).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

yellow flowers

Economy

Libya has one of the highest GDP's per person in Africa, despite the rise of youth unemployment, which currently stands at around 40%. The main source of income is petroleum and natural gas. The manufacturing power of Libya accounts for nearly 21% of GDP, primarily from agricultural products, iron, and petrochemicals.

Libya has a social security system and provides free housing, free health service, and free education for all Libyans. The Libyan government also subsides a number of commodities and helps with import tax (such as for cars and machinery).

Recent economic reforms have brought major changes to the Libyan economic system, including inviting international investors and foreign bankers to invest in Libya's free trade zones; privatising government owned companies; and opening the country to tourism.

However, after the UN-authorised bombing campaign of 2011 the Libyan economy was turned upside down, as the inflicted chaos allowed radical groups and local militias to take over the country including its oil wells and terminals. Hundreds of the newly-formed militias (many of which created, armed and trained by western governments and their Arab dictatorial allies, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia) took the law into their hands and began punching holes in walls, blasting free Libyans (including children) with missiles, assassinating Libyan officials, detonating bombs, torturing loyalists, burning trees, robbing banks, cutting power cables, and shutting down oil terminals, thereby bringing the country to its knees. Therefore blaming Libyans and Libyan factions for the inflicted tragedy may suit some political agendas and foreign needs but it does not represent the whole truth.

Many Libyans and Libyan institutions tried to bring the oil disaster to the attention of the world (including the UN) right from the start, but somehow the international community abandoned Libya to terror groups and foreign radicals, before they went on to bragg about the imposed democratic success that barred the Berbers from taking part in party election (in 2012).

The alarm bells were ringing right from the end of 2012, to no avail. For example, on the 22nd of December 2012, protesters broke into Zueitina Oil Port and commanded the manager to shut down operations and demanded from the transitional leaders (the installed, helpless NTC) to provide them with "jobs" [43]. This took place just five months after the so-called democratic success of the 7th of July 2012 which brought Islamist-dominated GNC to power while leaving Libya in complete mess.

Zawiya Refinery Plant, in western Libya, was shut down at least 4 times in three months. On the 20th of March 2013 armed rebels (or moderate militants, or unarmed civilians [of the UN]) from the "Jadhran Brigade" had attacked el-Ghani oil field after they arrived with "around 150 to 180 pickups mounted with weapons" [44]. According to one speaker in the Libya TV report, Ibrahim Jadhran had attempted to negotiate with the Jazeera militia to hand over the protection of the field to the Petroleum Facilities Guard before the clashes started, but the militia refused. On the 2nd April 2013 a large explosion destroyed the gas pipeline extending from field (103), 12 km west of Ajdabiya, to Zueitina. Later on, Ibrahim Jadhran himself shut down a number of oil terminals as he took command of  the Petroleum Crescent including Brega.

Ironically, the Libyan government then (the GNC) said, long before the attacks on the oil fields and terminals, that it has established a special force to protect oil installations, called the "Petroleum Facilities Guard", or the "Oil Installations Guard", reportedly made of 15,000 guards; but later it emerged that certain militias, such as Jazeera, are in fact part of this oil protection force - something the Libyans had always opposed, and even called for the government repeatedly to dismantle all militias and instead form one unified force.

Nonetheless, despite this alleged oil protection force there were 4 attacks on oil and gas installations in one week alone, excluding the unconfirmed Zueitina report, and excluding the protests at Jalu 59, and excluding all the other attacks on oil installations forgotten from 2012 - more than enough for any concerned government to be alarmed, rather than sit back and condemn the attacks as "unacceptable" after they take place. This is like the Special Security Force set up by the GNC to protect the GNC only to see the GNC being repeatedly attacked.

This could indicate that there is a conspiracy to bring the Libyan economy to its knees right from the day the UN finished its bombing campaign. A few years later, the acting-President of Libya, Mr. Agila Salah (the HoR's president), revealed that the conspiracy of "starving Libyans" was created by some Libyans inside Libya with foreign supervision to starve the Libyans in order to impose a particular situation on the Libyan people in which the destiny of Libya would be in the hands of a minority supported by foreign forces. The acting-President of Libya was also reported to have said that the same people who created the crisis are the ones who are talking about "solving" it in return for imposing themselves as governors of Libya [45; click here for a copy of the statement ].

 

Energy & Oil

The exploration of oil began in 1955, and by 1959 Libya's first oil fields were discovered at Amal and Zelten. The oil industry in Libya is run by the state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC), with several smaller subsidiaries and some foreign firms. Libya's high quality crude oil is low in sulphur and produced at a very low cost, which makes it very valuable to foreign investors. According to official energy statistics from the US government ( EIA ), Libya holds the largest proven oil reserves in Africa, about 41.5 billion barrels as of January 2007; and still remains highly unexplored, as current agreements with oil companies only cover 25 percent of Libya.

 

oil production chart from 2012 to 2016

Oil production between 2012 and 2016

In 2012 Libya's crude oil production was 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) – the same as it was in 2010. After the inflicted chaos of 2011 and the ensued clash of militias and foreign radicals the output began to drop steadily. By 2016 the oil production has dropped to 0.35 million bpd; literally destroying Libya's economy and taking the cost of living to almost impossible for the majority of Libyans. For the first time in modern history the Libyans were literally starved, deprived of fuel and water, kept in the dark as a result of regular power cuts, and work without wages for months on end.

About 90 percent of Libya's oil is sold to Western Europe. Owing to the imposed international sanctions (before 2011) Libya has more oil than its aging equipment can process. After the recent lifting of the sanctions Libya has resumed the purchase of parts and equipment to upgrade its refining and production capacities. Although most of Libya's current power plants are oil-generated, several stations have been converted to natural gas. Libya's gas reserves were estimated at about 70 trillion cubic feet (tcf), and it is thought that there are substantial reserves both onshore and offshore.

Projects to utilize natural gas include the 800-megawatt power plant in Zwara (Zuwarah), a 600-megawatt Western Mountain Power Project, a 1,400-megawatt power plant to be located on the coast between Benghazi and Tripoli, and the 1,200-megawatt Gulf Stream combined power and desalination complex in Sirte. Libya currently possesses an electric power production capacity of about 5 gigawatts, with plans to more than double the capacity by 2010. There are rumours that Libya's state-owned General Electricity Company (GEC) may allow private companies to invest in the Libya's power generation and distribution sectors. The GEC's largest current project is to expand the country's network of power substations, concentrated mainly in Benghazi, Sabha and Tripoli.

Crude oil prices: the world's oil reserves will run out very soon, and some countries like Dubai, according to experts, has only 8 more years of oil production. Hence the leaders of the western powers have been urging other countries for sometime now to invest in renewable energy and nuclear power as a long term solution for the energy crisis. This means that once the earth's resources are used up, focus will be shifted towards the sky and the rest of the solar system for energy, like wind, light and planetary mining. The sun is the best example there is about nuclear energy: extremely efficient, free, and clean. Britain, the most advanced country in utilising wind power, has pledged to free Britain from its dependence on oil and continues to invest in renewable and nuclear energy. In a recent American-Libyan scientific cooperation (2008), the two countries have agreed to study the earth, the sun and the other members of the solar family as one system.

The most significant new discoveries, since the discovery of el-Bouri field in 1976, have been in the Fezzan area, southern Libya, and in the Murzuq basin, like el-Sharara field, which produces around 200,000 bbl/d. In October 1997 large reserves, estimated at around 700 million barrels, were discovered at the NC-174 Block, 465 miles south of Tripoli, also in Murzuq, but production did not start until February 2004, at around 10,000 bbl/d. In August 2003, production started at the Aljurf offshore oilfield in Block 137, with an estimated output of around 40,000 bbl/d.

Oil Refineries

  • Ras Lanuf Export Refinery: located on the Gulf of Sirte, with a crude oil refining capacity of 220,000 bbl/d
  • Az Zawiya refinery: located in northwestern Libya, with crude processing capacity of 120,000 bbl/d
  • Tobruk Refinery: with crude capacity of 20,000 bbl/d
  • Brega Refinery: located in northeastern Libya, with crude capacity of 10,000 bbl/d
  • Sarir Refinery: a topping facility, with 10,000 bbl/d of capacity

 

Agriculture

Before the discovery of oil in 1950s agriculture supplied about 26% of GDP, some of which was exported; by 1978 this figure was reduced to a mere 2%. Analysts blame the oil industry which enticed many peasants to migrate to the wealthy cities. However, the value of food imports was more than 37% greater than it had been in 1950s. Currently, agriculture employs about 14% of Libya's workforce. Several projects and initiatives were established after 1969. The largest project to come out of the 1981-85 agricultural development was the Great Man-Made River (GMMR) – a massive network of water pipelines planned to transport water to urban and arid desert areas. Agricultural credit and substantial amounts of funds were made available to the Libyan people by the National Agricultural Bank, thereby encouraging nearly 20% of the labour force to remain in the agricultural sector. Despite this massive development, agriculture accounted for about 3.5% of GDP.  Currently, approximately 80% of Libya's food is imported. Libya's Food Buying Agency NASCO buys about 400 thousand metric tons (400 TMT) of durum, 350 TMT of bread wheat, and 400-800 TMT of flour and semolina per year. Most of Libya's bread-wheat comes from the EU, while Canada and Syria are major suppliers of durum. The main crops produced in Libya include wheat, barley, palm dates, olives, figs, grapes, apples, oranges, watermelons, tomatoes, cucumber, almonds, apricots, peaches, truffles, peanuts and soybeans.

 

Gaddafi's Seed Banks

One of the best projects built by Gaddafi is Libya's Seed Banks.  The project was started in early 1990's to provide vegetable and fruit seeds for Libyan farmers at bargain prices. By 2010 Libya's seed banks, particularly Tripoli's Zapatia Seed Bank, were competing with the best in the world in terms of quality and prices. Unfortunately after the UN bombing campaign of Libya in 2011 the banks somehow disappeared, and consequently a few years later Libyan farmers found themselves importing seeds at an extortionate prices. As a result the prices of vegetable and fruits shot up by 1000%, leaving the UN-protected Libyans starving - literally. Imaging the idea of importing seeds that do not produce seeds in the following season as opposed to cheap, proper seeds that produce further seeds! Probably another good reason for Gaddafi to be removed.

Food

Today, approximately 80% of Libya's food is imported. Libya's Food Buying Agency NASCO buys about 400 thousand metric tons (400 TMT) of durum, 350 TMT of bread wheat, and 400-800 TMT of flour and semolina per year. Most of Libya's bread-wheat comes from the EU, while Canada and Syria are major suppliers of durum. The main crops produced in Libya include wheat, barley, palm dates, olives, figs, grapes, apples, oranges, watermelons, tomatoes, cucumber, almonds, apricots, peaches, truffles, vegetables, peanuts and soybeans. Food in Libya includes a wide variety of local and foreign dishes, like European, Indian and Chinese.

At the top of the list of traditional dishes are couscous and bazin. Most restaurants and cafes provide a menu very similar to the menus found elsewhere in North Africa and Europe, like steak, scallop, burgers, roast chicken, rice, pasta, soups, sandwiches, etc. Food during desert and camping tours will be prepared by our specialist chefs who will accompany us on their own kitchen-vehicle. They will be more than happy to prepare special meals for vegetarians and vegans.

Couscous is originally a local North African dish, made of wheat or barley semolina, rolled into tiny balls (the size of half rice grain) and then steamed on top of a sauce made of tomato puree, mild spices, garlic, olive oil, chick peas, vegetable and meat (or fish), depending on type. The Bazin is also made of wheat or barley, boiled in water until forms a hard doughy lump, which then is knead several times to achieve a certain consistency and then placed in the middle of a large bowl, with the sauce around it, and eaten with fingers: driving the fingers in the dough, breaking a small bit, mixing it with the sauce several times until it becomes soft, and then thrown into the mouth to be further chewed and swallowed. It is really the hard way to eat.

Tea and coffee are served without milk, and Green tea is normally served after a meal to aid digestion. All other types of drinks are also available, with the exception of alcoholic drinks which became illegal after the arrival of Gaddafi in 1969, as they still remain after his grotesque murder by the installed militias.


Industry

  • Industries: petroleum, textiles, handicrafts, cement and food processing.

  • Major Exports: US$37 billion, mostly from crude oil and refined petroleum products: Italy (38%), Germany (15%), Spain (9%), France (6%), Turkey (6%), USA (5%).

  • Major Imports: US$14.47 billion, mostly of machinery, transport equipment, food, manufactured goods: Italy (21.2%), Germany (10%), Tunisia (6%), UK (5%), Turkey (5%), France (5%), South Korea (5%), China (4%) .

Tourism

For a short period it looked like Libya was about to develop a massive tourist industry to rival that of Egypt and Tunisia; but unfortunately the UN's bombing campaign of 2011 had ignited violence in the country which ended any hopes of Libya having a prosperous tourism industry for the near future. Let us hope world leaders place an international embargo on arms trade and stop arming civilians, moderate militants, rebels and radicals from around the impoverished world. Only peace and science can secure prosperous success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

globe

Geography

Libya is located in North Africa. Being the fourth largest country in Africa (1.759.540 sq. km), its coastline stretches for about 1,770 kilometres of sand beaches, clear water, and pure hot sunshine. Its land boundaries (with Egypt, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Algeria and Tunisia) span 4,348 km, as follows:

  • Egypt 1,115 km
  • Algeria 982 km
  • Tunisia 459 km
  • Niger 354 km
  • Chad 1,055 km
  • Sudan 383 km

The geography of Libya is around 90% desert or semi-desert, with arable land making up around 1%. The Libyan terrain is mostly barren, flat plains, plateaus and depressions. The fertile green area stretches along the coasts of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, with a number of desert oasis across the Sahara. There are a number of mountains in Libya, the most prominent of which are The Green Mountain in Cyrenaica, the Berber Mountain (or Nafousah Mountain) in Tripolitania, the Harouj Mountain in Fezzan, the Tibesti Mountain (by the Chadian border), and a chain of other mountains in the Acacus region.

Strategically speaking Libya is the African gate through which early human civilisations found their way to Egypt, the Middle East, Asia and Europe. Its strategic location was equally responsible for the successive waves of invasions throughout history, from the arrival of the Phoenicians down to the European attacks on Tobruk and Benghazi in the early twentieth century.

 

 

sea sparkling under the sun

Climate

The highest temperature in the world was recorded in Libya on the 13th of September 1922, in el-Azizia, was a staggering 136.4 degree Fahrenheit (or 58°C: degrees Celsius). During the period between May and September the coastal temperature can rise to 38°C (100F), while in the southern parts of the country it can reach 50°C. Generally it is recommended to visit Libya between late October and April, when the temperature is generally mellow. However, be prepared as winter temperatures, especially at night, can drop to below 0C. Snow does fall sometimes in Libya, but only in the mountains, just as it does in Morocco’s Jebel Toubkal – North Africa’s highest peak (4167 km).

 

When To Visit Libya

  • Coastal Libya: you can visit the coastal areas across the whole year.
  • Western Libya: the best time is between September and May.
  • Eastern Libya: ideal time to visit is between September and June.
  • Sahara desert region: October - March: temperature drops below zero at night.
  • Best time to visit Libya: October to November: not hot nor cold; just warm & clear sky.
  • Sun lovers: for beach holiday and serious tanning: May to August.
  • Definitely no for desert tours: May - August.

 

Demographic Data

The population density varies from region to region. For example, along the coast and in the regions of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica the density is about 50 persons per a square kilometre, while in Fezzan it drops to less than one person - the reason, of course, being nothing other than the huge expanse of barren sand we know as desert. The ethnic groups of Libya are mainly Arabs, Berbers, Hausa and Tebu. There are also immigrant communities, mostly from North African countries, like Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco; the Middle East; Sub-Saharan Africa; and a very small number from European and Asian countries.

 

Land Borders & Seaports of Libya

Land Borders

  • Ras Ejdayr (Tunisian-Libyan border), also spelt as: Ras Ejdir, Ras Jdayr.
  • Musaid [Emsaa'd] (Egyptian-Libyan border).
  • Debdab (Algerian-Libyan border), Ghadames.
  • Wazen (Tunisian-Libyan border), Nalut.
  • Ghat or Tenalkum (Algerian-Libyan border), Ghat.
  • Ethoom or Alqatroun (Niger & Chad-Libyan border).
  • Alkufra  (Sudan-Libyan  border).

Seaports

  • Zuwarah
  • Tripoli
  • Misrata
  • Khoms
  • Ras Lanuf
  • Briga Commercial
  • Darna
  • Benghazi
  • Tobruk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

children at school     children at school

O  O

Education

Selmed
التعليم

 

 

Introduction

Education in Libya is free. Primary education (year 1 to year 9) is compulsory in Libya. According to the old system (pre 1980s) primary school consists of six years, followed by three years secondary school, followed by 3 more years for upper secondary school (intermediate education); giving a total of twelve years of education before going to university.

Students have the option to leave school after the secondary education to go for vocational or technical education, which prepares students for work. Some students find it hard to progress beyond  secondary school and thus opt for this option.

The new system combines the first six years and the three years of secondary education in one system known as "Primary Education" (التعليم الأساسي); starting from year 1 (age 6) and ending with year 9 (age 15). The upper secondary education (the intermediat education التعليم الثانوي) is the same as the old system.

Intermediate education consists of three years; the first year is general, after which the students has the option to either go for the "Humanities & Arts" sector (القسم الأدبي), or go for the "Technical & Science" sector (القسم العلمي). In the new system, however, the student has further options to specialise in one of the following branches (شعبة): primary science, engineering, bio sciences, economics, social sciences, or  linguistics (with four subdivisions: Arabic language, English language, French language, and Hausa language) - there is no attempt yet to include Tamazight ('Berber language').

After the intermediate education the student would then progress to University level, where s/he can study from 5 to 7 years for her/his degree.

 

Literacy:

Among the the good things Gaddafi did was empowering Libyan women, and improving the Libyan educational system. Female literacy leaped from 35% to nearly 86%. He also introduced woman's consent for her husband to take other wives, but this was reversed by the NTC right on the so-called Liberation Day.

1980: approximately 55% (males: 70%; females: 35%)
2001: approximately 81% (males: 91%; females: 69%)
2004: approximately: 82% (males: 92%; females: 72%)
2015: approximately 91% (males: 96.7%; females: 85.6%)

 

The Old Educational System

  • Primary Education (التعليم الابتدائي): 6 years:

    1. Year 1  (age:   6 years)
    2. Year 2  (age:   7 years)
    3. Year 3  (age:   8 years)
    4. Year 4  (age:   9 years)
    5. Year 5  (age: 10 years)
    6. Year 6  (age: 11 years)

  • Secondary (Preparatory) Education (التعليم الإعدادي): 3 years: considered O Level:

    1. Year 1   (age: 12 years)
    2. Year 2   (age: 13 years)
    3. Year 3   (age: 14 years)

  • Upper Secondary Education: (التعليم الثانوي): 3 years: considered A Level:

    1. Year 1   (age: 15 years)
    2. Year 2   (age: 16 years)
    3. Year 3   (age: 17 years)


The New Educational System

  • Primary Education (التعليم الأساسي): 9 years:

    1. Year 1   (age:   6 years)
    2. Year 2   (age:   7 years)
    3. Year 3   (age:   8 years)
    4. Year 4   (age:   9 years)
    5. Year 5   (age: 10 years)
    6. Year 6   (age: 11 years)
    7. Year 7   (age: 12 years)
    8. Year 8   (age: 13 years)
    9. Year 9   (age: 14 years)


  • Intermediate Education (التعليم الثانوي): 3 years: considered A Level:

    1. Year 1   (age: 15 years)
    2. Year 2   (age: 16 years)
    3. Year 3   (age: 17 years)

 

Primary Education (Primary & Secondary)

Number of students in year 2000: approximately 766,807 students
Number of teachers in year 2000: 97,334 teachers

Subjects:

The certification gained in the following subjects are considered to equal O Level. If a student fails any of the subjects s/he can retake the exam at the end of the summer holiday. If fails again the student needs to retake the whole year doing all the subjects again (including all the passed subjects).

  • Islamic Discipline
  • Grammar, Spelling & Calligraphy
  • Reading & Literature
  • English Language
  • Mathematics
  • Arts
  • Sciences
  • Computing (Information Technology)
  • National Discipline
  • Geography
  • History (His-Story only - no Berbers)

 

Intermediate Education (Upper Secondary  التعليم الثانوي)

Number of students in year 2000: approximately 717,000 students were enrolled in secondary, technical, and vocational schools.

Subjects:

The certification gained in the following subjects are considered to equal A Level. If a student fails any of the subjects s/he can retake the exam at the end of the summer holiday. If fails again the student needs to retake the whole year doing all the subjects again (including all the passed subjects).

The subjects slightly vary according to specialisation (according to the chosen branch [شعبة] of the Intermediate Education. These branches are: primary science, engineering, bio sciences, economics, social sciences, and linguistics (with four subdivisions: Arabic language, English language, French language, and Hausa language):

  • Islamic Discipline
  • Grammar & Writing
  • Literature, Expression & Eloquence
  • English Language
  • Mathematics
  • Physics (Mechanics)
  • Physics (Nuclear Physics, Electricity, Magnetism)
  • Computing (Information Technology)
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Calculus
  • Finance Management
  • Banks & Currencies
  • Economics
  • Accountancy
  • Psychology
  • Population Science
  • Political Science
  • Philosophy
  • Geography
  • History
  • Linguistic Interpretation
  • Phonetics
  • Religious Studies
  • Dogma
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Conversation

 

Technical & Vocational Education

After completing the 9-year primary education students have the option to go for vocational or technical education. The aim of vocational education is to prepare students for employment. The training courses include studies in building, carpentry, agriculture, marine fishing, and electrical, mechanical, and architectural studies.

2000: approximate number of students: 70,000 
Number of higher technical and vocational institutes: 84

In academic year 1998/99 there were 398 basic vocational training enters training more than 130,000 male and female students.

  • Information Technology College (كلية تقنية الحاسوب): www.hict.edu.ly/
  • Academy of Graduate Studies (أكاديمية الدراسات العليا)

 

 

university of Libya logo

The Logo of Libya University

 

University: Undergraduate & Postgraduate Studies

The Libyan University  (الجامعة الليبية‎‎), else known as "The University of Libya", was founded in 1955 during the reign of king Idris. The university had to campuses: one in Tripoli and another in Benghazi (al Manar Palace).

In 1973, four years after the installation of Gaddafi, the university was split into two universities:

  • University of Tripoli (in Tripoli)
  • University of Benghazi (in Benghazi)

In 1975 the approximate number of students in these two universities is 13,418. After the 7th of April 1976 the two universities were given new names by the Gaddafi administration:

  • Alfateh University (in Tripoli)
  • Garyounis University (in Benghazi)

By 1980 the number of universities in Libya climbed to 9 universities; while the number of students shot up to 200,000 students. The 7th of April is a black day in Libyan history because it is the day Gaddafi's agents (including his prime minister Abdulsalam Jalloud) entered the universities and began hanging students in the open in their program to clean the campuses from the so-called "enemies of the revolution".

 

The following is a list of the main universities in Libya:

  • University of Tripoli (جامـــعة طرابلــس): uot.edu.ly/
  • University of Benghazi (جامعة بنغازي): uob.edu.ly/
  • University of Omar Mukhtar (جامعة عمر المختار): omu.edu.ly/
  • University of Sabha (جامعة سبها): sebhau.edu.ly/ar/
  • University of Elmergib (جامعة المرقب): elmergib.edu.ly/
  • Libyan International Medical University (لجامعة الليبية الدولية للعلوم الطبية): limu.edu.ly/en/
  • University of Misrata (جامعة مصراتة): misuratau.edu.ly/
  • University of  Zawiya (جامعة الزاوية)
  • University of Azzytuna (جامعة الزيتونة): azu.edu.ly/

There are three stages to university education:

  1. Stage One: Undergraduate: Bachelor’s Degree: requires four or five years of full time study.
  2. Stage Two: Postgraduate: The Higher Diploma and the Master’s Degree: require two years of study after gaining the Bachelor's Degree. Limited number of subjects (Arabic, Islamic studies, humanities, social sciences).
  3. Stage Three: The Doctorate (PhD): requires two years of study and research after completing the Master's Degree. Limited number of subjects (Arabic, Islamic studies, humanities). All other subjects are taken abroad, mainly in European universities, particularly UK and US universities.

 

Open Universities (الجامعــة المفتوحة)

There is one open university in Libya, located in the capital Tripoli. It has about sixteen branches across the country. The open university was founded by Decree 670 of 1987 by Gaddafi's GPC (اللجنة الشعبية العامــة). It began service in the year 1989/1990.

Website: http://www.libyaou.ly/index.php/ar/
Telephone: 218925194331

 

Private (Free) Education (التعليم الحر)

Private education is outlined according to Decree 134 of 2012.

 

Ministry of Education

The Ministry of Education (General People’s Committee for Higher Education) was formed in 2004. After the change of regime in 2011 the ministry's name was changed to: Ministry of Discipline & Education (وزارة التربية والتعليم)

Website:

www.higheredu.gov.ly
www.edu.gov.ly/

Telephones:

Enquiries: +218 21 4631334
Minister's Office Manager (Ekhlifah Musbah Assarwi: 0925860993
Deputy Minister: 0923930892; 0912128108

 

Institutions Part of The Ministry of Education

  • Educational Facility Authority (مصلحة التقنيات وصيانة المرافق التعليمية): website: http://eatfm.edu.ly/
  • Educational Curriculum and Disciplinary Research Centre (مركز المناهحج التعليمية و البحوث التربوية)
  • Benghazi's Gifted Centre
  • The National Committee for Education, Discipline and Science: http://natcom.org.ly/

 

Curriculum

Curriculum material in Libya is not fully scientific nor historically honest. It is tailored to suit a particular culture, belief, and political view. Whenever a new government is installed the curriculum usually changes according to the type of government. For example, Gaddafi imposed the study of his Green Book, which is a mixture of religious beliefs, socialism and Mao Tse-tung's communism.

As another example, the history books taught in Libya have completely denied the existence of the Berber civilisation(s), and instead glamorised ancient civilisations as being Arabic or that of "ancient man", even though the native Libyans were and still are matriarchal by nature. This has not changed after the installation of the NTC in 2011, when the Berbers took to the streets demonstrating about the new curriculum imposed by the new leaders.

Archaeology and anthropology are also rewritten according to the same rules. The certification for the Upper Secondary education include exams in English, French and Hausa languages, but nothing for Tamazight yet despite being not only the local but also the native language of Libya.

Hopefully Libyan education, likewise the Libyan constitution and the health system, would catch up with the rest of the world once freedom, justice, free speech, and free learning sink in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a man sailing in small boat

 

Refugees & Immigrants

 

For unknown reason media outlets mix between refugees and immigrants (including economic migrants). The distinction has always been clear except after the recent destabilisation program that seems to affect certain countries more than others. The answer probably lies in the fact that governments are obliged by the refugee laws to grant political asylum to refugees and therefore if the name is changed from "refugees" to "immigrants" then the Geneva conventions would no longer apply.

The problem of refugees is often caused by political oppression and wars. Logic tells us that to solve the problem of refugees (and most immigrants for that matter) is to stop destabilising poor nations. The second step is to address the issue at the source and not at the destination or at any transit point. Helping poor nations to stand on their feet, rather than bringing them to their knees, would also be beneficial.

For example, the UN-authorised bombing campaign of Libya in 2011 (without an exit strategy and with implied objectives to change regime without due consideration for the ensuing chaos) is largely to blame for the current immigration disaster that is plighting Libya more than Europe, and yet the international powers and their established media for some reason seem to be quite happy to blame the helpless Libyan authorities for the imposed catastrophe. A sick joke; straight from audacity dawn.

 

Disrepair

It must be noted that, like the GNC's prime minister Mr. Elkeib had said in 2012, the Libyan government had inherited the country in a state of "disrepair".

For world leaders to turn round a few years after the imposed disaster and say the Libya bombing campaign was their "biggest mistake" is simply not good enough. They need to do the right thing and fix their mistake, and make sure such mistakes are not repeated elsewhere, like in Syria, Yemen, and (seemingly) Iran and Saudi Arabia to follow soon. Still worse, admitting abandoning Libya after its utter destruction was their second mistake is seemingly no more than a futile attempt to divert attention away from the grand job.

 

Part 1: Gaddafi's GPC's Contribution

After 1969's "staged" coup Libya witnessed a massive influx of foreign workers, primarily invited to take part in rebuilding Libya. Many of these workers came from Tunisia (construction workers and labourers), Egypt (teachers and labourers), Palestine (teachers), and Yugoslavia and Bulgaria (doctors and nurses), among other countries.

After Gaddafi split from his Arab dictators, he turned his attention to poor Africa instead. Self-titled "the king of kings of Africa", Gaddafi called for pan-African unity and a common currency. This change in Libya's politics was responsible for the ensued second wave of immigrants, estimated at one million workers, mainly from neighbouring African countries like Sudan, Niger, Chad and Mali.

High Libyan wages for unskilled workers, which reached nearly $300 a month, were also attracting large numbers of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa and from Asia. It was reported that this wave of legal immigrants eventually led to other waves of illegal immigrants, and soon afterwards Libya became a transit route for organised criminals who smuggle illegal immigrants into Libya and then from Libya into Europe via Sicily and Italy.

One of the main smuggling routes was the 800 miles desert route between Niger and Libya, via the city of Agadez. Later on, during Gaddafi's last verbal assaults on Europe, he was reported to have warned to turn "Europe black". Italy had agreed a $500 million worth of electronic monitoring devices to help Libya crack down on illegal migrants turning up on Italian shores; but later it emerged during the war that many immigrants fled Libya via the same sea, some of whom were left to die in the sea, as reported by the Guardian [47].

With the increase in Libyan unemployment (currently stands at about 35%), and the spread of "social problems", which had never existed before at this scale, many Libyans began to have second thoughts about immigration; and thus through local committees, the government said, they influenced the GPC to react and order a crackdown on the employment of illegal workers in the year 2000.

Shortly afterwards, a wave of mass deportation of illegal immigrants (who had no official visas) began to attract the attention of human rights organisations. Tens of thousands of Nigerians, Ghanaians, Chadians, Gambians and Sudanese were deported; with many more being held in mass detention centres in an indescribable conditions. The total number of illegal workers before the wave of deportation reached approximately 1.5 million workers; while the number of legal workers was estimated at about 750,000 workers.

Part 2: NTC's And GNC's Contribution

As soon as Libya was prematurely declared liberated in late 2011, the NTC was reported to have abolished entry visas for Tunisians, and was also said to have negotiated deals to bring one million Egyptian workers into Libya! On August 2012 Tunisian, Libyan and Egyptian foreign ministers were reported to have agreed to deepen cooperation and consider whether to allow their citizens to travel without the need for visas. In the same week Libyan transitional rulers had agreed with Morocco to abolish Libyan visa requirement for Moroccan 'diplomats', 'workers' and 'private passport' holders (whatever that means).

With the constant change of governments and officials it becomes more difficult to follow these policies, or even confirm if they were implemented or not. Aljazeera's Imran Khan reported that more than 6,000 Syrians arrived in Libya because they did not need a visa - by 2013 the Libyan media said the number of Syrian refugees reached 100,000. 

Criminal gangs and "mystery cells" came to light immediately after liberation of Libya (2011), and began a systematic campaign of organised trafficking in illegal immigrants across all Libya's borders. These groups appear to be well armed, busy, and have no regard for the law. They assassinated border security officials in Benghazi; attacked and killed border officials at Emsaad (Libyan-Egyptian border); and kidnapped and killed government officers in and around Kufra.

The NTC said it was tackling the issue and progress was being made. But even after the NTC was replaced by the elected GNC, the ministerial office remains unable to control the disaster, despite declaring Fezzan a "military Zone", and despite the stark warning given by PM Ali Zidan that the air force is out to blast outlaws taking advantage of Libya's fragile tragedy.

Many Libyans objected to these activities including official agreements struck by "transitional" rulers, and organised criminal activities running in the background, stating that matters of security, treating the wounded, and restoring basic services should have priority; especially so when so many Libyans still are out of work, and when the official and final government is yet to be elected.

On the other hand, many Western countries were urging others to take more refugees despite the fact that unchecked movement of large numbers of refugees allows various terror groups to smuggle their sleeper cells as refugees.


Part 3: The Italian Contribution

"The Libyan-Italian Friendship Day": on the 30th of August 2008 Italy had agreed to pay Libya US$5 billion as compensation for its occupation of the country from 1911 to 1943, in a memorandum signed by the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and (then) the Libyan leader Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi.

Italy had also agreed to provide US$500 million to build "electronic monitoring devices" to help Libya crack down on illegal migrants turning up on Italian shores. There will also be a colonial-era mine clearing project to make the area safer for both locals and tourists.

The reality is that the immigration problem was made worse after the murder of Gaddafi, and more unexploded ordinance were left by the European armies that took part in bombing Libya in 2011 despite the repeated pleas by the Libyan army to help with clearing the mess.

After the murder of Gaddafi the Western governments (via the installed NTC) were keen to honour the previous contracts struck with Gaddafi but only in relation to their needs. To monitor the entire Libyan coast and install the electronic monitoring devices was not one of them, if not to the contrary!


Part 4:  French & EU Contribution

The full results of the (irresponsible and hijacked) UN bombing campaign began to manifest right from day one: the so-called liberation day, and ever since the Libyans have never stopped reporting the tragic crisis of migrants and refugees flooding Libya from after the destruction of the Libyan government.

But the world then seemed blind to the seeds they sowed in 2011, and instead world leaders were boasting about the imposed democratic success that barred the Berbers from taking part in party elections – the democratic success they later called a "mistake".

Many western sources and websites now openly say things like: Libyan governments are not doing enough to tackle the migrant crisis that is affecting Europe. The truth is that the Libyan government(s) were calling for help in dealing with the imposed tragedy for the past five years but the world did not want to know – except when it was too late, so that they could organise another bombing campaign (which is underway right now (in 2016) in Sirte and along the Libyan coast).

LANA repeatedly reported the  influx of refugees in millions (one million from Egypt alone) and all the conferences held by the African Union and the European Union regarding this crisis were "no more than ink on paper", LANA said [40].

Not only that, but according to officials from the Libyan Parliament (the HoR) the French actually let immigrants cross from Niger and Chad into Libya without doing anything.

These activities did not make it to the European headlines, along the boats leaving Libya to "turn Europe black", but some sources did report the news. Here are the words used by the Middle East Eye:

"One of the last Niger checkpoints is Madama, 100km south of the border, where the French military has established a base. Smugglers say the French soldiers observe all passing traffic but never interfere. A Libyan soldier from the south, Hassan Suki, who posed as a civilian to monitor the migrant flow, said both the French and Niger governments were exacerbating the migrant problem. “Many people in the EU don’t realise what’s happening here, and that France and Niger are behind it,” he said" [42].

"Many people in the EU don’t realise what’s happening here, and that France and Niger are behind it,” he said". A few years later, once the damage has been done, the EU responded by kicking another military operation: the European Union Naval Force Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR Med), else known as Operation Sophia. The goal of the "farce", they say, is to stop the influx of immigrants and refugees into Europe from Libya. How responsible they could be!

One would presume the right thing to do is to protect your borders, but for some reason national security is always thousands of miles away from home – literally in other people's homes – the homes that do not have national security nor sovereignty anymore.

As noted by Wikipedia,

"The UK's House of Lords has noted in a report that claims this kind of search-and-rescue operation acts as a ‘magnet to migrants and eases the task of smugglers, who would only need their vessels to reach the high seas’ had some validity. Also the Libyan coastguard has warned that the EU's "Operation Sophia" boosts migrant smuggling, explaining that "People, when they get rescued, call their friends to tell them that there are EU vessels only 20 miles from Libyan waters to save them"" [41].

Wikileaks has this illustration to highlight the issue:

 

 

illustration from wikileaks showing the EU rescuing refugees

https://wikileaks.org/eu-military-refugees/

Having said that, creating the problem by destabilising sovereign states and throwing them into chaos for the clutches of warlords and sponsored terror groups is the main cause of this man-made disaster. Such irresponsible acts by the UN and other western states must stop if we were to speak about solving the refugee crisis.

Highlighting the issue merely to flood Europe with migrant propaganda and thus trigger a clash of cultures in Europe in which many poor people may one day perish is an agenda helpless people can only watch unfold.

It is not only wars that are bad for peace, but also sponsoring wars, and arming teenagers, civilians, released prisoners, rebels, moderate militants and radicals, as well as manufacturing all kinds of weapons and profiting from their use (away from home). Of course, it all depends on the intentions, the Libyan puppets are yet to see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

islam logo

 

Religion

 

  • Muslims:
    • Sunni Maliki: around 96% (all Arabs and majority of Tuareg Berbers)
    • Abadi: around 4% (Berbers, except Tuareg Berbers)
  • Christians: less than 3% (foreigners)
  • Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu: less than 0.3% (foreigners)

 

Mythology

Ancient Libya was the home of Mediterranean mythology, the earliest religion known to womankind. The ancient religion of the native Berbers was their mythology. Most of the Egyptian and Greek gods and goddesses are Libyan in origin. For example, Amon, Ament, Antaeus, Bast, Osiris, Isis, Shu  and Nit, are all Berber in origin. Egyptian Nit, Phoenician Tanit and Greek Athena were all adopted from Berber Tannit, else known as the Libyan Triple Goddess Neith par excellence.

Many of the ancient practices of the native inhabitants of Libya were based on the veneration of the ancestors and the dead. According to Westermarck a number of the Berbers' religious principles are still practiced by Berber women under the disguise of Tomb Worship, where women regularly visit the tombs and perform various rituals in association with the ancestors and the dead; such as receiving sacred prophecies through dreams obtained by sleeping in tombs of holy ancestors. Some prophecies speak of reincarnations that will return to complete the work of the ancestors

Shortly after the installation of Gaddafi many of the Berber tombs were bulldozed on the orders from the dictator because he viewed them as pagan symbols; in the same way after the installation of the NTC in 2011 many of the installed radical and moderate militia groups began demolishing sacred tombs across Libya.

This tomb worship, according to Herodotus, goes back to the ancient Libyan Nasamon Berbers, and it may even go back farther in time since sacred traditions are indeed carried forward from previous generations. The ancient Libyan Nasamons took oath at the graves of persons who were reputed for justice and transparency.

In addition to tomb-worship, complete traditions from the Berbers' previous mythology remain alive in various traditions and festivals. Saharan prehistoric art, Berber jewellery, Berber folklore and music have also preserved some fragmented elements of Berber belief.

For a list of Berber gods and goddess please see Berber Mythology.

 

Christianity

Ancient Libya was also the beginning of the Church. The Bible says Moses was born and grew up in North Africa; the Libyan Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus Christ carry the cross [Mark 15: 21-24]; and Berber Tertullian, Cyprian and Augustine are widely considered to be the "Fathers of the Church".

Among the first to leave Libya for Egypt and start a number of Christian communities was the Berber St. Mark (1st century AD) – the author of the first Christian Bible: the "Gospel of Mark". Also St. Mark was the founder of  the Church of Alexandria in Egypt, where he began spreading the new religion – the religion which Berber Arius Ammonius deplored for being freely mixed with pagan philosophy. 

For more on Libyan Christianity please see Christianity & Churches.

 

Islam

Islam arrived in Libya with the Arab invasions of 642 AD. When the Berber queen Kahina asked Hassan Ben Nua'man (the general of the Arab army) about the reason for their invasion and Hassan replied they had a message from God, the queen replied: "let us have the message and go back to your homeland".

This illustrates how the Berbers had welcomed Islam as a religion but strongly resisted the Arab conquests of their sovereign homeland. Those Berbers who refused to accept Islam, according to Oric Bates (The Eastern Libyans, p. 240), were instead given the right by Amr Ibn el-Asi to sell their women and children to pay 3000 dinar tribute.

Soon afterwards, the Berbers came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliph of Damascus, before succumbing to the Umayyads of Baghdad in 750. By 920 Libya came under the rule of the Fatimid. When the Berber Zirid dynasty broke away from the Shiite Fatimid, the latter brought the tribes of Bani Hilal and Banu Salim from Arabia to strengthen their positions – the two tribes that marked the beginning of the Arabisation of North Africa.

Currently about 96% of Libyans are Muslim Sunni of the Maliki school, with the remaining Berbers (except the Tuareg Berbers) following the Abadi (or Ibadi) sect of Islam. There are also small communities of Sufis and (foreign) Christians. The Senussi Movement of Cyrenaica (with Jaghbub being its historical centre) was crushed by the Italian invaders for its ties with King Idris Assenussi, from which the movement took its name.

All Nafusi, Sukna and Awjilah Berbers are Abadite; the majority of Tuareg Berbers are Sunni Maliki. The Abadi sect is regarded as "heresy" by some Muslims and thus the Berbers are referred to as Khawarej or  Kharijites – a name derived from the verb "to leave", in reference to those Muslims who rebelled against the troubled Caliphate.

The Abadi sect was persecuted especially by some dictators like Gaddafi. In July 2017 the Libyan Supreme Fatwa Committee (of  the General Authority of Endowment And Islamic Affairs, of the Bayda government in Cyrenaica) was widely criticised for declaring the Berber Abadites "deviant", "Kharijites" and "astray" who adhere to "infidel" doctrines, such as "the Koran being created", and even stated that Abadi preachers cannot lead Islamic prayers in a mosque. 

The president of the GNA, Mr. Sarraj, speaking in general terms had condemned incitement to hatred and "fitna", but made no specific mention (whatsoever), neither by name nor by organisation, to the radical edict nor to the Supreme Fatwa Committee [1]. What made matters worse is that the Bayda government has approved the extreme edict made by its religious authority (the Supreme Fatwa Committee), and even stated that the Supreme Fatwa Committee is "moderate" and that the edict said nothing about the Abadites possessing infidel doctrines. This is very, very strange because the fatwa clearly mentions in Arabic the Abadite as:

الإباضية فرقة منحرفة ضالة، وهم من الباطنية الخوارج، وعندهم عقائد كفرية، كعقيدتهم بأن القرآن مخلوق وعقيدتهم في إنكار الرؤية، فلا يُصلّى خلفهم ولا كرامة

The audacity is that instead of repudiating such extreme hatred and incitement to violence, the Bayda government said the fatwa made no mention of the "Amazigh" by name, although everyone knows that in Libya only the Berbers (the Amazigh) are Abadite (or Ibadis or Abadis). Outside Libya the Abadi sect can also be found in Mzab (Algeria) and Djerba (Tunisia). Outside North Africa there are some Abadis in the Horn of Africa and the majority of Oman. In total the Abadis make up less than 1% of all Muslims in the world.

For more on Islamic heritage in Libya please see Islamic tourism and mosques.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

picture of a skull

Health

 

The government of Libya provides free health care for all the people of Libya. Health and disability benefits are regulated by Decree 111 of 1999. The World Health Organisation said the establishment  of  the  "Health  Information  and  Documentation  Centre", which collects and reports on  national  health  data, was "a  positive  step  towards  the development of national health information system" in Libya. Previously to 2011 health care (including private health care) in Libya was regulated by the GPCHE. Now the care comes under the control of the Health Ministry (http://www.health.gov.ly).


Health Care Sectors

The health system in Libya consists of four sectors:

  1. Government health care: provided through hospitals, clinics and health centres.
  2. Army health care: provided for all soldiers and officers of the Libyan army.
  3. Oil Companies health care: provided for all the employees of the oil companies in Libya.
  4. Private health Care: pay-for health service in large cities like Tripoli.

Health Care Training Centres

In addition to Libyans many of the medical staff (doctors and nurses) come from former Yugoslavia, Poland and the Philippines. By 1995 the number of doctors and dentists has increased by 700%. According to the statistics released by the Ministry of Health in 2010 there are 11,323 doctors in Libya, 3,176 dentists, 1,101 pharmacists, 40,926 nurses and midwives, 16,640 health professionals, and 34,371 health admin and medical assistants. Also there are a number of health care schools and training centres in Libya including the following:

  • 9 medical schools
  • 7 dental schools
  • 6 pharmacy schools
  • 14 nursing schools
  • 9 allied health sciences and technical institutions

Hospitals in Libya

One of the good projects to come out of the Gaddafi experiment is building hospitals. In the early 1970s and 1980s the government built a number of hospitals across the country and equipped them with the latest technologies. The hospitals had a good start, but soon afterwards fell in a state of disrepair. Lack of maintenance and absence of proper management led to the failure of the Libyan health system. This failure was initially triggered by the UN (or the so-called international community) sanctions against Libya in 1990s, which practically destroyed the Libyan economy including the health sector.

Such failure was made worse after the UN authorisation to bomb Libya had ignited violence in the country, where armed civilians and militant militias began punching holes in hospital walls and vandalising medical facilities; forcing many of the foreign doctors and nurses to flee the country. Even the diplomatic community that once bragged about the democratic success they imposed on Libya fled through the Tunisian border once the airport was blasted by the installed militias.

As of 2016 the health system in Libya is complete disaster, effected by the international community in the name of protection of civilians. This remains a fact of history even though many sources fail to admit, for some reason or another.

MSF (Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders) is training health staff at Zuwarah hospital in intensive and emergency care. Zuwarah hospital is the only hospital in the district equipped to deal with emergencies. After the American bombing of a site in Sabratha in February 2016 (without Libyan authorisation) the hospital admitted 15 injured people. The MSF team said they are providing similar services in Cyrenaica and supplying three hospitals in Benghazi with drugs.

On September 2016 (on a request from the unapproved GNA) Italy said it will build a military hospital near Misrata airport, guarded by 100 soldiers; leaving the civilian population widely un-served and unprotected by the unleashed violence.


Number of hospitals, clinics and pharmacies in Libya

According to the 2010 Ministry of Health report there are 97 hospitals in Libya, plus 1,424 primary health care centres. There are around 20,689 beds in public hospitals, with extra 1,060 beds in welfare clinics, giving an average of 37 beds per 10,000 population. Also there are 1934 pharmacies, 415 clinics, 311 labs, 297 dentists (dental clinics), and 297 private clinics in Libya. The number of beds in private clinics is 2088 beds.

Number of hospitals in Libya:

  • Specialized hospitals: 26
  • Central hospitals: 18
  • General hospitals 21
  • Suburban hospitals 32

hospital-numbers-by-area

Number of hospitals by area (Ministry of Health).

 

Number of hospitals by area:

  • Tripoli: 15
  • Benghazi: 15
  • Algebel Algharbi : 9
  • Misrata: 6
  • Almargheb: 6
  • Nalut: 5
  • Zuwarah: 4
  • Marj: 4
  • Algebel Alakhdar: 4
  • Ajdabiya: 3
  • Wadi Alshati: 3
  • Derna: 3
  • Buthnan: 3
  • Zawiya: 2
  • Sabha: 2
  • Sirte: 2
  • Kufra: 2
  • Aljufra: 2
  • Aljafara: 2
  • Murzuq: 2
  • Alwahat: 1
  • Wadi Alhayat: 1
  • Ghat: 1

Primary Health Care Centres:

According to the 2010 Ministry of Health report there are 1424 health care centres in Libya, categorised as follows:

  • Primary Health Care Unites: 837
  • Health Centres: 535
  • Combined Clinics: 37
  • Dentists: 15

Partnerships, Clinics, Private Clinics, Dentists And Pharmacies:
  • Pharmacies: 1934
  • Clinics: 415
  • Labs: 311
  • Dentists: 297
  • Private Clinics: 103

 

 

Life Expectancy

It was reported that life expectancy in Libya is reaching that of Europe. The expectancy grew from 46 years in 1950s to 74.5 years in 2000s. Current life expectancy stands at:

  • Women: 77 years
  • Men: 72 years
  • Fertility rate 2.7 (per woman)

family size per area

Family size (number of members) by area.
Zuwarah has the smallest family in Libya (average 5.3 persons per family);
Sirte has the largest (7.6) (Ministry of Health).

 

Main Causes of Death


  1. Cardio vascular  diseases: 37%
  2. Cancer: 13%
  3. Traffic  accidents: 11%
  4. Diabetes: 5%

age pyramid for male and female libyans
Age pyramid shows the number of Libyan per age group,
with those aged 85+ years at the top of the pyramid (Ministry of Health).

 

Key Health Statistics

  • Birth Rate: 18 births/1,000 population.
  • Death Rate: 3.60 deaths/1,000 population.
  • Infant mortality rate: 16.7 (per 1000 live births).
  • Under-5 mortality rate: 20 (per 1000 live births).
  • Maternal mortality ratio: 27 (per 100 000 live births).
  • HIV/AIDS: 300 cases (according to WHO, 2008).
  • Population growth rate 2.8%.
  • Average family size: 6 to 10 persons per family.
  • Population density 3.3 (persons per km2).
  • Urban population (%) 85%.
  • Rural population (%) 15%.
  • Daily Smokers: men: 47.6%; women: 0.1%.
  • Overweight 57%.
  • Blind: approximately 1.2% of Libyans are blind (due to cataract).
  • Raised blood pressure (≥ 140/≥ 90) on medication: men: 45.8%; women: 35.6%.
  • Raised blood pressure (≥ 140/≥ 90) not on medication: men: 68.4%; women: 48.5%.
  • PTSD: 123,200 Libyans suffer from severe PTSD, as a result of the UN bombing.
  • Severe Depression: predicted 220,000 Libyans, as a result of the violence ignited by UN bombing campaign of 2011.

Diseases

The Centre for Infectious Diseases Control is the Libyan institute that controls disease in Libya including all vaccination programs. The Centre has 22 branches (one for every district in Libya), with 51 vaccination centres across the country. According to the World Health Organisation report for 2008 the following cases were reported:

  • Hepatitis B: 2451
  • Hepatitis C: 1264
  • Pulmonary tuberculosis: 772
  • AIDS: 303
  • Meningococcal meningitis: 22
  • Measles: 8
  • Malaria: 7
  • Tetanus: 2
  • Cholera: 0
  • Poliomyelitis: 0
  • Diphtheria: 0
  • Neonatal tetanus: 0

 

Tramadol Disaster

tramadol box

One common feature uniting a number of Arab Spring countries is their infestation with tramadol, artan, weed, alcohol, guns, rocket launchers, outdated foods, expired medicines, fake goods, and illegal immigrants, plus massive administrative corruption and total collapse of security.

The tramadol disaster was initially reported from Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, before Algeria informed its North African sisters that smuggling of people, drugs and arms has reached "an alarming level". 

For example, nearly 440 million tramadol tablets were confiscated by the Egyptian authorities in Egypt in 2012 alone [34]. The same Egyptian source says Egypt has been flooded with advanced weapons on a massive scale.

One of the recent attacks to hit Libya was reported by LANA [35] on the 25th of October 2013, when it said two million Tramadol tablets were seized by Omar al-Mokhtar brigade south of the Jaghbub area (by the Egyptian border) - just 4 days after one million tablets were seized from a site in the capital Tripoli on the 21st of October 2013.

In one of the biggest seizures to date, over ten million tramadol pills (10,000,000) were confiscated in Misrata. The shipment apparently arrived from India via Misrata's Free Trade Zone [38,39]. On the 25th of September 2014 Libyan authorities intercepted a shipment of tramadol at Benghazi seaport containing a staggering 28 million tramadol tablets.

Destroying central authority while attacking the borders from all sides leaves such (helpless) countries in total disarray - far away from the presumed protection imposed by the UN on all Libyans by all necessary measures including authorised violence. Such systematic attacks, hitting a number of regional countries concurrently and allegedly without any coordination are nothing but a recipe for organised disaster. A devastating war to destroy the fabric of the society to smithereens.

Tramadol can be suicidal, experts say, especially when mixed with alcohol. According to drugs.com, the most frequently reported events were in the central nervous system, where seizures have been reported in patients receiving tramadol within the recommended dosage range, with tramadol-related deaths occurring in patients with previous histories of emotional disturbances or suicidal tendencies. Similarly, Artan is a bizarre drug that induces morbid hallucinations which when mixed with alcohol and RPG's produces weird results, such as an uprising on a grand scale.

Tramadol is also a problem in some European countries. According to the Sunday Times (08/09/2013), tramadol is being linked to more deaths than cocaine (175 deaths in 2012 alone). The report also says that Dr Cathy Stannard said prescriptions of "strong painkillers . . . had been given to patients too often and in doses that were far too large" (p. 19); while the Labour MP Jim Dobbin said the government had been complacent and "has refused to accept the scale of the problem".

According to drugs.com [36], tramadol was manufactured in the Czech Republic by TEVA Czech Industries, s.r.o., Opava-Komarov; and that it was manufactured for the American company TEVA PHARMACEUTICALS USA (Sellersville, PA 18960, Rev. AA 2/2012).

Most of the tramadol reaching Libya was said to have arrived via Egypt, possibly originally from a Middle Eastern state! For more information about Libya's health system please see the Health Ministry's website: http://www.health.gov.ly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Government

 

"The tribal Nymph, it seems, chose an annual lover from her entourage of young men, a king to be sacrificed when the year ended . . . His sprinkled blood served to fructify trees, crops, and flocks, and his flesh was torn and eaten raw by the Queen's fellow-nymphs . . . His ritual death varied greatly in circumstance; he might be torn to pieces by wild women, transfixed with a sting-ray spear, felled with axe, pricked in the heel with a poisoned arrow, flung over a cliff, burned to death on a pyre, drowned in a pool, or killed in a pre-arranged chariot crash. But die he must." [31]

 

 

logos of Libyan governments

 

The political system of ancient Libya was based on egalitarian principles. This period of Libyan history remains undocumented and further research is required. Most modern governments, on the other hand, are based on "military dictatorship", imposed by invasions and foreign interventions in the name of enlightenment, independence, democracy, or most recently mistakes.

For example, Gaddafi  attempted to mix his religious beliefs, socialism and Mao Tse-tung's communism to sketch his "third world theory" in which government allegedly is in the hands of people.

However, likewise most governments worldwide, all the governments installed in Libya spoke of independence, revolution, democracy and equality when they practiced persecution, dictatorship, oppression, injustice, inequality, brutality and stagnation, while hijacking the ideals people died and continue to die for.

Freedom is always trimmed to suit a particular dogma or certain political or religious need. The natives, wherever they are on this planet, are always pushed back to second-class citizenship, while the conquerors boast about values they maintain via authorised violence.

As it stands today, 2016, Libyan politics is complete chaos, with two (or three) installed governments being led to fight each other amongst a myriad of local and foreign radical militias, while leaving the impoverished Libyans suffer the consequences of the few.

 

Ancient Libyan Government System: Egalitarianism

The ancient Berber government, likewise that of the whole Berbers of North Africa, follows egalitarian principles that are based on tribes cooperating with each other to achieve best survival for the whole community.

One of the most fascinating aspects of egalitarianism is that the system eliminates poverty and prevents the emergence of the super rich and the super powerful in the society, simply because the egalitarian constitution (the 'customary laws' of the tribal society) ensures sharing the harvest amongst all the members of the society – not just the elite 1%.

Each tribe has a representative tribal leader at the Tribal Council – today's divided con-gress. The egalitarian tribal council of the elders is made of both female and male transparent members of the society who lead by example. They effect peaceful solutions via 'diligent dialogue' and 'logos' at the tribal council primarily to avoid conflict.

Due to the historical onslaught of foreign invasions on indigenous territories from around the world, the egalitarian system is now on the brink of extinction.  For more on egalitarianism please see our page: Libyan People.

 

Libyan Berber Kingdoms & Confederacies

In the ancient Berber system a confederacy is defined as a group of related or neighbouring tribes (most of which consist of a number of clans). For example the Azger confederacy is composed of forty-one tribes (nine noble tribes, and 32 vassal tribes). As another example we have the Ait Atta Confederacy, the largest Berber confederacy in south-eastern Morocco. These confederacies, which cooperated with each other for greater protection, were in fact the "kingdoms" of the later times. According to the Berber Tuareg of the Sahara the king of the confederacy is called Amenukal.

There were a number of Berber kingdoms in existence before the Roman invasions, the most influential of which were the Berber kingdoms of the Egyptian Delta, which flourished long before the invasions of Menes (who invaded the Delta and forcibly united Lower and Upper Egypt around 3300 BC); the Mauri Kingdom; the Gaetali Kingdom; the Libii Kingdom; the Kingdom of  Numidae (which included Tripolitania and parts of today's Tunisia and Algeria); and of course the famous Garamantian Kingdom of Fezzan in southern Libya.

Pliny (viii. 40) has a curious story, says Bates, of a deposed king of the Garamantes who regained his position with the help of an army of two hundred dogs. The Libyan tribe Alitemnii chose as king the fleetest among them, and to aid him the tribesmen then elected the most just. The great Libyan chief Meryey was dispossessed (after his defeat by the Egyptians) and replaced by his brother. The Libyan king of the Meshwash, king Shoshenq I (Shishenq I), ruled Egypt during the 22nd Dynasty (945-924 BC) and went on to ransack Jerusalem; his daughter was married to king Solomon.

The Chief of the Meshwash usually had under his command subordinate chiefs. King Namlot, a 'Great Chief of the Meshwash', was referred to as the "Great Chief of Chiefs". The great chief wears two ostrich-plumes (as those of the Temehu chiefs, see our home page for illustration), while his followers wear one each. It was these differences in rank, points out Oric Bates, that led to the diversity of terms used by Greek and Roman writers in speaking of Libyan chiefs: "kings"; "dynasts"; "rulers"; and "elders".

Ancient Libya also had what was known as "Prophet Kings". According to Silius Italicus, the Libyan warrior-priest Nabis is described as an Ammonian chief who feeling himself under the protection of Berber Amon rides fearlessly through the thick of battle, reciting the name of his god: Amon (or Amen).

And according to a document of the XXIIIrd Dynasty, the son of the chief of the Meshwesh is mentioned as the "prophet of Hathor"; the "prophet of Sutekh"; and the "prophet and chief of Wayheset". The Aures queen of the Berbers, the only Berber general who defeated the Arab invaders, was also a priestess and a prophetess whose title Kahina was derived from Afroasiatic Kahi ('prophet', 'who sees the future').

After the Roman invasions and the subsequent battle of Zama Julius Caesar deposed the final Numidian king, Juba I, and thereafter Tripolitania was incorporated into the province of Africa Proconsularis. By the time the Arabs invaded Libya the Berber kingdoms were more-or-less destroyed, and subsequently were reduced to broken confederacies.

These confederacies survived down to the 16th century; after which they began to decline as a direct result of the Ottoman and later the European invasions. It was after this colonial era that power was transferred to the Arabs by the colonial intruders who divided the region into what is now known as "Arab countries".

Ever since the Berbers were neglected and persecuted where they remain so to this day without a government of their own. For modern attempts to form Berber kingdoms in the 20th century please see the Rif Berber Republic (Morocco, 1923), and the Tripolitanian Republic (Libya, 1918).

 

Berber Tuareg  Confederacies

Kel Azger Confederacy: the Azgar confederacy is made up of:

  • Ihaggaren: the aristocratic or noble tribes: nine noble tribes in total, six of which are composed of more than one clan
  • Imghad: the vassal or servile tribes: thirty-two ignoble tribes in total

The Azger government is a sort of feudal monarchy with deep-rooted spirit of communism, as found amongst all Berber tribes. Each tribe elects the "Amghar" ('The Elder', or 'Chief') from the members of its ruling family. These Imgharen (The Elders) in turn elect an Amenukal ('King') from the members of the royal family. If the king was deposed or departed, the heir to the office is not the king's son, but rather the son of the late king's eldest sister.

 

map of Tuareg confideracies
Map of Tuareg confederacies
For a larger map please see our Tuareg Confederacies page

 

 

Modern Libyan Governments

  • Government of King Idris (of the United Libyan Kingdom)
  • Gaddafi's Government
  • National Transitional Council (NTC)
  • General National Congress (GNC)
  • House of Representatives (HoR)
  • Presidency Council/Government of National Accord (PC/GNA)

The Installation of King Idris & Gaddafi

In 1949 the United Nations decided to create an independent country which they called Libya. This was the first government in history installed by the UN. Ironically in 2015 the UN also imposed the Presidency Council on the Libyan people four years after it authorised the bombing of Libya in 2011.

Shortly after the UN takeover of Libya King Idris was installed and Libya was granted (fake) independence in 1951 - the independence that allowed the invaders to persecute the natives. It was not long before Gaddafi was installed to wreak yet more havoc across the already dilapidated region, to intensify the persecution of the natives to the point of denial, and to begin his grand weaponising programs to arm the Libyans (the arms later used to depose him and install the NTC by the bomb). Of course, the weapons were provided by the West and the East, as they still provide Saudi Arabia (the largest buyer of arms in the world in 2015) - probably in anticipation of part two of the so-called Arab Spring. Political experts put it down to "double standards", to divert attention from the master plan.

In the 1970s col. Gaddafi was implicated in a number of terrorists attacks on western targets including the downing of an American airliner over Scotland and the Berlin discotheque. It was later proved that Libya had nothing to do with the Scotland incident that led to imposing sanctions against the Libyan people in 1992, and ultimately to the destruction of the Libyan economy. Gaddafi himself, of course, was never touched by the so-called sanctions, and, as the UN well-knows, the sanctions affect the innocent people more than anyone else.

Nonetheless the seeds of corruption sown by the sanctions came to fruition in the Arab Spring when chaos and weapons established proper corruption that brought the country Libya to its knees. In 2016 Libya is listed among the top ten most corrupted countries in the world - a staggering achievement effected under the UN's protection of civilians scheme. Gaddafi was grotesquely murdered in August 2011, and Libya was handed over to chaos, religious militants (moderates and radicals) and even to terror groups and armed militias from around the stricken region. All the UN and its western allies had to say after that was that it was unintentional mistake; probably to divert attention from the "mistake-of-all-mistakes" yet to come.

The Installation of NTC

It is no secret that the National Transitional Council (NTC) was installed by the Bomb. The massive bombing campaign that lasted around seven months was authorised by the UN, apparently to protect civilians but in reality had ignited violence and allowed the arming of civilians including teenagers; and thus placing the Libyan civilians in greater danger than ever before in Libya's entire history. In a gesture of good will the installed NTC was quickly declared helpless and powerless by the world's media, and thereafter foreign radicals, sponsored militias and armed teenagers began to take the law into their hands; still euphoric from the glamorisation of the media that gave them the spot light.

The GNC Elections

The NTC was said to have been heavily infiltrated by islamists from the start, and yet the UN and its allies went ahead with their destruction program without an exit strategy to protect the civilians; and thus the elections that followed on the 7th of July 2012 brought the islamist-led GNC (General National Congress) to power.

For some reason the elections were bungled so quickly even before treating the wounded and clearing the mess effected by the bombing; the same in Egypt, but Sisi realised the conspiracy and turned the game round; and the same in Tunisia; in all of which the Islamists were assisted to hijack the organised unrest the foreigners call "Arab Spring".

And for some other reason the Berbers were barred from taking part in the so-called GNC elections, which according to one analysts was because the NTC feared that the Berbers would vote against the islamists (see our Political Parties page for more on this massive and unreported violation of imposed democracy).

The HoR Elections

The GNC was an interim body and therefore began to prepare for yet another interim government, which was elected on the 25th of June 2014, namely the House of Representatives (HoR). But somehow the elected government was exiled to Tobruk; the GNC refused to leave and instead organised a military coup via its militia group "The Libya Dawn"; and thus throwing the country in further disarray.

The UN-Imposed PC

For some reason the UN decided to side with outlaw militias that orchestrated the coup against legitimacy and hijacked power from the elected HoR. Dragging the GNC members and independent members (from various political parties that represent no one but themselves) to Morocco the UN eventually violated the 4th draft agreement and imposed the Presidency Council (PC) on the Libyan people; thereby further deepening the divide. This led to many Libyans to believe that the UN had a hidden agenda to divide Libya into various states. This government was imposed under the pretext of "the Libyan Political Agreement" (LPA) signed in Skhirat in Morocco on the 17th of December 2015 in total violation of the earlier agreements. Most Libyans objected to the LPA agreement and considered making a deal with the defunct GNC (whose terms in office has expired after the election of the HoR) is a violation of democracy. As of today (2016) Libya has two government fighting each other for legitimacy, while leaving the southern Fezzan for warlords and terror groups to plunder for the time being. Many members of the elected HoR in Cyrenaica say many members of the UN-imposed PC support terror in Libya; while most of the PC's members do not recognise the HoR's army's fight against terror in Derna and Benghazi. Therefore the claim that the GNA is a Government of National Accord is no more than a sick joke because such government has created more discord than any previous government in Libya's history. For more on this UN-violations please see our GNA page for full report. To be continued.

List of Libyan Prime Ministers

  1. Mahmoud Almuntasir (29 March 1951 - 19 February 1954)
  2. Mhemed Sakizli (19 February 1954 - 12 April 1954)
  3. Mustafa Ben Halim (12 April 1954 - 26 May 1957)
  4. Abdul Majid Kubar (26 May 1957 - 17 October 1960)
  5. Mhemed Osman Said (17 October 1960 - 19 March 1963)
  6. Mohieddin Fikini (19 March 1963 - 20 January 1964) 
  7. Mahmoud Almuntasir (20 January 1964 - 20 March 1965)
  8. Hussein Maziq (20 March 1965 - 2 July 1967) 
  9. Abdul Qadir Albadri (2 July 1967 - 25 October 1967)
  10. Abdul Hamid Albakkoush (25 October 1967 - 4 September 1968)
  11. Wanis al-Qaddafi (4 September 1968 - 31 August 1969)
  12. Mahmoud Sulayman al-Maghribi (8 September 1969 - 16 January 1970)
  13. Muammar Gaddafi (16 January 1970 - 16 July 1972)
  14. Abdessalam Jalloud (16 July 1972 - 2 March 1977) 
  15. Abdulati Alobeidi (2 March 1977 - 2 March 1979) 
  16. Jadallah Azzuz Attalhi (2 March 1979 - 16 February 1984)
  17. Mhemed Azzaroug Rajab (16 February 1984 - 3 March 1986)
  18. Jadallah Azzuz Attalhi (3 March 1986 - 1 March 1987)
  19. Umar Mustafa Almuntasir (1 March 1987 - 7 October 1990)
  20. Abuzed Omar Dorda (7 October 1990 - 29 January 1994)
  21. Abdul Majid al-Qaud (29 January 1994 - 29 December 1997) 
  22. Mhemed Ahmad al-Mangoush (29 December 1997 - 1 March 2000)
  23. Imbarek Shamekh (1 March 2000 - 14 June 2003) 
  24. Shukri Ghanem (14 June 2003 - 5 March 2006)
  25. Alnaghdadi Mahmoudi (5 March 2006 - 23 August 2011)
  26. Mahmoud Jibril  (5 March 2011 - 31 October 2011)
  27. Abdulrahim Elkeib (31 October 2011 - 14 November 2012)
  28. Ali Zidan (14 November 2012 - 11 March 2014)
  29. Abdullah Althni (11 March 2014 - to present [2016]), elected HoR's Prime Minister)
  30. Fayez Alsarraj (17 December 2015 - to present [2016], UN-imposed Prime Minister)

 

Internal (temehu.com) web pages about Libyan governments

 

External government websites

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References & Further Resources

  1. History of Herodotus (Volume 1)
  2. C.B.M. McBurney, Libya in History
  3. C.B.M. McBurney, The Stone Age of Northern Africa
  4. C.B.M. McBurney-et-al, 1953, JRAI, Haua Fteah Mandible
  5. C. B. M. Mcburney and Het R. W., Prehistory and Pleistocene Geology in Cyrenaican Libya, Cambridge, 1955
  6. Oric Bates, The Eastern Libyans, 1914, Macmillan, London
  7. Oric Bates, on some place-names in Eastern Libya, 1912
  8. Daniels, C. M., The Garamantes of Southern Libya, London, 1970b
  9. MSNBC: Libyan Tourism to attract 10 million tourists a year: msnbc.msn.com/id/5210117
  10. A Green Resort To Preserve Ruins: nytimes.com/2007/10/16/science/16liby.html
  11. Libya, a chronology of key events: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/country_profiles/1398437.stm
  12. Encyclopædia Britannica: Libya: britannica.com/eb/article-46562/Libya
  13. Encyclopædia Britannica: History of Libya: britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/339615/history-of-Libya
  14. Libya, Anthony Ham, Lonely Planet Publications, 2007.
  15. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libya
  16. M. M. Bazama, Libya fi al-Tarikh (Libya in History)
  17. El-Bekri, Description de l'Afrique septentrionale. Ed. de Slane, Algiers. 1857
  18. Renouf, P. le P. Who were the Libyans ? In PSBA, vol. xiii. (1891) P. 599 sqq
  19. CIA's World Factbook: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ly.html
  20. Wiedemann, A Stelac of Libyan origin. In PSBA, xi. (1889), p. 227
  21. Reynolds, J. M., Oiwen Brogan and D. Smith, Inscriptions in the Libyan alphabet from Ghirza in Tripolitania
  22. Ayra, G. Tripoli e il suo clima . Turin . 1896
  23. Admiralty, British, Char No. 664-449 : Mediterranean Sea
  24. Aymo, J. Les cris de Ghadames , Bull. de liaison saharienne, X, 1959, 21-26
  25. Alexander Myndensis. Frag. ap. Athenaeum, Deipnos. v. 20
  26. Alexander Polyhistor. Frag. ap. Steph. Byz. 
  27. Anonymous. History of the war between the United States and Tripoli, etc. Salem. 1806
  28. Apuleius Lucius, "The Transformations Of Lucius": The Golden Ass. 120-180 AD
  29. World Health Organisation: who.int/countryfocus/cooperation_strategy/ccsbrief_lby_en.pdf
  30. https://www.temehu.com/imazighen/berberdownloads/Country-Cooperation-Strategy-Libya-WHO-2010-2015.pdf
  31. The Greek Myths, by Robert Graves, pp. 13-18
  32. UN Data: http://data.un.org/CountryProfile.aspx?crName=libya
  33. The Cyrenaica prehistory project, Libya: arch.cam.ac.uk/research/projects/haua-fteah-project
  34. ahram.org.eg/NewsQ/240077.aspx
  35. lana-news.ly/ara/news/view/34275/
  36. drugs.com/pro/tramadol-tablets.html
  37. gate.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/4/6/424089/
  38. lana-news.ly/ara/news/view/51649/
  39. libyaherald.com/2014/05/17/ld-100-million-drug-bust-largest-in-libyan-history/
  40. lana-news.ly/ara/news/view/34917/الهجرة_غير_الشرعية_برميل_بارود_على_ضفتي_المتوسط_تقرير
  41. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EU_Navfor_Med
  42. middleeasteye.net/news/sahara-people-smuggling-989683200
  43. reuters.com/article/2012/12/26/libya-oil-port-idUSL5E8NQ3D320121226
  44. reuters.com/article/2013/03/20/libya-oil-idUSL6N0CCJPF20130320
  45. alwasat.ly/ar/news/libya/108076/
  46. https://www.temehu.com/GNA/conspiracy-to-starve-libyans.jpg
  47. https://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/08/nato-ship-libyan-migrants