Moammar Gadhafi, Libyan leader, is the longest-serving head of state in the middle-east. Having been in power since 1969 after replacing the nation’s King Idris.
Mad Dog of the Middle East
United States President Ronald Reagan labelled Colonel Gadhafi as the ‘mad dog of the Middle East’ who drew attention because of controversial political decisions that caused outrage in many parts.
He persona and reputation was furthered by his eccentric and unorthodox style. Known for wearing flowing robes and animal skins he has discovered his own very unique style, and he is often seen surrounded by female bodyguards.
He has been accused of supporting Islamic militant groups and terrorist attacks, and has even been in support of many revolutionary movements around the world.
U.S. President Reagan during 1986 had ordered air strikes in Libya, this was motivated by the Gadhafi government’s alleged involvement in the bombing of a nightclub in Germany which had seen the lives of two United States servicemen lost. The air strikes also claimed a victim on the Gadhafi side with the leaders daughter losing her life in the air raid.
Two years after the raid Gadhafi held his hands up and took responsibility for Lockerbie plane attack which claimed 103 lives, he agreed to pay $2b in compensation. Within the same year he agreed to renounce terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. This removed U.S. and European sanctions and restored many of the diplomatic relations.
The good feelings have not lasted, the Libyan leader is facing international pressure to relinquish his position after reacting to rebels seizing his nation’s east by using deadly violence.
Ten years into taking control of Libya, he invented ‘Jamahiriya’ a new system of government, which means ‘state for the masses’. Gadhafi was supposed to take the role of ‘Brothetly Leader and Guide of the Revolution’ in this new system which was supposed to be run by the people’s committee.
He has taken a very strong stance Pan-Arabism and has led a Pan-African effort in the attempt to unify African nations. Pan-Arabism is the ideology of Arab unity.