Libya Introduction - 2021


SOURCE: 2021 CIA WORLD FACTBOOK

GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Background

Berbers have inhabited central north Africa since ancient times, but the region has been settled and ruled by Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Persians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Vandals. In the the 7th century, Islam spread through the region; in the mid-16th century, Ottoman rule began. The Italians supplanted the Ottoman Turks in the area around Tripoli in 1911 and did not relinquish their hold until 1943 when they were defeated in World War II. Libya then passed to UN administration and achieved independence in 1951. Following a 1969 military coup, Col. Muammar al-QADHAFI assumed leadership and began to espouse his political system at home, which was a combination of socialism and Islam. During the 1970s, QADHAFI used oil revenues to promote his ideology outside Libya, supporting subversive and terrorist activities that included the downing of two airliners - one over Scotland, another in Northern Africa - and a discotheque bombing in Berlin. UN sanctions in 1992 isolated QADHAFI politically and economically following the attacks; sanctions were lifted in 2003 following Libyan acceptance of responsibility for the bombings and agreement to claimant compensation. QADHAFI also agreed to end Libya's program to develop weapons of mass destruction, and he made significant strides in normalizing relations with Western nations.

Unrest that began in several Middle Eastern and North African countries in late 2010 erupted in Libyan cities in early 2011. QADHAFI's brutal crackdown on protesters spawned a civil war that triggered UN authorization of air and naval intervention by the international community. After months of seesaw fighting between government and opposition forces, the QADHAFI regime was toppled in mid-2011 and replaced by a transitional government known as the National Transitional Council (NTC). In 2012, the NTC handed power to an elected parliament, the General National Congress (GNC). Voters chose a new parliament to replace the GNC in June 2014 - the House of Representatives (HoR), which relocated to the eastern city of Tobruk after fighting broke out in Tripoli and Benghazi in July 2014.

In December 2015, the UN brokered an agreement among a broad array of Libyan political parties and social groups - known as the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). Members of the Libyan Political Dialogue, including representatives of the HoR and GNC, signed the LPA in December 2015. The LPA called for the formation of an interim Government of National Accord or GNA, with a nine-member Presidency Council, the HoR, and an advisory High Council of State that most ex-GNC members joined. The LPA’s roadmap for a transition to a new constitution and elected government was subsequently endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2259, which also called upon member states to cease official contact with parallel institutions. In January 2016, the HoR voted to approve the LPA, including the Presidency Council, while voting against a controversial provision on security leadership positions and the Presidency Council’s proposed cabinet of ministers. In March 2016, the GNA Presidency Council seated itself in Tripoli. In 2016, the GNA twice announced a slate of ministers who operate in an acting capacity, but the HoR did not endorse the ministerial list. The HoR and defunct-GNC-affiliated political hardliners continued to oppose the GNA and hamper the LPA’s implementation. In September 2017, UN Special Representative Ghassan SALAME announced a new roadmap for national political reconciliation. SALAME’s plan called for amendments to the LPA, a national conference of Libyan leaders, and a constitutional referendum and general elections. In November 2018, the international partners supported SALAME’s recalibrated Action Plan for Libya that aimed to break the political deadlock by holding a National Conference in Libya in 2019 on a timeline for political transition.  The National Conference was delayed following a failure of the parties to implement an agreement mediated by SALAME in Abu Dhabi on February 27, and the subsequent military action by Khalifa HAFTAR’s Libyan National Army against GNA forces in Tripoli that began in April 2019. 

Tip

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Definitions and Notes


NOTE: The information regarding Libya on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Libya 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Libya 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.