Timeline: Gaddafi's 42-year relationship with the West

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China.org.cn, March 24, 2011

Editor's notes:

The troubled relationship between Gaddafi and the West began in 1969, when the young Libyan military officer overthrew Libya's frail King Idris. Gaddafi appeared to be attempting to improve his image in the West, but the relationship between these two has been beset with grave suspicion and reservations.





King Idris deposed in a military coup led by Col. Muammar Gaddafi, who  becomes chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) and is subsequently appointed as the new leader of Libya by the RCC. The country is renamed the Libyan Arab Republic, and the RCC declares the aim of its takeover to be "unity, freedom and socialism."



Gaddafi orders the closure of a US Air Force base in Tripoli and a British airbase in Tobruk. About 20,000 Italians are expelled from Libya and their property nationalized. 




The Irish Navy apprehends Joe Cahill, the notorious Belfast commander of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), as he attempted to smuggle weapons out of Libya. 



Saudi Arabia, Libya and other Arab states proclaim a total ban on oil exports to the United States. 




Two US Navy F-14 fighter planes shoot down a pair of Soviet-built Libyan SU-22s in a dogfight over the Gulf of Sidra, claimed by Libya as its territorial water. 




An anti-Gaddafi protest at the Libyan Embassy in London comes to a bloody end when gunfire from inside the building injures several protesters and kills Yvonne Fletcher, a British police officer. Britain cuts diplomatic ties. 




The United States halts economic and commercial ties with Libya and freezes Libyan US assets. In April, Libya is blamed for the bombing of a West Berlin disco frequented by members of the US military. In retaliation, US aircraft bomb military facilities and residential areas of Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya, killing 101 people, including Gaddafi's adopted baby daughter. 




Pan Am flight 103 from London to New York blows up over Lockerbie, Scotland; 259 people on board and 11 people on the ground die. 




Bomb downs a French airliner over Niger, killing 170 people. In 1999, France convicts six Libyans in absentia. Tripoli denies responsibility. 



The United States and Britain accuse Libyans Abdel Basset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima of the Lockerbie bombing. Libya denies involvement. 



Two Lockerbie suspects are handed over for trial in the Netherlands under Scottish law. UN sanctions are suspended and diplomatic relations with the UK are restored. 

                                                                                      (2000 --- 2011)


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