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On this day March 17, 2011

United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1973 on the situation in Libya, proposed by France, Lebanon, and the United Kingdom.

Ten Security Council members voted in the affirmative (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Gabon, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal, South Africa, and permanent members France, the United Kingdom, and the United States). Five (Brazil, Germany, and India, and permanent members China and Russia) abstained, with none opposed.

The resolution formed the legal basis for military intervention in the Libyan civil war, demanding “an immediate ceasefire” and authorizing the international community to establish a no-fly zone and to use all means necessary short of foreign occupation to protect civilians.

On 18 March, Muammar Gaddafi’s government announced that they would comply with the resolution and implement a ceasefire. However, it quickly became clear that no ceasefire had in fact been implemented.

Libyan opposition forces in Benghazi cheered and fired guns and fireworks into the air as the resolution was adopted. A few hours before issuing the resolution, Gaddafi warned the opposition with a speech saying, “We are coming tonight, and there will be no mercy”.

On this day July 24, 1977

The Libyan–Egyptian War, a short border war between Libya and Egypt over political conflicts, ended after the combatants agreed to a ceasefire organized by Algeria.

Mediation by Algeria and Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yassir Arafat finally led to a ceasefire. Egyptian President Sadat gave his forces instructions to stop all attacks on 24 July 1977 and agreed upon an armistice.

Even after the fighting ended, the rift between Arab states remained, however. Many conservative Arab countries had sympathy for Egypt and Sadat, while the so-called social revolutionary–progressive Arab states endorsed Libya and Gaddafi. An editorial in The New York Times summed up an American perspective of the war by quoting a Palestinian: “If the Arabs haven’t got Israel to fight, they will be fighting each other.” Read More…

8 months older Airbus 330 crash in Tripoli

An Afriqiyah Airways originating from South Africa, has crashed on approach to Tripoli International Airport in Libya at around 06:00 Eastern European time (0400 UTC).

The aircraft was an Airbus 330-202 (serial number 1024), and was delivered on 8 September 2009.

Initial reports indicated everyone on board died, which officials say is 93 passengers and 11 crew, but later developments say an eight-year-old boy was the sole survivor; however, this is unconfirmed.

The plane left Johannesburg in South Africa with the aim of transferring at Tripoli before heading to the final destination, United Kingdom’s London Gatwick Airport. Read More…

Gaddafi calls for Jihad against Switzerland

Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi has called for Muslims to declare Jihad against Switzerland, citing the recent Swiss ban on the construction of new minarets at Mosques.

Muammar al-Gaddafi معمر القذافـي

Libya and Switzerland have been in a diplomatic dispute since the Swiss arrested one of Gaddafi’s sons in 2008. Gaddafi now states he would invade if the two shared a common border.

Yesterday, the Colonel addressed a gathering in Benghazi to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed.

During the speech, which The New York Times described as ‘rambling,’ he said that “[t]hose who destroy God’s mosques deserve to be attacked through Jihad, and if Switzerland was on our borders, we would fight it.” He called on Muslim nations to reject entry from Swiss ships and aircraft, and asked Muslims to boycott goods from Switzerland.

Libya has already recalled its diplomats and withdrawn its money from Switzerland. Oil shipments were disrupted, and two Swiss nationals were prevented from leaving Libya. Read More…

On this day October 23, 1911

An Italian pilot takes off from Libya to observe Turkish army lines during the Turco-Italian War setting the first use of aircraft in war.

Italian dirigibles over Libyan Territory

Italian dirigibles over Libyan Territory

The Italo-Turkish War saw numerous technological advances used in warfare; notably the plane and the first use of military radio telegraph communications.

As a result of this conflict, Italy was awarded the Ottoman provinces of Tripolitania, Fezzan, and Cyrenaica.

These provinces together formed what became known as Libya. During the conflict, Italian forces also occupied the Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean Sea.

Italy had agreed to return the Dodecanese Islands to the Ottoman Empire according to the Treaty of Ouchy in 1912 as it was signed at the Ouchy Castle in Lausanne, Switzerland); however the vagueness of the text allowed a provisional Italian administration of the islands, and Turkey eventually renounced all claims on these islands in the Article 15 of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. Read More…

On this day September 1, 1969

A bloodless coup d’état led by Muammar al-Gaddafi overthrew Idris I of Libya.

Muammar al-Gaddafi معمر القذافـي

Muammar al-Gaddafi معمر القذافـي

The coup pre-empted Idris’ instrument of abdication, dated 4 August 1969, to take effect on 2 September 1969, in favour of his nephew, Crown Prince Hasan as-Senussi.

After the coup of 1969, Idris was placed on trial in absentia in the “Libyan People’s Court” and sentenced to death in November 1971.

He left to Kamena Vourla, Greece by ship and went into exile in Egypt, where he died in Cairo in 1983, aged 94. He was buried in Medina, Saudi Arabia.

Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (Arabic: معمر القذافي‎) born 7 June 1942 is the de facto leader of Libya since the coup in 1969. Read More…

African Union refuses to act on Sudan war crimes

The African Union (AU) has decided it will not act on an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly perpetrating war crimes in Darfur.

Jean Ping, the AU’s current chairperson, said of the decision by the 53 member states “They are showing to the world community that if you don’t want to listen to the continent, if you don’t want to take into account our proposals… if you don’t want to listen to the continent, as usual, we also are going to act unilaterally.”

Thirty African states have ratified the ICC treaty. Libya in particular had pressed for the decision, with leader Moamer Kadhafi, who hosted the summit, going so far as to invite controversial Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to address the summit; the Iranians agreed but later canceled the visit. Read More…

Largest cut in OPEC’s history

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has drastically cut the daily production of oil by 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd). In a decision reached in Oran, Algeria, energy ministers from all 12 OPEC members agreed to make the largest cut in OPEC’s history.

opecOil prices have fallen from a high of $140 in July to just around $40; a decrease of $100. OPEC has cut 4.2 million bpd since September, when the price of oil decreased suddenly over fears of a global recession and lower usage of oil.

With this new decrease, production by OPEC members will be 24.845 million bpd. Saudi Arabia is taking the majority of the cut by decreasing their production by 1.2 bpd. Read More…