Libya

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Overview

Archeological evidence indicates that as early as 8,000 BC, the coastal plain of Ancient Libya was populated by people called the Berbers, who were proficient at the domestication of cattle and cultivation of crops. Since then, other people including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Persian Empire, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, Turks, and Byzantines have also inhabited all or part of modern-day Libya. The modern borders of Libya were drawn by Italy, which superseded the Ottoman Turks in the area around Tripoli in 1911. Italy did not renounce their control until 1943 after their defeat in World War II. Libya was passed to UN administration and gained independence in 1951. Since a military coup in 1969, Colonel Mummar al-Gadaffi has ruled the country.

 
Gaddafi began his rule by espousing his own doctrine of politics called the Third Universal Theory, which is a combination of socialism and Islam derived, in part, from tribal practices. Gaddafi has led his country from outright hostilities with the West, and most specifically the United States, to conciliation and greater trade in recent years. He used oil funds in the 1970s and 1980s to promote his ideology outside of Libya by supporting terrorists to hasten the end of Marxism and capitalism. During the Reagan Administration, US policy was intent on killing Gaddafi, which was demonstrated by the air strike targeting Gaddafi’s home, in addition to other locations in Libya. In response, in 1988 and 1989, Libya was responsible for two horrific terrorist attacks on commercial airliners that killed more than 400 people, combined. These attacks led to economic sanctions by the US and the UN that had a crippling effect on Libya in the 1990s.
 
Gradually, Gaddafi has begun to back away from his concerted efforts to tangle with the West and instead agreed to several important changes in Libyan foreign affairs. Over the past 10 years, the country has agreed to pay restitution to the families of victims of the 1980 airline attacks and give up its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction. These moves led the Bush administration to restore diplomatic relations and lift its trade sanctions. The US now imports billions of dollars in oil from Libya each year, despite the fact that Libya continues to have a terrible human rights record as part of its authoritarian state.
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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: The People’s Great Socialist Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (mass of people) is located on the north central coast of Africa. About 95% of Libya’s terrain consists of barren, rock-strewn plains and sandy deserts. A feature of the Libyan climate is the ghibli, a hot, dry, dust-laden southern wind which usually comes in the spring and fall and lasts for one to four days.

 
Population: 6.2 million (2008)
 
Religions: Islam (Sunni) 96.5%, Christian 2.5%, Buddhist 0.3%, Non-religious 0.2%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Berbers, Arabs.
 
Languages: Libyan Arabic 75% (official), Nafusi 2.5%, Domari 0.7%, Standard Arabic (official).
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History

The term “Libya” was first used by the ancient Egyptians to refer to a single Berber tribe. The Greeks used the name for most of North Africa. However, the term was not used for an actual political entity until well into the 20th century. For most of its history, the story of Libya was really the history of three separate regions: Cyrenaica, nearest to Egypt; Tripolitania, where most of the population lives; and the Fezzan, a desert area dotted with oases. 

 
The Greeks founded the city of Cyrene in Cyrenaica in 631 BC. The Greeks were driven off and the region was held by Persia and Egypt until it was conquered by Alexander the Great in 331 BC. Cyrene developed into a cultural center and the home of a school of philosophers, the Cyrenaics, who believed in moral cheerfulness. For more than 400 years, both Tripolitania and Cyrenaica existed as Roman provinces.
 
In the 5th century BC, the Phoenicians established, in Tripolitania, the greatest of their colonies: Carthage. In the 3rd century BC, the Romans attacked Carthage and won the two Punic Wars. They finally destroyed the city of Carthage and, eventually, Julius Caesar annexed Tripolitania and designated it a province of the Roman Empire.
 
In 300 AD, the word “Libya” was given its first official usage when Emperor Diocletian divided Cyrenaica into Upper Libya and Lower Libya. In 429, the Vandals made their capital at Carthage before moving on to sack Rome. Belisarius, a Byzantine general, drove out the Vandals in 533. 
 
In 642, an Arab general, Umribn-al-As, conquered Cyrenaica and then pushed into Tripolitania, bringing with the religion of Islam. The native Berbers accepted Islam, but they found the Arabs brutal and arrogant. The Arabs, for their part, looked down on the Berbers as primitive. Although the conquering Arab soldiers married Berber women, the underlying clash between the two cultures would flare up 1350 years later as Muammar al-Gaddafi tried to decide if Libya should align itself more closely to Arabs or to Africans.
 
In the 9th century, the Berbers revolted against Arab domination and in the 890s Shi’a Muslim missionaries converted many Berbers and then attacked and defeated the Sunni Muslims. A leader known as the Mahdi founded the Shi’a dynasty of the Fatamids. In 969, the Fatamids conquered Egypt and moved their capital to Cairo, leaving Tripolitania and Cyrenaica to be ruled by their Berber vassals, the Zirids, who led the Berbers back to the Sunni faith.
 
One of the worst periods in Libya history began in the 11th century when the Fatamid caliph invited two nomadic Bedouin tribes, known collectively as the Hilalians, to migrate west into Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. An estimated 200,000 families swept into the region, “like a swarm of locusts,” sacked Cyrene and Tripoli and converted farmland to pasturage. In 1171, Saladin drove the Fatamids out of Cyrenaica, returning the area to the control of Egypt. However the Egyptians generally neglected Cyrenaica, which reverted to the control of tribal chieftains.
 
The merchants of Tripoli declared it an independent city-state in 1460, but fifty years later Spain captured the city, razed it and, from the rubble, built themselves a naval base.
 
In 1517, Turkish soldiers occupied Cyrenaica, which would remain part of the Ottoman Empire for most of the next 400 years. King Charles V of Spain turned over Tripolitania to the Knights of St. John of Malta, but they were driven off by the Turks in 1551. In the 1580s, the Fezzan rulers also submitted to the Ottomans. However, in practice, the Turks had little interest in Cyrenaica and the Fezzan and left them alone. On the other hand, by the late 1600s, Tripoli had developed into an exotic city whose population included Turks, Moors, Jews, Moriscos (Muslims expelled from Spain), Europeans and slaves of both Sudanese and European origin.
 
Ahmad Karamanli seized Tripoli in 1711 and established a hereditary Arab monarchy, which he financed through piracy. Ali Benghul restored Tripolitania to the Ottoman Empire in 1793. The grandson of Ahmad Karamanli, Yusuf ibn Ali Karamanli, ruled Tripolitania from 1795 until 1832, a period that saw increasing involvement with Western powers. Yusuf, for example, helped Napoleon Bonaparte during his Egyptian campaign.
 
When the Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815, France and Great Britain turned their attention to ending piracy in the Mediterranean. They also demanded that Tripolitania pay off all debts to European creditors. Yusuf was force to raise taxes, which led to a civil war until Sultan Muhammad II sent in Turkish troops and, once again, reinstated Ottoman rule.
 
Meanwhile, in Cyrenaica, Muhammad bin Ali al-Sanusi, a popular religious leader, founded the Sanusi order, a school of Islam that taught an end to fanaticism and preached against voluntary poverty, demanding that all of its members work for a living. His son, Muhammad, also known as the Mahdi, brought all of the Bedouin tribes of Cyrenaica under control and then declared a holy war against the French.
 
When the 20th century began, Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and the Fezzan were nothing more than backwater provinces in a dying empire. In 1911, Italian troops captured Tripoli from the Turks. Distracted by the Balkan war that was looming on the horizon, in October 1912 the Turks signed a treaty that granted independence to Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, both of which Italy, anxious to make up for having missed most of the Age of Colonialism, promptly annexed. However, the Italians allowed the local sultan to retain religious authority, apparently not realizing that under sharia law that gave him control of the courts and the entire judicial system. This division of power led to twenty years of warfare. 
 
The first Italo-Sanusi War in Cyrenaica broke out in 1914 and soon turned into a front of World War I. When Italy joined the Allied Powers, the Sanusis automatically joined the Central Powers. In 1917, Idris al-Sanusi, who was pro-British, signed a truce with the Italians. But after World War I, the Allies gave their support to Italian control of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania.
 
Opposition to colonial occupation was widespread, although it was divided into two main forces with differing goals: the educated urban nationalists hoped to create an independent centralized republic, while the Bedouin sheiks wanted power to be maintained by tribal states. In 1922, the Tripolitanian nationalists reluctantly agreed to allow Idris al-Sanusi to become amir of all regions of the future Libya. However, the Treaty of Lausanne, signed in 1923 by Italy and the Allies on one side and Turkey on the other, sanctioned the Italian annexation of Libya. In Cyrenaica, this set off the second Italo-Sanusi War.
 
By this time Benito Mussolini and the Fascists had taken power in Italy. Although the Italians were late to join the game of colonialism, they were quick to catch on to its spirit. In 1929, Rudolfo Graziani, the commander of the Italian forces in Cyrenaica, began an ugly and brutal war of attrition against the local population. Using Eritrean troops, he blocked wells, slaughtered livestock, herded the Bedouins into concentration camps and executed 24,000 people. He also erected a barbed wire barrier that stretched 200 miles from the coast along the border with Egypt. Taking advantage of their larger army and their more advanced technology, the Italians overcame the last Sanusi stronghold in September 1931. They captured the Sanusi leader, Umar al-Mukhtar, and forced 20,000 Arabs to watch him hanged in public.
 
With their conquest complete, the Italians set about turning Cyrenaica and Tripolitania into an Italian province. They built highways and railways, expanded port facilities and developed irrigation systems. In 1938, they supplemented this economic colonization with demographic colonization. Like the Zirids 900 years earlier, the Fascists flooded the region with more than 100,000 settlers, to whom they gave the best lands. Mussolini called the native Arabs “Muslim Italians,” but in fact he did little to help them.
 
During this period, there were two important geographic developments. In 1934, after dividing Tripolitania and Cyrenaica into four provinces (the Fezzan remained a military territory) the Fascists named the colony Libya, resurrecting the name that Diocletian had used almost 1,500 years earlier. In 1935, Italy and France agreed to move the border between Libya and Chad 100 kilometers south across the Aouzou Strip, however, the French legislature never ratified the agreement. It would later turn out that the Aouzou Strip contained uranium and other minerals and, 38 years later, the ambiguity regarding its possession would attract the attention of Muammar al-Gaddafi.
 
When Italy entered World War II on the side of Germany, Idris and the nationalist leaders joined the Allies. The Libyan Arab Force, known as the Sanusi Army, fought alongside the British and helped liberate Cyrenaica. In 1941, the Germans, led by Lt. Gen. Erwin Rommel, retook Cyrenaica and continued into Egypt, where they were stopped at El Alamein and forced to retreat. The last Axis troops left Cyrenaica in February 1942 and Tripolitania in January 1943. Meanwhile, the Free French moved north from Chad and took control of the Fezzan.
 
At the conclusion of World War II, Libya, impoverished by Italian colonialism and with no apparent worthwhile natural resources, was not a major priority for the victorious allies. In 1947, the Four Powers (Great Britain, France, the United States and the Soviet Union) sent a commission of investigation to determine what the Libyan people wanted. They discovered, not surprisingly, that a majority in each of the three regions wanted independence. The Four Powers declared that the Libyans were not ready for independence and, after much wrangling, proposed that for ten years Libya would be ruled as a United Nations trusteeship, with Great Britain in charge of Cyrenaica, Italy in charge of Tripolitania and France in charge of the Fezzan. The Libyans were outraged and held huge demonstrations against the plan. Put to a vote at the United Nations in May 1949, the proposal fell one vote short when Israel and Haiti unexpectedly voted no. Finally, the big powers agreed to allow Libya to gain its independence by the beginning of 1952.
 
A National Constituent Assembly created a federal form of government with each of the three provinces having equal representation. This was a bitter pill for the people of Tripolitania, who formed a majority of the population and who also had to submit to the creation of a monarchy with Idris al-Sanusi, the grandson of the founder of the Sanusi sect, as king. King Idris I was given far too much power. Idris had the right to appoint half the members of the upper house of the legislature and all the members of the Supreme Court. He could dissolve the lower house, veto legislation and unilaterally declare martial law. In fact, after the first elections were held in February 1952, Idris abolished all political parties.
 
When King Idris I proclaimed the United Kingdom of Libya on December 24, 1951, the newly independent nation was in a sorry state. An estimated 94% of the population was illiterate; the infant mortality rate stood at a shocking 40%; as a result of war and emigration, the population was a mere one million; and Libya’s leading source of income was the sale of scrap metal scavenged from the battlefields of World War II. The western powers were mildly impressed by Libya’s strategic location, and Idris was able to lease military base rights to Great Britain and the United States, the most important being America’s Wheelus Air Base near Tripoli.
 
The Libyans, who had been battered around and victimized by an endless succession of invaders and empires, finally caught a piece of luck: In 1959, Esso discovered major deposits of high quality oil in Cyrenaica. Almost overnight, the outside world found Libya an interesting country. As the oil money poured in, the agricultural sector declined, while bribery and corruption boomed. For example, the Bechtel Corporation, which built Libya’s first oil pipeline, established a cozy relationship with Prime Minister Mustafa Ben Halim, whose private firm managed to come away with at least 10% of the net profits on all projects. When Ben Halim fled the country after the 1969 coup, Bechtel helped him acquire a Saudi passport and citizenship. 
 
The corruption and incompetence of Idris’ government led to growing dissatisfaction and anti-Western agitation, while Idris, who dissolved parliament in 1964, made matters worse with his authoritarian decisions. In June 1969, the 79-year-old Idris left Libya for medical treatment and rest in Greece and Turkey. He would never return, thanks to a military coup led by a 27-year-old military officer by the name of Muammar al-Gaddafi.
 
At 6:30am on September 1, 1969, Gaddafi appeared on national radio and announced that henceforth Libya would be “a free, self-governing republic.” Departing from his prepared text, he tried to reassure foreigners living in Libya that there would be no threat to their lives or property and that “our enterprise is in no sense directed against any state whatever.” Gaddafi appointed himself commander-in-chief of the Libyan Armed Forces, while his best friend, Abdel Salam Jalloud, became deputy prime minister (within three years Jalloud would move up to prime minister). 
 
Six weeks after seizing power, Gaddafi announced his five major goals: Removal of foreign military bases; international neutrality; national unity; Arab unity; and suppression of political parties. By the end of his first year in power he had achieved four of these five goals. The bases were gone, he had staked out a position between the two superpowers in the Cold War, and he had most definitely suppressed all political parties. In a country with little history of political involvement, it was easy to achieve a rough approximation of national unity: Gaddafi nationalized the banks, raised the price of oil for foreign companies and doubled the minimum wage. Achieving Arab unity was another matter, and it would prove to be a frustrating obsession that would dominate the rest of his life.
 
Gaddafi had been deeply moved by what he viewed as a humiliating defeat of Arab armies by Israel in 1967. Inspired by the speeches of Nasser, he hoped to galvanize the support of other Arab leaders to gain revenge against the Jewish state. When Gaddafi made his first tour of Arab capitals, in 1970, he was shocked that his calls for revenge met with tepid responses. The other leaders were annoyed that Gaddafi, a young upstart from a country far from the fighting, should lecture them as to what should be done. They found him not so much arrogant as naïve. Yet Gaddafi was sufficiently piqued to support the Palestinians in their revolt against the King of Jordan. 
 
On February 21, 1973, Israel shot down a Libyan commercial airplane that strayed into the Israeli-occupied Sinai, killing 106 civilians. During the next war with Israel in October 1973, Gaddafi donated Libyan planes to the Egyptian air force. When Anwar Sadat, Egypt’s president, agreed to a ceasefire with Israel, Gaddafi accused him of cowardice.
 
Between 1971 and 1980, Gaddafi made repeated attempts to unite Libya with various Arab countries. There was much talk of solidarity and occasionally papers were signed, but Gaddafi was always frustrated in his attempts to achieve a substantive union. In 1977 he actually fought a brief border war with Egypt, and in 1995 he threatened to expel 30,000 Palestinians from Libya to protest the Oslo Peace Accords signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. However, he suspended the program after expelling 1,500.
 
In 1981, two Libyan fighter planes attacked US forces on maneuvers in the Gulf of Sidra (which Libya claimed as national waters) and were shot down. Libya’s relations with the United States became even more hostile when it began to support international terrorist organizations. The United States placed a ban on Libyan oil imports in 1982. In 1986, in an apparent attempt to kill Gaddafi, President Ronald Reagan ordered air strikes against Tripoli and Benghazi in retaliation for the Libyan-sponsored terrorist attack in West Berlin that had killed two American servicemen.
 
In 1988, a bomb blew up on a Pan Am commercial airplane over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. International warrants were issued for the arrest and extradition to Great Britain of two Libyan suspects in the case, but the government refused to surrender them. Libya was also implicated in the similar 1989 bombing of a French UTA DC-10 over Niger in which 170 people died.
 
In 1989, it was discovered that a West German company was selling Libya equipment for the construction of a chemical weapons plant at Rabta. These actions, as well as the widespread belief in the United States and Europe that Gaddafi’s regime was responsible for terrorist activities, led to American and UN sanctions against Libya in 1992. In 1994, Libya pulled its troops out of the Aozou Strip, a mineral-rich region of northern Chad, after the World Court rejected its claim to the territory.
 
In 1995 there were clashes between Libyan security forces and members of Islamic groups in Libya.
 
The United States charged in 1996 that Libya was constructing a chemical weapons plant southeast of Tripoli and said Libya would be prevented from putting it into operation.
 
Beginning in the late 1990s Libya embarked on a series of moves designed to end its estrangement from Western nations. In April 1999, Libya handed over the suspects in the Lockerbie crash to the United Nations so they could be tried in the Netherlands under Scottish law. The UN sanctions were suspended, but those imposed by the United States remained in place.
 
In December 1999, Gaddafi pledged not to aid or protect terrorists. Libya agreed in 2003 to a $2.7 billion settlement with the families of the victims of the Lockerbie attack, and a revised settlement for victims of the UTA bombing led the UN Security Council lifting economic sanctions imposed more than a decade earlier.
 
In December 2003, after negotiations with the United States and Great Britain, the Libyan government renounced the production and use of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and agreed to submit to unannounced international inspections. In March 2004, Libya acknowledged that it had produced and had stockpiles of chemical weapons. As a result of these events, the United States lifted most sanctions and resumed diplomatic relations with Libya.
 
Libya Adds New Pieces to Its Nuclear History (by Peter Crail, Arms Control Association)
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Libya's Newspapers
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History of U.S. Relations with Libya

The United States’ stormy history with Libya got off to a violent beginning during the Barbary Wars. While America was a British colony, American ships were protected by the British navy, but when the United States won its independence, it lost British protection, and American merchant ships fell prey to the Barbary pirates along the coast of North Africa under the control of Yusuf ibn Ali Karamanli. The pirates captured the ships and enslaved their American sailors. In 1803, US President Thomas Jefferson sent the Sixth Fleet to blockade the harbor of Tripoli. Unfortunately, the USS Philadelphia ran aground. Its 308 sailors were forced to surrender and they were held hostage for 19 months until the US finally agreed to pay off Yusuf. These engagements eventually were immortalized in the Marine Corps hymn: “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.” 

 
The United States supported the UN resolution providing for Libyan independence in 1951 and raised the status of its office at Tripoli from a consulate general to a legation. Libya opened a legation in Washington, DC, in 1954. Both countries subsequently raised their missions to embassy level.
 
After Gaddafi’s 1969 coup, US-Libyan relations became increasingly strained because of Libya’s foreign policies supporting international terrorism and subversion against moderate Arab and African governments. In 1972, the United States withdrew its ambassador. Export controls on military equipment and civil aircraft were imposed during the 1970s, and US embassy staff members were withdrawn from Tripoli after a mob attacked and set fire to the embassy in December 1979. The US government designated Libya a “state sponsor of terrorism” on December 29, 1979.
 
Gaddafi opposed United States diplomatic initiatives and military presence in the Middle East. As a protest against Washington’s policies in Iran, the United States embassy in Tripoli was stormed and burned in December 1979. In the late 1970s, Washington blocked delivery to Libya of equipment judged of potential military value and in May 1981 ordered Libyan diplomatic personnel to leave the United States to prevent assassination of anti-Gaddafi Libyan dissidents. The most serious incident occurred in August 1981 when United States jets shot down two Libyan jet fighters during naval maneuvers in the Gulf of Sidra.
 
In May 1981, the US closed the Libyan “people’s bureau” (embassy) in Washington, DC, and expelled the Libyan staff in response to a “general pattern of conduct by the people’s bureau contrary to internationally accepted standards of diplomatic behavior.”
 
When Ronald Reagan became president in 1980, he seemingly chose Gaddafi as his favorite enemy and set about provoking him. The Reagan administration launched a campaign of disinformation that included the unsubstantiated charge that Gaddafi had plotted to kill Reagan. After his re-election in 1984, Reagan revved up his campaign against Gaddafi to include actual violence. The Americans prepared a plan called “Rose” that included an attack on Gaddafi’s personal barracks. In March, 1985, the US military carried out maneuvers off the coast of Libya and challenged Gaddafi’s version of the dividing line between Libyan and international waters. There was an exchange of fire and the US sank two Libyan patrol boats in the Gulf of Sirte, killing 72 sailors. The Americans also conducted bombing raids against radar and missile installations. 
 
In December 1985, Abu Nidal launched terrorist attacks at the Rome and Vienna airports. The Reagan administration blamed Gaddafi for backing the attacks, although US intelligence reports suggested that the Syrian government was more involved than the Libyans.
 
On April 5, 1986, a bomb went off at the La Belle disco in Berlin, a night spot frequented by American soldiers. Three people were killed, two of whom were American soldiers, and 229 people were injured, including 79 Americans. A few days later, the US officials announced that they had intercepted communication that implied that the La Belle bombing had been organized by members of the Libyan secret service operating out of the Libyan embassy in East Berlin.
 
In the early morning hours of April 15, 40 US warplanes based in Great Britain flew over Libya and bombed a barracks in Benghazi, a naval academy, a frogman’s training school and a camp for training Palestinian guerrillas. However, it was the final site that the Americans bombed that attracted international attention: Gaddafi’s personal compound at the Didi Balal naval base. Flying only 200 feet above the ground, the US fighters dropped 2,000-pound laser-guided bombs on Gaddafi’s residence. Remarkably, although they badly damaged his tennis courts, they missed Gaddafi, who was in his command center deep underground. The Americans did kill Gaddafi’s 18-month-old adopted daughter and injured two of his sons. In all, 101 people were killed.
 
Supporters of Ronald Reagan hailed the attack as a high point of his presidency, a demonstration of how terrorists should be dealt with. Reagan admirers declared that, “we never had to worry about Gaddafi again after that.” Unfortunately, the exact opposite was true. According to figures provided by the State Department, in 1985 Libya was involved in 15 acts of terrorism, twelve committed by Abu Nidal’s group. In 1986, the number jumped to 19 acts against non-Libyans, and Gaddafi began targeting Americans for the first time. A planned attack in New York in 1988 failed when a terrorist carrying bombs was stopped for a traffic violation in New Jersey. 
 
But then, on December 21, 1988, Gaddafi got his revenge against the United States when a bomb destroyed Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. On September 19, 1989, Gaddafi also gained revenge against the French for their support of the Chadian military rout of Libyan forces by blowing up UTA flight 772 over the Sahara Desert, killing 171 passengers and crew.
 
The Americans and the French demanded that Gaddafi turn over the perpetrators of these two crimes. When he refused, the United Nations imposed an air embargo against Libya and then froze Libyan funds held in other countries. The UN also banned the sale of equipment to Libya that could be used for oil or natural gas operations, although the sale of petroleum was allowed to continue. These sanctions gradually took their toll on the Libyan economy. 
 
In 1996, Gaddafi agreed to let a French investigative judge come to Libya and search the offices of the Libyan intelligence services. Miraculously, the judge found a suitcase just like those used in the bombing. The French convicted six Libyans in absentia including Gaddafi’s brother-in-law. 
 
In 1999, Gaddafi, in exchange for the lifting of UN sanctions, turned over to authorities two suspects in the Lockerbie case, Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fhiman. A Scottish court, operating in the Netherlands, held an 84-day trial that culminated in the conviction of al-Megrahi. Fhiman, on the other hand, turned out to be nothing more than an employee of Libyan Arab Airlines and he was acquitted. Gaddafi paid compensation to the families of the victims of both bombings, all sanctions were lifted, and oil companies and others enthusiastically recommenced business with Libya. 
 
As for the La Belle disco attack, after a four-year trial, in November 2001, a German court convicted a German diplomat, Musbah Abdulghasem Eter, and two Palestinians, Yasser Mohammed Chreidi and Ali Chanaa for aiding in the murder of those at La Belle. Verena Chanaa,, Channa’s former wife, was convicted of murder, and was charged with actually planting the bomb. Gaddafi himself escaped prosecution because the US and German government refused to share intelligence with the prosecutors.
 
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Current U.S. Relations with Libya

Noted Libyan-Americans
 

Jawal Nga was raised in Tripoli, Libya and graduated from New York University's Tisch School of Arts in 1996. He is a movie producer whose films include Forty Shades of Blue and Married Life.

Dr. Saddeka Mohammed Arabi is a social anthropologist and author who was born in Tripoli, Libya. Among her works, she examined the works of nine contemporary Saudi women writers and their influence on Arabic cultural discourse.
 
On December 19, 2003, Libya announced its intention to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. Since that time, it has cooperated with the US, the UK, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons toward these objectives. Libya has also signed the IAEA Additional Protocol and has become a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
 
In recognition of these actions, the US began the process of normalizing relations with Libya. The US terminated the applicability of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act to Libya and President Bush signed an executive order on September 20, 2004 terminating economic sanctions against Libya. This action unblocked assets that had been frozen for years.
 
US diplomatic personnel reopened the US Interest Section in Tripoli on February 8, 2004. The mission was upgraded to a US Liaison Office on June 28, 2004, and to a full embassy on May 31, 2006. Libya re-established its diplomatic presence in Washington with the opening of an Interest Section on July 8, 2004, which was subsequently upgraded to a Liaison Office in December 2004 and to a full embassy on May 31, 2006.
 
On May 15, 2006, the State Department announced its intention to rescind Libya’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism in recognition of the fact that Libya had met the statutory requirements for such a move: It had not provided any support for acts of international terrorism in the preceding six-month period and had provided assurances that it would not do so in the future. On June 30, 2006, the US removed Libya from the state sponsor of terrorism list.
 
In September 2008, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice became the highest-ranking American official to visit Libya in a half-century.
 
As of November 2008, Libya had paid $1.5 billion into a fund to compensate the families of American victims of Libyan-linked terror attacks in the 1980s, clearing the last hurdle in full normalization of ties between Washington and Tripoli. In exchange, President Bush signed an executive order restoring the Libyan government’s immunity from terror-related lawsuits and dismissing pending compensation cases.
 
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, was released on August 20, 2009, on “compassionate grounds” by Scottish authorities. Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence agent, had terminal cancer and was said to have less than three months to live. He had served eight years of the 27-year-minimum sentence. It was reported that his homecoming was a jubilant celebration, laden with Scottish and Libyan flags. Although some say the celebration was actually for the annual Libyan Youth Day, the Obama Administration condemned the welcome home.
 
Gaddafi was scheduled to attend the United Nations General Assembly’s political debate on September 23, 2009, and initially insisted that he use his tent as his accommodations. Libya maintains real estate in New Jersey that would have allowed the set-up of his tent, but the mayor and residents did not like the idea of him camping in such a populated area. In addition, dozens of families in the area lost loved ones in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Gaddafi has previously set up tents at the Garden of the Elysée Palace, the French presidential residence in Paris, in 2007 and in Rome’s Villa Doria Pamphili in June of 2009. Libyan officials finally agreed not to pitch a tent on Libyan property in New Jersey.
 
Although the US rescinded Libya’s status as state sponsor of terrorism, other impediments have arisen to discourage travel between the two countries. On November 11, 2007, Libya issued a requirement that all travel documents, including US passports need to be translated into Arabic. As of January 1, 2008, all foreign visitors to Libya must carry $1,000 in cash to enter the country.
 
A total of 715 Libyans visited the US in 2006, an increase of 32.7% from 2005. No figures are available for American visits to Libya in 2005 and 2006. Only 235 Americans visited Libya in 2004. 
 
With Libya Ties Strained, US Has Limited Options (by Elisabeth Bumiller, New York Times)
No ‘Hero Welcome’ In Libya (by Saif-Al Islam El-Qaddafi, New York Times Op-Ed)
Libya and the US: Qadhafi Unrepentant (by Mohamed Eljahmi, Middle East Quarterly)
The United States and Libya: Where Do We Go From Here? (by Michele Dunne, Carnegie Endowment)
Libya Completes Payments for US Terror Victims (by Matthew Lee, Associated Press)
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Where Does the Money Flow

US-Libyan trade has soared since Libya came off the US terrorism list and the last economic sanctions were lifted in 2006. Only three years earlier, the US imported absolutely nothing from Libya. By 2006, trade imports from Libya totaled about $2.5 billion; in 2007 they rose to $3.4 billion, in 2008 total imports jumped to $4.1 billion, before falling in 2009 to $1.9 billion.

 
U.S. imports from Libya are dominated by crude oil at $1.18 billion in 2009. Others imports included fuel oil, up from $1.72 million in 2005 to $3.45 million; liquefied petroleum gases, rising from $2.25 million to $2.89 million; and miscellaneous petroleum products, growing from $19.2 million to $37.0 million.
 
Meanwhile, Libya became the fastest-growing market for US exports in the world, increasing 419% to $434 million in 2006. The following year, total exports were valued at $510 million, in 2008 exports rose to $720 million, however in 2009 exports dropped to $666 million
.
From 2005 to 2009, the largest exports included passenger cars, increasing from $4.78 million to $156.9 million; drilling and oilfield equipment, which rose from $26.4 million to $117.1; electric apparatus, which grew from $1.2 million to $36.3 million; and industrial engines, rising from $3.1 million to $32.3 million.
 
In 2008 Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalqam visited Washington, DC. His trip included a personal tour of the White House, an official escort on Capitol Hill and a luncheon with executives from Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Occidental Petroleum and Raytheon, as well as the US trade representative’s office. Shalqam cited oil, tourism, communications and information technology as sectors of the Libyan economy that are eager for US investment.
 
Given the recent rescission of Libya’s status as a state-sponsor of terrorism, aid money has only just begun flow from the US to Libya. Of the $3.9 million in aid budgeted for foreign operations in 2009, $1.4 million was directed towards Peace and Security, and $2.5 million went to Governing Justly and Democratically. In 2010, the US is giving an estimated $1.5 million in Foreign Military Financing, $3.3 million to International Military Education and Training, and $3.0 million to Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Programs. The US government projections for 2011 include $2.5 million in Foreign Military Financing $3.5 in International Military Education and Training, and $2.75 for Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Programs.
 
In 2010, funding for Peace and Security is going toward drafting strategic trade control laws, developing a strategic trade control list, and training for detection and identification of WMD-technology. Additionally, funding is being used to develop the Libyan Air Force transport fleet and the Coast Guard.
 
The bulk of US aid for Peace and Security in 2011 will go toward Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related programs. The US will focus efforts on training Libyan forces to identify and combat transnational terrorist networks. Additionally, the funding will be used to provide assistance to Libya to draft a strategic trade control law and develop a strategic trade control list. In 2011, US funding will provide training to Libya’s licensing system for strategic goods for import and export, train officers on WMD-related technologies, and provide inspection and detection equipment.
 
The funds for Foreign Military Financing will go to support the development of the Libyan Air Force transport fleet, supposedly to increase Libyan participation in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. The program will fund Libya’s membership in the C-130 technical coordination working group, based in Georgia, which works on the C-130’s technical and maintenance issue efforts. The C-130 is a military transport plane made by Lockheed Martin.
 
In 2011, the International Military Education and Training allocates funding to educate and training Libyan security forces, which primarily includes English language education that brings Libyan officers to the US.
 
Libya Officially Welcomed Back To the US Fold (by Robin Wright, Washington Post)
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Controversies

Gaddafi Insists on Tent on New Jersey Real Estate

Gaddafi was scheduled to attend the United Nations General Assembly’s political debate on September 23, 2009, and initially insisted that he use his tent as his accommodations. Libya maintains real estate in New Jersey that would have allowed the set-up of his tent, but the mayor and residents did not like the idea of him camping in such a populated area. In addition, dozens of families in the area lost loved ones in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Gaddafi has previously set up tents at the Garden of the Elysée Palace, the French presidential residence in Paris, in 2007 and in Rome’s Villa Doria Pamphili in June of 2009. Libyan officials finally agreed not to pitch a tent on Libyan property in New Jersey.
Qaddafi Cancels Plans to Stay in New Jersey (by Anahad O’Connor, New York Times)
 
Vibrant Homecoming Stirs Controversy, Anger From Obama Administration
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, was released on August 20, 2009, on compassionate grounds by Scottish authorities. Megrahi had been convicted in the Lockerbie bombing, which killed 270 people and had specifically targeted Americans. Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence agent, had terminal cancer and was said to have less than three months to live. He had served 8 years of his 27-year-minimum sentence. It was reported that his homecoming was a jubilant celebration, laden with Scottish and Libyan flags. Although some say the celebration was actually for the annual Libyan Youth Day, the Obama Administration condemned the welcome home. US officials have noted that the incident has strained relations
No ‘Hero Welcome’ In Libya (by Saif-Al Islam El-Qaddafi, New York Times Op-Ed)
 
US Provides Military Training for Libyan Army
Perhaps the greatest testament for just how much the US-Libyan relationship has changed is the fact that Washington is now helping train Muammar al-Gaddafi’s military. As of FY 2008, the US Foreign Operations budget included $333,000 to finance International Military & Education Training (and another $350,000 in FY 2009) to “educate and train Libyan security forces as well as create vital linkages with Libyan officers after a 35-year break in contact.” The US reports the money will bring “Libyan officers to the United States and expose them to democratic practices and respect for human rights.” During the 1980s, the US branded Gaddafi a “madman” and his government one of the most dangerous supporters of international terrorism. But that has all changed, because of Libya’s “commitment to renouncing weapons of mass destruction; combating the rapidly growing terrorist threat posed by al-Qaeda in Libya and the region; and promoting professional, effective law enforcement and military services that respect international norms and practices,” according to the Bush administration.
 
Libya: US Must Reward Us
Attempts to forge closer bonds between the United States and Libya stalled in early 2008, as a top Libyan diplomat publicly expressed his government’s annoyance over not receiving more rewards from Washington for turning over a new leaf. Libya’s ambassador to the United States, Ali Aujali, complained in an interview with the Voice of America that his country is still waiting for its tangible “thank-yous” from Washington. “I think Libya is entitled, Libya deserves, better attention from the United States for what it did if we are really concerned about the proliferation about the weapons of mass destruction…The United States did not reward Libya for what it did. Libya did not get the reward that we were supposed to get,” he said. Libya’s re-entry into the good graces of the West in 2003 was hailed by the United States as a foreign policy success story. Analysts said Washington was pointedly trying to show countries like Iran and North Korea that good things can happen to a country that gives up ambitions to get weapons of mass destruction and stops backing terrorism.
US-Libya Rapprochement Stalls (by Gary Thomas, Voice of America)
 
US: Libya Backed Plot Against Saudi Prince
US officials did not deny suspicions that Libya’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi, plotted to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Abdullah. Abdurahman Alamoudi, an American citizen detained in the US over suspicions of financing Islamist groups such as Hamas, was quoted as the main source of the allegations against the Libyan leader. Alamoudi gave US police a large amount of information in an attempt to reduce his sentence.
 
Alamoudi reported that he had met Ghaddafi in person to discuss advanced plans to have Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah assassinated. Financing Islamist movements through a Libyan charity, Alamoudi claimed he was a key part of the network set up to orchestrate the assassination. US investigators reported the alleged assassination plot to central US and Saudi authorities, who later produced parallel information from other sources.
 
Libyan officials reacted with shock when they learned of the US-supported allegations. Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Mohamed Shalgam said his government was “surprised” and that “we deny it completely and categorically.”
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Human Rights

As much as the Bush administration tried to portray a new Libya to justify closer relations, the State Department continues to report that Gaddafi’s government has a poor human rights record. Citizens do not have the right to change their government. Reported torture and arbitrary arrest remained problems. The government restricted civil liberties and freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association. The government did not fully protect the rights of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees. Other problems included poor prison conditions; impunity for government officials; lengthy political detention; denial of fair public trial; infringement of privacy rights; restrictions of freedom of religion; corruption and lack of transparency; societal discrimination against women, ethnic minorities, and foreign workers; trafficking in persons; and restriction of labor rights.

 
Torture
According to the State Department, “on August 31, 2009 the NGO Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called for a credible and transparent inquiry into the reported 2007 trial and sentencing to death of three unnamed individuals for the 2005 killing of Daif al-Ghazal, a prominent opposition journalist and anticorruption activist.” In addition, “There were no developments in the case of Mohammed Adel Abu Ali, who died in custody in May 2008 after his return to the country when his asylum claim was denied in Europe. According to HRW, he was tortured in detention. London-based As-Sharq Al-Awsat reported that he belonged to the oppositionist "al-Tabu" Front for the Liberation of Libya.”
 
Abuse in Prisons
According to the State Department, “In July 2008 Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, son of Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, conceded that acts of torture and excessive violence had taken place in prisons. Al-Qadhafi denied government culpability, arguing that the individuals responsible for the torture had acted on their own initiative and were being tried within the legal system. At year's end there was no information released on the progress of trials.”Also“on April 19, 2009 Ashraf Ahmad Jum'a al-Hajuj drew attention to his suit against the Libyan government at a preparatory meeting for the Durban Review Conference, chaired by Libyan diplomat Najjat al-Hajjaji. Al-Hajuj, a Palestinian doctor, was arrested in 1999 on charges that he and five Bulgarian nurses working in Benghazi infected hundreds of children. In January 2008 he filed suit in France and at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, arguing he was tortured repeatedly in detention. According to his testimony, the torture included rape by a German shepherd, fingernails ripped off, and electric shocks.”
 
The State Department found that “the government reportedly held political detainees, including as many as 100 associated with banned Islamic groups, in prisons throughout the country, but mainly in the Ayn Zara, Jadida, and Abu Salim Prisons in Tripoli. In an August 31 report, HRW claimed dozens of political prisoners remained in jails. The same report noted that ‘a number’ of political prisoners had been freed since 2008. In 2008 human rights organizations and foreign diplomats speculated there were 2,000 political detainees, many held for years without trial.”
 
The State Department reported that “security forces reportedly subjected prisoners and detainees to cruel, inhuman, or degrading conditions and denied them adequate medical care. Foreign observers noted that many of those incarcerated had been acquitted or had served their sentences, but remained in internal security service prisons, likely due to unresolved differences between the internal security service administration that manages state security prisons and the General People's Committee for Justice, responsible for legal procedures and criminal detention facilities.”
 
Freedom of Sppech
The State Department noted that “the law provides for freedom of speech ‘within the limits of public interest and principles of the Revolution,’ but in practice the Publication Act of 1972 severely limits the freedoms of speech and of the press, particularly criticism of government officials or policy.” Additionally, “the government prohibited all unofficial political activities” and “the government owned and controlled virtually all print and broadcast media.” During the 2009the “government nationalized all privately owned news media, reversing the decision in 2007 to allow a few private media outlets.”
 
According to the State Department, “On January 19, the Geneva-based NGO Libyan League for Human Rights reported that six opposition Web sites operating abroad had been hacked, with some pages replaced with proregime content. It was unclear who was responsible for the actions. At the end of the reporting period, all sites remained inoperative.”
 
Freedom of Association and Religion
The government restricted the right of association and did not permit the formation of groups whose ideologies were inconsistent with the 1969 revolution. However, the government generally allowed people to practice religious freedom, but regulated mosques, religious schools and clerics to streamline the state-approved form of Islam. The State Department reported “al-Qadhafi has made statements denigrating Christians and Jews. In a March 2008 speech, echoing statements in a 2007 speech in which he declared that all those who did not practice Islam were ‘losers,’ al-Qadhafi said the Christian Bible and the Jewish Torah are forgeries and the original versions mentioned the Prophet Muhammad. Al-Qadhafi stated in a 2007 interview that ‘Jews will go extinct because everyone hates them.’”
 
Refugees
Libya is not particularly welcoming of refugees, admitting publicly through a brigadier general that “there are no refugees in Libya. They are people who sneak into the country illegally and they cannot be described as refugees. Anyone who enters this country without formal documents and permission is arrested.”In addition, “although the government did not target UNHCR-recognized refugees for forcible deportation, the government regularly and forcibly deported foreigners without properly screening refugees and asylum seekers from economic migrants.”
 
Women
The State Department found that “the law criminalizes rape. A convicted rapist must marry the victim, with her agreement, or serve a prison term of as long as 25 years. Women and girls suspected of violating moral codes were detained indefinitely without being convicted or after having served a sentence and without the right to challenge their detention before a court (see section 1.d.). They were held in ‘social rehabilitation’ facilities, in some cases because they had been raped and then ostracized by their families. The government stated that a woman was free to leave a rehabilitation home when she reached ‘legal age’ (18 years), consented to marriage, or was taken into the custody of a male relative.”
 
Additionally, they reported that “women constituted the majority of university students and graduates and made up almost one-third of university faculty.” Furthermore, “the government subsidized primary, secondary, and university education, and secondary education was compulsory through grade nine for both boys and girls. According to a 2003 UNDP report, 96 percent of school-age children attended primary school and most reached at least a sixth-grade level; 53 percent of girls and 71 percent of boys attended secondary school.”
 
General Repression
The State Department states that, “the country maintains an extensive security apparatus that includes police and military units, multiple intelligence services, local revolutionary committees, people’s committees, and “purification” committees. The result is a multilayered, pervasive surveillance system that monitors and controls the activities of individuals. Security forces had the authority to pass sentences without trial, particularly in cases involving political opposition.
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

A native of California, Chris Stevens arrived in Tripoli in June 2007 as Deputy Chief of Mission and became Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., in January 2008.

 
Stevens has BA and JD degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and Hastings College of the Law. He speaks Arabic and French.
 
Prior to joining the State Department in 1991, he taught English as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. Stevens then worked as an international trade lawyer in Washington, DC.
 
He has served in a number of posts in the region, including Riyadh, Cairo, Damascus, Tunis, and Jerusalem. He has also served in Washington, as a State Department Fellow on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and in positions in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and the Office of the Under Secretary for Political Affairs.
 
 
The Legation in Tripoli was established December 24, 1952, with Andrew G. Lynch as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.
 
Henry S. Villard
Appointment: Feb 7, 1952
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 6, 1952
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 24, 1954

Note: John N. Gatch, Jr., was serving as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim when the Legation in Libya was raised to Embassy status, Sep 25, 1954.
 
John L. Tappin
Appointment: Sep 25, 1954
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 16, 1954
Termination of Mission: Superseded, Mar 17, 1958
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 24, 1955.
 
John Wesley Jones
Appointment: Feb 5, 1958
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 17, 1958
Termination of Mission: Left Libya, Dec 20, 1962
 
E. Allan Lightner, Jr.
Appointment: May 3, 1963
Presentation of Credentials: May 27, 1963
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 30, 1965
 
David D. Newsom
Appointment: Jul 22, 1965
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 16, 1965
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 21, 1969
 
Joseph Palmer II
Appointment: Jul 8, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 9, 1969
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 7, 1972
 
Note: The following officers served as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim Nov 1972–Feb 1980: Harold G. Josif (Nov 1972–Dec 1973), Robert A. Stein (Dec 1973–Dec 1974), Robert Carle (Jan 1975–Aug 1978), and William L. Eagleton, Jr. (Aug 1978–Feb 1980). Eagleton was recalled Feb 8, 1980, and Embassy Tripoli was closed May 2, 1980.
 
Note: The United States established an Interests Section in Tripoli, Feb 8, 2004. It became the U.S. Liason Office on Jun 28, with Greg Berry as the Principal Officer.
 
Note: On May 31, 2006 the United States resumed diplomatic relations with Libya, and the Interests Section in Tripoli became an Embassy. Gregory L. Berry became Charge d'Affaires ad interim, serving until Oct 10, 2006. Charles O. Cecil succeeded him on Nov 15, 2006.
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Libya's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Aujali, Ali

Ali Aujali was named chief of the Libyan Interests Section in Washington, DC, in the spring of 2004 after serving as the chargé d’affaires to Canada from 2001 until 2004. He was then appointed as Libya’s Ambassador to the US on January 6, 2009.

 
Aujali began his diplomatic career in 1971 as third secretary at the Libyan Embassy in London. In 1976, he moved to the Libyan Embassy in Malaysia, where he served as first secretary until he was appointed ambassador in 1981. In 1984, he was appointed Libya’s Ambassador to Argentina, followed by a similar appointment in Brazil (1988-94).
 
Aujali served as Deputy Director-General of the Americas Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1994 until 1998, Director-General of the North and South Americas Department from 1998 through 2000, and Director-General of European affairs from 2000 until 2001. Before coming to the US, he served as the chargé d’affaires at the Libyan Embassy in Canada.
 

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Libya's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.

Libya’s Representative Office in the U.S.

2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 705
Washington
D.C. 20037
Phone: 1-202-944-9601
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U.S. Ambassador to Libya

Jones, Deborah
ambassador-image

Six months after the murder of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya, President Barack Obama has nominated career diplomat and Middle East expert Deborah K. Jones to succeed Stevens in Tripoli.

 

Born circa 1956, Jones grew up in New Mexico, earned a B.A. in History at Brigham Young University in 1978, and an M.S. in National Security Strategy from the National War College of the National Defense University in 1998, where she wrote a paper entitled, “A National Security Strategy in Plaid: The NSS as a Political Document,” assessing the Clinton Administration’s “National Security Strategy for a New Century,” which was released in May 1997. She has also studied Arabic at the Foreign Service Institute in Roslyn, Virginia, and at the State Department’s Field School in Tunis, Tunisia.

 

A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, Jones joined the U.S. Department of State in 1982. Early career assignments included two years as country director in the Office of Arabian Peninsula and Iran Affairs, service as staff assistant to Assistant Secretary Richard Murphy of the same office, a stint as desk officer for Jordan, and service in the State Department’s Operations Center and on its Board of Examiners. Early overseas postings included assignments in Baghdad, Iraq and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

 

During the 1990s, Jones bounced between the Middle East and Washington, D.C., serving as consular section chief at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria, from 1990 to 1991, and as consular section chief/regional consular officer at the embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 1992 to 1994. Back in Washington, she served as acting public affairs advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs from 1994 to 1995.

 

After earning her M.S. in 1998, Jones was named deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where she served from 1998 to 2001, returning to Washington to serve as the director of the Office of Arabian Peninsula Affairs and Iran from 2002 to 2004, and then as principal officer at the Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey from 2005 to 2007. 

 

Jones served her first ambassadorship from April 2008 to June 2011, as ambassador to Kuwait. She has been a scholar-in-residence at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC, since July 2011.

 

Jones is married to fellow Foreign Service officer Richard G. Olson, who has been ambassador to Pakistan since September 2012, and with whom she has two daughters. Jones speaks Arabic, Spanish and French.

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Six Months after Benghazi, Obama Names Libya Envoy (by Howard LaFranchi, Christian Science Monitor)

Obama Meets Libyan Premier and Names Envoy (by Michael R. Gordon, New York Times)

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Libya

Cretz, Gene
ambassador-image

Gene A. Cretz is a career diplomat who was nominated in July of 2007 by President W. Bush as the first US Ambassador to Libya since 1972. He is from Albany, New York, and he attended the University of Rochester, graduating in 1972 with a degree in English Literature.  He then received a Masters of Science Degree in Linguistics from the State University College at Buffalo in 1975.

 
Cretz served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kabul, Afghanistan from 1975-1977, and joined the Department of State in March 1981. His first Foreign Service tour was as General Services Officer and Consular Officer in Islamabad, Pakistan from 1982 until 1984. 
 
He returned to Washington and served one year in the Operations Center and one year as Staff Assistant in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA). From 1986 until 1988, Cretz was a political officer in Damascus, Syria,  which was followed by a tour as a political officer in New Delhi, India from 1988 though 1991.  After leaving India, Cretz served in Tel Aviv for three years where he was responsible for Arab affairs portfolio, including the Gaza Strip.
 
His second Washington assignment was in the Bureau of International Organizations as the officer responsible for Middle East Affairs at the United Nations.  From 1998-2001, he served in Beijing, China, where he was in charge of China's External Affairs portfolio.  In 2001 he transferred to Cairo, Egypt where he served as Minister-Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs. 
He returned to Damascus, Syria in August, 2003 as Deputy Chief of Mission and subsequently served as Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy until January 2004.  Most recently he has been the Deputy Chief of Mission in Tel Aviv from August 2004 until August 2007. 
 
Cretz speaks Dari, Urdu, Arabic and Chinese.  He is married to the former Annette Williams, a registered nurse from Union City, New Jersey.  The couple has two children, Jeffrey and Gabrielle.
 

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Overview

Archeological evidence indicates that as early as 8,000 BC, the coastal plain of Ancient Libya was populated by people called the Berbers, who were proficient at the domestication of cattle and cultivation of crops. Since then, other people including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Persian Empire, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, Turks, and Byzantines have also inhabited all or part of modern-day Libya. The modern borders of Libya were drawn by Italy, which superseded the Ottoman Turks in the area around Tripoli in 1911. Italy did not renounce their control until 1943 after their defeat in World War II. Libya was passed to UN administration and gained independence in 1951. Since a military coup in 1969, Colonel Mummar al-Gadaffi has ruled the country.

 
Gaddafi began his rule by espousing his own doctrine of politics called the Third Universal Theory, which is a combination of socialism and Islam derived, in part, from tribal practices. Gaddafi has led his country from outright hostilities with the West, and most specifically the United States, to conciliation and greater trade in recent years. He used oil funds in the 1970s and 1980s to promote his ideology outside of Libya by supporting terrorists to hasten the end of Marxism and capitalism. During the Reagan Administration, US policy was intent on killing Gaddafi, which was demonstrated by the air strike targeting Gaddafi’s home, in addition to other locations in Libya. In response, in 1988 and 1989, Libya was responsible for two horrific terrorist attacks on commercial airliners that killed more than 400 people, combined. These attacks led to economic sanctions by the US and the UN that had a crippling effect on Libya in the 1990s.
 
Gradually, Gaddafi has begun to back away from his concerted efforts to tangle with the West and instead agreed to several important changes in Libyan foreign affairs. Over the past 10 years, the country has agreed to pay restitution to the families of victims of the 1980 airline attacks and give up its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction. These moves led the Bush administration to restore diplomatic relations and lift its trade sanctions. The US now imports billions of dollars in oil from Libya each year, despite the fact that Libya continues to have a terrible human rights record as part of its authoritarian state.
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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: The People’s Great Socialist Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (mass of people) is located on the north central coast of Africa. About 95% of Libya’s terrain consists of barren, rock-strewn plains and sandy deserts. A feature of the Libyan climate is the ghibli, a hot, dry, dust-laden southern wind which usually comes in the spring and fall and lasts for one to four days.

 
Population: 6.2 million (2008)
 
Religions: Islam (Sunni) 96.5%, Christian 2.5%, Buddhist 0.3%, Non-religious 0.2%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Berbers, Arabs.
 
Languages: Libyan Arabic 75% (official), Nafusi 2.5%, Domari 0.7%, Standard Arabic (official).
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History

The term “Libya” was first used by the ancient Egyptians to refer to a single Berber tribe. The Greeks used the name for most of North Africa. However, the term was not used for an actual political entity until well into the 20th century. For most of its history, the story of Libya was really the history of three separate regions: Cyrenaica, nearest to Egypt; Tripolitania, where most of the population lives; and the Fezzan, a desert area dotted with oases. 

 
The Greeks founded the city of Cyrene in Cyrenaica in 631 BC. The Greeks were driven off and the region was held by Persia and Egypt until it was conquered by Alexander the Great in 331 BC. Cyrene developed into a cultural center and the home of a school of philosophers, the Cyrenaics, who believed in moral cheerfulness. For more than 400 years, both Tripolitania and Cyrenaica existed as Roman provinces.
 
In the 5th century BC, the Phoenicians established, in Tripolitania, the greatest of their colonies: Carthage. In the 3rd century BC, the Romans attacked Carthage and won the two Punic Wars. They finally destroyed the city of Carthage and, eventually, Julius Caesar annexed Tripolitania and designated it a province of the Roman Empire.
 
In 300 AD, the word “Libya” was given its first official usage when Emperor Diocletian divided Cyrenaica into Upper Libya and Lower Libya. In 429, the Vandals made their capital at Carthage before moving on to sack Rome. Belisarius, a Byzantine general, drove out the Vandals in 533. 
 
In 642, an Arab general, Umribn-al-As, conquered Cyrenaica and then pushed into Tripolitania, bringing with the religion of Islam. The native Berbers accepted Islam, but they found the Arabs brutal and arrogant. The Arabs, for their part, looked down on the Berbers as primitive. Although the conquering Arab soldiers married Berber women, the underlying clash between the two cultures would flare up 1350 years later as Muammar al-Gaddafi tried to decide if Libya should align itself more closely to Arabs or to Africans.
 
In the 9th century, the Berbers revolted against Arab domination and in the 890s Shi’a Muslim missionaries converted many Berbers and then attacked and defeated the Sunni Muslims. A leader known as the Mahdi founded the Shi’a dynasty of the Fatamids. In 969, the Fatamids conquered Egypt and moved their capital to Cairo, leaving Tripolitania and Cyrenaica to be ruled by their Berber vassals, the Zirids, who led the Berbers back to the Sunni faith.
 
One of the worst periods in Libya history began in the 11th century when the Fatamid caliph invited two nomadic Bedouin tribes, known collectively as the Hilalians, to migrate west into Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. An estimated 200,000 families swept into the region, “like a swarm of locusts,” sacked Cyrene and Tripoli and converted farmland to pasturage. In 1171, Saladin drove the Fatamids out of Cyrenaica, returning the area to the control of Egypt. However the Egyptians generally neglected Cyrenaica, which reverted to the control of tribal chieftains.
 
The merchants of Tripoli declared it an independent city-state in 1460, but fifty years later Spain captured the city, razed it and, from the rubble, built themselves a naval base.
 
In 1517, Turkish soldiers occupied Cyrenaica, which would remain part of the Ottoman Empire for most of the next 400 years. King Charles V of Spain turned over Tripolitania to the Knights of St. John of Malta, but they were driven off by the Turks in 1551. In the 1580s, the Fezzan rulers also submitted to the Ottomans. However, in practice, the Turks had little interest in Cyrenaica and the Fezzan and left them alone. On the other hand, by the late 1600s, Tripoli had developed into an exotic city whose population included Turks, Moors, Jews, Moriscos (Muslims expelled from Spain), Europeans and slaves of both Sudanese and European origin.
 
Ahmad Karamanli seized Tripoli in 1711 and established a hereditary Arab monarchy, which he financed through piracy. Ali Benghul restored Tripolitania to the Ottoman Empire in 1793. The grandson of Ahmad Karamanli, Yusuf ibn Ali Karamanli, ruled Tripolitania from 1795 until 1832, a period that saw increasing involvement with Western powers. Yusuf, for example, helped Napoleon Bonaparte during his Egyptian campaign.
 
When the Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815, France and Great Britain turned their attention to ending piracy in the Mediterranean. They also demanded that Tripolitania pay off all debts to European creditors. Yusuf was force to raise taxes, which led to a civil war until Sultan Muhammad II sent in Turkish troops and, once again, reinstated Ottoman rule.
 
Meanwhile, in Cyrenaica, Muhammad bin Ali al-Sanusi, a popular religious leader, founded the Sanusi order, a school of Islam that taught an end to fanaticism and preached against voluntary poverty, demanding that all of its members work for a living. His son, Muhammad, also known as the Mahdi, brought all of the Bedouin tribes of Cyrenaica under control and then declared a holy war against the French.
 
When the 20th century began, Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and the Fezzan were nothing more than backwater provinces in a dying empire. In 1911, Italian troops captured Tripoli from the Turks. Distracted by the Balkan war that was looming on the horizon, in October 1912 the Turks signed a treaty that granted independence to Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, both of which Italy, anxious to make up for having missed most of the Age of Colonialism, promptly annexed. However, the Italians allowed the local sultan to retain religious authority, apparently not realizing that under sharia law that gave him control of the courts and the entire judicial system. This division of power led to twenty years of warfare. 
 
The first Italo-Sanusi War in Cyrenaica broke out in 1914 and soon turned into a front of World War I. When Italy joined the Allied Powers, the Sanusis automatically joined the Central Powers. In 1917, Idris al-Sanusi, who was pro-British, signed a truce with the Italians. But after World War I, the Allies gave their support to Italian control of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania.
 
Opposition to colonial occupation was widespread, although it was divided into two main forces with differing goals: the educated urban nationalists hoped to create an independent centralized republic, while the Bedouin sheiks wanted power to be maintained by tribal states. In 1922, the Tripolitanian nationalists reluctantly agreed to allow Idris al-Sanusi to become amir of all regions of the future Libya. However, the Treaty of Lausanne, signed in 1923 by Italy and the Allies on one side and Turkey on the other, sanctioned the Italian annexation of Libya. In Cyrenaica, this set off the second Italo-Sanusi War.
 
By this time Benito Mussolini and the Fascists had taken power in Italy. Although the Italians were late to join the game of colonialism, they were quick to catch on to its spirit. In 1929, Rudolfo Graziani, the commander of the Italian forces in Cyrenaica, began an ugly and brutal war of attrition against the local population. Using Eritrean troops, he blocked wells, slaughtered livestock, herded the Bedouins into concentration camps and executed 24,000 people. He also erected a barbed wire barrier that stretched 200 miles from the coast along the border with Egypt. Taking advantage of their larger army and their more advanced technology, the Italians overcame the last Sanusi stronghold in September 1931. They captured the Sanusi leader, Umar al-Mukhtar, and forced 20,000 Arabs to watch him hanged in public.
 
With their conquest complete, the Italians set about turning Cyrenaica and Tripolitania into an Italian province. They built highways and railways, expanded port facilities and developed irrigation systems. In 1938, they supplemented this economic colonization with demographic colonization. Like the Zirids 900 years earlier, the Fascists flooded the region with more than 100,000 settlers, to whom they gave the best lands. Mussolini called the native Arabs “Muslim Italians,” but in fact he did little to help them.
 
During this period, there were two important geographic developments. In 1934, after dividing Tripolitania and Cyrenaica into four provinces (the Fezzan remained a military territory) the Fascists named the colony Libya, resurrecting the name that Diocletian had used almost 1,500 years earlier. In 1935, Italy and France agreed to move the border between Libya and Chad 100 kilometers south across the Aouzou Strip, however, the French legislature never ratified the agreement. It would later turn out that the Aouzou Strip contained uranium and other minerals and, 38 years later, the ambiguity regarding its possession would attract the attention of Muammar al-Gaddafi.
 
When Italy entered World War II on the side of Germany, Idris and the nationalist leaders joined the Allies. The Libyan Arab Force, known as the Sanusi Army, fought alongside the British and helped liberate Cyrenaica. In 1941, the Germans, led by Lt. Gen. Erwin Rommel, retook Cyrenaica and continued into Egypt, where they were stopped at El Alamein and forced to retreat. The last Axis troops left Cyrenaica in February 1942 and Tripolitania in January 1943. Meanwhile, the Free French moved north from Chad and took control of the Fezzan.
 
At the conclusion of World War II, Libya, impoverished by Italian colonialism and with no apparent worthwhile natural resources, was not a major priority for the victorious allies. In 1947, the Four Powers (Great Britain, France, the United States and the Soviet Union) sent a commission of investigation to determine what the Libyan people wanted. They discovered, not surprisingly, that a majority in each of the three regions wanted independence. The Four Powers declared that the Libyans were not ready for independence and, after much wrangling, proposed that for ten years Libya would be ruled as a United Nations trusteeship, with Great Britain in charge of Cyrenaica, Italy in charge of Tripolitania and France in charge of the Fezzan. The Libyans were outraged and held huge demonstrations against the plan. Put to a vote at the United Nations in May 1949, the proposal fell one vote short when Israel and Haiti unexpectedly voted no. Finally, the big powers agreed to allow Libya to gain its independence by the beginning of 1952.
 
A National Constituent Assembly created a federal form of government with each of the three provinces having equal representation. This was a bitter pill for the people of Tripolitania, who formed a majority of the population and who also had to submit to the creation of a monarchy with Idris al-Sanusi, the grandson of the founder of the Sanusi sect, as king. King Idris I was given far too much power. Idris had the right to appoint half the members of the upper house of the legislature and all the members of the Supreme Court. He could dissolve the lower house, veto legislation and unilaterally declare martial law. In fact, after the first elections were held in February 1952, Idris abolished all political parties.
 
When King Idris I proclaimed the United Kingdom of Libya on December 24, 1951, the newly independent nation was in a sorry state. An estimated 94% of the population was illiterate; the infant mortality rate stood at a shocking 40%; as a result of war and emigration, the population was a mere one million; and Libya’s leading source of income was the sale of scrap metal scavenged from the battlefields of World War II. The western powers were mildly impressed by Libya’s strategic location, and Idris was able to lease military base rights to Great Britain and the United States, the most important being America’s Wheelus Air Base near Tripoli.
 
The Libyans, who had been battered around and victimized by an endless succession of invaders and empires, finally caught a piece of luck: In 1959, Esso discovered major deposits of high quality oil in Cyrenaica. Almost overnight, the outside world found Libya an interesting country. As the oil money poured in, the agricultural sector declined, while bribery and corruption boomed. For example, the Bechtel Corporation, which built Libya’s first oil pipeline, established a cozy relationship with Prime Minister Mustafa Ben Halim, whose private firm managed to come away with at least 10% of the net profits on all projects. When Ben Halim fled the country after the 1969 coup, Bechtel helped him acquire a Saudi passport and citizenship. 
 
The corruption and incompetence of Idris’ government led to growing dissatisfaction and anti-Western agitation, while Idris, who dissolved parliament in 1964, made matters worse with his authoritarian decisions. In June 1969, the 79-year-old Idris left Libya for medical treatment and rest in Greece and Turkey. He would never return, thanks to a military coup led by a 27-year-old military officer by the name of Muammar al-Gaddafi.
 
At 6:30am on September 1, 1969, Gaddafi appeared on national radio and announced that henceforth Libya would be “a free, self-governing republic.” Departing from his prepared text, he tried to reassure foreigners living in Libya that there would be no threat to their lives or property and that “our enterprise is in no sense directed against any state whatever.” Gaddafi appointed himself commander-in-chief of the Libyan Armed Forces, while his best friend, Abdel Salam Jalloud, became deputy prime minister (within three years Jalloud would move up to prime minister). 
 
Six weeks after seizing power, Gaddafi announced his five major goals: Removal of foreign military bases; international neutrality; national unity; Arab unity; and suppression of political parties. By the end of his first year in power he had achieved four of these five goals. The bases were gone, he had staked out a position between the two superpowers in the Cold War, and he had most definitely suppressed all political parties. In a country with little history of political involvement, it was easy to achieve a rough approximation of national unity: Gaddafi nationalized the banks, raised the price of oil for foreign companies and doubled the minimum wage. Achieving Arab unity was another matter, and it would prove to be a frustrating obsession that would dominate the rest of his life.
 
Gaddafi had been deeply moved by what he viewed as a humiliating defeat of Arab armies by Israel in 1967. Inspired by the speeches of Nasser, he hoped to galvanize the support of other Arab leaders to gain revenge against the Jewish state. When Gaddafi made his first tour of Arab capitals, in 1970, he was shocked that his calls for revenge met with tepid responses. The other leaders were annoyed that Gaddafi, a young upstart from a country far from the fighting, should lecture them as to what should be done. They found him not so much arrogant as naïve. Yet Gaddafi was sufficiently piqued to support the Palestinians in their revolt against the King of Jordan. 
 
On February 21, 1973, Israel shot down a Libyan commercial airplane that strayed into the Israeli-occupied Sinai, killing 106 civilians. During the next war with Israel in October 1973, Gaddafi donated Libyan planes to the Egyptian air force. When Anwar Sadat, Egypt’s president, agreed to a ceasefire with Israel, Gaddafi accused him of cowardice.
 
Between 1971 and 1980, Gaddafi made repeated attempts to unite Libya with various Arab countries. There was much talk of solidarity and occasionally papers were signed, but Gaddafi was always frustrated in his attempts to achieve a substantive union. In 1977 he actually fought a brief border war with Egypt, and in 1995 he threatened to expel 30,000 Palestinians from Libya to protest the Oslo Peace Accords signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. However, he suspended the program after expelling 1,500.
 
In 1981, two Libyan fighter planes attacked US forces on maneuvers in the Gulf of Sidra (which Libya claimed as national waters) and were shot down. Libya’s relations with the United States became even more hostile when it began to support international terrorist organizations. The United States placed a ban on Libyan oil imports in 1982. In 1986, in an apparent attempt to kill Gaddafi, President Ronald Reagan ordered air strikes against Tripoli and Benghazi in retaliation for the Libyan-sponsored terrorist attack in West Berlin that had killed two American servicemen.
 
In 1988, a bomb blew up on a Pan Am commercial airplane over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. International warrants were issued for the arrest and extradition to Great Britain of two Libyan suspects in the case, but the government refused to surrender them. Libya was also implicated in the similar 1989 bombing of a French UTA DC-10 over Niger in which 170 people died.
 
In 1989, it was discovered that a West German company was selling Libya equipment for the construction of a chemical weapons plant at Rabta. These actions, as well as the widespread belief in the United States and Europe that Gaddafi’s regime was responsible for terrorist activities, led to American and UN sanctions against Libya in 1992. In 1994, Libya pulled its troops out of the Aozou Strip, a mineral-rich region of northern Chad, after the World Court rejected its claim to the territory.
 
In 1995 there were clashes between Libyan security forces and members of Islamic groups in Libya.
 
The United States charged in 1996 that Libya was constructing a chemical weapons plant southeast of Tripoli and said Libya would be prevented from putting it into operation.
 
Beginning in the late 1990s Libya embarked on a series of moves designed to end its estrangement from Western nations. In April 1999, Libya handed over the suspects in the Lockerbie crash to the United Nations so they could be tried in the Netherlands under Scottish law. The UN sanctions were suspended, but those imposed by the United States remained in place.
 
In December 1999, Gaddafi pledged not to aid or protect terrorists. Libya agreed in 2003 to a $2.7 billion settlement with the families of the victims of the Lockerbie attack, and a revised settlement for victims of the UTA bombing led the UN Security Council lifting economic sanctions imposed more than a decade earlier.
 
In December 2003, after negotiations with the United States and Great Britain, the Libyan government renounced the production and use of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and agreed to submit to unannounced international inspections. In March 2004, Libya acknowledged that it had produced and had stockpiles of chemical weapons. As a result of these events, the United States lifted most sanctions and resumed diplomatic relations with Libya.
 
Libya Adds New Pieces to Its Nuclear History (by Peter Crail, Arms Control Association)
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Libya's Newspapers
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History of U.S. Relations with Libya

The United States’ stormy history with Libya got off to a violent beginning during the Barbary Wars. While America was a British colony, American ships were protected by the British navy, but when the United States won its independence, it lost British protection, and American merchant ships fell prey to the Barbary pirates along the coast of North Africa under the control of Yusuf ibn Ali Karamanli. The pirates captured the ships and enslaved their American sailors. In 1803, US President Thomas Jefferson sent the Sixth Fleet to blockade the harbor of Tripoli. Unfortunately, the USS Philadelphia ran aground. Its 308 sailors were forced to surrender and they were held hostage for 19 months until the US finally agreed to pay off Yusuf. These engagements eventually were immortalized in the Marine Corps hymn: “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.” 

 
The United States supported the UN resolution providing for Libyan independence in 1951 and raised the status of its office at Tripoli from a consulate general to a legation. Libya opened a legation in Washington, DC, in 1954. Both countries subsequently raised their missions to embassy level.
 
After Gaddafi’s 1969 coup, US-Libyan relations became increasingly strained because of Libya’s foreign policies supporting international terrorism and subversion against moderate Arab and African governments. In 1972, the United States withdrew its ambassador. Export controls on military equipment and civil aircraft were imposed during the 1970s, and US embassy staff members were withdrawn from Tripoli after a mob attacked and set fire to the embassy in December 1979. The US government designated Libya a “state sponsor of terrorism” on December 29, 1979.
 
Gaddafi opposed United States diplomatic initiatives and military presence in the Middle East. As a protest against Washington’s policies in Iran, the United States embassy in Tripoli was stormed and burned in December 1979. In the late 1970s, Washington blocked delivery to Libya of equipment judged of potential military value and in May 1981 ordered Libyan diplomatic personnel to leave the United States to prevent assassination of anti-Gaddafi Libyan dissidents. The most serious incident occurred in August 1981 when United States jets shot down two Libyan jet fighters during naval maneuvers in the Gulf of Sidra.
 
In May 1981, the US closed the Libyan “people’s bureau” (embassy) in Washington, DC, and expelled the Libyan staff in response to a “general pattern of conduct by the people’s bureau contrary to internationally accepted standards of diplomatic behavior.”
 
When Ronald Reagan became president in 1980, he seemingly chose Gaddafi as his favorite enemy and set about provoking him. The Reagan administration launched a campaign of disinformation that included the unsubstantiated charge that Gaddafi had plotted to kill Reagan. After his re-election in 1984, Reagan revved up his campaign against Gaddafi to include actual violence. The Americans prepared a plan called “Rose” that included an attack on Gaddafi’s personal barracks. In March, 1985, the US military carried out maneuvers off the coast of Libya and challenged Gaddafi’s version of the dividing line between Libyan and international waters. There was an exchange of fire and the US sank two Libyan patrol boats in the Gulf of Sirte, killing 72 sailors. The Americans also conducted bombing raids against radar and missile installations. 
 
In December 1985, Abu Nidal launched terrorist attacks at the Rome and Vienna airports. The Reagan administration blamed Gaddafi for backing the attacks, although US intelligence reports suggested that the Syrian government was more involved than the Libyans.
 
On April 5, 1986, a bomb went off at the La Belle disco in Berlin, a night spot frequented by American soldiers. Three people were killed, two of whom were American soldiers, and 229 people were injured, including 79 Americans. A few days later, the US officials announced that they had intercepted communication that implied that the La Belle bombing had been organized by members of the Libyan secret service operating out of the Libyan embassy in East Berlin.
 
In the early morning hours of April 15, 40 US warplanes based in Great Britain flew over Libya and bombed a barracks in Benghazi, a naval academy, a frogman’s training school and a camp for training Palestinian guerrillas. However, it was the final site that the Americans bombed that attracted international attention: Gaddafi’s personal compound at the Didi Balal naval base. Flying only 200 feet above the ground, the US fighters dropped 2,000-pound laser-guided bombs on Gaddafi’s residence. Remarkably, although they badly damaged his tennis courts, they missed Gaddafi, who was in his command center deep underground. The Americans did kill Gaddafi’s 18-month-old adopted daughter and injured two of his sons. In all, 101 people were killed.
 
Supporters of Ronald Reagan hailed the attack as a high point of his presidency, a demonstration of how terrorists should be dealt with. Reagan admirers declared that, “we never had to worry about Gaddafi again after that.” Unfortunately, the exact opposite was true. According to figures provided by the State Department, in 1985 Libya was involved in 15 acts of terrorism, twelve committed by Abu Nidal’s group. In 1986, the number jumped to 19 acts against non-Libyans, and Gaddafi began targeting Americans for the first time. A planned attack in New York in 1988 failed when a terrorist carrying bombs was stopped for a traffic violation in New Jersey. 
 
But then, on December 21, 1988, Gaddafi got his revenge against the United States when a bomb destroyed Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. On September 19, 1989, Gaddafi also gained revenge against the French for their support of the Chadian military rout of Libyan forces by blowing up UTA flight 772 over the Sahara Desert, killing 171 passengers and crew.
 
The Americans and the French demanded that Gaddafi turn over the perpetrators of these two crimes. When he refused, the United Nations imposed an air embargo against Libya and then froze Libyan funds held in other countries. The UN also banned the sale of equipment to Libya that could be used for oil or natural gas operations, although the sale of petroleum was allowed to continue. These sanctions gradually took their toll on the Libyan economy. 
 
In 1996, Gaddafi agreed to let a French investigative judge come to Libya and search the offices of the Libyan intelligence services. Miraculously, the judge found a suitcase just like those used in the bombing. The French convicted six Libyans in absentia including Gaddafi’s brother-in-law. 
 
In 1999, Gaddafi, in exchange for the lifting of UN sanctions, turned over to authorities two suspects in the Lockerbie case, Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fhiman. A Scottish court, operating in the Netherlands, held an 84-day trial that culminated in the conviction of al-Megrahi. Fhiman, on the other hand, turned out to be nothing more than an employee of Libyan Arab Airlines and he was acquitted. Gaddafi paid compensation to the families of the victims of both bombings, all sanctions were lifted, and oil companies and others enthusiastically recommenced business with Libya. 
 
As for the La Belle disco attack, after a four-year trial, in November 2001, a German court convicted a German diplomat, Musbah Abdulghasem Eter, and two Palestinians, Yasser Mohammed Chreidi and Ali Chanaa for aiding in the murder of those at La Belle. Verena Chanaa,, Channa’s former wife, was convicted of murder, and was charged with actually planting the bomb. Gaddafi himself escaped prosecution because the US and German government refused to share intelligence with the prosecutors.
 
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Current U.S. Relations with Libya

Noted Libyan-Americans
 

Jawal Nga was raised in Tripoli, Libya and graduated from New York University's Tisch School of Arts in 1996. He is a movie producer whose films include Forty Shades of Blue and Married Life.

Dr. Saddeka Mohammed Arabi is a social anthropologist and author who was born in Tripoli, Libya. Among her works, she examined the works of nine contemporary Saudi women writers and their influence on Arabic cultural discourse.
 
On December 19, 2003, Libya announced its intention to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. Since that time, it has cooperated with the US, the UK, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons toward these objectives. Libya has also signed the IAEA Additional Protocol and has become a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
 
In recognition of these actions, the US began the process of normalizing relations with Libya. The US terminated the applicability of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act to Libya and President Bush signed an executive order on September 20, 2004 terminating economic sanctions against Libya. This action unblocked assets that had been frozen for years.
 
US diplomatic personnel reopened the US Interest Section in Tripoli on February 8, 2004. The mission was upgraded to a US Liaison Office on June 28, 2004, and to a full embassy on May 31, 2006. Libya re-established its diplomatic presence in Washington with the opening of an Interest Section on July 8, 2004, which was subsequently upgraded to a Liaison Office in December 2004 and to a full embassy on May 31, 2006.
 
On May 15, 2006, the State Department announced its intention to rescind Libya’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism in recognition of the fact that Libya had met the statutory requirements for such a move: It had not provided any support for acts of international terrorism in the preceding six-month period and had provided assurances that it would not do so in the future. On June 30, 2006, the US removed Libya from the state sponsor of terrorism list.
 
In September 2008, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice became the highest-ranking American official to visit Libya in a half-century.
 
As of November 2008, Libya had paid $1.5 billion into a fund to compensate the families of American victims of Libyan-linked terror attacks in the 1980s, clearing the last hurdle in full normalization of ties between Washington and Tripoli. In exchange, President Bush signed an executive order restoring the Libyan government’s immunity from terror-related lawsuits and dismissing pending compensation cases.
 
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, was released on August 20, 2009, on “compassionate grounds” by Scottish authorities. Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence agent, had terminal cancer and was said to have less than three months to live. He had served eight years of the 27-year-minimum sentence. It was reported that his homecoming was a jubilant celebration, laden with Scottish and Libyan flags. Although some say the celebration was actually for the annual Libyan Youth Day, the Obama Administration condemned the welcome home.
 
Gaddafi was scheduled to attend the United Nations General Assembly’s political debate on September 23, 2009, and initially insisted that he use his tent as his accommodations. Libya maintains real estate in New Jersey that would have allowed the set-up of his tent, but the mayor and residents did not like the idea of him camping in such a populated area. In addition, dozens of families in the area lost loved ones in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Gaddafi has previously set up tents at the Garden of the Elysée Palace, the French presidential residence in Paris, in 2007 and in Rome’s Villa Doria Pamphili in June of 2009. Libyan officials finally agreed not to pitch a tent on Libyan property in New Jersey.
 
Although the US rescinded Libya’s status as state sponsor of terrorism, other impediments have arisen to discourage travel between the two countries. On November 11, 2007, Libya issued a requirement that all travel documents, including US passports need to be translated into Arabic. As of January 1, 2008, all foreign visitors to Libya must carry $1,000 in cash to enter the country.
 
A total of 715 Libyans visited the US in 2006, an increase of 32.7% from 2005. No figures are available for American visits to Libya in 2005 and 2006. Only 235 Americans visited Libya in 2004. 
 
With Libya Ties Strained, US Has Limited Options (by Elisabeth Bumiller, New York Times)
No ‘Hero Welcome’ In Libya (by Saif-Al Islam El-Qaddafi, New York Times Op-Ed)
Libya and the US: Qadhafi Unrepentant (by Mohamed Eljahmi, Middle East Quarterly)
The United States and Libya: Where Do We Go From Here? (by Michele Dunne, Carnegie Endowment)
Libya Completes Payments for US Terror Victims (by Matthew Lee, Associated Press)
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Where Does the Money Flow

US-Libyan trade has soared since Libya came off the US terrorism list and the last economic sanctions were lifted in 2006. Only three years earlier, the US imported absolutely nothing from Libya. By 2006, trade imports from Libya totaled about $2.5 billion; in 2007 they rose to $3.4 billion, in 2008 total imports jumped to $4.1 billion, before falling in 2009 to $1.9 billion.

 
U.S. imports from Libya are dominated by crude oil at $1.18 billion in 2009. Others imports included fuel oil, up from $1.72 million in 2005 to $3.45 million; liquefied petroleum gases, rising from $2.25 million to $2.89 million; and miscellaneous petroleum products, growing from $19.2 million to $37.0 million.
 
Meanwhile, Libya became the fastest-growing market for US exports in the world, increasing 419% to $434 million in 2006. The following year, total exports were valued at $510 million, in 2008 exports rose to $720 million, however in 2009 exports dropped to $666 million
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From 2005 to 2009, the largest exports included passenger cars, increasing from $4.78 million to $156.9 million; drilling and oilfield equipment, which rose from $26.4 million to $117.1; electric apparatus, which grew from $1.2 million to $36.3 million; and industrial engines, rising from $3.1 million to $32.3 million.
 
In 2008 Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalqam visited Washington, DC. His trip included a personal tour of the White House, an official escort on Capitol Hill and a luncheon with executives from Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Occidental Petroleum and Raytheon, as well as the US trade representative’s office. Shalqam cited oil, tourism, communications and information technology as sectors of the Libyan economy that are eager for US investment.
 
Given the recent rescission of Libya’s status as a state-sponsor of terrorism, aid money has only just begun flow from the US to Libya. Of the $3.9 million in aid budgeted for foreign operations in 2009, $1.4 million was directed towards Peace and Security, and $2.5 million went to Governing Justly and Democratically. In 2010, the US is giving an estimated $1.5 million in Foreign Military Financing, $3.3 million to International Military Education and Training, and $3.0 million to Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Programs. The US government projections for 2011 include $2.5 million in Foreign Military Financing $3.5 in International Military Education and Training, and $2.75 for Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Programs.
 
In 2010, funding for Peace and Security is going toward drafting strategic trade control laws, developing a strategic trade control list, and training for detection and identification of WMD-technology. Additionally, funding is being used to develop the Libyan Air Force transport fleet and the Coast Guard.
 
The bulk of US aid for Peace and Security in 2011 will go toward Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related programs. The US will focus efforts on training Libyan forces to identify and combat transnational terrorist networks. Additionally, the funding will be used to provide assistance to Libya to draft a strategic trade control law and develop a strategic trade control list. In 2011, US funding will provide training to Libya’s licensing system for strategic goods for import and export, train officers on WMD-related technologies, and provide inspection and detection equipment.
 
The funds for Foreign Military Financing will go to support the development of the Libyan Air Force transport fleet, supposedly to increase Libyan participation in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. The program will fund Libya’s membership in the C-130 technical coordination working group, based in Georgia, which works on the C-130’s technical and maintenance issue efforts. The C-130 is a military transport plane made by Lockheed Martin.
 
In 2011, the International Military Education and Training allocates funding to educate and training Libyan security forces, which primarily includes English language education that brings Libyan officers to the US.
 
Libya Officially Welcomed Back To the US Fold (by Robin Wright, Washington Post)
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Controversies

Gaddafi Insists on Tent on New Jersey Real Estate

Gaddafi was scheduled to attend the United Nations General Assembly’s political debate on September 23, 2009, and initially insisted that he use his tent as his accommodations. Libya maintains real estate in New Jersey that would have allowed the set-up of his tent, but the mayor and residents did not like the idea of him camping in such a populated area. In addition, dozens of families in the area lost loved ones in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. Gaddafi has previously set up tents at the Garden of the Elysée Palace, the French presidential residence in Paris, in 2007 and in Rome’s Villa Doria Pamphili in June of 2009. Libyan officials finally agreed not to pitch a tent on Libyan property in New Jersey.
Qaddafi Cancels Plans to Stay in New Jersey (by Anahad O’Connor, New York Times)
 
Vibrant Homecoming Stirs Controversy, Anger From Obama Administration
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, was released on August 20, 2009, on compassionate grounds by Scottish authorities. Megrahi had been convicted in the Lockerbie bombing, which killed 270 people and had specifically targeted Americans. Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence agent, had terminal cancer and was said to have less than three months to live. He had served 8 years of his 27-year-minimum sentence. It was reported that his homecoming was a jubilant celebration, laden with Scottish and Libyan flags. Although some say the celebration was actually for the annual Libyan Youth Day, the Obama Administration condemned the welcome home. US officials have noted that the incident has strained relations
No ‘Hero Welcome’ In Libya (by Saif-Al Islam El-Qaddafi, New York Times Op-Ed)
 
US Provides Military Training for Libyan Army
Perhaps the greatest testament for just how much the US-Libyan relationship has changed is the fact that Washington is now helping train Muammar al-Gaddafi’s military. As of FY 2008, the US Foreign Operations budget included $333,000 to finance International Military & Education Training (and another $350,000 in FY 2009) to “educate and train Libyan security forces as well as create vital linkages with Libyan officers after a 35-year break in contact.” The US reports the money will bring “Libyan officers to the United States and expose them to democratic practices and respect for human rights.” During the 1980s, the US branded Gaddafi a “madman” and his government one of the most dangerous supporters of international terrorism. But that has all changed, because of Libya’s “commitment to renouncing weapons of mass destruction; combating the rapidly growing terrorist threat posed by al-Qaeda in Libya and the region; and promoting professional, effective law enforcement and military services that respect international norms and practices,” according to the Bush administration.
 
Libya: US Must Reward Us
Attempts to forge closer bonds between the United States and Libya stalled in early 2008, as a top Libyan diplomat publicly expressed his government’s annoyance over not receiving more rewards from Washington for turning over a new leaf. Libya’s ambassador to the United States, Ali Aujali, complained in an interview with the Voice of America that his country is still waiting for its tangible “thank-yous” from Washington. “I think Libya is entitled, Libya deserves, better attention from the United States for what it did if we are really concerned about the proliferation about the weapons of mass destruction…The United States did not reward Libya for what it did. Libya did not get the reward that we were supposed to get,” he said. Libya’s re-entry into the good graces of the West in 2003 was hailed by the United States as a foreign policy success story. Analysts said Washington was pointedly trying to show countries like Iran and North Korea that good things can happen to a country that gives up ambitions to get weapons of mass destruction and stops backing terrorism.
US-Libya Rapprochement Stalls (by Gary Thomas, Voice of America)
 
US: Libya Backed Plot Against Saudi Prince
US officials did not deny suspicions that Libya’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi, plotted to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Abdullah. Abdurahman Alamoudi, an American citizen detained in the US over suspicions of financing Islamist groups such as Hamas, was quoted as the main source of the allegations against the Libyan leader. Alamoudi gave US police a large amount of information in an attempt to reduce his sentence.
 
Alamoudi reported that he had met Ghaddafi in person to discuss advanced plans to have Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah assassinated. Financing Islamist movements through a Libyan charity, Alamoudi claimed he was a key part of the network set up to orchestrate the assassination. US investigators reported the alleged assassination plot to central US and Saudi authorities, who later produced parallel information from other sources.
 
Libyan officials reacted with shock when they learned of the US-supported allegations. Foreign Minister Abdelrahman Mohamed Shalgam said his government was “surprised” and that “we deny it completely and categorically.”
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Human Rights

As much as the Bush administration tried to portray a new Libya to justify closer relations, the State Department continues to report that Gaddafi’s government has a poor human rights record. Citizens do not have the right to change their government. Reported torture and arbitrary arrest remained problems. The government restricted civil liberties and freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association. The government did not fully protect the rights of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees. Other problems included poor prison conditions; impunity for government officials; lengthy political detention; denial of fair public trial; infringement of privacy rights; restrictions of freedom of religion; corruption and lack of transparency; societal discrimination against women, ethnic minorities, and foreign workers; trafficking in persons; and restriction of labor rights.

 
Torture
According to the State Department, “on August 31, 2009 the NGO Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called for a credible and transparent inquiry into the reported 2007 trial and sentencing to death of three unnamed individuals for the 2005 killing of Daif al-Ghazal, a prominent opposition journalist and anticorruption activist.” In addition, “There were no developments in the case of Mohammed Adel Abu Ali, who died in custody in May 2008 after his return to the country when his asylum claim was denied in Europe. According to HRW, he was tortured in detention. London-based As-Sharq Al-Awsat reported that he belonged to the oppositionist "al-Tabu" Front for the Liberation of Libya.”
 
Abuse in Prisons
According to the State Department, “In July 2008 Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, son of Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, conceded that acts of torture and excessive violence had taken place in prisons. Al-Qadhafi denied government culpability, arguing that the individuals responsible for the torture had acted on their own initiative and were being tried within the legal system. At year's end there was no information released on the progress of trials.”Also“on April 19, 2009 Ashraf Ahmad Jum'a al-Hajuj drew attention to his suit against the Libyan government at a preparatory meeting for the Durban Review Conference, chaired by Libyan diplomat Najjat al-Hajjaji. Al-Hajuj, a Palestinian doctor, was arrested in 1999 on charges that he and five Bulgarian nurses working in Benghazi infected hundreds of children. In January 2008 he filed suit in France and at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, arguing he was tortured repeatedly in detention. According to his testimony, the torture included rape by a German shepherd, fingernails ripped off, and electric shocks.”
 
The State Department found that “the government reportedly held political detainees, including as many as 100 associated with banned Islamic groups, in prisons throughout the country, but mainly in the Ayn Zara, Jadida, and Abu Salim Prisons in Tripoli. In an August 31 report, HRW claimed dozens of political prisoners remained in jails. The same report noted that ‘a number’ of political prisoners had been freed since 2008. In 2008 human rights organizations and foreign diplomats speculated there were 2,000 political detainees, many held for years without trial.”
 
The State Department reported that “security forces reportedly subjected prisoners and detainees to cruel, inhuman, or degrading conditions and denied them adequate medical care. Foreign observers noted that many of those incarcerated had been acquitted or had served their sentences, but remained in internal security service prisons, likely due to unresolved differences between the internal security service administration that manages state security prisons and the General People's Committee for Justice, responsible for legal procedures and criminal detention facilities.”
 
Freedom of Sppech
The State Department noted that “the law provides for freedom of speech ‘within the limits of public interest and principles of the Revolution,’ but in practice the Publication Act of 1972 severely limits the freedoms of speech and of the press, particularly criticism of government officials or policy.” Additionally, “the government prohibited all unofficial political activities” and “the government owned and controlled virtually all print and broadcast media.” During the 2009the “government nationalized all privately owned news media, reversing the decision in 2007 to allow a few private media outlets.”
 
According to the State Department, “On January 19, the Geneva-based NGO Libyan League for Human Rights reported that six opposition Web sites operating abroad had been hacked, with some pages replaced with proregime content. It was unclear who was responsible for the actions. At the end of the reporting period, all sites remained inoperative.”
 
Freedom of Association and Religion
The government restricted the right of association and did not permit the formation of groups whose ideologies were inconsistent with the 1969 revolution. However, the government generally allowed people to practice religious freedom, but regulated mosques, religious schools and clerics to streamline the state-approved form of Islam. The State Department reported “al-Qadhafi has made statements denigrating Christians and Jews. In a March 2008 speech, echoing statements in a 2007 speech in which he declared that all those who did not practice Islam were ‘losers,’ al-Qadhafi said the Christian Bible and the Jewish Torah are forgeries and the original versions mentioned the Prophet Muhammad. Al-Qadhafi stated in a 2007 interview that ‘Jews will go extinct because everyone hates them.’”
 
Refugees
Libya is not particularly welcoming of refugees, admitting publicly through a brigadier general that “there are no refugees in Libya. They are people who sneak into the country illegally and they cannot be described as refugees. Anyone who enters this country without formal documents and permission is arrested.”In addition, “although the government did not target UNHCR-recognized refugees for forcible deportation, the government regularly and forcibly deported foreigners without properly screening refugees and asylum seekers from economic migrants.”
 
Women
The State Department found that “the law criminalizes rape. A convicted rapist must marry the victim, with her agreement, or serve a prison term of as long as 25 years. Women and girls suspected of violating moral codes were detained indefinitely without being convicted or after having served a sentence and without the right to challenge their detention before a court (see section 1.d.). They were held in ‘social rehabilitation’ facilities, in some cases because they had been raped and then ostracized by their families. The government stated that a woman was free to leave a rehabilitation home when she reached ‘legal age’ (18 years), consented to marriage, or was taken into the custody of a male relative.”
 
Additionally, they reported that “women constituted the majority of university students and graduates and made up almost one-third of university faculty.” Furthermore, “the government subsidized primary, secondary, and university education, and secondary education was compulsory through grade nine for both boys and girls. According to a 2003 UNDP report, 96 percent of school-age children attended primary school and most reached at least a sixth-grade level; 53 percent of girls and 71 percent of boys attended secondary school.”
 
General Repression
The State Department states that, “the country maintains an extensive security apparatus that includes police and military units, multiple intelligence services, local revolutionary committees, people’s committees, and “purification” committees. The result is a multilayered, pervasive surveillance system that monitors and controls the activities of individuals. Security forces had the authority to pass sentences without trial, particularly in cases involving political opposition.
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

A native of California, Chris Stevens arrived in Tripoli in June 2007 as Deputy Chief of Mission and became Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., in January 2008.

 
Stevens has BA and JD degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and Hastings College of the Law. He speaks Arabic and French.
 
Prior to joining the State Department in 1991, he taught English as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. Stevens then worked as an international trade lawyer in Washington, DC.
 
He has served in a number of posts in the region, including Riyadh, Cairo, Damascus, Tunis, and Jerusalem. He has also served in Washington, as a State Department Fellow on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and in positions in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and the Office of the Under Secretary for Political Affairs.
 
 
The Legation in Tripoli was established December 24, 1952, with Andrew G. Lynch as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.
 
Henry S. Villard
Appointment: Feb 7, 1952
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 6, 1952
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 24, 1954

Note: John N. Gatch, Jr., was serving as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim when the Legation in Libya was raised to Embassy status, Sep 25, 1954.
 
John L. Tappin
Appointment: Sep 25, 1954
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 16, 1954
Termination of Mission: Superseded, Mar 17, 1958
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 24, 1955.
 
John Wesley Jones
Appointment: Feb 5, 1958
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 17, 1958
Termination of Mission: Left Libya, Dec 20, 1962
 
E. Allan Lightner, Jr.
Appointment: May 3, 1963
Presentation of Credentials: May 27, 1963
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 30, 1965
 
David D. Newsom
Appointment: Jul 22, 1965
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 16, 1965
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 21, 1969
 
Joseph Palmer II
Appointment: Jul 8, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 9, 1969
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 7, 1972
 
Note: The following officers served as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim Nov 1972–Feb 1980: Harold G. Josif (Nov 1972–Dec 1973), Robert A. Stein (Dec 1973–Dec 1974), Robert Carle (Jan 1975–Aug 1978), and William L. Eagleton, Jr. (Aug 1978–Feb 1980). Eagleton was recalled Feb 8, 1980, and Embassy Tripoli was closed May 2, 1980.
 
Note: The United States established an Interests Section in Tripoli, Feb 8, 2004. It became the U.S. Liason Office on Jun 28, with Greg Berry as the Principal Officer.
 
Note: On May 31, 2006 the United States resumed diplomatic relations with Libya, and the Interests Section in Tripoli became an Embassy. Gregory L. Berry became Charge d'Affaires ad interim, serving until Oct 10, 2006. Charles O. Cecil succeeded him on Nov 15, 2006.
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Libya's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Aujali, Ali

Ali Aujali was named chief of the Libyan Interests Section in Washington, DC, in the spring of 2004 after serving as the chargé d’affaires to Canada from 2001 until 2004. He was then appointed as Libya’s Ambassador to the US on January 6, 2009.

 
Aujali began his diplomatic career in 1971 as third secretary at the Libyan Embassy in London. In 1976, he moved to the Libyan Embassy in Malaysia, where he served as first secretary until he was appointed ambassador in 1981. In 1984, he was appointed Libya’s Ambassador to Argentina, followed by a similar appointment in Brazil (1988-94).
 
Aujali served as Deputy Director-General of the Americas Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1994 until 1998, Director-General of the North and South Americas Department from 1998 through 2000, and Director-General of European affairs from 2000 until 2001. Before coming to the US, he served as the chargé d’affaires at the Libyan Embassy in Canada.
 

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Libya's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.

Libya’s Representative Office in the U.S.

2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 705
Washington
D.C. 20037
Phone: 1-202-944-9601
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U.S. Ambassador to Libya

Jones, Deborah
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Six months after the murder of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya, President Barack Obama has nominated career diplomat and Middle East expert Deborah K. Jones to succeed Stevens in Tripoli.

 

Born circa 1956, Jones grew up in New Mexico, earned a B.A. in History at Brigham Young University in 1978, and an M.S. in National Security Strategy from the National War College of the National Defense University in 1998, where she wrote a paper entitled, “A National Security Strategy in Plaid: The NSS as a Political Document,” assessing the Clinton Administration’s “National Security Strategy for a New Century,” which was released in May 1997. She has also studied Arabic at the Foreign Service Institute in Roslyn, Virginia, and at the State Department’s Field School in Tunis, Tunisia.

 

A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, Jones joined the U.S. Department of State in 1982. Early career assignments included two years as country director in the Office of Arabian Peninsula and Iran Affairs, service as staff assistant to Assistant Secretary Richard Murphy of the same office, a stint as desk officer for Jordan, and service in the State Department’s Operations Center and on its Board of Examiners. Early overseas postings included assignments in Baghdad, Iraq and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

 

During the 1990s, Jones bounced between the Middle East and Washington, D.C., serving as consular section chief at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria, from 1990 to 1991, and as consular section chief/regional consular officer at the embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 1992 to 1994. Back in Washington, she served as acting public affairs advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs from 1994 to 1995.

 

After earning her M.S. in 1998, Jones was named deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where she served from 1998 to 2001, returning to Washington to serve as the director of the Office of Arabian Peninsula Affairs and Iran from 2002 to 2004, and then as principal officer at the Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey from 2005 to 2007. 

 

Jones served her first ambassadorship from April 2008 to June 2011, as ambassador to Kuwait. She has been a scholar-in-residence at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC, since July 2011.

 

Jones is married to fellow Foreign Service officer Richard G. Olson, who has been ambassador to Pakistan since September 2012, and with whom she has two daughters. Jones speaks Arabic, Spanish and French.

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Six Months after Benghazi, Obama Names Libya Envoy (by Howard LaFranchi, Christian Science Monitor)

Obama Meets Libyan Premier and Names Envoy (by Michael R. Gordon, New York Times)

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Libya

Cretz, Gene
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Gene A. Cretz is a career diplomat who was nominated in July of 2007 by President W. Bush as the first US Ambassador to Libya since 1972. He is from Albany, New York, and he attended the University of Rochester, graduating in 1972 with a degree in English Literature.  He then received a Masters of Science Degree in Linguistics from the State University College at Buffalo in 1975.

 
Cretz served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kabul, Afghanistan from 1975-1977, and joined the Department of State in March 1981. His first Foreign Service tour was as General Services Officer and Consular Officer in Islamabad, Pakistan from 1982 until 1984. 
 
He returned to Washington and served one year in the Operations Center and one year as Staff Assistant in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA). From 1986 until 1988, Cretz was a political officer in Damascus, Syria,  which was followed by a tour as a political officer in New Delhi, India from 1988 though 1991.  After leaving India, Cretz served in Tel Aviv for three years where he was responsible for Arab affairs portfolio, including the Gaza Strip.
 
His second Washington assignment was in the Bureau of International Organizations as the officer responsible for Middle East Affairs at the United Nations.  From 1998-2001, he served in Beijing, China, where he was in charge of China's External Affairs portfolio.  In 2001 he transferred to Cairo, Egypt where he served as Minister-Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs. 
He returned to Damascus, Syria in August, 2003 as Deputy Chief of Mission and subsequently served as Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy until January 2004.  Most recently he has been the Deputy Chief of Mission in Tel Aviv from August 2004 until August 2007. 
 
Cretz speaks Dari, Urdu, Arabic and Chinese.  He is married to the former Annette Williams, a registered nurse from Union City, New Jersey.  The couple has two children, Jeffrey and Gabrielle.
 

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