1969 Libyan coup d'état

Last updated
1969 Libyan coup d'état
Part of the Arab Cold War
Nasser Qaddafi Atassi 1969.jpg
Gaddafi at an Arab summit in Libya, shortly after the September Revolution that toppled King Idris. Gaddafi sits in military uniform in the middle, surrounded by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser (left) and Syrian President Nureddin al-Atassi (right)
Date1 September 1969
Location
Result

Free Officers victory

Belligerents

Flag of Libya (1951).svg Kingdom of Libya

  • Flag of Cyrenaica.svg Cyrenaican Defence Force (CYDEF)

Flag of Libya (1969-1972).svg Free Officers Movement
Supported by:

Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Soviet Union [ citation needed ]
Commanders and leaders
Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Libya.svg Idris I
Flag of Libya (1951).svg Abdel Aziz El Shalhi
Flag of Libya (1951).svg Hasan as-Senussi
Flag of Libya (1969-1972).svg Muammar Gaddafi
Flag of Libya (1969-1972).svg Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr
Flag of Libya (1969-1972).svg Abdullah Senussi
Flag of Libya (1969-1972).svg Abdel Fatah Younis
Flag of Libya (1969-1972).svg Khalifa Haftar
Strength
Unknown 70
Casualties and losses
CYDEF: 1 killed, 15 wounded [1] 0

The 1969 Libyan coup d'état, also known as the al-Fateh Revolution or the 1 September Revolution, was a military coup d'état in Libya carried out by the Free Officers Movement, a group of military officers led by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, which led to the overthrow of King Idris I.

Coup détat Sudden deposition of a government

A coup d'état, also known as a putsch (German:), a golpe de estado (Spanish), or simply as a coup, means the overthrow of an existing government; typically, this refers to an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a dictator, the military, or a political faction.

Libya Country in north Africa

Libya, officially the State of Libya, is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west, and Tunisia to the northwest. The sovereign state is made of three historical regions: Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. With an area of almost 1.8 million square kilometres (700,000 sq mi), Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa, and is the 16th largest country in the world. Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world. The largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya and contains over one million of Libya's six million people. The second-largest city is Benghazi, which is located in eastern Libya.

Muammar Gaddafi Libyan revolutionary, politician and political theorist

Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi, commonly known as Colonel Gaddafi, was a Libyan revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He governed Libya as Revolutionary Chairman of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977, and then as the "Brotherly Leader" of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011. He was initially ideologically committed to Arab nationalism and Arab socialism but later ruled according to his own Third International Theory.

Contents

Background

The discovery of significant oil reserves in 1959 and the subsequent income from petroleum sales enabled the Kingdom of Libya to transition from one of the world's poorest nations to a wealthy state. Although oil drastically improved the Libyan government's finances, resentment began to build over the increased concentration of the nation's wealth in the hands of King Idris. This discontent mounted with the rise of Nasserism and Arab nationalism/socialism throughout the Arab world.

Oil reserves in Libya

Oil reserves in Libya are the largest in Africa and among the ten largest globally with 46.4 billion barrels as of 2010. Oil production was 1.65 million barrels per day as of 2010, giving Libya 77 years of reserves at current production rates if no new reserves were to be found. Libya is considered a highly attractive oil area due to its low cost of oil production, low sulfur content, being classified as "sweet crude" and in its proximity to European markets. Libya's challenge is maintaining production at mature fields, while finding and developing new oil fields. Most of Libya remains under-explored as a result of past sanctions and disagreements with foreign oil companies.

Kingdom of Libya 1951-1969 kingdom in Northern Africa

The Kingdom of Libya, called the United Kingdom of Libya until 1963, came into existence upon independence on 24 December 1951 and lasted until a coup d'état led by Muammar Gaddafi on 1 September 1969 overthrew King Idris and established the Libyan Arab Republic.

Nasserism Arab socialist and nationalist political ideology

Nasserism is a socialist Arab nationalist political ideology based on the thinking of Gamal Abdel Nasser, one of the two principal leaders of the Egyptian revolution of 1952 and Egypt's second President. Spanning the domestic and international spheres, it combines elements of Arab socialism, republicanism, nationalism, anti-imperialism, developing world solidarity and international non-alignment. In the 1950s and 1960s, Nasserism was amongst the most potent political ideologies in the Arab world. This was especially true following the Suez Crisis of 1956, the political outcome of which was seen as a validation of Nasserism and a tremendous defeat for Western imperial powers. During the Cold War, its influence was also felt in other parts of Africa and the developing world, particularly with regard to anti-imperialism and non-alignment.

Coup

On 1 September 1969, a group of about 70 young army officers known as the Free Officers Movement and enlisted men mostly assigned to the Signal Corps gained control of the government and abolished the Libyan monarchy. The coup was launched at Benghazi; and, within two hours, it was completed. Army units quickly rallied in support of the coup and, within a few days, military control was established in Tripoli and elsewhere throughout the country. Popular reception of the coup, especially by younger people in the urban areas, was enthusiastic. Fears of resistance in Cyrenaica and Fezzan proved unfounded. No deaths or violent incidents related to the coup were reported. [2]

Military communications military operations and doctrine regarding communications

Military communications or military signals involve all aspects of communications, or conveyance of information, by armed forces. Military communications span from pre-history to the present. The earliest military communications were delivered by runners. Later, communications progressed to visual and audible signals, and then advanced into the electronic age. Examples from Jane's Military Communications include text, audio, facsimile, tactical ground-based communications, terrestrial microwave, tropospheric scatter, naval, satellite communications systems and equipment, surveillance and signal analysis, encryption and security and direction-finding and jamming.

Benghazi City in Cyrenaica, Libya

Benghazi is the second-most populous city in Libya and the largest in Cyrenaica.

Tripoli Capital city in Greater Tripoli, Libya

Tripoli is the capital city and the largest city of Libya, with a population of about 1.158 million people in 2018. It is located in the northwest of Libya on the edge of the desert, on a point of rocky land projecting into the Mediterranean Sea and forming a bay. It includes the port of Tripoli and the country's largest commercial and manufacturing centre. It is also the site of the University of Tripoli. The vast Bab al-Azizia barracks, which includes the former family estate of Muammar Gaddafi, is also located in the city. Colonel Gaddafi largely ruled the country, from his residence in this barracks.

The Free Officers Movement, which claimed credit for carrying out the coup, was headed by a twelve-member directorate that designated itself the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). This body constituted the Libyan government after the coup. In its initial proclamation on 1 September, [3] the RCC declared the country to be a free and sovereign state called the Libyan Arab Republic, which would proceed "in the path of freedom, unity, and social justice, guaranteeing the right of equality to its citizens, and opening before them the doors of honourable work." The rule of the Turks and Italians and the "reactionary" government which were overthrown were characterised as belonging to "dark ages", from which the Libyan people were called to move forward as "free brothers" to a new age of prosperity, equality, and honour.

The Arab Socialist Union of Libya was a political party in Libya from 1971 to 1977 led by Muammar Gaddafi.

Libyan Revolutionary Command Council

The Libyan Revolutionary Command Council was the twelve-person governing body that ruled the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977. Its chairman was Muammar Gaddafi, who had the most influence.

Sovereign state Political organization with a centralized independent government

In international law, a sovereign state, sovereign country, or simply state, is a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent on nor subjected to any other power or state.

The RCC advised diplomatic representatives in Libya that the revolutionary changes had not been directed from outside the country, that existing treaties and agreements would remain in effect, and that foreign lives and property would be protected. Diplomatic recognition of the new government came quickly from countries throughout the world. United States recognition was officially extended on 6 September.

Treaty Express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law

A treaty is an agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an (international) agreement, protocol, covenant, convention, pact, or exchange of letters, among other terms. Regardless of terminology, all of these forms of agreements are, under international law, equally considered treaties and the rules are the same.

Post-coup events

In view of the lack of internal resistance, it appeared that the chief danger to the new government lay in the possibility of a reaction inspired by the absent King Idris or his designated heir, Hasan ar Rida, who had been taken into custody at the time of the coup along with other senior civil and military officials of the royal government. Within days of the coup, however, Hasan publicly renounced all rights to the throne, stated his support for the new government, and called on the people to accept it without violence.

Inheritance practice of passing on property upon the death of individuals

Inheritance is the practice of passing on property, titles, debts, rights, and obligations upon the death of an individual. The rules of inheritance differ among societies and have changed over time.

Hasan as-Senussi Crown Prince of Libya

Sayyid Hasan ar-Rida al-Mahdi as-Senussi was the crown prince of the Kingdom of Libya from 26 October 1956 to 1 September 1969, when the monarchy was abolished.

Idris, in an exchange of messages with the RCC through Egypt's President Nasser, dissociated himself from reported attempts to secure British intervention and disclaimed any intention of coming back to Libya. In return, he was assured by the RCC of the safety of his family still in the country. At his own request and with Nasser's approval, Idris took up residence once again in Egypt, where he had spent his first exile and where he remained until his death in 1983.

On 7 September 1969, the RCC announced that it had appointed a cabinet to conduct the government of the new republic. An American-educated technician, Mahmud Sulayman al-Maghribi, who had been imprisoned since 1967 for his political activities, was designated prime minister. He presided over the eight-member Council of Ministers, of whom six, like Maghrabi, were civilians and two – Adam Said Hawwaz and Musa Ahmad – were military officers. Neither of the officers was a member of the RCC.

The Council of Ministers was instructed to "implement the state's general policy as drawn up by the RCC". The next day the RCC promoted Captain Gaddafi to colonel and appointed him commander-in-chief of the Libyan Armed Forces. Although RCC spokesmen declined until January 1970 to reveal any other names of RCC members, it was apparent from that date onward that the head of the RCC and new de facto head of state was Gaddafi.

Analysts were quick to point out the striking similarities between the Libyan military coup of 1969 and that in Egypt under Nasser in 1952, and it became clear that the Egyptian experience and the charismatic figure of Nasser had formed the model for the Free Officers Movement. As the RCC in the last months of 1969 moved to institute domestic reforms, it proclaimed neutrality in the confrontation between the superpowers and opposition to all forms of colonialism and imperialism.

It also made clear Libya's dedication to Arab unity and to the support of the Palestinian cause against Israel. The RCC reaffirmed the country's identity as part of the "Arab nation" and its state religion as Islam. Parliamentary institutions from the kingdom were dissolved with legislative functions being assumed by the RCC, and the prohibition against political parties was continued, in effect from 1952.

The new government categorically rejected communism – in large part because it was atheist – and officially espoused an Arab interpretation of socialism that integrated Islamic principles with social, economic, and political reform.

See also

Related Research Articles

Gamal Abdel Nasser Second president of Egypt

Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt, serving from 1954 until his death in 1970. Nasser led the 1952 overthrow of the monarchy and introduced far-reaching land reforms the following year. Following a 1954 attempt on his life by a Muslim Brotherhood member, he cracked down on the organization, put President Mohamed Naguib under house arrest and assumed executive office. He was formally elected president in June 1956.

Senussi Muslim political-religious tariqa (Sufi order) and clan in colonial Libya and the Sudan region

The Senussi or Sanusi are a Muslim political-religious tariqa and clan in colonial Libya and the Sudan region founded in Mecca in 1837 by the Grand Senussi, the Algerian Muhammad ibn Ali as-Senussi. Senussi was concerned with what he saw as both the decline of Islamic thought and spirituality and the weakening of Muslim political integrity.

Free Officers Movement (Egypt)

The Free Officers were a group of Egyptian nationalist officers in the armed forces of Egypt and Sudan that instigated the Egyptian Revolution of 1952. Initially started as a small rebellion military cell under Abdel Moneim Abdel Raouf, which included Gamal Abdel Nasser, Hussein Hamouda, Khaled Mohieddin, Kamal el-Din Hussein, Salah Nasr, Abdel Hakim Amer, and Saad Tawfik, it operated as a clandestine movement of junior officers during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Muhammad Naguib joined the Free Officers in 1949, after the war, and became their official leader during the turmoil leading up the republican revolution because of the hero status he had earned during the war, and his influence in the army.

Federation of Arab Republics former country

The Federation of Arab Republics was an attempt by Muammar Gaddafi to merge Libya, Egypt and Syria in order to create a United Arab state. Although approved by a referendum in each country on 1 September 1971, the three countries disagreed on the specific terms of the merger. The federation lasted from 1 January 1972 to 19 November 1977.

Egyptian revolution of 1952 1952 revolution in Egypt

The Egyptian coup d'état of 1952, also known as the 1952 Coup d'état or July 23 revolution, began on July 23, 1952, by the Free Officers Movement, a group of army officers led by Mohammed Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser. The coup was initially aimed at overthrowing King Farouk.

The Revolutionary Command Council was the body established to supervise the Republic of Egypt and Anglo-Egyptian Sudan after the Revolution of 1952. It initially selected Ali Maher Pasha as Prime Minister, but forced him to resign after conflict over land reform. At that time, the Council took full control of Egypt. The RCC controlled the state until 1954, when the Council dissolved itself.

History of Libya under Muammar Gaddafi Libyas History under Muammar Gaddafi

Muammar Gaddafi became the de facto leader of Libya on 1 September 1969 after leading a group of young Libyan military officers against King Idris I in a bloodless coup d'état. After the king had fled the country, the Libyan Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) headed by Gaddafi abolished the monarchy and the old constitution and established the Libyan Arab Republic, with the motto "freedom, socialism and unity".

Abdel Latif Boghdadi (politician) Egyptian politician

Abdel Latif Boghdadi or Abd el-Latif el-Baghdadi was an Egyptian politician, senior air force officer, and judge. An original member of the Free Officers Movement which overthrew the monarchy in Egypt in the 1952 Revolution, Boghdadi later served as Gamal Abdel Nasser's vice president. The French author Jean Lacouture called Boghdadi "a robust manager" who only lacked "stature comparable to Nasser's." The two leaders had a fallout over Nasser's increasingly socialist and pro-USSR policies and Boghdadi subsequently withdrew from political life in 1964, although he mended ties with Nasser before the latter's death in 1970.

Khaled Mohieddin Egyptian politician

Khaled Mohieddine was an Egyptian politician and a major in the Egyptian Army. He participated in the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, as a member of the Free Officers Movement, which overthrew the monarchy then under the rule of King Farouk.

1971 Sudanese coup détat

The 1971 Sudanese coup d'état was a short-lived communist-backed coup, led by Major Hashem al Atta, against the government of President Gaafar Nimeiry. The coup took place on 19 July 1971, toppling the government of the Democratic Republic of the Sudan, but failed to garner support either domestically or internationally. After several days Nimeiry loyalists launched a counter-coup, freeing Nimeiry and toppling Atta's government.

Arab Cold War series of conflicts in the Arab world between the new republics led by Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and the more traditionalist kingdoms led by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia

The Arab Cold War was a series of conflicts in the Arab world that occurred as part of the broader Cold War between, roughly, the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 that brought President Gamal Abdel Nasser to power there, and the period after his death in 1970.

"Libya, Libya, Libya", also known as "Ya Beladi'", is the national anthem of Libya since 2011; it was previously the national anthem from 1951 to 1969. It was composed by Mohammed Abdel Wahab, in 1951, with the lyrics themselves being written by Al Bashir Al Arebi.

Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution unofficial title held by former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi

The Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution was an unofficial title held by former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who claimed to be merely a symbolic figurehead of the country's official governance structure. However, critics have long described him as a demagogue, referring to his position as the de facto former political office, despite the Libyan state's denial of him holding any power.

The Day of Revenge was a Libyan holiday celebrating the expulsion of Jews and Italians from Libyan soil in 1970.

Libyan Arab Socialist Baath Party

The Libyan Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party was a political party in Libya founded in the 1950s by Amr Taher Deghayes. It was the Libyan regional branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party. Following the 1966 split it was affiliated with Iraq-led Ba’ath Party.

The Libyan Armed Forces is the state organisation responsible for the defence of Libya. Currently, since the start of the Second Libyan Civil War in 2014, it has been led by the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, but remains highly divided. The GNA has ground, air, naval, and coast guard forces under its command. In effect, only the Libyan Navy is fully under the GNA Presidential Council's command, while the army consists of disorganised and undisciplined militia groups and the air force is split up among multiple factions, including the Libyan National Army (LNA) of the rival government in Tobruk.

The Cultural Revolution in Libya was a period of political and social change in Libya. It started with Gaddafi's declaration of a cultural revolution during a speech in Zuwara on 15 April 1973. This came after increasing tensions between Gaddafi and his colleagues in the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) had led him to agree to step down. Gaddafi had told the RCC that he would announce his resignation to the people at the Zuwara speech, but he instead surprised them with his declaration of the Cultural Revolution. By the end of the Cultural Revolution period, Gaddafi was the uncontested leader of Libya.

References

  1. Cyrenaican Defence Force Archived October 8, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Leigh Ingram-Seal
  2. BBC News: 1969: Bloodless coup in Libya
  3. "First Decree of the revolution". (1 September 1969) at EMERglobal Lex for the Edinburgh Middle East Report. Retrieved 31 March 2010.