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
Commanders and leaders
Flag of King Idris I.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 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.

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.

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]

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 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.

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.

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

United Arab Republic 1958–1971 country in the Middle East

The United Arab Republic was a sovereign state in the Middle East from 1958 to 1971. It was initially a political union between Egypt and Syria from 1958 until Syria seceded from the union after the 1961 Syrian coup d'état -- leaving a rump state. Egypt continued to be known officially as the United Arab Republic until 1971.

Gamal Abdel Nasser Second president of Egypt

Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was an Egyptian politician who served as the second President of Egypt, 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.

Muammar Gaddafi Libyan revolutionary, politician and political theorist

Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar al-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.

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.

Idris of Libya King of Libya

Idris was a Libyan political and religious leader who served as the Emir of Cyrenaica and then as the king of United Kingdom of Libya from 1951 to 1969. He was the chief of the Senussi Muslim order.

Free Officers Movement (Egypt) A group of military officers that overthrew the Kingdom of 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.

Egyptian revolution of 1952 1952 revolution in Egypt

The Egyptian revolution of 1952, also known as the 1952 Coup d'état or 23 July revolution, began on 23 July 1952, by the Free Officers Movement, a group of army officers led by Mohammed Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser. The revolution 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".

Libya–Sudan relations Diplomatic relations between State of Libya and the Republic of the Sudan

The Libyan–Sudanese relations refers to the long historical relations between Libya and Sudan, both are Arab countries.

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.

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.

The Central Intelligence Agency have performed multiple surveillance activities in Libya, particularly following the 1969 Libyan coup d'état. These surveillance activities had a particular focus on US oil interests in the region, but quickly focused on the governance of Muammar Gaddafi and his hostility toward the United States. During the First Libyan Civil War, the CIA's focus turned to the [[Anti-Gaddafi forces|Libyan Rebels], of whom would eventually overthrow Gaddafi.

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.

The Arab Cold War was a period of political rivalry in the Arab world that occurred as part of the broader Cold War between, approximately, the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 that brought President Gamal Abdel Nasser to power in that country, and the 1979 Iranian Revolution which led Arab-Iranian tensions to eclipse intra-Arab strife. On one side were newly-established republics, led by Nasser's Egypt, and on the other side were traditionalist kingdoms led by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia.

"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.

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.

40th anniversary of the Libyan Revolution

The 40th anniversary of the Libyan Revolution was a ruby jubilee anniversary in the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya celebrated on 1 September 2009 in honor of the 1969 Libyan coup d'état.

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.