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The Islamic Legion (Arabic: الفيلق الإسلامي al-Faylaq ul-'Islāmiyyu) (a.k.a. Islamic Pan-African Legion) was a Libyan-sponsored pan-Arabist paramilitary force, created in 1972. The Legion was part of Muammar Gaddafi's dream of creating the Great Islamic State of the Sahel.
Arabic is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE. It is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. It is named after the Arabs, a term initially used to describe peoples living in the area bounded by Mesopotamia in the east and the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the west, in Northwestern Arabia and in the Sinai Peninsula. The ISO classifies Arabic as a macrolanguage comprising 30 modern varieties, including its standard form, Modern Standard Arabic, which is derived from Classical Arabic. This distinction exists primarily among Western linguists; Arabic speakers themselves generally do not distinguish between Modern Standard Arabic and Classical Arabic, but rather refer to both as al-ʻArabīyat ul-fuṣḥáStandard Arabic.
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.
Pan-Arabism, or simply Arabism, is an ideology which espouses the unification of the countries of North Africa and Western Asia from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea, which is referred to as the Arab world. It is closely connected to Arab nationalism, which asserts the view that the Arabs constitute a single nation. Its popularity reached its height during the 1950s and 1960s. Advocates of pan-Arabism have often espoused socialist principles and strongly opposed Western political involvement in the Arab world. It also sought to empower Arab states against outside forces by forming alliances and – to a lesser extent – economic co-operation.
Gaddafi, who had come to power in September 1969, was not only a Pan-Africanist, but according to Gérard Prunier an Arab cultural supremacist.His hostility to Chad's government of President François Tombalbaye was at least partly inspired by Tombalbaye's African and Christian background. It also led Gaddafi to drive the Toubou of Libya, who were considered 'black', from Fezzan and across the Chadian border. Gaddafi supported the Sudanese government of Gaafar Nimeiry, referring to it as an "Arab Nationalist Revolutionary Movement", and even offered to merge the two countries at a meeting in late 1971. Gaddafi's plans for the peaceful formation of an "Arab Union" were dashed when Nimeiry turned down his offer and negotiated the Addis Ababa Agreement ending the First Sudanese Civil War, fought with the Black, animist and Christian, South. Gaddafi's definition of "Arab" was broad, including the Tuareg of Mali and Niger, as well as the Zaghawa of Chad and Sudan.
Pan-Africanism is a worldwide movement that aims to encourage and strengthen bonds of solidarity between all indigenous and diasporan ethnic groups of African descent. Based on a common goal going back to the Atlantic slave trade, the movement extends beyond continental Africans with a substantial support base among the African diaspora in the Caribbean, Latin America, the United States and Canada. It is based on the belief that unity is vital to economic, social, and political progress and aims to "unify and uplift" people of African descent. The ideology asserts that the fate of all African people and countries are intertwined. At its core Pan-Africanism is a belief that “African people, both on the continent and in the diaspora, share not merely a common history, but a common destiny".
Arabs are a population inhabiting the Arab world. They primarily live in the Arab states in Western Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and western Indian Ocean islands. They also form a significant diaspora, with Arab communities established around the world.
Supremacism is an ideology which holds that a certain class of people is superior to others, and that they should dominate, control, and subjugate others, or are entitled to do so. The supposed superior people can be an age, race species, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, language, social class, ideology, nation, or culture, or any other part of a population.
In 1972, Gaddafi created the Islamic Legion as a tool to unify and Arabize the region. The priority of the Legion was first Chad, and then Sudan. In Darfur, a western province of Sudan, Gaddafi supported the creation of the Arab Gathering (Tajammu al-Arabi), which according to Gérard Prunier was "a militantly racist and pan-Arabist organization which stressed the 'Arab' character of the province." [ citation needed ]The two organizations shared members and a source of support, and the distinction between the two is often ambiguous.
Darfur is a region in western Sudan. Dar is an Arabic word meaning home of – the region was named Dardaju while ruled by the Daju, who migrated from Meroë c. 350 AD, and it was then renamed Dartunjur when the Tunjur ruled the area. Darfur was an independent sultanate for several hundred years, incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces in 1916. The region is divided into five federal states: Central Darfur, East Darfur, North Darfur, South Darfur and West Darfur. Because of the war in Darfur between Sudanese government forces and the indigenous population, the region has been in a state of humanitarian emergency since 2003.
This Islamic Legion was mostly composed of immigrants from poorer Sahelian countries, [ citation needed ] A French journalist[ who? ], speaking of the Legion's forces in Chad, observed that they were "foreigners, Arabs or Africans, mercenaries in spite of themselves, wretches who had come to Libya hoping for a civilian job, but found themselves signed up more or less by force to go and fight in an unknown desert."but also, according to a source, thousands of Pakistanis and some Bangladeshis who had been recruited since 1981 with the false promise of civilian jobs once in Libya. Generally speaking, the Legion's members were immigrants who had gone to Libya with no thought of fighting wars, and had been provided with inadequate military training and had sparse commitment.
The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian Savanna to the south. Having a semi-arid climate, it stretches across the south-central latitudes of Northern Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea. The name is derived from the Arabic word sāḥil meaning "coast" or "shore" in a figurative sense, while the name in Swahili means "coastal [dweller]" in a literal sense. However, this figurative use is unattested in Classical Arabic. The word might have been derived from the Arabic word sahl.
Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world’s sixth-most populous country with a population exceeding 212,742,631 people. In area, it is the 33rd-largest country, spanning 881,913 square kilometres. Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China in the northeast. It is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the northwest, and also shares a maritime border with Oman.
Bangladesh, officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's 8th-most populous country with a population exceeding 162,951,560 people. In area, it is the 92nd-largest country, spanning 147,570 square kilometres (56,980 sq mi). It shares land borders with India to the west and Myanmar to the east. It is also one of the most densely-populated countries in the world. Dhaka is its capital and largest city, and is also the economic, political and the cultural center of Bangladesh, followed by Chittagong, which has the country's largest port. Bangladesh forms the largest and eastern part of the Bengal region. The country's geography is dominated by the Bengal delta, the largest delta in the world. The country has many rivers and 8,046 km (5,000 mi) of inland waterways. Highlands with evergreen forests are found in the northeastern and southeastern regions of the country. The country also has the longest sea beach and the largest mangrove forest in the world. The country's biodiversity includes a vast array of plants and wildlife, including the endangered Bengal tiger, the national animal.
According to the Military Balance published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the force was organized into one armored, one infantry, and one paratroop/commando brigade. It had been supplied with T-54 and T-55 tanks, armored personnel carriers, and EE-9 armored cars. The Legion was reported to have been committed during the fighting in Chad in 1980 and was praised by Gaddafi for its success there. However, it was believed that many of the troops who fled the Chadian attacks of March 1987 were members of the Legion.[ citation needed ]
The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) is a British research institute in the area of international affairs. Since 1997 its headquarters have been Arundel House, in London, England. The 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index ranked IISS as the tenth-best think tank worldwide and the second best Defense and National Security think tank globally, while Transparify ranked it third largest UK think tank by expenditure, but gave it its lowest rating, 'deceptive', on funding transparency.
Gaddafi dispatched legionnaires to Uganda, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria,but the Legion was to be mostly associated with the Chadian–Libyan conflict, where already in 1980 7,000 legionnaires participated to the second battle of N'Djamena, where its fighting record was most noted for its ineptitude. To this force Benin's Marxist regime is said to have provided legionnaires during the 1983 offensive in Chad. At the beginning of the 1987 Libyan offensive into Chad, it maintained a force of 2,000 in Darfur. The nearly continuous cross-border raids that resulted greatly contributed to a separate ethnic conflict within Darfur that killed about 9,000 people between 1985 and 1988.
Uganda, officially the Republic of Uganda, is a country in East-Central Africa. It is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the south-west by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, shared with Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda is in the African Great Lakes region. Uganda also lies within the Nile basin, and has a varied but generally a modified equatorial climate.
Palestine, officially the State of Palestine, is a de jure sovereign state in Western Asia claiming the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as the designated capital, although its administrative center is currently located in Ramallah. The entirety of territory claimed by the State of Palestine has been occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War in 1967. Palestine has a population of 4,816,503 as of 2016, ranked 123rd in the world.
Lebanon, officially known as the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south, while Cyprus is west across the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon's location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland facilitated its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity. At just 10,452 km2, it is the smallest recognized sovereign state on the mainland Asian continent.
The Legion was disbanded by Gaddafi following its defeats in Chad in 1987 and the Libyan retreat from that country. But its consequences in this region can still be felt. Some of the Janjaweed leaders were among those said to have been trained in Libya,as many Darfuri followers of the Umma Party were forced in exile in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Legion was also to leave a strong impact on the Tuareg living in Mali and Niger. A series of severe droughts had brought many young Tuareg to migrate to Libya, where a number of them were recruited into the Legion, receiving an indoctrination that told them to reject their hereditary chiefs and to fight those governments that excluded the Tuareg from power. After the disbandment of the Legion, these men were to return to their countries and to play an important role in the Tuareg rebellions that erupted in the two countries in 1989–90.
Immediately prior to the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime, there were media reports that his hard-core of supporters included former members of the Islamic Legion who had been granted Libyan citizenship and remained in the country.
In an effort to realize Gaddafi's vision of a united Arab military force, plans for the creation of an Arab Legion have been announced from time to time. The goal, according to the Libyan press, would be to assemble an army of 1 million men and women fighters to prepare for the great Arab battle--"the battle of liberating Palestine, of toppling the reactionary regimes, of annihilating the borders, gates, and barriers between the countries of the Arab homeland, and of creating the single Arab Jamahiriya from the ocean to the gulf." In March 1985, it was announced that the National Command of the Revolutionary Forces Command in the Arab Nation had been formed with Gaddafi at its head. A number of smaller radical Arab groups from Lebanon, Tunisia, Sudan, Iraq, the Persian Gulf states, and Jordan were represented at the inaugural meeting. Syrian Baath Party and radical Palestinian factions were also present. Each of these movements was expected to earmark 10 percent of its forces for service under the new command. As of April 1987, there was no information confirming the existence of such a militia.
The Armed Forces of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya consisted of the Libyan Army, Libyan Air Force and the Libyan Navy and other services including the People's Militia. In November 2010, before the Libyan Civil War in 2011, the total number of Libyan personnel was estimated at 76,000 though that war wore the military's numbers away. There was no separate defence ministry; all defence activities were centralised under Gaddafi. There was a High Command of the Armed Forces. Arms production was limited and manufacturers were state-owned. Colonel Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr was the last minister of defence of the Gaddafi-era military.
The Baggāra are a grouping of Arab ethnic groups inhabiting the portion of Africa's Sahel mainly between Lake Chad and southern Kordofan, numbering over six million. They are known as Baggara in Sudan, and as Shuwa/Diffa Arabs in Chad and Nigeria. Their name derives from the Arabic word literally meaning "cattle herder".
The Janjaweed are a militia that operate in western Sudan and eastern Chad. Using the United Nations definition, the Janjaweed comprised Sudanese Arab tribes, the core of whom are from the Abbala background with significant recruitment from the Baggara people. This UN definition may not necessarily be accurate, as instances of members from other tribes have been noted.
The Sudan Liberation Movement/Army is a Sudanese rebel group active in Darfur, Sudan. It was founded as the Darfur Liberation Front by members of three indigenous ethnic groups in Darfur: the Fur, the Zaghawa, and the Masalit, among whom were the leaders Abdul Wahid al Nur of the Fur and Minni Minnawi of the Zaghawa.
Dr. Khalil Ibrahim was a Sudanese insurgent leader who was the founder of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).
The most recent Chadian Civil War began in December 2005. Since its independence from France in 1960, Chad has been swamped by the civil war between the Arab-Muslims of the north and the Sub-Saharan-Christians of the south. As a result, leadership and presidency in Chad drifted back and forth between the Christian southerners and Muslim northerners. When one side was in power, the other side usually started a revolutionary war to counter it.
Ahmat Acyl (1944–1982) was a Chadian Arab insurgent leader during the Chadian Civil War.
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".
The Chadian–Libyan conflict was a series of sporadic clashes in Chad between 1978 and 1987 between Libyan and Chadian forces. Libya had been involved in Chad's internal affairs prior to 1978 and before Muammar Gaddafi's rise to power in Libya in 1969, beginning with the extension of the Chadian Civil War to northern Chad in 1968. The conflict was marked by a series of four separate Libyan interventions in Chad, taking place in 1978, 1979, 1980–1981 and 1983–1987. In all of these occasions Gaddafi had the support of a number of factions participating in the civil war, while Libya's opponents found the support of the French government, which intervened militarily to save the Chadian government in 1978, 1983 and 1986.
The Libyan–Sudanese relations refers to the long historical relations between Libya and Sudan, both are Arab countries.
This is the bibliography and reference section for the Darfur conflict series. External links to reports, news articles and other sources of information may also be found below.
Kutum is a town in the Sudanese state of North Darfur. It lies 120 kilometers (75 mi) northwest of the state capital, Al-Fashir. The town is located along a wadi and therefore also known as Wadi Kutum. It lies north along the Marrah Mountains; the Kutum volcanic field is better known as the Tagabo Hills. As of 2006, it had a population of 45,000, predominantly of the Fur, Tunjur and Berti ethnicities. Kutum lies on one of the traditional north-south migration routes used by Darfuri pastoralists.
Throughout its history, Darfur has been the home to several cultures and kingdoms, like the mythical Tora or the Daju and Tunjur kingdoms. The recorded history of Darfur begins in the seventeenth century, with the foundation of the Fur Sultanate by the Keira dynasty. In 1875, the Anglo-Egyptian Co-dominion in Khartoum ended the dynasty. The British allowed Darfur a measure of autonomy until formal annexation in 1916. However, the region remained underdeveloped through the period of colonization and into independence in 1956. The majority of national resources were directed toward the riverine Arabs clustered along the Nile near Khartoum. This pattern of structural inequality and overly underdevelopment resulted in increasing restiveness among Darfuris. The influence of regional geopolitics and war by proxy, coupled with economic hardship and environmental degradation, from soon after independence led to sporadic armed resistance from the mid-1980s. The continued violence culminated in an armed resistance movement around 2003.
Daud Yahya Ibrahim Bolad was a Sudanese politician and rebel leader. He came from the Fur people of the Darfur region of the country. In the early 1970s, Bolad was nominated by the Islamist National Islamic Front to be the president of the Khartoum University Students Union (KUSU). He became the first KUSU president who was not from the Arab tribes along the Nile who dominate national politics. The position was seen as placing Bolad on the fast track to national political leadership as part of the 'western strategy' of Hassan al Turabi to gain the votes of Darfur and Kurdufan. Bolad's deputy and bodyguard at this time was Tayeb Ibrahim, nicknamed 'al Sikha' after the rebar with which he attacked student demonstrators. However, Bolad was arrested in 1971 by the police of then-President Jaafar Nimeiry for his high-profile militant activity and severely tortured.
Alexander William Lowndes "Alex" de Waal, a British researcher on African elite politics, is the executive director of the World Peace Foundation at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Previously, he was a fellow of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative at Harvard University, as well as program director at the Social Science Research Council on AIDS in New York City.
Ahmad Ibrahim Diraige is the former governor of the Sudanese province of Darfur and current head of the National Redemption Front alliance of rebel groups in the Darfur conflict. He currently resides in the United Kingdom.
The Toyota War or Great Toyota War was the last phase of the Chadian–Libyan conflict, which took place in 1987 in Northern Chad and on the Libyan–Chadian border. It takes its name from the Toyota pickup trucks used, primarily the Toyota Hilux and the Toyota Land Cruiser, to provide mobility for the Chadian troops as they fought against the Libyans. The 1987 war resulted in a heavy defeat for Libya, which, according to American sources, lost one tenth of its army, with 7,500 men killed and US$1.5 billion worth of military equipment destroyed or captured. Chadian losses were 1,000 men killed.
Operation Manta is the code name for the French military intervention in Chad between 1983 and 1984, during the Chadian-Libyan conflict. The operation was prompted by the invasion of Chad by a joint force of Libyan units and Chadian Transitional Government of National Unity (GUNT) rebels in June 1983. While France was at first reluctant to participate, the Libyan air-bombing of the strategic oasis of Faya-Largeau starting on July 31 led to the assembling in Chad of 3,500 French troops, the biggest French intervention since the end of the colonial era.
Chad–Libya relations have arisen out of centuries of ethnic, religious, and commercial ties.
The populations of eastern Chad and western Sudan established social and religious ties long before either nation's independence, and these remained strong despite disputes between governments. In recent times, relations have been strained due to the conflict in Darfur and a civil war in Chad, which both governments accuse the other of supporting.