Libya Description of Work: Muammar al-Qaḏḏāfī (born 1942) has been the de facto leader of Libya since a 1969 coup. Although Gaddafi holds no public office or title, he is accorded the honorifics "Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" or "Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution" in government statements and the official press. He is the world's fourth longest-serving head of state and longest-serving head of governmentMuammar Gaddafi is the Arab world's longest-serving leader. A shrewd operator, he survived several attempts on his life and reinvented Libya's system of government.
Gaddafi was the youngest child born into a peasant family, and grew up in the desert region of Sirte. He was given a traditional religious primary education and attended the Sebha preparatory school in Fezzan from 1956 to 1961.Gaddafi went on to study law at the University of Libya, where he graduated with high grades. He then entered the Military Academy in Benghazi in 1963, where he and a few of his fellow militants organized a secretive group dedicated to overthrowing the pro-Western Libyan monarchy. He was inspired by the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdul Nasser, who dominated Arab politics in the 1950s and 1960s and rose to presidency by appealing to Arab Unity.
The colonel came to power in a bloodless coup in 1969 against the ailing King Idris I. Unlike some other military revolutionaries, Gaddafi did not promote himself to the rank of general upon seizing power, but rather accepted a ceremonial promotion from captain to colonel and has remained at this rank.
A staunch Arab nationalist, Gaddafi based his new regime on a blend of Arab nationalism, aspects of the welfare state and what Gaddafi termed "direct, popular democracy," but met with little success. In the late 1970s Col Gaddafi introduced the jamahiriya - a system of governance based around "people's committees" and free of partisan politics. By the late 1980s he had given up his official titles to become leader of the revolution, while retaining absolute power. In the 1990s he turned his politics of unity to Africa and proposed a "United States of Africa". The concept later found form as the African Union.
Over the years Col Gaddafi has supported a broad range of militant groups, including the Irish Republican Army and the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Libya's alleged involvement in attacks in Europe in the 1980s triggered US military strikes in 1986. Dozens of people were killed, including the Libyan leader's adopted daughter.
Once regarded as a pariah by the West, Colonel Gaddafi began his return to the international fold after Libya settled the Lockerbie bombing claims and agreed to stop developing weapons of mass destruction.
Western politicians, including the British, Italian, French and German leaders, have since visited Tripoli.
(Information found at wikipedia.com and bbc.co.uk)