Published August 21, 2011
Libyan Leader Muammar al-Qaddafi
• Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi, 69, is the longest-serving leader in Africa and the Arab world.
• Qaddafi seized power in a bloodless coup in Sep. 1, 1969 at the age of 27.
• Qaddafi has held more than 14 different titles, often self-appointed – during his eccentric reign over Libya (ex.: King of Kings, Guide of the First of September Great Revolution, Dean of Arab Rules, Mad Dog of the Middle East).
• Qaddafi has served for 41 years, coming up on his 42nd anniversary on September 1st.
• Under his reign the ancient law of cutting off the hands of thieves was reinstituted.
• According to the CIA, Qaddafi suffers from "a borderline personality disorder" and is subject to episodes of "bizarre behavior".
• 1942: Muammar al-Qaddafi born near Sirte, Libya.
• 1969: Seizes power from King Idris in bloodless coup.
• 1970s: Qaddafi places family members and friends throughout key Libyan government posts and business sectors/
• 1977: Declares "people's revolution", creating the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah
• 1980s: Libya becomes haven for Arab terrorists under the direction of Qaddafi/
• 1986: Qaddafi targets US soldiers in Berlin disco attack, three killed; US bombs Tripoli and Benghazi, killing dozens/
• 1988: Qaddafi orchestrates killing of 270 people in bombing of Pan Am jet over Lockerbie.
• 2003: Libya takes responsibility for Lockerbie, renounces weapons of mass destruction.
• 2011: As the Arab Spring bloomed, small protests breakout in Benghazi – escalating to a state of open rebellion against Qaddafi in less than a month.
Sources: BBC News, Reuters, Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, CIA, U.S. Department of State.