Every country has its periods of ups and downs. There are some countries whose state has been in turmoil. Most often than not, these countries tend to lift itself from economical, political, and social quagmire through involvement in activities that proved to be essential in improving the dire conditions. A country such as Libya has also experienced many ups and downs through the years. But in the last six months, there were changes in the country’s political, economical, social, military, and international role. Politics Libya is a democratic country in North Africa. Its type of government is “Jamahiriya” which Col.
Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi coined. It means “state of the masses. ” Libya is governed by the populace through the local councils. On the other hand, Libya is an authoritarian state. The country forbids any political parties because Col. Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi believes that political cadres, or the revolutionary committees, guide the people’s congresses with the people’s committees. Past history showed that Libya’s people experienced being under varying degrees of foreign control. Some of the ancient cultures that ruled Libya were the Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, and Byzantines.
Libya became an independent country in 1951 after a resolution from the UN General Assembly (U. S. Department of State, 2007). Libya’s politics was mainly based on Qadhafi’s Green Book. The political philosophy it embraces indicates that socialist and Islamic theories are combined and the parliamentary democracy and political parties are rejected. As Qadhafi posed as the de facto chief of state, he held power through the support of a small group, including his relatives. The Libyans did not like Qadhafi’s control over them, as there have been radical elements which existed inside the Libyan power hierarchy (U.
S. Department of State, 2007). Libya heads the U. N. Security Council after years of being an “international pariah. ” Its representative, Giadalla Ettalhi, indicates that many issues will be considered as he assumes the role of being the president for the council (“Libya Heads UN,” 2008). Some of these issues are the support for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, of which reports indicated the civil nuclear deal that Libya signed with Russia (AFP, 2008), and the opposition in weapons of mass destruction (“Libya Heads UN,” 2008). Libya has also established relations with the United States as early as the 1940s.
However, this relation has been damaged due to the bombings which killed U. S. nationals. It was only in 2006 when the relationship between Libya and U. S. was restored. And in August 2008, a comprehensive claims settlement agreement served as the key for the relations between the two countries to be normalized (Al Jazeera, 2008). Social Issues Libya has its shares of social issues that have existed as far back as the nineteenth century. Traditional views such as the social status of men and women were also still preserved today. For instance, women are veiled and secluded during the puberty stage.
Qadhafi also believed that men and women are completely different, and that women’s roles revolve around household chores and nurturing their families. Women’s roles outside the household were limited. During Qadhafi’s rule, there were a series of social experiments which resulted to a unique political system (Advameg, Inc, 2007). Economics Libya has been once a poor country which has risen into being an extremely wealthy one due to the discovery of oil reserves and from the income from petroleum sales. The government takes hold of the socialist-oriented economy and controls oil reserves.
Oil resources comprise 97% of export earnings, 54% of the gross domestic product (GDP), and 75% of government receipts. Oil revenues are also the main source of foreign exchange. However, studies on the economy showed that Libya’s income is lost to corruption, production of weapons of mass destruction, armaments purchases, waste, and donations to developing countries to solicit the support of other countries to Qadhafi’s reign. Despite having very high per capita GDPs in Africa due to oil revenues and having a small population, the government mismanaged the economy which resulted to high inflation and increased import prices.
As a result, the country experienced a decline in the standard of living (U. S. Department of State, 2007). The government attempted to rectify and expand the country’s economy, aside from encouraging the participation of the private sector. However, these attempts proved inefficient due to the tight control over trade, credit, prices and foreign exchange. Also, there were reported cases wherein shortages in foodstuffs and basic goods were the results of incompetent resource allocations and restrictions on imports. Aside from these, limitations on outputs such as climatic conditions and poor soils hindered growth.
To make matters worse, the population growth and increase in income led to increasing food consumption. The United States’ emergence in the picture promised to boost Libya’s economy, as U. S. lifted the imposed economic sanctions on Libya (U. S. Department of State, 2007). This proved advantageous for Libya’s reforms. Recently, there was news regarding Libya’s membership application to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Oil will not be privatized, according to Shukri Ghanem, the Libyan prime minister. He emphasized that oil will be open for investment, and that the public sector will work with the private sector.
Moreover, Ghanem said that its application will be a big step in reforming the Libyan economy. The country will also seek to exercise better reforms (“Libya Asks to Join,” 2008). The oil sector proved to be fundamental for Libya’s economy as the country is open for private sector investments. This action aims to encourage Libyans to buy their shares in the companies that will invest. Moreover, Ghanem stated that reforms will be the way towards investment in local and foreign levels. The role of both the public and the private sectors are complementary in realizing Libya’s reforms.
Libya also spearheaded delving into an investment plan costing USD 35 billion for the years 2002 and 2005. Along with this, the country seeks that local and foreign capital share in investing in the fields of oil and industry. Moreover, Libya aims to further improve its economy by introducing liberalism and encouraging public and private sectors to participate. Finally, Ghanem expressed the “country’s integration in the world economy” by eliminating the economic restrictions in 1999 (“Libya Asks to Join,” 2008). Military
The military has an important role in maintaining Qadhafi’s regime (Advameg, nc, 2007). As early as 1969, the military rule over Libya was noticeable. Libya has been ruled by Qadhafi and the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) which consisted of 12 of his fellow army officers. Notably, Qadhafi and his military officers staged a coup which overthrew King Idris. The RCC ruled the new regime which aimed and succeeded at eliminating monarchy. The RCC was also assigned, by Qadhafi’s wishes, to execute and further search those who staged a coup attempt during 1984. This led to the rise of radical elements.
Years after the revolution, Qadhafi and the RCC overhauled Libya’s political system, economy and society (U. S. Department of State, 2007). Libya used to possess a fearsome armory. It contained fighter planes made from France and the Soviet and combat helicopters. There were also patrol boats, missiles and submarines, and countless armored personnel carriers. Due to the sanctions imposed by the United Nations and U. S. , Libya was not able to modernize its “76,000-strong military force, equipped mostly with weapons dating back to the 1970s” (GlobalSecurity, 2009).
Long before the end of King Idris’ reign, Libya has entered into treaties and agreements with countries such as Britain and United States to further its military purposes. One notable treaty was the Treaty of Friendship with Britain which indicates the reciprocal assistance during times of armed conflict. The treaty enabled Britain to use the military bases in Libya in exchange of military supplies and training (GlobalSecurity, 2009). Records show the many transactions Libya engaged with other countries to supply it with sophisticated military equipments, some of which were lethal. Aside from Britain and U.
S. , it turned to Italy, France, and Brazil for arms supply. Libya was accused of supporting international terrorism, which Qadhafi rejected. Qadhafi said that the American attitude was “puerile and unworthy of a great power” (GlobalSecurity, 2009). International Role Libya has come a long way. Its efforts to rejoin the international community have been under a lot of processes. Libya gained recognition after it eliminated programs on weapons of mass destruction and rejected terrorism. These two factors became the country’s foundation which catapulted it into being a leader in Africa (Johnson, 2008).
Libya was perhaps famous for claiming responsibility for the 1988 Pan-Am bombing which killed more than 200 people, many of which were U. S. nationals (Lynch, 2003). The bombing caused the UN to impose sanctions on Libya. The U. S. also imposed economic sanctions, which were only lifted recently. Libya has turned to establishing relations with other countries after years of being an international pariah. It became “visible on the world stage” (“Libya Heads UN,” 2008). Moreover, Libya was no longer among the U. S. ’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.
In fact, Libya became fervent in fighting terrorism. The country also assisted in stopping foreign fighters to Iraq. Libya has also contributed by working with its neighboring countries in fighting terrorism in regions such as Sahara and trans-Sahel (Johnson, 2008). Further, Libya showed its commitment to change by becoming a leader in Africa. T spearheaded humanitarian efforts by supplying food and other basic needs to Darfur. Side by side with the African Union Contact Group, Libya acts as a mediator in the conflicts in Chad and Sudan.
The country has also extended its development assistance to African countries. Additionally, Libya assisted in evacuating American citizens and Embassy personnel by providing flight clearances during the fight between the Chadian government forces and rebels. This act symbolized Libya’s role in the international community and the improving relations with the U. S. Libya has left its mark as being one of the countries that have developed after being a pariah for long. The country has made efforts to further improve and renew its infrastructure and economic reforms (Johnson, 2008).
Recent changes in Libya’s political and social, economic, military and international role were notable as they affected the country. Libya has been ruled by Col. Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi with the assistance of the members of Revolutionary Command Council, many of whom were military officers. Libya’s politics was patterned after the Green Book, wherein The socialist and Islamic theories are supported and accepted. Although he was not assigned an office, Qadhafi served as the de facto chief of state, and was supported by some of his supporters and relatives. However, Libyans did not much like his power over them.
Libya’s views on social issues were also influenced by Qadhafi. For instance, men differ from women in terms of biology and nature. Women have restricted roles compared with men. On the other hand, Libya has risen from being one of the poorest countries into being a wealthy one. This was due to oil reserves and petroleum sales. The country also encouraged the private as well as the public sectors to invest. However, the government’s mismanagement over its economy resulted to high inflation and increase in import prices. In military, Qadhafi used it to wield power over Libya.
There were also records of transactions made between Libya and other countries which supplied it with military hardware. Much speculation was made regarding the possibility of Libya supporting the international terrorism.
s AFP. (2008). Russia, Libya sign civil nuclear deal. ABC News. Retrieved January 14, 2009, from http://www. abc. net. au/news/stories/2008/11/02/2407780. htm Al Jazeera. (2008). Timeline: Libya-US relations. Aljazeera. net. Retrieved January 14, 2009, from http://english. aljazeera. net/focus/2008/09/20089313243374690. html Advameg, Inc. (2007). Culture of Libya.
Retrieved January 14, 2009, from http://www. everyculture. com/Ja-Ma/Libya. html GlobalSecurity. (2009). Military procurement. Globalsecurity. org. Retrieved January 14, 2009, from http://www. globalsecurity. org/military/world/libya/procurement. htm Johnson, A. (2008, September 8). Libya’s new role in the international community. Message posted to http://blogs. state. gov/index. php/entires/libya_international_community/ “Libya Asks to Join WTO, Liberalize Economy with Vibrant Private Economy, Active Public Role. ” (2008). Libya News.
Retrieved January 14, 2009, from http://news.marweb. com/libya/economics/libya-wto-liberalize-economy-private-economy-active-public. html “Libya Heads U. N. Security Council. ” 2008. CNN. com. Retrieved January 14, 2009, from http://edition. cnn. com/2008/WORLD/africa/01/03/libya. un/ Lynch, C. (2003). Deal reached with Libya on Pan Am bombing. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved January 14, 2009, from http://www. washingtonpost. com/ac2/wp-dyn/A52091-2003Aug12? language=printer U. S. Department of State. (2007). Background note: Libya. Retrieved January 14, 2009, from http://www. state. gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5425. htm