Libmonster ID: U.S.-1295
Author(s) of the publication: A. B. PODTSEROB

In the fall of 2012, on the first anniversary of the assassination of the leader of the Libyan revolution Muammar Gaddafi, the head of the Russian-Arab Dialogue Research Center of the Institute of Political Science of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Historical Sciences A. Z. Egorin, published a book about the civil war in Libya- " The Overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. The Libyan Diary 2011-2012 " (Moscow, IV RAS, 2012). This work continues the research of Russian Arabists on the events of 2011-2012 that led to significant changes in individual countries of the Middle East and North Africa and in the geopolitical situation in this region as a whole.

A. Yegorin knows the Arab world well, where he spent 12 years. 1974-1980 he was an adviser to the Soviet Embassy in Libya, which was important for his subsequent scientific work, since it is not easy to understand this unusual country without living there. Of the 30 monographs he wrote, 11 were devoted to Libya.

His new book is a combination of analysis and chronicle notes. It follows the course of events day after day, and sometimes even hour after hour: the beginning of the civil war, the intervention of NATO, the brutal murder of Gaddafi and one of his sons, the tragic death of two other sons and three grandchildren under NATO bombs, and, finally, the ruin of the once-prosperous country.

The materials collected by the author show the danger of a simplified approach to the civil war in Libya: The events in this country were allegedly caused by the desire of citizens for Western-style democracy, the indignation of the Libyan people over the long-term dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi, etc.

Meanwhile, the author provides evidence that the protests that began in Benghazi from the very beginning were not peaceful at all - militant groups were operating there, that M. Gaddafi did not immediately throw the army against the rebels, hoping to solve the problem peacefully.

The real reason for the protests that began in February 2011, A. Yegorin considers, first of all, serious imbalances in the country's economy that had arisen by that time. A significant role was also played by the fact that the benefits granted to foreign capital turned the national medium and large businesses against the regime, which lost its dominant positions in tourism, services, oil, construction, and medicine.

General discontent was also caused by the dominance of the bureaucracy, which A. Yegorin calls "the most terry in the world." The authorities had to dismiss 600 thousand of the 1 million civil servants, which, of course, did not add to their popularity.

At the same time, A. Yegorin criticizes the "big social experiment" carried out by M. Gaddafi, as a result of which Libyans are used to working only in the morning and no more than five days a week. According to the author, this mentality was one of the reasons that predetermined the failure of the transformations carried out by Gaddafi.

At the same time, the author overlooked another factor that also seems to have been an important cause of the explosion - the discontent of the top tribes of Cyrenaica with the fact that they were excluded from participating in the division of the "state pie".

A. Yegorin pays special attention to the course of military operations. From the materials he cites, a fairly clear picture of the civil war is formed. A war in which the rebels were able to win only thanks to the intervention of NATO, whose aircraft made more than 10 thousand raids on Libya.

The book provides an opportunity to get an idea of the death of Muammar Gaddafi. The convoy in which it was located was bombed by French aircraft, which was brought to the target by a group of American special forces. The survivors were finished off by the "European-looking military", and the wounded Gaddafi was handed over to the "fighters for democracy", by whom he was brutally killed.

This book also gives the reader an idea of modern propaganda warfare. In particular, the point of view of the head of the Center for Middle East Studies of the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation is given,

* Among them - the Libyan Revolution (Moscow, Nauka, 1989); History of Libya. XX century (Moscow, YVES RAS, 1999); Senussis in the history of Libya (1843-1969) (Moscow, YVES RAS, 2006); Muammar Gaddafi (Moscow, YVES RAS, 2009).

page 73

Former Soviet Ambassador to Libya O. G. Peresypkin: The UN Security Council adopted resolutions 1970 and 1973 based on information, or rather disinformation, spread by Western agencies. According to the author himself, "the Libyan drama, although chaotic, was manageable by international and domestic players who turned this North African platform into a testing field, military-political and electronic information testing grounds."

The monograph covers the entire period of Gaddafi's stay in power. The book is preceded by a" Prologue " - an essay on the history of Libya in 1943-2000: it tells about the expulsion of Italian colonialists from this country by the Allies, the coming to power of King Idris, his overthrow in 1969, the proclamation of the republic and its transformation in 1977 into the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (VSNLAD).

The 1980s were the period of the highest flourishing of left-wing radical tendencies in Libya. However, soon enough, the failure of Gaddafi's experiments forced the Libyan leader to liberalize the economy, announcing "Jamahiriya restructuring" and " capitalizing on socialism." In the chapter "The Jamahiriya at the start of the new century", the author analyzes the internal and foreign policy of the NAFLD in the years leading up to the civil war.

A. Yegorin draws attention to the appeal of the leader of the organization "Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb" (AQIM) Mukhtar bil-Mukhtar to the Libyan Salafists not to hand over their weapons, since they will need them to establish an Islamic regime in the country, the threat of decentralization of Libya, and the fact that the Government of the Republic of Libya will not be able to continued interference in its affairs by the Gulf States, in particular, Qatar.

As the author states, yesterday's anti-Gaddafi allies after the victory turned into opponents, without hesitation resorting to weapons to resolve controversial issues. Their confrontation begins to escalate into a new civil war. At the same time, A. Yegorin believes that "the patchwork Libyan blanket woven by King Idris" may crack at the seams if the central government weakens and tribal wars resume. Current events in the country confirm the validity of this forecast.

The book ends with a "Conclusion" in which the author compares the fate of four " great sons of the desert "who led the resistance to the Italian colonialists - Ahmed ibn Sherif and Omar al-Mukhtar, the head of the Senussi order of King Idris, who was a" master of political compromises", and overthrew Gaddafi.

Considering the development of Libya after the September Revolution of 1969, A. Yegorin shows how the country's socio-economic structure underwent a double change-first on the basis of the "National Charter" of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and then the "Third world theory" of Muammar Gaddafi. The author believes that the relatively rapid rejection of Nasserism by the Libyan leader was due to the significant differences between the Libyan society and the Egyptian one. These are, first of all, the difference in the conditions of existence of the population of the coastal regions and the Sahara, the differences between the three historical regions - Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan, the irreconcilable struggle of clans for power, and the significant influence of religion.

A. Yegorin also touches on such a little-known topic as the fate of the Libyan Tuaregs. He rightly notes that the regime has done a lot for this nation and, of course, the Tuaregs supported Gaddafi during the civil war. After the fall of the Jamahiriya, they fled from persecution to Niger and Mali, where their appearance led to a destabilization of the situation.

Of considerable interest is the "Epilogue. The Gaddafi phenomenon." The author of the monograph had the opportunity to repeatedly personally observe the Libyan leader. He describes him as "an extraordinary person of post-monarchical Libya", as "a messenger of the desert" and "a revolutionary autocrat who did not recognize any world authorities, parliaments, or parties, but respected the dignity of ordinary Libyans, to whom he gave half of the oil revenues for social needs." Yegorin, " almost all my life I stood on the precipice to immortality. And, in the end, he determined his own place in history."

A. Yegorin gives a picture of the evolution of the Libyan leader's views from Nasserism to the development of his own "third world theory", noting the influence of the works of Western and Russian radicals on its formation. The inclusion of Gaddafi's "Words of Farewell" (i.e., the will) in this section is very successful-an amazing document in terms of strength.

Analyzing the foreign policy of Libya, the author calls it "anti-imperialist", noting that the radicalist "overlaps" allowed by Gaddafi ultimately led to serious consequences for the Jamahiriya, which was in the international blockade in the 1990s. A. Egorin points out the difference in Gaddafi's foreign policy until the beginning of the XXI century. when he appeared to the world (it would be more accurate to say - the West) as a symbol of evil, and later, when the Libyan leader began to look "like a lost wanderer who knocked on the gates of the civilized world", which, however, did not save him from repeating the fate of President Saddam Hussein.

Unfortunately, the author has not revealed in sufficient detail the provisions of the" third world theory " of Muammar Gaddafi, which, although utopian, is nevertheless a curious concept, acquaintance with which is necessary for a better understanding of the policy of the Libyan leader.

page 74

In order for the reader to get a more complete picture of the national character of the Libyans, we should, in our opinion, tell more about their heroic struggle against the Italian colonialists, which lasted a quarter of a century. But it is their national character that largely explains the steadfastness with which Gaddafi's supporters fought during the recent civil war.

The author's conclusion that Libya was "unsubstantiated" as the culprit of the 1988 Pan American plane crash seems indisputable. The evidence presented by the Americans to the UN Security Council at that time about the involvement of Libyans in this terrorist attack - as well as the evidence presented by the French in the 1989 bombing of the UTAH plane - looked, in our opinion, quite convincing.

The work would only benefit if A. Yegorin paid more attention to the Salafist groups in the events that took place, first of all - the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, the participation of Al-Qaeda and AQIM militants in the fighting.

In general, it should be noted that with his new book, the author contributes to a deeper understanding of the events in Libya, the role of Western powers in them, and the personality of such an unusual person and statesman as Gaddafi. Thus, he contributed to the further study of not only Libya, but also the events of the Arab troubles of 2011-2012 and their consequences.

The main conclusion that follows from the work of A. Egorin is that the "game of nations" is subject to strict laws and no personal relations established between the heads of state do not cancel the rules of this game. Muammar Gaddafi's tragic mistake was that, having established friendly relations with the United States and Western European powers, he forgot who he was dealing with, decided that there was no need to fear a repeat of what happened in Iraq in Libya and that he would not suffer the fate of Saddam Hussein.

This position is all the more surprising because, speaking in 2008 in Damascus at a meeting of the Arab League Council at the highest level, he warned Arab leaders, reminding them that S. Hussein was first listed among Washington's friends, and then, when he became objectionable, he was removed. But he believed the smiles of the leaders of Western powers, and the price of this mistake was the fall of the unusual state he created - the Jamahiriya and the death of Muammar bin Mohammed Gaddafi himself.

A. B. PODTSEROB, Candidate of Historical Sciences Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences


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A. B. PODTSEROB, A BOOK ABOUT THE DEMISE OF THE JAMAHIRIYA // New-York: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 14.09.2023. URL: (date of access: 25.04.2024).

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