Libya. The year was marked by progress on the road to democracy but also by bloody clashes between different militia groups. In the elections for a transitional parliament on July 7, 200 seats were at stake, 80 of them reserved for party-linked candidates and 120 for independence. The Liberal National Forces Alliance (NFA), largely a continuation of the National Transitional Council (NTC) that has ruled Libya since the 2011 revolution, became the largest party with 39 of the party mandates. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Reconciliation Party took 17 party mandates, fewer than expected.
The choice was on the whole free, fair and peaceful. Of those entitled to vote, 83% registered, and 62% of them were reported to have voted. Under a new electoral law, the parties would launch an equal number of candidates from each gender; yet only 33 women got seats in parliament. The task of Parliament was to formulate laws and form a government, but not, as initially planned, to appoint the body that would draft a new constitution – this body would instead be appointed in a separate election.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Provides most commonly used acronyms and abbreviations for Libya. Also includes location map, major cities, and country overview.
In September, the new Prime Minister elected Mustafa Abu Shagur, a recognized al-Khaddafikrit optics engineer. However, he failed to form a government and the mission passed on to Ali Zidan, an old diplomat who had resigned from the al-Khaddafi regime in 1980. He succeeded on October 31 to get Parliament’s support for a government with ministers from both major parties.
The country was a patchwork of revelry for more than a thousand different clan-based militia groups equipped with an abundance of small arms. Most of the groups had their origins in the revolt in 2011. Some of them managed to establish reasonably calm in the area they controlled and some of the larger groups were also subordinate to the Interior Ministry. Others were led by warlords who ruled with force and made big money on the smuggling of gasoline, drugs and people. There were also a few units loyal to the fallen regime, including in the town of Bani Walid southeast of Tripoli.
In Cyrenaika, the region around Benghazi in eastern Libya where the 2011 uprising began, clan leaders announced in March that they wanted to form their own state within a Libyan federation, something the NTC immediately rejected. Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed on September 11 in an attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi. The Libyan government accused the Ansar al-Sharia jihadist group of being behind the act.
In January, UN refugee commissioner Navi Pillay explained that as many as 8,000 al-Khaddah refugees were held by militia groups in different places. Among them was al-Khaddafi’s eldest son Saif al-Islam, held by a group in the city of Zintan in the south and requested extradition by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for crimes against humanity. Former intelligence chief and Prime Minister Abdullah al-Senussi was arrested in Mauritania in March and released after tough negotiations with Libya in September. In May, the Libyan government asked the ICC to bring both Saif al-Islam and al-Senussi to trial in Libya. Saif al-Islam announced that he would rather be handed over to the ICC.
During the conflict between Carthage and Rome (the Punic Wars), Tripolitania was conquered by Roman allies, the Numids. Libyans fought on both sides in the Second Punic War, and the participation of a greater Numidian force led by Masinissa must have been crucial for the Romans defeating the Carthaginians in 201 BCE. Part of the reward was that Masinissa was granted control over all Carthaginian lands that must have belonged to his tribe earlier in history, and these were incorporated into the emerging numidic kingdom he headed. In 165 BCE he conquered Tripolitania. When the Carthaginians attacked in 150, it led to Roman intervention and the destruction of Carthage in 146. The Romans occupied the area and established their province of Africa, from which they spread their influence.
Kyrenaika was subjugated to Rome in 74 BCE and merged with Crete as a Roman province. In 47-46, Emperor Julius Caesar moved into North Africa, where he deposed the last Numidian king, Juba 1. Rome annexed the Numidian kingdom and created the province of Africa nova (New Africa), while the original Tunisian province was named Africa vetus (Ancient Africa). Tripolitania was incorporated into the Roman province of Africa nova – also known as Africa proconsularis. Through this, the three territories of Kyrenaika, Tripolitania and Fezzan were united, and from here became slaves from the south in Africa, and olive oil.and medicinal plants from Libya exported to Europe. Rome sought to subdue areas further south, in the Sahara, and sent expeditions into the Garamantes Empire, with which they entered into trade agreements.
The Romans strengthen their African province through a proconsul, headquartered in Carthage and a dedicated military legion for protection – and expansion. Libyan tribes attack from time to time the Romans; so did Garamantes, and the Romans campaigned against the kingdom. The oasis town of Ghadames in southern Sahara – in today’s Libya – became the outpost of the empire. The Romans completed the occupation of Northern Libya in 85–86 by fighting a rebellion in eastern Tripolitania and the Gulf of Sirte.
As a Roman province, Libya had a long rise, culturally and economically, and the successful city of Leptis Magna was compared with Carthage and Alexandria in importance. In particular, agriculture flourished and accounted for significant exports to Europe. The province was dominated by the largest cities of Leptis Magna, Oea and Sabrata, collectively known as Tripolis – ‘the three cities’. Roman traders and craftsmen settled in Libya, which was influenced by Roman languages and customs. However, the Punic cultural roots still prevailed in Tripolitania, the Greek in Kyrenaika. A number of past monuments from this era, including Leptis Magna, still exist, albeit inadequately preserved under modern Libyan rule. One of the foremost Roman leaders in Libya was himself born in the province, in Leptis Magna: Septimius Severus,antiquity.
The dominant religion in Roman times became Christianity, but the area also had a large Jewish population, especially in Kyrenaica. A large number of Jews who fled from Roman rule in Palestine settled here, partly as a result of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70. Jewish groups stood in 115 behind a revolt against the Roman regime in Kyrenaika, which spread to other parts of North Africa. The Jews took control of the Cows and destroyed parts of the city, before the rebellion was broken down, after heavy losses.
Between the third and fourth centuries, Tripolitania was made into a separate province, after which Emperor Diocletian separated the administration of Crete from Kyrenaika, dividing the area into Upper Libya and Lower Libya. This was the first time Libya was used. When the Roman Empire was divided in 395, Tripolitania was added to the Western Empire and Kyrenaika to the Eastern (Byzantine) Empire.
After a period of economic downturn, Libya was conquered in 431 by the vandals from Europe, which established control of parts of the coast. After a century, the vandals were expelled by forces under the command of Emperor Justitian in 533, after which all the reconquered Libya became part of the Byzantine Empire, led by Constantinople. Despite some reconstruction in Tripolitania, the Libyan cities did not regain their old significance. The cities of Kyrenaika at this time were mainly in ruins, and were far removed, but some reconstruction took place, especially in Marsa Brega and Tobruk. The Byzantines did not seek to revive the ancient Roman Empire in North Africa; the priority restoration of trade relations.
According to countryaah, the population of Libya in 2012 was 6,418,204, ranking number 109 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.700% yearly, and the population density was 3.6477 people per km2.