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Monday, February 21, 2011

Libya on the Verge of Civil War

HISTORY IN THE NEWS:

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DEDICATED TO THE ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.

IN THE NEWS:
AFTER LIBYA'S MAIN EASTERN CITY, BENGHAZI, FALLS TO THE OPPOSITION WITH SUPPORT FROM TRIBES HOSTILE TO THOSE OF COLONEL GHADDAFI,  THE UPRISING HAS NOW SPREAD TO TRIPOLI.  IN TRIPOLI, ELEMENTS OF THE MILITARY HAVE TURNED AGAINST GHADAFFI'S RULING ELITE. IN RESPONSE, THE GOVERNMENT HAS DIRECTED AIR AND ARTILLERY STRIKES AGAINST DEMONSTRATORS AND SENT IN MERCENARIES WITH THE DEAD BELIEVED TO EXCEED 300. 



RELEVANT DATES FOR THE 2011 LIBYAN UPRISING:

Colonel Ghaddafi's Coup D'Etat.
-1969- at least four coups plotted against Libya's King Idriss.

-1969- Sept 1, 1969- Colonel Ghaddafi and the Free Unionist Officers take power in a bloodless coup and rules with the Revolutionary Command Council. The 1951 constitution is ended. Gaddafi appeals sucessfully to anti-Communist, anti-capitalist, pro-Islam Arab nationalism. He embraces international, Islamist causes and supports terror operations in Lebanon, Egypt and Chad.
Ghaddafi nationalizes and Purifies Libya.

-Ghaddafi concentrates power in the Revolitionary Command Council (RCC) composed of the 12 Free Unionist Officers closest to Ghaddafi- all are under 30. Alcohol is banned, night clubs closed and alll Roman script in public places replaced with Arabic.  All Jews and the remaining 30,000 Italians are expelled from the country.

-after oil companies refuse to give Libya a controlling 51% share but fail to bribe Libyan negotiators or agree on a united front, Ghaddafi nationalizes foreign-owned industries; provides free health care, minimum wage, the right to work and an education system. Grass roots local committees provide an illusion of populist democracy. He is socialist but anti-communist.

-Ghadaffi is oriented toward the Middle East rather than North Africa and forms close ties with Egypt and Syria.
Ghaddafi Consolidates his Position Within and Without.

1969-1970- Ghaddafi resists military coups launched against him.

-British and US bases are closed and Britain and the US withdraw all personnel and material.
-Libya and Algeria join forces to confront the big oil companies.

1970-72- Ghaddafi is prime minister of Libya.


1970s- foreign military stations closed down in Libya. Ghaddafi promotes Islam andArab unity.

-Ghadaffi supports dictator Idi Amin of Uganda as a fellow Muslim.
Ghaddafi's Arab Nationalism.

1973- 15 August- Ghadaffi, disgusted with corruption and luxury arising from Libyan oil wealth, launches the Libyan Zwara “cultural revolution” to entrench socialist and Muslim values. Islamic law is imposed. Ba'ath, Communist and all foreign parties are banned. Populace is armed to protect the Revolution. A purge is carried out of the old ruling elite while the bureaucracy is "returned to the people."

Oct- Libya contributes troops and supplies to the Arab cause in the Yom Kippur war against Israel.
- May 7- Libya's Gadaffi calls for the creation of Popular Committes to foment the revolution in every community.
Ghaddafi's Third Universal Theory- the Bedouin Way.

-May 14-  Gadaffi announces his Third Universal Theory- a traditional Islamic, Libyan Bedouin middle way between Capitalism and Communism advocating communal values for a government modelled on the age-old autonomous Bedouin council. He is the first and only leader in the Maghreb to appeal to indigenous traditions.
1975-Ghadaffi survives another attempted coup.

1976- January- 187 Popular Committees established in Libya. Each sends three members to attend the First General Congress of the Socialist popular Libyan Arab Jamahiriya ("rule by the masses"). Property sharing is promoted, multiple ownership of property is ooutlawed. Profit-sharing replaces wages.Major dealerships, retail and grocery operations are all nationalized.
Power Narrows to the Revolutionary Command Council.
The only weakness is the RCC's control of alll vital institutions from oil to security and the military- contrary to popular soverignty. The RCC meanwhile has shrunk to Ghaddafi, Colonel Jalloud, Colonel Mustafa Kharroubi, Colonel Khweldi Homei, and military chief, Colonel Abu Bakr Younis.
Libya's Growing War with the West.

1980- Ghaddafi launches a campaign of assassination against Libyan dissidents in Europe.
1982- in response to Libyan support for international terrorism, the US bans Libyan oil imports.

1984- UK accuses Libya of the murder of a police officer in London and severs relation

-Ghaddafi invades northern Chad for its alleged uranium reserves. But his offensive fails.
US President Reagan Avenges Libyan Terror Attack.

1986- Libyan terrorists accused in the bombing of a US forces night club in Germany. President Reagan orders the bombing of Benghazi and Tripoli in an attempt to kill Gaddafi.
Lockernie Plane Bombing.
1988- Libyan terrorists pant explosive, causing crash of Pan Am Flight 103 on Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all on board and many on the ground.

1989- two Libyan fighter jets shot down by warplanes from US aircraft carrier off the North African coast.

-internal and external pressures cause Ghaddafi to withdraw from Chad, allow private enterprise, withdraw support from terror groups and hand over evidence to Britain that he gave support to the IRA.

-Ghaddafi continues building chemical weapons.

1989- the Maghreb Union is founded in Marrakesh, Morocco- with Hassan II, Chadli of Ageria, Zine of Tunisia, Gaddafi of Libya and Sidi Ahmed of Mauritania.

-Ghaddafi condemns Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.

Crackdown on Islamists in Libya.

-Ghaddafi’s increasing moderation causes him to imprison 2,000 Islamist radicals.

1992- UN imposes sanctions against Libya after it refuses to extradite two Libyans accused in the bombing which brought down a Pan AM passenger plane over Lockerbie, Scotland.

-Libya suffers from UN sanctions, despite its oil wealth.
Ghaddafi Compromises Over Lockerbie Terror Bombing

1999- April 5- in a compromise with Ghaddafi, the Lockerbie suspects are handed over under Scottish law for trial at the international criminal tribunal at the Hague. UN sanctions against Libya are lifted
2001- Lockerbie trial in the Netherlands results in one conviction.

-various countries including the US begin to do business with Libya again. Thus Libya avoided being a target in the War on Terror.

2002- US and Libya hold reconciliation talks.
Libya begins Reconciliation with the West.

-Libya elected to chair the UN Human Rights Commission.
August- Libya takes responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and compensates families of the victims, promises to halt programs for weapons of mass destruction.
2004- British P.M. Tony Blair visits Libya.
-5 Bulgarian nurses imprisoned in Libya for infecting chidren with HIV.


2005- Libya opened to international oil exploration and investment.

2006- February- Libyans riot against Danish newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

May- US begins restoring full diplomatic relations with Libya.

2006-2007- Libya’s Gaddafi joins Egypt and Sudan in several attempts at a peace settlement in Darfur.
December- 5 Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctor accused of inflecting children with HIV sentenced to life imprisonment.
2007- Libya cuts the government labour force and moves to stimulate private enterprise.

July- the Bulgarian nurses and the doctor have death sentences in Libya commuted to life. Under a deal with the European Union, they are all repatriated.
2008- January - Libya takes one-month of the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council in a  move toward respectability after years as a pariah of the West.
Libya Pays Compensation for Terror Attacks.
August - Libya and US sign agreement committing both to compensation of victims in bomb attacks on the other's citizens.

September, 2008 - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes the highest-level American visit to Libya since 1953. Ms Rice annojunce a new phase of relations between the US and Libya.

November - US Lockerbie victims' group anniunce full payment of compensation from Libya. Restoration of diplomatic relations posisble with United States.
2009- February - Gaddafi elected chairman of the African Union at meetiung of leaders in Ethiopia. He speaks of a "United States of Africa" even embracing the Caribbean.

June - Gaddafi pays his first state visit to Italy, Libya's former colonial ruler and now its main trading partner.

September - Libyan celebrations mark 40 years since Colonel Muammar Gaddafi seizure of power.

2010- BP confirms plans to drill soon off Libyan coast.

October - European Union signs an agreement with Libya to slow illegal migration.
Internal Power Struggle Presages Uprising.

November - Group of journalists arrested in apparent power struggle within ruling elite. Gaddafi later orders them freed. 

December -  WikiLeaks releases US diplmatic cable suggesting that Ghaddafi was prepared to cut trade with Britain if Lockerbie bomber died in jail.
Uprising Against Ghaddafi.
2011-February - Arrest of human rights campaigner sparks off violent protests in east Libyan city of Benghazi.

-the east Libya city of Bengazi resists government violence and falls to the protesters.

-Libya's Bengazi protest spreads to Tripoli as part of the military turns against Ghadaffi and Ghadaffi uses tanks, planes and mercenaries against protesters. 
TIMELINE FOR THE MAGHREB- MOROCCO, TUNISIA, ALGERIA AND LIBYA.
Thanks to BBC for items after 2000.


Phoenicians


1150 BC- north Coast of Morocco is inhabited by Phoenicians.

-Phoenicians rule Libya,

975-715 BC- the Libyans invade and conquer Egypt.

Greeks, Carthaginians

375 BC -Greeks rule coastal Libya

560 BC- Carthage in present-day Tunisia.

192 BC- Libya and Algeria ruled by the Kingdom of Numidia. Carthage reduced to Tunisia.
Morocco ruled by the Kingdom of Mauretania.

Rome

145 BC- Rome rules Carthage in present day Tunisia.

74 BC- Rome rules most of Numidia (Libya)

44 BC-14 AD- resistance against Rome in Mauretania.

67- Rome controls the entire coastal Maghreb from Egypt to the Atlantic.

-Rome rules Algeria as a province of the empire- Berbers pushed back into interior.

Vandals and Byzantines.

400-Vandals rule coastal Maghreb from Libya up to Roman Morocco.

-Vandals rule Algeria

500- Kingdom of the Vandals in Libya, Algeria.

525-565- Justinian takes coastal Libya, Algeria and Tunia for the Byzantine Empire.

-Byzantines rule Libya.

Arabs- The Muslim Invasions.

-647-698- Arabs conquer Libyan Tripolitania, Cyrencia and Dezzan for Islam.

-700s- Muslim conquest of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco.

-740- revolts in the Maghreb against Umayyad taxation.

Morocco.

-788-964- Idris launches a failed Shia rebellion in Arabia, flees to Morocco. Arab Shia Idrisids founded by Idris I (a descendant of Ali) rule Morocco.

-Idris II of Morocco founds Fez.

-808- Fez, Morocco, an important political and cultural center.


Tunis

-800-909- the Aghlabids in Tunisia gain idependence from the Abbasids. The Aghlabid Emirate in Tripolitania (Libya)

-the Rustamid Imamate in coastal Algeria.

-909- after a coup d’etat, the Shia Fatamids (who claimed descent from Mohammed daughter, Fatima) establish a dynasty in Tunisia.

-the Fatamids go on to conquer all of North Africa.

-1046-1147- The Almoravids

The Almohads of Morocco.

1130-1269- the Almohads of Morocco launch invasions in Spain to stop the Christian resurgence.

-Almohads spread Islam into sub-Saharan Africa.

Europe and the Ottoman Empire.


1434- Western Sahara discovered by Portugal.

1551- Ottomans conquer Libyan provinces of Tripolitania, Cyrencia .

1566- Algiers on Barbary Coast and Tunis controlled by the Habsburgs.

1574- Ottomans conquer Tunisia.

-Ottomans divide Libya into the regencies of Tripolitania, Tunisia and Algeria.

Tripolitania, piracy and war with Europe.

-pirates based in Tripoli prey on Christian shipping.

1620- (circa) Janissary military caste of slave soldiers sends out their own appointed Dey who often had more power than the provincial governors appointed by the Sultan.

1650- the entire Mediterranean and its coasts are controlled by the Ottomans, save for Morocco, Spain, France and Italy.

1711- the Janissary Ahmad Karamanli becomes Dey, kills the Ottoman governor of Tripolitania and and persuades the Ottomans to name him governor. The post of governor remains in the Karamanli family until 1835.

-the Karamanli Deys of Tripolitania extract heavy tribute from the Tripoli pirates and extend Ottoman rule into the interior.

1801-1805- war between the US and Tripoli about the amount of tribute US shipping should pay to the Dey for protection from pirates.

1815-1835 England, France, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies successfully extirpate piracy, vastly reducing the tribute paid to the Dey of Tripolitania.

French Colonization.

1830- France sends colonists into Algeria.

1835- hereditary dynasty of the Karamanli Deys of Tripoli ends due to European extirpation of piracy which diminished tribute to the Karamanlis. Direct Ottoman rule is re-established.

1842- Ottomans conquer Libyan province of Fazzan.

-Tripolitania and Cyrencia are stable but politically and economically autonomous from Constantinople.

-the Sanusi brotherhood gains recruits from Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fazzan.

French rule of Northwest Africa.

1848- Algeria is annexed to France and given a French administrative structure, with departments- in Oran, Constantine and Algiers.

1870- most of Algeria is under French military control.

1881- Morocco becomes a French protectorate.

1881- Algeria formally becomes part of France.

1883- Tunisia, due to its strategic location at the center of the Mediterranean, becomes a French protectorate.

1884- the Western Sahara claimed as a protectorate by Spain.

Entente Cordiale

1904- Entente Cordiale- Morocco falls under French influence.

1902- France fully controls Algeria.

Italian Invasion of Tripoli

1911- Italy declares war on Turkey and occupies Tripoli. End of Ottoman rule.

1912- treaty of Ouchy- Italy gives autonomy to Tripoli and northern Libya. However fighting continues.

European Competition for Morocco.

-France intervenes in Morocco to put down a rebellion. Germany competes with France for influence in Morocco.

1912- most of Morocco is a French protectorate. The Treaty of Fez establishes French Morocco with a capital at Rabat and Spanish Morocco in the northern Rif area with a capital at Tetouan.

1914- Italy occupies most of Libya but becomes locked in a long war against the Sanusi and their allies.

1919- Algerians are without civil rights, save for a small elite given rights in return for renouncing their Islamic faith and customs. The French take the best land for agriculture, with Algerian peasants working the land for low wages.

-the French-educated Tunisian elite demand more political participation in their own affairs.

Resistance in Morocco.

1920-34 –rebel Abd al Krim leads resistance against Spanish, then French Morocco.

1923- International Zone created in Tangiers, Morocco.

Italy Creates Libya.

1934- Italy combines Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, naming the region Libya. Fazzan is part of Tripolitania.

-Italian governor of Libya, Italo Balbo builds schools, hospitals and government buildings in Libya.


Resistance in Tunisia.

1934- the Tunisian socialist Neo-Destour party led by Habib Bourguiba becomes the focus of opposition to French colonial rule, demanding an incremental process of liberation.

1930s- -the nationalist Istiqlas movement rises in Moroccan cities. But French administrator Marshal Lyautey keeps the rebel movement in check.

-Italy sends 40,000 colonists to the plateau region of Libya.

World War II- German-Allied struggle for Libya.

1939- Libya becomes an Italian province.

1940-45- British and French fight Germans for control of Libya. Alergia is ruled by the Vichy government.

1940- Moroccan rebels encouraged by France’s defeat by Nazi Germany

-1942- birth of Muammar Ghaddafi to a tribe in the central Sirtic Desert.

1943- Libya placed under British-French military rule.

June 3- DeGaulle sets up the Committee of National Liberation on Algiers

1943 -French and Anglo-American forces liberate Tunisia from German occupation.

Colonialism Reasserts Itself.

-French colonists in Tunisia insist on reasserting control.

1944- in Morocco the Istiqlas movement is made official.

1947- Italy concedes all claims to Libya. Algerian nationalists are promised full political rights. But France’s fourth republic is too weak to force conservative Algerian colonists to live up to the commitment. Moreover, the military commanders also side with the colonists.

1951- Libya becomes an independent kingdom with a constitution. The Emir of Cyrencia, Muhammad Idris al Sanusi (the Sunusi brotherhood) is proclaimed King Idris I. Poor in natural resources, Libya is dependent on the US and Britian for economic aid.

Renewed Anti-Colonial Resistance

1953- the Moroccan Sultan Ibn Yusuf is deported by France to Madagascar because of his alleged support of the Isliqlas nationalism movement.

1953-54- Libya allows the US and Britain to establish bases provided they pay an annual subsidy.

The Franco-Algerian War.

1954-62- in response to brutal repression, the guerilla forces of the Algerian FLN wage war against French occupation. The country is destroyed; the colonists take most of their wealth with them to France.

-Boumerdas and Tizi Ouzou, in the Berber region of Kabylia in eastern Algeria is a center of resistance.

-under Ben Bella- the farms of emigrated Algerian colonists are nationalized and ruled through peasant autonomy.

Tunisian Autonomy.

1954- after growing unrest, France grants autonomy to Tunisia.

1955- Istiqlas nationalists start a guerrilla war in Morocco.

Moroccan Independence.

1956- Feb 18- France grants Morocco independence. Sultan Ibn Yusuf returns and is made King Muhammad V. Muhammad gets broad popular backing in wielding absolute power to develop industry and exploit mineral resources.

-after imprisoning Tunsian Habib Bourguiba, the French government under Mendes France decides he is a moderate compared to other Arab leaders and allows him to run for president.

Tunisian Independence.

1956- Tunisia becomes independent from France. The monarchy is abolished. Habib Bourguiba becomes Prime Minister.

1956- Morocco becomes independent from French and Spanish protectorates.

1957- Morocco occupies the Western Sahara.

1957- Tunisia becomes a republic as Habib Bourguiba is elected president.

1959- oil discovered in Libya.

1961- Hassan II succeeds to the throne of Morocco. He is also prime minister.

Algerian Independence.

1962- Algeria gains independence from France. Ahmed Ben Bella is the first president of the republic.

-in Libya, rapid modernization, centralization of the formerly decentralized state and the vote for women alienates many Muslims.

1962- Bouguiba succeeds in getting the French to withdraw their military bases from Tunisia.

1963- after conflict between its three regions, Libya changed from a federal state to a unitary state.

1964-66- Anglo-Libyan treaty ends and British troops are withdrawn from Libya.

Algeria's Boumedienne

1965- the Algerian government of Ben Bella is overthrown in a coup d’etat by Houari Boumedienne who maintains a dictatorship until 1974.

-under Boumedienne, Algerian peasant self-government is abandoned because of low productivity. Boumedienne shifts his socialist economic policy to nationalization and industrialization. Islamic and Arabic religious and cultural identity is promoted. Nevertheless Algeria remains economically dependent on France, where many Algerians are working.

Moroccan Dictatorship

1965- after riots in Casablanca, Hassan II of Morocco, declares a royal dictatorship.

Libya and Ghaddafi.

-1969- at least four coups plotted against Libya's King Idriss.

1969- Spet 1, 1969- Colonel Ghaddafi and the Free Unionist Officers take power in a bloodless coup and rules with the Revolutionary Command Council. The 1951 constitution is ended. Gaddafi appeals sucessfully to anti-Communist, anti-capitalist, pro-Islam Arab nationalism. He embraces international, Islamist causes and supports terror operations in Lebanon, Egypt and Chad.

-Ghaddafi concentrates power in the Revolitionary Command Council (RCC) composed of the 12 Free Unionist Officers closest to Ghaddafi- all are under 30. Alcohol is banned, night clubs closed and alll Roman script in public places replaced with Arabic.  All Jews and the remaining 30,000 Italians are expelled from the country.

-after oil companies refuse to give Libya a controlling 51% share but fail to bribe Libyan negotiators or agree on a united front, Ghaddafi nationalizes foreign-owned industries; provides free health care, minimum wage, the right to work and an education system. Grass roots local committees provide an illusion of populist democracy. He is socialist but anti-communist.

-Ghadaffi is oriented toward the Middle East rather than North Africa and forms close ties with Egypt and Syria.

1969-1970- Ghaddafi resists military coups launched against him.

-British and US bases are closed and Britain and the US withdraw all personnel and material.
-Libya and Algeria join forces to confront the big oil companies.

1970-72- Ghaddafi is prime minister of Libya.

Hassan II's Authoritarianism in Morocco.

1970- Hassan II of Morocco reforms the constitution but still hangs on to his supreme religious and political authority.

1971-1972- continued poverty and royal absolutism lead to unsuccessful attempted coups against Morocco’s Hassan II.

1970s- foreign military stations closed down in Libya. Ghaddafi promotes Islam andArab unity.

-Ghadaffi supports dictator Idi Amin of Uganda as a fellow Muslim.

1973- terrorist attacks against Moroccan government.

Ghaddafi's Arab Nationalism.

1973- 15 August- Ghadaffi, disgusted with corruption and luxury arising from Libyan oil wealth, launches the Libyan Zwara “cultural revolution” to entrench socialist and Muslim values. Islamic law is imposed. Ba'ath, Communist and all foreign parties are banned. Populace is armed to protect the Revolution. A purge is carried out of the old ruling elite while the bureaucracy is "returned to the people."

Oct- Libya contributes troops and supplies to the Arab cause in the Yom Kippur war against Israel.

1974- with all opposition having been outlawed, Tunsian President Habib Bourguiba declared president for life. However, state control over education and the economy brings stability and increased rights for women.

- May 7- Libya's Gadaffi calls for the creation of Popular Committes to foment the revolution in every community.

-May 14-  Gadaffi announces his Third Universal Theory- a traditional Islamic, Libyan Bedouin middle way between Capitalism and Communism advocating communal values for a government modelled on the age-old autonomous Bedouin council. He is the first and only leader in the Maghreb to appeal to indigenous traditions.

1974- Algerian President Boumedienne holds elections. He is declared president by a new constitution.

1975- the former Spanish Sahara comes under joint control of Morocco, Mauritania and Spain. The southern area, Tiris al Gharbia, is shared by Mauritania and Morocco.

-the Algerian economy is increasingly dependent on oil.

-Ghadaffi survives another attempted coup.

1976- January- 187 Popular Committees established in Libya. Each sends three members to attend the First General Congress of the Socialist ppular Libyan Arab Jamahiriya ("rule by the masses"). Property sharing is promoted, multiple ownership of property is ooutlawed. Profit-sharing replaces wages.Major dealerships, retail and grocery operations are all nationalized. The only weakness is the RCC's control of alll vital institutions from oil to security and the military- contrary to popular soverignty. The RCC meanwhile has shrunk to Ghaddafi, Colonel Jalloud, Colonel Mustafa Kharroubi, Colonel Khweldi Homei, and military chi8ef, Colonel Abu Bakr Younis.

Polisario Conflict with Morocco over Western Sahara.

1976- the Spanish Sahara is re-named the Western Sahara. The Algeria-based Polisario Front sets up a government in exile. The Polisario calls the disputed region The Saharan Arab Democratic Republic.

-Tunisian government’s refusal to legalize opposition parties causes political unrest and provokes the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the 1970s and 1980s.

1976-80- Hassan II deploys a large army to block Polisaro forces from infiltrating Morocco’s western border. Despite military backing from the U.S., he is unable to contol the Western Sahara.

1979- The Polisario, an Algerian-backed liberation front in the Western Sahara forces Mauretania to withdraw. Morocco becomes responsible for the Spanish Sahara despite an independence movement there which is not recognized by Morocco.

1979- Algerian President Chadi Benjedid succeeds Boumedienne.

1980- Ghaddafi launches a campaign of assassination against Libyan dissidents in Europe.

1981- a drop in the price of oil increases the burden of Algeria’s foreign debt. Boumedienne’s successor Chadli is forced to adopt market-oriented economic reforms and austerity measures.

1982- in response to Libyan support for international terrorism, the US bans Libyan oil imports.

Fundamentalism Emerges in Tunisia.

1983-84- Islamic Fundamentalists riot against Tunisian president Bourguiba. His influence is reduced.

1984- urban unrest prompts Hassan II of Morocco to appoint a coalition government of national unity under a civilian prime minister.

-the war in the Western Sahara puts increasing strain on the Moroccan economy throughout the 1980s.

1984- UK accuses Libya of the murder of a police officer in London and severs relations.

-Ghaddafi invades northern Chad for its alleged uranium reserves. But his offensive fails.

1986- Libyan terrorists accused in the bombing of a US forces night club in Germany. President Reagan orders the bombing of Benghazi and Tripoli in an attempt to kill Gaddafi.

Fundamentalism in Tunisia.

1987- due to political unrest, Tunisian president Bourguiba, on grounds of senility, is deposed by his prime minister, Ben Ali. Ben Ali attempts to bring in multi-party politics. But political liberalization is slowed down by resistance from Islamic fundamentalists.

1988- reforms made in the Tunisian constitution to allow opposition parties some minimal representation in the legislature.

1988- The UN decides that the Sahrawi people of Western Sahara should hold a referendum on independence under the Polisario or rule by Morocco.

1988- a Pan Am jet, later found to be rigged with explosives by Libyan agents, explodes and comes down over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all aboard.

Fundamentalism in Algeria.

-in Algeria the official policy of economic and cultural nationalism fails as Chadli’s austerity measures provoke an Islamic fundamentalist backlash.

1989- in Algeria, Chadli changes the constitution to allow for political parties including the Islamist Islamic Salvation Front- despite their vow to destroy the existing order.

1989- two Libyan fighter jets shot down by warplanes from US aircraft carrier off the North African coast.

-internal and external pressures cause Ghaddafi to withdraw from Chad, allow private enterprise, withdraw support from terror groups and hand over evidence to Britain that he gave support to the IRA.

-Ghaddafi continues building chemical weapons.

The Maghreb Union

1989- the Maghreb Union is founded in Marrakesh, Morocco- with Hassan II, Chadli of Ageria, Zine of Tunisia, Gaddafi of Libya and Sidi Ahmed of Mauritania.

1990- first Maghreb Union summit in Tunis.

-second Maghredb Union Summit in Algiers calls for the princiuple of a customs union.

1990- December- a general strike in Morocco.

-Ghaddafi condemns Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.

Crackdown on Islamists in Libya.

- Ghaddafi’s increasing moderation causes him to imprison 2,000 Islamist radicals.

1991- UN-brokered ceasefire between the Polisario and Morocco.

Islamists Garner Most Votes in Algerian Eelections.

1991- in Algerian elections, the Islamic Salvation front wins almost half the seats in parliament desppite only 25% of the popular vote and Chadli resigns, giving way to a 5-member transitional state council.

Islamic Insurgency in Algeria.

-an Algerian Islamic insurgency started in 1992 after authorities cancelled elections an Islamist party was poised to win.

1992- February-9- Algeria’s State Council bans the Islamic Salvation Front.

-1992-1999- Algerian civil war between Islamists and the government takes 100,000 lives.

1992- UN imposes sanctions against Libya after it refuses to extradite two Libyans accused in the bombing which brought down a Pan AM passenger plane over Lockerbie, Scotland.

1992- clashes in Algeria between government forces and guerillas of the Islamic Salvation Front. The civil war will last throughout most of the 1990s.

-Libya suffers from UN sanctions, despite its oil wealth.

1994- Tunisian president Ben Ali is re-elected; further constitutional reforms are brought in. However the threat from Islamic fundamentalists is handled by imprisoning them.
Ben Ali promotes Tunisian cultural nationalism against continued French influence.

1995- Morocco- a referendum brings about the formation of a bicameral legislature.

Founding of GSPC.

1998- the G.S.P.C. is created as an offshoot of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), which along with other Islamist guerrilla forces fought a brutal decade-long civil war after the Algerian military canceled elections in early 1992 because an Islamist party was poised to win. The group is founded by Hassan Hattab, a former Armed Islamic Group (GIA) regional commander after breaking with the GIA in in protest over the GIA's slaughter of civilians.

1999- April 5- in a compromise with Ghaddafi, the Lockerbie suspects are handed over under Scottish law for trial at the international criminal tribunal at the Hague. UN sanctions against Libya are lifted.

End of Civil War in Algeria.

1999- Abdul Aziz Bouteflika is elected president despite withdrawal of all other candidates in protest of unfair elections; with approval by referendum, he declares an amnesty with the Islamic Salvation Front and promotes reconciliation, bringing an end to the civil conflict in Algeria.

-many former Algerian GIA fighters lay down their arms, but a few remain active, including members of the GSPC.

1999- Hassan II of Morocco dies and is succeeded by Mohammed VI.

-Mohammed VI brings about reform and reconciliation and allows opposition leaders to return to Morocco. He dismisses Driss Basri, Hassan’s Minister for Domestic Affairs.

2000- Islamist attacks continue in Algeria, despite amnesty.

2000- African immigrant workers killed by Libyan mobs

2001- Lockerbie trial in the Netherlands results in one conviction.

-various countries including the US begin to do business with Libya again. Thus Libya avoided being a target in the War on Terror.

-Morocco: Mohammed IV’s reforms in such matters as women’s rights, prompt a backlash from Islamic fundamentalists.

2001-May- Algerian Berbers in Kabylie are killed by police while protesting police brutality. Later in the year the government gives official status to the Berber language.
The main Berber party withdraws from the government in protest.

2002- US and Libya hold reconciliation talks.

Beginning of post- 9-11 Sucide Attacks

2003- May 16- 5 suicide blasts in Casablanca hitting Jewish and Spanish targets.

June- Abassi, Madani leader of Algeria’s Islamic Salvation Front freed from prison.

-Libya elected to chair the UN Human Rights Commission.

August- Libya takes responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and compensates families of the victims, promises to halt programs for weapons of mass destruction.

GSPC mass kidnapping in Algeria.

2003- a G.S.P.C. leader in southern Algeria kidnaps 32 European tourists, some of whom are released for a ransom of 5 million euros (about $6.5 million at current exchange rates), paid by Germany. Officials say the leader, Amari Saifi, bought weapons and recruited fighters before the United States military helped corner and catch him in 2004. He is now serving a life sentence in Algeria.

Moroccan Connection to Madrid Train Bombing.

2004- March 11- suicide bombing of train in Madrid kills 191, injures over 1,000. Lengthy investigation concludes that cells did not come from any well known Islamist group but from Morrocaan hash-smuggling rings previously connected with an Al Qaeda group which became defunct.

-April- Algerian President Boutelika re-elected in a landslide.

June- Abdelmalik Droukdel announces his arrival with a truck bomb at the Algeria’s most important electrical production facility and focuses on associating the GSPC with Al Qaeda. . “The Algerian military says he cut his teeth in the 1990s as a member of the Armed Islamic Group’s feared Ahoual or “horror” company, blamed for some of the most gruesome massacres of Algeria’s civil war.” NYT

-GSPC (al-Qaeda-linked Salafist Group for Call and Combat) declares war on all foreign nationals and interests in Algeria.

- British P.M. Tony Blair visits Libya.

-5 Bulgarian nurses imprisoned in Libya for infecting chidren with HIV.

GSPCmounts attacks in Mauretania.

2005- June – an “attack against a military barrack in Mauritania, executed by Khaled Abul Abbas, chief of the GSPC in the Sahara came as part of this tendency, according to well informed sources. Al-Qaeda was interminably giving guidelines to the Salafist Group since 9/11 attacks.” (ALGERIA EVENTS)

-June-- “Indications that a cross-border alliance was under way came…when the G.S.P.C. attacked a military outpost in Mauritania, killing 15 soldiers. The attackers fled into Mali, according to the United States military.” NYT

End of GIA.

-Nourredine Boudiafi, head of Algeria’s Armed Islamc Group, is arrested, ending the groups effective existence.

September 2005- “the Center for Strategic and International Studies estimated that 600 Algerians were fighting as foreign jihadists in Iraq. At the time, this was believed to be 20 percent of the total strength of the foreign insurgents in Iraq -- the largest of any single group.” -STRATFOR

-Algerian government promises Berbers language rights and capital invesment.

2005- Libya opened to international oil exploration and investment.

GSPC links up, merges with Al Qaeda.

Dec 8- the extremist Algerian Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) plans to set up an Al-Qaeda branch in the Maghreb countries as a base for attacks to be launched on the countries that support US administration.

2006- January- Al Qaeda in the Maghreb is officially formed from the Algerian GSPC, the Moroccan GICM (responsible for the Casablanca and Madrid bombings in 2003 and 2004 respectively), and other Tunisian elements.

2006- February- Libyans riot against Danish newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Al Qaeda in the Maghreb.

Sept 11- Ayman Zawahiri of Al Qaeda announces the formation of Al Qaeda in the Maghreb.

2006- 6 month Algerian amnesty for Islamists.

2006- May- US begins restoring full diplomatic relations with Libya.

-Algeria, recovering economically, commits itself to paying back its $8 billion national debt.

-September, Rabah Kebir, leader of the Islamic Salvation front, returns to Algeria and urges Islamist militants to disarm.

Dec 10- Algeria- bus bombed carrying foreign oil workers.

2006-2007- Libya’s Gaddafi joins Egypt and Sudan in several attempts at a peace settlement in Darfur.

December- 5 Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctor accused of inflecting children with HIV sentenced to life imprisonment.

Dec 2006 to January 2007- (Dec. 23, Jan 3) Algerian Salafist groups engage Tunisian police and army units with 14 terrorists and some police killed.

-Libya cuts the government labour force and moves to stimulate private enterprise.

Al Qaeda in the Sahel.

February- news reports point to Al Qaeda training camps in the Sahel from Senegal to Ethiopia with plans to attack targets in Europe.

Feb 13- GSPC claims responsibility for car bombings in Boumerdas and Tizi Ouzou, on the Berber region of Kabylia in eastern Algeria. (This was a center of resistance during the Algerian war).

-Feb 16 - in the mountain retion of Qashra near the town of Skikda, Alergian police kill 26 and arrest 35 militants in response to the Feb 13 car bombings.

Al Qaeda in the Maghreb present in Morocco.

Feb 20- Moroccan police search for Hmam Bilal et Bel Hachmi and Mohamed Rida who are accused of having ties with groups including the Algeria-based al Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb,

March 4- Algeria- bus carrying Algerian and Russian gas-line workers bombed- killing 3 Algerians and a Russian.

March 11- suicide bombing in Casablanca internet cafe.

April 10- three suicide blasts kill and wound police in raid on Casablanca safe house.

April 11- Algiers- bombings of the police station and prime minister’s office claim 17 lives. Claimed by Al Qaeda.

April 14- two suicide bombings on US diplomatic offices in Casablanca.

June 11- suicide truck bomb kills soldiers at military barracks near Algiers. GSPC claims responsibility.

July- the Bulgarian nurses and the doctor have death sentences in Libya commuted to life. Under a deal with the European Union, they are all repatriated.

Sept 6- suicide blast kills twenty prior to vistit of President Boutefilka near Algiers.

Sept 8- GSPC claims responsibility for bombing of military barracks, killing 37 at Dellys, Algeria.

Oct 7- Zareg Zoheir, mastermind of GSPC suicide bombings killed by Algerian police.

Dec 11- 67 killed in suicide blasts at Constitutional Court and UN offices in Algiers.

Dec 25- French tourists killed by gunman in Mauretania.

2008- Jan 2- suicide attack near police station in Algiers.

January - Libya takes one-month of the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council in a  move toward respectability after years as a pariah of the West.

Feb 1- gun attack on Israeli embassy in Nouakshott, Mauretania.

March- heavy fighting in eastern Algeria between GSPC and Algerian army.

April- Spanish police arrest 2 Moroccans in 2003 Casablanca bombings.

June 6- roadside bomb kills 6 soldiers in Algeria.

June 8- double suicide blast in Algerian train station.

July 14- leader of GCPC in Algeria killed in police raid.

2008 July 18, Tunisia- 2 officials and three others were convicted of terrorist activities conspiring to overthrow the government.

Aug 19- Les Issers, Algeria- 43 killed in suicide bombing at police academy.

August - Libya and US sign agreement committing both to compensation of victims in bomb attacks on the other's citizens.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi apologises to Libya for damage inflicted by Italy during the colonial era and signs a five billion dollar investment deal by way of compensation.

Aug 20- double car-bomb attack on Bouira, Algeria, kills workers from a Canadian eater treatment project.

2008  Aug 23, A Tunisian court convicts 13 Islamic militants for planning to carry out attacks in Tunisia. 6 more ae convicted on Aug 26 for setting up a guerilla training base in Tunisia's  Kef region  for sending fighters to Iraq.

September, 2008 - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes the highest-level American visit to Libya since 1953. Ms Rice annojunce a new phase of relations between the US and Libya.

November - US Lockerbie victims' group anniunce full payment of compensation from Libya. Restoration of diplomatic relations posisble with United States.

Nov- three Tunisians prosecuted in Milan for their part in an Italy-based European terror network.

2009- Feburary- Tuinisia- a German who attacked Djerba synagogue in 2002 is sentenced by a French court to 18 yerars.

February - Gaddafi elected chairman of the African Union at meetiung of leaders in Ethiopia. He speaks of a "United States of Africa" even embracing the Caribbean.

June - Gaddafi pays his first state visit to Italy, Libya's former colonial ruler and now its main trading partner.

July- Tunisia- nine men, including two airforce officers, charged with plotting to kill US troops during joint mmilitary exercise.

August -  Scotland frees jailed Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds and returns him to Libya. His release and return to a hero's welcome sturs up controversy.

September - Libyan celebrations mark 40 years since Colonel Muammar Gaddafi seizure of power.

Oct- Tunisia- President Ben Ali elected to a fifth term in office. Warns of legal consequences if the vote is questioned.

Nov- Tunisia- a journalist is jailed for assualt. Taoufik Ben Brik  had written critically of the president. Human rights groups say the charge is politically motivated..

December - Diplomatic row between Switzerland and European Union after Gaddafi's son is held in Switzerland on charges of mistreating domestic workers.

2010- January - Russia agrees to sell weapons to Libya in a deal worth $1.8bn in fighter jets, tanks and air defence systems.

June - UN refugee agency UNHCR expelled from Libya.

July - US senators demand inquiry into suspicions that oil giant BP lobbied for release of Libya's Lockerbie bomber.

BP confirms plans to drill soon off Libyan coast.

- July- Tunisia- Fahem Boukadous's appeal upholds his jail sentence for coverage of violent protests.

October - European Union signs an agreement with Libya to slow illegal migration.

November - Group of journalists arrested in apparent power struggle within ruling elite. Gaddafi later orders them freed. 

December -  WikiLeaks releases US diplmatic cable suggesting that Gaddafi was prepared to cut trade with Britain if Lockerbie bomber died in jail. 


Dec- Tunisia- protests against lack of political freedom and against unemployment become nation wide.

Jan- 2011- Tunisia- demonstrators say police killed at least 50 protesters as demonstrations continue. Government llays the blame on Islamist and left-wing "extremists,"  reducing the number to 21 killed. Authorities close educational institutions and bring out troop in Tunis to contain  demonstrations while promising economic and social reforms. President Ben Ali fires interior minister Rafik Belhaj Kacem, has most of the protestors released and sets up a special committee to investigate corruption.

-Ben Ali flees country ahead of massive protrests.


-Pime Minister Mohammed Ghanoucchi annunces a national unity government, not fully satisfying protestors.

-Ghanouchhi briefly occupies the presidency before a constitutional deciomn kis made for lower house leader Fouad Mebazza to become interim president.

Jan 22- Algeria- sparked by the revolt on Tunisia along with rising prices and unemployment, demonstrators marching on Algiers where met police who opened fire, killing over a dozen.

Jan 26- Morocco- a fourth  Moroccan sets himself on fire, in a series of suicide attempts inspired by the self-immolation that set Tunisia's revolution in motion.

February - Arrest of human rights campaigner sparks off violent protests in east Libyan city of Benghazi.

-the east Libya city of Bengazi resists government violence and falls to the protesters.

-Libya's Bengazi protest spreads to Tripoli as part of the military turns against Ghadaffi and Ghadaffi uses tanks, planes and mercenaries against protesters. 
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