World Country Libya

About the world country Libya, its location, size, population, and who is in power.



Location: On the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, between Tunisia and Egypt. Size: 679,359 sq. mi. (1,759,540 sq. km.) (93% desert). Population: 3,178,000.

Who Really Rules: Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi and other young military officers who overthrew the Libyan monarchy in 1969 run Libya's central government, oil industry, and foreign policy. Following the principles laid out in Qaddafi's "Green Book," however, the government has encouraged the growth of democratic People's Committees, which have responsibility for local government and small-scale enterprise. Libya is eliminating the private ownership of factories and rental properties.

The bulk of Libya's population has benefited materially from the Qaddafi regime, but those who have lost privileges oppose it vigorously abroad and silently within Libya. The government does not tolerate opposition, and it has even executed opponents in exile.

Though the Soviet bloc supplies most of Libya's military hardware, as well as the personnel to operate it, Libya's economy is oriented to the West. Former colonial ruler Italy, just across the Mediterranean, is its number-one trading partner, and the U.S. gets about one tenth of its oil imports from Libya. Under Qaddafi, Libya has used its wealth to back liberation movements and third-world regimes of varying political complexions, including that of Uganda's Idi Amin. In 1980 Libya announced plans to federate with Syria.

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