World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

1969 Libyan coup d'état

Article Id: WHEBN0040560389
Reproduction Date:

Title: 1969 Libyan coup d'état  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Muammar Gaddafi, 1964 Gabon coup d'état, Libyan Revolution, Libya–Pakistan relations, 1999 Nigerien coup d'état
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

1969 Libyan coup d'état

1969 Libyan coup d'état
Part of the Arab Cold War

Gaddafi at an Arab summit in Libya in 1969, shortly after the September Revolution that toppled King Idris. Gaddafi sits in military uniform in the middle, surrounded by President Gamal Abdel Nasser (left) and Syrian President Nureddin al-Atassi (right)
Date 1 September 1969
Location Libya
Result
  • Overthrow and abolition of the Monarchy
  • Establishment of Libyan Arab Republic
  • Establishment of Muammar Gaddafi's regime
Belligerents

Kingdom of Libya

  • Cyrenaican Defence Force (CYDEF)
Free Officers Movement
Commanders and leaders
King Idris
Abdel Aziz El Shalhi
Muammar Gaddafi
Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr
Abdullah Senussi
Strength
Unknown 70
Casualties and losses
CYDEF: 1 killed, 15 wounded[1] 0

The 1969 Libyan coup d'état, also known as the Libyan Revolution of 1969 or the 1 September Revolution, was a military coup d'état executed in Libya by the Free Officers Movement, a group of rebel military officers led by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, that led to the overthrow of King Idris of Libya.

Background

The discovery of significant oil reserves in 1959 and the subsequent income from petroleum sales enabled the Kingdom of Libya to transition from one of the world's poorest nations to a wealthy state. Although oil drastically improved the Libyan government's finances, resentment began to build over the increased concentration of the nation's wealth in the hands of King Idris. This discontent mounted with the rise of Nasserism and Arab nationalism/socialism throughout Arab world.

Coup

On 1 September 1969, a group of about 70 young army officers known as the Free Officers Movement and enlisted men mostly assigned to the Signal Corps seized control of the government and, in a stroke, abolished the Libyan monarchy. The coup was launched at Benghazi; and, within two hours, the takeover was completed. Army units quickly rallied in support of the coup and, within a few days, firmly established military control in Tripoli and elsewhere throughout the country. Popular reception of the coup, especially by younger people in the urban areas, was enthusiastic. Fears of resistance in Cyrenaica and Fezzan proved unfounded. No deaths or violent incidents related to the coup were reported.[2]

The Free Officers Movement, which claimed credit for carrying out the coup, was headed by a twelve-member directorate that designated itself the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). This body constituted the Libyan government after the coup. In its initial proclamation on 1 September,[3] the RCC declared the country to be a free and sovereign state called the Libyan Arab Republic, which would proceed "in the path of freedom, unity, and social justice, guaranteeing the right of equality to its citizens, and opening before them the doors of honorable work." The rule of the Turks and Italians and the "reactionary" government just overthrown were characterized as belonging to "dark ages", from which the Libyan people were called to move forward as "free brothers" to a new age of prosperity, equality, and honor.

The RCC advised diplomatic representatives in Libya that the revolutionary changes had not been directed from outside the country, that existing treaties and agreements would remain in effect, and that foreign lives and property would be protected. Diplomatic recognition of the new government came quickly from countries throughout the world. United States recognition was officially extended on 6 September.

Post-coup events

In view of the lack of internal resistance, it appeared that the chief danger to the new government lay in the possibility of a reaction inspired by the absent King Idris or his designated heir, Hasan ar Rida, who had been taken into custody at the time of the coup along with other senior civil and military officials of the royal government. Within days of the coup, however, Hasan publicly renounced all rights to the throne, stated his support for the new government, and called on the people to accept it without violence.

Idris, in an exchange of messages with the RCC through Egypt's President Nasser, dissociated himself from reported attempts to secure British intervention and disclaimed any intention of coming back to Libya. In return, he was assured by the RCC of the safety of his family still in the country. At his own request and with Nasser's approval, Idris took up residence once again in Egypt, where he had spent his first exile and where he remained until his death in 1983.

On 7 September 1969, the RCC announced that it had appointed a cabinet to conduct the government of the new republic. An American-educated technician, Mahmud Sulayman al-Maghribi, who had been imprisoned since 1967 for his political activities, was designated prime minister. He presided over the eight-member Council of Ministers, of whom six, like Maghrabi, were civilians and two – Adam Said Hawwaz and Musa Ahmad – were military officers. Neither of the officers was a member of the RCC.

The Council of Ministers was instructed to "implement the state's general policy as drawn up by the RCC", leaving no doubt where ultimate authority rested. The next day the RCC decided to promote Captain Gaddafi to colonel and to appoint him commander-in-chief of the Libyan Armed Forces. Although RCC spokesmen declined until January 1970 to reveal any other names of RCC members, it was apparent from that date onward that the head of the RCC and new de facto head of state was Gaddafi.

Analysts were quick to point out the striking similarities between the Libyan military coup of 1969 and that in Egypt under Nasser in 1952, and it became clear that the Egyptian experience and the charismatic figure of Nasser had formed the model for the Free Officers Movement. As the RCC in the last months of 1969 moved vigorously to institute domestic reforms, it proclaimed neutrality in the confrontation between the superpowers and opposition to all forms of colonialism and "imperialism".

It also made clear Libya's dedication to Arab unity and to the support of the Palestinian cause against Israel. The RCC reaffirmed the country's identity as part of the "Arab nation" and its state religion as Islam. It abolished parliamentary institutions, all legislative functions being assumed by the RCC, and continued the prohibition against political parties, in effect since 1952.

The new government categorically rejected communism – in large part because it was atheist – and officially espoused an Arab interpretation of socialism that integrated Islamic principles with social, economic, and political reform. Libya had shifted, virtually overnight, from the camp of conservative Arab traditionalist states to that of the radical nationalist states.

See also

References

  1. ^ Cyrenaican Defence Force Leigh Ingram-Seal
  2. ^ BBC News: 1969: Bloodless coup in Libya
  3. ^ "First Decree of the revolution". (1 September 1969) at EMERglobal Lex for the Edinburgh Middle East Report. Retrieved 31 March 2010.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.