Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (Arabic: معمر القذافي‎ Muʿammar al-Qaḏḏāfī About this sound audio (help·info); also known simply as Colonel Gaddafi; born 7 June 1942) has been the de facto leader of Libya since a coup in 1969.[1] He is currently desperately clinging onto power in wake of the 2011 Libyan protests, having reportedly ordered the army to bomb and kill anti-government protestors.

From 1972, when Gaddafi relinquished the title of prime minister, he has been accorded the honorifics "Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" or "Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution" in government statements and the official press. With the death of Omar Bongo of Gabon on 8 June 2009, he became the longest serving of all current non-royal national leaders and he is one of the longest serving rulers in history. He is also the longest-serving ruler of Libya since Libya, then Tripoli, became an Ottoman province in 1551.

Early life

Gaddafi was born in a Bedouin family near Sirt. As a teenager, Gaddafi was an admirer of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and his Arab socialist and nationalist ideology. Gaddafi took a part in anti-Israel demonstrations during the 1956 Suez Crisis.

An early conspirator, he began his first plan to overthrow the monarchy while in military college. He received further military training in Hellenic Military Academy in Athens, Greece and the United Kingdom.[wikipedia]

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