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July 2014

Libya

Libya

Libya is about 2.5 times larger than Texas, slightly larger than Alaska. It is located in Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Tunisia. Also sharing borders with Algeria, Niger, Chad, and Sudan, its total land area is 1,759,540 sq km.

The Italians supplanted the Ottoman Turks in the area around Tripoli in 1911 and did not relinquish their hold until 1943 when defeated in World War II. Libya then passed to UN administration and achieved independence in 1951. Following a 1969 military coup, Col. Muammar al-Qadhafi assumed leadership and began to espouse his political system at home, which was a combination of socialism and Islam. UN sanctions in 1992 isolated Qadhafi politically and economically; the sanctions were lifted in 2003 following Libyan acceptance of responsibility. Qadhafi also agreed to end Libya's program to develop weapons of mass destruction, and he made significant strides in normalizing relations with Western nations.

Unrest that began in several Middle Eastern and North African countries in late 2010 erupted in Libyan cities in early 2011. Qadhafi's brutal crackdown on protesters spawned a civil war that triggered UN authorization of air and naval intervention by the international community. After months of seesaw fighting between government and opposition forces, the Qadhafi regime was toppled in mid-2011 and replaced by a transitional government. Libya in 2012 formed a new parliament and elected a new prime minister.

Along the coast, Libya's climate is Mediterranean; its interior climate is dry, extreme desert. The terrain is mostly barren plains, plateaus, and depressions. The natural resources in Libya are: petroleum, natural gas, and gypsum. Hazards facing Libya are: hot, dry, dust-laden ghibli is a southern wind lasting one to four days in spring and fall; dust storms, and sandstorms.

CIA World Factbook, 6/2014

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