Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Rise and Fall of a Dictator; Brutal Reign Ends with Gaddafi's Downfall

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Rise and Fall of a Dictator; Brutal Reign Ends with Gaddafi's Downfall

Article excerpt

DURING nearly 42 years in power, Muammar Gaddafi ruled with an eccentric brutality. He was so mercurial he turned Libya into an isolated pariah, then an oil power courted by the West, then back again.

At home, his whims became law and his visions became a warped dictatorship, until he was finally toppled by his own people.

The modern Middle East's longest-reigning figure, Libya's 69-year-old Brother Leader became the first ruler killed in the Arab Spring uprisings that swept the region this year.

After rebels overwhelmed the capital Tripoli and drove him into hiding in late August, Gaddafi vowed in messages to fight on until C[pounds sterling]martyrdom or victoryC[yen] and to C[pounds sterling]burn Libya under the feetC[yen] of his enemies.

And indeed, he met his end on Thursday alongside his last heavily armed supporters, cornered by revolutionary fighters in Sirte, the fishing village where he was born.

Gaddafi leaves behind an oil-rich nation of six million traumatised by a rule that drained it of institutions after four decades when all issues came down to one man and his family.

Notorious for his extravagant outfits Co ranging from white suits and sunglasses to military uniforms with frilled epaulets to brilliantly coloured robes decorated with the map of Africa Co he styled himself as a combination Bedouin chief and philosopher king, with titles from C[pounds sterling]leader of the revolutionC[yen] to C[pounds sterling]king of the kings of AfricaC[yen].

He ruled by mad lurches. He was a sponsor of terrorism whose regime was blamed for blowing up two passenger jets and who then helped the US in the war on terror.

He was an Arab nationalist who mocked Arab rulers. He seemed to revel in infuriating leaders, whether in the West or the Middle East.

Behind the flamboyance and showmanship, associates say Gaddafi was meticulous in managing the levers of power. He intervened in decisions large and small and constantly met personally with tribal leaders and military officers whose support he maintained through lucrative posts. …

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