Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi1; also known simply as Colonel Gaddafi; born 7 June 1942) has been the de facto leader of Libya since a coup in 1969.
Although Gaddafi has held no public office or title since 1979, he is 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 third longest serving of all current heads of state. He is also the longest-serving ruler of Libya since Ali Pasha Al Karamanli, who ruled between (1754-1795).
An alleged plot by Britain's secret intelligence service to assassinate Colonel Gaddafi, when rebels attacked Gaddafi's motorcade near the city of Sirte in February 1996, was described as "pure fantasy" by former foreign secretary Robin Cook, although the FCO later admitted: "We have never denied that we knew of plots against Gaddafi."