Special Report on Libya after Gadhafi

A synopsis of the latest events in Libya, as well as in-depth feature coverage of the conflict.


  • Moammar Gadhafi is killed near Sirte
  • Sirte, last stronghold of Gadhafi supporters, falls to revolutionary forces

Latest: Mexico said Dec. 7 that it had broken up an international plot led by a Canadian woman, Cynthia Vanier, to smuggle a son of late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi into Mexico with false Mexican documents. The elaborate plan to bring al-Saadi Gadhafi and his family to Mexico also allegedly involved two Mexicans and a Danish suspect, Interior Secretary Alejandro Poire said. The plot was uncovered in early September as al-Saadi was fleeing Libya shortly after his father's ouster. He never made it to Mexico, but did reach the Western African country of Niger, where he has been living.

Seif al-Islam Gadhafi — Moammar Gadhafi's eldest son and presumed heir — was captured in Libya's southern desert on Nov. 19.  With a PhD from the London School of Economics, he was considered the Western face of the regime. Seif al-Islam was the last member of the ousted ruling family to remain at large.

The International Criminal Court had charged Moammar Gadhafi, Seif al-Islam and Libya's former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senoussi with crimes against humanity for the brutal crackdown on dissent as the uprising against the regime began in mid-February and escalated into a civil war. The search for al-Senoussi continues.

Major events: Abdurrahim el-Keib, a U.S.-educated engineering professor with little political experience, was chosen as Libya's prime minister on Oct. 31 by the country's National Transitional Council, with 26 of 51 votes. El-Keib spent most of his professional career outside Libya and appears to have no ties to Moammar Gadhafi. His interim government will pave the way for the drafting of a constitution, as well as general elections.

El-Keib replaced outgoing interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, who had pledged to step down after victory over Moammar Gadhafi's regime.

Members of Libya's interim government declared the official liberation of Libya in a ceremony Oct. 23 in the eastern city of Benghazi, three days after the death of former leader Moammar Gadhafi in a battle in Sirte. An autopsy confirmed that Gadhafi was killed by a shot to the head. Prior to his death, Gadhafi had not been seen in public since rebels took Tripoli on Aug. 21.
Libyan families view the body of slain Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi inside a storage freezer in Misrata on Oct. 24. A Libyan official said the body was buried at dawn the next day. ((Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters))

Moammar Gadhafi was buried Oct. 25 at an undisclosed location, the country's interim government says. The statement added that a few relatives and officials were in attendance, and that Islamic prayers were read over the body. The burial site, which includes Gadhafi's son Muatassim and former defence minister Abu Bakr Younis, was kept secret to protect it from vandalism or becoming a shrine. Other members of Gadhafi's extended family are in hiding or in Algeria.

Gadhafi's home town, Sirte, was one of the last areas of refuge for pro-Gadhafi forces until its capture on Oct. 20. Another, Bani Walid, fell to Libyan forces on Oct. 17, the same day Syrian media confirmed earlier reports that Gadhafi's son Khamis had been killed in fighting weeks earlier. His son Motassim was captured Oct. 12.

Amnesty International reports that during the conflict, forces supporting Gadhafi killed and injured scores of unarmed protesters, made critics disappear, used illegal cluster bombs, launched artillery, mortar and rocket attacks against residential areas and executed captives without any legal proceedings. Amnesty says that anti-Gadhafi forces "also tortured and ill-treated captured soldiers, suspected 'mercenaries' and other alleged Gadhafi loyalists."

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The New York-based Human Rights Watch said Oct. 24 that it had discovered 53 decomposing bodies, apparently of Gadhafi loyalists, some of whom may have been executed by revolutionary forces. The group urged Libyan authorities to rein in armed groups.

Mahmoud Jibril confirmed the presence of chemical weapons in Libya on Oct. 30 and said foreign inspectors would be brought in to deal with them.

Oil production has surpassed 150,000 barrels per day in eastern Libya. The country made its first international shipment of crude oil on Sept. 25.

Background: Libyan uprising

Who: Gadhafi ruled the North African country from 1969 to 2011, and vowed to fight to the death, but later showed a willingness to negotiate a transfer of power. Responding to the pro-democracy demonstrations that began on Feb. 18, the embattled leader variously accused them of being the work of Western infiltrators, drug-addled youth and al-Qaeda.

An International Criminal Court arrest warrant alleged Gadhafi and his inner circle plotted a "state policy … aimed at deterring and quelling by any means — including by the use of lethal force — the demonstrations by civilians against the regime."

The people:
To this day, most Libyans identify themselves based on tribal alliances.

The conflict: Early battles in the Libyan civil war focused on areas in the rebel-dominated east, such as the cities of Brega and Ajdabiya. All along, NATO planes, including Canadian jets, targeted Libyan air defences, especially around Tripoli and the western city of Misrata. After consolidating their positions in the east, the anti-Gadhafi forces closed in on Tripoli. Gadhafi himself was captured and killed Oct. 20 when his last stronghold, Sirte, fell to Libyan forces.

The International Organization for Migration estimates more than 345,000 people fled Libya during the conflict, including many on boats to Italy.

The resources:

UN intervention: The UN Security Council voted on March 17 to approve a no-fly zone in Libya and air strikes against Gadhafi forces, but stopped short of putting troops on the ground. 

On March 31, NATO assumed control over the military operation, taking over from the U.S., France and Britain, which had been leading the mission, and installing Canadian Lt.-Gen. Charles Bouchard as commander of the operation.

NATO ended its air campaign over Libya on Oct. 31. A NATO report on the mission says its planes flew 9,600 strike sorties and that an estimated 5,900 targets were destroyed. The mission has been hailed as a success by NATO's military and political leaders, who have argued that the bombing raids caused minimal loss of innocent lives while paralyzing Gadhafi's command and control networks and preventing his forces from carrying out reprisals against civilians. But the campaign caused deep strains within the alliance, with only eight of the 28 member states agreeing to participate in the combat operation.

Canadian impact:  On a visit to Tripoli on Oct. 11, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Canada would contribute $10 million towards an effort to help Libya secure arms stockpiles in the country. On Sept. 26, MPs voted in support of extending Canada's military mission in Libya by three months, bringing it up to the end of 2011. An NDP amendment to the motion, which pushed to change the focus to rebuilding the country, was defeated.

"We will participate in the mission until armed threats emanating from Gadhafi forces are eliminated from the country," Harper told reporters in New York on Sept. 20.

Baird ordered on Sept. 13 that Canada unfreeze $2.2 billion worth of Libyan assets, and this process was still under way in late October.

Meanwhile, Canada's biggest oil producer, Suncor, announced on Sept. 26 that it was poised to restart production in the country. After talks with its Libyan partner, Suncor said it could be operational within "a few weeks," and could reach its full potential of 100,000 barrels a day by year's end, Bloomberg News reported.

Libya photo galleries has many photo galleries on Libya, including one on Canada’s Air Force that was deployed in Libya.

To see a list of them, use this Google search link.

Canada has recognized the rebel-formed National Transitional Council as the legitimate government of Libya.

Canada committed seven CF-18 fighter jets, two CP-140 Aurora patrol planes, two CC-130 Hercules tankers and a refueller to help enforce the no-fly zone and arms embargo against Libya. The warship HMCS Charlottetown was there in the early weeks of the conflict, and was replaced by the HMCS Vancouver. At the height of the mission, there were about 650 Canadian personnel in the area. About 435 personnel were still there in October.

On Oct. 22, Baird said Canada will focus on rebuilding and developing Libya's economy and supporting democratic development now that NATO's mission is drawing to an end

PHOTOS: Gadhafi through the years

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With files from AP