Libya Between 1963 and 1974
On April 27, 1963, with a royal proclamation, the Libya was transformed into a unitary state. Executive power was centralized in the hands of the Council of Ministers, and consequently the Administrative Councils of Cyrenaica, Fezzan and Tripolitania were abolished; the provinces were increased to 10, the appointment of the 24 members of the Senate was reserved to the king; political rights were finally recognized to women. Elections for the Chamber of Deputies were held in October 1964 and, following complaints, repeated in May 1965. With the disclosure of the real value of the oil fields existing in the country, the situation had in the meantime begun to change: the economy, still in 1960 dependent on foreign aid and the proceeds from the lease of millennial bases to Great Britain and the United States, it became progressively independent and then recorded significant positive balances. The emotion aroused in the country by the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, heightened by the accusation that the Libyan bases had been used by the West to attack the Arabs, led the Libya to align itself with the progressive Arab states: the demobilization of the bases, which began in March 1966, was accelerated and aid was allocated to war-affected countries. The changed international position was not long in reflecting inside: on 1 September 1969, when the king was absent, a group of soldiers seized power and proclaimed a republic. A provisional constitution promulgated in November entrusted power to a Council of the Command of the Revolution; the government, however, remained largely composed of civilians. In December the defense and interior ministers (both military) were accused of conspiracy, and in January 1970 a new government was formed chaired by Mu‛ammar el-Qadhdhafī (Gheddāfi), who proved to be the real leader of the coup organizers. of state. These showed their tendencies of extreme Arab nationalism, and they acted in this sense: in March 1970 the last British forces left from Libya, in June the US ones; the Europeans were progressively replaced in the professions by Arabs, mostly Egyptians; in July all the properties belonging to Jews and Italians were confiscated, and the members of the two communities were invited to leave; in the same month the nationalizations of foreign interests began. For Libya history, please check historyaah.com.
The proposal for a federation with Egypt and Sudan (late 1969) and promises made by el-Qadhdhāfī of a constitution appeared in the early 1970s to provoke dissension in the leadership group. In the internal field, the reforms were limited to the formation, in June 1971, of an Arab Socialist Union, the only legal political party. In the Arab field, the federative project, with Syria instead of Sudan as the third member, came to fruition with an agreement signed in April 1971. Ratified by popular referendums conducted in the three countries in September, it gave birth to the Federation of Arab Republics, an organism that, although it had given itself a constitution and a government, remained in practice a pure affirmation of principle; in October 1973, while sending aid, Libya did not hesitate to criticize the Egyptian initiative to wage war on Israel, of which she had not been informed. Perhaps precisely because it was disappointed by the Egyptian attitude, against which the attacks were not spared, in January 1974 the Libya, which even after the revolution had set aside the projects of collaboration with the Maghreb, turned to Tunisia; even the announced union between the two countries, however, remained unrealized. Under the pressure of el-Qadhdhāfī (who in July 1972 was replaced as prime minister by ‛Abd as-Salām Giallūd) the fierce nationalism of Libyan politics was accentuating: aid in arms and money were given to nationalistic movements, not only Arabs. In a speech given in April 1973, el-Qadhdhāfī announced a “cultural revolution” to destroy ideologies imported from both the West and the East; popular commissions were charged with implementing it at every level. In May el-Qadhdhāfī announced what he called the “third international theory”, an “alternative to capitalist materialism and atheistic communism”, based on Islamic values; an accentuation of Islamic fundamentalism had already taken place in previous years, with a gradual return to the norms of Islamic law in the field of food prescriptions and criminal law. On April 5, 1974, it was announced that el-Qadhdhāfī, while remaining head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, was relieved of political, administrative and representative duties so that he could devote himself to ideological organization. On March 2, 1977, a new state order was proclaimed al – Giam ā hiriyyah (translatable as “State of the masses”) Libyan Arab People’s Socialist.