Libya lies between Tunisia and Egypt. Does it have cultural or economic ties to those countries that make it easier for revolutionary fever to spread across those borders?
Libya borders on Algeria in the west, on Tunisia in the northwest, on the Mediterranean Sea in the north, on Egypt in the east, on Sudan in the southeast, and on Chad and Niger in the south.
Tripoli is the capital of Libya and its largest city.
Libya, professes to have a government in which the people rule directly, has no formal constitution.
The highest official organ is the General People's Congress, consisting of some 2,700 representatives from local peoples' committees.
In practice, Libya is a military regime, with power vested in the revolutionary leader, Muammar al-Qaddafi, who holds no official title but is the de facto head of state. The head of government is the secretary of the General People's Committee (the cabinet). Administratively, the country is divided into 25 municipalities.
In Sept., 1969, a group of army officers led by 27-year-old Col. Muammar al-Ghadafi ousted King Idris in a coup. The 1951 constitution was abrogated, and government was placed in the hands of a 12-member Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) headed by Qaddafi, who became prime minister. In mid-1972, Qaddafi turned the post of prime minister over to Abdul Salam Jallud, but he remained the RCC's president, the country's most important political and military office.
A "cultural revolution" launched in 1973 sought to make life in the country more closely approximate to Qaddafi's socialist and Muslim principles.
"Personally, I don't think the chances of the protesters succeeding at this point are terribly high," says Dirk J. Vandewalle, a professor of government at Dartmouth College.
Gadhafi, again, has used a perfect divide-and-rule strategy!
Political analysts say Libyan oil wealth may give the government the capacity to smooth over social problems and reduce the risk of an Egypt-style revolt.
Gaddafi's opponents say they want political freedoms, respect for human rights and an end to corruption.
Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition