Libya–United States relations

Libya–United States relations refers to the bilateral relations between the State of Libya and the United States of America. Relations are today cordial and cooperative, with particularly strong security cooperation only after the 2012 attack on the US liaison office or mission in Benghazi.[1] Furthermore, a Gallup poll conducted in March and April 2012 found that Libyans had "among the highest approval" of US leadership in the entire Middle East and North Africa region.[2]

However, for decades prior to the 2011 Libyan Civil War, the countries were not on good terms and engaged each other in several military skirmishes. The Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi funded terror operations against the United States, most notably the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing, to which the United States retaliated by bombing Libya, and the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

When the Libyan civil war broke out in 2011, the United States took part in a military intervention in the conflict, aiding anti-Gaddafi rebels with air strikes against the Libyan Army. With the success of the revolution and the overthrow of Gaddafi, US President Barack Obama said that the United States was "committed to the Libyan people" and promised partnership in the development of a new Libyan state.[3]

According to a 2012 poll conducted by Gallup, 54% of Libyans approve of U.S. leadership, compared to only 22% and 19% respective approval for China and Russia's, and 75% of Libyans say they approved of NATO's military intervention in the civil war.[4]

The U.S. began bombing Libya again on August 1, 2016 with permission from the GNA, as part of the military intervention against ISIL.[5]

Libya–United States relations
Map indicating locations of Libya and USA

Libya

United States

History

Kingdom of Libya (1951–1969)

Idris I & Richard Nixon
Vice President Richard Nixon meeting King Idris of Libya in 1957. The king sought cordial relations with the U.S.

Following Italy's colonial occupation of Libya and the German occupation during World War II the U.S. leased the strategically important Wheelus Air Base from the Kingdom of Libya. The United States supported the UN resolution providing for Libyan independence in 1951 and accordingly raised the status of its office at Tripoli from a consulate general to a legation. Libya opened a legation in Washington, D.C., in 1954. Both countries subsequently raised their missions to embassy level.

Oil was discovered in Libya in 1959, and what had been one of the world's poorest countries became comparatively wealthy. The United States continued a generally warm relationship with Libya and pursued policies centered on interests in operations at Wheelus Air Base and the considerable U.S. oil interests. During the early 1960s, many children of U.S. oil personnel sent to develop the oil field installations and pipelines were allowed to attend the high school facility at Wheelus, typically riding buses from residential areas in or near Tripoli. Classes often had to pause briefly while large aircraft were taking off.

The strategic value of Wheelus as a bomber base declined with the development of nuclear missiles and Wheelus served as a tactical fighter training facility in the 1960s. In September 1969 King Idris I was overthrown by a group of military officers centered around Muammar Gaddafi. Before the revolution, the U.S. and Libya had already reached agreement on U.S. withdrawal from Wheelus; this proceeded according to plan, and the facility was turned over to the new Libyan authorities on June 11, 1970.[6]

Libya under Gaddafi (1969–2011)

After Muammar Gaddafi's 1969 coup, U.S.-Libyan relations became increasingly strained when Gaddafi removed the American oil companies by nationalizing the oil industry.[7] In 1972, the United States recalled its ambassador. Export controls on military and civil aircraft were imposed during the 1970s, and U.S. embassy staff members were withdrawn from Tripoli after a mob attacked and set fire to the embassy in December 1979. The U.S. Government designated Libya a "state sponsor of terrorism" on December 29, 1979. Throughout the 1970s Gaddafi was a vocal supporter of the Palestinians and anti-Israeli Arab governments and he supported the Arab states during the Yom Kippur War and the Arab Oil Embargo.

Gulf of Sidra incident

On August 19, 1981, the Gulf of Sidra incident occurred. Two Libyan Sukhoi Su-22 jets fired on U.S. aircraft participating in a routine naval exercise over international waters of the Mediterranean claimed by Libya. The U.S. planes returned fire and shot down the attacking Libyan aircraft. In December 1981, the State Department invalidated U.S. passports for travel to Libya and, for purposes of safety, advised all U.S. citizens in Libya to leave. In March 1982, the U.S. Government prohibited imports of Libyan crude oil into the United States and expanded the controls on U.S.-origin goods intended for export to Libya. Licenses were required for all transactions, except food and medicine. In March 1984, U.S. export controls were expanded to prohibit future exports to the Ras Lanuf petrochemical complex. In April 1985, all Export-Import Bank financing was prohibited.

United States adopted additional economic sanctions against Libya in January 1986, including a total ban on direct import and export trade, commercial contracts, and travel-related activities. In addition, Libyan Government assets in the United States were frozen. When Libyan complicity was reported in the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing, which killed two American servicemen, the United States responded by launching an aerial bombing attack against targets near Tripoli and Benghazi in April 1986 (see Operation El Dorado Canyon). At least 15 people died in the U.S. air strikes on Libya – including leader Colonel Gaddafi's adopted 15-month-old daughter – and more than 100 were injured. Subsequently, the United States maintained its trade and travel embargoes and brought diplomatic and economic pressure to bear against Libya. This pressure helped to bring about the Lockerbie settlement and Libya's renunciation of WMD and MTCR-class missiles.

In 1991, two Libyan intelligence agents were indicted by federal prosecutors in the U.S. and Scotland for their involvement in the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 near Lockerbie, Scotland. In January 1992, the UN Security Council approved Resolution 731 demanding that Libya surrender the suspects, cooperate with the Pan Am 103 and UTA 772 investigations, pay compensation to the victims' families, and cease all support for terrorism. Libya's refusal to comply led to the approval of UNSC Resolution 748 on March 31, 1992, imposing sanctions designed to bring about Libyan compliance. Continued Libyan defiance led to passage of Security Council Resolution 883—a limited assets freeze and an embargo on selected oil equipment—in November 1993. In March 2003, Tripoli secretly approached Washington and London with an offer to reveal the scope of its WMD programs. This led to covert negotiations in Libya, which in turn resulted, on December 19, 2003, in the country's public disclosure of the extent of their WMD research and capabilities.[8] UN sanctions had been lifted on September 12, 2003, after Libya fulfilled all remaining UNSCR requirements pertaining to the Lockerbie bombing, including renunciation of terrorism, acceptance of responsibility for the actions of its officials, and payment of appropriate compensation to the victims' families.[9]

Normalizing relations

After its public announcement of December, 2003, the Gaddafi government cooperated with the U.S., the U.K., the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons toward these objectives. Libya also signed the IAEA Additional Protocol and has become a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Mutassim Gadaffi Hillary Clinton
Libyan National Security Adviser Mutassim Gaddafi with Hillary Clinton in 2009

In recognition of these actions, the U.S. began the process of normalizing relations with Libya. The U.S. terminated the applicability of the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act to Libya and the President signed an Executive Order on September 20, 2004 terminating the national emergency with respect to Libya and ending IEEPA-based economic sanctions. This action had the effect of unblocking assets blocked under the Executive Order sanctions. Restrictions on cargo aviation and third-party code-sharing have been lifted, as have restrictions on passenger aviation. Certain export controls remain in place.

U.S. diplomatic personnel reopened the U.S. Interest Section in Tripoli on February 8, 2004. The mission was upgraded to a U.S. Liaison Office on June 28, 2004, and to a full embassy on May 31, 2006. The establishment in 2005 of an American School in Tripoli demonstrates the increased presence of Americans in Libya, and the continuing normalization of bilateral relations. Libya re-established its diplomatic presence in Washington with the opening of an Interest Section on July 8, 2004, which was subsequently upgraded to a Liaison Office in December 2004 and to a full embassy on May 31, 2006.

On May 15, 2006, the US State Department announced its intention to rescind Libya's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism in recognition of the fact that Libya had met the statutory requirements for such a move: it had not provided any support for acts of international terrorism in the preceding six-month period, and had provided assurances that it would not do so in the future. On June 30, 2006, the U.S. rescinded Libya's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.[10] In July 2007, Mr. Gene Cretz was nominated by President Bush as ambassador to Libya. The Foreign Relations Committee of the U.S. Senate held Cretz's confirmation hearing on Wednesday, September 25, 2008. The Libyan government satisfied its responsibility and paid the remaining amount of money it owed (total of $1.5 billion) to the victims of several acts of terrorism on Friday, October 31, 2008. That same year, the United States and Libya also signed a bilateral Agreement on Science and Technology Cooperation.[11]

Principal U.S. Officials included Chargé d'Affaires William Milam and Deputy Principal Officer J. Christopher Stevens.

The U.S. Embassy in Libya is temporarily located at the Corinthia Bab Africa Hotel, Souk al-Thulatha, Al-Gadim, Tripoli. The U.S. consular representative's office is also located at the Corinthia Bab Africa Hotel. Limited services are available for U.S. citizens.

2011 Libyan Civil War

Relations were again severely strained by the outbreak of the 2011 Libyan Civil War, in which Gaddafi attempted to crush first protests, and then an armed rebellion against his rule. The U.S. government cut ties with the Gaddafi regime, and enacted sanctions against senior regime members. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that the legitimacy of Gaddafi's regime had been "reduced to zero".[12] The US, along with several European and Arab nations, then began to call for the United Nations to authorise military intervention in the conflict. US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice successfully pressured Russia and China not to veto the resolution, and it passed on March 17, 2011.[13][14]

The US military played an instrumental role in the initial stage of the intervention, suppressing Libyan air defenses and coordinating international forces in the establishment of a no-fly zone over Libya,[15][16] before handing command responsibility to NATO and taking a supporting role in the campaign of air strikes against pro-Gaddafi forces.[17] The intervention severely weakened the Gaddafi regime and aided the rebels to victory, with the fall of Tripoli in August 2011.

Post-Gaddafi Libya (2011–present)

Panetta and El-Keib
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Transitional Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib, conduct a press conference in Tripoli, Libya on Dec. 17, 2011.
Under Secretary Goldstein and Libyan Foreign Affairs Under Secretary Almughrabi Sign a New MOU (38711461810)
Representatives sign a Memorandum of Understanding on cultural property protection in 2018

The United States' first direct contact with the anti-Gaddafi opposition came on March 14, 2011 when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with National Transitional Council leader Mahmoud Jibril in Paris.[18] The US took longer than other leading NTC allies to formally recognise the council as Libya's legitimate authority, but it did so on July 15, and it granted accreditation to Ali Aujali as the Libyan Ambassador to the United States on August 15.[19] Later that month, the US led an effort at the United Nations to repeal parts of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970 in order to allow unfrozen Libyan assets to be transferred to the interim government.[20] When the civil war came to an end in October, US President Barack Obama pledged to work with the new Libyan government as a partner, and said the United States was "committed to the Libyan people".[3]

US relations with the new Libyan government were thrust into the spotlight on September 11, 2012 when gunmen attacked and firebombed the US liaison office/mission in Benghazi, killing 4 Americans including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.[21] Libya's interim leader Mohammed Magarief quickly condemned the attack and apologised to the US, describing it as "cowardly" and pledging to bring the killers to justice.[22] Demonstrations denouncing the attack and supporting the United States were held in Benghazi the next day, with protesters mourning Stevens and signs declaring him 'a friend to all Libyans'.[23] Libya cooperated with the US to investigate the attack, closing Benghazi's airspace for several hours to allow US drone patrols over the city on September 14.[24]

December 2, 2013, the United States and Libya entered into the U.S.-Libya Declaration of Intent, a declaration intended to increase cooperation in law enforcement investigations and fulfill international crime-fighting obligations.[25]

On 27 May 2014, the United States advised all U.S. citizens in the country to leave immediately. Citing the unstable and unpredictable security situation in Libya, the United States also warned its citizens to avoid travel to the country.[26]

See also

Further reading

  • Davis, Brian L. (1990). Qaddafi, Terrorism, and the Origins of the U.S. Attack on Libya. New York. Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-275-93302-4
  • P. Edward Haley, (1984). Qaddafi and the United States since 1969. New York. Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-275-91181-0

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of State website https://www.state.gov/countries-areas/ (U.S. Bilateral Relations Fact Sheets).

  1. ^ "US, Libya Pledge Cooperation in Attack Probe". Voice of America. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  2. ^ Loschky, Jay. "Opinion Briefing: Libyans Eye New Relations With the West". Gallup, Inc. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  3. ^ a b Bruce, Mary. "Obama: Gadhafi Death Marks End Of 'Long And Painful Chapter'". ABC News. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  4. ^ Opinion Briefing: Libyans Eye New Relations With the West Gallup
  5. ^ News Desk (August 13, 2016). "US Now Bombing 4 Countries As War On ISIS Spreads To Libya". MintPress.
  6. ^ Library of Congress - A Country Study: Libya (see chapter "Qadhafi and the Revolutionary Command Council)"
  7. ^ http://www.botswanaguardian.co.bw/newsdetails.php?nid=3037&cat=BG%20Northern%20Extra
  8. ^ Murphy, Sean D. (2004). "U.S./UK Negotiations with Libya regarding Nonproliferation". American Journal of International Law. 9 (1): 195–197. JSTOR 3139281.
  9. ^ "Security Council lifts sanctions against Libya imposed after Lockerbie bombing". UN News Centre. 2 September 2003. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  10. ^ Schwartz, Jonathan B. (2007). "Dealing with a 'Rogue State': The Libya Precedent". American Journal of International Law. 101 (3): 553–580. JSTOR 4492935. See p. 553.
  11. ^ Dolan, Bridget M. (10 December 2012). "Science and Technology Agreements as Tools for Science Diplomacy". Science & Diplomacy. 1 (4).
  12. ^ Colvin, Ross; Bull, Alister (25 February 2011). "U.S. to impose sanctions on Libya, cuts ties". Reuters. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  13. ^ Mataconis, Doug (17 March 2011). "U.S. Pushing U.N. Security Council To Authorize Direct Intervention In Libya". Outside the Beltway. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  14. ^ "Libya: UN backs action against Colonel Gaddafi". BBC News. 18 March 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  15. ^ Lawrence, Chris (19 March 2011). "U.S. fires on Libyan air defense targets". CNN. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  16. ^ Knickerbocker, Brad (19 March 2011). "US leads 'Odyssey Dawn' initial attack on Libya". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  17. ^ Vanden Brook, Tom (4 April 2011). "U.S. warplanes taking aim at supporting role in Libya". USA Today. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  18. ^ "Clinton Meets Libyan Opposition Figure". NPR. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  19. ^ "Monday, August 15, 2011 - 23:06 - Libya". Al Jazeera Blogs. 15 August 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  20. ^ Charbonneau, Louis (24 August 2011). "U.S. asks U.N. to unfreeze $1.5 billion Libyan assets". Reuters. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  21. ^ "Obama vows to track down ambassador's killers". Reuters. 12 September 2012.
  22. ^ "Libya leader apologizes for attack on US consulate". London: Associated Press. 23 January 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  23. ^ Vinter, Phil (13 September 2012). "'This does not represent us': Pro-American rallies in Libya after terrorist attack that killed ambassador Chris Stevens". London: Libya Herald. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  24. ^ Grant, George. "Benghazi airspace closed for several hours to enable US drone patrols". Libya Herald. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  25. ^ http://libya.usembassy.gov/en-120213.html
  26. ^ "'Depart immediately', US urges its citizens in Libya". US News.Net. Retrieved 28 May 2014.

External links

1979 U.S. embassy burning in Libya

On 2 December 1979, the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, was burned during protests over allegations that the United States was involved in the Grand Mosque Seizure in Mecca.

The United States had already withdrawn the U.S. Ambassador to Libya in 1972. Following the 1979 attack, all remaining U.S. government personnel were withdrawn and the embassy closed. Diplomatic presence resumed on February 8, 2004 with the arrival of the U.S. Interests Section in Tripoli. That mission was upgraded to a Liaison Office on June 24, 2004.

1986 West Berlin discotheque bombing

On 5 April 1986, 3 people were killed and 229 injured when La Belle discothèque was bombed in the Friedenau district of West Berlin. The entertainment venue was commonly frequented by United States soldiers, and two of the dead and 79 of the injured were Americans.A bomb placed under a table near the disc jockey's booth exploded at 01:45 CET, instantly killing Nermin Hannay, a Turkish woman, and US Army sergeant Kenneth T. Ford. A second US Army sergeant, James E. Goins, died from his injuries two months later. Some of the victims were left permanently disabled due to the injuries caused by the explosion.Libya was accused by the US government of sponsoring the bombing, and US President Ronald Reagan ordered retaliatory strikes on Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya ten days later. The operation was widely seen as an attempt to kill Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. A 2001 trial in the US found that the bombing had been "planned by the Libyan secret service and the Libyan Embassy".

218TV

218TV is a Libyan free-to-air satellite channel founded in 2015 in Amman, Jordan. The channel provides several news broadcasts along with various social and entertainment shows.

Abdul Majid Giaka

Abdul Majid Giaka ( (listen) AHB-duul mə-JEED JY-ah-kə; born 1960) is an alleged double agent who defected from Jamahiriya el-Mukhabarat (Libyan intelligence service) and became a CIA asset in August 1988.Giaka's testimony at the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial in September 2000, which led to the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi of sabotaging Pan Am Flight 103 on 21 December 1988, was called into question by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission in June 2007.

Battle of Sirte

Battle of Sirte may refer to military events, either in the Gulf of Sidra or in the Libyan city of Sirte located on its shore.

during the Battle of the Mediterranean of World War II:

First Battle of Sirte, fought on 17 December 1941

Second Battle of Sirte, fought on 22 March 1942

as part of Libya–United States relations during Cold War

Gulf of Sidra incident (1981)

Gulf of Sidra incident (1989)

during Libyan Civil War of 2011 (fall of Muammar Gaddafi)

Second Gulf of Sidra offensive, fought from 22 August to 20 October 2011 during the Libyan civil war

Battle of Sirte (2011), fought from 15 September to 20 October 2011 during the Libyan civil war

during Second Libyan Civil War

Battle of Sirte (2015), fall of Sirte on ISIL

Battle of Sirte (2016), Government of National Accord effort to liberate Sirte from ISIL

Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs

The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), also known as the Bureau of Near East Asian Affairs, is an agency of the Department of State within the United States government that deals with U.S. foreign policy and diplomatic relations with the nations of the Near East. It is headed by the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, who reports to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

Disarmament of Libya

The Libyan disarmament issue was peacefully resolved in December 2003 when Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi agreed to eliminate his country's weapons of mass destruction program, including a decades-old nuclear weapons program.In 1968, Libya became signatory of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), ratified the treaty in 1975, and concluded a safeguards agreement in 1980. Despite its commitment to NPT, there are reports indicating that Muammar Gaddafi of Libya either made unsuccessful attempts to build or entered in an agreement to purchase a nuclear weapon from nuclear-armed nations. In the 1970s–80s, Gaddafi made numerous attempts to accelerate and push forward his ambitions for an active nuclear weapons program, using the nuclear black market sources. However, after the end of the Cold War in 1991, Gaddafi sought to resolve its nuclear crises with the United States aiming to uplift the sanctions against Libya, finally agreeing to authorize rolling back Libya's weapons of mass destruction program on 19 December 2003.

As of 2013, over 800 tons of chemical weapons ingredients remained to be destroyed. In February 2014, the new Libyan government announced that it had finished destroying old Libya's entire remaining stockpile of chemical weapons. Full destruction of chemical weapons ingredients was scheduled to be completed by 2016.

Embassy of Libya in Washington, D.C.

The Embassy of Libya in Washington, D.C. is the diplomatic mission of Libya to the United States. It is located at 1460 Dahlia Street NW

Washington, DC 20012.

Executive Order 13780

Executive Order 13780, titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, is an executive order signed by United States President Donald Trump on March 6, 2017. It places limits on travel to the U.S. from five Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia) as well as North Korea and Venezuela, and also bars entry for all refugees who do not possess either a visa or valid travel documents. This executive order revoked and replaced Executive Order 13769 issued on January 27, 2017, and has subsequently been revised by two presidential proclamations. Court rulings prohibited some of its key provisions from being enforced between March 15 and December 4, 2017, and the Supreme Court upheld the most recent version of the travel ban on June 26, 2018.

As of the most recent revision in April 2018, travel is banned on tourist or business visas for nationals of Libya and Yemen, as well as some government officials of Venezuela; on all, except student and exchange visitor visas, for nationals of Iran; on immigrant visas for nationals of Somalia; and for all travel for nationals of North Korea and Syria.

Despite the order intended to be more lax towards immigration and asylum laws, the order was still challenged in court by several states. On March 15, 2017, Judge Derrick Watson of the District Court for the District of Hawaii issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the government from enforcing several key provisions of the order (Sections 2 and 6). By taking into account evidence beyond the words of the executive order itself, the judge reasoned the executive order was likely motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment and thus breached the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. On the same date, Judge Theodore Chuang of the District Court for the District of Maryland reached a similar conclusion (enjoining Section 2(c) only). The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit refused on May 25, 2017, to reinstate the ban, citing religious discrimination. On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court partially lifted the halt and agreed to hear oral arguments for the petition to vacate the injunctions in October. On September 24, 2017, President Trump signed Presidential Proclamation 9645, further expanding and defining the previous Executive Order. In response, the Supreme Court canceled its hearing, then granted the government's request to declare the Maryland case moot and vacate that judgment. On December 4, the Supreme Court allowed the ban to go into full effect, pending legal challenges. On June 26, 2018, the Supreme Court upheld the president's authority to implement these restrictions in the case of Trump v. Hawaii.

Fist Crushing a U.S. Fighter Plane

The Fist Crushing a U.S. Fighter Plane Sculpture is a gold-coloured monument located in Misrata, Libya. It was once located at the Bab al-Azizia compound in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. The sculpture was commissioned by the nation's leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi following the 1986 bombing of Libya by United States aircraft. It was built in the shape of an arm and hand squeezing a fighter plane. It may have also been symbolizing the apparent downing of an F-111 by Libyan anti-air units in the 1986 bombing.

During the 2011 Libyan civil war, the sculpture was frequently noted in media coverage of televised speeches given by Gaddafi on 22 February and 20 March 2011, in which he vowed to "die a martyr" to prevent anti-government rebels prevailing.On 23 August, at the height of the Battle of Tripoli, NTC rebels breached the Bab al-Azizia compound and international news stations broadcast pictures of rebels gathered around the statue, with one fighter having climbed onto it. Graffiti had been drawn on its base by rebel forces. At some point in time, the U.S. flag and initials U.S.A. had been removed from the representation of the plane.

It is now in the Misrata War Museum.

Innocence of Muslims

Innocence of Muslims is an anti-Islamic short film that was written and produced by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. Two versions of the 14-minute video were uploaded to YouTube in July 2012, under the titles The Real Life of Muhammad and Muhammad Movie Trailer. Videos dubbed in Arabic were uploaded during early September 2012. Anti-Islamic content had been added in post-production by dubbing, without the actors' knowledge.What was perceived as denigration of the Islamic prophet Muhammad resulted in demonstrations and violent protests against the video to break out on September 11 in Egypt and spread to other Arab and Muslim nations and to some western countries. The protests led to hundreds of injuries and over 50 deaths. Fatwas calling for the harm of the video's participants were issued and Pakistani government minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour offered a bounty for the killing of Nakoula, the producer. The film has sparked debates about freedom of speech and Internet censorship.

International response to Innocence of Muslims protests

Following the 2012 diplomatic missions attacks that began on September 11, 2012, many nations and public officials released statements. Widespread early news coverage said that the protests were a spontaneous response to an online preview of Innocence of Muslims, a movie considered offensive to Muslims. Later consideration of the Libya attack's complexity, of statements made by some Libyan officials, and of the potentially symbolic date (the anniversary of the September 11 attacks) fueled speculation of preplanned efforts. U.S. missions in Cairo, Egypt, and Benghazi, Libya, were attacked during the first day of the protest.

Iran and Libya Sanctions Act

The Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 (ILSA) was a 1996 act of the United States Congress that imposed economic sanctions on firms doing business with Iran and Libya. On September 20, 2004, the President signed an Executive Order to terminate the national emergency with respect to Libya and to end IEEPA-based economic sanctions on Libya. On September 30, 2006, the Act was renamed the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). The Act was originally limited to five years, and has been extended several times. On December 1, 2016, ISA was extended for a further ten years.The Act empowers the President to waive sanctions on a case-by-case basis, which is subject to renewal every six months. As at March 2008, ISA sanctions had not been enforced against any non-US company. Despite the restrictions on American investment in Iran, FIPPA provisions apply to all foreign investors, and many Iranian expatriates based in the US continue to make substantial investments in Iran.

Libya lobby in the United States

The Libya lobby in the United States is a collection of lawyers, public relation firms and professional lobbyists paid directly by the government of Libya to lobby the public and government of the United States on behalf of the interests of the government of Libya.

The Libyan government has engaged a number of American firms who have disclosed their work under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, including White & Case, Blank Rome, The Livingston Group, and Monitor Group. In 2008, law firm White & Case gave Libya “a special 15 percent discount off of our standard rates” in its effort to cement a “significant relationship" with the Libyan government under led by Muammar Gaddafi. In 2008 and 2009, the Gaddafi government paid over $2 million to lobbyists White and Case, Blank Rome, and The Livingston Group, led by Former Congressman Bob Livingston, to lobby on their behalf.Monitor Group was hired in 2005 to assess the state of Libya’s economy, develop plans for economic modernization and reform of the banking system, and train leaders from different sectors of society. The work did not involve any wider political reforms in the North African nation. According to a 2007 memo from Monitor to Libya's intelligence chief which was subsequently obtained by the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition and posted on the internet in 2009, Monitor entered into further contracts with the Libyan regime in 2006 which were worth at least $3m (£1.8m) per year plus expenses. According to the memo these contracts were for a campaign to "enhance international understanding and appreciation of Libya... emphasize the emergence of the new Libya... [and] introduce Muammar Qadhafi as a thinker and intellectual." Monitor’s work became the subject of controversy with the onset of the Libyan Civil War. In March 2011 Monitor announced that it had launched an internal investigation into its work for the Libyan government and in May 2011 registered past work in Libya.

List of ambassadors of the United States to Libya

The United States Ambassador to Libya is the official representative of the President of the United States to the head of state of Libya.

Pan Am Flight 103

Pan Am Flight 103 was a regularly scheduled Pan Am transatlantic flight from Frankfurt to Detroit via London and New York. On 21 December 1988, N739PA, the aircraft operating the transatlantic leg of the route was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew – a disaster known as the Lockerbie bombing. Large sections of the aircraft crashed onto residential areas of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 11 people on the ground. With a total of 270 people killed, it is the deadliest terror attack in the history of the United Kingdom.

Following a three-year joint investigation by Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), arrest warrants were issued for two Libyan nationals in November 1991. In 1999, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi handed over the two men for trial at Camp Zeist, Netherlands, after protracted negotiations and UN sanctions. In 2001, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer, was jailed for life after being found guilty of 270 counts of murder in connection with the bombing. In August 2009, he was released by the Scottish Government on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. He died in May 2012 as the only person to be convicted for the attack.

In 2003, Gaddafi accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and paid compensation to the families of the victims, although he maintained that he had never given the order for the attack. Acceptance of responsibility was part of a series of requirements laid out by a UN resolution in order for sanctions against Libya to be lifted. Libya said it had to accept responsibility due to Megrahi's status as a government employee.During the Libyan Civil War in 2011, former Minister of Justice Mustafa Abdul Jalil claimed that the Libyan leader had personally ordered the bombing, though this was later denied, while investigators have long believed that Megrahi did not act alone, and have been reported as questioning retired Stasi agents about a possible role in the attack.

Some critics of Megrahi’s prosecution believe that the Lockerbie bombing was carried out by Palestinian terrorists on behalf of Iran, in retaliation for the US downing of an Iranian passenger jet in 1988. Some relatives of the dead, including the Lockerbie campaigner Dr Jim Swire, believe the bomb was planted at Heathrow airport and not sent via feeder flights from Malta, as the US and UK claim. A cell belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (General Command) had been operating in West Germany in the months before the Pan Am bombing.

Treaty of Tripoli

The Treaty of Tripoli (Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary), signed in 1796, was the first treaty between the United States of America and Tripoli (now Libya) to secure commercial shipping rights and protect American ships in the Mediterranean Sea from local Barbary pirates.

It was signed in Tripoli on November 4, 1796, and at Algiers (for a third-party witness) on January 3, 1797. It was ratified by the United States Senate unanimously without debate on June 7, 1797, taking effect June 10, 1797, with the signature of President John Adams.

The Treaty is often cited, in discussions regarding the role of religion in United States government, for a clause in Article 11 of the English language American version which states that "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." A superseding treaty, the Treaty of Peace and Amity signed on July 4, 1805, omitted this phrase.

Wheelus Air Base

Wheelus Air Base was a United States Air Force base located in the Kingdom of Libya. At one time it was the largest US military facility outside the US. It had an area of 20 sq miles on the coast of Tripoli. The base had a beach club, the largest military hospital outside the US, a multiplex cinema, a bowling alley and a high school for 500 students. The base had a radio and TV station, and a shopping mall and fast food outlets. At its height it had over 15,000 military personnel and their dependents. Wheelus Air Base was originally built by the Italian Air Force in 1923 and was known as Mellaha Air Base. Today the facility is known as Mitiga International Airport.

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