Libya: filling the blank space

A history that provides a useful overview of a country engulfed in civil war.

Libya may be vying with Albania for the distinction of being the Mediterranean’s most mysterious country, but until a few months ago its obscurity and opacity did not seem to matter much. Europeans were primarily interested in its oil – Libya held the world’s seventh-largest reserves of oil in 2010, around 3.4% of the global total – and were prepared to look the other way when Muammar Qaddafi, Libya’s leader since 1969, imprisoned, tortured or killed his opponents, real or imagined. 

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