27 February, 2013

Libya Changes Official Name

Map of rebel campaigns during the last stage of Libya's 2011 civil war
Map of the last stage of Libya's 2011 civil war (click to see full map and original article). Map by Evan Centanni, based on public domain map from Wikipedia (source).
State of Libya
Last month, the North African country of Libya changed its official long-form name to "State of Libya" (Arabic: Dawlat Libya). This comes as part of Libya's governmental transition following its 2011 civil war, in which a rebel coalition defeated the regime of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Over the last year, the country's formal name had not been clearly defined, with the country referred to in most documents simply as "Libya". The rebel National Transitional Council had only made a point of ceasing to use the Gaddafi-era name.

During the last decades of Gaddafi's reign, the country was known in long form as the "Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya". The word "jamahiriya" was coined by Gaddafi by combining the Arabic words for "republic" (jumhuriya) and "the masses" (jamahir).

The new name, "State of Libya", voted in by the country's General National Congress on January 8th, is intended to be temporary pending the approval of a new national constitution. However, it is entirely possible that the constitution, once drafted, could also choose to use the same name.

This marks the third year in a row that a country has changed its official name during the year's first two months: last January, the Republic of Hungary changed its name to just "Hungary", and in February 2011, the Republic of the Fiji Islands shortened its name to "Republic of Fiji".


  1. I'm happy to see Libya's long-form name go. This name that Gaddafi gave the country was sort of a mockery. Between ridding the country of such an embarrassing leader, changing the flag from a bland green to a more traditional (and cooler looking!) design and changing the name of the country to something more respectable, Libya is slowly but surely reclaiming its dignity!

    1. It's always easy to spot a self- loathing, 'wannabe' Western. Gaddafi's achievements for Libya, is well documented & easily verifiable. A higher per capita than UK, no foreign debt, independent central bank, largest combined foreign reserves in world & a growing economy; is just some of the 'mockery' Gaddafi achieved for Libya. While NATO, the bombing 'revolutionaries,' (aided by the very bastion of freedom itself - Qatar &Saudi Arabia) are broke & economy in recession, have commandeered the reserves, put the economy in recession, undone the social security fabric that ensured Libyans were economically secure now & in future, have taken control of the economy thro' IMF & Libyan society is in turmoil. Give credit where credit is due & understand you are not liked by the people, whose acceptance you so desperately seek and whom you want to copy!!

    2. Self-loathing, ‘wannabe’ Western? What, because my name is Omar, I can’t be a ‘bona fide’ Westerner, who happens to have been born and raised in the US? All because I don’t have the nicest words for clearly one of the world’s most embarrassing and asinine dictators? Basically, you mean to say that just because I have a name of non-Western or Arabic/Muslim origin, I can’t say anything bad about Gaddafi or else I will be considered an “uncle Tom,” or a traitor to non-Westerners or to Arabs/Muslims? I’ll let readers and other posters sort out the stupidity associated with that sort of a statement.

      As someone with one foot in both the Western and Arab worlds, I can tell you that not only Westerners thought Gaddafi was a dope. I promise you that the name “Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya“ doesn’t sound any more eloquent in Arabic. Between the name of the country, to the plain green flag, to his strange attire, to his odd demeanor, to his “little green book,” to his “Amazonian Guard,” to his drug addiction, to the squandering of public funds on hookers by his son and to other peculiar things he did as a leader, Gaddafi sounds less like a real leader than he does a leader from a spy novel or perhaps Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle.” The uniquely embarrassing things that Gaddafi did to Libya is “documented and easily verifiable,” so you would be very hard pressed to try to paint this guy as some sort of misunderstood revolutionary leader who was only smeared because of Western hostility. Highlighting some of his accomplishments and pointing to current problems in Western countries isn’t going to convince anyone with a serious understanding of politics and economics that a stagnant 40 year rule by an eccentric wacko was somehow good for Libya.

      While the Libyan Revolution is reason for jubilation for many Libyans as well as others around the world, I never wished to imply that revolution or any part of the Arab Spring is without serious hardship and struggle. As we have seen in all countries affected by the Arab Spring, revolution and regime change are serious business and comes at a heavy cost. In many ways, overthrowing a dictator is the “easy part” and dealing with the economic and social problems that both existed as well as came into existence due to war is the more difficult struggle.

  2. I mean no national debt

    1. Verifiable facts about the acheivements of this man remains undeniable and all you want to complain about is a name. I note you do not contradict these achievements. Show me your perfect government & I'll show you a BIG lie. Is USA not a tyranny, kill lists, drone attacks, economic blackmail, invasions, threats, email monitoring, genocides, economic enslavement & on & on, all over the world, to the extent of supporting apartheid in S. Africa & a mini holocoust against Palestinians, today. As for jubliation for many Libyan- the facts on the ground, evidence a different tale. Nor would NATO have been needed, if this were a true revolution. Afterall Gaddafi's revolution which saw the removal of Western military bases, (now back in Libya) for which he was never forgiven, was bloddles & very popular (see archive footage), not needing a cruel bombardment by aggresive, greedy foreigners, with a long history of the subugation of others or have you forgotten the Italians?. Search for pictures all over Youtube of pro Gaddafi protests during the bombing. Buying into this lie that Western democracy is a utopia, as you have done, is simply nonsense. the lifes of people(especially the poorer) on the ground tell a different tale. There is no Arab Spring (this is a Western label to over simplify complicated matters & assume a place of control). Too much Western propaganda has gone into your head & the media that's used for this, is a virulent form of mind control. Free yourself

  3. i guess Omar is getting his information and knowlege from CNN and BBC.

    1. For the record, all of the articles on this site use information from major news media as sources. These sources obviously can't be trusted 100%, but I haven't found any more reliable way to source the data. At least the operations and agenda of mainstream media outlets are relatively easy to evaluate.

  4. Anonymous poster, I made a mistake in acknowledging your examples of Gaddafi’s achievements. While even the worst dictators manage to do things that could be understood as accomplishments, I was throwing you a bone to take for granted that you were citing real achievements of Gaddafi’s administration.

    How about we take another look? Libya has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa and has a small population of million relative the population of other Arab countries of the same geographic size, reason being why Libya has a high GDP per capita. However, I don’t know where you are getting your information about Libya having a higher GDP per capita than the United Kingdom. In country listings of both nominal and purchasing power parity, this is not the case.

    Libya has high levels of social inequality and economic disparities when compared to other countries in the region. The unemployment rate is 21%, which is the highest in the region. The economy has a severe lack of economic diversification and heavy reliance on oil revenues and immigrant labor. Is this the economy of an accomplished leader responsible for various economic feats, or rather a lunatic who allowed his country’s economy stagnate over 40 longs years while him and his sons used their country’s oil fortunes on drugs and hookers?

    Perhaps Wikipedia is too “mainstream” for you, but I think you could benefit from using some different sources yourself before you criticize anyone else's.




  5. population of six million*

  6. Using wikipeadi (a fishy academic source) as your source of info tells me all about your level of intelligence. There are published articles from far more authentic & respectable sources on per capita higher than UK, at time of bombing, the acheivements of Gaddafi, for which he was to receive a prize from UN for the rapid rate of development the country witnessed (fact) despite the sanctions, brought on by being wrongfully accused of the Pan Am bombing, far less gap between rich & poor than your USA, UK & it goes on. Try the last Human Development Index from UN 2011, as a starter. Finally how about the dictates of the USA- check out its human rights index, against Gaddafi's, inequalities in society, not to mention aggressive policies. Research into Libya human rights under Gaddafi, published just before bombing, try HRW or Al, (don't have time to double check) Al- Jamihiriya, worked, it was inclusive. A tyrant in a country where a home is a right? Try falling behind with your mortgage payments in USA & see whether you won't find yourself on the street. A tyrant where food was among the cheapest in the world versus USA where people need food banks & eat from bins? Where health is free versus where you can be left to die without insurance! Its sad that you think only Western type of government is the legitimate type of government. A governance they did not allow under colonialism or the Palestinians today. Finally try the racism, murders, crimes, rapes etc. of the current government???????installed under a man who hasn't been in the country for 35 years That you resort to abuse & insults in what is suppose to be a rational debate, is sad commentary of you & your position! denial does not change the factual truth. As I said free your mind. Signing off!!
    Ps. I did not make the comment about where you get your info but clearly the Poster is right

  7. Yet Ade, Wikipedia is not an academic source, which is why I did not nor ever did use it as an academic source. I’m not turning a paper into my professor nor am I having a paper published in an academic journal. I won’t make any judgments about your intelligence, but you should know the difference between an academic source used in universities and publications, and causal sources which could be used in the comments section of a website.

    It seems apparent to me that you have not used Wikipedia before. While there are problems with many pages on the site, much of the information is reliable because it uses credible sources.


    This one of three pages that I cited in my previous comment. In all four lists, the UK has a significantly higher GDP per capita than Libya. Let me show you the sources for two of the lists:


    This is the United Nations source in the Wikipedia article. In the first section, select the UK and Libya. In the second section, look up “GDP, Per Capita GDP – US Dollars.” In the third section, select 2010 (prior to the 2011 overthrow of Gaddafi). You will see the UK had about triple the GDP per capita than Libya did in 2010.


    This is the World Bank source in the Wikipedia article. On the first page, select Libya and the UK, then click next. On the second page, select “GDP per capita (current US$)” and GDP per capita “(constant 2000 US$).” On the third page, select 2009 and 2008 (I would have you select 2010, but there is no data for Libya in 2010-12), then select next. On the fourth page, select “view data” and a window will pop up. In this window, under row, select “Country,” then under series, select either GDP measurement. After you select “View Data,” and you will find that the UK had about triple the GDP per capita that Libya did in years 2008 and 2009.

    Is that sufficient enough evidence for you to believe that Libya does not have a higher GDP per capita than the UK? If you think I am hiding anything by only looking at nominal GDP per capita, you are free to do the same analysis using the sources from the Purchasing Power Parity Wikipedia article I provided.

    Libya’s involvement on the Human Rights Council over the last forty years, Gaddafi’s Human Rights award, Libya’s human rights record and the notion that the Pan Am bombing did not involve the Libyan government are all bad jokes not worth anyone addressing. I can help you if you are incapable of extracting relevant information from the articles I provided you, but I can’t help you with some of your other issues. All I can say is that shinning a light on any accomplishments the Libyan government may have had under Moammar Gaddafi and only looking at the flaws and mistakes of Western nations rather than at their successes is bound to give you the unserious, fringe positions like you seem to currently hold.

  8. Omar : its becoming too obvious you work in intelligence or law enforcement.. Gotta tone it down for psychological operations

    Everyone else: See this 2009 speech by qaddafi to the UN here. He destroys them. Probably led to his extra-judicial murder. Translator sucks but worth listening to whole thing: