Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi, also known as Colonel Gaddafi, has been the leader of Libya since a coup in 1969. His regime was associated with numerous acts of state-sponsored terrorism in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s.
From 1972, when Gaddafi relinquished the title of prime minister, he has been accorded the honorific "Brotherly Leader and Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" (or more concisely as "Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution") in government statements and the official press. With the death of Omar Bongo of Gabon on 8 June 2009, he became the longest serving of all current non-royal national leaders and he is one of the longest serving rulers in history. He is also the longest-serving ruler of Libya since Libya, then Tripoli, became an Ottoman province in 1551. Gaddafi is reported to have amassed a fortune for himself and his family.
In January 2011, major political protests (inspired by recent similar events in Tunisia, Egypt and other parts of the Arab world), which quickly turned into a general uprising, broke out in Libya against Gaddafi's government. As of 26 February 2011, Gaddafi is reported as having lost control of much of the country.
A thug, a known terrorist and a man universally despised. When the Arab league votes to have western powers engage in military action against an Arab state, nothing more need be said about his stature in the world. I opposed the war in Iraq from day one yet I support this action against Gadhafi. There are fears of what may come in his place but the Arab states will see to it that a more stable leader emerges.