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"I am an international leader, the dean of the Arab rulers, the king of kings of Africa and the Imam of Muslims."

Gaddafism, also known as Third International Theory, is an authoritarian, economically left, and nationalist ideology influenced by Islam.

Gaddafism is a term used to describe the ideology and ideas of Muammar Gaddafi, who, in a military coup of the Libyan monarchy, became the de facto ruler of Libya from 1969 to 2011.[6]


Muammar Gaddafi's Early Life

Gaddafi was born on the 7th of June, 1942, into a nomadic Bedouin family near the city of Sirte, Libya.[7]

At the age of 9, he left his family camp in order to go to school. When he was in a secondary school in Sebha, Gaddafi was inspired by the Egyptian president at the time, Gamal Nasser. This lead to him becoming an anti-West Pan-Arab nationalist. He set up revolutionary study groups with some of the students at his school. He continued this practice up to when he joined the University of Libya in Benghazi[8] in 1963 to study history, but he dropped out to join the military academy in the city.[9]

Military Career and Coup

While in military school, Gaddafi met people who shared his anti-West pan-nationalism. They then teamed up and immediately started planning a coup of the Libyan monarchy in place at the time. Gaddafi was later sent to Britain for further training, and his nationalism was intensified by his experiences there.[10]

When he came back, Gaddafi and his comrades continued planning the event, and in September of 1969, successfully overthrew the monarchy and founded the Libyan Arab Republic. The new country was ruled by the Revolutionary Command Council, which Gaddafi quickly rose the ranks, becoming the chairman of the council and colonel in the military.[10]

Rule From 1969-2011

Once in power, in 1970, Gaddafi removed American and British military bases from the country and kicked out the Jewish and Italian communities that same year. In 1993, he nationalized all petroleum assets in Libya that were owned by foreign entities. He then implemented laws that aligned with his Islamic principles, like banning alcohol.[6]

In 1973, while economic reforms were underway, Gaddafi announced the "Peoples Revolution" in a speech. This was meant to implement a form of Islamic Socialism (This ideology is laid out in the Green Book and summarized in the Foundations and Beliefs section). He continued announcing and proposing ideas throuout the 70's and early 80's.[11]

One of these announcements was that of the newly proclaimed Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in 1977. These actions caused some opposition to arise and plots against Gaddafi were made, but the state quickly suppressed then and issued warnings to anyone who may get any ideas.[11]

2011 Civil War and Death

In 2011, anti-regime protesters, inspired by recent events in Egypt and Tunisia, held rallies in Benghazi to protest the arrest of a human rights lawyer. The protesters called for Gaddafi to step down from his position, leading to clashes with the Libyan security forces and the protesters. To counter the protest, authorities set up a pro-regime protest and broadcast it on state TV.[12]

These actions caused tensions to rise between the two parties, ultimately leading to the protesters taking control of the city, which, in turn, lead to authorities using lethal force on the protesters and taking other authoritarian measures, like blocking access to the internet and interrupting telephone service.[12]

This rise in violence lead to condemnation from the international community, and lots of resignations from Libyan positions, like the Libyan ambassador to the UN Many Libyan embassies flew pre-Gaddafi flags in protest and many units of the military started to side with the protesters, causing Gaddafi's power to weaken significantly.[12]

After a while, the protesters got weapons and teamed up with the anti-Gaddafi units of the military, forming a full-out armed rebellion, and therefore, starting a civil war. From here, it went downhill for Gaddafi. There were international calls for his resignation and the armed resistance, although weak, but with the help of foreign powers, like NATO, managed to advance. Finally, on October 12 in 2011, Gaddafi was found and killed in his hometown of Sirte, marking the fall of his regime.[12]

Foreign Relations

North America

United States

Gaddafi and his regime were known for funding groups abroad that aligned with his beliefs, like the Black Panther Party in the US and the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland. These activities caused a growing disfavor of Gaddafi in the eyes of the American government, and in 1986, carried out airstrikes on several sites in Libya, barley missing Gaddafi, but killing many members of his family in the process.[6]

This relationship with America and the international community only got worse after it was revealed that Gaddafi's regime had funded terrorists who blew up a civilian plane over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, killing all onboard and some on the ground. As a result, the UN and America sanctioned Libya, but later, in the 90's, Gaddafi would hand over the alleged terrorists and the UN dropped the sanctions, but the US would not do the same until 2003, when Gaddafi ended his weapons program.[6]

During the US invasion of Grenada, Libya sent military advisors to Grenada.


Another one of the regime's foreign relations was in 2009, when Gaddafi was named the head of the African Union. Almost immediately, Gaddafi's strong pan-nationalism made some members of the union uneasy. He advocated for an extremely strong union of all the member states and the eventual formation of the "United States of Africa", which would function as any other sovereign government.[13] In 2010, when Gaddafi tried to become the head again after his one year term ended, several African nations pushed back and he was denied.[6]

In the same year as his promotion to head of the AU, Gaddafi, giving a speech at a UN General Assembly, famously tore a copy of the UN charter, causing controversy in the international community.[6]

In 2008, Muammar Gaddafi claimed the title of " king of kings" after a gathering of more than 200 African tribal kings and chiefs endorsed his use of the title on 28 August that year, stating that "We have decided to recognise our brotherly leader as the ' king of kings', sultans, princes, sheikhs and mayors of Africa". At the meeting, held in the city of Benghazi, Gaddafi was given gifts including a throne, an 18th-century Qur'an, traditional outfits and ostrich eggs. At the same meeting, Gaddafi urged his guests to put pressure on their own governments and speed the process of moving towards a unified African continent . Gaddafi told those that attended the meeting that "We want an African military to defend Africa, we want a single African currency, we want one African passport to travel within Africa". The meeting was later referred to as a "bizarre ceremony" in international media.


FRELIMO has been one of Libya's closest allies, since the moment it launched independence struggle against Portugal.


MPLA is known to have cooperated with Libya during the Portuguese Colonial War, but to a lesser extent than national liberation movements in countries such as Mozambique and South Africa.


SWAPO was armed by Libya, in the South African Border War. MPLA and ANC, with whom SWAPO acted together, also received intense support from Muammar Gaddafi during this period. Namibia also issued a statement criticizing the US intervention, at the beginning of Libyan Civil War.


PAIGC, which fought for independence during the Portuguese Colonial War, received support from Libya.


Similarity between the African policies of Muammar Gaddafi and Idi Amin, enabled two leaders to establish many economic and military cooperations. Libya supported Uganda by sending 400 soldiers to the 1972 invasion of Uganda and 4500 soldiers to the Uganda-Tanzania War.

Ugandan Bush War was also among the wars in which Libya participated, by supporting NRM and West Nile rebel groups.


MNLA, which fought to establish an independent Azawad, also received support from Libya for a short time.


Libya, which supported FROLINAT and many rebel groups during the Chadian Civil War, began to invade Chad in the year of 1978. Muammar Gaddafi's main goals were to annex the Aouzou Strip, turn Chad into a satellite state of Libya, and obtain a base for his Central African policies. Libya has carried out many operations in the region, through the Islamic Legion.

Chad resisted Libya for a long time, with the foreign support it received from US, France and Israel. Libya had to withdraw, when many rebel groups opposing FROLINAT cooperated with Chad.


In the Ethiopian Civil War, which started as a result of the violent power struggle and Eritrea's efforts to declare independence, Muammar Gaddafi initially supported the rebel groups in Eritrea. Libya, which cooperated with the ELF before the year of 1977, has supported the EPLF since then, with the influence of the ELF's move away from Marxism-Leninism and the emergence of new alternatives.


Libya cooperated with the government led by Mengistu Haile Mariam, towards the end of the Ethiopian Civil War. However, this alliance didn't last long and was dissolved in 1991 when opposition groups entered Addis Ababa and won the war.


Libya provided logistical support to Comoros during the 2008 invasion of Anjouan.

Middle East


Muammar Gaddafi appreciated the Palestinian resistance against Israel, which he saw as socialist and patriotic. Both sides were influenced by anti-imperialism and allied with Soviet Union in the Cold War.

PLO received intense economic and military support from the Libya and the groups within it separately established connections with Muammar Gaddafi. They fought alongside Libya in many parts of Africa and supported Muammar Gaddafi during the Libyan Civil War.

Libya saw Fatah as one of the main actors of conflict between Palestine and Israel. Fatah and its leader Yasser Arafat cooperated with Muammar Gaddafi until the year of 1978. As a result of the continuation of Lebanese Civil War, Libya's provide turned to Marxist-Leninist Palestinian groups.

PFLP has long been supported by Libya, in their actions in Palestine and Lebanon. However, in later periods, the cooperation ended as a result of ideological differences between them. DFLP also had some contacts with Libya, although less than other groups.

External support needed by the PPSF, which was established after the split of PFLP due to ideological differences, was provided by Libya. As a result, the group increasingly came under Libya's direction.

As-Sa'iqa, the Palestinian branch of Syrian-led Ba'ath Party and dissidents within Fatah, such as Abu Nidal Organization cooperated with Libya. Muammar Gaddafi provided military support to conservative and nationalist groups like Hamas and PFLP-GC, which were outside PLO. BSO also carried out some of its attacks under the sponsorship of Libya.

Foundations and Beliefs


Gaddafi considered liberal democracy to not represent true democracy as true democracy is the rule of the people rather than representatives who are really representing their own interests and not the people. He considered the only way to get around this was direct democracy with the use of popular conferences. On the question of law he rejected any secular law and wanted law to be based on Religion he considered this to be in line with democracy as religion is practiced by all the people in society. On the question of press he wanted press to be created by the state so it would be democratic rather than independent press which he considered to only represent certain groups in society and not the entire population.


Gaddafi considered wage labour to be a form of slavery and wanted to abolish the wage system. On housing he criticized rent because for him it compromised freedom and instead wanted people to own their own homes. He wanted income to be a partnership between people and for people to manage their own income instead of gaining it from others through charity or wages. He wanted people to own their own lands rather than having it rented from another person which he considered to infringe on freedom.


Gaddafi created a project of regional unity, known as pan-Arabism, aiming at creating a common Arab state. In this project, Gaddafi viewed Islam as an essential pillar, hence approaching ideas of pan-Islamism. Islam worked as a unifying factor of universal relevance. Gaddafi wished to promote an alternative to the communism and capitalist philosophies in the Third International Theory. This theory, developed in The Green Book, was addressing not only the Arab world but the entire globe and promoted direct democracy through the General People's Committee establishing a direct dialogue between the population and the government.

Personality and Behavior

Gaddafism's strange solution to his philosophical conundrum is so poorly thought through he has a hard time convincing other balls of its reason to exist. As he has a notoriously short temper, this can lead to a lot of conflict between him and the other balls from across the spectrum, though it's usually just a one sided shouting match. Most of the balls have learnt he's not really worth their time.

How to Draw

Flag of Gaddafism
  1. Draw a ball with sunglasses.
  2. Fill it Islamic Green to make it resemble Libya's national flag from 1977–2011.
  3. Add Colonel's Cap.
Color Name HEX RGB
Green #008543 0, 133, 67




  • Marxism–Leninism - I supported you abroad but supressed and deported you at home. Marxist class struggle isn’t my thing and I prefer class collaborationism.
  • Authoritarian Capitalism - Once we were enemies but I privatized a lot during the 1990s and 2000s to gain foreign support.
  • Neoconservatism - I used to dedicate my life fighting you but then we became temporary allies during the war on terror and the rest is history. Still, I won't forgive you for supporting my opposition and turning my country into a hellhole.
  • Third Way - You are now a part of my ideology since 1999, but why did you betray me? I thought We were allies, but no. You helped my enemies as well!
  • Islamic Theocracy - I took some of inspiration from your cultural policies, and you get a bit of respect for that, but stop getting mad at me for putting my ideals above religion! I did support you guys in the Philippines though!
  • Hamas - We used to be friends, and you actually cared about the Palestinian people! Then you started being friends with those evil reactionaries!
  • Griffinism - Fascist islamophobic scum. But apparently he really likes me...
  • Progressivism - I developed my country's material conditions, gave women better rights, opposed Zionism, and outlawed child and forced marriages, but why do many of your many western variants hate me?
  • Kemalism - "I am a fan of Atatürk. He is an excellent leader and has tremendous victories over westerners. But I don't like him. Because he turned Turkey into a nation-state. We are all Ottomans, but he refused this honor. Turkey abandoned us and after that we went into collapse. He is responsible for this." Also, stop being mad at me for funding the PKK. The Kurds deserve self-determination, trust me.
  • Ba'athism - You once were a fellow Pan - Nationalist, and socialist, but now your are a greedy abomination that gases children!


  • Liberal Democracy - Weak system that deceives the masses. The Third International Theory applied to Libya under my leadership represented true democracy.
  • Particracy - Political parties are stupid and unnecessary hence why I banned them all.
  • Neoliberalism - Western-influenced degenerates who are living the lie of liberalism.
  • Imperialism - You're the root of all evil in the world I dedicated my life fighting you. Ignore how I invaded Egypt and Chad
  • Jihadism - First you kill me, then you ruin the country I built with your twisted version of the Quran.
  • Burmese Way to Socialism - See, I would have nothing wrong with you ,if you were not a Muslim killer!
  • Zionism - ARAB KILLER!! We must obliterate Israel and deport all Jews by revenging against their illegitimate state[1]. Although maybe having a joint Arab-Jewish state could work out.
  • United Nations - Yeah, I tore a copy of your charter into pieces during the UNGA. What are you gonna do about it? Oh f*ck...
  • Helvetic Model - A world mafia, not a state. If I had my way you would have been dissolved and divided up between France, Italy, and Germany!
  • Parliamentarianism - "The most tyrannical dictatorships the world has known have existed under the aegis of parliaments."
  • Fascism & Nazism - "Hitler and Mussolini exploited the support of the masses to rule the people. We revolutionaries enjoy the support of the masses to help the people become capable of ruling themselves on their own."
  • Hoxhaism - I can't be a revisionist as I never claimed to be a Marxist/communist in the first place.
  • Apartheid - Stop oppressing black people, You racist sh*tty-ass son of a b*tch! They are humans like us, NOT animals!

Further Information




Militant Groups supported and financed by Muammar Gaddafi


  1. 1999-2011 Gaddafism


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Day of Revenge", Wikipedia.
  2. "Libya-Switzerland relations", Wikipedia.
  3. "The Colonel and His Third Way" by Anthony Giddens, The New Statesman. 28 August 2006.
  4. "Tony Blair listened to Colonel Gaddafi's Third Way theories" by Jeremy Wilson, Business Insider. 11 December 2015.
  5. "Libya aims to privatise half of economy in decade", by Lamine Ghanmi, Reuters. 31 March 2010.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 "Muammar al-Qaddafi", Encyclopedia Britannica.
  7. "Muammar Gaddafi Autobiography"',
  8. [1] by M. Patay, IMDb.
  9. "Muammar Gaddafi Biography",
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Muammar Gaddafi" by Llewellyn. J and Thompson. S., Alpha History. 2 November 2018.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Muammar Al-Gaddafi.", Encyclopedia of World Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 "Libya Revolt of 2011.", Encyclopedia Britannica. 8 February 2022.
  13. "African Union names Gaddafi as head", Al Jazeera. 2 February 2009.