Muammar al-Qaddafi seized power from King Idris in a coup 41 years ago. Since then he has been entirely unpredictable.
His attacks on his own people since the start of the Libyan uprising have proved that he deserved the title “the mad dog of the middle east”.
We’ve put together images that span the Libyan leaders career. These include his alliance with Arab and African leaders, his quest for weapons of mass destruction and eventual surrender of them, the 1986 bombing of Libya by US forces and his efforts at the turn of the century to win the favour of the Western world.
Qaddafi who has yet to rescind power recently said, “I will fight to the last drop of blood”. Here’s a look at his four-decade long reign.
Libyan leader Lt. Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi is at an unknown location. He seized power in a bloodless coup in 1969
King Hassan of Morocco welcomes Qaddafi to The Arabian Summit in Rabat, Morocco two months after he became Libya's de facto leader, Dec. 18, 1969.
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (right) meets with other Arab leaders in Cairo. From left are: Qaddafi, Sudan's President Gaafar al-Nimiety and Syrian President Hafez Assad, April 13, 1971
Qaddafi looks over arms and ammunition made by the Yugoslav metal company Krusik in Valjevo. The company was building a similar factory in Libya. Nov. 20, 1973
Qaddafi and leaders of Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were hosted by Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (left of Gaddafi). Here they attend prayers at a Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan. Feb. 23, 1974
Chairman of the Palestine Liberation organisation (PLO) Yasser Arafat, raises his hands in a salute to delegates, with Qaddafi and PLO leader George Habash, at the Arab Nations Summit in Tripoli, Dec. 4, 1977
Qaddafi arrives at Moscow Airport and is met by Soviet President Leonard I. Brezhnev, April 27, 1981
One of Qaddafi's early women body guards stands by the Libyan leader's limousine in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia while he attended a meeting with other African leaders to prepare the opening of the 19th organisation of African Unity, June 6, 1983
Qaddafi at the 8th Non-Aligned Movement Conference in Harare, Zimbabwe, in which he threatened to withdraw because some of the members recognised Israel, Sept. 4, 1986
Qaddafi talks with former Iranian President Syed Al Khameini during the 8th Non-Aligned Summit in Harare, Zimbabwe, Sept. 2, 1986
Former President Jimmy Carter tells reporters in Oak Park, Illinois that the U.S bombing of Libya has made Qaddafi a hero in the eyes of many and will worsen terrorism it was meant to discourage, Thursday, April 17, 1986
Qaddafi and former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak visit a panorama and weapons exhibition of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war in Cairo, Egypt, June 1, 1990
In this image released by Libyan television Qaddafi walks through a crowd after an alleged assassination attempt during a rally in Libya. Qaddafi said the alleged assailant, was an agent of the British intelligence and had confessed while the British government denied an assassination attempt, Sept. 11, 1998
Qaddafi shakes hands with Nelson Mandela on his first foreign trip since sanctions against Libya were suspended. He had supported the South African president and the African National Congress fight Apartheid, June 13, 1999
Qaddafi and Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi during the inauguration of a multibillion-dollar natural gas pipeline linking their two countries beneath the Mediterranean, Oct. 7, 2004
Qaddafi cut deals for $14.7 billion in contracts for armaments and a nuclear reactor with France, on his first official visit Monday to a Western country after renouncing terrorism and doing away with weapons of mass destruction, Dec. 10, 2007
President Barack Obama and Qaddafi pictured during the G8/G5 summit in L'Aquila, Italy, July 9, 2009
Libyan protesters offer Friday prayers as they gather at the court square to protest against Qaddafi, in Benghazi, Libya. Militias loyal to Muammar Qaddafi are reported to have opened fire on protesters streaming out of mosques in the Libyan capital on Friday, witnesses said, reporting at least four killed, Feb. 25, 2011
A pro-Qaddafi supporter shouts as she points to a photograph of the Libyan leader at a pro-regime rally in Green Square, Tripoli. Qaddafi has reportedly been arming civilian supporters to set up checkpoints and patrol the capital to quash dissent, Feb. 26, 2011
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