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Qadhafi and Militant Islamism: Unprecedented Conflict

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Since the regime of Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi has devotedly wrapped itself in the banner of Islam, the resurgence of violent, militant Islamist dissent in Libya during the 1980s and 1990s was surprising. Eventually, Qadhafi gained the upper hand, at least for the time being. This unprecedented armed conflict stemmed primarily from the difficult political and socio-economic circumstances, as well as political and cultural disruptions caused by modernization. The character of Libyan politics was not only inseparable from social, economic and cultural life, but also impenetrable to new, non-revolutionary elements interested in accelerating political change. Therefore, by injecting a new militant Islamic dimension into Libya's domestic affairs, opposition groups found a useful tool for political motivation. Ironically, this opposition followed the exact path of the regime in resorting to Islamic discourse to promote its political cause. The major difference, of course, was that the Islamists failed while Qadhafi sat firm in the saddle.
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Keywords: IMM; Islamic Martyrs Movement; Islamism; LPM; Libya; Libyan Patriots Movement; MIG; Militant Islamic Group; Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi; UN sanctions

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2002

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