“The group, which called itself the Revolutionary Command Council, was motivated by the ideology of Arab socialism modeled by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser. Within a short time, a young officer named Muammar Qadhafi emerged as a leader of the group, and he would rule Libya for the next 40 years.”
CIA Website — Fall of the Libyan Monarchy
On 1 September 1969, King Idris I, the first and only King of Libya, was deposed. To commemorate the event, the CIA has released a series of documents which cover major developments related to the coup, including US reaction. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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The Nixon administration believed that washington need not be overly distressed by the coup and felt the US could have a working relationship with the new regime.
Also discussed in the documents is Libya’s intention to honor treaty obligations regarding Wheelus Air Base, a major US Air Force installation in Libya that supported Mediterranean operations.
One document — MEMORANDUM FOR MR. HENRY KISSINGER (Sept. 9 1969) — reveals that the CIA did not see the Coup coming and expected a friendly relationship with the new leader of Libya.
The impenetrability of Libyan society is highlighted by the surprise the coup was to us and also to the British — who since World War II have been primarily responsible for training an developing the Libyan army. It was, of course, also a complete surprise to everyone in Libya’s far—flung ruling class, and apparently also to the USSR, Egypt, and the other Arab states. Libya does not accept military attaches, and until recently we had only ACSI coverage from Wheelus on a restricted level. Our contacts over the years with Libyan officers have been through the MAAG, which by its terms of reference does not have an intelligence function.
Reportage on the coup’s planning was made difficult also because of the level at which the planning was carried on. With the exception of its putative leader, a lieutenant colonel, most of the RCC representatives with whom we have been in touch rank no higher than first lieutenant or captain.
Very little was known about the attitudes of Libya’s junior officers—-their contacts with foreigners were strictly limited—-and their movement short—circuited the generation of command from which we expected the challenge to the regime would come. We know, however, that through the years a large number of Libyan military officers have received some training in the U.S. They have almost uniformly been deeply and favorably impressed by their experience in America. For this reason there is some basis for considering that the new Libyan junta’s strong expressions of friendship for the U.S. are sincere and not simply a tactical maneuver.
I guess the CIA psychics — Remote Viewers — were not yet at the top of their game in those days. Or maybe, their predictions were “thwarted by the butterfly effect” ?
Eventually, the FULLER MEMORANDUM turned Libya into an easy ‘culprit’ for all the crimes the US and some of its European allies did not wish to really solve.
The Lockerbie Affair is of course a case in point.
Moammar Gadhafi Comes To Power – 1969 | Today in History | 1 Sept 16
AP Archives — The new Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi reveals his aims of the revolution at a mass rally.
Fall of the Libyan Monarchy — CIA Website
Fifty Years Ago — The Fall of the Libyan Monarchy (September 1st 1969)