Gotta Watch: Libya's backstory
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been in power 42 years.
August 22nd, 2011
10:55 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Libya's backstory

More than four decades of Moammar Gadhafi's rule may be nearing an end as rebels appear to have his regime on the verge of collapse. The embattled Libyan leader's detractors have faced off against his regime since January, but Libya's tensions pre-date the Arab Spring uprisings. Today, Gotta Watch looks at Libya's long-running, tense relations with the U.S.,  Gadhafi's family and its link to some A-list pop stars.

From friend to foe – Moammar Gadhafi ascended to power during President Nixon's administration. By the time Ronald Reagan had taken office, U.S.-Libya relations were in serious trouble. In 1986, the president decided to launch airstrikes against Libya, which killed Gadhafi's infant daughter.
[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2011/03/20/1986.reagan.us.bombs.libya.cnn"%5D

Gadhafi’s family ties – The Libyan leader isn’t the only Gadhafi making international headlines. CNN's Michael Holmes profiles his nine living children.
[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2011/03/06/pkg.gadhafi.family.tree.cnn"%5D

Pop stars' Gadhafi connections – What do A-listers Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Nelly Furtado have in common? They all received big bucks for performing at private parties for the Gadhafi family. When the revolution began and the connections were revealed, the stars quickly took action to distance themselves from the dictator.
[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/showbiz/2011/03/07/wynter.private.parties.gadhafi.cnn"%5D

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Filed under: Celebrity • Gotta Watch • Libya • Music • NATO • Protest • Showbiz • U.S.
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. RUFFNUTT

    SOON it will be a made for tv movie.... or maybe a hbo special series

    August 22, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. Francis

    Gadhafi ought to have known that what goes about comes about and the worid will one day catch up with all those dictators and tyrants who discriminately killed their people. Caution to sudan's bashir and syria's president. Francis. Nairobi kenya

    August 22, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Reason

      I think libya is a pretty cool guy, eh kills invaders and doesn't afraid of anything

      August 22, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      I agree. All invaders and aggressors should take notice, and I mean ALL...NATO, Etc.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex Gessong

      @James: NATO and the Libyan people won! So, take notice of what? NATO intervention ended the Balkans War and now has won the Libyan Rebellion. Viva NATO!

      August 22, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joey Isotta-Franchisi

    I think that Moamar is a cool dude. He is not so bad for a white guy. Ive known worse.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • brathead

      So you think people who have people hijack planes and kill their own people are "cool dudes" No wonder our society is so effed up! People like you are a waste of human space.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • KF

      Joey Isotta-Franchisi is an IDIOT!

      August 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Joey: yes, he's cool in the sense that a body loses heat after death. And he's white in the sense that a body may appear to be pale when blood drains out of it. Hey, he got the chance to rule with absolute power for four decades. Now the penalty for all of his crimes against humanity finally catches up to him. Justice is cool. Even if it takes a long time, and a few airstrikes. Long live the newly free Libya!

      August 22, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    If you are going to troll please spell my name right. Yes he is a cool dude as you say but I wouldnt ball him white.

    August 22, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    call (LOL)

    August 22, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. ianfro

    gadhafi's face looks like it was hit by a freight train!

    August 22, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Or...

      More likely, it looks LIKE a freight train!

      August 22, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • boogietime

      Yup, he makes Barbra Streisand look good.

      August 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Andrew

    How can you mention the 1986 bombings against Libya without telling about the events that lead up to it? Repeated attacks on a carrier group in the Mediterranean and when the US Navy fought those off with no losses Gadhafi resorted to having his intelligence services bomb a nightclub in Germany frequented by US Soldiers.

    That "Friend to Foe" paragraph made it sound like we attacked him 'just cuz'.

    August 22, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • KF

      Some of the things that lead up to the bombing are in the accompanying video with President Reagan speaking.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mad Cow Avenger

    You know, CNN, when you teg a line about US action in Lybia in 1986 and you only mention that Col Q's daughter was killed you create a certain perspective, mainly, the the US acted unilaterally and without justification. Most people don't watch the videos, they just read the article, and it is only in the video that information is provided on how the US action was a retaliation for a terrorist attack (unless you know your history). I keep trying to defend you CNN, but you blow me away with revisionist history.

    August 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Slamman007

      Well said sir!! Irresponsible journalism at its best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      August 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • KF

      It is in the video of President Reagan as to why we bombed Libya.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Mad Cow Avenger: CNN has not revised history in any way. There was an airstrike and Kaddafy's infant daughter was killed in that strike. Those are unaltered facts. Revisionism would be something like "In an unprovoked attack..." CNN doesn't do that. Nor is CNN attempting to conceal any fact of that 1986 airstrike, which is why the video is included. Kaddafy escaped that time, but justice is catching up to him now. Bravo to the US and all the other NATO members, bravo to the people of Libya, and bravo to CNN for fine coverage of Kaddafy's downfall.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. The West says "hello", Ghaddi.

    You know what they should do?

    They should put Pan-Am logos on the jets bombing Gadhafi's compound.

    August 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Is CNN for serious?

    The link to this article was "Libya's journey from US friend to foe", which I find historically dubious at best. As the article itself somewhat suggests, the US's feelings on Gadhafi have mostly ranged from "We would like to kill him" to "We are trying to kill him" to "We are giving aid to the people trying to kill him." I'm not sure when CNN felt that was a friendly relationship. Is it when he first seized power, closed our bases in his country, and nationalized all the foreign oil companies? Or when he was a major sponsor of terrorism? When he was warming up to the Soviets? When (as Andrew pointed out) he blew up a nightclub in Germany frequented by our soldiers?

    We have been in conflict with Libya in one form or another since Gadhafi seized power, and our affection for him has been measurable largely in the volume of air strikes sent his way, and Libya has not been a friend since before Gadhafi took over.

    August 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. emperorobama

    My fellow comrades. We will only be in Libya for days, not even weeks. Oh and btw- it's not a war, if it was a war I would need to get congressional approval. Dropping bombs and killing people would be war, we're just there for moral support 😉

    August 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • KF

      What the hell are you talking about?

      August 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex Gessong

      @emperor: Actually, US involvement in Kaddafy's downfall is in part due to his sponsorship of terrorism, particularly the orders that he gave to bomb a German nightclub that had been popular with American soldiers and the order that he gave later to bomb a Pan Am airliner in which hundreds of Americans were killed. Kaddafy was a terrorist, and the only way to bring him to justice was to take him out of power. This American airstrikes, both in 1986 and in 2011, were entirely justified. The other reason is humanitarian: the people of Libya were trying to free themselves from a dictator who had no qualms about killing his own citizens. It's entirely justified for a free people to aid others who seek freedom. Why would anyone in the US ever question whether we should have been helping to bring down Kaddafy, particularly when considering how much American blood is on Kaddafy's hands? Congress retroactively approved the action, and rightly so. Bringing down Kaddafy was is our national interest. A terrorist is now out of power, and the people of a free Libya will be more inviting to US interests in the region, since without US intervention Kaddafy would probably still be in power and the rebellion would have been crushed months ago.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oliver

      FYI, we haven't legally declared war since we declared war on Romania in World War II. Every engagement since then has just been "authorized military action."

      August 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tricia

    his is a 'back story'? How about telling the world WHY Reagan ordered the airstrikes? WHY did US-Lybian relations 'go bad"??

    August 22, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • KF

      That is in the video of Ronald Reagan speaking. He tells why the order to bomb Libya was given.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. you can be serious

    This is it??? This story is worse than a copy-paste made by a high school student.

    August 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • boogietime

      Actually that is what they did since CNN wanted to save some $$$ and thought we were too stupid to notice.

      August 22, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Butch

    Shouldn't thisd more aptly be named, Libya, From a zero relationship, to a "almost friendly" nation (after WWII) to a distinct enemy of the highest level, to a working business deal, back to enemy??

    August 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. One on One

    @ JIF, Dude i'm feel real blue ya, your trolls have some kinda fixation for you.

    August 22, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
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