Libya is located in the Middle East bordering Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia. It is the fourth largest nation in Africa. The current ruler in Libya is Muammar el-Qaddafi. The nation is currently in the midst of civil war.
Libya was an Italian colony from 1911 until 1947. In 1947, the Italians relinquished claims to Libya as part of the 1947 peace treaty with the Allies. As part of the independence process, Idris I, Emir of Cyrenaica, represented Libya in the UN negotiations for independence. When independence was declared in 1941, Idris I declared the nation a constitutional and hereditary monarchy under himself.
The discovery of petroleum in the kingdom led the nation to become extremely wealthy. However, most of the wealth was concentrated around King Idris. As Arab nationalism spread throughout the region, discontent spread with King Idris I. On September 1, 1969, a small contingent of army officers led by Muammar el-Qaddafi staged a coup d'etat against King Idris.
As of 2011, Qaddafi has ruled the nation of Libya for over four decades. Despite recent improvements in Libyan relations with Western nations, Libya continues to restrict speech, press, assembly, association and religious freedoms.
In February 2011, protests across the country against the Qaddafi's reign were met with violence and hostility by the Libyan military and pro-Qaddafi forces. The protestors quickly organized, and made massive gains across the country. It looked as though Qaddafi would quickly be ousted, but pro-Qaddafi troops struck back, isolating the opposition forces to the city on Benghazi, the unofficial headquarters of the rebel movement. The U.N. approved military intervention short of ground invasion to stymie Qaddafi's progress against the opposition forces. Air strikes by coalition forces have weakened Qaddafi's military strength, but the conflict is ongoing.