Background: Since he took power in a 1969 military coup, Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi has espoused his own political system - a combination of socialism and Islam - which he calls the Third International Theory. Viewing himself as a revolutionary leader, he used oil funds during the 1970s and 1980s to promote his ideology outside Libya, even supporting subversives and terrorists abroad to hasten the end of Marxism and capitalism. Libyan military adventures failed, e.g., the prolonged foray of Libyan troops into the Aozou Strip in northern Chad was finally repulsed in 1987. Libyan support for terrorism decreased after UN sanctions were imposed in 1992. Those sanctions were suspended in April 1999.
Qadhafi took control of Libya from a group of reformist Muslims (fundamentalists), named the Sanusiyyah after their founder Muhammad b. Ali al-Sanusi. They gained support by opposing Italian and British occupiers. Their rise in power followed a similiar path as that of the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia, although with obviously different endings.