Memoires of Abdessalam Jalloud: The Epic

01 February, 2022

The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, as part of a series of memoires and testimonies, has published a book by Abdessalam Jalloud titled Memoires of Abdessalam Jalloud: The Epic.

This book presents the memoires of Abdessalam Jalloud, divided into ten chapters accompanied by a photo album, documenting the life of a man who actively contributed to the history of modern Libya, and in Libya’s complex Arab, regional and international relations, at a time when the country played an important role in international relations and revolutionary movements in the Third World in particular, especially in the development of Arab national action. He lived the events in this historical context as a political actor and a statesman; an experience that spanned over a period of no less than thirty years full of transformations, the reverberations of which are still being evaluated to this day. These notes do not overlook the useful human dimension in describing the writer's childhood and youth and the formation of his personality. In this way, he describes the conditions that constitute a model for the young officers who dreamed of Arab unity, renaissance, change and the restoration of Islamic civilization to confront Western hegemony. Despite the passage of years, the writer has retained a revolutionary breath and a sharp, categorical tone throughout this book.

The books value lies in its rich information, details, viewpoints, and assessments of events and other actors, and is expected to provoke discussion, and perhaps even debate.

Libya the Road to Revolution

The writer discusses the beginning of his career with the late Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, from the time they were young students and then imprisoned together, describing his arrest and detention. He presents the sequence of events that led to the establishment of the Free Unionist Officers Movement, and the previous events that fuelled his ideas of revolutionary, especially after he became acquainted with Arab nationalist, Baathist, Marxist and other revolutionary thought. In 1960, the organization selected the Central Committee of the Free Unionist Officers Movement headed by Muammar Gaddafi. In 1963, Gaddafi suggested that the movement’s members go to the military college, abandoning the movement’s basis of the radicalization of the people to bring about change which would require them to go to universities and higher institutes to ignite a popular revolution that overthrows the puppet monarchy. The movement strictly selected members on the basis of their commitment, behaviour, good morals, and willingness to sacrifice. Members had to fulfil “angelic” revolutionary, social and moral specifications.

The author goes into great detail about the outbreak of the revolution began, discussing how to establish the popular organization in the streets and the action led by the revolutionary committees. He notes that the revolution did not face any kind of resistance other than limited acts of resistance in Tripoli, and came to be known as the “White Revolution.” Despite the declaration of a state of emergency and curfew, the masses refused to comply with the decision, and entire cities and villages took to the streets, rising above armoured vehicles and cars to flood the soldiers with kisses and feelings of love and support, with Libyan families venturing out to distribute food among the soldiers.

The writer goes on to discuss his time as Prime Minister of Libya, the evacuation negotiations and the submission of the English and the Americans after desperate manoeuvres, as well as the expulsion of the Italian settlers, and the “oil revolution” that followed. He deals with the relationship with Egypt in the third chapter, and refers to the first meeting with Gamal Abdel Nasser, Nasser’s visit to Libya and the Rogers project. He then talks about the Sadat era and the October 1973 war, which he considers disastrous. After talking about the Civil War in Lebanon, in the fourth chapter, the book makes note of the various Arab and international responses to the Libyan revolution and its impact both internationally and regionally. The revolution had repercussions for the liberation movement of Western Sahara, and on the relationship with Algeria, and on the experience of the Arab Maghreb Union, as well as on the Arab Gulf. Libya had relations with Sultan Qaboos of Oman. The author also touched on the mystery of Musa al-Sadr’s 1978 disappearance, the position towards Saddam Hussein and the occupation of Kuwait.

The author also details the major international issues that directly affect Libyan politics and attendance at international forums, expanding on the issue of the war in Chad and the Libyan intervention. He also spoke about the cost of this absurd war and its impact on the Libyan economy, especially after the drop in the price of oil between 1983 and 1984. He also mentions the Lockerbie crisis and the confrontation with the United States of America before going on to discuss his dispute with Colonel Gaddafi and the events that led him to resign from his position on 9 May 1992. The writer made his decision, and stood by the Libyan revolution and the uprising of the masses against Gaddafi in 2011, and at that time, NATO strikes on the positions of the Libyan regime.

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