Col. Muammar Qaddafi seized control of Libya in 1969 with a military coup that overthrew King Idris. He was influenced by Israel's defeat of Arab forces in 1948 and Gamal Abdel Nasser's Egyptian revolution in 1952. Many acts of terrorism were associated with Qaddafi's regime from the 1970s through the early 90s. k09/ZUMA Press/Newscom/File
Qaddafi comes from a tribe of stock-herding Arabized Berbers called the Qaddadfa. k09/ZUMA Press/Newscom/File
Qaddafi sought to become the Che Guevara of his time, welcoming to Libya those with anti-Western and anti-imperialist sentiments and aiding them with weapons and money. He never promoted himself beyond the rank of colonel, reasoning that because Libya was ruled by the people, he did not need a higher rank to command the military.
Early on, Qaddafi showed a penchant for eye-catching clothing and regalia. His official title is 'Brotherly Leader and Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,' and he is one of the longest-ruling leaders in history. k09/ZUMA Press/Newscom/File
German Democratic Republic leader Erich Honecker (r.) welcomes Qaddafi to East Berlin in 1978. Picture-Alliance/DPA/Newscom/File
Qaddafi meets Leonid Brezhnev, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, in Moscow in 1981. Vasily Yegorov, Valentin Kuzmin/Tass/Newscom/File
Qaddafi sits with his son Hannibal and daughter Ayesha in the Bab Azizia Palace grounds after the 1984 coup attempt against him. Walter Renaud/SIPA/Newscom/File
Qaddafi talks to Soviet journalists at a news conference one week after the US bombing of Libya in 1986. Qaddafi sold weapons to the Irish Republican Army and supported fringe members of the Palestine Liberation Organization, leading President Reagan to call him a 'mad dog' and order the bombing. AP/File
Qaddafi meets Egypt's then-President Hosni Mubarak in Mersa Matrouh, Egypt, in 1989. Frederic Neema/Reuters
Qaddafi meets with South Africa's then-President Nelson Mandela in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1999. Libya gave money early on to Mandela's African National Congress to help it fight apartheid in South Africa. Eric Miller/Picturedesk International/Newscom/File
Qaddafi talks with Joerg Haider, Austrian right-wing politician and governor of the province of Carinthia, near Tripoli, Libya, in 2004. The Qaddafi clan has close ties to Austria. One of Qaddafi's sons, Saif al-Islam, studied in Vienna and was friends with the late Mr. Haider. Gert Eggenberger/AP/File
Qaddafi meets former Prime Minister Tony Blair at his desert base outside Sirte, south of Tripoli, Libya, in 2007. Beginning in the 1990s, Qaddafi started to pursue friendlier relations with the West, as his isolationist stance was impacting oil sales and weakening his power. ]Stefan Rousseau/PA/AbacaUSA.com/Newscom/File
Qaddafi greets his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy at Bab Azizia Palace in Tripoli, Libya, in 2007. Sarkozy met Qaddafi on a trip to deepen relations after helping to resolve a diplomatic standoff that hurt the oil exporter's ties with the West. Christophe Guibbaud/Abacapress.com/Newscom/File
Qaddafi's bodyguards stand watch while he visits the Louvre Museum in Paris in 2007. Thibault Camus/Reuters/File
Qaddafi shakes hands with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow in 2008. Grigory Sysoyev/Itar-Tass/Abacapress.com/Newscom/File
Qaddafi raises hands with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Margarita Island, Venezuela, in 2009. The two leaders signed a joint declaration to further political, economic, and energy cooperation. Bolivar News Agency/Xinhua/Sipa Press/Newscom/File
Qaddafi shakes hands with President Obama before a dinner at the G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy, in 2009. Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters/File
Qaddafi smiles with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as he arrives at the Chigi Palace in Rome in 2009. Max Rossi/Reuters
Qaddafi drives his personal cart in Tripoli, Libya, after making a speech on March 2 with which he sought to defuse tensions after more than 10 days of antigovernment protests. Qaddafi, orchestrating a populist response to rebels threatening his rule, blamed Al Qaeda for creating turmoil and told applauding supporters there was a conspiracy to control Libya and its oil. Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters
The president's wife, Grace Mugabe, has traveled the country in recent months, trying to shore up support for a spot as the vice president and eventual leader of Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe has ruled the country since 1987.
President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace Mugabe has begun swiftly and in earnest to succeed her husband as leader of Zimbabwe, and in the past two months the she has been using the budget and the jets and helicopters of her husband to travel up and down the country in a “charm offensive” to rally support.