Abdessalam Jalloud Edit Profile
Educated at Sebha Secondary School, where he first met Qadafi.
Major Abdessalam Jalloud entered the military academy of Benghazi where they formed the hard core of the "free officers" who staged a military coup in September 1969 launching the Libyan revolution. Jalloud became Gaddafi’s adviser and deputy chairman of the Libyan Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). He was entrusted with the supervision of the oil sector, which represented 96% of the country's income. In September 1970 Jalloud succeeded in imposing a rise in oil prices to all companies operating in Libya, opening the way for the other oil producers and for the subsequent rises of the 1970s. The same year, Jalloud also succeeded in negotiating for the evacuation of American and British military bases from Libya. During the negotiations for the evacuation of the American Air Force base at Wheelus, on the outskirts of Tripoli, the then 25-year-old Jalloud, dressed in military regalia, was advised by the American diplomatic envoy leading the U.S. delegation that he could not negotiate, "under the gun," nor, in the clamorous atmosphere of the hundreds of Libyan protestors who had been gathered outside the venue, loudly refusing to depart the scene prior to an evacuation date being set. Jalloud exited the room and removed his pistol, returning to state, "As for the demonstrators, you take your orders from the U.S. Government while I take mine from those voices outside." American troops were subsequently evacuated and Wheelus handed over to the Libyans, on June 11, 1970.
In March 1970, six months after the Libyan revolution, Jalloud went to Beijing to build bilateral ties and evaluate areas of potential scientific cooperation between Libya and the People’s Republic of China. As part of the Libyan state’s efforts to evaluate solutions to what was then a foreseeable water crisis in the North African country, Jalloud solicited Chinese assistance for a peaceful nuclear energy program, aimed mainly at expanding Libya’s desalination industry.
Jalloud (from the Magarha tribe) was the second most powerful man in the Libyan regime for over two decades. After several disagreements with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi (from the Qadhadhfa tribe), Jalloud resigned, departing the Libyan political scene, and was replaced by Captain Mohammad Emsied al-Majdoub al-Gaddafi as the general coordinator of the Revolutionary Committees. The London-based newspaper Al Hayat reported in April 1995 that the authorities had confiscated Jalloud's passport and kept him under surveillance because of growing disagreement between him and Gaddafi. This disagreement was shown in public after the visit of a delegation of 192 Libyan pilgrims to Israel in May 1993.
Realist behind the revolution with the practical flair for making it work. As one of the main architects of the military coup on September 1, 1969—his house at Zawia el Dahmani in Tripoli was a regular rendezvous of the Free Officers’ Movement—he has established himself as the man of unquestioned authority running the country on a day-to-day basis.
Although less of a puritan than Colonel Qadafi and not as enthusiastic for a religious revival he is every bit as tough—and much more consistent. His skill as a negotiator has been proved in dealing with the British and Americans over the evacuation of bases, with the French over the purchase of Mirage jet fighters, and with the Russians over oil sales and technical co-operation.
Rarely seen in uniform nowadays, he is the most widely travelled and most internationally minded member of the Revolutionary Command Council. With sophisticated tastes for something more than the traditional Bedouin meal of sour milk and dates, he is something of a gourmet in foreign restaurants and enjoys driving round Tripoli in his own car. Strangely, he was not present at the climax of negotiations on a unified political command between Egypt and Libya on September 18, 1972.