chapter  18
Libya
Pages 26

Both physically and from the human aspect, Libya shows greater geographical affinities to the north-east of A frica rather than to the north-west. In structure, it repeats many, though not all of the basic patterns characteristic of Egypt - a tabular plateau formation influenced by faulting, warping and differential erosion - rather than showing the intense folding characteristic of M orocco and Algeria. Climatically also, there is much resemblance to Egypt with, however, occasional and restricted zones of distinctly heavier rainfall; whilst ethnically it derives in geatest part from Arabia, and forms a stronghold of orthodox Moslem culture. Y et L ibya also has an individuality o f its own. It is far from being a mere prolongation or continuation of Egypt; and whilst it lacks the clear unity deriving from a single large river valley, a more limited and tenuous social cohesion is conferred by the existence of almost impassable ‘ sand sea s’ to the east on the frontiers with Egypt, by the Tibesti uplands in the south, and by irregular and partly sand-covered terrain in the west. Within this loosely containing physical frame have developed distinctive human responses, ranging from the unusual style of dress to the separate sectarian outlook of the Sanussi movement. Recent oil discoveries have assisted the process of consolidation towards a national state and have transformed the country’s geographical face, whilst under the leadership of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi Libya has become an unpredictable and turbulent factor in international politics.