LION OF THE DESERT

 

Omar al-Mukhtar  


Omar al- Mukhṭār Muḥammad bin Farḥāṭ al- Manifī( Arabic عُمَر الْمُخْتَار مُحَمَّد بِن فَرْحَات الْمَنِفِي; 20 August 1858 – 16 September 1931), called The Lion of the Desert, known among the  social Italians as Matari of the Mnifa,( 4) was the leader of native resistance in Cyrenaica(  presently Eastern Libya) under the Senussids, against the Italian colonization of Libya. A  schoolteacher- turned-general, Omar was also a prominent figure of the Senussi movement, and he’s considered the  public  idol of Libya and a symbol of resistance in the Arab and Islamic worlds. Beginning in 1911, he organised and, for nearly twenty times, led the Libyan resistance movement against the Italian  colonizer conglomerate during the First and Second Italo- Senussi Wars. After  numerous attempts, the Italian Armed Forces managed to capture Al- Mukhtar near Slonta and hanged him in 1931 after he refused to surrender.

Early life

Omar Al- Mukhtar was born in 1858 to a family in the  city of Zanzur near Tobruk, in the region of Ottoman Cyrenaica to an Arab  lineage, belonging to the Senussi( who were seen as Libyan Ashrafs clan just like Emir or King Idris es Senussi,( 5)( 6)  ultimately  getting  principal or leader of the clan. As a child, Omar lost his father beforehand on and spent his youth in poverty. He was  espoused by a sheikh, and was  musketeers with the whoreson of Hussein Ghariani, Sharif al Geriani. His uncle was a political-religious leader in Cyrenaica, and  entered his early education at the original synagogue , before continuing his studying for eight times at the Senussi university in Jaghbub,( 7) the holy  megacity of the Senussi Tariqa. He came a popular expert on the Quran and an imam, joining the confraternity of the Senussi. He also came to be well informed of the social structure of his society, as he was chosen to settle intertribal  controversies.   Mukhtar developed a strong relationship with the Senussid Movement during his times in Jaghbub and in 1895, Al- Mahdi Senoussi traveled with him south to Kufra, and on another occasion further south to Karo in Chad, where he was appointed as sheikh of Zawiyat Ayn Kalk. When the French Empire  wormed on Chad in 1899, he was  transferred among other Senussites to help defend Chad from the French, as the Senussi considered their expansion dangerous due to their missionary conditioning in Central and West Africa. In 1902, Omar was recalled north after the death of Al- Mahdi, the new Senussi leader Ahmed Sharif as- Senussi appointed him as Sheikh of the  worried Zawiyat Laqsur in Northern Cyrenaica.

Italian invasion

October 1911, during the Italo-Turkish War, the Regia Marina (Italian Royal Navy) under the command of Admiral Luigi Faravelli reached the shores of Libya, then a territory subject to Ottoman control. The admiral demanded that the Ottoman administration and garrison surrender their territory to the Italians or incur the immediate destruction of the city of Tripoli and Benghazi. The Ottomans and their Libyan allies withdrew to the countryside instead of surrendering, and the Italians bombarded the cities for three days, and then proclaimed the Tripolitanians to be ‘committed and strongly bound to Italy’.[8] This marked the beginning of a series of battles between the Italian colonial forces and the Libyan armed opposition in Cyrenaica.

Guerrilla warfare


A  schoolteacher of theQur’an by profession, Mukhtar was also  professed in the strategies and tactics of desert warfare. Mukhtar  constantly led his small,  largely alert groups in successful attacks against the Italians, after which they would fade back into the desert terrain. Mukhtar’s men skilfully attacked posts, ambuscaded  colors, and cut lines of  force and communication. The Regio Esercito( Italian Royal Army) was left astonished and embarrassed by his guerrilla tactics.( 10)   In the mountainous region of Jebel Akhdar(” Green Mountain”) in 1924, Italian governor Ernesto Bombelli created acounter-guerrilla force that foisted a severe  reversal to guerilla forces in April 1925. Mukhtar  also  snappily modified his own tactics and was  suitable to count on continued help from Egypt. In March 1927, despite the occupation of Giarabub from February 1926 and decreasingly  strict rule under Governor Attilio Teruzzi, Mukhtar surprised Italian  colors at Raheiba.Indeed General Teruzzi  honored Omar’s  rates of” exceptional perseverance and strong  restraint.”( This  quotation needs a citation) Marshal Pietro Badoglio, Governor of Libya from January 1929, after  expansive accommodations, concluded a  concession with Mukhtar( described by the Italians as his complete submission)  analogous to  former Italo- Senusite accords. At the end of October 1929, Mukhtar denounced the  concession andre-established a  concinnity of action among Libyan forces, preparing himself for the ultimate  battle with General Rodolfo Graziani, the Italian  service commander from March 1930. A massive  descent in June against Mukhtar’s forces having failed, Graziani, in full accord with Badoglio, Emilio De Bono( Minister of the Colonies), and Benito Mussolini, initiated a plan to break the Libyan Mujāhideen,000 population of Jebel Akhdar would be  dislocated to  attention camps on the seacoast, and the Libyan- Egyptian border from the seacoast at Giarabub would be  hedge- closed,  precluding any foreign help to the fighters and depriving them of support from the native population. These measures, which Graziani initiated beforehand in 1931, took their risk on the Senusite resistance. The  revolutionists were deprived of help and  mounts,  descried upon, hit by Italian aircraft, and pursued on the ground by the Italian forces  backed by original  snitches and collaborators. Mukhtar continued to struggle despite increased  rigors and  pitfalls, but on 11 September 1931, he was ambuscaded near Slonta.( citation  demanded)   Mukhtar’s final adversary, Italian General Rodolfo Graziani, has given a description of the Senusite leader that isn’t lacking in respect” Of medium height, stout, with white hair, beard, and mustache. indeed though he’d been one of the most important Senusist  numbers.”

Capture and execution

Mukhtar’s struggle of nearly twenty times came to an end on 11 September 1931, when he was wounded in battle near Slonta, and  also captured by the Italian Army. On 16 September 1931, on the orders of the Italian court and with Italian expedients that Libyan resistance would die with him, Mukhtar was hanged before his followers in the Suluq  internee of war camp at the age of 73 times old.


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