Berbers have inhabited central north Africa since ancient times, but the region has been settled and ruled by Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Persians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Vandals. In the the 7th century, Islam spread through the region; in the mid-16th century, Ottoman rule began. The Italians supplanted the Ottoman Turks in the area around Tripoli in 1911 and did not relinquish their hold until 1943 when they were defeated in World War II. Libya then passed to UN administration and achieved independence in 1951. Following a 1969 military coup, Col. Muammar al-QADHAFI assumed leadership and began to espouse his political system at home, which was a combination of socialism and Islam. During the 1970s, QADHAFI used oil revenues to promote his ideology outside Libya, supporting subversive and terrorist activities that included the downing of two airliners – one over Scotland, another in Northern Africa – and a discotheque bombing in Berlin. UN sanctions in 1992 isolated QADHAFI politically and economically following the attacks; sanctions were lifted in 2003 following Libyan acceptance of responsibility for the bombings and agreement to claimant compensation. QADHAFI also agreed to end Libya’s program to develop weapons of mass destruction, and he made significant strides in normalizing relations with Western nations. Unrest that began in several Middle Eastern and North African countries in late 2010 erupted in Libyan cities in early 2011. QADHAFI’s brutal crackdown on protesters spawned an eight-month civil war that saw UN authorization of air and naval intervention by the international community, the toppling of the QADHAFI regime, and the setting up of a National Transitional Council (NTC). In 2012, the NTC handed power to an elected parliament, the General National Congress (GNC). Voters chose a new parliament to replace the GNC in June 2014 – the House of Representatives (HoR), which relocated to the eastern city of Tobruk after fighting broke out in Tripoli and Benghazi in July 2014. In December 2015, the UN brokered an agreement among a broad array of Libyan political parties and social groups – known as the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). Members of the Libyan Political Dialogue signed the LPA in December 2015. In January 2016, The HoR and defunct-GNC-affiliated political hardliners continued to oppose the GNA and hamper the LPA’s implementation. In September 2017, UN Special Representative Ghassan SALAME announced a new roadmap for national political reconciliation. In November 2018, the international partners supported SALAME’s recalibrated Action Plan for Libya that aimed to break the political deadlock by holding a National Conference, subsequently held in early 2019, but attendees failed to reach an agreement. Despite continued clashes since then, the warring parties agreed to a UN-administered ceasefire in October 2020. In early 2021, the UN-led Libyan Political Dialogue Forum selected an interim president and prime minister of its executive council. The council was charged with preparing for December 2021 presidential and parliamentary elections.