Profile: Muammar Gaddafi
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is the longest-serving leader in both Africa and the Arab world, having ruled Libya since he toppled King Idris I in a bloodless coup at the age of 27.
Known for his flamboyant dress-sense and gun-toting female body guards, the Libyan leader is also considered a skilled political operator who moved swiftly to bring his country out of diplomatic isolation.
It was in 2003 - after some two decades of pariah status - that Tripoli took responsibility for the bombing of a Pan Am plane over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, paving the way for the UN to lift sanctions.
Months later, Col Gadaffi's regime abandoned efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, triggering a fuller rapprochement with the West.
That saw him complete a transition from international outcast to an accepted, if unpredictable, leader.