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Facts About Libya

Interesting Facts About Libya – The Ones You Didn’t Know

With a long history, Libya is one of the most incredible countries in the world. While there are conflicts in the country, its culture and scenery make it a beautiful place. There is a reputation among Libyans for being friendly and accommodating, and hospitality is highly valued in Libyan culture. Libya is home to a number of facts that set it apart from other countries, some of which are listed below.


The First Libyan King

King Idris Libya

King Idris with then-U.S. Vice-President Richard Nixon, 1957

Libya is among the first African countries to gain independence. As soon as the country gained independence in 1951, a monarchy rule was implemented rather than a democratic one. Under the Libyan federal monarchy, the constitution recognized King Idris as the country’s ruler and head of state.

It was King Idris I, who founded the monarchy. Due to his conservatism; Libya’s people were not fond of him. The coup overthrew him in 1961.


Living Together As a Community

Libyan bride

Living communally is a traditional way of life for Libyans. Family life is very important to them; however, young couples increasingly prefer to live within the confines of their nuclear families.

According to tradition, the bride and groom are arranged to marry; the bride does not know her husband before their marriage, and they only meet on their wedding day. The trend has changed recently, with the majority of urban couples choosing their spouses independently, even though arranged marriages continue to take place in rural areas.


Libyan Food

Port of Tripoli

Shipping in dock at port of Tripoli, Libya

Since the country has a severe climate, agriculture is not as productive as it should be. As a result of low rainfall, crops fail to thrive, resulting in a shortage of food.

In this regard, more than 70% of Libya’s food consumption is imported, which is an insightful fact about food in the country. Due to Libya’s geography, there is not much space available for cattle, so sheep constitute the majority of the livestock there. While the land lacks meat, fish, and seafood are abundant in the sea and consumed as food. 

Libya does not have a self-sufficient food supply; therefore, the country relies upon imports from other countries to meet its food needs. The fact that the country has a large oil reserve is not by chance. Since its vegetation is limited, outsiders have a harder time finding its culinary tastes.


Libya’s Sahara Desert

Sahara desert libya Forzhaga

Forzhaga natural rock arch, Akakus (Acacus) Mountains, Sahara Desert, Libya

There is a strong influence on the country’s weather due to its proximity to the Sahara Desert.

As with most Maghreb areas, Libya’s southern part is dominated by the Saharan desert. Dry and hot conditions characterize the region, preventing it from being inhabited. There are no rains in Ghat region on a regular basis (all year long). In the case of rain in Ghat, it occurs as a downpour.


Libyan Animals

Egyptian tortoises in Libya

Although Libya lacks green or sustainable agriculture, the country is not devoid of wildlife or animals. Are you aware that Libya is home to rare animal species? Certain animals can actually live along the Libyan coastline due to the climate.

There are many different animals to see in Libya, including dolphins and Egyptian tortoises. Reptiles that live in the scattered oases and water holes include the poisonous adder and krait.


Drinking Water

Libya’s unfortunate reality prohibits over 60% of its population from accessing clean drinking water. It is possible for the Libyan desert to go a decade without experiencing any rain. The man-made river project supplies 95% of the water to Libya. While it is among the largest constructions of civil engineering in the world, water supplied through the pipeline is deemed unfit for human consumption. Unfortunately, bottled water, which is safer to drink, is hard to get.


Libya is More Than 10000 Years Old

Yefren, Libya. Amazigh flags

Yefren, Libya. Amazigh flags

Present-day Libya is thought to have been inhabited by Berbers (also called Amazighs) around 2000 BC.

Many North African countries trace their ancestry to the Berber people because they were one of the innovators and ancestors. As a result of the Berbers, many empires existed in the region until the Romans ruled it in 74 BC. As a result of the discovery of Tadrart Acacus rock art, 12000 BC has been established as the date of the first human occupation of the land.


A Single King Has Ruled Libya Throughout Its History

King Idris I was the first and last ruler of Libya. In his life, he was both a leader of politics and of religion belonging to the Senussi religion. Idris, I presided as king of Cyrenaica until 1951, when he became king of Libya after colonial rule ended. It was unpopular to rule under the king because of his conservatism. In 1969, Colonel Gaddafi led a coup d’état that deposed King Idris I.


Libyan Tea Has the Consistency of Black Syrup

Libyan tea

Preparation is mostly done by the women. This tea has a thick consistency due to the combination of many tea leaves and excessive sugar content. Following the mixing of the two ingredients and the addition of water, steeping takes 20 to 30 minutes. Once the tea is prepared, pyrex glasses hold the tea, which is served with sumak and khobza, two Libyan snacks. Like Moroccan tea, this tea consists of loose tea leaves boiled in water. However, it is presented differently.


In Libya, Bette Peak is the Highest Mountain

Mountains in Libya

There are no mountains higher than Bette Peak in Libya, with a height of 7,434 feet. A mountain that is also referred to as Bikku Bitti, it can be found at the border of Chad and Libya in southern Libya. Bette Peak was first climbed by Ginge Fullen in 2005. Despite its location, the mountain is difficult to reach.



Most people are familiar with Libya because of the wrong reasons, yet this country has many intriguing features most people don’t know about. A turquoise sea awaits you in Tripoli. As a result, there is no shortage of captivating landscapes in African countries. In addition to Libya’s ancient history and ancient culture, the country has many other fascinating facts worth exploring and sharing around.


Libya Happiness index

Libya Number 86 on Happiness Index Report

The 2022 Happiness Index Report from the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network was just released, showing Libya has rated number 86 in the happiest nations of the globe. In the Arab world, it took 5th place out of 146 states.

Scores from 0 to 10 are given to countries based on various factors. These factors include social support, personal freedom, GDP per capita, individual perspective, healthy life expectancy, and levels of corruption.  Data for the study was collected over three years from 2019 to 2021,  with a mathematical equation used to determine how each place was rated.


Libya: One of Africa’s Top Ten

Libya is one of Africa’s leading top ten countries on the World Happiness Report. Out of 146 of Africa’s best-ranked surveyed, those countries include:


  1. Mauritius
  2. Libya
  3. Ivory Coast
  4. South Africa
  5. The Gambia
  6. Algeria
  7. Liberia
  8. The Congo
  9. Morocco
  10. Mozambique


Both Mauritius and Libya take the same positions as they did in the previous year. Five countries advanced sufficiently to take spots in this year’s top 10, specifically South Africa, Algeria, Liberia, Morocco, and Mozambique.

No change was seen in the final three spots. Botswana, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe are the most recent additions to this report, ranking 142, 143, and 144, while Lebanon and Afghanistan fall to 145 and 146.


Promoting Happiness in the Brain

There are a number of things that make a person happy. Not only is it affected by situations and your environment, but also your brain chemistry.

Chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters and hormones assist your brain in comprehending, assessing, and communicating the things you are experiencing. The neurotransmitters and hormones will have specific jobs to do.  Each one is triggered in a particular manner, indicating various feelings and stimulating different brain locations.


When it comes to a person’s  happiness, particularly the principal indicating chemicals include:

  • Serotonin helps to balance out the mood. It can promote feelings of well-being and reward. Serotonin can be created by being kind to others and yourself, eating a good diet, exercising, and spending time in nature.
  • Dopamine is known as the feel-good hormone. This is what makes one feel happy, pleasure, and rewarded. Dopamine can be gained by being nice to others and yourself, obtaining plenty of sleep, exercising, and listening to music.
  • Endorphins are known as the body’s natural painkillers. Stress and discomfort can be overcome by them. Laughing, meditating, spending time outdoors, and exercising are all ways to gain endorphins.
  • Oxytocin can help one with social interactions to make them feel good. It can be harnessed by listening to music, spending time with others, sharing a laugh, and showing affection and love.



FAQ About World Happiness Report

What is the theme of this year’s Happiness Report?

The 10th anniversary of the World Happiness Report takes into consideration it is the third year of Covid. With that being said, there is a triple focus. The report looks back to before Covid, then takes a closer look at how individuals are doing with Covid, and finally looks ahead to see how likely they are to evolve in the future.


How are the rankings calculated?

Data used for the World Happiness Report was from the Gallup World Poll surveys from 2019 to 2021. Participants were asked questions to rank from 0 to 10, with 0 being the worst possible life and 10 being the best possible life.


What is the sample size?

The typical sample size per year per country is 1,000 people. Various countries haven’t had annual inquiries. If countries had polls conducted each year, the sample size would be 3,000. Answers were utilized from the three most recent years to give an up-to-date and strong calculation of life assessments. In this year’s report, data from 2019-2021 were combined to make the sample size big enough to decrease the random sampling mistakes.


Is this sample size large enough?

A sample size of  2,000 to 3,000 is big enough to provide a good estimate at a national level.


What is Dystopia?

Dystopia is a fictitious country that has the globe’s least-happy individuals. The reason for creating  Dystopia is to provide a benchmark against which all countries can be positively compared, as no country will perform more poorly than Dystopia. Each country is ranked in terms of each of the six key variables. The bottom scores noted for the six key variables, hence, represent Dystopia. Since life would be very disagreeable in a place with the world’s lowest incomes, lowest life expectancy, lowest generosity, most dishonesty, least freedom, and least social support, it is referred to as “Dystopia,” in contrast to Utopia.


The Painful Journey of Chasing a Better Life

Eighteen-year-old Zelda* fled Nigeria, she had high hopes of finding a way for her family to survive. In her homeland, she owned a hair salon, and she enjoyed spending the past four years working with hair. But with all the turmoil in Nigeria, Zelda had no other choice but to leave her beloved salon behind as she started a journey to Europe.

One particular day in 2016, Zelda’s close friend provided money for her to get to Europe. This friend had also set up a job for Zelda. The young miss thought that feeling Nigeria made sense as she could improve the future she held. As she planned out her steps toward getting there, she became excited, dreaming about her new life in Europe.

Zelda’s family worried about her and were less than thrilled with the news. They worried that something may happen to her while being transported to Europe. However, Zelda was persistent, wanting the life she dreamed of.

Zelda recalls she traveled for more than a month on the road, facing various difficulties. The blistering sun beat down on her as she sat in the back of the truck. Zelda stated she was terrified every time she glanced over at her companion who had traveled with her from Nigeria, as well as the rest of the girls who were with them. Zelda saw pure fatigue on their faces. To forget about any worries each of them had, they prayed out loud. However, this infuriated the trafficker and he attempted to silence them. She states those were the worst times of her life.

Zelda first saw Sebha, then a week later Tripoli. Soon after, they stumbled upon the boat that would give the young girl her first try to go across the sea. Having heard success stories from people who had made it to Europe, Zelda was positive everything would go as planned, as she had heard various success stories from many individuals who had also journeyed to Europe. However, just hours into the boat ride, the boat failed, and Zelda found herself stuck at sea. Luckily, the Libyan search and rescue guards rescued them, returning them to shore. Zelda stated at that time, she was just happy to be still alive.

Per the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) most recent Maritime Update, more than 9,000 immigrants have been taken back to Libya between January and June 2022. (1) Out of those 9,000, 656 have been women and 342 were children. Once they were back to shore, they were all supported by IOM’s direct assistance and mental health and psychosocial support team.

After Zelda’s first try to cross the seas to Europe, she was taken back to Tripoli and confined for a couple of months until she was employed by a Libyan household as a housekeeper. The entire purpose of her getting a job was to work to save an adequate sum of money to attempt to cross the sea again.

Just one year later, Zelda encountered a Ghanaian gentleman to whom she was united in marriage. Unfortunately, the couple fought to make ends meet when he lost his job due to the COVID-19 epidemic.  Zelda eventually was able to set enough money back to cross the waters once again. As this was always her plan to get to Europe, she was able to convince her husband to go with her.

Fast forward three years and Zelda found out that she was expecting her first child. The couple was delighted to be expecting, but unfortunately,  at 28 weeks, Zelda lost the child.

Zelda recalls she felt forlorn and cried herself to sleep every evening. Her husband who convinced me to try again for a baby, was the only individual she felt she could count on.

Zelda’s vision of getting pregnant again came true later that year,  while her pipe dream of making it to Europe was gradually coming together too.

Her husband was hesitant to let her cross the waters again, as he did not want  any risk of losing the baby again.  Nevertheless, his wife had made up her mind. She was unrelenting, so in March 2021, the couple tried to cross the sea again, praying to God to save them.

After just two days, as she and her husband were getting eager to reach Italy’s coast, the Libyan coast guards captured them, taking them back to Tripoli. Once there, she met with IOM staff who aid immigrants returned to shore but declined to tell them about being pregnant. A couple of weeks later, Zelda lost the baby.

In 2022, Zelda fell pregnant for a third time. During this pregnancy, her Nigerian friends talked her into seeking IOM’s assistance. She did just that, and the IOM’s staff referred her to an IOM gynecologist. These gynecologists will help to prep the expecting mothers for delivery and provide essential medications. They are also referred to a hospital so they can deliver the baby safely. More than 7,000 immigrants alone were helped in 2021.

Now, 28 weeks pregnant and in a stable condition, Zelda permits herself to be thrilled again about what the future holds for her, as well as her most important thing to her, which is to have a baby. And what about crossing the waters once again? Zelda says has not decided, but time will tell.



*Names have been changed to protect the identity



russia in libya

Russia taking advantage of Libya as US stall

According to Thomas D. Waldhauser, the instability in Libya and North Africa is one of the biggest short-term threats that the US and their allies are currently facing.

Something which has made the issue even more complex are intelligent reports suggesting that Russia were aiding an ex-Libyan general as he fought for control over the government. When this is combined with the fact that a Russian aircraft carrier had entered Libya and welcomed their militia leader, Gen Kalifa Haftar, things suddenly start to become even more concerning.

All of this has occurred following Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, where he highlighted the flaws in President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy in relation to Libya. The intervention by the US in 2011 meant that multiple governments were controlling the country and the upshot of this was complete and utter stability and ultimately, a “home” for Islamic State.

Even though Trump may have voiced plenty of accusations during his campaign, his administration still hasn’t delivered a policy for Libya. He has said that the US might fight IS there, but at the same time he’s also stated that the US doesn’t have a role in Libya. Suffice to say, it has been a confusing message and one that has handed a huge amount of influence to Russia in this area of the world.

One of the reasons the US has been so inefficient at implementing policies in this regard is because of the lack of guidance offered to the President. In general, he is forced to rely on instinct, as well as guidance from a small group of his trusted advisors. All of this has arisen because most of the main foreign policy positions are still vacant (or at least, only just filled).

As well as the above, there are suggestions that meddling in Libya would go against a lot of Trump’s America First promises.

Ultimately, the result is that nobody quite knows the US policy in Libya – and this has created an immense opportunity for Russia which they have taken full advantage of.

Let’s not forget that Libya is just 300 miles away from Europe, and Russia have managed to gain a huge influence in this area. They act as a mediator between the country’s opposing factions, but there is a lot more to their influence that meets the eye.

For example, several former European, Libyan and American officials have claimed that they have been involved in weapons-for-oil arrangements and even attempted bribery in relation to governmental defense positions.


Where has the urgency gone?

Prior to his campaign, Trump wanted to intervene in Libya and even went as far as saying that the nation had been left in “ruins”.

Initially, this continued into his tenure as well. For example, US officials had been told in Tunis that Libya was going to be made a top priority.

Now, however, all such urgency has seemingly evaporated. It is something that has certainly caused a lot of anger in some circles, with Libya now becoming a key route for human traffickers and refugees as the crisis continues. Many are annoyed that the initial approach on the country was just in a bid to attract voters, and all of that momentum now seems to have been ground to a complete standstill.

In terms of Islamic State, the repercussions are seemingly there for all to see. The high-profile terrorist attacks, such as the one in Manchester in 2017, are examples. Additionally, bombs have been detonated at Libyan training camps, with the consensus now being that IS are starting to regroup again in Libya.

There has been pressure to increase the number of military advisors in the country, but such appeals have fallen on deaf ears. Those that have wanted to make a change, such as Stephen K. Bannon who acted as Trump’s chief strategist, have tended to leave their positions quickly. In the case of Bannon, he even announced to the press that it was the situation in Libya that caused his departure.


Russia and the oil-factor

Libya has always been appealing to Russia because of its immense power in relation to the oil industry. The Russians were desperately trying to build a high-speed rail link between Benghazi and Tripoli to facilitate, with alleged bribes taking place.

When the above didn’t happen, the Russians attempted a somewhat different proposal. They approached a militia leader, going by the name of Ibrahim Jathran, in a bid to sell crude oil on the international market. The Russians would market the oil, moving it from Egypt to Russia. The big point in this deal was what Jathran would receive in return. For facilitating the movement of the oil, he would be paid in weapons for the first six months of the deal, with this then extending to cash thereafter.

This was seemingly a smart move for all concerned, but the Russians soon demanded exclusivity. This is when Jathran opted to walk away from the deal.

In 2015 the Russians approached Jathran again. This time oil wasn’t the subject, but they wanted him to support their choice for defense minister (who happened to be Libya’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia).

It’s at this point that Jathran was convinced to turn to the West. He met Jonathan Powell, who was a British envoy to Libya, and he was advised to not negotiate with Russia in this way again.

However, this was not the end of the story. In 2016, weapons were seized from the Libyan National Army that suggested they were still benefiting from Russia’s assistance. All of this was going on behind the back of Jathran.

Despite the above, Russia has always said that it complies with United Nations embargoes in relation to the transfer of weapons to Libya. It denies that it has ever attempted to exert more influence on the US by shipping weapons to Libya.

Overall, the general consensus is that Putin is pushing this subject as far as he can and will continue until he is stopped. His desire is for a central government that favors his economic interests, specifically in relation to arms, energy and the railway project that has already been discussed.

In the meantime, the US is starting to wake up to the situation more. In April, they announced that they wouldn’t have a role in helping to rebuild Libya. Now, they have a “leading role”, and this is both in relation to attacks on Islamic State and also attempts at stabilizing the country. However, whilst all this has been happening Russia has gained a stronghold on the region, and as we have discussed throughout a lot of this has been done solely with their own interests at heart.


Libyan Soccer League draw held

Libyan Soccer League draw held despite budget complaints

As anyone who follows Libyan sport will testify, it’s hardly been plain sailing over recent times.

Even though Libya is hardly regarded as a football powerhouse, let’s not forget that this is a hugely popular sport still. International games get tens of thousands of spectators and football’s popularity is just as you would expect in more established countries.

However, off-the-field problems have really threatened its progress recently. Through this guide we will take a look at some of these events, and show how despite them the Libyan Soccer League draw has still been made.


The financial problems behind Libyan football

Just recently, no fewer than nineteen sports federations have appealed to the President of the Presidential Council Gayez Sarraj. Their appeals are simple – they desperately need finance to ensure that their respective sports continue.

In the memorandum, some of the facts are quite shocking. It was disclosed how the federations haven’t received any budget in four years, which has brought on a whole series of problems over time.

Unfortunately, these problems seem to be coming to a head. It now appears as though the lack of funding has caused show-stopping consequences – sport might have to stop.

The reason for the above is simple; all of the federations have run out of funding to pay for their international contributions. These contributions are a requirement to play in various continental and Arab competitions. Clearly, this is a huge issue and could mean that Libya sport is wiped from the international stage if steps are not taken.

So, what are the next steps to ensure that the above doesn’t happen? Now, a deadline has been set for the end of July. The message for this deadline is simple for Fayez Sarraj; if no funding is provided by this date then all sporting activities across these federations is going to cease. This doesn’t just involve international events either – it relates to all sport.


The Libyan Soccer League draw

Following on from the above, there has been a lot of relief that the draw for the Libyan Soccer League has now taken place. As you may probably gather following the financial issues, there has been a lot of concern that this wouldn’t happen.

It wasn’t just financial implications which were causing a stumbling block though. As well as this, a lot of eastern clubs in the country were asking for the draw to be divided into districts. This would mean that there would be two groups in the west and two in the east of the country – with this naturally aiding significantly from a logistical point of view.

Eventually, the Libyan Football Federation agreed to such demands, meaning that the draw was able to take place.

The authorities drew Al-Ahli Benghazi, Al-Hilal, Al-Najma, Al-Tawun, Darnas, Al-Anwar, Al-Gurdabiya, as well as one additional team, to be classed in the first east group. Then, Al-Naser, Al-Akhdar, Shabab Al-Jabal, Al-Tahadi, Khalij Sirte, and Ajdabiya Stars were classed in the second group for the east.

Over in the western groups, the first contained Al-Itihad, Al-Sweihli, Al-Shatt, Al-Olymbi, Al-Tarsana, Al-Itihad Al-Masrati and Al-Sharara. The second western group was then comprised of Al-Ahli Tripoli, Al-Madina, Abi Al-Ashahar, Al-Wehda, Al-Mahala, Rafiq and Al-Khums.

The format of the competition is relatively simple and mimics that of a lot of football tournaments across the globe. Every team will play a first leg and a second leg in their group – effectively translating as a home and away fixture. Following this, the top team from each group will progress to a round competed by all of the group winners. Rather than being in a knockout-format, which can sometimes be the case with these types of football tournaments, this will again be contested as a league. In other words, the side that scores the most points will be the champion of the Libyan Soccer League.


A conclusion on sport in Libya

Following on from the above, it’s clear to see that there are problems with Libyan sport – and a lot of authorities will be sweating on the outcome of upcoming funding discussions.

There is seemingly light with the football federation though. Let’s not forget that the 2016/2017 season was cancelled, meaning that the draw for this year is phenomenal news for the sporting fans of Libya. Additionally, there is at least some financial rest bite for these teams competing, with the news that the league agreed to the regional format which will save so much traveling time during the playing campaign.

Eamon Zayed

The life and times of Eamon Zayed

He might not have been a household name in any of the major divisions, but to say that Eamon Zayed had an exciting career would be something of an understatement. It was rollercoaster-esque to say the least; it was made up of the sort of storylines that have resulted in full-length biographic movies for some more established players.

Here, through the course of this page, we’ll take a look at some of the major highs in his career to see how he went from being the “Irishman abroad”, to someone who eventually gained an international call-up for Libya.


It started in Iran

That’s right, before Zayed started gallivanting across the world, his career started in Iran. At first, he was forced to communicate with his manager via a translator. One of his first conversations with the manager was being told that he had never heard of him, and he had only been signed because of the club’s president’s wishes.

The next part is something that dreams are made of for most budding footballers. His first game for new side Persepolis was against Esteghlal. To put this into perspective, this is the Tehran Derby – watched by tens of millions of people on TV, and over 90,000 people in the stands.

Zayed’s first role was on the bench. With his team now 2-0 down and with a man sent off, Zayed was eventually called upon on the 60-minute mark.

Having made little impact in the opening minutes, he was set to be hauled off by his frustrated manager. Then, the magic happened. Zayed proceeded to score three goals, becoming only the second player in history to score a hat-trick in this Derby, and helping his side to a monumental comeback. He was a hero.


The Leicester days

Nowadays, Leicester City are known as THAT team who broke English football and from nowhere came league champions. When Eamon Zayed was at the club, it was a far-cry from this.

Firstly, Leicester weren’t strictly his only club in English football. Prior to this, he had been offered a YTS contract with Arsenal – only to turn this down to concentrate on his studies in Ireland.

His exploits in Ireland, where he broke numerous goal scoring records for his local club, forced Leicester into a move. He was recruited when Peter Taylor was in charge, but things were to quickly turn sour when Taylor was sacked and replaced by Micky Adams.

In football there have been countless occasions over the years of a “face not fitting”, and there’s no doubt that this was the case with Adams and Zayed. A fall-out on the training field pretty much ended Zayed’s career with the Foxes and with two years remaining on his contract, he was told to find another club.


Zayed’s return to Ireland

In a bid to heal the wounds of the Leicester experience, Zayed returned to Ireland. He eventually signed for Bray Wanderers – but this was one point in his career where he really had to bide his time. When first-choice striker Jason Byrne was injured, Zayed seized his change with both hands. During the four years he spent at the club, between 2002 and 2006, he averaged a goal every two games.

It was form such as the above which resulted in the PFAI Young Player of the Year award in 2003.


Back to English football

The form mentioned above made other clubs take note and English side Crewe gambled on his services in 2004 as they took the player on loan. However, the English leagues were to prove difficult again and he struggled to dislodge Dean Ashton (a player who would eventually pull on the England jersey) as well as Steve Jones (a Northern Ireland international).


Drogheda and beyond

Throughout Zayed’s career it is clear that Ireland is where his talent’s really shone. In 2006, he was signed by Drogheda and despite a difficult start, eventually things fell into place.

When we say “eventually”, it really did take time. There were arguments with the manager and plenty of occasions where he almost looked set to depart. However, after being convinced to stay by several first-team pros, the rest as they say was history. His goals helped Drogheda win the championship for the first time in 2007 and again, he was propelled to be a national hero.

Unfortunately, financial restraints meant that Drogheda wasn’t going to be a long-term project. Sure, he had succeeded in helping them achieve the unthinkable, but having failed to reach the Champions League the club had to offload their star assets.

At one point he looked a certainty to join St Patrick’s Athletic. However, after that move failed to materialize, he was forced to look abroad. Eventually, despite offers of trials in countries as far afield as South Korea, he ended up in the First Division Sporting Fingal. The beauty of this package was that as well as offering a competitive salary, Zayed could plan for life after football by enrolling for a Master’s at Dublin City University.


The Libya call-up

Even though he was deployed on the left wing at times, Zayed did enough to impress Libya national bosses. Even though he might be classed a Irish, Zayed actually had grandparents from Libya which facilitated this move.

To say that this experience was out of the ordinary would be a gross understatement. Libya might not have a comparable national status to other countries, but football is still exceptionally popular. His face was in front of countless TV cameras – particularly because the locals hadn’t heard of “this player from Ireland”.

His international exploits seemingly fueled his domestic success as well. He eventually signed for Derry and after signing, he proceeded to score 23 goals in 2011 and become the top scorer in the league.

Of course, like a lot of successful European footballers, Zayed’s career started to wind down as he aged and he ventured across the pond to play in the US. In his first season playing for Indy Eleven, his performances merited a place in the North American Soccer League’s best XI.

This move has also allowed him to complete his UEFA B coaching license, as well as work as a coach for Ball State University. It means that Zayed certainly has a back-up plan once this turbulent, but ultimately successful, playing career comes to an end.

French Special Forces Now In Libya Fighting IS

It has been revealed that French Special Forces have been secretly helping the Libyan troops in their battle against Islamic State militants. The revelation came from anonymous Libyan military officials – who are not authorized to speak to the press on the subject.

Additionally, the French have kept quiet about their involvement. When asked whether or not the information was correct, the French defense ministry simply refused to comment, before citing their policy which prevents them from passing comment on any activities that their special forces might be involved in.

The information has suggested that the French have set up an operations room in Banina air base in Benghazi, with this setting them alongside both the U.S. and Britain who already have troops there. As well as this, it is understood that the French are working alongside the countries to gather further information on the location of IS militants.

While some might view the French’s involvement as help to Libya, it’s not viewed completely positively. It has been claimed that various Salafist factions who work alongside Libya’s eastern army are unhappy with other countries intervening.

Despite this, the U.S. is still hoping to have the support of other countries, most notably France, the UK and Italy, as they bid to overcome IS forces. The U.S. has recently carried out airstrikes around Sabratha and while this is understood to have killed many IS fighters, it is thought that Serbian hostages were amongst the fatalities as well.

Libya is still attempting to recover from the aftermath of the uprising that resulted in the ousting of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. The upheaval has allowed IS to take advantage and ultimately take control of major cities within the country.

The situation is not aided by the fact that Libya is now governed by two parliaments. One is internationally recognized and is based in the east around Tobruk, with the rival one is around Tripoli and backed by Islamist allies.

There is hope that a new government will be introduced in the near future. The United Nations have recently united several factions within the country, but this proposed unity government requires ratification from the eastern parliament. Once this has been received, it is hoped that international military operations will be much easier to arrange against IS.

For the time being, the situation simply appears to be worsening though.On Wednesday, the security headquarters of Sabratha were overtaken by Islamic State affiliates – resulting in 12 officers being beheaded. While the attackers were eventually driven out, it showed just how vulnerable the whole country is in the current instability.

International forces are frantically trying to devise solutions to thwart such attacks. Italy has been the most recent nation to make a significant move and the country now permits American drones to take off from Sicily. The main requirement with this is that the drones are only to be used for the purposes of targeting IS extremists based in Libya.

Additionally, an anonymous Italian defense ministry has claimed that there are further issues for the Americans to satisfy before launching drones. Each and every time drones are to take off from Sicily, Washington will have to request permission from the Italian government. It’s understood that Italy are only prepared to grant this permission if the purpose is to protect military personnel, rather than launch an offense.

As such, there is still little flexibility open to the likes of the U.S. who are the main force against IS. Nevertheless, with the French Special Forces now involved and the United Nations hoping to push through the new unity government, there is hope that the situation will start to gradually improve.

road travel

Health, Fitness and Safety Advice When Travelling To Libya

It doesn’t matter what their destination is, tourists are always slightly more at risk than locals themselves.

Usually, this is because of obvious issues such as failing to understand the culture or the language, meaning that it’s much more difficult to take charge of a situation if something gets out of hand.

However, when the travelling revolves around a country experiencing political turbulence, things suddenly take a turn for the even more dangerous.

Libya is the prime example and while it might not be one of the renowned holiday destinations, some people still travel there either on business or to experience some alternate culture.

Therefore, if you are one of the minority who are taking to Libya, here is some essential health, fitness and safety travel advice to protect you during your stay.


Road Travel

road travel

While most travellers tend to stay on-site at their hotel, if you are part of a group who is opting to use the country’s road system then do so at your own risk.

The roads themselves are actually in decent condition, but it goes without saying that this isn’t the primary risk when getting behind the wheel in Libya.

Instead, one has to be wary of other reckless drivers and it goes without seeing that the normal precautions involving a seatbelt should be adhered to at all times.

The biggest risk in relation to road driving is violence though. With the country in something of a turbulent state, off-road driving is not advisable at any time. Ensure that you are always in an area with plenty of other cars and never be persuaded to take any short cut – the dangers are too severe.


Air Travel

air travel

Unfortunately, it’s not just the roads that can prove to be dangerous. There have been several occasions where airports have been closed and in the case of Benghazi, which happens to be one of the country’s main cities; this airport has been closed since May 2014 due to violent clashes between groups.

As well as having the potential to close at a whim, you must also be aware that flight schedules change regularly for all of the above reasons.

Therefore, always check to see if your flights are operating as expected.




The situation in Libya also means that crime levels are much higher than what you would expect in your home country. Unfortunately, we’re not talking about petty crime either, with robberies, car-jackings and muggings all being commonplace. Furthermore, these cases can occur anywhere due to the lack of police presence on the street.

Tourists should be aware that they are as much at risk as anyone else visiting Libya as well. For example, in the summer of 2014, a British diplomatic convoy was the subject of a car-jacking. Again, it all comes down to the appropriate planning and making sure that you do everything in your power to minimize the risks whilst travelling around the country.




On a similar note, terrorism is also prevalent in the country and visitors must be wary. Westerners are particularly at risk here and this isn’t necessarily due to the situation in Libya, but because of the influence of individuals from Iraq and Syria.

There have been numerous instances of terrorism over the past year and it should again go without saying that you need to be vigilant at all times. Additionally, try and make sure that you do not venture near the border areas as this is where attacks can be even more common.


Health & Immunizations


It goes without saying that all of the above issues are especially important when it comes to travelling to Libya, but one should also not forget the health issues.

Like all countries, there are certain diseases that affect Libya and anyone travelling there should have all of the necessary immunizations to protect his body. This should involve the following:

  • You should make sure that all of your primary immunizations and boosters are up to date. Your doctor’s surgery will have your vaccination history, which you should consult to ensure the above is the case.
  • You should also seek to obtain the Hepatitis A vaccine. This disease tends to be spread through contaminated food and water, or via person-to-person. As such, considering the fact that you are visiting a country where alternate hygiene practices will be adopted, this vaccination is highly recommended.
  • If you are arriving from a country which has a risk of yellow fever transmission, you will have to obtain a yellow fever vaccination certificate before you are permitted fit to enter Libya.


As well as the above core information, some travelers may wish to obtain additional vaccines to further safeguard themselves. These include:

  • Diphtheria: This is a disease which is spread via respiratory droplets. You will be most at risk if you are liaising with local people in poor conditions, but if most of your stay is going to be in clean conditions, or on-site at a hotel, you should not be affected.
  • Hepatitis B: This is a condition which is spread through infected blood products; usually involving sexual intercourse or contaminated needles. Suffice to say, it’s advisable to avoid either of the above. This might mean carrying your own medical kit with sterile needles.
  • Rabies: Again, if you are reserving most of your stay on-site at a hotel, this should not be a problem. Rabies is carried via the saliva of infected animals.
  • Tetanus: This is spread through cuts and burns which come into contact with tetanus spores.
  • Typhoid: This is spread similarly to Hepatitis A, with contaminated food and drink being the cause.


Emergency Contact Numbers

The international dialing code for Libya is +218. Emergency numbers for the country are:

  • 193 – Police
  • 190 – Fire
  • 191 – Ambulance


Travel Insurance


In summary of the above, travel insurance is absolutely essential whilst traveling to Libya.

If you do require medical attention during your stay, most hospitals will demand to see some form of documentation proving that you have the means to fund your course of treatment.

Corinthia Hotel Tripoli

Top 5 Beauty & Spa Hotels in Libya

It might not be a destination that rolls off the tip of the tongue of travel agents, but there’s no doubt that Libya does appeal to travelers looking for a unique getaway. Like all countries in Africa, the temperatures become exceptionally high while there is also some culture to explore if one prefers. In other words, it can make for the perfect all-in one getaway.

In terms of the spa experiences, there are countless hotels around who are susceptible to the needs of travelers who are just looking to get away and relax. They are made up of a mixture of big chains, and local resorts, as we take a look at the best five spa hotels in the country.

Pictures are courtesy of TripAdvisor.


Corinthia Hotel Tripoli

Corinthia Hotel Tripoli

One look at the exterior of this hotel tells you exactly why it has made it into pole position on our list. The Corinthia Hotel Tripoli looks like something from the Las Vegas strip – in other words, it’s just purely exuberant.

Fortunately, things don’t suddenly stop as you venture in the hotel. Whether it’s business or pleasure, it’s one of the most spacious hotels around and includes several restaurants to provide guests with different cuisines. For example, those guests that might prefer a simple buffet are catered for, as are people who like Moroccan, Italian or just local food.

In terms of the spa and leisure facilities, there is both an indoor and outdoor pool as well as an on-site gym, make-up salon and more. Elsewhere, the staff are some of the friendliest around, while all of the mod cons such as Wi-Fi, business suites and a bank are available so you really don’t have to leave the site at all.


Al Mahary Radisson Blu Hotel, Tripoli

Al Mahary Radisson Blu Hotel, Tripoli

Based in the same area of Tripoli, in some ways the Al Mahary Radisson Blu Hotel differs greatly from the other establishment we have just looked at. After all, this is a chain hotel and as we all know, Radisson are one of the big players in the hotel industry.

On first glance, the hotel looks like any other Radisson building out there – with the famous logo splashed vertically alongside a huge pillar. Just like all Radisson hotels, this sets the scene for a hugely modern establishment and that’s pretty much what visitors are greeted by.

Unsurprisingly, it attracts a lot of business visitors and the fact it boasts its own business center obviously acts as a big attraction to this niche.

Many past visitors have commented on the excellent harbor views that the Al Mahary prompts, while others have suggested that it is one of the most relaxing health and spa hotels in the vicinity.

In short, the Al Mahary is a trusted establishment, run by a trusted brand, who provide a pool and all of the other essential features you would demand from a spa-like hotel.


Al Waddan Hotel

Al Waddan Hotel

In comparison to the other establishments that have been looked at, there’s no doubt that the Al Wadden Hotel differs greatly. The exterior isn’t anywhere near as modern, but the traditional appearance perhaps means that it caters to a slightly different type of guest. In other words, it’s more targeted towards those individuals who are looking for a true sense of Libya. On that note, for those interested in the history, this is in fact the oldest hotel in the country and it used to be used as a casino.

Even though the exterior may look more rustic than other options, don’t be under the impression that the Al Waddan is a downgrade. On the contrary, the rooms here are highly regarded and are fully equipped and extremely spacious.

In terms of the leisure facilities, the hotel boasts a stunning outdoor pool which is surrounded by palm trees and seating. Additionally, the gym is always a favorite amongst guests, with many surprised at just how much modern equipment is there.


Four Seasons Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel

Out of all of the hotels we have looked at so far, there’s no doubt that the Four Seasons is perhaps the most unique out there. It certainly doesn’t hold the initial ‘wow factor’ that some of the other suggestions have, but again for anyone who is looking to lap up traditional Libya this could prove to be the perfect opportunity.

Housed in a structure made primarily from glass, on first glance the Four Seasons Hotel appears extremely modern. However, once you venture inside the building, things suddenly take a turn for the rustic. The bedrooms are completely traditional, while the lobby area is also decked out heavily in wood and furniture that is bordering on antique-esque.

The size of the hotel means that eating facilities are at a premium, although there is a cafe located adjacently which most guests thoroughly recommend. In terms of leisure facilities, the swimming pool is situated in the basement and provides a nice getaway from hectic day-to-day life.


Dar Tellile

Dar Tellile

The final hotel that we suggest is probably a cross between all of the establishments that we have passed judgement on so far. From the outside, Dar Tellile is a cross between modern and traditional and certainly makes an impression as a building.

Then, when one steps inside the hotel, things take an even bigger turn for the impressive. Decked out in marble, the interior is hugely extravagant and will make an impression on even the most hard-to-please guest. The lobby, set in something of a courtyard, is a particularly nice touch and sets the scene for what guests will encounter through their stay.

In terms of on-site facilities, the Dar Tellile has its own pool and gym. However, most guests simply prefer to nip off to the beach, which happens to be a stone’s throw away at the end of the establishment. Additionally, the majority of the rooms have their own balcony which looks out onto the beach – creating utterly picturesque views.

The rooms will be more than sufficient for most guests as well. They all have flat screen televisions, while the bathrooms are spacious and provide ample facilities.