Libyan Tribes – alphabetical list and by East West

A Point of View, Libya, Middle East & North Africa, Politics | | February 26, 2011 at 15:20

Tired of the maze of Libyan Tribes? Want a quick cheat sheet? Tribes are sorted by alphabetical order, without use of the “al” or “el” prefix. A second list is by region. Far from complete, the lists contains the major Libyan tribes out of about 140, many of them subsets of others.  Please note that spelling can vary with the transliteration of Arabic into English.

LIBYAN TRIBES  (Alphabetical Order)

Awaqir: East. A force in Libya since the Ottoman Empire. Senior positions in Gaddafi’s regime.

Awajila: East Desert. Claims it will defend oilfields. Berber.

Dababisa: West.

Farjan: East. Power base in Ajdabiya, Sirte, Zilten, and Tripoli.

Jarsha: West.

Kargala: East.

Kawafi: West.

Kawar: Southern Desert. Power base: Kaouar region.

Magariha: West. Tribe with strongest and longest allegiance to Gaddafi. Traditional base Sabha in the south. Shown by last name: al-Megrahi. Persons of note: Gaddafi brother-in-law Al-Senussi of  Gaddafi Inner Circle; Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi.

Mahjoub: West.

Maraariha: Tripoli. West.

Masamir: East. Tribe known for its religious piety.

Maslata: Tripoli. West.

Masrata: Tripoli. West. Supposed to be the biggest tribe in Tripoli. Power base: Sabha in the south.

Misurata: East. Largest and most influential tribe, especially in Benghazi and Darneh. Name from the Misurata region which is in northwestern Libya.

Mujarba: West. Anti-Gaddafi. Have declared will protect oilfields. Anti-Gaddafi.

Obeidat (Abdiyat): East. Power base: Tobruk. Made up of about 15 sub-tribes. Persons of note: Abdul Fattah Younis al-Obeidi, Gaddafi’s #2 now anti-Gaddafi.

Qadhafah: Central Coastal. Powerbase: Sirte between Benghazi and Tripoli. Reported to control the Air Force. Gaddafi’s tribe.

Ramla: East.

Sawali: West.

Tawajeer: East.

Toureg: Southern Desert group. Made up of sub-tribes. Reported pro-Gaddafi.

Tubo: South.

Warfalla: Tripoli. West. Anti-Gaddafi. Million member tribe. Major player in failed 1993 coup.

Zamoura: West.

Zawaiya. Tripoli. West. Anti-Gaddafi. Promised to protect airfields.

Zintan: West. Anti-Gaddafi’s. Powerbase: Az Zintan south of Tripoli. Major player in failed 1993 coup.

LIBYAN TRIBES BY REGION:

TRIPOLI

Maraariha
Maslata
Masrata: Supposed to be the biggest tribe in Tripoli. Power base: Sabha in the south.
Warfalla: Anti-Gaddafi. Million member tribe. Major player in failed 1993 coup.
Zawaiya. Tripoli. Anti-Gaddafi. Promised to protect airfields.

WESTERN LIBYAN TRIBES

Dababisa
Jarsha
Kawafi
Magariha: Tribe with strongest and longest allegiance to Gaddafi. Traditional base Sabha in the south. Shown by last name: al-Megrahi. Persons of note: Gaddafi brother-in-law Al-Senussi of Inner Circle; Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi.
Mahjoub
Maraariha: Tripoli.
Maslata: Tripoli.
Masrata: Tripoli. Supposed to be the biggest tribe in Tripoli. Power base: Sabha in the south.
Mujarba: Anti-Gaddafi. Have declared will protect oilfields. Anti-Gaddafi.
Sawali
Warfalla: Tripoli. Anti-Gaddafi. Million member tribe. Major player in failed 1993 coup.
Zamoura
Zawaiya. Tripoli.  Anti-Gaddafi. Promised to protect airfields.
Zintan: Anti-Gaddafi’s. Powerbase: Az Zintan south of Tripoli. Major player in failed 1993 coup.

EASTERN LIBYAN TRIBES

Awaqir: A force in Libya since the Ottoman Empire. Senior positions in Gaddafi’s regime.
Awajila: Desert tribe claiming it will defend oilfields. Berber.
Farjan: Power base in Ajdabiya, Sirte, Zilten, and Tripoli.
Kargala
Masamir:  Tribe known for its religious piety.
Misurata:  Largest and most influential tribe, especially in Benghazi and Darneh. Name from the Misurata region which is in northwestern Libya.
Obeidat (Abdiyat):  Power base: Tobruk. Made up of about 15 sub-tribes. Persons of note: Abdul Fattah Younis al-Obeidi, Gaddafi’s #2 now anti-Gaddafi.
Ramla
Tawajeer

CENTRAL COASTAL LIBYAN TRIBE

Qadhafah:  Powerbase: Sirte between Benghazi and Tripoli. Reported to control the Air Force. Gaddafi’s own tribe.

SOUTHERN DESERT LIBYAN TRIBES

Awajila:  Claims it will defend oilfields. Berber.
Kawar: Power base: Kaouar region.
Toureg:  Made up of sub-tribes. Reported pro-Gaddafi.
Tubo: Sabha, Kofra, Gatroon

Related Wading through maze of Libyan tribes

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