U.S. Presence in Libya: A Brief History

VIDEO: Christopher Stevens was killed after Libyans militants stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.PlayABCNEWS.com
WATCH U.S. Ambassador Killed in Libya During U.S. Consulate Attack

intro: When a mob attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday, killing Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, it was just the latest in a series of security incidents targeting American diplomats in Libya over the past 18 months. Over the past several years, however, U.S.-Libyan relations have thawed following decades of icy relations between longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi and successive American presidents.

Here's a brief history of recent relations between Washington and Tripoli:

quicklist:1 title:Sept. 11, 2012 text: Attack on US consulate in Benghazi kills Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other officials.

quicklist: 2 title:Aug. 6, 2012 text: Car carrying U.S. Embassy personnel attacked in what might have been an attempted carjacking.

quicklist: 3 title:June 6, 2012 text:IED attack outside U.S. Office in Benghazi

quicklist: 4 title:May 2012 text:Chris Stevens returns to Tripoli as Ambassador. It's his third tour in Libya, where he first served as Deputy Chief of Mission from 2007-2009.

quicklist: 5 title: September 2011 text:U.S. sends diplomats, including Ambassador Gene Cretz, back to Tripoli. American flag raised on Sept. 22. They work out of a temporary workspace because the U.S. embassy was too badly damaged after the May 1 attack.

quicklist: 6 title: May 1, 2011 text:U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, along with the British and Italian embassies, is ransacked and burned by a mob protesting the NATO bombing campaign and the killing of Gadhafi's son Saif al-Arab

quicklist:7 title:April 5, 2011 text:Chris Stevens arrives in Benghazi as liaison to the rebel leaders as the U.S. tries to determine their goals and composition

quicklist:8 title:Feb. 25, 2011 text:U.S. shutters its embassy in Libya as the security situation deteriorates. Some embassy staff are evacuated by boat and aboard a charter flight from an airfield near downtown Tripoli

quicklist:9 title:December 2010 text: Cretz departs Libya amid concerns over his safety after a spat with the Libyan government about comments in cables published by Wikileaks

quicklist:10 title:January 2009 text:Gene Cretz becomes the first U.S. ambassador in Tripoli since 1972

quicklist: 11 title: May 31, 2006 text:U.S. and Libya agree to upgrade the U.S. Liaison Office in Tripoli to a full embassy, but no ambassador named

quicklist: 12 title:June 24, 2004 text:U.S. diplomatic presence upgraded to a Liaison Office

quicklist:13 title:Feb. 8, 2004 text:Diplomatic relations between U.S. and Libya resume, U.S. Interest Section in Tripoli established after diplomatic breakthroughs convinced Gadhafi to give up his nuclear weapons program.

quicklist:14 title:December 21, 1988 text:A bomb aboard Pan Am flight 103 brings the plane down over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members. Another 11 people were killed on the ground. Libya was eventually blamed for the attack.

quicklist:15 title:April 15, 1986 text:The United States retaliates for the La Belle attack, bombing Gadhafi's compound outside Tripoli.

quicklist:16 title:April 9, 1986 text: President Ronald Reagan calls Gadhafi the "mad dog of the Middle East" following the La Belle bombing.

quicklist:17 title:April 5, 1986 text: A bomb exploded in the La Belle discotheque in Berlin, killing three people, including two American servicemen, and injuring dozens. Libya was eventually blamed for the attack

quicklist:18 title:Dec. 2, 1979 text:Mob attacks U.S. embassy in Tripoli, prompting U.S. government to pull out its remaining staff

quicklist: 19 title:1972 text: U.S. pulls its ambassador out of Libya.