and other news from the Arab uprisings:
Libya Live Blog – March 19
As the uprising in Libya continues, we update you with the latest developments from our correspondents, news agencies and citizens across the globe.
Gaddafi attacks Libya’s Zintan – Al Arabiya
CAIRO, March 19 (Reuters) – A witness told Al Arabiya television on Saturday that Zintan in western Libya was being bombarded and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s tanks were approaching the town. “Now we are being bombed in Zintan from more than one direction: from the north and the south,” said the witness, who was not identified. “There are tanks heading towards the southern entrance of Zintan, around 20 to 30 tanks, which are hitting the city and residential areas in the south,” he said.
Report: 26 killed in Libya after Gadhafi forces strike rebel-held Benghazi
The advance into Libya’s second city of 670,000 people appears to be an attempt to preempt Western military intervention which diplomats say will come only after an international meeting in Paris later on Saturday.
Libyan rebels say their war plane downed in Benghazi
CAIRO (AFP) — Libyan rebels acknowledged that a warplane which crashed in flames in their Benghazi stronghold early Saturday belonged to them and that it was shot down by Moammar Gadhafi’s forces.
Explosions in Benghazi, residents say Gaddafi forces attack
BENGHAZI, Libya, March 19 (Reuters) – Large explosions were heard in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi early on Saturday, and residents said that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces were attacking the rebel stronghold. Libya had declared a unilateral ceasefire on Friday after the United Nations Security Council authorised a no-fly zone over Libya, but the United States had said the ceasefire was not being respected. A fighter jet could be heard over Benghazi, a Reuters correspondent in the city said, adding that the explosions were strong enough to shake a building.
Gaddafi forces squeeze rebel-held Misrata-residents
ALGIERS/TUNIS, March 19 (Reuters) – Residents of the rebel-held Libyan city of Misrata said government snipers were shooting people from rooftops on Saturday and the hospital could not operate on the wounded because it had no anaesthetic. Misrata, about 200 km (130) miles east of Tripoli, is the last big rebel stronghold in the west of the country and people living there say forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi are still trying to retake the city despite a ceasefire.
Libya violence continues amid ceasefire
US diplomat backs rebel claims of truce violations by Gaddafi’s forces following UN authorisation of no-fly zone.
LIVE: Libyan Unrest:Gaddafi forces are approaching Benghazi and are within 50km of the city
We are tracking the latest developments to keep you updated on the situation on the ground. There are interactive maps located in the Protest map page to keep up with the latest movements. You can also click on our links to follow the latest Live Libya Blogs and featured twitters. On the Go? -Follow us on Twitter @Feb17Libya for the same live updates.
Qaddafi Bombards Rebel Cities, Defies UNO, Juan Cole
The government of Muammar Qaddafi is making a wideranging attempt to dominate as much of the country as possible before Western powers begin patrolling Libya’s skies with fighter jets, probably on Saturday night or Sunday. Aljazeera Arabic is reporting mid-morning Saturday Libyan time that hundreds of people have been wounded in Benghazi by the heavy bombardment to which Qaddafi forces have subjected the rebel center. Government troops are said to have entered the environs of the city and put some rebel forces to flight. Residents are shown alleging that Qaddafi’s forces are continuously bombarding Ajdabiya and Benghazi with indiscriminate tank and heavy artillery fire, hitting civilian apartment buildings and killing and wounding women and children in them. There is heavy fighting at Magrun just to the south of Benghazi, according to Aljazeera’s English web site.
Developing: UN implements no-fly zone over Libya, French aircraft confirmed
French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke to the press from Paris just before 11 a.m. EST. He confirmed that there would be U.N.-mandated military action to implement a no-fly zone over Libya in response to the violence and broken cease-fire in the country. Sarkozy said that all participants in Saturday’s Paris summit, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, British Prime Minister David Cameron, an African Union representative, a European Union representative and Arab leaders, endorsed the plan.
Diplomat: Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, UAE at Libya summit
PARIS (AFP) — Jordan, Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are the Arab nations attending Saturday’s summit in Paris on action in Libya, a diplomat told AFP
Sarkozy says air forces in action over Libya
PARIS, March 19 (Reuters) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Western air forces, with Arab League approval, had gone into action on Saturday over Libya and were preventing Muammar Gaddafi’s forces attacking the rebel city of Benghazi. “As of now, our planes are preventing air attacks on the city of Benghazi,” he said adding that military action supported by France, Britain, the United States and Canada and backed by Arab nations could be halted if Gaddafi stopped his forces attacking. French planes were also ready to strike Libyan tanks.
French reconnaissance planes over Libya -source
PARIS, March 19 (Reuters) – French reconnaissance planes were flying over Libya on Saturday, a French military source told Reuters at 1415 GMT, as world powers met in Paris to coordinate a U.N.-mandated military intervention. “There are French reconnaissance aircraft over Libya,” the source said.
Britain says “time for action” in Libya
LONDON, March 19 (Reuters) – Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has broken the ceasefire and will face urgent action to prevent more civilian deaths, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Saturday. “Colonel Gaddafi has made this happen. He has lied to the international community, he has promised a ceasefire, he has broken that ceasefire,” Cameron told British television reporters after a meeting of international leaders in Paris. “He continues to brutalise his own people and so the time for action has come. It needs to be urgent, we have to enforce the will of the United Nations and we cannot allow the slaughter of civilians to continue.”
World leaders discuss Libya action
Meeting in Paris follows UN resolution allowing no-fly zone and possible military action against Gaddafi’s regime.
Claims of Gaddafi defying ultimatum
Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, is facing a stark ultimatum to either stop the attacks on civilians, or face military action. But even after the ceasefire was announced, people on the ground were telling Al Jazeera of new attacks. An opposition spokesperson told Al Jazeera English he could hear shelling from tanks as the army tried to enter the city of Misurata. Witnesses speaking to our Arabic sister channel said the city of Ajdabiya, further east, was also being bombarded. The Libyan government has denied the claims, as Al Jazeera’s Gerald Tan reports
Gadhafi: UN resolution endorsing no-fly zone is ‘blatant colonialism’
Embattled Libya leader tells Al Jazeera the UN has no justification to interfere in his country; France ambassador to the UN says he expects foreign military intervention in Libya on Saturday.
Gaddafi says ‘hell’ awaits anyone who attacks Libya
Muammar Gaddafi threatened to turn into “hell” the lives of anyone who attacks Libya in line with a UN Security Council resolution passed overnight.
Summit set to decide Libya action
Leaders from Britain, the US, France and allied Arab countries are set to meet in Paris to discuss military action in Libya under a UN resolution.
Libya’s Gaddafi given ultimatum
US President Barack Obama says the Gaddafi regime must follow the UN’s ceasefire demands or face military action
Clinton unimpressed by Libya cease-fire, says Kadafi must go
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton brushes aside Libya’s claim that it will observe a cease-fire with rebels; she calls for a pullback of Libyan troops and insists that Moammar Kadafi leave power. President Obama will speak on the Libya situation Friday. WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday brushed aside Libya’s claim that it would observe a cease-fire in fighting with rebels, and she insisted that the nation’s crisis could only end with the departure of Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi.
Inside the White House-Congress meeting on Libya
President Barack Obama hosted 18 senior lawmakers at the White House on Friday afternoon to “consult” with them about the new plan to intervene in Libya, exactly 90 minutes before Obama announced that plan to the world and one day after his administration successfully pushed for authorization of military force at the United Nations.
U.S. Claims Libya Is In Violation Of Ceasefire As Military Action Looms
TRIPOLI, March 19 (Reuters) – The United States accused Muammar Gaddafi of defying international demands for an immediate ceasefire, and France’s U.N. envoy predicted military action within hours of an international meeting on Libya on Saturday. A unilateral ceasefire declared on Friday by the Libyan government appeared to have done little to convince outside powers to hold off on plans for air strikes to force an end to an increasingly bloody civil war.
US to deploy more ships to support Libya planning
WASHINGTON, March 18 (Reuters) – The United States will deploy additional amphibious ships to the Mediterranean, the military said on Friday, as part of the Obama administration’s plans for responding to ongoing violence in Libya. The USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group will deploy on March 23 “ahead of its original schedule in order to relieve units from the USS Kearsarge (Amphibious Ready Group) currently positioned in the Mediterranean Sea,” it said in a statement. The arriving group includes the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan, based in Virginia, and other ships.
Large Opposition to Military Intervention in Libya
A CNN/Opinion Research poll finds 74% believe the United States should “leave it to others” to resolve the situation in Libya.
France sees Libya armed action within hours
Paris hints at speedy military action as US envoy to UN accuses Gaddafi of defying international demands for ceasefire.
Italy to offer bases for Libya, take active role
ROME, March 18 (Reuters) – Italy will make its military bases available and take an active role in any operations against Libya, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said on Friday. Italy also plans to close its embassy in Tripoli, Frattini said in a hearing in parliament, after the United Nations Security Council authorised action. “We appreciated the resolution (of the UN Security Council) and we fully support it,” he said. “The Italian decision is not just full support for the resolution but also the necessity of participatiing actively.”
“World leaders” unimpressed with Gadhafi’s cease-fire declaration
Clinton said on Friday the United States was not impressed by words of cease-fire from the Libyan government and would keep pressing for leader Muammar Gadhafi to step down.
David Cameron: UK planes to be deployed in Libya
In a statement to the Commons he said aircraft, including Tornado and Typhoon jets, will be moved to bases from where they could “start to take the necessary action”.
Qatar, Emirates to join Libya air strikes
Qatar and the United Arab Emirates will join international forces set to bomb Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in Libya after the UN votes to authorize air strikes, a UN diplomat said this evening.
Tunisia won’t join military intervention in Libya
TUNIS, March 18 (Reuters) – Tunisia will not take part in any international military intervention in its neighbour Libya, a government spokesman said on Friday. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a visit to Tunis on Thursday that talks were underway about Arab countries playing a direct role in a military operation against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to protect civilians. “It is out of the question,” government spokesman Taieb Bakouch told Reuters when asked if Tunisia would be involved. “We will not take part in any military intervention against Libya, we will not take part in any way,” he said.
Libya No Fly Zone Approved: Arabs React To U.N Resolution (PHOTOS)
As the Associated Press is reporting, the U.N. Security Council voted to authorize military action to protect civilians and impose a no-fly zone over Libya Thursday, paving the way for international air strikes against embattled leader Moammar Gaddafi’s forces. The Libyan government responded by declaring a ceasefire. The resolution met with mixed reactions in the Arab world, with some diplomats praising what they call a “good and necessary decision to safeguard the stability of Libya.” Still, others said they feared the no-fly zone would lead to further military intervention and subsequent bloodshed.
Rebels seize Libyan state-owned gasoline tanker
LONDON, March 18 (Reuters) – A Libyan state-owned gasoline tanker has been seized by rebels in a move that traders said is likely to act as a further deterrent to trading with the torn state, trade sources said on Friday. They said the tanker was hijacked while carrying gasoline to the country for the National Oil Corporation. “It is likely to deter further dealing in fuels,” said a trader with a European refiner on Friday.
Gadhafi War Crimes – Media Journalists under attack in Libya, systematically targeted by Gadhafi in “Campaign of Violence”
Under a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, Additional Protocol I, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, eyewitness accounts and video from Libya indicate beyond a reasonable doubt that Gadhafi forces have been systematically targeting non-combatant journalists in what amounts to war crimes against humanity.
Qaddafi Son Says Libya Will Release 4 Journalists
TRIPOLI, Libya — Four New York Times journalists missing in Libya since Tuesday were captured by forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and will be released, the Libyan leader’s son Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi told Christiane Amanpour in an ABC News interview early Friday.
Libyan Doctor Speaks of Freedom and First-Aid
The Libyan International Medical University in Benghazi, Libya’s only private medical university, has begun offering free courses in first aid training to the public as the country faces an ever escalating death and injury toll. This doctor discusses the importance and need of the initiative as well as her personal reflection of Benghazi’s new found freedom.
Libya: ICRC returns to Benghazi
“The improved security situation made it possible for us to return to Benghazi today, said Simon Brooks, the ICRC’s head of mission in Libya. “We are eager to carry on supporting hospitals, visiting detainees in Benghazi and elsewhere and working with the Libyan Red Crescent to help civilians. At the same time, we continue to urge both parties to let us access other cities and areas, so we can assist other people affected by the fighting.”
Up to 2,500 need to flee to Tunisia and Egypt daily
GENEVA: Up to 2,500 people will need to be evacuated daily from Libyan borders with Tunisia and Egypt for the foreseeable future in one of the biggest humanitarian evacuations in history, agencies said Friday. The rate of people fleeing Libya would also be affected by a U.N. Security Council decision clearing the way for air strikes but it was not clear how much.
Monitor Group planned training for Khadafy’s security apparatus in Libya
While fighting rages in Libya between the forces of embattled dictator Muammar Khadafy and pro-freedom rebels, a Massachusetts-based international consulting firm with numerous links to Harvard University is looking for cover. The Monitor Group, located in Cambridge, was founded in 1983 by a group of Harvard professors. Monitor landed a $3 million annual contract with Libya for consulting work after Harvard business guru Michael Porter, a co-founder of Monitor, traveled to London to meet with Saif Khadafy, a son of the Libyan dictator.
Why one Libyan mother joined the rebels
Nayla Mohammed El Farisi, a diminutive, fully veiled woman who lost a brother to Qaddafi’s regime, works 10-hour days writing articles for a newspaper critical of Libya’s dictator.
Implementing the no-fly zone
The United Nations Security Council has voted for a no-fly zone over Libya. This means if Libyan military aircraft take to the skies, the international community will take action and become involved in this conflict. But Muammer Ghaddafi, the Libyan leader, will still be in charge on the ground. Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker explains how the no-fly zone could be implemented.
Inside Story – Is it too late for a “no-fly” zone over Libya?
It has been a month since the uprising in Libya began, and now the defiant leader Muammar Gaddafi says a “decisive battle” will end it sooner rather than later. The anti-government forces are slowly losing control of the territories they had initially managed to secure. Most of them are average citizens taking up arms fighting against the well-trained and heavily armed forces of Gaddafi. As the situation on the ground remains tense and fluid, the UN Security Council meets to discuss solutions to the precarious situation in Libya. Over the weeks, UN members have been considering a range of actions, including a no-fly zone and military intervention. But Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, says any UN decision is “too late”. Can the opposition survive the diplomatic talk? And is it too late to for a “no-fly” zone over Libya?
UN’s Libya resolution 1973 is better late than never | Philippe Sands
Move helps to repair damage caused by the Iraq war, and the failure then of the security council to authorise the use of force. Even if it came late, resolution 1973 marks a significant moment in repairing the deep damage caused by the war in Iraq, and the failure then of the UN security council to authorise the use of force, either explicitly or, in the view of just about every international lawyer I know, at all. This time the council has come together to signal its disgust at large-scale attacks on civilians and the transformation of political processes in north Africa. It is one of those rare occasions in which the use of force has been authorised under chapter VII.
Gaddafi could still have final say in Libya | Simon Tisdall’s world briefing
Muammar Gaddafi’s ceasefire offer will not satisfy western leaders queuing up to take a shot at him – but it’s unclear what will. When the US and its allies invaded Iraq in 2003 the aim was to overthrow Saddam Hussein. When Nato entered Kosovo in 1999 its purpose was to stop ethnic cleansing by Slobodan Milosevic’s army. The precise objectives of the Libyan war 2011, and how they will be achieved, are less well-defined – and therefore, potentially problematic.
The first Libyan battle is won | Malcolm Rifkind
Throughout last week, the chances of Colonel Gaddafi’s overthrow dwindled in the face of a brutal crackdown. By Thursday, concerted counter-attacks had forced the rebels back to their stronghold in Benghazi, where they awaited the next barrage. Those who had first threatened to oust the regime were in danger of being completely overrun. Hence the palpable sense of urgency at the UN on Thursday evening. The swift passage of security council resolution 1973 reflected not only the changed situation, but also the international community’s determination to redress that reversal.
How do you solve a problem like Gaddafi? – video
Livedraw: Patrick Blower asks, what next in Libya?
UN decision on Libya: Endgame for Qaddafi?
The immediate hope is that the threat alone of international action in Libya will slow Qaddafi down – and perhaps cause some of his supporters to back the rebels instead.
Declaration of Cease-Fire Is Not Enough
The United States, Britain and France pushed forward against Libya on Friday as they declared that a cease-fire abruptly announced by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s government was not enough, at least for now, to ward off military action against his forces.
The UN intervenes in Libya
I can only imagine the elation in Benghazi last night. Earlier this week I paid an extremely brief visit to eastern Libya, and watched morale see-saw back and forth according to the latest rumors from the battlefield. When it looked like Qaddafi would just grind forward all the way to Benghazi, and no one wanted to intervene, people would start to clutch at straws — any rebel announcement of a miraculous turnabout success, however unlikely it sounded, was greeted by joyful cries of Allahu Akbar and the discharge of firearms into the air. But now this is a real potentially tide-turning event. If I had an anti-aircraft cannon handy, I’d probably want to blast away a bit too, too.
Germany has marginalised itself over Libya | Severin Weiland and Roland Nelles
By abstaining from the UN security council vote on intervention in Libya, Germany is abandoning its natural allies. When it came to the crunch, Chancellor Angela Merkel and her foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, decided that Germany should side with China and Russia. These three members of the UN security council abstained from Thursday’s vote on a resolution to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, along with Brazil and India. It is a curious political development, to say the least.
Will the UN intervention in Libya stop Qaddafi?
I can only imagine the elation in Benghazi last night. Earlier this week I paid an extremely brief visit to eastern Libya, and watched morale see-saw back and forth according to the latest rumors from the battlefield. It looked like Qaddafi would just grind forward all the way to Benghazi, and almost everyone to whom I spoke was desperate for a no-fly zone (some also rejected “foreign intervention” at the same time, but appeared to associate the latter phrase with ground troops). As it seemed increasingly unlikely that anyone would intervene, there was a growing sense of abandonment. People would start to clutch at straws — any rebel announcement of a miraculous turnabout success, however unlikely it sounded, was greeted by joyful cries of Allahu Akbar and the discharge of firearms into the air. But now we may have a genuine tide-turning event, real deliverance from on high. I could see the crowds cheering on al-Jazeera, but I’m sure that it conveyed only a small part of the ecstatic sense of relief which Benghazi residents are now experiencing.
How Obama turned on a dime toward war
At the start of this week, the consensus around Washington was that military action against Libya was not in the cards. However, in the last several days, the White House completely altered its stance and successfully pushed for the authorization for military intervention against Libyan leader Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi. What changed? The key decision was made by President Barack Obama himself at a Tuesday evening senior-level meeting at the White House, which was described by two administration officials as “extremely contentious.” Inside that meeting, officials presented arguments both for and against attacking Libya. Obama ultimately sided with the interventionists. His overall thinking was described to a group of experts who had been called to the White House to discuss the crisis in Libya only days earlier.
Gaddafi’s ceasefire may split the coalition – and Libya | David Hearst
Turkey has got its wish for a ceasefire. But if it holds, it will allow Gaddafi to keep control of the major oil ports he has won back. Beware of getting what you wish for. The ceasefire Colonel Gaddafi has just announced is not a vindication of the decision of the UN security council to get tough, nor a result of the wide backing the vote got from the Arab League and, unusually, three members of the African Union.
1996 prison massacre a spark in Libyan revolution
Since 2008, the families of slain prisoners had been pressing for justice in unprecedented protests at the Benghazi courthouse. Many credit them with breaking the barrier of fear that helped sustain the Kadafi regime. Every month for nearly 10 years, Ezzedin abu Azza’s family traveled to the gates of Abu Salim prison in Tripoli to deliver a package of clothes, food and medicine, not knowing whether it ever reached him.
“What is most striking about the rhetoric of the rebellion is how the anticolonialist theme that Colonel Qaddafi once deployed has now been turned against him and is being used on Twitter and Facebook. Even as they are assaulted by Colonel Qaddafi’s forces, the rebels have resisted calling for forceful Western intervention, though they support the imposition of a no-flight zone. Libya’s history explains why. From 1911 to 1943, half a million Libyans died under Italian rule, including 60,000 in concentration camps run by the fascists.”
The chimes of freedom ring in Benghazi
The United Nations Security Council decision to approve the use of all necessary force to protect Libyan civilians is complex and full of imprecision and uncertainty as to both modalities and consequences. Yet in view of the events in Libya – the ringing battle for freedom and dignity by the rebels, the cruel and vicious attacks of the Gadhafi regime that after 41 years of dictatorial rule.
Human Rights Watch: US: Suspend Military Aid to Yemen
(New York) – The United States should immediately suspend military assistance to Yemen until President Ali Abdullah Saleh ends attacks on largely peaceful anti-government protesters and prosecutes those responsible, Human Rights Watch said today.
Amnesty International: Yemeni authorities must act over sniper killings of protesters
At least 40 people were shot dead and more than 200 wounded in what appears to have been a coordinated attack by security forces. The Yemeni authorities must immediately act to bring to justice those responsible for an apparently co-ordinated sniper attack on protesters in Sana’a today that has left dozens dead. At least 40 people were killed and more than 200 wounded in the incident, which took place following Friday prayers as protesters gathered near Sana’a University. “This appears to have been a sniper attack with security forces deliberately shooting to kill protesters from strategic vantage points,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Murder On The Streets Of Yemen – 42 Protesters Killed
Shocking Video Medical sources said the death toll was likely to rise.
Graphic pictures of the Massacre in Yemen
View at your own risk. Very disturbing pictures from today.
Cold-blooded massacre in Sanaa
SANAA: Gunmen on rooftops shot dead at least 42 protesters at an anti-government rally in Sanaa after Muslim prayers Friday, enraging the opposition and prompting President Ali Abdullah Saleh to declare a state of emergency. Medical sources and witnesses told Reuters that Yemeni security forces and plainclothes snipers, who protesters said were government security men.
Yemen under state of emergency
Yemen’s president has announced a state of emergency, after security forces opened fire at a protest in the capital Sanaa, killing at least 41 people. Witnesses say armed men opened fire from nearby buildings as protesters gathered in Sanaa’s University Square after Friday prayers. Al Jazeera’s Yemen correspondent Hashem Ahelbarra reports.
One journalist killed, one wounded in Yemen
NEW YORK, March 18 (Reuters) – A news photographer who was shot and killed at a demonstration in Saana on Friday became the first confirmed journalist to die in action in Yemen since unrest began there in January, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. Jamal Al-Sharaabi, a photojournalist for the independent weekly Al-Masdar, died when gunmen fired on demonstrators opposing President Ali Abdullah Saleh, CPJ said, citing local media and the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate.
Yemeni troops on streets as two party members quit
SANAA (Reuters) – Two prominent members of Yemen’s ruling party resigned on Saturday in protest against the killing of dozens of anti-government protesters, while troops enforced a state of emergency in the capital. Defying the crackdown, the opposition vowed to keep up its “peaceful revolution” in the poor Arabian peninsula state, a neighbor of Saudi Arabia and a U.S. ally against al Qaeda. Soldiers set up checkpoints to enforce a ban on carrying firearms in public, even checking for hidden guns inside the ornamental scabbards of traditional Yemeni jambiya daggers.
My New Article on the Revolution in Yemen and How it Started, Nir Rosen
On February 11 after the Friday noon prayers Yemeni students and activists organized a demonstration in the capital city of Sanaa in solidarity with Egyptian demonstrators frustrated with Mubarak’s refusal to resign. At about 1 PM they met in front of the small roundabout by the new campus of Sanaa University and marched through town chanting slogans and carrying pictures of Gamal Abdel Nasser the Egyptian hero of Arab nationalism. Less than 200 people took part and only two were women.
Amnesty International: Bahrain must free detained opposition activists
Amnesty International is calling for the immediate release of eight prominent Bahraini opposition activists arrested following a violent dispersal of demonstrators in Manama. Amnesty International is calling for the immediate release of eight prominent Bahraini opposition activists arrested following a violent dispersal of demonstrators in Manama. The eight activists, mainly leading members of Shi’a opposition groups prominent in the ongoing protests for reform, were arrested yesterday in armed raids on their homes by a joint force of Bahraini and Saudi Arabian security forces.
Bahrain eases curfew, fourth protester dies
MANAMA, March 19 (Reuters) – Bahrain cut curfew hours on Saturday and urged Bahrainis to return to work after a crackdown on mainly Shi’ite Muslim protesters this week raised tensions in the world’s largest oil-producing region. The call came as a fourth protester died of wounds sustained when troops and police moved on Wednesday to end weeks of unrest that prompted the king to declare martial law and led to troops being sent from Bahrain’s Sunni-ruled neighbour, Saudi Arabia.
Qatar has sent troops to Bahrain: official (AFP)
AFP – Qatari troops are part of the Gulf forces deployed to Bahrain to put down Shiite-led protests against the Sunni dynasty there, said a Qatari military official.
Bahrain protesters turn defiant over deaths
Thousands of people in Bahrain have defied a government ban on public gatherings to mourn the death of a protester who was killed in Wednesday’s violence. Meanwhile, authorities have demolished a statue in Pearl Roundabout, as part of its effort to crack down on anti-government protesters. Al Jazeera’s special correspondent filed this report from Manama. (Mar 19, 2011)
U.S. “deeply concerned” by arrests in Bahrain (Reuters)
Reuters – The U.S. government on Friday said it was deeply troubled by the arrests of Bahraini opposition leaders and called on the country’s government to ensure legal proceedings for those arrested were fair and transparent.
Iraqis denounce Saudi king over Bahrain unrest (AP)
AP – Protesters in Iraq are jeering Saudi Arabia’s king as a slave of America and Israel for sending troops into Bahrain.
Iraqis rally for third day of Bahrain protests (AFP)
AFP – Thousands of protesters in southern Iraq chanted slogans and carried effigies of Gulf rulers on Saturday in a third day of rallies supporting Shiite-led pro-democracy protests in Bahrain.
Tens of thousands across region show support for Bahrain Shiites
More than 20,000 Iraqi Shiites rallied Friday in the country’s biggest demonstration yet to support fellow Shiite protesters confronting troops from Sunni Arab states in Bahrain. Similar but smaller protests also took place in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran.
Violence continues across Bahrain
Also see this article by Marc Lynch on the Bahraini government use of sectarianism as a counterinsurgency tool. Bahrain’s largest opposition group has urged Saudi Arabia to withdraw its forces and called for a UN inquiry into the the government’s on-going crackdown.
Lies: Bahrain king pledges reform as protester dies (AFP)
AFP – Bahrain’s king pledged to bring reforms and another demonstrator was on Saturday confirmed to have died in a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, as international calls mounted for restraint.
Where’s America’s outrage over Bahrain? (The Week)
The Week – Many Americans are gnashing their teeth over Moammar Gadhafi’s near-crushing of Libya’s armed rebellion, but yawning over U.S. ally Bahrain’s crackdown on peaceful protests.
Saudi role in Bahrain brings regional stakes
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The battle for Bahrain is no longer just on its shores. It’s now in Tehran, where the leader of Friday prayers cursed the “enemy” force that includes Saudi-led military reinforcements for Bahrain’s embattled Sunni monarchy. It’s in Iraq, with Shiites marching under banners pledging to join the fight in the Gulf kingdom.
George Galloway: Saudi Arabian Invasion of Bahrain
Galloway suggests that a deal was done between the US and Arab rulers, whereby the Arab League would back the no-fly rule over Libya and in return the US would acquiesce to the Saudi invasion of Bahrain.
Kuwait sends medical aid to Bahrain (AP)
AP – A convoy of Kuwaiti doctors and medical equipment was en route Saturday to Bahrain as Gulf neighbors pour more troops and aid into the violence-torn island kingdom that has become an arena for regional tensions.
Syrian mourners call for revolt
Thousands attending funeral for slain pro-democracy protesters call for “freedom” as police fire tear gas.
Tear gas fired at Syria mourners
Syrian security forces fire tear gas at mourners at the funeral of protesters who called for President Bashar al-Assad to step down, witnesses say.
5 protesters killed in Syria, activist says (AP)
AP – Syrian security forces launched a harsh crackdown Friday on protesters calling for political freedoms, killing at least five people and marking the gravest unrest in years in one of the most repressive states in the Mideast, according to accounts from activists and social media.
Amnesty International: Fears for missing Syrian protesters amid continued unrest
Amnesty International has urged the Syrian authorities to reveal the whereabouts of at least 21 protesters who have been missing since they were arrested following demonstrations earlier this week.
UN chief slams Syria’s crackdown on protests’
Ban Ki-moon says Syria’s use of deadly force against demonstrators is “unacceptable”.
Violence flares at Syrian protest
After online calls for a “day of dignity”, protesters demanding an end to alleged government corruption took to the streets of cities across Syria on Friday. But they were met with a violent crackdown orchestrated by state security forces. In one video subsequently posted online, water cannon are used on crowds of protesters. Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith reports on the “Facebook youth” who appear to be keeping one step ahead of the authorities.
Protests return to Syrian cities
In Damascus, anti-government demonstrators hit the streets after noon prayers. Several are beaten and arrested. Anti-government protesters took to the streets in Syria on Friday for the third time in a week despite the threat of beatings and arrest.
Unrest Poses New Challenge for Syria
DAMASCUS, Syria—At least two people were shot dead in Syria as authorities sought to put down small demonstrations that broke out in several cities after Friday prayers, according to activists and human rights groups.
Other Mideast Protests
Lebanon Anti-sectarian activists erect tent downtown
BEIRUT: Activists set up a tent at Riad Solh Square Friday for a sit-in to protest the government’s inaction in adopting a civil marriage law, as a pro-secular march in Beirut awaits Sunday.
Saudi Arabia Saudi Shi’ites protest peacefully in east
RIYADH, March 18 (Reuters) – Saudi Shi’ites protested peacefully in the east of the kingdom on Friday in support of Shi’ites in Bahrain, as King Abdullah offered $93 billion in handouts and boosted his security and religious police forces. Hundreds of Shi’ites attended five protests in and around the eastern region’s main Shi’ite centre, Qatif, activists said.
Jordan: Jordanians demonstrate in capital, calling for reforms
AMMAN, March. 18 (Xinhua) — Hundreds of Jordanians demonstrated in the capital city Friday, calling for constitutional and political reforms in the Arab kingdom. On the 11th week of Friday protests inspired by uprisings across the Middle East, demonstrators marched in downtown Amman following Friday’s prayers at the Grand Husseini Mosque, waving Jordanian flags and shouting anti-government slogans, calling for immediate dissolution of the Lower House.
Amnesty International: Morocco urged not to suppress weekend protests
Amnesty International calls on the Moroccan authorities to allow mass peaceful demonstrations planned for this Sunday to go ahead peacefully. Amnesty International has called on the Moroccan authorities to allow mass peaceful demonstrations planned for this Sunday to go ahead peacefully, following a crackdown on similar protests last weekend. Thousands are expected to take to the streets across the country to demand political and human rights reform but there are fears the authorities may resort to heavy-handed tactics to quell the protests. Last Sunday, scores were injured and at least 120 were briefly detained when security forces used unjustified force to break up a protest in central Casablanca.
Arab rulers tackle protesters with bullets, bribes
SANAA/RIYADH, March 18 (Reuters) – Arab rulers used bombardment, bullets and bribes on Friday to try to stave off popular protests sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. In a Bloody Friday stretching from Yemen to Bahrain and Syria, veteran leaders tried to quash uprisings inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt after the U.N. Security Council authorised the use of force to protect civilians in Libya.
Other regimes emboldened by Kadafi’s tactics
The dictator has used brute force to stay in power. Arab leaders in Yemen and elsewhere are following suit. Moammar Kadafi has ruled this country for four decades using tools also at the disposal of other Arab leaders. He shrouded his dirty deeds in nationalist ideology. He tactically doled out the country’s oil money. He kept tabs on his enemies here and abroad.
Robert Fisk: First it was Saddam. Then Gaddafi. Now there’s a vacancy for the West’s favourite crackpot tyrant
So we are going to take “all necessary measures” to protect the civilians of Libya, are we? Pity we didn’t think of that 42 years ago. Or 41 years ago. Or… well, you know the rest. And let’s not be fooled by what the UN resolution really means. Yet again, it’s going to be regime-change. And just as in Iraq – to use one of Tom Friedman’s only memorable phrases of the time – when the latest dictator goes, who knows what kind of bats will come flying out of the box?
The Arab revolutions’ message to America, Nadia Hijab
I want to talk about the messages from the Arab revolutions, how we can stay mobilized as a movement, and the opening for new relations between Jews and Arabs. I know we’ve all been transfixed by the Arab revolutions, and I want to highlight a couple of messages beyond what they mean for our Israel-Palestine work.
Taking Stock of the Arab Revolutions, ESAM AL-AMIN
March 17 marked ninety days since Mohammad Bouazizi set himself ablaze in the southern city of Sidi Bouzid in Tunisia. Protesting against the authorities, who insulted him and seized his sole means of sustenance, Bouazizi’s desperate act of self-immolation sparked demonstrations all over the country that ended with Tunisia’s despotic president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fleeing the country on January 14.