In Libya the resistance continues to up the ante, in Bahrain arrests and intimidation of opposition figures

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Benghazi rebels stay defiant
and other news from the Arab uprisings:

The Libyan Resistance
Libya rebel tanks ‘repel attack’
Libyan rebels deploy tanks, artillery and a helicopter for the first time to repel an attack by pro-Gaddafi forces on the key town of Ajdabiya, the BBC understands.

Bodies of dead Gaddafi forces in Misrata
According to the people in the video, the bodies are those of mercenaries. Misrata is holding it’s own. May be graphic to some.

Residents deny Libya TV report that Misrata retaken
TUNIS, March 17 (Reuters) – Libyan state television said on Thursday that forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi had recaptured the western city of Misrata, but residents and rebels in the city denied the report. State television said the armed forces had retaken control of Misrata and it was now being “sterilised from those criminal armed gangs.” But three residents told Reuters the rebels still controlled the city. “This (state TV) is not true. They are lying. Misrata is quiet and there is no sound of any bombing,” resident Mohamed said by telephone.

‘Gaddafi’s son near death in hospital’
A Libyan journalist says the regime is covering up the condition of one of Gaddafi’s sons that sustained serious injuries in an aerial attack carried out by a defecting pilot.

Mother of the U.S. Martyr killed in Libya Talks of her Son and Encourages Libyans
We first reported of Muhannad’s death a few days ago. He was just twenty years old, a U.S. citizen, boy scout, and proud Libyan. He stayed back in Libya to fight for freedom and what he believed in. In this video, his mother, Susie, describes the events leading up to her son’s death and encourages the Libyans to continue the fight.

Rebels Hold Key Libyan Towns as UN Considers Intervention
Forces loyal to Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi launched a two-pronged attack on Tuesday and Wednesday, on Misrata near Tripoli and on Ajdabiya in the east, with an eye to controlling all major population centers from the Tunisian border to the gates of Benghazi, the center of the rebel movement.

LIVE: Libyan Unrest: Gheraini says Gaddafi’s troops are “no where near Benghazi”
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.

Libyan rebels prepare to defend main stronghold
TOBRUK, Libya (AP) — Libya’s opposition says it is ready to defend its main stronghold in the rebel-controlled east if Moammar Gadhafi’s forces try to advance toward it. The rebels are battling to hold Ajdabiya, the last major city on the road to Benghazi. Opposition spokesman Mustafa Gheriani says regime forces will face an even stiffer challenge if they try to take Benghazi, which he warns is “armed to the teeth.” He says the opposition is hoping for a U.N. Security Council vote on assisting the rebels later Thursday. A resident says Ajdabiya is besieged by regime forces and has been hit by hours of airstrikes. Moataz al-Ghariani says it is not clear if the government or rebels, who say they have a few planes, are carrying them out.

Rebels fight to stall Gaddafi’s army in east
As well as heading north up the coastal highway to Benghazi, loyalist forces could strike east through the desert to Tobruk, 400 km (250 km) away, to isolate the rebel capital.  On the road between Tobruk and Salum, rebels manned several checkpoints. The border was still under their control.

Front Line Battle in Misratah

Qadhafi’s Crimes
Red Cross pulls out of Benghazi
The International Committee of the Red Cross pulls out of the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi fearing an imminent attack.

(ANSAmed)- ROME – There are at least 10,000 dead and 50,000 wounded in Libya, according to reports by Al Arabiya on Twitter quoting a member of the International Criminal Court. The death toll was reportd by the Libyan member of the ICC, Sayed al Shanuka, who was interviewed from Paris. The official figures provided by the Libyan government yesterday indicated 300 dead, while this morning Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini stated that he believed more in the death of ”more than 1,000 innocents”.

Libya envoy: World has 10 hours to act against Gaddafi
UNITED NATIONS, March 16 (Reuters) – The international community has 10 hours to act against troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who are preparing to slaughter his opponents, an anti-Gaddafi Libyan diplomat said on Wednesday.  “We think that … in the coming hours, we will see a real genocide in Ajdabiyah if the international community does not move quickly and prevent him from attacking it with a large force,” Libya’s deputy U.N. envoy, Ibrahim Dabbashi, told reporters.

UN Ambassador Dabbashi Says Mercenaries on their way to Ajdabiyah now
March 16, 2011: Dabbashi is warning the world that mercenaries in more than 400 vehicles will be arriving soon to Ajdabiyah— “They have clear instructions: Destroy everything,and kill whoever you find in Ajdabiyah, don’t spare any lives don’t spare any buildings.”  He warns mass genocide in the coming hours and calls on international community to prevent this.

Hospital after Gaddafi Bombed Ajdabiya
March 16, 2011: This footage was taken earlier today at a hospital in Ajdabiya the city was  continuously bombed. The victims of Gaddafi’s acts?  CHILDREN — shot in the head. The doctors in this hospital have been working around the clock as the number of critically injured civilians pour in.

Libya army orders Benghazi residents to leave rebel-held areas
A text on the screen of Al-Libya television addressed inhabitants of the eastern city, saying the army was coming ‘to support you and to cleanse your city from armed gangs.’

Gaddafi Forces Attack Rebel-Held Misrata: Residents
ALGIERS/TUNIS (Reuters) – Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces used tanks and artillery on Wednesday to try to retake the city of Misrata, the last big rebel stronghold in western Libya, residents said.  But rebel fighters in Misrata, on the Mediterranean coast about 200 km (130 miles) east of the Libyan capital Tripoli, said they had stalled a ground attack on the city and seized some tanks from pro-Gaddafi units.

[WARNING GRAPHIC]Gaddafi may have used Prohibited Chemical Weapons used on people in Misurata

Graphic vid of Libyan w/out brain. World needs 2 see this . From #Libya #Gaddafi Can ANYONE get this to media?

MARTYRS/injured Ajdabiya children & innocent people

Libyan tells story of torture by Gaddafi forces
Ali, a Libyan man who, unlike his fellow revolutionaries, survived brutal torture at the hands of Gaddafi militias recounted to Al Arabiya the bone chilling story of the time he spent in detention in Benghazi.

Qaddafi’s forces encircle last city before rebel capital
According to rebels, Qaddafi’s forces now control two of the three exits from the city leading into rebel territory from Ajdabiya and are attacking densely populated civilian areas, including a hospital.

Gaddafi’s son: Battle for Libya almost over
Saif al-Islam says campaign against rebels will be over in 48 hours as Gaddafi forces close in on rebel stronghold.

Gaddafi says doesn’t expect battle for Benghazi
BEIRUT, March 16 (Reuters) – Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Wednesday he did not expect his forces to have to fight to regain control of Benghazi, the main rebel stronghold in the east of the country.  Asked in an interview with Lebanon’s LBC Television whether he expected a battle in Benghazi, Gaddafi said: “No, no I don’t think so.” “All the places where they (rebels) are fortified, are now being sterilised with the help of the people… who say where their locations are,” Gaddafi said, describing the rebels as “al Qaeda” and “terrorist” elements who were being defeated.

Helping the Dictator
Interview with a Libyan pilot- “Algerian military is assisting Gaddafi”
This is an interview with a Libyan pilot earlier today, March 16. He received some documents showing the Algerian military is assisting the Gaddafi regime.

Media Repression/Suppresion/Abuse
4 New York Times journalists missing in Libya
The newspaper says two reporters and two photographers were apparently picked up by Libyan forces near Ajdabiya. The New York Times reported Wednesday that four of its journalists covering the fighting in Libya were missing.,0,4452009.story

Libya’s Experiments With a Free Press Often Rattle the News Media Lab Rats
The Qaddafi government concluded that any unpleasantness the foreign news media might dig up could not be nearly as bad as the reports circulating when only Colonel Qaddafi’s opponents were talking.

Qadhafi State Television Propaganda
Two Benghazi tribes support Gaddafi-Libyan TV
Two major tribes in the rebel-held city of Benghazi told Libyan state television they supported Muammar Gaddafi, the television said on Wednesday.


Latest update on Libyan uprising
On the move and on a mission to crush the opposition – Libyan forces loyal to Gaddafi head east. Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley has the latest from Benghazi.

UN urges immediate cease-fire in Libya, as death toll continues to climb
At least 11 killed in battle in Misrata, another three or four near the eastern city of Ajdabiyah, as rebel forces fight back Gadhafi-backed soldiers.

Libya no-fly zone supporters push for UN vote
Washington says the Security Council may need to take measures that go beyond a no-fly zone in Libya.

US reveals change of mind over Libya no-fly zone
Britain has welcomed an apparent change of heart by President Barack Obama over sending warplanes to protect the Libyan population from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s air force ahead of a crucial vote in the United Nations.

F-16s readied to defend Libyan people
Foreign minister promises four fighter jets and 90 crew for Libyan no-fly zone. Lene Espersen, the foreign minister, told parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday that the Air Force is preparing four F-16 fighter jets to take part in an internationally-backed no-fly zone over Libya, should Nato high command decide to act. The government is trying to build support in parliament and internationally for a United Nations-backed no-fly zone over Libya to block Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi from making further advances against rebel forces and attacking Libyan civilians.

Lebanon Appeals for Libya No-Fly Zone, Vows Arab Participation
Lebanon’s ambassador to the United Nations said he would appeal today to the Security Council to authorize a no-fly zone over Libya and that Arab nations would play a “significant” role in its enforcement. “I am sure you heard Saif al-Islam Qaddafi’s statement that in two days they will be in Benghazi,” Ambassador Nawaf Salam told reporters before the council met. “I hope the Security Council will prove him wrong on two counts: that there will be no rivers of blood and that the council will act swiftly and have a no-fly zone and other measures to protect the civilian population.”

Cameron frustrated with Obama’s refusal to act over no-fly zone
Tensions were building between London and Washington last night over President Barack Obama’s apparent equivocation about whether to back plans to impose a no-fly zone on Libya.

Kerry warns U.S. against failing to act on Libya
WASHINGTON, March 16 (Reuters) – U.S. failure to act more swiftly and forcefully over Libya is allowing an “extraordinary opportunity” to slip away and Washington’s reputation could be affected for decades by its response, a key U.S. senator said on Wednesday.  Fretting that time is running out for opponents of Muammar Gaddafi, Senator John Kerry, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and consider other steps to avert a humanitarian disaster.

European governments “completely puzzled” about U.S. position on Libya
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s meetings in Paris with the G8 foreign ministers on Monday left her European interlocutors with more questions than answers about the Obama administration’s stance on intervention in Libya. Inside the foreign ministers’ meeting, a loud and contentious debate erupted about whether to move forward with stronger action to halt Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi’s campaign against the Libyan rebels and the violence being perpetrated against civilians. Britain and France argued for immediate action while Germany and Russia opposed such a move, according to two European diplomats who were briefed on the meeting.  Clinton stayed out of the fray, repeating the administration’s position that all options are on the table but not specifically endorsing any particular step. She also did not voice support for stronger action in the near term, such as a no-fly zone or military aid to the rebels, both diplomats said.

Anne-Marie Slaughter accuses Obama of prioritizing oil over values
Former senior State Department official Anne-Marie Slaughter, who has emerged as one of the fiercest critics of the Obama administration’s response to the crisis in Libya, today accused the U.S. government of prioritizing oil over human rights. “U.S. is defining ‘vital strategic interest’ in terms of oil and geography, not universal values. Wrong call that will come back to haunt us,” she wrote on Wednesday on her Twitter page. She didn’t specifically mention Libya, but her criticism echoes what she sees as the failure of the international community to support popular revolutions in the Arab world.

James Denselow: Return of the Vanished Imam?
Lebanon’s role in a UN security council resolution against Libya is evidence of unfinished business between the two countries. In the UN security council on Tuesday, Lebanon tabled a resolution backed by Britain and France for a no-fly zone to be imposed over Libya. The Lebanese ambassador, Nawaf Salam, told reporters: “Measures ought to be taken to stop the violence, to put an end to the situation in Libya, to protect the civilians there.” The move followed a meeting in Cairo on Saturday when the Arab League voted to ask the UN for a no-fly zone – and the task of doing so fell to Lebanon as the only Arab member of the security council.

Libya: A No Fly Zone or a Spin Zone
While Gaddafi’s planes are flying to kill, Libyans are dying in the plains of the desert. Since oil is thicker than blood the Europeans and Americans are deliberating and divided on whether to save Libyans from an almost guaranteed mass slaughter by establishing a No Fly Zone to ground Gadaffi’s fighter jets that can determine the outcome of the conflict between a ruthless dictator and a people fighting for their freedom from his rule and the politics of oil.

Libyan Oil Buys Allies for Qaddafi
Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi has sprinkled billions of dollars around Africa, helping him recruit mercenaries and blunt criticism.

Qadhdhafi should not be supported by any leftist: Wallerstein weighs in
“First of all, for the last decade and up to a few weeks ago, Qaddafi had nothing but good press in the western world. He was trying in every way to prove that he was in no way a supporter of “terrorism” and wished only to be fully integrated into the geopolitical and world-economic mainstream. Libya and the western world have been entering into one profitable arrangement after another. It is hard for me to see Qaddafi as a hero of the world anti-imperialist movement, at least in the last decade.
The second point missed by Hugo Chavez’s analysis is that there is not going to be any significant military involvement of the western world in Libya. The public statements are all huff and puff, designed to impress local opinion at home. There will be no Security Council resolution because Russia and China won’t go along. There will be no NATO resolution because Germany and some others won’t go along. Even Sarkozy’s militant anti-Qaddafi stance is meeting resistance within France.And above all, the opposition in the United States to military action is coming both from the public and more importantly from the military. The Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mullen, have very publicly stated their opposition to instituting a no-fly zone. Indeed, Secretary Gates went further. On Feb. 25, he addressed the cadets at West Point, saying to them: “In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president again to send a big American land army into Asia or the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined.”

Khalifa’s Crimes

Amnesty International: Bahraini protesters tell of bloodshed as crackdown escalates
Bahraini protesters tell Amnesty International of bloody scenes on the streets as government security forces step up their violent crackdown on demonstrations.  Bahraini protesters today told Amnesty International of bloody scenes on the streets as government security forces stepped up their violent crackdown on demonstrations and blocked access to hospitals. At least six people were reportedly killed in the capital Manama amid continuing protests as the army used tanks to flatten the peaceful protest camps set up in recent weeks to demand reform in the Gulf state.

Amnesty International: Evidence of Bahraini security forces’ brutality revealed
Amnesty International reveals evidence of the Bahraini security forces’ systematic use of excessive force in cracking down against protesters.  Amnesty International today revealed evidence of the Bahraini security forces’ systematic use of excessive force in cracking down against protesters, as fresh violence left as many as eight people dead. In a new report released today, Bloodied but Unbowed: Unwarranted State Violence against Bahraini Protesters, the organization documents how security forces used live ammunition and extreme force against protesters in February without warning and impeded and assaulted medical staff trying to help the wounded.

Bahrain urged to rein in forces
The UN human rights chief condemns the “shocking” use of force by security forces against protesters in Bahrain.

Bahrain arrests opposition leaders after crackdown
Leaders of hardline parties among those held as troops take control of Pearl roundabout amid rising fear of regional conflict

The arrest of Ibrahim Sharif in Bahrain, according to his daughter
“This is what happened, as per Ebrahim Sharif’s daughter:
1:50 AM bell rings at Ebrahim Sharif’s residence. There are a lot of boys/men outside. My mother assumes they are um-alhassam boys/men who trashed the um-alhassam National Democratic Action Society (Wa3d) branch with Molotov cocktail bombs less than 20 hours ago .
Their faces are covered (mulathimeen). No indication that they are police from what they are wearing. After a while, they noticed men wearing all black. Mother says they assumed they were just thugs at first.
Parents came down to address the situation (Ebrahim Sharif and wife). As soon as we stepped out of the door they noticed one of the boys/men climbing the fence (shiga7 ilsoor). One of them was trying to open garage door after hopping the fence (not really a fence, more of a cement know what I mean).
The first man who hopped the fence had a gun in his hand and pointed it towards Ebrahim Sharif. Ebrahim Sharif said “nazel il musadas” (“put down the gun”). Parents ask “WHO ARE YOU?”, someone replies “open the door!”. Parents ask “wain ta9ree7kom?”, their reply “a7na gilnalkom ba6lo ilbab”.
Ebrahim Sharif says “Who Are YOU?” At this point they say “Amn el dawla”. Ebrahim Sharif and wife now buzz open the gate from inside.
Ebrahim Sharif remains calm. Mother says he put on his shoes and went out to talk to them.
Ebrahim Sharif talks to who seems to be leading the group of men. Leader-guy says something along the lines of “come with us fe ta7qeeqat”. My mother was not close enough to hear the whole thing but this is what she understood.
During this time the some of the men outside start coming into the garden through the gate that was opened as mentioned in the last paragraph. Some were still on the road infront of the house. Mother and father walk outside to where the cars are and my mother notices 2 black cars, 2 jeep landcruisers, and about 3-4 small vehicles similar to corollas in size. Inside these small cars is about 4-5boys covered (mulathimeen).
All in all about 35-40 people outside the house. About 6 or 7 of the total are armed with rashashaat (guns).
Most of the men/boys are mulathimeen (covered), about two of them wearing white thoobs and ‘3itra is covering their mouths.
Mother says they have no idea where my father is right now. There is no way to contact him. She says they are waiting, praying, and hoping for the best. Hoping that the government will release an official statement in the morning of his whereabouts. Working with other Wa3d members on the situation. I asked my mother “Did they not tell you where they were taking him?”. My mother replies by saying “I told them I need a number to get in contact with him or to know information”. A few of them replied by joking and said “call city center (a large mall in Bahrain)”. She doesn’t appreciate the humor is such a situation and shows this by saying “shinow city center!?” (What do you mean City Center??). The men joke again by saying “al6abeq ilthani yam iltilifoonaat” (second floor next to the phone booths). She mentions that only a few of them were replying to her question and the ones that did were the ones who made these jokes.
May God have mercy on my father. He is not an extremist. The National Democratic Action Society (Wa3d) is a secular one, meaning it is NOT religiously-backed. He is not a violent person. He is peaceful. He asks for reform but has done so in a way where he has never laid a hand on someone and never resorted to violence. I will not be able to forgive the ones who lay a hand on him. Only God knows the truth. Allah Yaster. I’m thinking about you Baba, I love you so much. You make me proud by voicing your opinion and not being scared for your safety, but right now, that is all I am thinking about. You have taught your children to stand up for what they believe in, to educate themselves, to be open minded, and to listen to people. You have played your role in making me the strong woman I am today, but I have never felt so helpless.
I hope there are people out there who will protect him.
Peace&Respect;, always,
Yara Ebrahim Alsayed”

Arrests follow deadly Bahrain crackdown
Several opposition figures arrested hours after security forces dispersed pro-democracy protesters from Manama centre.

VIDEO: Protester shot in Bahrain clampdown
Authorities in Bahrain have arrested at least five key opposition figures, a day after a crackdown on anti-government protesters in the centre of the capital Manama, reports say.

Bahrain crackdown routs protesters; clashes kill 5 (AP)
AP – Soldiers and riot police expelled hundreds of protesters from a landmark square in Bahrain’s capital on Wednesday, using tear gas and armored vehicles to try to subdue the growing movement challenging the 200-year-old monarchy. At least five people were killed as clashes flared across the kingdom, according to witnesses and officials.*

VIDEO: Clampdown empties Bahrain streets
Bahraini forces launched a crackdown on protesters, imposing a curfew and clearing hundreds from a camp that is the symbol of an uprising by the Shi’ite Muslim majority.

Exclusive Scenes (Videos) of Bahraini Massacres
Al Manar Website displays seven exclusive scenes (Videos) showing how brutal the monarchy acts against peaceful and unarmed civilians of Bahrain.

Bahrain troops retake Pearl Square – in pictures
Soldiers and riot police stormed a landmark square in Bahrain’s capital where anti-government protesters had set up a camp.

Hundreds shot in Bahrain protest: reports
At least 200 people have been shot and wounded in a Shi’ite village south of the Bahraini capital, a medic says, as the king imposed a state of emergency after bringing in Saudi and Emirati troops to help quell anti-regime protests.

Alex Morgan from Wall Street Journal Arrested

Bahrain shortens overnight curfew in parts of Manama
MANAMA, March 17 (Reuters) – Bahrain said on Thursday it would shorten a curfew in parts of the capital Manama by four h hours, an army spokesman said on state television.  The curfew in the area from the Bahrain financial district to Sheikh Isa bin Salman al Khalifa Bridge would now run from 8 p.m. in the evening to 4 a.m. in the morning, he said. Bahrain on Wednesday banned all protests and imposed a curfew from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. across a large swathe of Manama after security forces broke up reform protests that had lasted several weeks.

Humanitarian Crisis
Bahrain forces block access to hospitals, prompt UN rebuke
MANAMA (AFP) – The United Nations warned on Thursday of “shocking and illegal” abuses in Bahrain after a bloody crackdown on Shiite-led protesters which has alarmed the United States and infuriated the Shiite world.

Latest update from Bahrain’s Salmaniya Hospital
Many people were wounded in Wednesday’s crackdown, and rushed to hospital, but doctors at one facility have told Al Jazeera it is now being run by the military, and is low on supplies. Hassan Qamber, a staff member at Manama’s Salmaniya Hospital, speaks to Al Jazeera.

Bahrain update
Al Jazeera’s correspondent in the capital Manama has the latest on the situation in Bahrain a day after the brutal crackdown.

Bahrain Shiite minister, MPs resign
A Bahraini minister and several Shiite MPs submitted their resignation Wednesday amid reports that choosing to stay in their positions would have endangered their and their families’ lives.

Iraq criticises Bahrain intervention; Sadrists march (Reuters)
Reuters – Iraq’s Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Wednesday criticized military intervention by Sunni Arab neighbors in Bahrain, and followers of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr took to the streets of Baghdad.*

Iran recalls ambassador from Bahrain -reports
TEHRAN, March 16 (Reuters) – Iran has recalled its ambassador from Bahrain in protest against the killing of Shi’ite Muslim demonstrators in the island state, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Wednesday. State TV said the ambassador had been recalled for consultations, in what would appear to be a tit-for-tat move after Bahrain which withdrew its ambassador from Tehran for consultations on Tuesday to protest at Tehran’s criticisms. Iran, the main Shi’ite power in the Gulf, has condemned the crackdown by Bahrain’s Saudi-backed Sunni royal family against protesters from its Shi’ite majority, saying it could lead to regional instability.–reports

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards: US Will Pay Heavy Price
“Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned on Wednesday that Washington would pay a heavy price for supporting the repression of people in Bahrain, the Middle East and North Africa. General Yadollah Javani, a Guards deputy commander in charge of political affairs, said on Wednesday that Washington will pay a heavy price for supporting the policies of repression against the Bahraini nation.  “Dispatching troops by Saudi Arabia and the UAE into Bahrain has been carried out with the support and coordination of the United States,” General Javani said, in remarks published by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Gulf intervention in Bahrain ‘foul’: Ahmadinejad (AFP)
AFP – Military intervention in Bahrain by Gulf troops to help quell pro-democracy protests is “foul and doomed,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday, the IRNA news agency reported.*

Kuwait will not send forces to Bahrain – paper
KUWAIT, March 17 (Reuters) – Kuwait will not send forces to Bahrain to help put down anti-government demonstrations but may try to mediate, an Arabic newspaper reported on Thursday.  On Monday, Bahrain asked for support under a Gulf defence pact after weeks of protests by pro-democracy activists, mainly majority Shi’ites who complain of discrimination in the country led by a Sunni monarchy.

British PM tells Bahrain king: reform, not repression (AFP)
AFP – British Prime Minister David Cameron has personally urged the king of Bahrain to respond to anti-regime protests with “reform, not repression”, his spokesman said on Wednesday.*

U.S. objects to “excessive force” in Bahrain (Reuters)
Reuters – The United States on Wednesday objected to what it called “excessive force and violence” used against protesters in Bahrain and said it had communicated its concerns directly to Bahrain’s government.*

US: Saudis, others on ‘wrong track’ in Bahrain (AP)
AP – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says Bahrain and its Persian Gulf neighbors are “on the wrong track” with the use of regional troops to help the kingdom’s forces maintain order.*

Obama calls Saudi, Bahraini kings over crackdown (AFP)
AFP – US President Barack Obama called King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and King Hamad of Bahrain on Wednesday to express “deep concern” about a crackdown on Shiite-led opposition protests in Bahrain.*

Bahrain violence presents U.S. with fresh dilemma (Reuters)
Reuters – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday Bahrain was “on the wrong track,” but the United States may have little leverage as the Gulf kingdom presses a deadly security crackdown.*

Govt urges nationals to leave Bahrain (AFP)
AFP – The government urged any nationals still in Bahrain to leave the country under their own steam on Thursday, but promised to help anyone who could not get hold of a flight ticket.*

Britons being flown out of Bahrain
Two charter planes are expected to fly British citizens out of strife-torn Bahrain today as the situation in the country continues to deteriorate.

Iraq takes action in support of Bahrain
Iraq’s Sadr Front leader Sayyed Moqtada Al Sadr called for protests in support of Bahrain’s people. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki denounced however external interference in Bahrain’s affairs.

Fellow Shiites rally behind Bahrain protesters (AFP)
AFP – From Iran to Saudi Arabia and through the Iraqi city of Najaf, Shiites in the Middle East rallied Wednesday behind Shiite protesters in Bahrain against a violent crackdown by the ruling Sunni dynasty.*

Protesters show support for Bahraini uprising
BEIRUT: Some 2,000 mostly Shiite demonstrators gathered in front of the United Nations headquarters in Downtown Beirut Wednesday, in support of the uprising by the Shiite majority in Bahrain. “Lebanon with all its sects stands with you in Bahrain,” said Abd al-Naser Jabri, the secretary-general of the Nation movement and one of several speakers who addressed the crowd Wednesday afternoon.

Saudi Shi’ites protest, support Bahrain brethren
DUBAI, March 16 (Reuters) – Saudi Shi’ites marched in the kingdom’s oil-producing east on Wednesday, demanding the release of prisoners and voicing support for Shi’ites in nearby Bahrain, an activist and witnesses said. One Saudi Shi’ite activist said hundreds attended several protests including one in the eastern region’s main Shi’ite centre, Qatif, to show their backing for Bahraini Shi’ites who are protesting against the Sunni royal family.

Inside Story – Foreign troops in Bahrain
As neighbouring countries send troops to Bahrain, are they containing instability or spreading it?

Bahrain violence escalates
Protests in Bahrain have spread from the capital Manama towards other towns, including Sitra and Karrana. Several members of the country’s opposition are said to have been arrested, and at least six people were killed after security forces moved in to crush anti-government demonstrations. The recent violence in the Gulf state has brought international condemnation, with countries as far apart as the US and Iran expressing concern. Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher reports.

Hillary calls on condemns what she calls “violence” by Bahraini opposition
I was amused yesterday when I heard Hillary condemn what she refers to as violence by the opposition.  Of course, nothing exposes the hypocrisy of Western governments like theirs standards and criteria for violence.  So we are led to believe that the US favors only non-violent forms of struggle against tyrannical regimes.  But they don’t seem to mind violence if directed against regimes they dislike–or against regimes they really liked until the other day, like Libya.  The Libyan transitional council is quite violence and has used violence but the Obama administration has not voiced any criticisms what so ever.  Here is a sample: “Some migrant workers, without tribes to protect them, have been targeted by rebels. Vietnamese and Filipino nurses have been turfed out of their homes and have fled. But most of the 1.5m foreign workers in Libya from poor countries such as Bangladesh, whose governments were unable to arrange airlifts home, have stayed on. A Scandinavian oil man, who doubles as an honorary consul, has tried to protect dozens of Eritrean labourers cowering in a warehouse for fear they will be mistaken for the colonel’s reviled mercenaries, 60 of whom were said to have been massacred in the Green Mountain town of Shahat, after rebels captured them.”

Yacoub Al-Slaise, “Bahrain: Bloody Crackdowns on Villages”
On Tuesday, before King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa announced a State of National Security giving powers to the army and other forces to secure the country, police carried out crackdowns across a number of villages in the central area in Bahrain.

Amira Al Hussaini, “Bahrain: A Full-Scale Attack”
Protesters at Bahrain’s Pearl (Lulu) Roundabout were dispersed early this morning, as military and police have waged a full-scale attack on them. Netizens reported that tanks, choppers and army patrols on foot fired tear gas and shotguns at protesters, chasing them to nearby alleys and villages. Roads leading to the roundabout were also blocked and reports and photographs allege that the main hospital, Salmaniya Medical Complex, is being blocked by riot police — preventing the treatment of those injured. So far, reports say that two people have been killed and an unconfirmed number injured.

Feltman in Bahrain
A reader from Bahrain sent me this:  ”You should know that Jeffery Feltman is here in Bahrain,camped at the US embassy in Manama, since last monday, i.e. oversssing the saudi invasion on monday/tuesday and the  masacars of yesterday and today.  This makes his 4th public visit to Bahrain since Feb 16th.”

Bahrainis cannot be subdued for ever
The Saudi intervention has sectarianised the conflict even more, and thus may well have sealed the Bahrain regime’s fate

White House appears reluctant to take hard line with Arab monarchies
As Persian Gulf monarchs forcibly suppress street protests in the kingdom of Bahrain, the Obama adminstration has responded mostly with mild or muted objections – a sharp contrast from its demands for new governments in the republics of Egypt and Libya.

Ethan Bronner in Bahrain: he thinks Shi`ites there constitute a separate ethnicity
Why is Ethan Bronner reporting from Bahrain? What does he know about Bahrain or the Arab world? Is his specialty not serving Israeli military and propaganda interests?  And notice how his take serves the Saudi-Israeli alliance and notice that he thinks that Shi`ites in Bahrain forms a separate ethnicity:  ”This means that the dispute is over ethnicity and class as well as over governance, but also that outside forces have a keen interest. Iran, the center of Shiism, and which sometimes refers to Bahrain as one of its provinces, supports the majority population here. It has condemned the actions of the king, and labeled the Saudi military intervention an occupation. Saudi Arabia, which has a Shiite minority of its own to contend with, firmly backs the government and fears growing Iranian influence.”

Other Mideast Protests
Clashes Reported in Western City in Yemen
Local reports said antigovernment protesters fought with security forces and government supporters in the impoverished western port city Hodeidah.

The nature of Yemen’s uprising
Abdulghani al-Iryani, a Yemeni political researcher and analyst, breaks down the challenges facing his country, describes the nature of the uprising taking place there and shares his views on the prospects for change.

People & Power – Yemen: A tale of two protests
As demonstrations advance across Yemen, People&Power follows activist Tawakkol Karman.

Syria: Peaceful Demonstration Violently Dispersed
(New York) – Syria should immediately release all those detained on March 16, 2011, when security services violently dispersed a peaceful protest calling for the release of political activists, Human Rights Watch said today.

Syrian forces break up second protest in two days
DAMASCUS: Security forces in Syria arrested more than two dozen protesters in the capital Damascus Wednesday, in a second day of rare protests that are banned under emergency laws in place since 1963. Despite the ban, some 200 people took to the streets of Old Damascus Tuesday, calling for liberty and political freedoms, and Wednesday dozens of relatives of political prisoners.

There is no question that the Western press is far more eager and enthusiastic about protests in Syria and Iran because the repressive governments there are not puppets of the US–or not yet.  So the BBC had an extensive report on Syria yesterday and began with a headline in the news round up saying: hundreds of protesters took to the street in Damascus.  So when the BBC correspondent came to speak to the anchor, she was asked: how big was the protest?  She answered rather defensively–fearing of disappointing: there were a hundred or maybe a 140 protesters.

Rashid Khalidi shares insights on revolutions in Arab world
BEIRUT: The revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia qualify as a “world historical moment” but the most difficult tasks are yet to come, according to Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said professor of Arab studies at Columbia University. In a lecture held at the American University of Beirut Wednesday, Khalidi said that although the popular uprisings of 2011 have opened up new horizons and possibilities in the Arab world.

As Saudi Arabia Advances, RAMI G. KHOURI | AGENCE GLOBAL
There is no better sign of the reality that Washington has become a marginal player in much of the Middle East.

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