and other news from the Arab uprisings:
Untrained Libya rebels remain defiant
2 Qaddafi Sons Are Said to Offer Plan to Push Father Out
At least two sons of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi have a resolution for a constitutional democracy under Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, a diplomat and a Libyan official said.
Libya rebels reject transition under Kadhafi sons
BENGHAZI, Libya (AFP) – The Libyan rebels insisted Monday that the whole Kadhafi family must leave before there can be any truce with regime forces amid reports that his sons are offering to oversee a transition. Rebel troops made a new attempt to recapture the oil town of Brega, advancing under artillery fire, as hundreds wounded in besieged third city Misrata were evacuated by ship.
Gaddafi envoy seeks Turkish truce deal
Libyan envoy arrives in Turkey in a bid to negotiate a possible ceasefire with opposition forces.
Libya minister flies to Greece bearing message from Gadhafi
Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi arrived in Athens to meet with the prime minister, raising prospect of diplomatic efforts to end a war facing a stalemate.
Libya more ‘vital’ to Europe than US: Obama ex-advisor
WASHINGTON — The Libya endgame is more “vital” to Europe than the United States, a former White House adviser said Sunday, and urged Arab and African allies to step up as Washington slims its role in the conflict. Retired general James Jones, who until last October served as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, acknowledged on Sunday talk shows that strongman Moamer Kadhafi’s ouster was the ultimate goal in the military campaign, but said there was little clarity on how that will be accomplished.
Report claims that Dahlan supplied Gaddafi with Israeli weapons
A report in the Algerian newspaper Al-Shuruq claims that the former Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan was one of a number of Palestinians “involved in a deal to supply weapons from Israel to Muammar Gaddafi”. The secret deal was facilitated using a ship which sailed from Greece. The source for the information was Libyan dissident Omar El-Khadraoui. In a communiqué to Al-Shururq from the Libya-Tunisia border on Sunday, El-Khadraoui said, “The former leader of the Fatah movement, Muhammad Dahlan, and someone known as ‘Muhammad Rashid’, a Kurd from Iraq whose real name is Khalid Salam and who used to be an advisor to the late Yasser Arafat, are behind a deal to supply internationally proscribed weapons to Colonel Gaddafi, who used them to shell civilians in Misrata in western Libya.”
Rebels: Gaddafi using Israeli weapons
Libyan opposition forces say army is using bombs, rockets that originated in Israel, Al Jazeera reports.
Gates: US should not train Libyan rebels
The comments underscore the intensity of the debate in Washington about what to do next in Libya.
Turkish PM against arming Libyan rebels
Erdogan warns sending arms could feed terrorism, as Gaddafi says West has unleashed war between Christians and Muslims.
Norway opposed to arming Libyan rebels
OSLO, March 31 (Reuters) – Norway said providing arms to support the uprising in Libya would violate the United Nations resolution authorising limited action against Muammar Gaddafi. “We will not contribute to arming the rebels,” said Minister of Defence Grete Faremo, who last week dispatched six Norwegian F-16 fighter jets to help an international coalition to prevent Gaddafi’s forces from harming civilians.
‘Libyan rebels killed in NATO air strike’
NATO investigating reports that coalition jet struck pro-democracy forces in country’s east, killing at least 10.
Deadly mistakes in the battle for Libya
The NATO strike that hit a pro-democracy convoy outside of the eastern town of Brega killing at least 10 people may have been a mistake. Although the population in the country’s east is prepared to forgive the mistake, there is less sympathy is other parts of Libya. Such incidents may have just given Muammar Gaddafi’s spokespeople propaganda ammunition. Al Jazeera’s Laurance Lee reports from Benghazi. (02 April 2011)
Libyan wounded describe “hell” of Misrata
SFAX, Tunisia, April 4 (Reuters) – Gaddafi forces using tanks and snipers are carrying out a “massacre” in Misrata with corpses on the streets and hospitals full of the wounded, evacuees said, with one describing the besieged city as “hell”. Misrata, Libya’s third city, rose up with other towns against Muammar Gaddafi’s rule in mid-February, and it is now under attack by government troops after a violent crackdown put an end to most protests elsewhere in the west of the country.
Witness: Gadhafi forces kill two in Libya town of Yafran
Pro-Gadhafi forces shell the Libyan town, 110 km. southwest of Tripoli, wounding four on Sunday, a witness tells Arabiya television.
Pro-Gaddafi forces shelling Libya’s Misrata-rebels
BEIRUT, April 4 (Reuters) – Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi were shelling the rebel-held city of Misrata on Monday, targeting residential areas, a rebel spokesman said. Misrata, Libya’s third-biggest city, is the only major rebel stronghold left in the west of the country. It has been encircled and under attack by pro-Gaddafi forces for weeks and hundreds have been wounded or killed.
Al Jazeera’s James Bays describes the situation in Ajdabiya
Libya rebels resume Brega attack
Libyan rebels advance towards the oil town of Brega, reports say, as a senior Libyan envoy is in Europe for negotiations on behalf of Col Gaddafi.
Libya rebels just learning how to use their guns
Young, inexperienced fighters have left jobs and families to battle Moammar Kadafi’s forces. The rebels don’t want to end up like their parents, trapped in a police state. But some shoot more photos than bullets. He had the tough, focused bearing of a combat veteran. Tall and powerfully built, he wore form-fitting camouflage fatigues, sunglasses and combat boots. A Kalashnikov assault rifle was slung across his chest.
Untrained Libya rebels remain defiant
Opposition fighters in Libya have over the last two days been attempting to get more organised, but continue to face difficulties inherent in their lack of training and equipment. Their commanders say they are enthusiastic, but unskilled, and lack understanding of basic military strategy. Al Jazeera’s James Bays met some of the fighters near Ajdabiya, in eastern Libya.
Young Libyans flock unarmed to front line
BREGA, Libya, April 3 (Reuters) – Often carrying little more than milk cartons, cans of tuna and spare mattresses, hundreds of young volunteers continue to flock towards the front line of Libya’s revolt, even if many cannot fight. Rebel military commanders asked volunteers last week to hang back from clashes with forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi to allow more experienced fighters to coordinate strategy following a chaotic eastward retreat on Wednesday.
Fears of Gaddafi loyalists in rebel ranks
As fighting between pro- and anti-government forces continues in Libya, rebels in the east of the country suspect there is another force among them – Gaddafi loyalists. Rebels are concerned that Gaddafi forces, dressed as civilians and driving mounted pick-up trucks just like the opposition forces, may have actually infiltrated their ranks. Hoda Abdel-Hamid reports from eastern Libya.
Lessons in war
Libya’s rebels race to train recruits.
Libyan rebels receiving “covert training”
An unnamed rebel fighter tells Al Jazeera the “better fighters” in the anti-Gaddafi movement are receiving specialist help from abroad in eastern Libya. Laurence Lee reports from the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.
Western military advisers become visible in Benghazi
The first discernible signs of mission creep by the coalition were detected in Libya yesterday. In several places around Benghazi, there were palpable signs that Western “assistance” was active on the ground.
Over 400 rebel supporters missing in east Libya
BENGHAZI, Libya: More than 400 people have gone missing in east Libya since the uprising against Moammar Gadhafi began six weeks ago, many feared killed or captured by government forces, human rights officials say. Relatives have stuck posters on the walls of hospital lobbies with photos of missing young men and telephone numbers to call with any information.
Four long days at the mercy of Gadhafi’s secret state
TRIPOLI: The first shots rang out as faint pops while the Libyan Army truck was still hundreds of meters away, but as it roared down upon us the sound built into an insistent volley of sharp, earsplitting cracks. “Yalla, yalla! Go, go!” we screamed, as our pursuers flashed their headlights.
Libyan survivor tells his tale
As the fighting continues in Libya, many people have been reported as missing, and presumed dead. For one Benghazi family, however, the fear that their son had been killed has turned to joy. Yusuf Borhiam, a truck driver, was in standed in the city of Misurata, but found his way home after surviving a dangerous journey through the frontlines. Al Jazeera’s Sue Turton reports from Benghazi, Libya.
Turkey sails in to help injured Libyans
Shifting away from the focus on Libya’s air war, Turkey has concentrated on the humanitarian needs of the current conflict. A Turkish ferry, the Ankara, has rescued 250 severely injured people from Misurata. And there are hundreds of others still waiting to escape the violence there, as Gaddafi forces continue to attack the city that is a key rebel stronghold. Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee reports from Benghazi.
Ship ferries Libyan wounded from besieged Misurata
Moammar Kadafi’s soldiers have pummeled the country’s third-largest city with daily rocket and tank fire. The aid vessel’s passengers know they are lucky to have survived. The survivors lay on green cots Sunday in the musty halls of the Turkish ship that rescued them from the besieged western Libyan coastal city of Misurata.
Libya releases Al Jazeera journalist
One of four journalists covering the uprising in Libya has been released after being arrested for a second time.
Detained female journalist interrogated on Libyan television
One of the many subjected to enforced disappearances, Rana el-Aqbani reappeared on Libyan television being questioned why she supported the revolution. One of the many subjected to enforced disappearances in Libya during the uprising that started on February 17 2011, Rana el-Aqbani reappeared on Libyan television being questioned why she supported the revolution.
Libya Rebels: ‘No Place For An Islamic State In Libya’
BENGHAZI, Libya — An envoy of Moammar Gadhafi told Greece’s prime minister Sunday that the Libyan leader was seeking a way out of his country’s crisis two weeks after his government’s attacks to put down a rebellion drew international airstrikes, Greek officials said. Abdul-Ati al-Obeidi, a former Libyan prime minister who has served as a Gadhafi envoy during the crisis, will travel next to Turkey and Malta in a sign that Gadhafi’s regime may be softening its hard line in the face of the sustained attacks.
Libya Rebels: Reject Violence, Terrorism, Give Rights to Minorities, Juan Cole
The USG Open Source Center in conjunction with the BBC translates a broadcast of the Libyan liberation movement in Benghazi on Friday that emphasizes the rebels’ commitment to religious and ethnic tolerance: The Interim National Committee said in a communique, “The state we want rejects violence, terrorism and fanaticism, and respects human rights and the rights of religious and ethnic minorities…”
Who are the Libyan revolutionaries?
Jihan Hafiz of the Real News on the Libyan revolutionaries.
Libyan rebels losing their nerve
Visions of Moammar Kadafi falling quickly to the revolution have given way to low morale and a tendency to flee. The nascent rebel effort in eastern Libya, sustained for weeks by revolutionary passion and zeal, has begun to fray in the face of chaotic battlefield collapses and ineffective leadership.
New television channel for a “free Libya”
While rebel fighters and forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi battle for control of key coastal towns, some Libyans have found another way of getting their opinions heard. A new satellite television channel was launched in the Gulf state of Qatar on Saturday. Simply called Libya, it is a mix of news and talk shows covering developments in the North African country, with funding from abroad. Al Jazeera’s Nazanin Sadri reports from the capital, Doha. (03 April 2011)
Question marks over reported Libyan defections
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces may have put rebel fighters on a backfoot but cracks are widening inside his government. Al Jazeera’s Anita McNaught reports from Tripoli on the Libyan government’s response to the reported defection of several of its diplomats. (31 March 2011)
Libya’s bright new dawn | Moez Zeiton
It pains Libyans that Gaddafi has destroyed our beautiful country. But he has succeeded in one thing: uniting us in opposition. Sitting at a cafe overlooking the second-century Roman arch of Marcus Aurelius, I am basking in the sun. In the nearby bazaar, pedlars shout their wares and customers bargain with the shopkeepers. Young Libyans sip their mint tea and the call to midday prayer beams out from several minarets.
Inside Story – A conflict in stalemate
As neither side has made any significant advances since the uprising against Gaddafi’s rule began six weeks ago, what are the options?
Debating Gaddafi’s options
Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, has always publically insisted that he will not leave Libya, despite the crisis in the country, and that he will fight “to the death” against his opponents. In private, however, it appears that he may be open to a negotiated exit. Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher reports on what the Libyan leader’s options are.
Libya: Obama’s Defense of the ‘Rebel Uprising’, James Petras
Over the past two weeks Libya has been subjected to the most brutal imperial air, sea and land assault in its modern history. Thousands of bombs and missiles, launched from American and European submarines, warships and fighter planes, are destroying Libyan military bases, airports, roads, ports, oil depots, artillery emplacements, tanks, armored carriers, planes and troop concentrations. Dozens of CIA and SAS special forces have been training, advising and mapping targets for the so-called Libyan ‘rebels’ engaged in a civil war against the Gaddafi government, its armed forces, popular militias and civilian supporters (NY Times 3/30/11).
Pepe Escobar, “The US-Saudi Libya Deal”
You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a “yes” vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya — the main rationale that led to United Nations Security Council resolution 1973.
Gaddafi’s line in the sands | Ian Black
The defection of Moussa Koussa is a blow, but the colonel’s family ties still help ensure loyal support. Libyans who talk frankly to foreigners often privately describe their country as an enigma or a “black box”. Understanding Muammar Gaddafi‘s regime is difficult at the best of times. Now that he is fighting for his survival in a new struggle with what he calls “colonialist crusader” enemies, it is harder than ever.
Gaddafi’s sons show psychological warfare is not all on the western side | Simon Tisdall
Whitehall says the brothers may be ready to abandon their father – but their ‘war of nerves’ suggests otherwise. As the Libya conflict enters its third month, Whitehall is full of whispered talk of secret defections and cloak-and-dagger deals with more “reasonable” elements within the much-weakened Tripoli regime. The embattled sons of Muammar Gaddafi are looking for a way out, and may even be prepared to dump their father to save their own skins – or so the grapevine has it.
Kosova, Libya, and the Question of Intervention
Kosova and Libya are juxtaposed nowadays in suggesting what humanitarian intervention can do. Hashim Thaci, Kosova’s prime minister and former resistance fighter, celebrates what NATO did to defend Kosovars in 1999 when they bombed Serbia and its forces for 78 days to prevent genocide. Few if any Kosovars would decry that intervention, leading some in the newly independent state to find sympathy for airstrikes in Libya. Perhaps that is why Kosova is again in the news, for many across NATO’s capitals wish for a replication of that kind of appreciation in Libya and the Arab world. But it’s not just a question of the strike, it’s the follow through that should be of concern as well.
Hundreds wounded in Yemen protests
Sources tell Al Jazeera about 1,600 people are hurt as police use live rounds and tear gas to disperse protests in Taiz.
Troops ‘target Yemen protesters’
At least 12 people are shot dead and dozens are injured when troops open fire on a protest in the Yemeni city of Taiz, reports say.
Troops fire on Yemen protest
A doctor and witnesses say Yemeni troops opened fire on protesters demanding the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in a southern city, killing one and wounding more than 30.
Yemen Police Beat Female Protesters With Sticks: Activists
SANAA, Yemen — Thousands of women calling for the ouster of Yemen’s longtime ruler were attacked on Sunday by police with sticks and rocks, setting off a furious battle with male protesters that left several people hurt, activists said. The women were marching down a main street in the southern town of Taiz shouting “peaceful! peaceful!” when they were attacked, activist Ghazi al-Samei said.
Yemen’s Saleh signals defiance at loyalist rally
SANAA, April 1 (Reuters) – Embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh told a huge rally of supporters on Friday that he would sacrifice everything for his country, suggesting he has no plans to step down yet.
U.S. Shifts to Seek Removal of Yemen’s Leader, an Ally
The United States, which long supported Yemen’s president, even in the face of recent protests, has shifted positions.
US officials weigh how to fight terrorism in a post-Saleh Yemen
Reports that US support for Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh is waning raises the question of whether a new leader would continue helping the US fight the local Al Qaeda franchise.
Learning to protest
Alia was shy, until her husband was thrown in a Yemeni jail
Crackdowns Against Arab Spring Continue, Juan Cole
Tens of thousands of protesters are said to have come out in the Yemeni city of Taizz on Monday, but were fired on by security forces, who killed 11 and wounded 500. This according to CNN. Protesters also rallied in Sanaa, Aden, Ibb and Hodeida. Ta’izz, a city of 460,000, lies in the southwest of the country. Protesters insist that President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down in favor of his vice president, Vice President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, who should preside over a transition to free and fair elections. The Obama administration has finally decided that Saleh must go. Is that imperialism or supporting reform? You decide.
The Unfolding Situation in Yemen
This weekend, negotiations over the departure of President Ali Abdallah Saleh broke down. After several weeks of mixed signals concerning his willingness to depart the presidency on acceptable terms – including amnesty for himself and his extended family – President Saleh reversed himself and announced that he has no intention of leaving office before the end ofhis term in 2013. Politics in Yemen is always fluid, and President Saleh has made many contradictory statements in recent weeks about his intentions. But local observers do not expect negotiations to resume anytime soon. The leadership of Yemen’s ruling party, the General People’s Congress, met on March 27 to affirm that Saleh should remain in office until his term ends in 2013.
Bahrain wages unrelenting crackdown on Shiites (AP)
AP – The official line: Bahrain is back to business as usual. Shiite protesters are off the streets after a month of paralyzing demonstrations. A state-run newspaper’s headline declares the Persian Gulf island to be “Back on Track.”
Bahrain activist dies in jail: ministry (AFP)
AFP – A detainee held in connection with anti-regime protests in Bahrain died in prison on Sunday, the Gulf state’s interior ministry said in a statement.
Bahrain opposition paper resumes under new editor
MANAMA, April 4 (Reuters) – Bahrain’s main opposition newspaper resumed publication on Monday after its high-profile editor was replaced by a low-key columnist and board member. Bahrain suspended the Al Wasat newspaper on Sunday, accusing it of falsifying news about sectarian unrest and a government crackdown. It said the newspaper posed a threat to the Gulf island kingdom’s security. Bahrain has seen its worst unrest since the 1990s after mostly Shi’ite protesters took to the streets in February, inspired by uprisings that toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia, to demand a bigger say in the Sunni-ruled country.
Editors quit to save Bahraini newspaper from ban (AP)
AP – Bahraini authorities lifted a ban on the main opposition newspaper Sunday after its three top editors resigned to save the paper from a campaign to muzzle anti-government media and crack down on the Shiite opposition in the Sunni-ruled Gulf nation.
Bahrain says suspends opposition paper over “lies” (Reuters)
Reuters – Bahrain suspended the Gulf Arab state’s main opposition newspaper on Sunday, after accusing it of falsifying news about sectarian unrest and a government crackdown on protests.
Saudi Shi’ites protest peacefully in east (Reuters)
Reuters – Hundreds of Saudi Shi’ites staged peaceful protests in the kingdom’s oil-producing east on Friday in support of Shi’ites in Bahrain and political freedoms at home, activists said.
Crackdown in Bahrain enflames Iraq’s Shiites (AP)
AP – The sewing machines have been furiously churning out red and white Bahraini flags at a basement workshop in downtown Baghdad, and Iraqi customers are snapping them up to wave at protests, unfurl from buildings and fly from car antennas.
Shiites in Iraq Support Bahrain’s Protesters
Shiites in Iraq are rallying to support the cause of Shiites in Bahrain, who have been violently suppressed by Sunni authorities.
Bahrain’s calculated campaign of intimidation
Bahraini activists and locals describe midnight arrests, disappearances, beatings at checkpoints, and denial of medical care – all aimed at deflating the country’s pro-democracy protest movement.
Bahrain: A Legacy of Broken Promises, Ali Jawad
Stories of revolutions take a long time to be told. The tides of change currently sweeping across the Middle East – steadily rattling one kleptocratic autocrat after the next – will amaze and no doubt exhaust the energies of subsequent generations as they attempt to build a theoretical edifice against which the overpowering outburst of collective human sentiment currently being witnessed gains some veritable empirical sense of meaning.
Mike Flugennock, “The New Flag of Bahrain” (Cartoon)
OK, gang, let me run through this one more time: President Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner, quoted by Al Jazeera in a statement as opposing violence against civilians — on the same day that his Predator drones engaged in more slaughter of civilians in Pakistan — has sold a shit-ton of weapons to Saudi Arabia who, in turn, has joined the army of Bahrain in the massacre of unarmed civilian protesters in the streets of Bahrain. Is that pretty much it? Have I missed anything here?
Other Mideast News
Anti-sectarianism protesters clash in Sidon
SIDON/ TRIPOLI: Anti-sectarian demonstrations hit Tripoli and Sidon over the weekend, with violence breaking out in the southern port city. Several journalists were targeted in Sidon’s Sunday rally after Liberation and Development bloc member, MP Qassem Hashem was rushed by angry protesters, chanting slogans including “MP of the Baath, you are not welcome.
Oman protests resume after deadly clashes
Dozens of protesters staged a sit-in Saturday in the Omani capital to demand probes into alleged state abuses after clashes with security forces left at least one person dead and sharply boosted tensions in the strategic Gulf nation.
Up to 60 detained in Oman
Security forces detained between 50 and 60 protesters, Oman’s top prosecutor said today, in violent clashes the day before in the industrial town of Sohar.
Thousands demonstrate in Morocco for rights, justice
About 4,000 people demonstrated in Morocco’s biggest city Casablanca Sunday to demand more democracy and reform, an AFP reporter said, in the latest in a wave of protests.
Human Rights Watch Saudi Arabia: Let Women Vote, Run for Office
(Beirut) – The Saudi government’s refusal to let women vote in municipal elections in September 2011 unlawfully deprives women of their rights to full and equal status under the law, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch called on the election committee to allow women to vote and to run for seats on the municipal councils.
Syria frees Reuters photographer after 6 days
LONDON (Reuters) – Syrian authorities freed Reuters photographer Khaled al-Hariri on Sunday, six days after detaining him as he arrived for work in Damascus last Monday. Hariri, 50, who has worked for Reuters for over 20 years in his native Syria, met colleagues in the capital after his release and told them he was well. He was one of four Reuters journalists held over the last week in Syria, where protesters have been demanding change from President Bashar al-Assad.
Syrian authorities make arrests following protests
Syrian security agents have arrested dozens of people after thousands took to the streets across the country in pro-democracy marches, activists said on Saturday.
Jordanian police separate rival rallies
Hundreds of police deployed to avert a repeat of last week’s clashes between protesters and government supporters.