The Middle East Channel
Mideast news brief: Middle East uprisings update
Middle East uprisings update Libya Forces loyal to Colonel Muammar al-Ghaddafi continue to press forward in two fronts in the West and East of the country, attempting to stall and reverse advances of the country’s opposition groups. In the East, it has been reported that Ghaddafi forces took the town of Brega, on the way ...
Middle East uprisings update
Forces loyal to Colonel Muammar al-Ghaddafi continue to press forward in two fronts in the West and East of the country, attempting to stall and reverse advances of the country’s opposition groups. In the East, it has been reported that Ghaddafi forces
took the town of Brega, on the way to the ultimate goal of re-taking Benghazi, the main rebel stronghold. But unconfirmed reports also suggested that rebels were able to re-take Brega last night — the situation remains unclear and quite volatile. Meanwhile, members of the ‘group of eight’, which includes the U.S., France, and Britain, are to meet in Paris today in order to discuss options going forward on Libya, including the possibility of enforcing a no-fly zone on Gaddafi’s forces. British Foreign Minister William Hague noted in advance of tonight’s meeting that ‘a point of decision’ was near.
The small kingdom is receiving help from its GCC Gulf neighbors after yesterday’s anti-government protests turned violent. The Guardian is reporting that this number now includes at least 1,000 Saudi troops, a stalwart ally of the al-Khalifa monarchy, who are now apparently on the ground. Meanwhile, a group of independent Bahraini MPs have called on the monarchy to institute martial law in order to “protect national security and stability and preserve public and preserve properties”. For updates throughout the day, stay tuned to al-Jazeera English, and the Guardian.
Other flash points:
- Suicide bomber strikes Army barracks in Baghdad; 10 soldiers killed, more wounded
- New clashes break out in Yemen on Sunday for second straight day
- Egypt prepares for milestone referendum on constitutional amendments
- Former Lebanese PM Saad Hariri leads rally of thousands to demand Hezbollah to give up weapons.
An anti-government protester steps on a torn poster of King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa in Manama on March 13, 2011. Bahraini police clashed with demonstrators trying to occupy Manama’s banking centre, as protests spread from a peaceful sit-in to the heart of the strategic Gulf state’s business district (JAMES LAWLER DUGGAN/AFP/Getty Images).
Arguments & Analysis
“[E]ven if a no-fly zone were implemented immediately, it would be likely to enforce a kind of de-facto partition along the lines of the civil war frontier,” writes Tony Karon with regards to the likely unintended consequences of international intervention in Libya. In contrast, Anne-Marie Slaughter, former director of Policy Planning at the State Department, unravels five arguments against intervention and concludes, “The United States should immediately ask the Security Council to authorize a no-flight zone and make clear to Russia and China that if they block the resolution, the blood of the Libyan opposition will be on their hands.” Meanwhile, in Today’s Zaman, Robert Pape explores how a “true international coalition” would “head-off a potentially large humanitarian crisis, with great benefit to over a million people in the short term and improve prospects for nearly all Libyans in the long term.”
‘Obama, Netanyahu, and the Middle East‘ (David Remnick, New Yorker)
“Now in his second term and ruling in a coalition government that includes anti-democratic, even proto-fascistic ministers, such as Avigdor Lieberman, [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu has stubbornly refused the appeals of Washington and of the Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad, who have shown themselves willing to make the concessions needed for a peace deal. In the midst of a revolution in the Arab world, Netanyahu seems lost, defensive, and unable or unwilling to recognize the changing circumstances in which he finds himself. The occupation-illegal, inhumane, and inconsistent with Jewish values-has lasted forty-four years. Netanyahu thinks that he can keep on going, secure behind a wall.”
‘Algeria’s Rebellion by Installments‘ (Azzedine Layachi, Middle East Report)
“In mid-February, with autocratic rulers deposed in Tunisia and Egypt, and another tottering in Libya, a coalition of opposition political parties, human rights activists and others took to the streets in the capital of Algeria. Their broad call, as elsewhere in North Africa, was for “change and democracy.” The Algerian demonstrations, however, have not found the mass popular constituency that has propelled them forward elsewhere. Why not?”