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Archive for the ‘Moammar Gadhafi’ Category

Libyan Airspace ‘Under Control’ As Two Sides Meet

Huffpost- First Posted: 03/25/11 08:48 AM Updated: 03/25/11 08:48 AM

BENGHAZI, Libya — France declared Libya’s airspace “under control” on Friday, after NATO agreed to take command of the no-fly zone in a compromise that appeared to set up dual command centers and possibly new confusion. Coalition warplanes struck Moammar Gadhafi’s forces outside the strategic eastern gateway city of Ajdabiya.

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Representatives for the regime and the rebels were expected to meet formally for the first time Friday, in Ethiopia, in what the U.N. described as a part of an effort to reach a cease-fire and political solution.

The overnight French and British strikes on an artillery battery and armored vehicles were intended to give a measure of relief to Ajdabiya, where residents have fled or cowered under more than a week of shelling and fighting between rebels and government troops. Explosions also could be heard in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, before daybreak Friday, apparently from airstrikes.

“Libyan airspace is under control, and we proved it yesterday, because a Libyan plane in the hands of pro-Gadhafi forces, which had just taken off from Misrata in order to bomb Misrata, was destroyed by a French Rafale,” Adm. Edouard Guillaud said on France-Info radio.

But the compromise that puts NATO in charge of clearing the skies still leaves the U.S. responsible for the more difficult task of planning attacks on Gadhafi’s ground forces and other targets.

Ajdabiya has been under siege for more than a week, with the rebels holding the city center and scattered checkpoints but facing relentless shelling from government troops on the outskirts. Residents are without electicity or drinking water, and many have fled.

The U.S. military said coalition jets flew about 150 on Thursday, about 70 of them with American planes.

“The operation is still focusing on tanks, combat vehicles, air defense targets – really whatever equipment and personnel are threatening the no-fly zone or civilians on the ground in such locations as Ajdabiya and along some other areas on the coast,” Marine Corps Capt. Clint Gebke told reporters from aboard the USS Mount Whitney.

The U.S. has been trying to give up the lead role in the operation against Gadhafi’s forces, and NATO agreed late Thursday to assume one element of it – control of the no-fly zone.

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Muammar Gaddafi tells a Turkish television reporter a no-fly zone would show that the west wants to take control of Libya. Photograph: Str/Reuters

Gaddafi threatens armed resistance against no-fly zone

Imposition of no-fly zone zone in Libyan airspace ‘would prove west was trying to steal its oil’

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has warned that the imposition of a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace will be met with armed resistance and taken as proof that western powers are trying to steal his country’s oil.

His defiant remarks came as pro-Gaddafi forces continued their assault on the city of Zawiyah and the country’s rebel leadership pleaded for the international community to close down Libyan airspace.

Britain and the US have discussed the creation of an internationally backed no-fly zone as a contingency plan in case Gaddafi refuses to step down in response to the popular uprising that erupted last month.

In an interview broadcast on Wednesday by Turkey’s state-run TRT news channel, Gaddafi said: “If they take such a decision it will be useful for Libya, because the Libyan people will see the truth, that what they want is to take control of Libya and to steal their oil.

“They want to take your petrol,” he said. “This is what America, this is what the French, those colonialists, want.” But he warned: “The Libyan people will take up arms against them.”

Barack Obama and David Cameron have agreed “to press forward with planning, including at Nato, on the full spectrum of possible responses, including surveillance, humanitarian assistance, enforcement of the arms embargo, and a no-fly zone”.

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Bahrain/Libya Update

Firedoglake- By: David Dayen

Monday February 21, 2011 7:50 am

Let’s play a little catchup on the two most deadly flashpoints in the Arab uprising right now. In Bahrain, scene of a dastardly attack on protesters while they slept in Pearl Square, the attempt at repression backfired almost immediately. The Shiite al-Wafiq movement left the Parliament and demanded the resignation of the government. Protests grew in size. Sen. Patrick Leahy called for the application of a law he wrote to deny aid to Bahrain for violating human rights. And the protesters took back the square, with police and the Army withdrawing.

The latest is that the government is being pressured to negotiate:

Bahrain’s Sunni Muslim ruling family came under increased pressure to open in-depth negotiations with the Shiite-led opposition, as protesters erected more tents on the capital’s Pearl Square.

Dozens of workers also joined the protesters, and more than 1,000 medics marched on the square to demand the resignation of the health minister, whom they accused of slowing aid to protesters during a deadly police crackdown.

After nightfall, an AFP correspondent reported thousands more people converging on the roundabout, which has been the focal point of demonstrations that have rocked the small but strategic Gulf kingdom since February 14.

The opposition has also called a large protest for Tuesday afternoon in the hope that tens of thousands of people will converge on Pearl Square, according to the INAA, Bahrain’s main Shiite opposition group.

Crown Prince Salman, the heir to the throne in Bahrain, is supposed to be leading reconciliation talks. Bahrain has a Sunni minority in power over a Shiite majority, with predictable results. This is a really good backgrounder from Foreign Policy. In an epic example of bad timing, the State Department praised Bahrain just a few months ago for its movement toward democracy.

Then there’s Libya, where it’s hard to really get a full picture, with most foreign media unable to enter the country. We know there has been a massacre; the extent is not well known. Moammar Gadhafi’s son went on state-run television and vowed to “fight until the last man, the last woman, the last bullet.” He gave a long, rambling address, blaming Islamists for the provocation, saying that the country was on the brink of civil war, which threatened their oil output and risked colonization by an invading force, summoning up images of Iraq. Protesters have apparently taken control of Benghazi, the country’s second-largest city, and were clashing with police in the capital of Tripoli.

The latest can be found at Al Jazeera’s live blog. Foreign service personnel and even the minister of security have resigned their posts. Protests have become widespread throughout the country. This is the town of Misurata:

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Libya Protests: Anti-Government Demonstrations Spread

AP/The Huffington Post

MAGGIE MICHAEL  First Posted: 02/16/11 03:11 AM Updated: 02/16/11 10:56 AM

CAIRO — Hundreds of Libyans calling for the government’s ouster clashed with security forces early Wednesday in the country’s second-largest city as Egypt-inspired unrest spread to the country long ruled by Moammar Gadhafi. (Scroll down for live updates.)

Ashur Shamis, a Libyan opposition activist in London, and witnesses said the protest began Tuesday and lasted until the early hours Wednesday in the port city of Benghazi.

Demonstrators chanted “no God but Allah, Moammar is the enemy of Allah” and “Down, down to corruption and to the corrupt.” Police and armed government backers quickly clamped down on the protesters, firing rubber bullets, Shami said.

The outbreak of protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and Iran has roiled the Middle East and brought unprecedented pressure on leaders like Gadhafi who have held virtually unchecked power for decades.

It also posed new challenges for the United States, which has strategic interests in each of the countries. President Barack Obama conceded Tuesday he is concerned about the region’s stability and prodded governments to get out ahead of the change.

As in the uprisings that toppled longtime autocratic rulers in two countries flanking Libya – Egypt and Tunisia – Libyan activists are used social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter to rally people in their homeland. They called for a major protest on Thursday.

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