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Posts Tagged ‘Libya Protests’

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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Libyan rebels lose ground to Kadhafi forces

By Agence France-Presse via Raw Story
Monday, March 7th, 2011 — 8:33 am

RAS LANUF, Libya (AFP) – Libyan rebels ceded ground to Moamer Kadhafi’s advancing forces Monday as the United States came under increasing pressure to arm the opposition and the UN appointed a special envoy to Tripoli.

The rebels began pulling back from the key oil terminal town of Ras Lanuf on Monday as a fighter jet blasted defences on the edge of town, throwing up palls of smoke amid rumours that government forces were gearing for an attack.

Amid the bloodiest fighting of the three-week old conflict Sunday, the United Nations demanded urgent access to scores of “injured and dying” in the western city of Misrata and rebels were forced to withdraw from the front line at Bin Jawad, 30 kilometres (19 miles) west along the coast from Ras Lanuf.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Kadhafi’s foreign minister agreed to let a “humanitarian assessment” team visit Tripoli and he named former Jordanian foreign minister Abdulilah al-Khatib as special envoy to deal with the regime. Khatib was to undertake “urgent consultations” with the Tripoli government.

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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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