– NATO, ICC Increase Pressure on Gadhafi
– Gilani Lauds China as 'Best Friend'
– Pakistan Fires on NATO Helicopter
– IMF Chief Remanded to U.S. Prison
Top of the Agenda: NATO, ICC Increase Pressure on Gadhafi
NATO ramped up its bombing campaign on the Libyan capital of Tripoli overnight, pounding targets near Moammar Gadhafi's residence, including a security services building and the country's anti-corruption agency.
Reports from al-Jazeera suggest NATO, in siding with rebel groups, will not accept a ceasefire with the Gadhafi regime, ensuring continued military action.Gadhafi spokesmen told reporters the regime is prepared to use "human shields" (NYT) at telecommunications sites threatened by NATO airstrikes. The comments came after Britain's top general said NATO would have to expand its bombing campaign to include infrastructure targets critical to Gadhafi power.
Allegations that the Libyan regime is authorizing the murder of civilians in a crackdown on anti-government rebels moved the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue arrest warrants for Gadhafi, his son, and Libya's intelligence chief.
The ICC cited "direct evidence" demonstrating how civilians were attacked at home, and how the government used snipers and heavy artillery to target civilians. According to local officials, Libya's oil minister and chief of the national oil company, Shukri Ghanem, fled to Tunisia in another high-profile defection (AP). Ghanem is one of the members of the Libyan regime facing U.S. sanctions implemented by the Treasury Department in early April.
Analysis: This CFR issue guide provides a range of background and analysis on the protests in Syria, Egypt, Libya, and on U.S. policy in the region.
The Obama administration's plan to seize frozen Libyan assets and use them for Libyan aid is a dramatic, and probably unilateral, exercise of U.S. power that is likely to yield a relatively modest sum of money, says CFR's Stuart Levey.
This editorial from the Guardian questions whether NATO is putting enough pressure on the Gadhafi regime, despite its public claims.
Even those who opposed the Libyan entanglement agree that the West must see it through to an acceptable conclusion, writes Max Hastings of the Financial Times, noting that the credibility of the West is now engaged as well.
MIDDLE EAST: Mass Grave Found in Syria
A mass grave (LATimes) allegedly containing the remains of as many as forty anti-government protesters was found near the southern city of Daraa, a hotbed of recent political activism.
Western diplomats are seeking ways to increase pressure on the Assad regime because of its alleged human rights violations.
Israel: Days before to a planned visit to the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlined his position on a Palestinian state (NYT), reiterating his opposition to a government that includes the militant group Hamas.With envoy George Mitchell's departure, U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict changes, from the quest for an end of the conflict to the search for a strategy to manage the current crisis, says CFR's Robert Danin.
PACIFIC RIM: Gilani Lauds China as 'Best Friend'
On the first day of a diplomatic trip to China (BBC), Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani described Beijing as his country's "best and most trusted friend."
Analysts say the long-planned trip is intended to commemorate sixty years of bilateral relations, but may irk the United States because of recent strains over the death of Osama bin Laden.
North Korea: The United States will soon determine whether to send representatives to North Korea to assess food shortages (Yonhap). Analysts say it could improve the mood for restarting dialogue.
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA: Pakistan Fires on NATO Helicopter
Pakistan troops in the North Waziristan tribal region fired on a NATO helicopter (Bloomberg) that entered its airspace. According to the government account, two Pakistani soldiers were injured in return fire.
The army has lodged a "strong protest" with NATO's security force.On his CFR blog The Water's Edge, James M. Lindsay and other experts discuss whether cutting off U.S. aid to Pakistan is good idea.
India: Congress Party Secretary General Rahul Gandhi accused the Uttar Pradesh government of state oppression (WSJ), saying it is responsible for "atrocities" committed against farmers who've protested for greater compensation for land sales to the state.
AFRICA: Rwandan Gets Jailed for Genocide
The UN court for Rwanda sentenced former army chief Augustin Bizimungu to thirty years in prison for his part in the 1994 genocide (AFP) in which close to eight hundred thousand people were killed. Several other former members of the military were also sentenced.
Nigeria: According to Human Rights Watch (AllAfrica), over eight hundred people died in the three days of rioting and post-election violence in the country's north. The group said the bloodshed began as a result of widespread protests by backers of the main opposition candidate, Muhammadu Buhari.
AMERICAS: IMF Chief Remanded to U.S. Prison
IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn (FT) was remanded without bail to a New York prison after being formally charged in an alleged sexual assault case. Strauss-Kahn's attorney denied the charges and described the case as "very defensible."
Strauss-Kahn's arrest could hamper the fund's short-term ability to help manage the eurozone crisis but is not likely to harm the IMF over the long term, says CFR's Steven Dunaway.
United States: According to the National Weather Service, near record flooding is forecast for areas of Mississippi and Louisiana over the weekend as the swollen Mississippi River (CNN) moves to the Gulf of Mexico. The Army Corps of Engineers predicts that some twenty thousand to twenty-five thousand homes may be inundated.
EUROPE: Elizabeth II Visits Ireland
Amid heightened security and bomb threats, Queen Elizabeth II arrived in Ireland for the first visit by a British royal in a century. The historic trip is intended to mark improved Anglo-Irish relations (al-Jazeera) following years of hostility over Northern Ireland.
Greece: Following high-level meetings in Brussels, EU finance ministers indicated a readiness to approve a second bailout for Greece (DeutscheWelle) if Athens agrees to more economic reforms.