August 18th, 2011
09:30 AM ET

Roundup: Libyan rebels advance toward Tripoli

Editor's Note: The following is reprinted with the permission of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Libyan rebel fighters wrested control of a critical oil refinery (Reuters) outside the coastal city of Zawiyah from forces loyal to leader Muammar al-Qaddafi this morning. The opposition's conquest is considered a significant blow to Qaddafi's troops, who have relied on the refinery for fuel.

Zawiyah is just thirty miles west (BBC) of the capital of Tripoli, bringing the rebels within reach of Qaddafi's stronghold for the first time during the six-month conflict.

Rebel forces prepared to move south from Misurata along a coastal highway (Bloomberg) linked to Tripoli. Meanwhile, NATO jets bombed (AP) numerous targets in the capital controlled by the Qaddafi government.

Analysis

Qaddafi's regime might be finished, but a bitterly divided opposition means Libya's troubles may just be starting, writes Abdel Bari Atwan in the Guardian.

Public disorder and instability in Libya could emerge if the Qaddafi regime falls. The United States should support a stabilization effort, says a CFR report by Johns Hopkins' Daniel Sewer.

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MIDDLE EAST

U.S. to Call for Assad's Resignation

U.S. President Barack Obama is reportedly set to call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's resignation this morning, amid an escalating military crackdown (AP) against anti-government protesters.

The international community should step up pressure and invoke tough sanctions against Syria's oil exports, says expert Andrew Tabler in this CFR Interview.

TURKEY: Turkish aircraft bombed sixty sites (HurriyetDailyNews) thought to be Kurdistan Workers' Party bases in northern Iraq after an attack by the separatist group that killed nine Turkish troops near the Iraqi border.

PACIFIC RIM

Biden Meets Chinese VP

On the first day of a state visit to China, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden told his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, that global economic stability (BBC) depends on closer ties between the two countries. Biden's visit comes amid growing frustration within China over the U.S. debt burden.

As Biden begins his visit to China, analysts say both the United States and China will have to restructure their economies to lessen global imbalances and strengthen recovery, explains this CFR Analysis Brief.

JAPAN: The country recorded a trade surplus (WSJ) for the second straight month in July, even as a strong yen and a lack of global demand hurt exports

SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA

Indian Activist Makes Deal with Police

In a blow to the government of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare reached a deal with police to leave jail and conduct a two-week hunger strike (IndianExpress) in a Delhi park.

PAKISTAN: Ongoing ethnic-political violence (Dawn) in the commercial capital of Karachi has claimed the lives of twenty-three people since Wednesday night.

As violence continues in Karachi, Pakistani analyst Mosharraf Zaidi says the city needs a more effective police force and judicial system, which in turn will engender investor confidence globally.

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AFRICA

Growing Islamist Insurgency in Nigeria

Boko Haram, the radical Islamist insurgents responsible for near-daily attacks (NYT) against police and civilians in northern Nigeria, is expanding its reach and collaborating with international affiliates of the al-Qaeda terror network.

CFR's John Campbell and Asch Harwood discuss the challenges facing Nigeria's recently elected president, Goodluck Jonathan, in this Atlantic article.

SOMALIA: The United Kingdom pledged another $48 million in aid to famine-stricken Somalia, saying that hundreds of thousands of Somali children are at risk of death (Reuters) if the international community does not boost its response.

Somalia's growing famine partly stems from a global failure to act on warning signs, but it's exacerbated by militant group al-Shabaab, factions of which are blocking aid delivery and might have to be negotiated with, says Africa analyst Rashid Abdi in this CFR Interview.

AMERICAS

Fed Focuses on European Banks

The Federal Reserve is scrutinizing the U.S. arms of European banks to assess their vulnerability to an escalating eurozone sovereign debt crisis (WSJ) and prevent contagion to the U.S. banking system.

PERU: In a move that alarmed U.S. officials, the Peruvian government temporarily suspended the eradication ofcoca plants (al-Jazeera)–the base ingredient of cocaine–as it revamps its anti-drug program.

EUROPE

Spanish Protest Cost of Pope's Visit

Amid high youth unemployment, thousands of Spaniards demonstrated on the streets of Madrid against an approximately $72 million taxpayer-funded (France24) papal visit to the city for Catholic World Youth Day.

KOSOVO: Former Kosovan prime minister Ramush Haradinaj is set to reappear before the UN war crimes tribunal (DeutscheWelle) in the Hague for alleged acts committed during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war with Serbia.

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Topics: Daily Roundup • Libya

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    The ongoing ethnic violence in Karachi involves the conflicts between the Urdu and Pashto speaking groups. Karachi is a demographic melting-pot, which sees extreme brutal killings. Dead bodies of often kidnapped victims show marks of torture and some have even had their eyes gouged out.

    August 18, 2011 at 11:29 am | Reply
    • Onesmallvoice

      What can one expect from the right-wing thugs who are currently running Pakistan? Like Iraq, Pakistan needs to be divided along ethnic lines but won't be thanks to the right-wing thugs in Washington out of their greed for power!

      August 18, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Reply

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