August 26th, 2011
09:27 AM ET

Roundup: Rebels battle for Tripoli; NATO bombs Sirte

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

Libyan rebels battled loyalists (al-Jazeera) of embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi for control of Tripoli, focusing their assault on the Abu Salim neighborhood, one of a few remaining pro-Gadhafi strongholds in the capital.

Rebel forces have yet to capture Gadhafi, who is rumored to be hiding out in Abu Salim, but are sending "special forces" (Reuters) to hunt him down.

Led by the British Royal Air Force, NATO launched a bombing campaign (WSJ) on regime headquarters in Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte to help clear the way for a rebel advance.

Meanwhile, as the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) began moving its headquarters from eastern Benghazi to Tripoli, rebel leader Mahmoud Jibril called on the international community to release frozen Libyan assets (NYT). Jibril said the NTC needs money to build national police and military forces to stabilize the country.

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As rebels try to strengthen their hold on Tripoli, the odds of a peaceful, democratic transfer of power in Libya are long and the need for ongoing international intervention is very likely, says CFR's Robert Danin.

The fall of Gadhafi will transform Libya, the Middle East, and NATO, says the Economist.

Rebels taking aim at Gadhafi's last bastion of Abu Salim are throwing themselves at an invisible enemy with a disregard for casualties, writes Der Spiegel's Matthias Gebauer.

As rebels take Tripoli, foreign powers are eyeing the prize of Libya's high-quality crude oil, writes Rachel Shabi in this al-Jazeera op-ed.


U.S. Condemns Syria Attack

The United States criticized Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government for a violent attack on popular political cartoonist (al-Jazeera) and human rights advocate Ali Ferzat. Activists reported more deaths following continued violence by Assad's forces against anti-government protesters.

U.S. calls for regime change in Syria will help Assad, rather than undermine him, writes CFR's Ed Husain in this Financial Times op-ed.


Japanese PM Announces Resignation

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan officially announced his resignation after facing months of criticism (BBC) over his handling of the March earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear crisis. Kan's ruling Democratic Part of Japan will pick a new leader Monday to become prime minister.

The race to replace Kan is already full, as six potential candidates gear up for the DPJ's third leadership contest since the party came to power in 2009, writes CFR's Sheila A. Smith in the blog Asia Unbound.

THAILAND: Suspected Islamist militants in the country's southern Narathiwat province reportedly killed six people in coordinated attacks (AP). Almost five thousand people have been killed since 2004 in the Islamic insurgency.

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Activist Sends Resolution to Indian PM

Indian anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare sent Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a resolution outlining legislation to create an oversight body for government corruption (IndianExpress). Hazare said he will stop his nearly two-week long fast if parliament passes the resolution today.

The debate over a new anti-corruption law in India highlights political dysfunction in New Delhi and distracts from the larger issue of an urgent need for economic reforms, says this CFR Analysis Brief.

PAKISTAN: Shahbaz Tasser, the son of an assassinated Punjab governor who had opposed a restrictive government blasphemy law, was kidnapped (Dawn) in Lahore.


AU Pledges Aid for Horn of Africa

The African Development Bank, representatives of African nations, and private donors pledged $356 million to help the drought-stricken (al-Jazeera) Horn of Africa at an African Union conference in Ethiopia.

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.

NIGERIA: A bomb (Reuters) hit a United Nations building in the Nigerian capital of Abuja. Police could not yet confirm the number of casualties.


Tens of Thousands in Chile Street Protests

Tens of thousands of union workers, students, and government workers marched peacefully in a second day of protests demanding fundamental changes to Chile's top-down, centralized government (MercoPress) apparatus.

MEXICO: Six gunmen burned down (WSJ) a Monterrey casino, killing at least fifty-three people, in an attack thought to be linked to worsening drug cartel violence in the city.


Meeting in Britain to Limit Social Media

Following violent riots organized by social media-savvy youth throughout Britain earlier this month, government officials and representatives of Twitter and Facebook met to discuss ways to restrict network use for "criminal behavior" (NYT). The move has been criticized by free-speech advocates.

EUROZONE: Eurozone leaders will attempt to salvage a $109 billion Greek bailout by overhauling a questionable collateral agreement (FT) between Greece and Finland, even as officials worry that the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund could object to the new deal.

The eurozone, once seen as a crowning achievement in the decades-long path of European integration, is a buffeted by a sovereign debt crisis of nations whose membership in the currency union has been poorly policed, explains this CFR Backgrounder.

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Topics: Daily Roundup • Libya

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Onesmallvoice

    I see that those cursed NATO pilots are at it again, this time slaughtering the inhabitants of the city of Sirte. This again the right-wing media won't talk about as they don't care to spoil the field day for the right-wing thugs in Washington!

    August 26, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Reply
    • John

      Thank you, Onesmallvoice. I totally agree and that I find quite sickening. Those pilots need to be brought to justice and how!!! Besides, like you, I also remember what happened in Baghdad, Iraq on Feb.13,1991. Sadly enough, justice again will not be done!

      August 26, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        Unbelievable! The British Defense Minister Liam Fox admitted openly that the ouster of Gaddafi's was basically the expected outcome of the mission – R2P – sanctioned by the Security Council Resolution 1973. Not that I don't sympathise with the Libyans, but the operation made this resolution look like a wolf in sheep's clothing. The Brits, French and others had duped us! I find it extremely disturbing!

        August 26, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  2. ADON koffi

    I think , FR UK US and so call NETO shoul stop bombing libya , and come solve this problem in diplomacie way not by bombing ganna solve this probleme . Live africans solve thiere probleme between theme self . We get AU let our leaders solve it.they shoud stop this coup d fr us neto pls pls live libya oil. My brothers rebels takes wepons agains Ghadafi wil not solve the problem, if like ur libya don't distroy it by killing ur own brothers sisters

    September 19, 2011 at 2:31 am | Reply

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