August 29th, 2011
10:27 AM ET

Roundup: Libyan fighters advance and Hazare ends fast

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

Libyan rebel fighters advanced toward embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, but waited on troops (al-Jazeera) to secure the capital of Tripoli before launching an assault on Gadhafi's stronghold.

Rebels have reportedly been in negotiations with tribal leaders in Sirte (BBC), but have so far failed to reach an agreement that would preclude military confrontation.

Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, the head of the rebels' National Transitional Council, said Gadhafi was still a threat while at large and called on NATO (NYT) to continue its air campaign against Gadhafi loyalists.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch said evidence indicated that Gadhafi's forces committed war crimes (WSJ) after going on a rampage of "arbitrary killing" in last week's battle for Tripoli.

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Analysis

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.

Fears over a split in the rebel National Transitional Council are legitimate, but there are reasons to be positive about the future, writes the Arabist's Steve Negus.

The Middle East is undergoing less a democratic revolution than a crisis in central authority, writes Robert Kaplan of the Center for New American Security in the Financial Times.

How can the Benghazi-based and European-backed NTC persuade Berbers, Islamists, southern tribesmen, and Qaddafi loyalists from the west that it is the government of all Libyans, asks James Traub in Foreign Policy.

MIDDLE EAST

Syrian Tanks Surround Central Town

Syrian security forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad advanced on the central town of Rastan with tanks andfired machine guns (al-Jazeera) from both banks of the surrounding highway. Residents said soldiers in the area had defected to join anti-government protesters.

Libya, Syria, and Egypt headline the latest "Arab Awakening" developments. This CFR Issue Guide offers expert insight into the causes and consequences of the region's upheaval.

IRAQ: A suicide bomber attacked one of Baghdad's largest Sunni mosques, killing twenty-eight people (NYT) and stoking fears over a deteriorating security situation.

PACIFIC RIM

Japanese Ruling Party Chooses New PM

Japan's governing Democratic Party elected Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda (JapanTimes) as its new leader, setting him up to succeed Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

SINGAPORE: Former deputy prime minister Tony Tan (FT) won the country's presidential election by a razor-thin margin, which could undermine the long-ruling People's Action Party.

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SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA

Hazare Ends Fast; Indian Parliament Accepts Demands

Indian anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare ended his nearly two-week fast (TimesofIndia) protesting widespread government corruption after parliament signaled it would support Hazare's push for a corruption watchdog.

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, explains this CFR Analysis Brief.

NEPAL: Former Maoist rebel Baburam Bhattarai (BBC) was sworn in as Nepal's new prime minister. He vowed to secure peace in the divided country within six months.

AFRICA

Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for UN Attack

Radical Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a suicide attack (CNN) on the United Nations headquarters in the capital of Abuja that killed at least twenty.

SOUTH AFRICA: Members of the country's parliament are pushing to amend the mining charter to ensure that the minerals and mining industry (BusinessDay) is at least 26 percent black-owned by 2014. In 2009, black equity ownership in the industry was just 8.9 percent.

AMERICAS

U.S. Drone Strike Kills al Qaeda No. 2

U.S. officials confirmed that a CIA drone strike in Pakistan's mountainous Waziristan region killed al-Qaeda's second in command, Attiyah Abd al-Rahman. While the unilateral attack weakened al-Qaeda (WSJ), it further strained U.S.-Pakistan ties.

Since taking office, the Obama administration has ramped up the U.S. drone program in Pakistan, Peter Lampert Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann write in Foreign Affairs.

LATIN AMERICA: Amid growing global economic uncertainty, Latin American central banks–including in Brazil, Chile, and Mexico–indicated that they may begin loosening monetary policy (MercoPress) and cutting interest rates.

EUROPE

EU Officials Take Aim at IMF Chief

European officials accused IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde of being "misguided" (FT) in her call for the recapitalization of European banks, saying the issue is one of funding not liquidity.

The International Monetary Fund, both criticized and lauded for its efforts to promote financial stability, finds itself again in the forefront of global economic crisis management. This CFR Backgrounder examines the Fund's history and role.

GEORGIA: Alexander Ankvab, the pro-Russian, interim president of the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia, won a presidential election that was declared illegitimate (DeutscheWelle) by NATO. Abkhazia is recognized only by Russia and three other nations.

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Topics: Daily Roundup • India • Libya

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