Editor's Note: The following is reprinted with the permission of the Council on Foreign Relations.
A week after Libyan rebels moved into Tripoli, the capital is loosely divided (NYT) among different groups of rebel fighters with links to various geographic areas of Libya. There is no unifying military leader in the city and the top civilian leaders of the rebels' National Transitional Council (NTC) are not yet on the scene, contributing to a growing power vacuum.
There is also a dispute within the NTC about who has temporary authority over the Libyan Investment Authority (FT), the oil-rich country's $65 billion sovereign wealth fund.
Despite growing divisions, rebel leaders rejected a United Nations offer (BBC) for an international peacekeeping force to help the NTC with the upcoming political transition.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi rejected the NTC's ultimatum (Reuters) that Gadhafi loyalists in holdout cities surrender by Saturday or face military action. The announcement came as the NTC's military leader (al-Jazeera) in Tripoli, Abdelhakim Belhaj, claimed that Gadhafi's son, Saadi, had called him to surrender.
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This TIME photo essay documents the challenges the Libyan rebels have faced in their battle for Tripoli.
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.
In this Financial Times editorial, CFR President Richard N. Haass says international assistance, and probably an international force, is likely to be needed for some time to restore and maintain order in Libya.
Amnesty Documents Syria Prison Torture
A report by Amnesty International documents the cases of eighty-eight anti-government protesters who were tortured and died (al-Jazeera) in Syrian prisons since demonstrations began earlier this year. Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury imposed new sanctions (WSJ) on two Syrian diplomats, in an effort to further isolate President Bashar al-Assad.
A new Syrian regime could threaten Iran's support of Hezbollah and deprive Tehran of its one ally in the region, so it is counseling the Assad government to hang tough, says Iran expert Karim Sadjadpour in this CFR Interview.
Australia's High Court Blocks Refugee Swap
Australia's High Court blocked Prime Minister Julia Gillard's plan to send eight hundred asylum seekers toMalaysia (SydneyMorningHerald) in exchange for four thousand of its refugees over four years.
AUSTRALIA: The Australian attorney general called WikiLeaks' release of a new batch of over one hundred and thirty-thousand confidential U.S. diplomatic cables "incredibly irresponsible" (Australian) for failing to redact the names of Australians linked to Yemeni terror groups.
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
August Deadliest Month in Afghan War
August was the deadliest month for U.S. forces in the nearly ten-year war in Afghanistan. Sixty-six U.S. troops (AP) were killed, putting pressure on President Barack Obama to accelerate the U.S. drawdown.
This CFR Timeline examines the events that precipitated the U.S. war in Afghanistan and the history of the war.
PAKISTAN: A car bomb exploded next to a mosque in the southwestern city of Quetta, killing eleven people (Dawn) celebrating the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
South African Growth Slows
South Africa's economy grew 1.3 percent in the second quarter, its slowest rate (BusinessDay) in nearly two years. The manufacturing, mining, and agriculture sectors all contracted, putting further pressure on the country's 25 percent unemployment rate.
SOMALIA: The leader of the al-Shabaab Islamist militant group, Sheikh Muktar Abu Zubeir, criticized some of his fighters for retreating from the capital of Mogadishu last week, saying he and a "faithful group" (Reuters) of fighters would continue attacks against the Somali government and African Union peacekeeping troops.
This CFR Backgrounder provides a profile of al-Shabaab, based in southern Somalia.
Irene Does $7 Billion in Damage
Damage caused by flooding from Hurricane Irene along the east coast of the United States is expected to cost upward of $7 billion (NYT), much of which will not be covered by insurance. North Carolina and New York will be eligible to receive extra federal funds.
PERU: Credit rating agency Standard and Poor's raised the country's foreign debt (MercoPress) by one notch to BBB, saying it expected continued economic expansion under recently elected President Ollanta Humala.
Suicide Attack in Chechen Capital
Three suicide bombers blew themselves up by government buildings in Grozny, the capital of Russia's southwestern Chechnya region, killing eight (DeutscheWelle) and wounding twenty. Russia has faced an ongoing Chechen Islamist insurgency in the post-Soviet period.
Chechnya has been plagued by two wars and an ongoing insurgency since the fall of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Chechen militants have escalated attacks in the North Caucasus and revived bombings in Moscow, explains this CFR Backgrounder.
ITALY: Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's center-right government faced public anger by labor unions and the opposition over a decision to revise austerity measures (FT) agreed on last month, which could undermine fragile eurozone markets.
Tripoli Divided as Rebels Jostle to Fill Power Vacuum – David D Kirkpatrick and Rod Nordland, New York Times
Tripoli fell into the hands of the rebels while Gaddafi disappeared into thin air. The situation on the ground is chaotic. Will Tripoli ever be a honeycomb hideout, which so many Libyans have dreamt of? Hopefully it wouldn't turn into a hornet's nest!
If this is true, hopefully the right-wing thugs in Washington may not find Libya to be as governable as they thought. Then again, the same thing happened in Afghanistan in 1992 after the fall of the Communist government there, too.
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