Recap of developments in Middle East, North Africa



CAIRO- Latest developments in the unrest sweeping the Middle East and North Africa in the past 24 hours.
LIBYA: Libyan rebel fighters beat a retreat from positions near the oil town of Ras Lanuf under air strikes and shellfire Saturday, as Moamer Kadhafi's loyalist forces forged forward.
- Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam told Italian newspapers published Saturday the army had regained control over "90 percent of the country" and would totally defeat rebels.



- The Arab League came out in support of plans to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and contact with anti-Kadhafi rebels, diplomats said at crisis talks in the Egyptian capital.
- The African Union said that the presidents of South Africa, Mauritania, Congo, Mali and Uganda had been asked to form a high-level committee to help resolve the conflict in Libya.
- Germany's foreign minister said military intervention in Libya might be seen as a Western crusade, as EU states mulled imposing a possible no-fly zone.
- France insisted it was "very clear" on the need for a UN mandate to authorise a no-fly zone in Libya.
- The effectiveness of sanctions against Kadhafi's regime need to be evaluated before further ones are agreed, the EU's foreign policy chief said.
- US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the US military and other allies can impose a no-fly zone on Libya but questioned if it was "wise" to do so.
YEMEN: Three protesters including a 12-year-old schoolboy were killed in fresh bloodshed in Yemen as clashes between police and anti-regime demonstrators raged across the country.
TUNISIA: Two of ousted Tunisian leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's top lieutenants and a former president of parliament have been arrested and are being held in military detention, judicial sources said.
ALGERIA: Police in Algeria launched a massive security operation to head off marchers calling for an immediate end to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's regime.
JORDAN: Thousands of Jordanians rallied on Saturday in support of King Abdullah II in response to an appeal on website Facebook to do so.
BAHRAIN: Bahraini police fired tear gas Friday at anti-regime protesters after blocking them from marching toward armed regime loyalists, as the US defence secretary began a visit to encourage leaders to embrace reform.
IRAQ: Hundreds of Iraqi protesters demanded jobs and better basic services on Friday, in the latest challenge to the government as a wave of popular uprisings sweeps across the Arab world.
SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi Arabia launched a massive security operation Friday in a menacing show of force to deter protesters from a planned "Day of Rage" to press for democratic reform in the conservative kingdom.
- Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Friday called the protests in the oil giant a "tempest in a teacup," saying instead of it being a "day of rage" people were demonstrating their love for the king.
EGYPT: Hundreds of Egyptians holding up crosses and Korans massed in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday to protest against sectarianism, following religious clashes that left at least 13 people dead.
- Egypt's public prosecutor on Friday ordered the detention of four senior interior ministry officials for shooting protesters during anti-regime rallies that toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak.
KUWAIT: Kuwait's Human Rights Association called on the government Saturday to free people arrested during a crackdown on a protest by statless Arabs demanding citizenship and other rights.
SYRIA: Syrian security forces have seized weapons smuggled into the country from neighbouring Iraq aimed at "sowing trouble" in the country, the official SANA news agency reported on Friday.
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Sunday, March 13th 2011
AFP
           


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