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 leader Moamer Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam said victory was in sight against rebels in the east after loyalist forces retook two key towns.
- NATO and the European Union began 48 hours of crisis talks, amid growing calls for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya.

- The director of the US Defence Intelligence Agency told US senators the momentum in the conflict is shifting in favour of Kadhafi's forces which are "robustly equipped" with Russian weapons and likely to defeat the rebels.
- Russia said it was banning the sale of all weapons to Libya.
- France and Britain agreed that Kadhafi "must go" and called on the EU to consider the country's rebel national council a valid political interlocutor.
- The United States said it would soon send civilian humanitarian aid teams into eastern Libya but stressed this should not be seen as military intervention.
- Medics said 400 people have died and 2,000 more have been wounded in eastern Libya since February 17.
- Arab states in the Gulf said that Kadhafi's regime was illegitimate and that contacts should be initiated with the rebels.
- All 10,000 Vietnamese workers have escaped from the political turmoil in Libya, official media reported as India said it was near to finishing the evacuation of 15,000 nationals.
- The Libyan regime offered Wednesday a nearly 500,000 dollar bounty for the capture of the chairman of the rebel National Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil.
- Three BBC journalists in Libya were arrested, beaten and subjected to a mock execution, leading Britain on Wednesday to condemn the act.
- Libyan oil output is down by more than two-thirds, from 1.6 million barrels per day to just 500,000, National Oil Corporation boss Shukri Ghanem said Wednesday, as the price of Brent oil bounced above $116.
- The US said Wednesday it had not yet reached a decision point on Libya, but hit back at claims that it had been too slow to respond to Kadhafi's violent bid to cling onto power.
SAUDI ARABIA: Police shot and wounded three Shiite protesters in the oil-rich Eastern Province on Thursday while trying to disperse a protest calling for the release of prisoners.
- Riyadh came under renewed pressure to ease its ban on demonstrations, as Facebook activists called for a "Day of Rage" on Friday and a "Saudi revolution" on March 20.
YEMEN: Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh bowed to pressure after a month of violent protests, but his pledge to devolve power to parliament was swiftly rejected as too late by the opposition.
- The Philippines told its 1,400 citizens to leave Yemen.
EGYPT: Egypt's new interior minister vowed that private telephones will no longer be tapped.
- On Wednesday the government warned of a "counter-revolution" following a series of deadly political and religious clashes blamed on diehards of the former regime.
GCC: The six Gulf Cooperation Council states vowed to deal "decisively" with threats to any member's security and set up a $20 billion development fund for Bahrain and Oman which were hit by protests.
BAHRAIN: The main opposition group called for the cancellation of a protest march on the royal palace scheduled for Friday, saying it was to avoid an escalation of sectarian tension in the kingdom.
TUNISIA: An Islamist party said it wants to install "by political means" a regime based on the strict Sharia form of Islamic law as a solution to problems after the January ouster of strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
- A Tunisian court ordered on Wednesday the former ruling RCD party to be dissolved.
MOROCCO: Morocco's King Mohammed VI promised on Wednesday a sweeping constitutional reform, in his first speech since Arab uprisings broke out across the region.
UAE: Emirati intellectuals and activists, inspired by uprisings across the Arab world, petitioned Wednesday the UAE's president to introduce direct elections and vest the powerless parliament with legislative authorities.

Friday, March 11th 2011

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