Top news: A senior aide to Saif al-Qaddafi is reportedly in London for secret talks with British authorities. Following yesterday’s defection of Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa, rumors have swirled of other high-profile defections from the Qaddafi regime. Ali Abdussalam el-Treki, a former U.N. envoy who had also reportedly defected on Thursday, denied the rumors, but said that he is trying to negotiate a ceasefire. Libyan officials have now posted guards to prevent other defectors from leaving.
from OPEN ANTHROPOLOGY by Maximilian Forte
The Open Net Initiative has a fascinating new report out about how Middle Eastern and North African dictatorships are using web-filtering technologies developed by American and Canadian companies to censor the Internet from their own citizens. At least nine countries are using technologies like Netsweeper, Websense, and SmartFilter — originally designed to allow companies and schools to censor pornography and other objectionable material.
Troops loyal to the Libyan government have succeeded in driving the rebel forces back eastwards once more. The international community is now at loggerheads over whether to supply the rebels with weapons. But that would implicate the alliance too deeply in the conflict, the press warns, fearing also that the weapons could fall into the wrong hands.
Will President Barack Obama arm the Libyan rebels? He says: “I’m not ruling it out, but I’m also not ruling it in.”
Libyan government spokesman Musa Ibrahim, or Musa Mansour as he was known in his previous life as a cycling-for-charity filmmaker in Britain, has emerged as this war’s Baghdad Bob, doing his best to make his boss’s statements about U.S./al Qaeda hallucenigenic mind control make sense to the international community.
The Telegraph‘s correspondent in Libya, Damien McElroy, suggests that one reason for Moussa Kusa’s defection may have been that he was growing tired of trying to spin his boss’s bizarre pronouncements:
President Barack Obama tonight makes a speech he’d rather not be making: Explaining to his country, proud of its military but weary of war, why he has decided to bomb the armed forces of another Middle Eastern country.
It has been a season of earthquakes, and the political ones in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, and elsewhere in the Middle East may have shifted the moral high ground within Islamic opposition movements. Put simply, Tahrir Square may have trumped jihad.
Written by Sasa Milosevic
This post is part of our special coverage Libya Uprising 2011.
A Facebook page entitled ?Support for Muammar al-Gaddafi from the people of Serbia? has become a show of support for the controversial Libyan leader, with over 62,500 members. Libyan opposition activists have also reported cyber attacks on opposition websites coming from Serbia.
The international alliance’s military intervention has weakened Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi’s troops and the rebels are now on the advance. The foreign ministers of more than 40 states will meet today in London to discuss the situation and the future of the country. According to the press this will test the cohesion of the alliance, which should now also help the opposition in Libya politically.
Libya’s Foreign Minister and former head of the secret service Moussa Koussa fled to London on Wednesday. The press sees Koussa’s departure as evidence that the regime is collapsing and argues that he should not be tried for possible involvement in Gaddafi’s crimes.
Senior Turkish diplomat Selim Yenel said a political solution is crucial for Libya. “Turkey is now talking to both sides, and we believe one of the few countries that can to talk to both sides. In the end it’s the only way out, otherwise more and more military actions will push people into a corner and you have to show a way out. And we believe a diplomatic solution is a way out. ”
Leaders of Britain and France issue joint statement ahead of conference, and are keen to ensure Gaddafi stands trial
Britain and France have demanded that Muammar Gaddafi should stand down immediately and declared that the era of the Libyan leader is over.
The international community stood united at the London conference on Libya this week – all 42 of them. But you could be forgiven for thinking that there was something monotone about the massed ranks of suits: only four of them present were women. There was Hillary Clinton of course; if you?re interested, the others were Cathy Ashton, Inaan Osseiran the Lebanese ambassador, and Asta Skaisgiryte-Liauskiene from Lithuania. Should this matter?
I have a briefing up on the World Politics Review website that looks further at the difficulties Turkey has faced in formulating its Libya policy, how that has affected relations with some of its allies and what lessons that might provide in other cases of regional instability. From the briefing:
by Zachary Sniderman
Pulitzer prize winner Caryle Murphy offers a distressing report from Bahrain, where the Saudi-encouraged monarchy is bent on fomenting sectarian enmity. The Al Khalifah’s path will undermine and discredit precisely the opposition figures that are potential interlocutors.