World News Brief, Friday February 25

Qaddafi loyalists gather in Tripoli; North Korea could be on the brink of major food shortages; Yemen president protects protesters; Obama and the Marriage Act; Assange to be extradited to Sweden; and more

Top of the Agenda: Qaddafi Marshals Forces in Tripoli


As revolutionaries consolidated their gains in the surrounding countryside, forces loyal to Libyan autocrat Muammar al-Qaddafi congregated in the capital of Tripoli (NYT) and launched fresh attacks on neighboring contested cities like Zawiya and Sabratha. The Financial Times reports Qaddafi has "lost control of the vast majority of his country's Mediterranean coast." Thousands of foreigners have fled the country as the United States, China, and European nations have sent in emergency evacuation transport (BBC). In a speech on Wednesday evening, President Barack Obama demanded an end to the violence and announced he will dispatch Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and top diplomat Bill Burns to Europe to discuss the mounting bloodshed. Oil prices (Reuters) continued their rise as a result of the Libyan chaos, with U.S. crude futures soaring nearly $3 a barrel to $101.


In this article for the Financial Times, CFR's Michael Levi argues that ongoing oil market turmoil warrants a long-term strategy for energy policy, including strategic reserves, coordination of emergency measures with emerging markets, and possible curbs on market speculation during extraordinary geopolitical stress.

As protests in Libya intensified between rebels and forces loyal to Qaddafi, this rebellion continued to be the bloodiest of the uprisings that have swept across the Arab world in recent weeks. CFR's Elliott Abrams discusses Libya's future and the implications of the unrest for U.S. policy in the region.

It's unclear whether Qaddafi's regime will survive after a failed, but brutal, crackdown on protesters in Libya. But if Qaddafi goes, CFR's Robert Danin says Libya lacks the elements needed for a smooth and peaceful transition of power.


In this podcast from the Economist, the University of Exeter's Tim Niblock explains the historical background to the crisis in Libya and what the future might hold.

This video from al-Jazeera English discusses how an intricate tribal structure plays a crucial role in both Libyan politics and the current pro-democracy opposition.



PACIFIC RIM: Fleeting Hope for Hundreds Missing in NZ Quake


Close to three hundred people remain unaccounted for after Tuesday's massive earthquake in Christchurch (SMH). Officials put the death toll at ninety-eight, but fear it will rise in the coming days.

North Korea: International charity workers report that North Korea may be on the brink of significant food shortages (BBC), sparking memories of a 1990s famine that killed as many as two million. Some nations have suspended food aid to Pyongyang to protest the lack of denuclearization.



- Yemen President Protects Protestors
- Obama Strikes at Defense of Marriage Act
- Assange to be Extradited to Sweden


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on