World News Brief, Thursday March 3

Battles rage in Libya as Qaddafi recaptures oil town and promises to fight to the end; Analysis of US military options and how this impacts on Iran; Iranian police outmuscle protesters; In Asia, journalists covering protests beaten in China and South Korean activists try to seed revolution in the North; Pakistani minister murdered; and more

Top of the Agenda: Libyan Forces Trade Blows

The pitched battle between pro-Qaddafi forces and rebels continued to rage Wednesday as soldiers loyal to the regime mount­ed an offensive into Libya's east and recaptured the oil refinery city of Brega (WSJ). Air strikes were also reported near the rebel-held city of Ajdabiya, home to a strategic arms depot. Meanwhile, the Libyan autocrat appeared on television (al-Jazeera) blaming al-Qaeda for instigating the unrest and stating that he would fight "to the last man and the last woman."

The UN passed a resolution accusing Libya of gross human rights violations and suspending it from its Human Rights Council (BBC). The international community had floated the idea of establishing a no-fly zone over Libya, however, Britain and the United States played down the tactic and stressed a more cautious tack. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested the time is inopportune for US military intervention (NYT) despite the movement of American war ships into the Suez Canal.


The Qaddafi government's violence has resulted in at least three hundred civilian deaths and the attempted flight of Libyans and migrant workers, says Human Rights Watch's Tom Malinowski. The US and NATO should consider preparing military options against the regime and ensure delivery of relief aid, he says.

In Foreign Affairs, Frederic Wehrey writes that for decades, the outsized personality of Qaddafi has obscured the rivalries among Libya's domestic groups, from the tribes to the military. With this era coming to a likely end, how will these actors now vie for supremacy?

Writing for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Lt. Col. Jason Hanover and Jeffrey White detail the risks and the chances for success in three main options for outside military intervention in Libya.

In the New Yorker, James Surowiecki addresses the dangerous state of Mideast economies, and argues, "The autocracies of the Arab world have been as economically destructive as they've been politically repressive."


The LA Times "Framework" blog offers striking images of the conflict in Libya from both sides.

In this exclusive video interview for CFR, Reza Aslan, author of No God but God, discusses how the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa influence the balance of power in the region, and whether they are benefiting Iran.


PACIFIC RIM: China Increases Journalists Restrictions

The Wall Street Journal reports that Chinese authorities tightened limitations on journalists' access to areas of Shanghai and Beijing where protestors have been active. In recent days, international journalists have been beaten and detained by Chinese police.

Korea: South Korean activists known as the Fighters for Free North Korea announced they will ship two hundred thousand propaganda leaflets into the North, along with USB drives containing video of the Arab uprisings (AP).



- Iran Protests Met with Tear Gas
- Pakistani Reformer Killed in Ambush
- Tensions Ahead of US-Mexico Summit


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