World News Brief, Tuesday March 29

NATO warplanes bomb Qaddafi's hometown as rebel attack (+ analysis); Obama to address nation and Turkey offers to mediate; Yemeni president retracts resignation offer; Democrats and Republicans set to clash again on Budget cuts; Fukushima workers face new threat; and more

Top of the Agenda: Airstrikes Target Qaddafi Hometown

Coalition warplanes pounded targets in Sirte (BBC), the hometown of Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi. The attack comes as NATO assumed full command of all military operations to enforce the UN resolution of protecting Libyan civilians. Rebel forces (al-Jazeera) claim to have taken control of the town, though these reports are unconfirmed. Assisted by coalition air bombardments, rebels have been able to advance rapidly, recapturing the key cities of Bin Jawad, Ras Lanuf, Uqayla, Brega, and Ajdabiya. The town of Misurata (UPI) remains besieged by pro-government forces.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the transition of military command would allow the United States to begin reducing its presence (NYT), a process that Pentagon officials claim has already begun with the Navy. President Barack Obama (AP) is set to address the nation tonight in what analysts say will be an attempt to provide a rationale for US intervention and a discussion of next steps. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated Turkey (Guardian) is prepared to act as mediator in an early Libyan ceasefire, suggesting a long war would risk becoming a "second Iraq."


In Politico, Robert D. Blackwill writes that the Obama administration deserves credit for its foreign policy achievements, but questions whether the president has failed as commander-in-chief.

In the Financial Times, CFR President Richard N. Haass examines the bleak lessons that history has to offer on the future of Libya.

This CFR Analysis Brief looks at how intervention in Libya has been justified by the "responsibility to protect" doctrine. But debate is growing over whether Libya meets the criteria, and the mission's success is challenged by lack of clarity on objectives.


The brutality of the Qaddafi regime and the subsequent debate over a no-fly zone has again spotlighted the UN's "Responsibility to Protect" doctrine. This CFR Backgrounder examines the dilemma of humanitarian intervention.

The UN Security Council resolution regarding Libya was passed on March 17, 2011.


This photo slide show from the New York Times shows rebel fighters after retaking the crossroads city of Ajdabiya in eastern Libya, pushing westward along the main coastal road to Ras Lanuf, the site of a major refinery complex.


PACIFIC RIM: Toxic Water Indicates Partial Meltdown

Japanese officials said highly radioactive water from the number two reactor at the Fukushima Plant appears to have come from the core and indicates a partial meltdown (WSJ). The water is another impediment to restoring the plant's cooling systems, which would allow the reactors to reach a cold-shutdown status.

Japan bears only some resemblance to the Asian countries ravaged by the 2004 tsunami, but their recovery experiences could provide valuable insights to leaders in Tokyo, writes CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick.

China: China was "by far" the world leader in death penalty executions for 2010, according to a report by Amnesty International. However, the report states that there is a global trend toward the abolition of the death penalty (Guardian).



- Yemeni President Abandons Exit Offer
- US Budget Debate Looms Ahead of Deadline


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