World News Brief, Tuesday March 8

Qadaffi loyalists mount counteroffensive, retake towns; UN estimates 200,000 refugees have fled Libyan violence; Bahrain protesters beg US for support; Japanese PM refuses to resign despite losing foreign minister; Robert Gates considers longer mission in Afghanistan; and more

Top of the Agenda: Qaddafi Pushes Back in East Libya

As the revolution seeking to depose Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi enters its third week, forces loyal to the regime are mounting a counteroffensive in the country's east (BBC), retaking the city of Bin Jawad and advancing toward the oil port of Ras Lanuf. Clashes between rebels and pro-Qaddafi forces (al-Jazeera) were also reported in other cities, including Az Zawiyah and Misurata. An attack by pro-regime forces thwarted the rebel march toward Sirte, Qaddafi's hometown and a symbolic stronghold.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed a special envoy to Libya to consult with officials on the spiraling violence and continuing human rights abuses (WSJ). According to the UN, nearly two hundred thousand refugees have fled the violence, a number that is expected to double. In contrast to events in Egypt and Tunisia, some analysts predict a prolonged conflict (CNN) in which Qaddafi will fight to the death.


Oil price shocks spurred by Mideast events are unlikely to derail the US economic recovery, says CFR Distinguished Visiting Fellow Michael Spence. But bigger shifts in the global economy will hit US unemployment, income inequality, and capital costs, he says.

This article from the New Republic suggests four options for US military intervention in Libya.

Just as it fostered networks of people committed to free and democratic ideas during the Cold War, the United States could do more to develop and support networks of moderate Muslims who are too often silenced by violent radical Islamists, says this report from the RAND Corporation.


This CFR Report says the United States must improve its responsiveness to mass atrocities and, absent action by the UN, make clear its willingness to act unilaterally.


Follow how the rebellion is unfolding in Libya with this interactive map from the New York Times.

Fighting has continued between the Libyan army and anti-government forces to gain control of the east of the country. These images from the Guardian show scenes of the conflict from Bin Jawad.


PACIFIC RIM: Japan PM Kan Clings to Power

Following the abrupt resignation of his foreign minister over a political funding scandal (Reuters), Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan refused calls to step aside for new elections. Experts question whether Kan will be able to break the political gridlock in a government struggling with a huge public debt and a fractured parliament.

China: Beijing's spending on so-called internal security surpassed national defense allocations for the first time in 2010. Analysts suggest the "reprioritized" budget reflects China's growing concern about public unrest, including the Mideast inspired "Jasmine Revolution" (FT) unfolding in parts of the country.

On the CFR blog Asia Unbound, Evan A. Feigenbaum argues the civil unrest in China should not be compared to Egypt, and suggests the challenges to China's political and social stability are real but decidedly longer term.



- Bahrain Protestors Call for US Help
- US Defense Secretary in Kabul for Talks


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