World News Brief, Wednesday March 9

Qaddafi continues to attack own people, Libya slides into civil war; Obama nominates new ambassador to China; Japan to test stealth fighter plane; prisoners riot in Yemen; Obama formalises indefinite imprisonment for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay; and more

Top of the Agenda: Libya Sliding to Civil War


The regime of Libyan autocrat Muammar al-Qaddafi stepped up its counteroffensive against rebel forces in the country's east and west, battering the oil port of Ras Lanuf with renewed airstrikes (NYT) and continuing ground assaults on Zawiyah and other cities closer to Tripoli. The counterattack comes amid mixed reports regarding attempts by Qaddafi to negotiate a stand down (al-Jazeera) and safe passage from Libya for him and his family. Libyan state television denied these accounts. According to the BBC, opposition leaders expressed no interest in negotiations without a ceasefire, and they say Qaddafi is attempting to divide the rebellion with such gestures.

Rebels continue to press the international community to institute a no-fly zone (CBS) and neutralize a major tactical advantage of the regime. There are some signs of momentum building for such a move, including an endorsement from the Gulf Cooperation Council (National) and a meeting of NATO military planners (Guardian) to discuss the options for a no-fly zone. However, leading members of the Obama administration remain divided over the issue.


In the Wall Street Journal, CFR President Richard N. Haass says a no-fly zone would prove ineffective in Libya and that "intervening militarily in Libya would be a potentially costly distraction" for a U.S. military already overextended in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This article from the Brookings Institution says that the same countries experiencing pro-democracy protests and rebellions in the Middle East have also seen development successes in recent years.

This CFR issue guide provides a range of background and analysis on the protests in the Middle East and North Africa.

In the New Yorker, Wendell Steavenson notes that Qaddafi's defiance is a reminder that revolutions can be bloody and uncertain, and that what comes later is even harder to divine.


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.


In this video from the TED2011, Wadah Khanfar, the head of al-Jazeera, shares an optimistic view of what's happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and beyond as the democratic revolution led by tech-empowered young people sweeps the Arab world.

In this NPR podcast, participants discuss the language that media outlets use to describe the events in Libya: How did "protestors" suddenly became "rebels" and why? And how does the word "rebel" change the way readers perceive the conflict there?

This photo essay from the Diplomat asks if the unrest in the Arab world could travel further still, leading Asia analysts give their take on the prospects for a Jasmine Revolution in seven Asian nations.


PACIFIC RIM: Obama to Nominate Ambassador to China


According to U.S. officials, President Barack Obama is set to name U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as his nominee for chief emissary in Beijing. Locke is a Chinese American who has long managed trade negotiations with China (BBC).

China's new five-year work plan has a familiar list of growth and energy targets, an emphasis on technology investments, and concerns about resource constraints and corruption, says CFR's Elizabeth Economy.

Japan: Japan is on schedule to test its first stealth prototype aircraft (CP) in 2014, according to senior defense officials. Tokyo's decision to develop the fighter came after a U.S. congressional export ban on the F-22 Raptor, and China's rapid militarization in the region.



- Prison Riots Add to Yemen Tensions
- Obama Extends Life of Gitmo System


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