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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Current Events > The Middle East

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The Middle East Asia Minor, the Arab Mahgreb, and the Persian Gulf to include tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors, Terrorist organizations and Iran.

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  #151  
Old 16 Mar 11, 02:32
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General Younis (former Minister of the Interior), who has gone over to the rebels' side has 42 years' military experience and has brought with him 8,000 soldiers, 3,000 of whom, he says, are Special Forces troops.

I would think this changes the equation considerably.

But what do I know?


Philip
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  #152  
Old 16 Mar 11, 02:38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philiplaos View Post
General Younis (former Minister of the Interior), who has gone over to the rebels' side has 42 years' military experience and has brought with him 8,000 soldiers, 3,000 of whom, he says, are Special Forces troops.

I would think this changes the equation considerably.

But what do I know?


Philip
He WHAT?!? He's got 11,000 men to change sides and no one noticed?

Either:
a. The course of the civil war has just changed
- or -
b. Somebody is smoking something powerful

I'm gonna go with 'b' here until I see some proof.
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  #153  
Old 16 Mar 11, 02:47
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Interesting news(if true).....

Could be a rumour to encourage western intervention.
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  #154  
Old 16 Mar 11, 02:54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GCoyote View Post
He WHAT?!? He's got 11,000 men to change sides and no one noticed?
He was interviewed, apparently, by AL Jazeera, and that's what he claimed. But not 11,000 men.......a total of 8,000.

Quote:
........has brought with him 8,000 soldiers, 3,000 of whom are Special Forces....
Regarding reports to be dubious about - I'm also dubious about the rebels' claim that they have used fighter jets to destroy several of Gadhaffi's ships. Seems like there should be more evidence of that.


Philip
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  #155  
Old 16 Mar 11, 12:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philiplaos View Post
He was interviewed, apparently, by AL Jazeera, and that's what he claimed. But not 11,000 men.......a total of 8,000.



Regarding reports to be dubious about - I'm also dubious about the rebels' claim that they have used fighter jets to destroy several of Gadhaffi's ships. Seems like there should be more evidence of that.


Philip

I would agree -- you would think there might be some evidence that ships have been damaged or destroyed -- but heck -- we would be the very last to know.

It seems that Obummer is to busy giving speeches on Women's History Month and filling out his basketball brackets to be concerned about Libya or Japan -- one must certainly have their priorities in place !!

Now -- if we happened to have a ship or two in the Med -- we might actually have some knowledge on the subject -- but since we don't <sigh> I suppose we'll have to continue getting our news from "Radio Qaddafi Duck"

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  #156  
Old 16 Mar 11, 12:40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaiser Franz View Post
I would agree -- you would think there might be some evidence that ships have been damaged or destroyed -- but heck -- we would be the very last to know.

It seems that Obummer is to busy giving speeches on Women's History Month and filling out his basketball brackets to be concerned about Libya or Japan -- one must certainly have their priorities in place !!

Now -- if we happened to have a ship or two in the Med -- we might actually have some knowledge on the subject -- but since we don't <sigh> I suppose we'll have to continue getting our news from "Radio Qaddafi Duck"

They are there Kaiser.

http://www.worldnewsco.com/news/curr...se-march-2011/

They've been there for at least a week. I believe the Kearsage is also there.
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  #157  
Old 16 Mar 11, 13:23
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Last time I checked there were at least four USN units in the Med'. OTOH I'm pretty sure they are not sharing real time reconnaisance reports with al Jazeera.

From the Seawaves site - http://www.seawaves.com/libya2011.asp
  • USNS Arctic T-AOE 8
  • USNS Kanawha T-AO 196
  • USS Barry DDG 52
  • USS Enterprise CVN 65
  • USS Kearsarge LHD 3
  • USS Mason DDG 87
  • USS Ponce LPD 15
  • USS Providence SSN 719
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Last edited by GCoyote; 16 Mar 11 at 13:28..
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  #158  
Old 16 Mar 11, 13:58
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The Kearsarge is the only one dedicated for a Libya emergency, IIRC. There are various estimates about troops on board, between a battalion and whatever the Marines call a regiment in an expeditionary unit. The lower manpower numbers go along with a higher number of helicopters.

I think there is no need for a "real" aircraft carrier since airfields from Italy are probably as convenient to use and presumably they would want to use raptors to lower the risk compared to bulky navy planes. Wouldn't it be a great time for extra-active field test of the raptor?
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  #159  
Old 16 Mar 11, 14:35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redwolf View Post
The Kearsarge is the only one dedicated for a Libya emergency, IIRC. There are various estimates about troops on board, between a battalion and whatever the Marines call a regiment in an expeditionary unit. The lower manpower numbers go along with a higher number of helicopters.

I think there is no need for a "real" aircraft carrier since airfields from Italy are probably as convenient to use and presumably they would want to use raptors to lower the risk compared to bulky navy planes. Wouldn't it be a great time for extra-active field test of the raptor?
The US AF bases are in the far north of Italy. No F22's are stationed in Europe.
The Navy has ac just off shore. So why use the AF?

Read post #157 this thread.
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  #160  
Old 16 Mar 11, 14:56
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  • Intense fighting continues in Ajdabiyah

  • Saif Gadhaffi says “all will be over within 48 hours”, and he will release information that will bring down French president.

  • Colonel Gadhaffi says French president has “gone mad” and “his aids say he is suffering from a psychological illness”


Al Jazeera latest:

Quote:
10:49am

Several Arab nations are prepared to take part in a military operation in Libya to stop the advance of Gaddafi's forces, Alain Juppe, French foreign minister, wrote on his blog on Wednesday.
#
Timestamp:
10:54am


The Reuters news agency is reporting that the residents of western Libyan city of Misrata say that Gaddafi forces have launched heavy bombardment on the city.
#
Timestamp:
11:06am

Ali Tarhouni, member of the Economic and Oil Committee in liberated Libya says pro-democracy Libyans want a no-fly zone.

Voice of America reports that the opposition member says Libyans will remember those who supported them in their time of need.
#
Timestamp:
11:32am

The Associated Press is reporting that the government forces have been hammering Ajdabiya with nonstop shelling in a bid to rout rebels holding out in the strategic eastern city.

The city's fall would open the way for Gaddafi's forces to advance farther into the long stretch of eastern Libya that has been in the control of the opposition throughout the month long uprising.

Residents say pro-Gaddafi troops also cut off communications on Wednesday and began shelling Misurata, the last rebel-held city in the western half of the country.

Saadoun al-Misrati, a rebel spokesman from Misurata says shelling started at 7:00am.
#
Timestamp:
12:03pm

Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi's son says troops are near Benghazi, "all will be over within 48 hours" , according to the Reuters news agency.
#
Timestamp:
12:14pm

Rashid Khalikov, a United Nations envoy found heavy destruction and silent streets in the centre of the Libyan town of Zawiyah, captured by Gaddafi's forces last week, an official report said on Wednesday.

Abdel-llah Al-Khatib, another UN official, met Moussa Koussa, Gaddafi's foreign minister in Tripoli and called on the Libyan authorities to cooperate "on human rights and humanitarian concerns".

Khatib urged the Libyan authorities to put an immediate end to the violence and asked for "unfettered access" for all UN humanitarian agencies "in order to assist the Libyan people and alleviate the suffering of those affected".
#
Timestamp:
12:39pm

Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley reports from Benghazi, "There is concern about stronghold in Benghazi, but there is strong resolve to resist Gaddafi forces.

"There is hope for the rebels as territory alone is not the most important thing, it is they position they hold.

"Gaddafi is stretching his forces as he goes further, so there will be problems with supplies.

"Everyone knows that this was not going to be a walk - at the moment we do not know exactly what is going on - we are prisoners to rumour and conjecture."
#
Timestamp:
1:22pm


The Reuters news agency is reporting that at least five people have been killed in Misurata following the bombardment of the city by Gaddafi forces.
#
Timestamp:
3:19pm

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has told Euronews that the Libyan government funded Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president's, campaign for election and that it is demanding that money back.

Sarkozy must first give back the money he took from Libya to finance his electoral campaign. We funded it and we have all the details and are ready to reveal everything. The first thing we want this clown to do is to give the money back to the Libyan people.

"He was given assistance so that he could help them. But he's disappointed us: give us back our money. We have all the bank details and documents for the transfer operations and we will make everything public soon."

Recently, the state-run Jana news agency has reported that it would soon be revealing a "grave secret" that would bring down Sarkozy's government.

On Tuesday, Muammar Gaddafi said that his "good friend" Sarkozy had "gone mad".

"He is my friend but I think he has gone mad. He is suffering from a psychological illness," Kadhafi told German television. "That is what people say who are close to him. His aides say that he is suffering from a psychological illness."
#
Timestamp:
3:23pm

Libyan state television has called on all military units in the country's east who have refused to accept the authority of Muammar Gaddafi to abandon the rebels and join the government's advance towards Benghazi, Reuters reports.

"All the armed forces in the eastern area who have not joined the traitors are called upon to join the forces as they advance towards Benghazi," a message on state television said.
#
Timestamp:
3:27pm

David Cameron, the British prime minister, has urged world leaders to match their rhetoric on Libya with action.

Speaking from London, Cameron said that while there were a wide range of views on how best to move forward, it was essential for that "we show some leadership on this issue and make sure that we can get rid of this regime".

At his weekly question-and-answer session in parliament, he said:

If at the end of this he is left in place that will send a terrible message not just to people in Libya but to others across the region who want to see greater democracy, greater openness in their societies."

#
Timestamp:
3:47pm

Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley reports from Benghazi:



I think [Gaddafi's statements about marching on Benghazi shortly are] probably talk, we don't get a feeling here that there is any looming threat to Benghazi. We're not hearing the sound of his aircraft in action, we're not hearing any artillery, we're not hearing any defences going up. So we've heard a lot of bravado and a lot of talk about 'liberation', but that's probably for public consumption and depending on which side of the fence you're on ... people here are still concerned about a fight that's going about 160km down the road in Ajdabiyah. It's not always clear exactly what's going on but we do understand that the rebels ... are still in control, but there's still heavy fighting going on around it



"Benghazi poses a completely different kind of target for Gaddafi and his forces and some are questioning whether or not he has the reinforcements and he has the supply chain necessary at this stage to make any kind of credible threat against the city.

"This is a city of 800,000 people. A lot of them are armed now, unlike February the 17th when the rebellion began, most of these people have looted weapons from army barracks and depots, and they are well-armed. And they know there's not many places left for them to go anymore. So unless they run to Egypt, this is going to be their last stand."

Asked what the mood is like in Benghazi, Birtley said:

I think there is ... underneath the surface ... a slight note of apprehension, there's a kind of fear because a couple of weeks ago the rebellion seemed to be in full flow, and now its lost its momentum and they're coming backwards rather than going forwards. And people are mindful of what this man Gaddafi can do, they've lived 42 years and they've suffered at his hands. Especially in Benghazi.

"But also, there's a steely determination here that this is their home, this is their life, this is their future. So these people will not be easy to shift. We have seen scenes of if you like the 'cowboy fighters', these are the basic fighters who have been streaming away from the front lines at the first sign of bombardment and heavy fighting, but there's still a steely core of people who are prepared to fight and are still in those front lines."

Philip
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  #161  
Old 16 Mar 11, 15:03
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Al Jazeera latest:

Quote:
4:42pm

A witness has told AFP that pro-Gaddafi forces have attacked the rebel-held town of Zintan, 120km southwest of Tripoli.

Things are starting at Zintan. There iss some tank fire a few kilometres south of the town and the sound of Grad-type rockets being launched in salvos, as well as an exchange of small-arms fire. Local people say some 40 army vehicles are on the south side of town with tanks and rocket-launchers, while in the north a column of some 15 tanks approached during the night."

The witness added that the rebels were "badly organised and badly armed, just villagers on guard". Trucks equipped with anti-aircraft guns and other weapons have been dispatched towards the sound of the artillery.
#
Timestamp:
4:46pm

France says that it is confident it will secure agreement for a draft resolution declaring a no-fly zone over Libya.

"I have several reasons to think we will achieve our objective," Alain Juppe told parliament. "We will only act with a UN Security Council mandate and with not only the support, but the active participation of Arab countries."
#
Timestamp:
4:56pm

US independent Senator Joe Lieberman has warned that the US may well pay a steep price if Gaddafi remains in power.

"The situation is getting more critical, the consequences of Gaddafi coming back to power are far-reaching and long-lasting - all of the consequences in my view are bad," Lieberman said.

Republican Senator Lindsay Graham says that the US risks sending the "wrong message" to other governments if Gaddafi remains in power.

"The noose is not tightening on Kadhafi, apparently, it's tightening on his own people, and we seem to not be able to make a decision," he said.
#
Timestamp:
5:00pm

Libyan state television reports that two major tribes in Benghazi now back Muammar Gaddafi.

""In a call to the Libyan satellite channel the tribes of Tarhuna and Warfalla in Benghazi confirmed their support for the leader," state television reported.
#
Timestamp:
5:27pm

Rebels in Ajdabiyah continue to fight pro-Gaddafi forces, a doctor there has told AFP, with at least 26 people dead since Tuesday.

"We received four bodies today, all rebel fighters," Abdelkarim Mohammed told AFP by telephone from the town's hospital, adding that 22 people had been brought in a day earlier.
#
Timestamp:
5:46pm

More from the UK government on the need for urgency in declaring a no-fly zone. Mark Lyall Grant, the UK's ambassador to the UN says:

What we want to do is move as fast as possible and we will be stressing the urgency of the need for action this morning."

He added that if the vote took place today then "obviously we would be delighted by that" but that it would "not [be] the end of the world" if envoys had to return to their capitals and get further instructions overnight to vote tomorrow.
#
Timestamp:
5:55pm

More on that Libyan state television claim that the Warfalla and Tarhuna tribes now back Gaddafi. Abdul Basit, a rebel spokesman in Misurata, has denied the report.

This is false news. They are lying. They want to create divisions among tribes. Gaddafi lies about everything."

#
Timestamp:
6:00pm

Checkpost duty doesn't seem so bad, does it? This photograph was taken in Ajdabiyah on Tuesday by a Reuters photographer.



#
6:34pm

Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught reports from Tripoli:

There is undoubtedly a propaganda war going on, and it's not just the things that Saif al-Islam and his father are saying on state TV. They have been leafletting the city of Benghazi with flyers suggesting that the rebels cease the fight and they join the 'great government cause'. People in Benghazi and the areas around it have received SMS messages to their mobile phones - and there's been no SMS messaging on mobile phones apart from that - from the government suggesting it's time to give up the fight.

"So the war going on on all fronts. A steady encroachment by Colonel Gaddafi's arguably superior forces, a steady, measured encroachment by them, often pushed back by a rebel fightback. But then inexorably onwards further east.

"So on the one hand that, and on the other hand a steady stream of messages to the people in and around Benghazi [saying] the battle is already lost and they shouldn't try to fight any more."

Asked if rebels are satisfied with the international response so far, she said:



I think some of the rebels are very disheartened by the [delay in a no-fly zone], we're certainly seeing comments come from some of them saying that they feel the battle has already been lost, or that the Western powers have let them down because they haven't intervened when they begged for their help.

"But when Saif al-Islam said that it'll all be over in 48 hours, it's not entirely his call to make. It could be, but only if the people of Benghazi decide they want that. There are many scenarios that could roll out from now on: one could be that the people of Benghazi decide that they don't want this to become a messy urban fight with risk of a high degree of civilian casualties in the process, and they lay down their arms and give up the fight, perhaps to fight another day, perhaps to cede to Gaddafi ... which seems unlikely. Or there could be a rebels' last stand in Benghazi, certainly that's the rhetoric coming from many on the rebels' side that we could see the bitterest battle of the conflict so far unfold in a city of more than 1 million people

#
Timestamp:
6:38pm

"Paragraph by paragraph" deliberations of a UN draft resolution on Libya are now underway.

Nawal Salam, the Lebanese Ambassador to the UN says:

One, it’s the Libyans themselves who are the first to ask for a no-fly zone. Mr. Dabbashi… three weeks ago, here at this very stakeout, called for a no-fly zone. Two, the Arab League, which for Libyans is not a foreign entity, asked the Security Council for a no-fly zone. A no-fly zone authorised by the council is not foreign intervention... An NFZ authorised by the council on the basis of the charter and international law in no way could qualify as a foreign intervention.”

Mark Kornblau, a spokesperson for the US mission to the UN says:

As you know we are actively engaged now on a text of a resolution and we are hoping to focus the international community’s efforts on - we are hoping to focus the efforts of the international community on actions that will have a real influence on events. In terms of process.. we are about to get started.”

#
Timestamp:
6:58pm

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has called for an immediate ceasefire in Libya. In a statement read out by Martin Nesirky, his spokesperson, he said he was "gravely concerned" about signs of an impending assault on Benghazi.

He urged all parties in the conflict to accept an "immediate ceasefire".
#
Timestamp:
7:00pm

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, has called on the UN security council tp pass a resolution setting up a no-fly zone in Libya.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, told a US television network today that Gaddafi appeared determined to turn back the clock in Libya and kill "as many [Libyan citizens] as possible".

What you're seeing today is a recognition that whatever is decided in the UN security council must include Arab leadership and Arab participation, she told CBS, according to Reuters.

"Many different actions are being considered, yes, a no-fly zone, but others as well to enable the protection of Libyan citizens against their own leader, who seems determined to turn the clock back and kill as many of them as possible."
#
Timestamp:
7:08pm

More from that Clinton interview, conducted by CBS from Cairo:

We want to do what we can to protect innocent Libyans against the marauders let loose by the Gaddafi regime ... And, yes time is fast upon us. There is an urgency to it."

#
Timestamp:
7:11pm

Libyan soldiers near the Tunisian border have reportedly fired heavy weapons on rebels who were attempting to flee by boat with their families, the AFP news agency reports, citing witnesses and coastguard officials.

"We heard heavy weapons fire around four or five kilometres from the border," said Rodolphe Avenel, a member of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

Avenel said the Tunisian coastguard had told him this mroning that the shooting was targetted at "one or more Libyan opposition families trying to flee by sea aboard boats".

Tunisian soldiers told AFP the gunfire off Zouara on Tuesday lasted about half an hour in the late afternoon.
#
Timestamp:
7:14pm

In Ajdabiyah, fighting rages on, with a rebel commander saying that pro-Gaddafi forces were employing a "scorched earth policy".

Jamal Mansur, the rebel commander in the town, said his forces had won back control of the road north to Benghazi, still held the route east to Tobruk and the Egyptian border.

There's heavy fighting around Ajdabiya, they're carrying out a scorched earth policy ... There's heavy, sustained tank shelling and earlier there were air strikes, but now the revolutionaries managed to take seven tanks from those dogs and, God willing, we will succeed."

Khaled al-Sayeh, says the rebels still hold the town and the road to Benghazi.

Abdelkarim Mohammed, a doctor, told AFP that clashes broke out inside Ajdabiya at about 5pm local time, and that residents are now hiding in their homes.


#
Timestamp:
7:24pm

Hillary Clinton says that she hopes a vote on a "broad range of actions, not just a no-fly zone by other actions as well" will be taken at the UN "no later than tomorrow".
#
Timestamp:
7:40pm

The New York Times says that four of its journalists reporting in Libya have gone missing from the port town of Ajdabiyah, where fierce fighting has been reported today.

Editors at the paper say they were last in contact with the journalists on Tuesday morning, New York time.

"We have talked with officials of the Libyan government in Tripoli, and they tell us they are attempting to ascertain the whereabouts of our journalists," Bill Keller, the paper's executive editor, said.

He added that the govenment had indicated that if the journalists were captured they would be released "promptly and unharmed".

The four missing journalists are: Anthony Shadid (Beirut bureau chief), Stephen Farrel (a reporter and videographer), Tyler Hicks (a photographer) and Lynsey Addario (also a photographer).

Philip
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Old 16 Mar 11, 15:35
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What might work is if Gadafi calls the German leaders toothless one more time. They are in trouble anyway over the nuclear reactor thing and making them appear in a bad light (it's a big election year) might make them join France and GB for a no-fly zone.
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Old 16 Mar 11, 15:48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Half Pint John View Post
They are there Kaiser.

http://www.worldnewsco.com/news/curr...se-march-2011/

They've been there for at least a week. I believe the Kearsage is also there.
Yes -- it appears you're correct -- and there are about 800 Marines along with a few Helicopters there.

The Enterprise is still in the Indian Ocean / Red Sea area - and would need a day or to to get on station if a "no fly zone" is to be imposed.

In all reality, this should have been done a week to ten days ago -- I hate the idea of the US voicing support for something and then sitting on our hands while the "locals" get slaughtered.

Reminds me of 1956 and Hungary !!!


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Old 16 Mar 11, 17:24
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Latest updates from Al Jazeera's blog:

Quote:
8:23pm

More on the fighting in Ajdabiyah, where Reuters reports that "weary" government soldiers returning from the front lines told journalists that they were meeting "renewed resistance" from the rebels.

The rebels, meanwhile, appear confident of turning the tide, warning of "surprises".

"The fighting is fierce. His supply lines are stretched so he can't push on from Ajdabiyah. We've got some surprises in store. We're going to fight on and we're going to win," said Mustafa Gheiriani, a rebel spokesman in Benghazi.

Reinforcements from Benghazi are said to be heading to Ajdabiyah to help rebels there.

Witnesses describe a violent government crackdown from the city.

Idris Omar says he saw government soldiers kill his neighbour when they entered the town on Tuesday.

"They stopped his car and saw the flag sticker. They asked, 'what's this?' He replied, 'the flag of Libyan independence'. Then they shot him dead," Omar told Reuters.

A Reuters correspondent reported seeing 50 government trucks loaded with food, weapons and petrol parked along a coast road near the city, along with a number of tanks and empty tank carriers returning from the front.

Rocket launchers, armoured personnel carriers and about 20 ambulances were also seen along the highway.

8:36pm

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says it has withdrawn its aid workers from the opposition stronghold of Benghazi to the eastern oil town of Tobruk.

"The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today (Wednesday) transferred its staff in Benghazi to the eastern city of Tobruk, where it will continue to assist victims of the conflict," the Geneva-based agency said in a statement.

"As we leave Benghazi and Ajdabiya after almost 20 days, we are extremely concerned about what will happen to civilians, the sick and wounded, detainees and others who are entitled to protection in times of conflict," said Simon Brooks, head of the ICRC mission in Libya.

"The ICRC once again calls on all those taking part to spare civilians and medical staff," he said.
#
9:19pm

Libyan state television says that forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have captured the town of Ajdabiyah and "purged" it of opposition fighters.
#
Timestamp:
9:32pm

Simon Brookes, head of the ICRC mission in Libya, has just been speaking to Al Jazeera about his organisation's decision to pull back to Tobruk from Benghazi.

As you know the security sitaution in Libya at the moment is uncertain has been uncertain ... we've been there for nearly three weeks responding to the humanitarian needs in partnership with the Libyan Red Crescentbut I think we've reached a moment in the conflict where it is a little difficult ... my concern is obviously for my team, and we need a little bit more certainty to be able to re-establish ourselves in Benghazi.

"The humanitarian situation in Benghazi at the moment I think it's tenable. We are really concerned about the situation to the west, but at this stage ... - as I say, we've been supporting hospitals, we've just brought in today 180 tons of supplies (food and non-food items) to feed about 15,000 people based on a contigency basis. But how things are going to develop? Well, we are concerned, but its a little difficult to speculate at this point."

Asked if the ICRC's decision would send a negative signal to Libyan pro-democracy activists, who are already disillusioned with the foreign response to the crisis, he said:

Look, I don't know whether or not people feel that that's the case, but I can assure you that the ICRC stands firmly ready to continue its operations. We are here in Tobruk, we're building up a large logistics base here, we do continue to provide relief and humanitarian assistance both in Benghazi and in other areas.
"The ICRC is not just expatriates. We have a very strong network of national staff, Libyans who in fact are maintaining our operations there, we're in close contact with them. And they are responding. Our operations continue, and you can rest assured for as long as this conflict continues, we will be there to support the humanitarian needs of the Libyan people."

#
Timestamp:
9:58pm

Pro-democracy activists say they have taken control of the Anwar Afriqiya oil tanker, a ship carrying 25,000 tons of fuel, in the waters off Tobruk. [Picture: AFP]

Philip
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Old 16 Mar 11, 19:45
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Latest from Al Jazeera:

Quote:
10:23pm

Updates from Misurata now, where pro-democracy fighters say they are holding their ground against an assault by pro-Gaddafi troops.

"The fighters have defeated Gaddafi's forces from the southern and western side (of the city)," a resident, who gave his name as Mohammed, told Reuters by telephone.

"The shelling on the city stopped and the rebels have captured some tanks. The battle is continuing on the eastern side, but it is not a heavy one."

Residents say that pro-Gaddafi forces had begun pounding the city at about 7:00am local time with tanks, artillery and rockets.

"They are trying to enter the city. I do not think they will be able to do it, at least not today," a pro-democracy fighter said.

State television meanwhile appealed to the people of Misurata to support pro-Gaddafi security forces.

The armed forces are from you and for you. Avoid strife ... This is a call for stability and security for everybody. Do not listen to provocation and avoid discord."


10:43pm

In an interview with the French Le Figaro newspaper, Muammar Gaddafi says he will win "because the people are with me". He has dismissed the idea of dialogue with the opposition, saying that there can be no dialogue with "al-Qaeda".

He also alleges that pro-democracy activists in Benghazi are "gangs" who are "likely to use citizens as human shields".

Gaddafi claims that soldiers who now refuse to accept his authority and have joined the opposition were "forced" to do so by "terrorists" who "did not let them have a choice".

He says that the government is still not using force, and that its current strategy is to "progressively dismantle armed groups through various means", including encircling cities and sending in negotiators.

In a particularly strange remark, Gaddafi responds to a question about who exactly his opponents are by saying that there is "no opposition".

"All events you see today are organised by the masses who support me. We have no opposition in Libya. These are only armed groups who occupy certain streets and some buildings in some cities."

Gaddafi dismissed the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia as "not real revolutions", as they resulted in "a transfer of power from one president to another president", while he was hoping that their revolutions would be along the lines of "Libya's revolution".

He has again reiterated that he has "no connection with politics and power. So I have no power to leave. I have no job to quit."


0:00am

Reuters news agency has reported that the Libyan army has set an ultimatum to clear Benghazi by 2200 GMT, Libyan television reported.

A text on the screen of Al-Libya television addressed the residents of Benghazi saying:

"The army is coming to support you and to cleanse your city from armed gangs.

"It urges you to keep out by midnight of areas where the armed men and weapon storage areas are located."
Philip
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