April 3 Excerpts [For more plus images and vids visit blogs.aljazeera.net/live/africa/libya-li
1:31am Fighting continues between pro- and anti-Gaddafi fighters, and as Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid reports from eastern Libya, rebels there are concerned that Gaddafi forces – dressed as civilians and driving mounted pick-up trucks – may have actually infiltrated their ranks:
8:10am Starting today, US aircraft are not to fly strike missions in Libya, though NATO commander General Charles Bouchard can request them, which would trigger an approval process in Washington DC, the AP reports. On Saturday, just before the deadline, US combat aircraft flew 24 strike missions in Libya, the Pentagon said
9:19am Around 70 corposes have been retrieved from the Mediterranean Sea over the past few days, and they’re believed to be sub-Saharan refugees who tried to flee Libya.
9:50am American public support for the military intervention in Libya is fading, reports Camille Elhassani, Al Jazeera’s senior White House producer.
Just after the strikes began on March 19, a Gallup poll found 47 per cent support and 37 per cent disapproval. Those numbers have almost flipflopped in the intervening days: a Quinnipiac University survey just found that 47 per cent of registered voters now disapprove while 41 per cent support it.
1:33pm Here’s the latest on the overnight report from Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee regarding claims from a Libyan rebel that he and other fighters have received specialised training from US and Egyptian special forces on newly arrived Katyusha rocket systems.
The Egyptian and US governments have both denied that they have special forces training the rebels, and a spokesman for the Libyan opposition’s Transitional National Council has declined to say whether the rebels have bought new weapons or are receiving such training.
3:07pm Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid in Ajdabiya reports that front lines do not appear to have moved over the last 24 hours. The fighting appears to follow a rhythm of advance and retreat over a range of about 5km from Brega, near the university.
Doctors at the hospital in Ajdabiya say that four people have been killed today, and nine others wounded.
Army commanders have now taken stronger command of the opposition forces near Brega, using simple high frequency radios and GPS systems to institute better communications and strategy.
“I wouldn’t say that it’s highly organised at the moment, but it’s slowly getting there,” Abdel-Hamid reported.
She says that two retreats, and a number of casualties and deaths, have made the opposition fighters realise that their enthusiasm alone may not be enough, and that they must ponder their strategy.
3:40pm Mohammed Ibrahin al-Ellagi, a former secretary general of the Libyan Human Rights Society, and newly appointed justice minister in the Libyan transitional national council, tells Al Jazeera that there is a possible “conspiracy” to be seen in the fact that NATO and allied troops have not bombarded Gaddafi positions in Misurata and Az Zintan in the same way that they did in Benghazi.
Al-Ellagi, speaking only in his capacity as a human rights activist, says UN Security Council Resolution 1973 is “flexible” and meant to provide protection to civilians, and that it should provide complete cover for allied forces to launch attacks on Gaddafi’s forces across the country.
He terms the situation in the western mountains of the country “very dire”, saying that “heavy attacks” have been launched by pro-Gaddafi forces on the opposition there.
Al-Ellagi says a possible motive for allied forces to not take on Gaddafi in the west would be to allow Gaddafi to “create a solid platform for negotiation”, or to choke the rebels’ movement.
4:18pm Reuters reports that Abdelati Laabidi, Libya’s deputy foreign minister, has flown to Athens from Tunisia’s Djerba airport.
4:20pm NATO says its aircraft have flown 184 sorties today, with 70 of those described as “strike sorties”. Strike sorties are those flown by aircraft carrying bombs or missiles, but the designation does not necessarily mean the ordinance was fired.
4:34pm The Libyan government has warned that NATO-led airstrikes could cause a “human and environmental disaster” if they damage the country’s “Great Man-Made River” (GMMR) water purification project.
4:45pm Reuters reports that deputy foreign minister Obeidi is in Athens to convey a message from Muammar Gaddafi to the Greek prime minister, according to a Greek government source.
4:51pm Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Commitee, says that the US and its allies must know more about the Libyan opposition before making a decision on whether or not to arm them. Rogers was speaking on NBC television’s Meet The Press show.
[But no hesitation to be their air force and to give them money.]
5:03pm Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid in Ajdabiya reports that there appears to be a realisation amongst opposition fighters that airstrikes by NATO-led forces will not give them the kind of safety that they had assumed that they would, and that the battle ahead will have to be carefullly planned.
5:30pm More on that British delegation to Benghazi: it is being led by Christopher Prentice, Britain’s ambassador to Italy, the British Foreign Office says.
“It will build on the work of the previous team and seek to establish further information about the interim National Council, its aims and more broadly what is happening in Libya,” read a statement.
[As with the IRA, the Kurdish insurgency and most others, follow the money.]
5:41pm The New York Times, citing diplomatic sources, reports that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Muammar Gaddafi’s son, is proposing a resolution to the conflict that would involve the elder Gaddafi relinquishing his powers, leading to a transition to a constitutional democracy.
The unnamed diplomat, who is the main source of the report, however, says neither Gaddafi nor the opposition appears ready to accept the plan.
[Euthanasia a possibility?]
6:00pm Gen (retd) James Jones, former national security advisor to US President Barack Obama, says that a Libyan endgame is more “vital” to Europe than it is to the US, but that either way, it remains unclear how this conflict will end.
6:01pm Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid at the main hospital in Ajdabiya reports that the situation on the frontlines appears to be unchanged, with opposition and pro-Gaddafi forces trading retreats and advances.
7:08pm A Turkish ship carrying 250 wounded people left Misurata today, escorted by 10 Turkish air force F-16s and two navy frigates, Ali Akin, head of consular affairs at the Turkish foreign ministry says.
[I expect Turkey will be the only country with any honour intact when the dust settles. I wonder how much the whitewashes will cost? But no worries, the "treaury reserve will cover the costs". Is that the gold reserve I wonder? If the insurgents don't win, the gold can't be replaced... Is that why the bombing is so frantic. Perhaps Gaddafi can buy his way out.]
8:52pm John Psaropoulous, the editor of the Greek magazine Odyssey, has just been speaking with Al Jazeera about the ties between Libya and Greece, where Libyan deputy FM al-Obedi has been dispatched by Muammar Gaddafi to conduct talks.
9:00pm Abdel Ati al-Obeidi, the Libyan deputy foreign minister, has met with George Papandreou, the Greek prime minister, in Athens, though officials refuse to divulge what the content of the discussions was.
10:13pm According to Dimitris Droutsas, the Greek foreign minister, the Libyan deputy FM is next due to head to Malta and then Turkey, Reuters reports.
11:21pm Jean Ping, the African Union Commission’s chief, will be meetnig with European and NATO officials regarding the situation in Libya, according to a statement.
Ping is to meet with William Hague, the British foreign minister, and Andrew Mitchell, the British secretary of state for international development in London.
In Brussels, he will meet with the leadership of the European Union and NATO.
The civil war across the cultural divide between E. Libya and W. Libya has been and is being prolonged by the coalition fighting for the E. Libyan factions. This has multiplied deaths by whole factors, the coalition flying hundreds of missions per day. The factions include significant numbers of fighters with terrorist linked groups. It is possible that the insurgent that fired at the coalition plane and caused it to drop bombs killing ten or so forgot he was in Libya and not Iraq.
Taking oil from a country we have declared war on smacks of pillage. The 31 people in the council selling the oil are not an officially recognised body and so their sale of public owned oil is likely theft. A small crime when the UN regulations that have been ignored are considered in the “get Gaddafi” triumvirate campaign.Sending food and medical aid to the insurgents only clearly shows who the coalition is supporting, E. Libyan fighters and civilians.