Rebels and residents flee Ajdabiya following a claimed NATO strike on insurgent forces massing (if that is the correct term) outside Brega. Gov’t forces took advantage and pressed east towards Ajdabiye. Seems the important towns west of the insurgents’ HQ, Benghazi are being returned to gov’t control that will leave Misurata isolated and far from the possibility of reinforcements.
Al Jazzeera article – Libyan rebels and residents flee Ajdabiya
Koussa is being questioned by Scots police. If it transpires that stories about Palestinians being responsible are supported then Cameron’s Lockerbie card is lost to him.
Police chief- Lockerbie evidence was faked Scotsman (2005)
Saif Gaddafi: his father’s son, or the would-be face of Libyan reform? Guardian
[Doubtful, looks like he is too easily swayed.]
2:18am On Thursday, Abdel Fattah Younes, the defected head of the rebel military, confirmed for the first time that the opposition forces have received foreign weapons: anti-tank guns from Qatar. The tiny but wealthy Gulf country has been at the forefront of support for Libya’s anti-Gaddafi movement, offering them official recognition and to be a broker for their oil.
7:47am Our correspondent Sue Turton reports from Tobruk, on the rebels’ need of better weapons and claims that they are receiving arms from abroad.
[Good report in the vid.] ‘Leftovers’ vid – youtube.com/watch?v=bVwB-N0_wYM
10:39am This video posted online by Wefaq Media is said to show the air strike that killed at least four people outside Brega yesterday.
[13 seconds in, looks to be 2 bombs.] facebook.com/video/video.php?v=207877309
11:27am Reuters quotes rebels as saying they are fighting Gaddafi forces trying to enter the city of Misurata from the east.
Comment on this
09:09 Sky News reporting that NATO airstrikes have hit targets in Sirte, Gaddafi’s home town, this morning.
09:17 Rear Adml Harding adds a denial of a strike on the Sarir oilfield, which NATO was accused of conducting by Gaddafi’s people, saying it was “absolutely false”, adding: “There was no NATO strike in that area.”
Instead, he says it was conducted by Gaddafi’s forces “in an attempt to disrupt supplies to Tobruk”.
09:33 NATO will not apologise for killing rebels in Brega yesterday, Harding says, to some confusion from journalists in press conference.
09:35 The basic premise seems to be that the alliance military had no choice but to attack when it saw tanks taking positions which could have threatened civilians.
There are some suggestions that gov’t forces are flying planes and they attacked the insurgents outside Brega yesterday. I find that hard to swallow. Why are there no satellite pictures in the news, not just about this latest incident? Russia, China, Google where are you when the truth is needed?
What next? The Libyan army may bypass Ajdabiye and go straight for the heart, Benghazi. That will likely be the excuse for the coalition “boots on the ground” invasion force. OTOH, with the army at the gates to Benghazi another ceasefire may be offerred. The coalition of bank clerks would be wise to step up to the table and start negotiating before they lose the Benghazi central bank, all their other gains and any hope of profit.
If Benghazi falls, Gaddafi will hold all the cards and very likely many US, UK and French “advisors”. What then? And if the Lockerbie atrocity cannot be laid at Gaddafi’s door then Cameron will look worse than Gaddafi. If the insurgents have half as many terrorists in their ranks as suggested then Gaddafi’s claim to be fighting to suppress militant extremists may hold water and the intervention loses its validity.
Etcetera: Trump’s Hunt for Obama’s Birth Certificate [vid]
Danger: Comedians at work - Lawmakers Weigh Giving Up Paychecks if Shutdown Forces Federal Furlough Fox
With Congress accelerating toward a possible shutdown, lawmakers are trying to make this failure of governance seem a tad less offensive to everyday Americans by vowing to give back part of their $174,000 paychecks.
Comment on this 11:00 Here is a conundrum to which there appears no easy answer for the rebels: Sirte is loyal to Gaddafi, many civilians live there, if the rebels attack Sirte, they are attacking civilians, and NATO will be bound by the terms of the mandate to destroy their forces, as Sky News points out.
[That is the question.]
11:42 NATO’s airstrikes have hit T72 tanks, armoured personnel carriers, rocket launchers and surface-to-air missiles, ammunition dumps to the south of Tripoli and along the coastal road between Ras Lanuf and Sirte, as well as air defence sites which were targeting aircraft enforcing the no-fly zone.
[That is the answer. If the coalition attacks the insurgents don't need to.]
12:07 UNICEF, the UN’s children’s agency, claims snipers are targeting children in besieged Misurata. A spokeswoman said:
[We have received] “…reliable and consistent reports of children being among the people targeted by snipers in Misrata.”
[Again I ask, why hasn't a daylight ceasefire been called to allow civilians and unarmed insurgents to escape?]
13:49 Civilians are reportedly fleeing the east of Misurata as Gaddafi’s forces attack the heavily populated Esqeer district where families are crammed together.
14:27 Apologies for not bringing you more updates from the wider region today. Here are the main developments in grossly abbreviated form:
• In Syria, security services have shot dead three protesters in Daraa during pro-democracy rallies
• In Gaza, Israeli jets have killed three civilians and two militants after a nascent truce broke down
• In Yemen, President Saleh rejected the Saudi-led exit plan as massed protests began
• In Iraq, at least three died when local military battled an Iranian opposition group
• Bahrain’s King Hamad boasted of his links to Israel’s intelligence services, according to a 2005 leak
14:39 Gaddafi’s troops have fired salvoes of rockets which have forced the rebels in Ajdabiya to retreat to the city centre, apparently leaving the rest of the town undefended.
Reuters - Revolutionaries near Ajdabiya have painted the roofs of their vehicles bright pink on Friday, to avoid more friendly fire casualties.
[That is going to be really difficult for the army to replicate. What if the army paints the Union Jack on their vehicles? Ahh yes, bomb them for racism.]
Nato Asked to Back Off Libya All Africa
A group of individuals and Organizations calling itself Coalition Against Foreign Military Intervention in Africa(CAFIA) has damned the onslaught of foreign military aggression on Libya and Cote d’ Ivoire.
Two Press TV reports are reminders of the dung pile bankster financed and oil lubricated aggressive intervention results in:
Blast kills 2, injures 4 near Baghdad
At least two civilians have been killed and four others wounded in a bombing attack northwest of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, a local security source says.
Video shows Afghan attack on US convoy
The convoy had entered Afghanistan through Torkham border in the east and was carrying supplies, including fuel, for a US military base in the province.
The convoy was escorted by eight US armored vehicles carrying about 40 American soldiers and an Afghan military truck when it came under attack in Jalala village.
The Afghan fighters claim they have killed all 40 American troops in the attack and seized the convoy’s supplies.
JPMorgan chief gets $5m in cash bonus (Blair’s boss?)
Here’s a potted background to the oil aspect of the coalition intervention in the Libyan insurgency.
Why the Oil Companies Decided Qaddafi Has to Go – Counterpunch
15.47 A witness in the only major rebel-held city in western Libya says militiamen and pro-government forces are battling for control of a key road.
The witness says rebel forces are trying keep Gaddafi’s troops from taking full control of a coastal route linking Misurata to its port, a critical lifeline for besieged civilians and opposition fighters.
16.14 The United States has increased pressure on Gaddafi and extended financial sanctions to five senior Libyan government officials and two entities controlled by Gaddafi’s children. The US Treasury Department said it added Libya’s prime minister, oil minister, finance minster, Gaddafi’s chief of staff and the country’s internal security director to its sanctions blacklist. The sanctions prohibit US transactions with them and seek to freeze any assets they may have under US jurisdiction.
[The money grab that is continuing splendidly continues. Cutting losses as a division looks increasingly likely?]
16.57 The report from the United States has found that human rights abuses were “especially serious” last year in Bahrain, Libya and Syria. It concluded that mass uprisings in those nations raise hope for a brighter future. In its 2010 country reports on human rights practices, the State Department also singled out for serious violations Iran and Iraq, China and Myanmar, the Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe as well as Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.
[How come Cameron's winter cold deaths aren't in there? Perhaps they are considered friendly fire (or lack thereof) casualties.]
5:35pm Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO secretary-general, talks to Al Jazeera about what he says is progress being made in implementing UN Security Council resolution 1973 – and about the deaths caused by NATO forces near Brega. Vid youtube.com/watch?v=TqNTxgT5Lj8
In a list of those targetted by US sanctions – The Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation and the Waatasemu Charity Association were also designated today. The Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation is a Geneva-registered organization founded in Libya in 1998 and incorporated in Switzerland in 2004.
It was designated for being owned and controlled by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who is the foundation’s president and a board member.
Can anyone say if the “treasury reserve” supposedly funding the Libya fiasco is the gold left over after Brown’s finesse?