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Posted at 1:09 PM ET, 03/ 9/2011

Army intervenes in Egypt protests; White House backpedals from military intervention in Libya

By Elizabeth Flock
Egyptian Coptic Christians demonstrate outside the state radio and television building in central Cairo on March 8, 2011. (AFP/Getty Images)

As demonstrations continue around the Middle East, we keep you updated on the developing situation. Use this map to keep up with the events in Libya and this map to keep up with all of the demonstrations, day by day.

We'll be marking time in Eastern Standard Time. Tunisia is six hours ahead, Egypt and Libya are seven hours ahead, Yemen and Iraq are eight hours ahead, and Oman is nine hours ahead. (See World Clock here.)

LIBYA: 12:20 a.m. (EET), Thursday / 5:20 p.m. (EST), Wednesday

As we close up for the night, rebel forces continued to engage in intense fighting with pro-Gaddafi fighters in multiple cities, suffering another day of brutal casualties but claiming to have gained some ground. Reports keep streaming in via Twitter:

LPC #Zintan:caller:Attack on Gaddafi forces checkpoint~40KM N of Zentan,main rte to #Zawiyah in mts.Fighters from Zintan.Audio shortly#Libyaless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

Thanks for being with us today, and come visit us tomorrow for more updates.

LIBYA: 12:19 a.m. (EET), Thursday / 5:19 p.m. (EST), Wednesday

BBC journalists 'arrested and tortured' by Gaddafi forces

Two journalists working for the BBC in Libya say they were arrested, tortured and subjected to a mock execution by security forces of Gaddafi's regime, the Guardian reported Wednesday.

The account of their experience, which included being held in a cage in military barracks while others were tortured around them, having shots fired fired past their heads, and being attacked repeatedly with fists, boots, rifle butts, a stick and piece of pipe, was just released to the media. Other victims had their ribs broken during the beatings.

This incident is the most serious yet targeting the international media.

LIBYA: 10:38 p.m. (EET) / 3:38 p.m. (EST), Wednesday

White House backpedals from military intervention in Libya

The Obama administration stepped back Wednesday from the prospect of impending U.S. military action to aid rebel forces in Libya, AOL reported. The administration said they were reluctant to enforce a no-fly zone without United Nations approval.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, CIA Director Leon Panetta and others met in the White House situation room to discuss options for Libya. But Obama had no plans to attend, and press secretary Jay Carney repeatedly said that this is "not a decision meeting."

EGYPT: 10:12 p.m. (EET) / 3:12 p.m. (EST), Wednesday

Army intervenes in Egypt protests

Christians demonstrate in front of the Egyptian Television building in the village of Atfeeh, south of Cairo March 8, 2011. (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

After stone-throwing in Egypt's Tahrir Square turned into clashes between Egyptians who wanted to air more grievances and those who want demonstrations to stop, the army intervened, Al Jazeera reported.

Officers fired warning shots in the air to break up the two sides and seven people were arrested. "I saw two people injured in the head, carried away by people," Ahmed Fathy, a witness, told Al Jazeera. Activists said they had caught one man who said he had been paid to attack the protesters.

After the protesters dispersed, the army cleared out the square, tearing down the tents and removing all other remnants of the protests.

Amnesty International condemned the Egyptian army's 'heavy-handed actions' to clear the square:

Eyet-witnesses in #tahrir told #amnesty protesters were beaten in custody of army after protest breakup #egyptless than a minute ago via web

LIBYA: 8:44 p.m. (EET) / 1:44 p.m. (EST), Wednesday

Austrian energy group not following sanctions against Libya

Austrian energy group OMV has been buying small amounts of Libyan crude oil and will continue to do so despite the violence there, its chief executive said, according to Reuters.

Most major oil companies are following sanctions against commercial activity in Libya, a review found, but OMV shows not everyone has halted its trade.

BAHRAIN: 9:44 p.m. (AST) / 1:44 p.m. (EST), Wednesday

Shia Bahrainis protests government's naturalization policy

Thousands of mostly Shia Bahrainis protested Wednesday against the granting of citizenship to Sunnis from other countries who serve in the country's military, Al Jazeera reported.

Demonstrators marched on the immigration office in the capital, Manama, shouting slogans and carrying signs that said, "The naturalized must get out." Protesters also shouted slogans about Sunni-Shia unity to show that the protest was against the government's naturalization policy, not Bahrain's native Sunni population.

The Shia Muslim majority has been protesting for weeks against what they say is discrimination by the Sunni Muslim Al-Khalifa ruling family.

Video emerged Wednesday that purportedly showed Bahrainis celebrating their "victory" in Hamad Town Roundabout 7:

LIBYA: 8:08 p.m. (EET) / 1:08 p.m. (EST), Wednesday

Libyan regime offers $500,000 bounty for opposition group chairman's capture

Former justice minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil, one of the first high-profile Libyans to defect from Kadhafi's four-decade regime when the uprising began more than two weeks ago, gives a press conference on March 5, 2011 in the eastern city of Benghazi. (GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Libyan regime has offered a nearly $500,000 bounty for the capture of Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the chairman of the opposition National Council, Al Jazeera reported.

"The General Administration for Criminal Investigations is offering a reward of 500,000 Libyan dinars for any person who captures and hands over the spy named Abdel Jalil and a reward of 200,000 Libyan dinars for anyone who provides information leading to his capture," said the report, which cited Libyan state TV.

A tweet from Libya:

Billionaire Gaddafi shows us signs of his 42yrs of greed, offers 500k LYD ransom for opposition leader who will $oon take it all back #Libyaless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

LIBYA: 8:08 p.m. (EET) / 1:08 p.m. (EST), Wednesday

Gaddafi forces hit central Libya oil facilities

Pro-Gaddafi forces have hit oil facilities along the coast in central Libya. But rebel forces to the east remain defiant. WATCH:

LONDON: 5:19 p.m. (GMT) / 12:16 p.m. (EST), Wednesday

Squatters have taken over Gaddafi's son's London home

Squatters have taken over a London house believed to belong to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's son, police have confirmed to BBC.

A group calling themselves "Topple the Tyrants" occupied the £10 million ($16 million) house in Hampstead Garden Suburb in north London Wednesday morning, and said they would remain there until certain the property's assets would be returned to the Libyan people.

A twitpic purportedly shows Saif's home with a sign that says "Out of Libya, Out of London":

Screen grab

LIBYA: 7:11 p.m. (EET) / 12:11 p.m. (EST), Wednesday

Libyan envoys in talks with EU, defense minister reportedly meeting Arab League

Libyan envoys are in talks with European Union officials in Brussels, Al Jazeera reported. The delegation in Brussels will meet NATO officials in the coming days.

The Libyan deputy defense minister has also arrived in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. Deputy Defence Minister Abdelrahman al-Zawi was reportedly carrying a message from Gaddafi and was to meet with Amr Moussa, head of the Arab league, according to state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper.

YEMEN: 7:51 p.m. (AST) / 11:51 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Deaths of two protesters in Yemen harden opposition's resolve

Anti-government protestors react during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, March 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

The deaths of two protesters in Yemen hardened attitudes against Saleh's 32-year rule, said the opposition, which vowed on Wednesday not to abandon protests in the face of violence, according to Reuters.

A supporter of the president was killed in the southern province of Hadramaut, a security official told the AFP news agency. An anti-government protester who was shot when the army raided a university campus in the capital, Sanaa, has also died, doctors said.

Video images began to emerge on Wednesday purportedly showing the violent crackdown on protests in Sanaa. WATCH:

LIBYA: 6:10 p.m. (EET) / 11:10 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Clinton says of Libya: 'There is an international effort going on'

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discusses the crisis in Libya and what the options are for the U.S. Watch:

TUNISIA: 5:00 p.m. (CET) / 11:00 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Tunisia dissolves former ruling party

Tunisian Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi speaks during a press conference on March 4, 2011 in Tunis and says deposed President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was guilty of "high treason", a crime punishable by death. (FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)

A Tunisian court has dissolved the former ruling party of the country's ousted leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Al Jazeera reported.

The court in the capital, Tunis, announced the end of the Rally for Constitutional Democracy (RCD) on Wednesday in a decision that met the demands from protesters. The party said it would appeal against the decision.

When the court ruled that the chamber "decided to dissolve the Rally for Constitutional Democracy and to liquidate its assets and funds," it was greeted with a burst of applause.

The 22-year-old party has a membership of two million people out of the Tunisian population of around 10.4 million. It was accused of violating the constitution to set up a one-party "totalitarian regime" under Ben Ali. The party has also never been audited or filed annual accounts, the interior ministry said.

LIBYA: 5:05 p.m. (EET) / 10:05 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

World Food Programme enters Libya

A convoy of trucks from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has entered Libya and will arrive in the eastern port city of Benghazi Wednesday, Al Jazeera reported. WFP is bringing food assistance as part of a $39.2 million emergency operation to feed the more than one million people in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia over a three-month period.

People prepare tea for protesters in Benghazi March 8, 2011. (REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)

LIBYA: 4:55 p.m. (EET) / 9:55 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Gaddafi's private planes reportedly leave Libya

Three of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's private planes have taken off from a military airstrip near Tripoli, according to Al Jazeera. The planes are allegedly flying in three different directions. "One is suggested to be Vienna, the other is supposed to be Athens in Greece, and the other is Cairo, Egypt," Karl Stango-Navarra, a journalist based in Valletta, Malta, told Al Jazeera.

LIBYA: 4:30 p.m. (EET) / 9:30 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Gaddafi blames foreigners for uprising, says he will take up arms if no-fly zone imposed

Embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi has once again alleged involvement of foreigners in the uprising against his more than 41-year-old rule, Al Jazeera reported.

In an address on State TV, Gaddafi warned of a plot to colonize Libya. As proof, he said his security forces had captured several foreigners during a raid on Monday.

"Yesterday, the mosque that the security forces regained power over, they had in this mosque, they had weapons and alcohol has well. Some of them come from Afghanistan, some of them come from Egypt, some of them come from Algeria, just to misguide our children," Gaddafi said.

He alleged that "foreign forces" were recruiting vulnerable young people in Zentain, Zawiyah and Benghazi - all rebel-held cities.

"Those who exhibit weakness are targeted ... Otherwise, why did they not come after you? ... so you see. This means only the scum who could not be strong," he said.

Gaddafi also said his people will take up arms if a no-fly zone is imposed by Western nations or the U.N., according to BBC.

LIBYA: 4:10 p.m. (EET) / 9:10 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Libyan government official flies to Egypt

A senior Libyan government official flew to Egypt in a private jet on Wednesday, possibly to convey a message to Egyptian officials from embattled leader Moammar Gaddafi, wire services reported. Read more here.

LIBYA: 4:06 p.m. (EET) / 9:06 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Benghazi square celebrates reports that rebels may have pushed back pro-Gaddafi forces

Correspondent Steve Hendrix says Benghazi square just erupted with celebratory gunfire on reports that rebels have finally pushed back into Benjiwad, where government forces have held them off for the last four days. We have not yet confirmed that the rebel forces have recaptured Benjiwad.

Watch what is purported to be a live stream from Benghazi from Libya Alhurra TV here:

Watch live streaming video from libya17feb at

A witness at the scene in Ben Jawwad reached by cell phone confirmed that rebels had pushed at least to the very edge of the village under extremely heavy fighting. A major explosion sent a plume of smoke of flames over a nearby airfield, possibly the result of a strike on fuel tanks there.

Another witnesses in the frontline town of Ras Lanuf reported that revolutionary forces had moved major artillery toward Ben Jawwad Wednesday morning.

"We've gone from a revolution to a war," said Salwa Bugaighis, a lawyer in Benghazi.

The Libyan Youth Movement tweeted:

Tens of thousands of women in Benghazi out in the center protesting in support of the revolution #Libya #Feb17less than a minute ago via web

LIBYA: 3:59 p.m. (EET) / 8:59 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Oil prices remain near $105 a barrel

Oil prices remained near $105 a barrel Wednesday amid mixed signs about U.S. demand and as fighting continued in Libya between rebels and forces loyal to Moammar Gaddafi.

LIBYA: 2:59 p.m. (EET) / 7:59 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Zawiya remains under siege

Correspondents Samuel Sockol and Tara Bahrampour in Tunis interviewed residents of Zawiyah, the city closest to Libya's capital, by satellite phone. Residents said the city remains under siege by pro-Gaddafi forces. Here is their report:.

One witness who gave only his first name, Mohamed, said Wednesday that Zawiyah's main square was being bombed intensively.

"They are killing everybody who walks the street," he said, in an interview conducted by satellite phone because regular phone service, Internet service and electricity have been cut.

"Nobody can go onto the square. The whole square is almost demolished. They are shelling the square."

All entrances to the city have been closed, Mohamed said. It is impossible to bring in food or medicine. "We need some international aid here," he pleaded. "At least stop them from having airplanes to fly over us."

One Libyan blogger tweeted:

Reports of heavy casualties among civilians in #Azzawiya and hospitals lack basic medical suplies #Libyaless than a minute ago via web

A second resident told correspondents that the shelling began at 9 a.m. and continued through the morning. Gaddafi loyalists were using tanks, machine guns, artillery, mortars and snipers, said the resident, who did not want to be identified by name. He said communication within the city was extremely difficult, and it was hard to know how many were killed or injured Wednesday.

Medical workers compiling a list of the dead estimated that as many as 50 may have died in Tuesday's violence.

In this Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011 picture, residents lie in open graves and make the victory sign, to show their willingness to die, next to freshly-dug graves for recent victims, unseen, at a park in the main square in Zawiya. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

EGYPT: 2:30 p.m. (EET) / 7:30 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

Christian-Muslim clashes in Cairo kill 11

Holding up a sign that reads in Arabic, "No to the destruction of the Church", Egyptian Coptic Christians demonstrate outside the state radio and television building in central Cairo on March 8, 2011. (AFP/Getty Images)

UPDATE 11:53 AM EST: The number of people dead from clashes between Coptic Christians and Muslims in Cairo has been revised to 13, officials said.

Muslim-Christian clashes in the Egyptian capital Cairo killed 11 people wounded more than 90, according to security and hospital officials, AP reported.

The clashes broke out Tuesday night when a Muslim mob attacked thousands of Christians protesting the burning of a Cairo church last week. The church was set on fire after tensions escalated over a love affair between a Muslim and a Christian that set off a violent feud between the couple's families.

The officials said Wednesday six Christians and five Muslims died from gunshot wounds. 73 Muslims and 21 Christians were wounded.

Christian protesters blocked a highway, burning tires and pelting cars with rocks. The clashes lasted for about four hours.

Some tweeted from Egypt about the confusion over who was responsible for the clashes:

Tense calm in Tahrir now. Both camps claiming 'Mubarak's thugs' responsible for clashes. #Egypt #jan25less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

Let's not get confused. This is SS using thugs to make Mubarak's pathetic warning of "chaos will spread after me" come true. #Jan25less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

GENEVA: 1:42 p.m. (CET) / 7:42 a.m. (EST), Wednesday

UN special investigator on torture opens probe of abuses by Gaddafi forces

Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi appeared before a rally of his supporters in the capital of Tripoli, offering incentives for support and downplaying advances by rebel forces. (CBS News)

A U.N. special investigator says he has started a probe into allegations of torture used by Libyan ruler Moammar Gaddafi's forces, according to AP.

The U.N.'s special rapporteur for torture, Juan Mendez, confirmed Wednesday he is looking into "allegations under the Gaddafi regime" since Gaddafi's forces began their brutal crackdown on the protesting opposition last month.

Mendez spoke to reporters at the U.N.'s European headquarters in Geneva and said Gaddafi's use of torture and illegal detention in the past is "very well-documented."

Mendez was asked whether he would investigate media reports that Gaddafi's soldiers have been using ambulances to remove patients from hospitals and execute them, but said he would not specify what the probe was looking into.

By Elizabeth Flock  | March 9, 2011; 1:09 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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Regarding the Christian-Muslim clash in Egypt, I hope the press does not try to turn this into a religious war. Students who started this uprising want peaceful change. If this article is accurate the Christian-Muslim "clash" started with two families who are unhappy their children are marrying out of their faith. A family argument should not cause a middle-eastern religious war. Let's all keep our heads and avoid unintended consequences.

Posted by: njglea | March 9, 2011 8:40 AM | Report abuse

A Plan For Action: if the U.S. sits on the sidelines throughout a protracted Libyan civil war, we not only will further degrade our prestige in the region; but also, forfeit the leverage to influence future events to the detriment of American interests. Decisive intervention without the risk of loss of American life is can be readily achieved. Employing F-22s flying out of Italy with tanker support can obliterate Lybian: airfield fuel depots; ammo storage areas; exposed aircraft on airfield ramps; decommission airfield runways; adjacent support facilities; and, command and control nodes, ALL without penetrating Libyan airspace and well outside of Libyan air-defense assets by launching precision-guided munitions from extended ranges in a roll-back tactic. Discussion about enforcing an umbrella like no-fly zone over Libya is misguided. By effectively denuding Gaddafi of his decisive advantage in air-support assets, the Freedom Fighters will soon prevail in their attempt to bring down a brutal dictator and supporter of terrorism throughout the region. Terrorism that has all too frequently been directed at United States interests. Concurrent covert activities to establish bridgeheads with favorable Freedom Fighter leadership could well bias the conflict to America’s interests. A decisive dominance of the F-22 in such an encounter, would as well expose the short-sighted and ill-advised action to pre-maturely cancel the F-22 production line. Greg Neubeck

Posted by: gneubeck | March 9, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Gneubeck, you make good points, but let's keep things in perspective. The F-22 is a great airplane but not immune to SAM attack or just plane failures. Either of those could put a US pilot into Quaddaffi's hands and that would not be good.

Better to attack with UAVs.

Posted by: shermaro1 | March 9, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

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