Army intervenes in Egypt protests; White House backpedals from military intervention in Libya
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.)
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:
Thanks for being with us today, and come visit us tomorrow for more updates.
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.
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."
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:
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.
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:
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 #Libya
Pro-Gaddafi forces have hit oil facilities along the coast in central Libya. But rebel forces to the east remain defiant. WATCH:
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":
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.
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:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discusses the crisis in Libya and what the options are for the U.S. Watch:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
Let's not get confused. This is SS using thugs to make Mubarak's pathetic warning of "chaos will spread after me" come true. #Jan25
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.
| March 9, 2011; 1:09 PM ET
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