News / Middle East

Much of Libya Outside of Government Control

Protesters against the Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi chant slogans during a demonstration in Benghazi, February 26, 2011
Protesters against the Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi chant slogans during a demonstration in Benghazi, February 26, 2011

Latest Information

The Libya's top envoy to the United States on Saturday said the international community should support the interim government taking shape in Libya.  

It was not immediately clear if Ambassador Ali Aujali was talking about the caretaker government formed this week by former Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil. A U.S. State Department spokesman said he had no immediate comment on Jalil's government.

Scattered protests continued in Libya Saturday, amid reports of further defections by former top officials to the side of the insurgents. Popular protests also continued in Yemen and several other Arab countries, as well. 

A large crowd of mostly young protesters chanted "Libya is free, Libya is free, Gadhafi get lost," in the Western town of Misrata on a video posted on Facebook.  Misrata was the scene of bloody clashes several days ago between forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and residents of the city.

An eyewitness told Al-Jazeera TV that several neighborhoods in the Libyan capital Tripoli were under insurgent control, following skirmishes with Gadhafi loyalists. He added that security forces loyal to Colonel Gadhafi's government however are still present and patrolling most neighborhoods.

The colonel’s son and heir-apparent Saif al-Islam on Friday complained to reporters that news reports in the foreign press of heavy casualties during recent violence were not true. He urged the European Union to send a fact-finding mission to investigate.

"Here in Libya, we are laughing about those reports about hundreds and thousands of casualties. Soon, you will discover that what you have heard in Libya was just a big joke," he said.

Despite the official denial, both Al-Arabiya TV and Al-Jazeera TV showed videos of dozens of young people and other insurgents killed during recent fighting.  In one Youtube video, Gadhafi loyalists were seen shooting two young protesters and driving away with their bodies.

Saif al-Islam also echoed recent accusations by his father that al-Qaida was supporting the insurgent movement, calling the insurgents "terrorists".

"If we are talking about al-Qaida, it's not a secret. Al-Qaida issued a statement yesterday supporting those groups in Libya and they said 'this is part of our global war against...' I don't know. So, go to the internet, and search there, and you will see the statement, official statement from al-Qaida issued yesterday, supporting those terrorist people," he said.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi declared Saturday that it appeared that Mr. Gadhafi "no longer controls the situation in Libya."  The statement came as more former top government officials defected to the insurgent movement.


An anti-government protester shouts slogans along with other demonstrators during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, February 26, 2011
An anti-government protester shouts slogans along with other demonstrators during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, February 26, 2011

In Yemen, which has been rocked by popular protests against the government for over ten days, several of the country’s key tribes joined the protest movement. Protesters are calling for the resignation of veteran President Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled the country since 1978.

Several hundred mostly young Egyptian protesters also tried to camp out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square overnight, but were dispersed by military police, who arrested several. The protesters are demanding that Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq be replaced.

The Egyptian Army later apologized for the arrests as well as for roughing up a handful of protesters. The army also ordered the release of those detained during Friday’s large protest.


Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs