Qaddafi and rebels look for friends: April 4 Mideast update
Muammar Qaddafi's forces appear locked in a stalemate with the rebel troops, just east of Brega. Violent clashes within Yemen's protests reached a milestone. And the Gulf's economic bloc is in a tussle with Iran.
The weekend was a busy one on the diplomatic front for both sides in the Libyan conflict. The government's Deputy Foreign Minister Abdelati Laabidi (the elected foreign minister Moussa Koussa defected last week) traveled to Greece this weekend to meet with the Greek prime minister as an envoy for Qaddafi's government. His trip sparked speculation that he too was defecting, but representatives insist he is not.
Meanwhile, Italy became the third country (after France and Qatar) to recognize the opposition's interim government as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. The Italian foreign minister said the only acceptable result of the conflict is Muammar Qaddafi's departure.
Qaddafi and rebel forces appear locked in a stalemate east of Brega, where forces have been gathered since March 31. Brega is the last town to the west of Ajdabiya, which itself is the last city before the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.
The death toll in Yemen's unrest rolled over 100 this weekend, and today's protests also turned violent. Agence France-Press reports that 17 people have so far been killed Monday alone in Taez, about 125 miles from the capital of Sanaa, which was also the site of protests Monday.
The New York Times reported over the weekend that the US is backing away from its staunch support of Saleh, no longer convinced that he has a "tenable" hold on power.
The Bahrain News Agency reported that the Gulf's regional and economic bloc, the Gulf Cooperation Council, condemned Iran for sowing instability in region, particularly Bahrain. The Bahraini government believes that the country's uprising is an Iranian conspiracy meant to shake the Sunni monarchy from power.