Qaddafi's troops, rebels locked in standoff around Brega: April 5 Mideast update

Libya's rebels want Brega's oil resources to finance their troops. Meanwhile, the US increasingly sees Yemen's Saleh as a destabilizing factor.

By , Correspondent

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    Libyan rebels monitor the field during an exchange of fire with pro-Qaddafi forces along the frontline at the outskirts of Brega, Libya, on Monday, April 4. Libyan rebels pushed into the strategic oil town of Brega on Monday but came under fire from Muammar Qaddafi's forces, as a government envoy began a diplomatic push in Europe to discuss an end to the fighting.
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Check back weekday mornings for a quick tally of the latest developments in the Middle East and North Africa.

Libya

Pro-government and rebel forces are still locked in a standoff around Brega, where both sides have been engaged in fighting since the middle of last week. Rebels took part of the city Wednesday, but have been the target of heavy fire from Col. Muammar Qaddafi's troops since then.

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The rebel troops hope to retake Brega in order to be in control of the city's oil resources, which would provide a much-needed financial boost that could translate to more weapons, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Colonel Qaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, told the BBC that Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa had not actually defected from Libya. He said that Mr. Koussa was in Britain for health reasons and had been pressured into denouncing the Libyan government in order to secure immunity.

A Turkish ship evacuated hundreds of injured Libyan civilians from Misratah and Benghazi, bringing them to Turkey for medical treatment.

Yemen

Protests and violent clashes carried on for another day Tuesday, both in Sanaa and Taez. The New York Times reports that some in the Obama administration now see President Ali Abdullah Saleh's refusal to step down as contributing to the country's instability, rather than crucial to keeping order in Yemen. Counting further against Mr. Saleh is the fact that counterterrorism efforts, a key reason for US support of Saleh, have been put on hold during the protests.

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