Qaddafi Under Allied Attack as Region Seethes

Yesterday, forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi came under a blistering attack by U.S. and European naval and air forces. Meanwhile, anti-government protests continued today in Syria as U.S.-backed despots violently suppressed those who threaten the status quo. Here's a look at what's happening across the Middle East.

  • The Times' Kareem Fahim describes the scene on the main highway outside of Benghazi where French warplanes had apparently struck a column of vehicles used by Qaddafi's forces yesterday: "Littered across the landscape, some 30 miles south of Benghazi, the detritus of the allied airstrikes on Saturday and Sunday morning offered a panorama of destruction: tanks, charred and battered, their turrets blasted clean off, one with a body still caught in its remnants; a small Toyota truck with its roof torn away; a tank transporter still on fire."
  • Following yesterday's allied strikes against Libya, Muammar Qaddafi said in a phonecall to state-run television, "We promise you a long war." He also said that his supporters had been armed with "automatic weapons, mortars, bombs."
  • The main hospital in Benghazi, according to Reuters, is "filled with men, women and children wounded" during Qaddafi's assault on the city yesterday.
  • James Fallows says to count him among the skeptics of American and allied intervention in Libya: "Launching air strikes is the easiest, most exciting, and most dependably successful stage of a modern war, from the US / Western perspective. TV coverage is wall-to-wall and awestruck. The tech advantages are all on our side. Few Americans, or none at all, are hurt. It takes a while to see who is hurt on the ground."
  • Following Yemen's violent crackdown on protesters, which killed at least 52 people on Friday, the country's UN ambassador has resigned in protest: "Abdullah Alsaidi has submitted his resignation to protest at the use of violence against demonstrators."
  • The southern Syrian city of Deraa is seeing it's third straight day of unprecedented anti-government protests. At least four people have been killed by Syrian security forces there this week.
  • Some good news! Around 25 million Egyptians turned out yesterday to vote in a referendum on constitutional amendments. The presidential election remains on track for August.
  • While the U.S. attacks Qaddafi for crimes against his own people, one of our closest allies, the ruling monarchy in Bahrain, continues its violent attacks on doctors who treat those injured by security forces during protests.
  • Finally, let's hope that the four New York Times journalists being held by Qaddafi — Anthony Shadid, Tyler Hicks, Lynsey Addario and Stephen Farrell — are safe and released immediately.

    [Image via AP]