It was six months ago to this day that Muammer Gaddafi delivered his defiant rant against a popular rebellion, vowing to hunt down his opponents in every corner, inch by inch and, famously, “zenga (alleyway) by zenga.”
So hysterical was his outburst that it inspired a “zenga zenga” auto-tune that became all the rage in the liberated east of Libya, even though it was produced by an Israeli artist.
In the end, however, it was the fractious, rag-tag army of revolutionaries he had promised to pursue who swept, from zenga to zenga, into the leader’s stronghold of Tripoli, in a lightening journey that is drawing the curtain on his 42 year rule. Read more
Middle Eastern autocrats are having a field day with the UK riots, taking pleasure at the mayhem in a western capital and interpreting it the way that suits their propaganda.
One hardline newspaper in Tehran blamed the violence on rising student tuition fees; another put the responsibility on the US and its economic policies. In Libya, the Gaddafi regime, once a friend of Britain but now a sworn enemy, also took aim at London. A presenter on state television on Wednesday hailed the rioting youth whom he said were demonstrating against a “fascist” government. Read more
People follow the trial of Hosni Mubarak in Cairo. Getty Images.
Who needs Ramadan soap operas when you can watch live, second by second, an Arab ruler on trial?
Until the moment Hosni Mubarak was wheeled into the iron cage this morning on a hospital bed , there were widespread doubts that he would appear in court to face charges of killing protestors during the 18 day revolution that ended his 30-year rule. Some said the trial of the deposed autocrat would be postponed, others speculated Mubarak would prefer to die than be dragged to court. Read more
One of the unusual aspects of the Bahrain uprising in February and March this year was the fact that it did not dominate the broadcasts of Qatar’s al Jazeera (the Arabic language channel) and Saudi Arabia’s al-Arabiya.
In the name of Gulf solidarity – and given the dispatch of Saudi and other Gulf troops to bolster the ruling al-Khalifa family – highlighting a youth awakening among Bahrain’s Shia against the Sunni monarchy was out of the question. Read more
As events unfold in Libya and across the wider region, the FT is running live coverage on Gideon Rachman’s blog. This post will update automatically. Read more
As events unfold in Libya, the FT will be running live coverage on Gideon Rachman’s blog. This post will update every few minutes, although it may take longer on mobile devices. Read more
A tank being struck by a missileAs events unfold in Libya, the FT will be running live coverage on Gideon Rachman’s blog. Read more
As events unfold in Libya, the FT will be running live coverage on Gideon Rachman’s blog.
By Kiran Stacey in London and Anora Mahmudova in New York. All times are GMT, Libya is 2 hours ahead.
For the latest coverage, please go to our March 20th live blog.
23.40 Via Reuters: Libya has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council after it was bombarded by a coalition of Western states, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya reported without giving a source or details about the purpose of such a meeting. Read more
Amazingly enough, Libya remains a member of the UN Human Rights Council. But tomorrow, the council will hold a special session to consider the situation in Libya. On its website, it notes that this is the first time that the UN has decided to investigate a sitting member. There is no acknowledgement that is a disgrace that Libya is a member of the council in the first place. However, this is not some weird accident. It is the settled will of the international community. The Libyans were voted onto the council in May – getting 155 votes of the 192 UN members. Gaddafi is obviously a popular chap. Read more
Colonel Gaddafi’s regime in Libya is under pressure after security forces clashed with protestors. James Blitz, diplomatic editor, tells Daniel Garrahan that this revolt will be met by extreme violence from the Gaddafi leadership and there are now big questions to be asked of the oil majors investing in the country. Read more