Muslim Brotherhood to Egyptian Military: Don’t Interfere with Constitution – Obama Sells Egypt Tanks – Al Queda Reportedly Attacks

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has told the Egyptian military not to interfere with writing the new Egyptian constitution. In May, Egypt opened a gate between the Sinai and the Gaza Strip. This week Israel suffered a devastating attack from Palestinians with al-Qaeda connections entering Israel from Egypt’s Sinai.

In the meantime, in a letter to Congress, Barack Obama announced the sale of 125 M-1A1 Abrams Tanks to the Egyptian military along with machine guns, machine gun parts and M256 Armament Systems, maintenance, support equipment and training. The Pentagon said the sale would ”provide Egypt with a modern tank fleet, enhancing its capability to meet future threats.” If the Brotherhood succeeds in controlling or co-operating with the military, we have armed them. The threat to Israel in all of this is palpable.

Perhaps the most troubling, along with the Muslim Brotherhood taking control of Egypt’s constitution, is the claim that al-Qaeda has made their first attack on Israel (National Review Online):

On Thursday, a team of 15 to 20 armed al Qaeda terrorists (members of the Palestinian Popular Committees, an al Qaeda affiliate) snaked through tunnels from Gaza to Sinai. From there, they hiked 200 kilometers over land, either ignored or facilitated by Egyptian army forces. They were thus able to sneak into Israel, through the porous border at Eilat – porous because Israel has not needed to worry much about its Egyptian border for the last 30 years.

At around noon, the terrorists took up positions along the highway and opened fire at buses and cars. One detonated a suicide belt. In all, eight Israelis were killed and 30 more wounded. The terrorists shot to death a family of four who were just out driving in their car – father, mother, and their 6- and 4-year-old kids (“resistance” against the “occupiers,” as Islamists like to say).  Barry Rubin counts this as al Qaeda’s first successful terrorist attack against Israel.

Israeli forces then crossed into Sinai for a small degree of retribution, killing three to five Egyptian police/soldiers.

Israeli police and defense forces killed several of the terrorists. They pursued at least two of the terrorists into Egyptian territory. At that point, some Egyptian soldiers either joined in the firefight or got caught in it accidentally – the facts are not yet clear, though a least one eyewitness says a terrorist was firing from an Egyptian army position. Five Egyptian soldiers were killed. Source: see the NRO article linked above.

A look around the Internets and you’ll see that it is easier to condemn Israel than the obvious culprits (The Economist):

But while it is politically convenient (and probably accurate) to point to Hamas-run Gaza as the terrorists’ point of departure, it is more unnerving for Israeli leaders to consider the evident ease with which they crossed through the Sinai to their targets just over the border.

As background, Muslim Brotherhood (MB) leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi was banned from the country some 30 years ago by Hosni Mubarak. Al-Qaradawi was implicated in the assassination plot that killed Anwar Sadat. As soon as Mubarak was out-of-power, the hardline Islamist marched into Cairo in triumph. He has led the fight for full implementation of Shariah Law and has returned the MB back to prominence.

In March 2011, a referendum vote was held on changes to the existing constitution. The freedom fighters who filled Tahrir Square for weeks urged voters to vote “no,” but the referendum passed with 77% of those voting, voting for it, with only an astonishing 41% coming out to vote. There is widespread belief that not all was on the up-and-up in the vote, as the pro-Democracy crowd turned out in the streets on that day in heavy numbers, with a message to deny the referendum.

Next are parliamentary elections:

CAIRO (AP) — Calls are growing in Egypt for a delay of September’s parliamentary elections to give parties formed in the aftermath of Hosni Mubarak’s ouster more time to organize.

The push, which now has the prime minister’s backing, is aimed at keeping the well-organized Muslim Brotherhood from dominating the next legislature and exerting disproportionate Islamist influence over the drafting of a new constitution.

JihadWatch:

Parliamentary elections are slated for later this year, and the Brotherhood and its fellow Islamists are expected to do well at the polls. That would likely give them a dominant voice in appointing the committee that will draft a new constitution.

Liberals fear that an Islamist-dominated committee will produce a document that serves only the Islamists’ agenda.

It has not been a good week for Egyptian freedom fighters:

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s largest political group, the Muslim Brotherhood, warned the country’s military rulers Saturday not to interfere in the writing of a new constitution.

The statement from the Brotherhood marks the first time the Islamist group has directly challenged Egypt’s ruling military council since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak in February.

Militants, unclear whether Egyptian or Palestinian, but probably Palestinian crossed into Israel from their southern border and fired on cars and buses. Rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel has begun again. Eight Israelis are dead along with three to five Egyptian police.

Israel claims Palestinians left Gaza, went into Egypt’s Sinai and then re-entered Israel from the Sinai. Hosni Mubarak had kept the border between Gaza and the Sinai closed with some exceptions for cargo or humanitarian aid – and it was closely guarded at those times.

The Economist:

Thursday’s incident will reinforce growing fears in Israel that the Sinai Peninsula—sovereign Egyptian territory—is slipping out of Egypt’s control. The Arab spring and the removal of Hosni Mubarak in February have triggered repeated arson attacks on a natural gas pipeline running through Sinai which supplies Egyptian gas to both Israel and Jordan. Local Beduin tribes are in open revolt against Cairo, and seem increasingly contemptuous of Egyptian authority. Smuggling, mainly of drugs and women, is on the rise. And there are persistent reports of gangs of fundamentalists, some said to be linked to al Qaeda, roaming freely in northern Sinai.

This is a conundrum for Israel, as the 1979 Peace Treaty with Egypt calls for Israel’s approval before an Egyptian troop-build-up in the Sinai. Israel has approved increased security in light of this week’s deadly events, but knows that loosening the restrictions is a threat to Israeli’s under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Arab Spring has been romanticized but the message is clear: democracy in the Middle East is not an option, and Arabs will lose every time they try it without a full-out confrontation with the West. Iraq at this point is considered a democracy, and indeed, they elect their leaders, but the Iraq story has not yet played out.

(gulagbound.com / 21.08.2011)

‘Ground operation in Gaza possible’

Knesset’s Defense, Foreign Affairs
Committee tours rocket-riddled south. MK Mofaz: Israel must change equation with
Hamas. Vice Premier Shalom: All military options viable

Vice Premier and Minister for Regional Development Silvan Shalom toured the south on Sunday, as Gaza Strip’s terror group continued their nonstop rocket fire on the area’s communities

Shalom addressed the escalation in the south during a visit to Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba, where he looked in on those wounded in Saturday’s barrage: “The deterrence of has exhausted itself. We’ll need to respond, and we’re not ruling out the possibility of a ground operation,” he said.

Members of the Knesset’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee also toured the area on Sunday. Committee chairman and former IDF chief Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) said that “Israel must decide – will we continue with this intolerable reality of a
war of attrition, or will we strive for an unequivocal decision with regards to Hamas, including targeting its leaders and infrastructure, with aim of toppling its reign in Gaza.

“Any decision made by the government with aim of rehabilitating the State of Israel’s power of deterrence vis-à-vis Hamas, which has dissipated over the past few years, will be approved by the Knesset,” Mofaz said.

“It’s not right that over one million citizens cannot go about their normal lives. We must change this equation, where Hamas tells us what to do, because this past week’s terror attacks are some of the worst the State of Israel has ever known.”

Qassam damage on Highway 35 (Photo: Tsafrir Abayov)
Qassam damage on Highway 35

Be’er Tuvia’s Regional Council Head Dror Shor attended the meeting as well, noting that the have been preparing for the upcoming school year opening next week, wondering whether it would be wise to open the schools given the recent escalation. “Some of the communities put up portable shelters independently. It’s not a bad idea, securing 30 to 40 people,” he said.

“It’s pretty frustrating to know that we have deterrence equipment such as Iron Dome – but that getting supplies is a matter of budget,” said Committee member MK Avi Dichter.

Kiryat Malachi Mayor Motti Malka informed committee members that there are many factories surrounding his city, containing tons of hazardous materials which he said could cause a catastrophe should they be hit by a rocket.

“We cannot abide this situation, where a million Israelis are under the costant threat of rocket fire.”

MK Meir Sheetrit noted that “once a battery will be placed, it will lesson the anxiety of the public. Changes must be made in the State’s priorities.”

Dichter added that authority heads must place portable shelters in the streets, explaining it’s not a very complicated or expensive thing to do. “It’s frustrating to see children in schools where the have no place to run, hiding under tables. It’s embarrassing. Eventually we’ll have to look them in the eyes.”

(www.ynetnews.com / 21.08.2011)

Palestine / Gaza 21.08.2011 and Libye III

my timeline is rapidly updating with news about #Libya and #Gaddafi. WAKE UP. GAZA IS BEING SHELLED AND AL AQSA IS UNDER ATTACK

#Palestine RT @AntAP99: Al-Aqsa Mosque being attacked! #Gaza #Egypt #Lyibia #Syria

Medical Source Says All Bodies of Palestinians killed in Gaza Ripped Apart, Charred – http://t.co/4YH263y #Pray4Gaza #Gaza #Palestine

IOF blew up Al Qawasmeh house in #Hebron & now surrounding the house of Martyr: Ma2moon lnatsheh! #Palestine

#Breaking #Hebron a young injured Ahmed Abu Shukheidim a bullet to the head #NOW #Palestine #Occupation

Ya people wallah I swear I am happy 4 #Libya & supported #Libya since day1 but my people r dying now everywhere in #Palestine they need us!

1 killed & 25 injured in #Hebron now by Israeli aggression while @AJA @AJEnglish & @AlArabiya_Eng @AlArabiya r busy reporting other stuff!

#Palestine Updates: Israeli air strikes on #Gaza , Israeli attacks on #Hebron leaves 17 injured, Zionists provoking Palestinians in Al Aqsa!

#Hebron is under Israeli attack and raids, more than 17 Palestinians r injured there & #Gaza remains under attack!

BREAKING: another explosion heard in #Rafah southern #Gaza

UPDATE | in #Hebron #Now, #Zionists troops surrounding Al-Ahli hospital, preparing to bomb a house. Thinking also of #Gaza #Israel

Breaking News: Israeli army open fire at stone throwers in Herbron city of West Bank.

Breaking News: Rafah city, south of Gaza, bombarded by Israeli air force.

I am getting bad news 4m the west bank, Palestinian guys trapped in Al Aqsa mosque fighting zionists while Israeli warplanes hovering over!

While the world is busy: #Gaza remains under attack, Al Aqsa mosque & Palestinian guys in #WB r in danger! pffttt! #Palestine allah ye7miki

Reports: Israeli airstrikes now hitting Rafah #Gaza #ProtectGaza

Libya Tweeps report that Musa Ibrahim’s speech was not from Rixos, it was from his Villa #libya #tripoli

AJ Reports that Mohammed Ghaddafi’s son has turned himself to the Rebels #Libya #Tripoli

Libyan Tweeps reports that Ghaddafi battalions has orders to commit massacres in Tripoli to blame it on the rebels #Libya #Tripoli

1,300 people have been killed in Libya within the last 12 hours, #Libya government spokesman says

Rebel leader to Al Jazeera: Saif al-Islam, Moammar Gadhafi’s son, has been captured #Libya

Unconfirmed news that Ghaddafi was refused entry into Egypt and he head to Chad #Libya #Tripoli

Netanyahu is now meeting with the cabinet to decide the next steps on Gaza #ProtectGaza

Israel arrests 120 Hamas members in West Bank: Palestinians

HEBRON: Israeli troops on Sunday arrested 120 Hamas members in the southern West Bank just hours after the faction’s Gaza branch fired rockets into Israel, Palestinian police said.

Police sources said troops fanned out across the area in an overnight operation which kicked off just hours after Hamas’s
armed wing in Gaza fired rockets into southern Israel, lightly wounding two children.

It was the first rocket attack claimed by the group in more than four months and came in the context of rising tensions in and around the enclave after militants from Gaza killed eight Israelis in the Negev on Thursday.

Among those arrested early on Sunday was Hamas MP Mohammed Motlaq Abu J’heisha, the sources said.

“Between 100 and 120 people have been arrested,” Samira Halaika, a Hamas MP from Hebron told AFP. “In terms of size, there has never been such an arrest operation on this scale in the Hebron area before.”

Mushir al-Masri, another Hamas MP who lives in Gaza, said initial information showed at least 80 of the group’s members had been arrested in a move which he said demonstrated Israel’s “criminal mentality” towards the Palestinians.

“All attempts by the occupation to hit at Hamas are doomed to fail; experience has shown that it only makes Hamas stronger,” he said.

Asked if Saturday’s rocket fire on the Israeli town of Ofakim meant the de facto truce of April 10 was over, he did not answer. “If the aggression stops, Hamas will consult with the Palestinian factions about how to deal with the situation,” he said. In Dura near Hebron, youngsters hurled stones at the soldiers, who retaliated with rubber bullets, moderately injuring one person, medics said.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the reported arrests.

(mideastnews-danmike.blogspot.com / 21.08.2011)

CHILDREN KILLED AS ISRAELI AIRSTRIKES POUND GAZA

19 August 2011

MAP IS CALLING FOR EMERGENCY SURGICAL KITS IN RESPONSE TO SEVERE SHORTAGES

In the past 24 hours Israel has carried out at least 12 airstrikes across Gaza. Gaza hospitals are reporting the killing of a 2-year old child and 13-year old Mahmoud Abu Samra. Many more are reported wounded.

Terrifyingly for Gaza civilians, Israel’s Defence Minister has threatened to use “full force” against Gaza – in response to an attack by unknown gunmen in southern Israel on Thursday.

Palestinian journalists based in Gaza have described a “state of panic” in response to the sustained bombing.

Dr Mona El Farra, a Gaza physician, tells how Israeli bombs terrify civilians. She goes on to say: “my main concern now is how to coordinate with other health providers, the emergency health services, while we lack basic medications and supplies in most of the health facilities.”

MAP’s team in Gaza are bracing themselves for the worst. They have been in direct contact with the hospitals since the bombing started and have requested support to ready supplies.

MAP recently released its last Emergency Surgical Kits to hospitals in Gaza due to severe shortages of surgical equipment which was causing cancellations of surgery. As the situation in Gaza grows increasingly tense and unpredictable, it is essential that we replace these emergency supplies as soon as possible.

During the last war on Gaza, our stock of surgical kits allowed us to respond within hours. Each kit we released was able to treat over 100 casualties. Without these prepositioned supplies, MAP will not be able to respond immediately when shortages reach another critical low nor when the conflict escalates.

Each Emergency Surgical Kit costs £30,000

For the latest information visit www.map.org.uk or follow us on twitter at @#MedicalAidPal

(map-uk.org / 21.08.2011)

Assad: Mijn regime staat niet op instorten

De Syrische president Bashar Assad heeft zondag in een interview met de Syrische staatstelevisie verklaard dat zijn regime niet op instorten staat. Hij waarschuwde bovendien voor een militaire interventie in Syrië.

Als een ander land zich mengt in de nationale aangelegenheden van Syrië zou dat ‘repercussies’ kunnen hebben, zei hij.
President Assad herhaalde in het vraaggesprek zijn plannen om hervormingen door te voeren. Een commissie die onderzoek doet naar de hervormingen heeft volgens hem echter nog minstens zes maanden nodig. Assad zei tevens te verwachten dat er in februari 2012 parlementsverkiezingen gehouden kunnen worden. Aan die verkiezingen moeten ook andere partijen dan de regerende Baath-partij mee kunnen doen.

Opstanden
De beloftes van Assad zullen vermoedelijk weinig weerklank vinden binnen de Syrische oppositie. Die zegt alle vertrouwen in Assad verloren te hebben, omdat hij beloftes doet voor hervormingen, terwijl veiligheidstroepen het vuur openen op vreedzame betogers.
De Syrische leider poogt met harde hand de opstand tegen zijn regime de kop in te drukken.
De internationale gemeenschap heeft dit in scherpe bewoordingen afgekeurd. De Verenigde Staten en de Europese bondgenoten hebben donderdag nog geëist dat Assad direct aftreedt. Assad lijkt zich hier niets van aan te trekken.

Waarschuwing Obama
Assad noemde de afkeuring van de Amerikaanse president Barack Obama ‘van geen enkele waarde’. ‘Ik ben op dit moment niet bezorgd over de veiligheidssituatie. We kunnen zelfs zeggen dat de veiligheidssituatie verbeterd is.’ De situatie in Syrië lijkt volgens Assad gevaarlijk, ‘maar we zijn in staat hier mee om te gaan’.
Het veertig minuten durende interview was het vierde openbare optreden van Assad sinds half maart de opstand in Syrië uitbrak. Het was de eerste keer dat hij vragen wilde beantwoorden, hoewel de omroep wordt beschouwd als spreekbuis van het regime. De toon en de inhoud van het interview leken sterk op die van eerdere toespraken. Ook toen probeerde hij vertrouwen uit te stralen, benadrukte hij de soevereiniteit van Syrië en bleef hij er op hameren dat de opstand wordt gevoed door een internationale samenzwering.

(www.parool.nl / 21.08.201)

AL Holds Israel Fully Responsible for the Attacks

The Arab League (AL) said on Sunday that Israel was fully responsible for the attack on Gaza Strip and the Egyptian soldiers.

In a statement following an urgent meeting at the level of permanent delegates, the Arab League condemned Israeli attacks, according to official news agency MENA.

With the statement, the Arab League expressed its support to Egyptian government for its protest to Israeli attack on Egyptian soldiers.

It condemned the attacks on the Gaza Strip, which left at least 15 Palestinians dead.

AL held the attack was a flagrant violation of the international laws and agreements. “What happened in Gaza is considered as a violation to international laws, accords and agreements that threatens security, peace and stability in the region and Geneva accord”, said the statement.

It urged the international community to give more pressure to the Israeli government and ask them to stop the attacks.

The pan-Arab body also expressed its support for the Palestinians to be recognized as an independent Palestinian state in the United Nations.

AL asserted that Arab countries should abide by the financial commitments towards the Palestinian people according to the Arab summits decisions.

Egypt said late Saturday that Israel’s regret over the killing of Egyptian soldiers in an Israeli gunfire was ‘not enough’.

Ahmed Yousef, a netizen commented on the Israeli regret, “why didn’t the army till now issue any statement as if it is a simple matter?” While Abeer Alabd, another netizen, said, “There is no peace with those who killed our brothers”.

Mohammed Elkholy, a third netizen, said, “After Jan. 25 revolution there will never be peace with Israel unless it accepts to amend Camp David accord so that it can match the changes going around in the Middle East.”

(english.cri.cn / 21.08.2011)

Arab League condemns Israeli border aggression

In an emergency meeting on Sunday, the Arab League condemned the recent Israeli attacks along the Egyptian border in Sinai, which resulted in the deaths of several Egyptian border security personnel.

The meeting, which was attended by permanent delegates of the Arab countries and Secretary General Nabil al-Araby, expressed solidarity with Egypt.

The Egyptian-Israeli border on Thursday witnessed violent incidents that claimed the lives of six Egyptian officers and soldiers. At the time, the Israeli army was combing the border to hunt down an armed group involved in the murder of Israeli civilians earlier in the day.

The league also condemned the current Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip that left dozens of dead and wounded Palestinian civilians, including children and women, and destroyed homes and property. It called on the international community to pressure Israeli authorities to immediately stop the aggression, and hold them responsible for the war crimes and crimes against humanity.

It also urged the international community to compel Israel to lift the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007, and open crossings to and from the coastal enclave.

( www.almasryalyoum.com / 21.08.2011)

Gadhafi defiant as NATO declares his ‘regime is crumbling’

A NATO spokeswoman said Sunday that Moammar Gadhafi’s “regime is crumbling,”  though the longtime Libyan ruler remained defiant in urging his countrymen to join him to stop “colonizers” and predicting an imminent “victory.”

“I am with you in this fight. We will not give up,” Gadhafi said in audio remarks broadcast on Libyan state television Sunday, speaking after the rebels’ Transitional National Council political affairs chief Faithi Baja claimed that fighters were “inching” toward the leader’s compound.

“The colonizers are trying to colonize the city of Tripoli, so they come with their army to invade our beloved Libya,” Gadhafi said, “but we will not allow them to do so until the last blood drops from every man and woman.”

But NATO — which, under a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing force to protect Libyan civilians, has conducted 7,549 strike sorties in Libya since the end of March — said that the conflict’s end is near.

Libyan anchor waves gun on the air

“The territory (Gadhafi) controls is shrinking fast, his closest allies are packing their bags, and the people of Tripoli are rising,” said NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu. “The sooner he realizes he cannot win, the better — so that the Libyan people can be spared further bloodshed and suffering.”

Gunfire crackled and explosions rocked the capital Sunday night, as the six-month-long conflict finally approached Gadhafi’s doorstep. A Libyan government official said 376 were killed and nearly 1,000 wounded in fighting that began a night earlier.

Col. Roland Lavoie, a NATO spokesman based at the Joint Forces Command in Naples, Italy, said the situation was “very dynamic and very tense” Sunday after a spate of mostly small-scale skirmishes in downtown Tripoli and near the sea. While there was no sense of massive encounters, there were large movements of troops by both sides outside the city.

“Gadhafi is clearly losing his capabilities, and I think we all know how this will end. We just don’t know when,” said Lavoie. “He still has some command and control, as we saw a SCUD missile fired yesterday, so let’s not conclude it is over.”

A timeline of the conflict in Libya

One fierce gun battle broke out Sunday evening near the hotel where many international reporters were stationed in Tripoli. Many government officials packed their suitcases and left the hotel earlier in the day.

Musa Ibrahim, a government spokesman, said the city is “well-protected, with thousands upon thousands ready to defend the city against any invasion.”

“They wholeheartedly believe that if this city is captured, the blood will run everywhere, so they may as well fight until the end,” he said.

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, a son of the ruler and a top official in his regime, said earlier on state television that the rebels were losing every battle.

His account contrasts with reports from CNN reporters, witnesses and rebel officials that say government forces have continued to lose ground across the North African nation and faced fresh attacks in the capital.

Rebels moved truckloads of ammunition on roads toward Tripoli on Sunday after seizing an ammunition depot once held by Gadhafi’s forces.

Rebel fighters told CNN they controlled Zawiya and had pushed Gadhafi’s forces more than 15 miles outside the city — and 15 miles west of Tripoli. But Gadhafi’s forces continued firing into Zawiya from a distance.

The battle for Tripoli

The opposition also claimed control of a major oil refinery and cut off a key coastal road outside the city, a major supply route to the capital.

Libyan state television reported Sunday that dozens of armed rebels were arrested south of Zawiya, and their weapons were seized.

Some areas of eastern Tripoli, including the suburb of Tajoura, were out of government control Sunday, according to a Libyan government official who asked not to be named. Rebels set car tires afire along barricades there, the official said.

The official said 65,000 troops loyal to Gadhafi were ready to defend Tripoli, and warned that a massacre would occur if NATO continued to back rebel efforts.

Aref Ali Nayed, an ambassador in the United Arab Emirates for the Libyan rebels’ Transitional National Council, said opposition forces were calling Sunday “Day 1.”

“The reason we declare it ‘Day 1’ is because we feel Gadhafi is already finished. He is already finished, most importantly, in our hearts,” he said. “We no longer fear him.”

Jumma Ibrahim, a rebel spokesman from the western mountain region around Zintan, claimed opposition fighters had taken control of the main intelligence operations building in Tripoli.

He also said some Libyan army personnel had defected and joined the rebels in the area of the capital’s airport, which he claimed the rebels took over.

But Musa Ibrahim, the government spokesman, denied that the airport had switched hands, insisting all of Tripoli was safe and under the control of Gadhafi’s forces.

CNN could not immediately confirm whether rebel fighters had taken control of any parts of the city, including the airport. But network staffers on the ground reports that this weekend’s fighting appears to be among the most intense yet in Tripoli.

The fighters will continue to get significant support from NATO, said Lungescu, the alliance spokeswoman. NATO made 22 “key hits” in the Tripoli area Saturday, including on several military facilities, with Lavoie saying the alliance conducted more strikes Sunday to maintain pressure on Gadhafi’s forces.

Ibrahim, the government spokesman, blamed NATO for the conflict and appealed for a cease-fire.

“Every drop of Libyan blood shed by these rebels is the responsibility of the Western world, especially NATO’s countries,” he said. “We hold (U.S. President Barack) Obama, (British Prime Minister David) Cameron and (French President Nicolas) Sarkozy morally responsible for every single unnecessary death that takes place in this country.”

Officials briefed Obama on the situation in Libya Sunday morning and the president will continue to receive updates, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

“Anti-Gadhafi forces have had momentum on their side for some time,” a senior Obama administration official said Sunday. “What we’re seeing is further evidence of their sustained persistence.”

A Maltese ship seeking to evacuate foreign nationals from Libya on Sunday came under heavy fire when a rebel-controlled ship ambushed it near the Libyan coastline in an apparent hijack attempt. As the captain tried to steer toward Tripoli’s port, Gadhafi forces began firing at the rebels, leaving the Maltese ship in the crossfire.

No injuries were reported, but the Maltese ship was forced to turn around. The foreign nationals remained stranded in Libya.

In the rebel hub of Benghazi, meanwhile, CNN iReporter Sammi Addahoumi showed video of large, boisterous crowds in the city’s Freedom Square reacting as reports of the developments played on a large screen.

“The spirts are quite high,” said Addahoumi, a 28-year-old deli manager from South Carolina who said that his father fled Benghazi decades ago. “Everyone is expecting Tripoli to fall.”

In his speech on state television Sunday, though, Gadhafi said the rebels — whom he described as “infidels,” “traitors” and “gangsters” — would fail and vowed not to back down.

“This is the hour of victory,” he said. “This hour is the hour of defiance.”

(edition.cnn.com / 21.08.2011)

 

FlagMan

Come with me, Don’t say busy

Stand with me, come to embassy

 

I’m not liberal, I’m not Ikhwan

My name is the FlagMan

 

I stand here in my place

Do you see a mask on my face?

 

Look and see I can fly

They feel wet not feel dry

 

Above the moon,under the sea

I want to live,I must be free

( Alaa Saifeldin  / Facebook / 21.08.2011)