Inside the Middle East
February 17, 2011
Posted: 1022 GMT
Groups of protesters gathered to demonstrate both for and against the government of Moammar Gadhafi on Wednesday.
Groups of protesters gathered to demonstrate both for and against the government of Moammar Gadhafi on Wednesday.

Libyan police clashed with protesters chanting anti-government slogans and demanding the release of a human rights activist early Wednesday, an independent source in the country told CNN.

Up to 200 protesters in the coastal city of Benghazi were supporting human rights activist and lawyer Fathi Terbil, who had been detained earlier, the source said.

Several people were arrested after police confronted the protesters, the source added.

However, a highly placed Libyan source close to the government sought to downplay the reports of unrest. The source asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

"There is nothing serious here," the highly placed source said. "These are just young people fighting each other ... There is no police, no security in Benghazi."

The source characterized the clashes as "street fights" and said they were "not political."
"Libya is not Egypt... This is not an organized revolution," he said.

Meanwhile, demonstrations in support of long-time Libyanleader Moammar Gadhafi took place in several cities Wednesday, including Benghazi, the country's state news agency reported.

CNN's independent source said the government mobilized thousands of people in several Libyan cities early Wednesday, and is conveying the message that while grievances will be addressed, calls for the regime's overthrow will not be tolerated. Read more...

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John A   February 17th, 2011 2:05 pm ET

CNN exactly what date have you penciled into your calendar to announce Mubarak's death. How much time needs to pass to make a suspicious death appear like natural causes?

When JFK didn't follow the CIA's line, you faithfully reported the magic bullet theory. Have things become more sophisticated since the 1960's? Now if you don't follow the CIA line, you simply disappear, fade from public attention and then become declared dead from a stroke?

If Mubarak agreed to support the invasion of Iraq or support Americas nuclear umbrella program for Saudi Arabia, Israel & Egypt, perhaps Mubarak would still be in good health and America would still refer to him as a trusted allie?

So when exactly was the media instructed to educate the American public about Mubarak's dictatorial ways? It must be amazing to be a script writer at CNN. You don't just report historical events, you actually help create them.

Hope   February 18th, 2011 6:58 am ET

Uprising in modern times,resulting to revolution in the middle east; may make one begin to think in what direction the world is heading at,triggerd from that of Tunisia revolt.People today needs change from their respective government,when expectations are not met for a long period of years or decades it makes the heart sick and the desire to get cured motivates the people,if left unchecked there will be a widespread gangrene.Such kind of government will come very means of God's kingdom,all mankind's problem will be solved.

john nsona   February 18th, 2011 8:10 am ET

The hospitality of true democratic countries such US and UK toward Arabs is the first cause of all those revolutions.

nena   February 18th, 2011 1:19 pm ET

the EVIL gathaffi is killing inicent libyan people.. no enough media there!!!!!!!

Patriot   February 18th, 2011 4:50 pm ET


Joel   February 18th, 2011 7:57 pm ET

I find it both heartening and frightening all at once that the men and women in North Africa and the Middle East are finding their voices and protesting to gain the rights from their governments that all people should have.

Heartening that, as a historian, I recognise the possibilities that the Arab and Persian peoples are experiencing a reawakening of progressive ideologies and political activism. And, of course frightening, as with most people fearful of change and the unknown.

I have spoken to some who fear the rise of the New Caliphate that will perhaps lead to further extremism throughout the region, while others like myself are more optimistic. As a historian, one must look to our past. Christianisty and Islam or linked, as is Judiaism. Each culture experiences ebbs and flows.

We all draw our cultural and intellectual origins in the Ancient Greeks and Romans, who were themselves not perfect by any means. However, most would agree that the Greek and Roman era were a Golden Age. An age of cultural and inellectual progress. Following this era, Christianity experienced a decline, a dark age, if you will. Meanwhile, in the Middle East, Islam inherited the Classical Greek and Roman intellectual culture, borrowing from Old Testiment to form a new, powerful religion that was inherently intertwined at its inception with the politics of the region. The dawn of a new, distinct, and progressive culture was upon us. A Classical or Golden Age of Islam.

As Christianity began to climb out of the Medieval era, Islam experienced a general decline in academic and cultural progress. Then the West beagn to exppand through worldwide colonialism which marginalized native populations, at best and subjected the native peoples to economic and political to peonism. This led to further decline in the Middle East. This also caused many in Islam to become dissatisfied with their lot in life and led to a gradual development of extremist ideologies.

My point is that Islam may be experiencing a rebirth. Arabs and Persians, and Turks, and Kurds are realising that they can acquire more involvement in their governments and societies and are becoming empowered through progressive actions that will, I hope lead to a new Golden Age of Islam. I fully support any people attempting to better their way of life and peaceful demostrations that will lead to the removal of any abusive or corrupt government. I wish the peaceful protestors in each country of that region the best of luck in their endevors.

Debra William   February 19th, 2011 6:05 pm ET

Campaign Against all African long-serving Presidents.

I wish to thank Free-Zim Youth, a group based in London, England for their courage to stand against President Mugabe dictatorship and for their announcement to launch a campaign against all African presidents who has been in office for over 12 years.
This group is composed mostly of young Zimbabweans supporting change and political reform in their country, through ideas championed by of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party, led by the current prime minister of all-inclusive Zim government Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mr. Wellington Chibanguza’s symbol of wearing handcuffs to symbolize the repressed and oppressed people of Africa and especially the people of Zimbabwe under the Mugabe regime, is a very strong statement.

Mr. Wellington Chibanguza said the African leaders have betrayed the aspirations of African peoples, perpetuating regimes using the pre-colonial laws to oppress their own people, while claiming to have the right to correct historical colonial wrongs. This future leader blamed African leaders for travelling around the world to adopt neoliberal policies and reforms that benefit only the elite, while ordinary peasants are suffering. "You have betrayed the dream and vision of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, who said that the independence of Ghana is meaningless unless Africa is fully liberated" he declared.

The group said it is inspired by the recent political situation in Algeria, Egypt and Libya, that demonstrate clearly that the true power belongs to the people. A campaign will be launched very soon, focusing not only on Zimbabwe to end Mugabe's regime, but will appeal to the solidarity of the oppressed peoples of Africa to oust Mr. Yoweri Museveni ( in power since 29 Jan 1986 to date), Muammar Gadhaffi (since 01 Sept to date) Mr. Teodoro Obiang Nguema (03 Aug 1979 to date), Robert Mugabe (Since 31 Dec 1987), King Mswati III (25 April 1986), Eduardo dos Santos (since 10 Sept 1979) and Mr. Paul Biya of Cameroun (6 Nov 1982).

"We young Africans feel that the AU has been invaded by rogue tyrants speaking left, but walking straight right. Mr. Mugabe always claims to be a revolutionary leader, but actually he's the one who brought all the neo-liberal policies to Zimbabwe."

"The same goes for SADC, an organization condoning member State countries violating all protocols and democratic principles. Such is the case of the DRC where credible reports suggest that the Congolese military rapes women and mass kills Congolese populations with impunity in the eastern part of the country. On the DRC, this country has also set a bad precedent, substituting Laurent Kabila, by his son Joseph Kabila. Shortly Gabon followed suit this shameful practice. The latter cannot be tolerated in this new era of political reform.

I have no doubt that this young African leader (Chibanguza) will success in mobilizing other young people from the countries with dinosaur-long serving-president as he intends. At the right time, a well-coordinated campaign will be launched, using all the means available, including social media network. We have seen how Facebook & Twitter can help bring about political changes Africans deserve.

Truly speaking, Africa needs new blood stream leadership.

Reda   February 19th, 2011 11:35 pm ET

Could you please properly and extensively cover what is happening in Libya as hundreds of people are being killed. The world should know what is going on in Libya and other arab countires to exert pressure on their governoments to support the people in these countires in their fight against corrupt regimes

arsen   February 20th, 2011 2:15 am ET

Libyan capital,Tripoli, and most of other cities are under strict siege and media blackout. the Dictatorship regimen of Alghadafi and his sons, with backup by african militants, are doing unprecedent massacres to libyan peoples. they kill, snipe smash unarmed protestors, they cut the internet, electricity, water and food supply, phone services in preparing for frequent massacres away from world insight
to all of the free world, do not leave Libya peoples alone, for sake of humanity we need your intervention to stop an unprecedent historical genocide to libyan race.

artee   February 21st, 2011 3:41 am ET

Watching CNN broadcast on situation in LIbya – a correspondent in Libya stated a large number of African troops in the city. It is possible they could be Libyan troops – the southern province of the Fezzan is peopled by predominately black peoples who could be mistaken for African aliens by people in the north (Tripoli)

Ariely   February 21st, 2011 3:23 pm ET

Avoid repletion's of catastrophically historical mistakes.
Remember 1929 economical crises lead to Fascism and Nazism that get power on democratic elections.WW2.
2011: Economical crisis. Unemployment, High food prices, Political groups unhappy with the political system, Demonstrations;
Result? 2020- The cost may be unprecedented in human history.
Democracy- yes.
Parties promoting Islamism should be outlawed.
Modern example; Muslim brotherhood.
What for Muslims brotherhood stands for ahead the election?
(From a 14 Feb seminar)
*Egypt will be governed by Muslim lows and traditions.
*A non elected Islam prominent religious leaders will monitor that the elected government will follow their guidelines.
*Woman will be educated to perform their Islamic traditional home duties.
*Christians will not be permitted to be manager on top of Muslims people.
*They are not refereeing to the one of Muslim brotherhood fundamental points in their doctrine- and are not declaring that it is not their doctrine anymore:
"A Muslim can come closer to Allah by waging jihad against all non-Muslims, Christians, Jews, atheists, or polytheists in every possible manner
Dr. Ahmad 'Abd about Al-Walaa Wa'l-Bara article in the "Muslim brotherhood"
They want to use democratic system- however it leads to a catastrophe of global scale
Parties promoting anti human rights, hate, aggression against other cultures, impose their ideology by force, banning democracy –should be outlawed from taking part in the democratic system.
!! Islamists anti-Western values are ideological.
Islamists are using the democratic system to get power later to oppress human rights, liberals, democracy, impose Islam worldwide by sward, woman oppression.

Dr Amarjit Singh Hoshiarpuri   February 22nd, 2011 2:31 am ET

This is not the time to wait and watch.Let there be global protest not by politicians but by common people across borders.we expect a lot from global policeman (USA)

Dr Amarjit Singh Hoshiarpuri   February 22nd, 2011 2:34 am ET

Gadhafi and company are dirty warts on the ass of humanity.

Dr Amarjit Singh Hoshiarpuri   February 22nd, 2011 2:41 am ET

As for as geography and history is concerned,This is defining movement for EARTH PLANET.

Dr Amarjit Singh Hoshiarpuri   February 22nd, 2011 2:46 am ET

let there be emergency united nation security council meeting to define a" limit to the sovereignty" vis a vis middle east

maha elmasri   February 22nd, 2011 11:40 am ET

first hand report from my two cousins who are doctors in tripoli – they have been working 24 hour duty shifts to aid the injured. schrepnel is being used on the civilians. militia surrounded the Almarkazi hospital in Alzawya Street last evening to prevent injured from entering the hospital and didn't leave their posts till sunrise this morning.

pinkLadyL   February 22nd, 2011 6:31 pm ET

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????? Shame on you Cnn for not taking out and shooting that terminally stupid commentator of yours regarding analysis of Ghaddaffi comments–she said we are not bombing Libya now–Duuhhhhhh–he was referring to when we did bomb him to kill him and in fact killed his sons many years ago–if you are going to continue to employ clueless commentators. I need to find a new source for news-REALLY DISSAPOINTED

Ariely   February 23rd, 2011 4:42 am ET

On the reception of the Lockerbie bomber in Libya, Kaddafi son words to the bomber read by a mouth movement expert were that his freedom was on the economical negotiations with UK.
Next the bomber was received by father Kaddafi.
Those actions convey to the Arabs the message that the terrorists are heroes.
That the west is ready to give away moral values for economical benefit

SpeakupFor4All   February 24th, 2011 2:08 am ET

To the Media:

Khadafy's son warned of violence and death as a result of uncontrolled and violent protests and suggested Peace instead, and he offered an olive branch and concrete political solution to his Countrymen, including offering a new Constitution within 48 hours, and a distribution of powers back to municipalities. Yet his message was distorted by the U.S. media. Why did you report that his speech two days ago was a "threat" of violence, instead of a "consequence" of his offer of Peace?

We have no business interfering in another country's business unless Human Rights are violated and trompled, and death and violence ensues. We do have a responsibility to report the news truthfully and responsibly. So why did the Media interfere with a message of Peace from the son of a Dictator? Was it because we hate the Dictator and therefore won't allow his Son to do the right thing?

Curious, and concerned since what you, CNN reports, DOES have an impact on all eyes and lives that hang in the balance....


Gaurav   February 24th, 2011 8:01 am ET

The Middle-East is waking up to what Gandhi taught us years ago ... we called it satyagraha ... way to go people ... it will eventually succeed

Rahem Thaiwo Hassan   February 24th, 2011 4:15 pm ET

International communities has already step up tough actions against Gaddafi, , U.k sent three fighters jets, Germany sents 2 war ship and turkey sent 2 ferry without permision, Gaddafi has lost all three pillars of his rule – tribal, military and diplomatic. Judging from his desperate speech two night ago, he seems to be losing his mind and perhaps his nerves. That's why it's only a question of time for his regime to breakdown.

Rahem Thaiwo Hassan (Nigeria)   February 24th, 2011 4:22 pm ET

speak up my people..... .Gaddafi regime has to end now

Rupert Harris   February 27th, 2011 12:47 am ET

It is beyond me to understand why does the whole world all agree that the facts are that the Libyan people are being slaughtered for the most basic human rights... Unarmed Libyan Citizens being gunned down by order of an irrational,wicked dictator. We THE WORLD are the Libyan peoples keepers in these historic yet dark days in their (the Libyans) and our-story... Why are the U.N. and U.S. lead so spinelessly and without the spirit of true empathy for those unarmed citizens. This situation and facts as they are presented, offer the free-world and Democracy the ideal stage for the statement.AMERICAN CITIZENS President Barak Obama ! BE BRAVE ,BE GREAT AND BELIEVE IN WHAT'S RIGHT, save the Libyan citizens and BE FREEDOMS DEFENDER. BOMB Moammar Gadhafi and his supporting cast... DECISIVELY !!!!!!

John A   February 27th, 2011 11:10 am ET

Rupert Harris, do you have a brain? If so please explain how peaceful demonstrators have captured 95% of the nation in one week while the full force of a brutal military was used against them????

Do you remember the Hungarian uprising against the USSR. 1000s killed with tanks and machine guns meant the uprising failed.

In Libya half the army has defected and the opposition group has captured most cities against Gaddafi loyalists with the use of greater numbers and greater force.

But you think a brutal army has been defeated in a week by flower throwing peaceful protesters. Get a grip and use your brain, before your last neurons die in front of your television.

wayne   February 27th, 2011 6:34 pm ET

Wolfowitz seems to have for got under bush they believed in ignoring the problem like korea and made libya free to do as they liked and started a war in iraq by liing to us about his weapons of mass destruction because they threating his dad. Also the repulician party was incharge when old ben la din was trained by their cia. By making the teachers the enemy they can continue to rule by keeping our children uneducated just like in our gov race the aea in alabama the aea was blamed for all our troubles. The republician are winning because alabama has the 42nd worst educated kids in the latest rankings. Only a few years ago it was about how we are losing ground to other countries because they pride good education. Guess we had better learn some foreign languages to greet our next rulers.

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Welcome to the Inside the Middle East blog where CNN's journalists post news, views and video from across the region. This is also a place where you can start the discussion so please keep your comments coming. We highlight not only current news stories but also anecdotes and issues that don't always make the top of the headlines.

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