Yemen, Egypt, Egypt-Iran, Libya, Coalition, Ivory Coast
Yemen: Update. On Sunday, one person was killed and some 830 were injured in government attempts to control thousands of demonstrators in multiple cities. On 4 April, 15 people were killed and hundreds wounded by government security forces in the town of Taiz.
Comment: Aside from the increased number of dead and wounded, the situation has not changed.
Egypt: A Muslim Brotherhood spokesman said the United States was interfering with the Egyptian revolution by trying to determine the political outcome in his country, Al Arabiya reported. The spokesman said the United States was biased, hypocritical and making fatal mistakes. The United States should listen to people, not regimes, he said.
Comment: The NightWatch hypothesis is that the Brotherhood and the Egyptian Army have made common cause to block any fundamental political changes in Egypt. Such an alliance explains the foreign policy shift towards Iran. The Brotherhood, for now, is the voice of the new Egypt that needs to be studied.
Egypt-Iran: Egypt is ready to re-establish diplomatic ties with Iran after a break of more than 30 years, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby said on 4 April. Elaraby’s statement came after a meeting with Iranian official Mugtabi Amani, the first meeting between officials from both countries since the departure of former President Mubarak.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi called for developing bilateral cooperation, beginning with having Elaraby visit Tehran or having himself visit Cairo, an Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.
Comment: What is unclear is whether the shift towards Iran is an idiosyncratic move by an unrestrained foreign minister, or whether it is the considered policy of the Supreme Military Council. If the latter, the armed forces leadership is putting at risk its supply line from the United States, which would seem suicidal, for no gain from Iran. No faction in the uprising of the past two months advocated closer ties to Iran.
Libya: Libya’s acting foreign minister has traveled to Greece and Turkey on a diplomatic mission. The Libyan regime was “searching for a solution,” Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said, but he provided no details of his meeting with acting Foreign Minister Abdulati al-Obeidi. Droutsas added that his government would inform “all our partners and allies” about the Libyan proposals.
Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi arrived in Ankara on 4 April for talks with Turkish diplomats on the situation in Libya, Anatolia reported.
Two of Qadhafi’s sons proposed that they head a new parliamentary government. The rebels rejected any peace deal that would result in Qadhafi’s sons ruling the country. A Transitional National Council spokesman said Qadhafi and his sons have to leave before diplomatic negotiations can take place.
The battlefield situation has not changed.
Italy became the third nation to extend diplomatic recognition to the Benghazi government, after France and Qatar.
The Swedes announced they were deploying three fighters to help enforce the no-fly zone.
Ivory Coast/Cote d’Ivoire: Forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo kidnapped at least two French citizens from the Novotel hotel in the Plateau neighborhood of Abidjan, French media reported. The two French citizens were the director of the hotel and the chairman of the board of directors of the SIFCA agribusiness group. Three other people of unknown nationality were also kidnapped. A French helicopter immediately flew to the scene after the reported attack and kidnapping, but pro-Gbagbo forces had already left with the hostages.
The action by Gbagbo’s fighters prompted President Sarkozy to reinforce the French force in Abidjan with another 150 soldiers and to order it to join the UN forces. UN forces immediately began to take action to protect civilians, including attacking military camps for Gbagbo’s forces and Gbagbo’s residence, which fell.
Comment: Gbagob’s hold in Abidjan is weak and probably will not last the next few days. Hundreds, perhaps, thousands, have died in his bid to remain in power.