Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
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Posted: Mar 17, 2011 1:10 PM
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

Latest developments in the unrest sweeping the Arab world from North Africa to the Persian Gulf:

LIBYA:

Libyan rebels shoot down at least two fighter planes from the regime of Moammar Gadhafi that attacked the airport in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. But Gadhafi's forces remain entrenched around the strategic, rebel-held cities of Misrata and Ajdabia, where clashes continue.

The administration of President Barack Obama and other supporters of action against Gadhafi push for a vote on a draft U.N. Security Council resolution to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. Russia and China, permanent council members with veto power, express reservations about foreign intervention.

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BAHRAIN:

Bahrain's Sunni monarchy detains at least seven prominent opposition activists, and Iran recalls its ambassador to protest martial law-style rule to suppress the Shiite protests that have riled the strategic island nation.

Underpinning Bahrain's unrest are regional sectarian tensions. Saudi Arabia and other Sunni nations have sent troops to help the island's ruling Sunni minority, while Shiite Iran has sided with the protesters, who are largely from Bahrain's Shiite majority.

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IRAQ

Thousands of Shiite protesters rally in the city of Karbala to show support for their brethren in Bahrain. A few hundred join a similar demonstration in Baghdad.

The sending of troops to Bahrain by the Gulf's Sunni nations could worsen relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which views Iraq's Shiite-dominated government as an Iranian pawn.

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YEMEN:

Security forces and government loyalists struck strike protesters across Yemen, hurling rocks, beating protesters and firing rubber and live bullets in a push to stop the demonstrations calling for the ouster of longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The protests further shake the 30-year rule of Saleh, a key U.S. ally against al-Qaida, who also faces a secessionist rebellion in the south and a Shiite uprising in the north of the Arab world's poorest country.