World Week Ahead: Showdown in Libya; Pressure on Syria

BY Larisa Epatko  August 22, 2011 at 12:36 PM EST


A girl holds up a Libyan rebel flag at a demonstration outside the Libyan consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo by Mustafa Ozer/AFP/Getty Images.

The chorus of voices urging Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to step down grew louder Monday as rebels continued to make gains in the capital city Tripoli. Meanwhile, the United Nations is cranking up pressure on Syria over its crackdown on anti-government protesters.

LIBYA | World leaders are joining in President Obama’s sentiments that it is time for Gadhafi to go.

“Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. … Moammar Gadhafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end,” President Obama said in a statement Sunday.

Rebels have made strides securing parts of Tripoli, though fighting with Gadhafi loyalists continued Monday night. The whereabouts of the embattled leader are unknown.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday that “Gadhafi must stop fighting, without conditions — and clearly show that he has given up any claim to control Libya.”

“I would like to see Colonel Gaddafi face justice for his crimes,” Cameron said. “But it is a matter for the new authorities in Libya to do what they believe is right with Gaddafi, and obviously they have to find him.”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy also condemned Gadhafi for continuing to urge his supporters to fight. “As battlefield developments and defections from his camp confirm that Gaddafi’s end is inevitable and close, the president condemns Colonel Gaddafi’s irresponsible and desperate calls for the combat to continue,” his office said.

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan called the chairman of the Transitional National Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, to congratulate him on his gains in Libya and express his support, according to the state-run United Arab Emirates News Agency.

But Abdel Jalil warned that the battle was not yet over and said he strongly objected to any fighters taking revenge on Gadhafi and his supporters.

Resource: Al Jazeera is updating events out of Libya in this blog.

SYRIA | The U.N. Human Rights Council, including several Arab states, is considering a draft resolution that “deplores” and calls for an end to the acts of violence against the Syrian population. It also calls for an independent international commission “to investigate violations of international human rights law in Syria since July 2011.”

Syria’s Ambassador to the U.N. Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui called the allegations “mere lies,” reported the BBC. “Syria has been subjected to and continues to be subjected to an unprecedented misleading campaign carried by a number of countries in order to weaken Syria and to change its political position,” he said.

According to the United Nations, an estimated 2,200 people have been killed since protests began in Syria in mid-March. U.N. human rights officials also have recommended that the U.N. Security Council refer Syria to the International Criminal Court for alleged atrocities.

DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN | Former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is set to appear in court Tuesday, but prosecutors might dismiss the charges of sexual assault against him, according to multiple reports.

Prosecutors grew concerned about his accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, when she reportedly lied about her past. Strauss-Kahn would be able to return to his home in France if the judge formally dismisses the seven-count indictment.

HORN OF AFRICA | On Thursday, the African Union is holding an aid conference for those afflicted by the famine in the Horn of Africa. A severe drought has spread across Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

In a recent drought report, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in Somalia alone, an estimated 450,000 people are in need of immediate assistance. We’ll provide an update on relief efforts here on the Rundown.

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