Muammar el-Qaddafi still has control of Tripoli but hardly anything else. The United Nations Security council has imposed sanctions and is investigating war crimes. However, the security council did not impose a no-fly zone that some wanted.

In Oman, police fired teargas at protesters and two were shot dead when demonstrators tried to storm a police station. In response, the sultan changed six ministers in “the public’s interest”.

Libyan Rebels Tighten Ring Around Tripoli

The New York Times reports Libyan Rebels Tighten Ring of Armed Control Near Tripoli

ZAWIYA, Libya — In this city 30 miles west of Tripoli, hundreds of people rejoiced in a central square on Sunday, waving the red, black and green flag that has come to signify a free Libya and shouting the chants that foretold the downfall of governments in Tunisia and Egypt: “The people want to bring down the regime.”

Rebels, in control of the city, had reinforced its boundaries with informal barricades, and military units that had defected stood guard with rifles, six tanks and anti-aircraft guns mounted on the backs of trucks. In the central square here, a mosque was riddled with enormous holes, evidence of the government’s failed attempt to take back this city on Thursday. Nearby lay seven freshly dug graves belonging to protesters who had fallen in that siege, witnesses said.

Proving how close opposition control has come to the capital, where Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi maintains tight control, the confidence of the demonstrators in Zawiya was remarkable, all the more so because it was witnessed as part of the official tour for international journalists that Colonel Qaddafi’s government organized. The public relations effort, apparently intended to show a stable Libya to the outside world, appeared to backfire, as a tour of Tripoli had on Saturday.

Instead, the tour, whose minders were forced to wait at the city’s outskirts, showed a nation where the uprising had reached the capital’s doorstep, underscoring a growing impression that the ring of rebel control around Tripoli was tightening. But in a sign that the fight was far from over, armed government forces were seen massing around the city.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the secretary of state, said Sunday before departing for Geneva that the United States was “reaching out to many different Libyans who are organizing in the east” but said it was too soon to recognize a provisional government.

Security Council Calls for War Crimes Inquiry

Qaddafi’s options are rather limited at this point. He can stay and fight to the last drop of his blood, he can flee to Venezuela, one of the few countries that would take him, or if he gives up, he likely faces a war crimes tribunal, assuming his own military does not take him out.

Please consider Security Council Calls for War Crimes Inquiry in Libya

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday night to impose sanctions on Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, and his inner circle of advisers, and called for an international war crimes investigation into “widespread and systemic attacks” against Libyan citizens who have protested against the government over the last two weeks.

The vote, only the second time the Security Council has referred a member state to the International Criminal Court, comes after a week of bloody crackdowns in Libya in which Colonel Qaddafi’s security forces have fired on protesters, killing hundreds.

Also on Saturday, President Obama said that Colonel Qaddafi had lost the legitimacy to rule and should step down.

The Security Council resolution also imposes an arms embargo against Libya and an international travel ban on 16 Libyan leaders, and freezes the assets of Colonel Qaddafi and members of his family, including four sons and a daughter. Also included in the sanctions were measures against defense and intelligence officials who are believed to have played a role in the violence against civilians in Libya.

The sanctions did not include imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, a possibility that had been discussed by officials from the United States and its allies in recent days.

The resolution also prohibited all United Nations member nations from providing any kind of arms to Libya or allowing the transportation of mercenaries, who are believed to have played a part in the recent violence. Suspected shipments of arms should be halted and inspected, the resolution said.

Two Oman Protesters Shot Dead

Protests and violence are unusual in Oman, a country where political parties are outlawed. Nonetheless, Yahoo! News reports Two protesters shot dead in Oman

Omani police shot dead two demonstrators with rubber bullets on Sunday, a security official said, as the deadly wave of protest rocking the Arab world spread to the normally placid pro-Western sultanate.

Five people were also wounded when security forces opened fire on the demonstrators who tried to storm a police station, the official said.

“Two were killed after being shot with rubber bullets as protesters attempted to storm a police station” in Sohar, some 200 kilometres (125 miles) northwest of Muscat, the official said, requesting anonymity.

In an apparent move to appease demonstrators, Qaboos on Saturday announced an increase in the monthly allowance for students at universities and vocational schools.

ONA said he ordered a raise in the allowance of between 25 and 90 Omani rials ($65 to $234) to “achieve further development and… provide a decent living for his people.”

He also ordered the creation of a consumer protection bureau, and was looking into opening cooperatives, it said.

Earlier this month, Oman raised the minimum wage for an estimated 150,000 private sector employees from $364 to $520 a month.

Six Oman Cabinet Ministers Changed in Public Interest

In response to the protests, Oman’s Sultan Reshuffles Cabinet Ministers.

Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said reshuffled his cabinet on Saturday, changing six ministers in “the public’s interest,” one week after a rare protest calling for political reform.

The cabinet changes came as 500 protesters demanding democracy and jobs blocked traffic and broke street lights in the largest industrial city Sohar. Protests are rare in Oman, a small Gulf country where political parties are banned.

In Sohar, protesters blocked cars and shoppers at a mall in the city to demand that the Gulf Arab state’s elected advisory body be given legislative powers, witnesses said.

Protesters chanted: “We want long-term corrupt ministers to go!” “We want the Shura Council to have legislative powers!” “We want jobs!” and “We want democracy!”

“It has been going on for hours now. They are now at the Globe Roundabout blocking traffic,” said Mohammed Sumri, a resident. The police did not intervene, residents said.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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