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Libya (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Standoffs

2205 GMT: Al Jazeera English has posted video of wounded men being treated in Az Zawiyah, where fierce battles took place between regime forces and the opposition today.

2155 GMT: The first edition of the newspaper in "free" Benghazi has been published

2150 GMT: Text messages to Libyans declare that a local cleric has issued a fatwa against watching television channels "like Al Jazeera" that incite bloodshed.

2145 GMT: Libya's Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, who broke with the regime earlier this week, has appealed to key Brigadier Generals Mahdi Al Arabi and Mohamed Al Esawi to turn against Muammar Qaddafi.

2055 GMT: Reports circulate that Qaddafi supporters are trying to raid the Qatar Embassy in Tripoli. Qatar's diplomats have already left the country.

2045 GMT: Jason Pack of The Guardian profiles one of the key people remaining in Qaddafi's inner circle: Abdullah Senussi, "the leader's brother-in-law, his key enforcer, and former head of external security".

2015 GMT: Back from a break to find that, according to Al Arabiya, Switzerland has frozen all of Muammar Qaddafi's accounts.

1530 GMT: Residents of Benghazi in easterrn Libya say key oil terminals at Ras Lanuf and Marsa El Brega are in the hands of the opposition.

1505 GMT: Quryna reports that at least 10 people were killed and dozens hurt in the Libyan town of Az Zawiyah in clashes today (see 1010 GMT and 1437 GMT).

Quryna is based in Benghazi, which is now in opposition hands.

A witness said: "The soldiers opened fire with automatic weapons and hit the mosque's minaret with fire from an anti-aircraft gun, he said. Some of the young men among the protesters, who were inside the mosque and in a nearby lot, had hunting rifles for protection."

1437 GMT: Al Jazeera English moves straight from a summary of Qaddafi's speech to a phone interview with "Ali" who recounts how, in the same time, the regime's forces cut down dozens of demonstrators this morning (see 1010 GMT).

1434 GMT: Qaddafi offers condolences to the families of four security personnel and then appeals once more to the people of Az Zawiya to support him. With that, he hangs up.

1433 GMT: "If you carry a leaking bag of water, it will make your backside wet." Not sure what that means....

And while saying, "This is not my responsibility," he is back to chiding parents about "taking guns from their kids".

1431 GMT: But Qaddafi, despite having only symbolic power, needs to warn his people about "international terrorism". Borrowing a page from the playbook of the George W. Bush Administration, he talks about the "new jihad" threat of Osama bin Laden, invoking examples such as Al Qa'eda in Mesopotamia and the group in Afghanistan.

Rather curiously, Qaddafi turns on a former ally --- Saddam Hussein --- to join George W. Bush in claiming links between him and Bin Laden.

1428 GMT: Qaddafi uses the Queen of England to say that he does not have power like her but is only a "symbolic leader". So --- as a sort of not quite constitutional monarch --- he leaves power and responsibility to others.

1425 GMT: Return from lunch to find Muammar Qaddafi speaking, via a video phone from Az Zawiya, west of Tripoli....

I join at the point where Qaddafi is speaking once more about youths being given hallucination pills to cause trouble, admonishing parents not to let their kids cause trouble, not only "disobeying their parents" but "destroying the country">

1355 GMT: The US State Department claims senior Libyan government officials have told American diplomats that some members of CNN, BBC Arabic, and Al Arabiya would be allowed into the country to report on the current situation. However, the Libyans said some reporters had entered the country illegally and were now considered Al Qa'eda collaborators. The Libyan government said that it was not responsible for the safety of these journalists, who risked immediate arrest.

1340 GMT: Footage of today's march in Bahrain challenging the regime:

1320 GMT: A Bahraini opposition leader, pardoned by the King this week, has been detained in Lebanon while returning to Bahrain from Britain.

An official said Hassan Mashaima was arrested Tuesday at Beirut airport based on an arrest warrant issued by Interpol. The official said that Lebanese authorities were seeking legal documents proving Mashaima had been pardoned.

Mashaima, the leader of the Haqq movement was among 25 men charged in Bahrain in October with forming an illegal organisation, engaging in and financing terrorism, and spreading false and misleading information. Twenty-three of the activists were released on Wednesday; Said al-Shihabi, secretary general of the Freedom Islamic Movement, was also tried in absentia.

(See separate analysis --- Bahrain: A Revolution Paused)

1310 GMT: Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has called on Iraqis not to participate in planned demonstrations in Baghdad on Friday. He said the marches were for "Baathists and terrorists".

Protests have been building against al-Maliki's Government over economic issues and claims of corruption and mismanagement.

1300 GMT: A photograph claiming to be of Tripoli in Libya this morning:

1230 GMT: In Egypt, the military has entered the Presidential residences in Heliopolis and Abdeen in Cairo, taking control of the offices of the former President Mubarak's Chief of Staff, Zakaria Azmi.

Azmi was taken into custody after he was accused of shredding tens of thousands of documents.

1125 GMT: Libyan state TV says Muammar Gaddafi will speak shortly in Az Zawiyah city, west of Tripoli.

1115 GMT: Regime forces are attacking Misurata in the west of Libya. Witness report the use of anti-aircraft weapons as well as gunfire.

Yesterday the opposition took control of Misurata, the first city beyond eastern Libya to turn against Muammar Qaddafi.

There are conflicting reports over whether the regime has regained the city.

1025 GMT: Egyptian police have detained former Minister of Information Anas al-Fikki and the Chairman of State TV and Radio, Osama el-Sheikh, over suspected misuse of public funds.

1015 GMT: Saif Al Islam Qaddafi, the son of the Libyan leader, has appeared on State TV to declare, "The world is conspiring against Libya....Why don't these TV channels show the pro-Gaddafi demonstrations?....Tripoli is very calm except for one incident....I challenge anyone to give me the number killed."

1010 GMT: Al Jazeera English has been report that regimei forces are attacking Az Zawiyah city, 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli, where thousands are demonstrating. An eyewitness said 50 injured people were taken to hospital in the city after the "Gaddafi Brigade" used anti-aircraft weapons in the assault. Several protesters were reportedly killed.

A former military officer has told Al Arabiya, "A war crime is taking place right now."

1000 GMT: Al Jazeera reports that Major General Suleiman Mahmoud Suleiman, commander of the Armed Forces in eastern Libya, has joined the opposition.

0920 GMT: Egyptian workers fleeing Libya are telling media that anti-Qaddafi militias have seized control of Zuara, 120 km (75 miles) west of Tripoli.

0810 GMT: The Bahrain monarchy now says it released 308 political prisoners on Wednesday.

Global Voices Online reports on the freeing of blogger Ali Abdulemam. A photograph of the celebrations:

0545 GMT: Picture of the Day on Wednesday, as Tunisian students in Gabes make their feelings known:

0540 GMT: A proposal from Saadi Qaddafi, one of the seven sons of the Libyan leader, on Wednesday.... 

Declaring that up to 85% of the country was "very calm and very safe", he suggested that Qaddadi could work with a new regime: “My father would stay as the big father who advises."

Qaddafi insisted, "The army is still very strong....When people see the army, they will be afraid.” He was certain the regime would recover the eastern part of the country "sooner or later".

0520 GMT: For the first day in weeks, there was an easing of immediate news on Wednesday, allowing LiveBloggers to catch breath or --- if they have become addicted to the rush of drama --- to fret about what to write.

That did not mean there was a lack of serious developments, merely that situations had settled --- perhaps only for a short while --- into standoffs. Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, with the support of mercenaries and part of his military, had held onto Tripoli. For the first time, however, the opposition took cities in the west of the country, and last night a battle was shaping up for Tejoura, only 10 miles from the capital.

Meanwhile, the rebellion was trying to security its position in"free" Libya in the east of the country.  Ben Wedeman of CNN reported last night, "Ad-hoc government in Benghazi in contact with Qaddafi's tribe, telling them they are opposed to his rule, not his tribe. Ad hoc government in Benghazi has set up committees to deal with security, public health, food supplies, evacuating foreigners."

In Bahrain, thousands marched to Pearl Roundabout, celebrating the freeing of 50 political prisoners --- some of whom had pride of place in the procession --- by the monarchy. However, beyond that concession by the King, there were no significant political moves.

In Yemen, there were no reported deaths in the skirmishes between anti-regime and pro-regime camps, a day after two anti-regime demonstrators were killed and 10 wounded by gunfire. A regime statement said President Ali Abdullah Saleh had ordered the military to "thwart all clashes and prevent direct confrontation between pro- and antigovernment protesters".

And in Egypt, which has slipped down the front pages, there were a series of developments pointing to the post-Mubarak tensions. The opposition coalition called for the replacement of the transitional Cabinet, as well as a lifting of the emergency law, a new Constitution, and prosecution of corruption. The representatives of political parties, the Muslim Brotherhood, and youth groups called for a million-person gathering in Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday to press the demands.

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