Top stories from DAWNS Digest.
Libyan Government Reclaims Tripoli Airport
This is embarrassing for Libya’s transitional government. After about 24 hours in which the main airport of the Libyan capital was under the control of armed militiamen, the government has finally re-asserted control. This is a rather shocking development that underscores the precarious the security situation: if a rebel group can wily-nily take control of Libya’s main airport, the central government must be extraordinarily weak. “The militiamen from the city of Tarhouna had stormed the airport, forcing airport authorities to divert flights. The assailants occupied the airport runway and flights were diverted to Metiga air base in the city’s center, Mohammed el-Gharyani of Tripoli Security Committee said. Tunis Air announced Monday that it had canceled two flights to Tripoli in response to the violence at the airport and was waiting to see how the situation evolved, the company said in a statement. Abdul-Jalil and el-Ghayrani both said the militiamen were angry over arrest of their commander, Abu Oleija al-Habishi, on Sunday.” (AP http://bit.ly/NBiFLm)
A Very Dire Warning from the UN Refugee Agency RE The Sudans
There has been a massive refugee flow into South Sudan from restive and besieged Sudanese border regions. The situation is getting increasingly worse, with no end in sight. “‘This is a dramatic change in an already difficult humanitarian situation,’ the UN Hugh Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, said in a news release. ‘Not only are refugee numbers suddenly much higher, but the condition that many of these people are in is shockingly bad. Some have been eating tree leaves to survive along the way.’ Over the past three weeks an estimated 35,000 refugees have arrived in Upper Nile State, with many arriving from the Sudanese state of Blue Nile, according to the Office of the UN Hugh Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This is on top of an existing refugee population there of approximately 70,000, and it adds that the arrivals are continuing. The refugee agency believes that most of the new refugees in Upper Nile state are too close to the border for their safety.” (Sudan Tribune http://bit.ly/NBkuYJ)
Drones, Drones Everywhere
We are in the midst of a stepped up campaign of drone attacks in Pakistan. This may further complicate diplomatic efforts to have Pakistan reopen military supply routes to Afghanistan. However, it does not seem that the Obama administration is terribly concerned. “According to reports from the region, which American government sources did not contest, U.S.-operated drones launched three attacks in tribal areas along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan between Saturday and Monday. Reports from Pakistan said nearly 30 people were killed during the sequence of strikes, including four suspected militants on Saturday, ten suspected militants on Sunday, and 15 people in the strike in which Abu Yahya was targeted. There have been eight U.S. drone strikes on targets in Pakistan since President Barack Obama and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari attended a NATO summit in Chicago on May 21.” (Reuters http://bit.ly/NBjHqD)