Sub-editor, World Desk, London, London
Peter's Feed
May 31, 2011

Officers disown Gaddafi as peace bid stalls

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Under pressure from a new round of defections, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi renewed a ceasefire call in talks with an African mediator but gave no sign he will heed Western-led demands that he step down.

The mediator, South African President Jacob Zuma, said after a whistlestop visit on Monday that Gaddafi wanted a ceasefire including an end to NATO bombing — terms already rejected last month after an earlier mediation mission by Zuma.

May 30, 2011

South African President Zuma flies into Tripoli

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – South African President Jacob Zuma flew into Tripoli on Monday to try to broker a peace deal with Muammar Gaddafi, just hours after NATO’s secretary-general said the Libyan leader’s “reign of terror” was coming to an end.

Zuma was met by a host of dignitaries, not including Gaddafi himself, who has not been seen since May 11 when he was shown by Libyan state television meeting what it said was tribal leaders.

May 30, 2011

NATO chief sees end to Gaddafi’s “reign of terror”

TRIPOLI/VARNA, Bulgaria (Reuters) – Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s “reign of terror” is coming to an end, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday, ahead of a peace mission by South African President Jacob Zuma.

NATO warplanes have been raising the pace of their air strikes on Tripoli, with Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziyah compound in the center of the city being hit repeatedly.

May 29, 2011

French ex-Minister in Libya, would defend Gaddafi

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Former French foreign minister Roland Dumas visited Libya as a lawyer to prepare a legal case on behalf of victims of NATO bombing and said he was prepared to defend leader Muammar Gaddafi if he is sent to The Hague.

Dumas, who served as foreign minister under socialist President Francois Mitterrand, said he had seen several civilian victims of NATO bombing in a hospital and had been told by a doctor there that there were as many as 20,000 more.

May 29, 2011

Britain readies “bunker-busting” bombs for Libya

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Britain is to add “bunker-busting” bombs to the arsenal its warplanes are using over Libya, a weapon it said on Sunday would send a loud message to Muammar Gaddafi that it is time to quit.

Britain and other NATO powers are ratcheting up their military intervention in Libya to try to break a deadlock that has seen Gaddafi hold on to power despite weeks of air strikes and a rebel uprising.

Apr 6, 2011

Cultural heart beats again on Baghdad bookseller street

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – “We have a saying: Cairo writes. Beirut prints. Baghdad reads,” says Abdul-Wahab Mizher al-Radi, proprietor of the House of Scientific Books, one of countless bookshops crammed along Baghdad’s Mutanabi Street.

Reading books, buying books and discussing books are the defining pleasures of being a Baghdad intellectual, and for generations the life of the mind has orbited around this lane, the booksellers’ market of the Iraqi capital.

Mar 29, 2011
via Photographers' Blog

A tribute to journalist and colleague Sabah al-Bazee

Photo

Reuters correspondent Peter Graff in Baghdad writes following the death of journalist Sabah al-Bazee:

For those of us who work in the Baghdad bureau, it is always a shock to look back through the collected photos of one of our Iraqi colleagues. We think we are used to those old scenes. But seen one after another, the images compiled over eight years of carnage by a single journalist like Sabah al-Bazee still have the power to freeze your blood.

Mar 23, 2011

“Lawrence of Arabia” rebel army in Libya? Unlikely

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – It is a truism in warfare that has rarely seemed more relevant: there is only so much you can achieve from the air.

If Western forces want to get rid of Muammar Gaddafi, they need a force on the ground that can stand up to his security forces. So far, the rebels seem hardly suited to the task.

Mar 23, 2011

Analysis: “Lawrence of Arabia” rebel army in Libya? Unlikely

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – It is a truism in warfare that has rarely seemed more relevant: there is only so much you can achieve from the air.

If Western forces want to get rid of Muammar Gaddafi, they need a force on the ground that can stand up to his security forces. So far, the rebels seem hardly suited to the task.

Mar 13, 2011

Ominous deja vu as Saddam’s victims watch Gaddafi

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – When he sees reports from Libya of a euphoric youth rebellion crushed in a brutal armed crackdown by an Arab ruler, Ahmed al-Saidi is overcome with an ominous sense of deja vu.

A survivor of the failed 1991 uprising against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Saidi knows what it feels like to believe the international community will help you overthrow a dictator, only to find your town abandoned to merciless revenge.