Libyan rebels claim to have retaken the important oil town of Brega, capturing elite soldiers in a rare victory after a week of setbacks at the hands of Dictator Muammar Gaddafi's troops. Protests elsewhere in the Middle East have put increasing pressure on local governments, several which were previously considered stable.
Libya's central government has reconquered several areas from rebels along the country's coast, accelerating efforts led by France to impose a no-fly zone after receiving the approval of the Arab League. The Libyan air force bombed targets in eastern cities Bengazi and Ajdabiya, putting pressure on the area most firmly in rebel hands.
Despite the government gains, rebels claim to have retaken the strategic town of Brega, capturing and killing government troops. The insurgents also said that the government advance was delayed by a mutiny near the rebel-held town of Misrata, a fact backed up by an offer of amnesty to troops by Libyan State TV. The Libyan opposition is also meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, making clear to the United States the composition, strategy, and aims of the anti-Gaddafi troops.
Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia sent troops into Bahrain to stabilize the Sunni monarchy against largely-Shiite protests, a move supported by the regional Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The GCC and the Saudis have stated that they will not let the Bahraini regime fall, but that has not impeded anti-government protests. "The entry of the Saudis does not mean these people are going to go back to their villages quietly," said Toby Jones, a Gulf expert at Rutgers University. "It raises the stakes."
In Yemen, a provincial governor was stabbed in the neck by protesters, as demonstrations spread. In the port city of Aden, protesters set a police station on fire on Monday. The government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh also deported three journalists and a researcher, trying to take control of coverage as the civil strife worsens.
Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman conceded key legislative and audit powers to the Council of Oman, an advisory board for the monarch. The demands have pleased many protesters, but others remain unsatisfied with the economy and education in the kingdom. "We are grateful to His Majesty the Sultan for initiating reforms like removal of corrupt ministers and announcement of social welfare measures," protester Salima Al Rajhi told the Times of Oman. "But our demands like higher salaries, better education system, trial of corrupt ministers and justice to be done in Sohar firing incident are yet to be met."
A Facebook campaign has also begun in the West Bank and Gaza, where protesters are demanding an end to conflict between political groups Hamas and Fatah.