Libyan Peace Deals Rejected, Officials Say US Stops Backing Yemen Leader

Lots of updates overnight in the Middle East, with more changing by the minute.

In Libya, various factions have offered peace deals, but they've been rejected thus far--mostly because the rebels want the regime to stop attacking them in Misrata, which is under siege, and they don't want the  Gadhafi clan involved at all. So far, the dictator's two more Western-leaning sons (he has seven) have been offering to essentially steward the peace deal, which would require son Seif-al-Islam-Ghadhafi to lead a transitional government.

The New York Times has an excellent pieceabout the internal dynamics of the clan and how they're playing out politically:  

The two sons “want to move toward change for the country” without their father, one person close to the Seif and Saadi camp said Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. “They have hit so many brick walls with the old guard, and if they have the go-ahead, they will bring the country up quickly.” One son, this person said, has said many times that “the wishes of the rebellion were his own.”

The proposals are the latest turn in a drama between Seif and his father that has played out for years on the stage of Libyan public life as the son has alternately pushed forward with calls for political reforms and then pulled back. During the recent revolt, he appeared to march in lockstep with his father in vowing to stamp out the rebels.

 Meanwhile, The Telegraph reports  that these proposals are being unilaterally rejected by the rebels for a variety of reasons:

The rebel spokesman said the regime had lost any right to talk of a negotiated exit because of its continued attack on Misrata, one of the last towns held by anti-Gadhafi forces in western Libya.

"How can you negotiate at the point of a gun?" he asked. Mr Abdulmelah said that Seif al-Islam had shown through his conduct since the uprising began on February 15 that his reputation as someone who wanted to change the regime from within was completely baseless.

"People thought he was a reformer but since the revolution began, he has shown his true colours. He is a carbon copy of his father," the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, as violence gets worse in Yemen, with protesters being fired upon the death toll rising today to 10-12 already, the US has backed away from support of the president  Ali Abdullah Saleh, a former ally in the "war on terror." The Times again reports that the US "has now quietly shifted positions and has concluded that he is unlikely to bring about the required reforms and must be eased out of office, according to American and Yemeni officials."

For a long-form read on the Middle East uprisings, try Dexter Filkin's piece in today's  New Yorkerabout the post-protest future, and whether today's protesters will find "a path between dictatorship and anarchy."

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at April 4, 2011, 5:44am

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