Omage: Hillary Clinton and Egypt's Nabil el-Arabi in Cairo.
Khalil Hamra  /  AP
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, left, meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil el-Arabi, right, Tuesday in Cairo, Egypt.
msnbc.com news services
updated 3/15/2011 5:07:26 PM ET 2011-03-15T21:07:26

Latest developments in the unrest sweeping the Arab world from North Africa to the Persian Gulf:

Libya: 'Humanitarian mission' ahead
Libya's army told residents in Benghazi on Tuesday that it will come on what it called a "humanitarian mission" to save them from rebels controlling the eastern city in defiance of Muammar Gadhafi's 41-year rule.

In an announcement carried by state-run television, the army also urged Benghazi residents to not allow their children to join the rebels it described as "terrorists."

Gadhafi's forces seized the strategic town of Ajdabiyah on Tuesday, opening the way to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

Egypt: Clinton urges democracy
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton implored Egyptians on Tuesday to complete their fragile and unfinished democratic transition while fighting continued in next-door Libya and Bahrain called in foreign security forces to put down anti-government protests there.

Fearing that gains made since last month's ouster of authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak may be lost to impatience or a hijacking of the political system by extremists, Clinton urged Egyptians to seize the opportunity to make their country a model for an inclusive Arab democracy.

"To the people of Egypt, let me say: this moment of history belongs to you," Clinton said following talks with Egypt's new foreign minister, Nabil al-Araby. "This is your achievement and you broke barriers and overcame obstacles to pursue the dream of democracy."

She called on Egypt to use its millennia-old traditions of civilization and innovation to ensure the success of their peaceful revolution.

"Today, because of the Egyptian people, Egypt is rising. Egypt, mother of the world, is now giving birth to democracy," Clinton said. "We congratulate you on embarking on what will be a very important next chapter in the storied history of Egypt."

Bahrain: 3 dead in clampdown
Clashes sweep the country a day after a Saudi-led military force arrives to defend its Sunni monarchy from a Shiite-led protest movement demanding political freedoms and equal rights. Hundreds of demonstrators are injured by shotgun blasts and clubs, a doctor says, and the king declares a three-month state of emergency.

One demonstrator is shot in the head and killed, and a Saudi official says one of his country's soldiers is shot dead by a protester.

Syria: Protesters call for freedom
About 40 people joined a Syrian protest on Tuesday, briefly chanting political slogans, witnesses said, in the first challenge to the ruling Baath Party since civil unrest swept countries across the Arab world.

Witnesses said protesters marched through Hameediyeh market in Old Damascus before dispersing into side streets, making it difficult to be caught by Syrian secret police, who have beefed up their presence in the wake of the political tumult that overthrew the Tunisian and Egyptian presidents.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who succeeded his father 11 years ago, has said there was no chance the political upheaval shaking the Arab Middle East would spread to Syria. The president also heads the Baath party, in power since 1963, bans opposition and imposes emergency law still in force.

A short YouTube video showed a few dozen people marching after noon prayer near the Umayyad Mosque, one of the holiest places in Islam, clapping and chanting "God, Syria, freedom — that's enough."

The chant is a play on words of one of the government's main slogans "God, Syria, Bashar -- that's enough," in reference to the president.

Yemen: Tribal leader killed
A Yemeni tribal leader was killed in clashes that broke out Tuesday between protesters demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his supporters, a local official said.

Naji Nasm, who backed the Islamist opposition Islah (Reform) party, was shot dead during a demonstration in the northern al-Jawf province, the official told Reuters.

The impoverished Arabian Peninsula state has been rocked by weeks of demonstrations that have undermined Saleh's 32-year grip on power, with both pro- and anti-government factions appearing to resort increasingly to violence in the struggle.

At least eight demonstrators and three soldiers have died since Saturday, raising the death toll from unrest to almost 40.

Oman: Corruption investigation urged
Demonstrators pressed their political and labor demands on Tuesday across the Gulf state of Oman, where a string of concessions by veteran ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said have failed to halt a wave of unrest.

The protesters, calling for political reform, pay rises and more jobs, added a new demand -- that the new police chief investigate sacked ministers for alleged corruption. Qaboos has fired 12 ministers since the protests against his rule began.

"The new inspector general must immediately do his job and investigate the sacked ministers for corruption when they were in power," said demonstrator Khalfan Al Abri outside the Shura Council, which forms the elected wing of the Oman Council.

Qaboos, in power for 40 years, decided earlier this week to cede some legislative powers to the partly elected Oman Council, an advisory body. At present, only the sultan and his cabinet can pass laws.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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