As forces loyal to Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi's continue their assault on key opposition strongholds--and their corresponding oil assets--in eastern Libya, bombarding the oil export hub of Brega, the international community is mobilizing on a variety of fronts.
The Associated Press and Al Jazeera are reporting that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has spoken with Qaddafi about organizing friendly countries from Latin America, Europe and the Middle East into a "Committee of Peace" to broker a resolution to the Libyan crisis between Qaddafi and opposition forces. Ever since the Libyan uprising broke out in mid-February, Chavez has avoided condemning Qaddafi--a longtime friend and ally--but expressed interest in finding a peaceful solution to the violence. Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa says Chavez's peace plan is under consideration, according to Reuters, but he adds that he doesn't know whether Qaddafi approves of it.
It also appears unlikely that the protesters would welcome the peace plan. Rebel leaders are rejecting negotiations with Qaddafi and instead calling for Western nations to conduct airstrikes on Qaddafi's forces, the New York Times and Al Jazeera report. The United Nations Security Council and Western countries have imposed economic sanctions on Qaddafi's regime but have so far refrained from intervening more aggressively given the military and diplomatic risks. On Wednesday, Qaddafi warned the West that any intervention could devolve into another Afghanistan or Vietnam. In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S.--which has moved warships into the Mediterranean--is concerned about "Libya descending into chaos and becoming another Somalia."
International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has also announced that the body will investigate alleged human rights abuses by Qaddafi and his security forces, following the United Nations' suspension of Libya from the Human Rights Council. Dutch officials, meanwhile, are negotiating with Libyan authorities to release three Dutch marines who were captured by Qaddafi's forces as they tried to evacuate one Dutch person and another European from Sirte, which Qaddafi controls. The evacuees have since left Libya.
The Times explains that while protesters continue to repel attacks by the regime's security forces, the rebels are "leaderless" and "have not been able to shake the colonel’s hold on power," though "Qaddafi’s strategy is equally murky."