The part of Libya under Moammar Gadhafi's control is wracked by shortages in fuel, food and cash despite a veneer of normalcy, according to a U.N. fact-finding mission.
Rebels in Libya's western mountains said they have advanced and are battling Col. Moammar Gadhafi's forces in a strategic town southwest of the capital as they ramp up pressure against government troops on a second front.
China said Tuesday that Libya's foreign minister is visiting Beijing just days after Chinese officials announced they had reached out to rebel forces challenging Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Libya's oil minister defected after fleeing to Tunisia, a Tunisian security official said Tuesday of one of the highest profile figures to abandon Col. Moammar Gadhafi's government.
Italy recognized opponents of Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi as the country's only legitimate voice on Monday as the rebels advanced on a war-battered oil town and a Gadhafi envoy pressed other European countries for help in ending the crisis.
Britain on Thursday refused to offer Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa immunity from prosecution after his apparent defection but said his departure would hearten rebels fighting to topple Col. Moammar Gadhafi's regime.
With Thursday's passage of United Nations Security Council resolution 1973, the United States is set to go to war against Libya. Removing Moammar Gadhafi from power would probably advance the cause of freedom, but the United Nations has no legal authority to take a step of this magnitude. By bowing to the will of the U.N. Security Council, President Obama is diluting the sovereign power of the United States.
The Obama administration cut ties Thursday with Libya's embassy in the United States and announced high-level meetings with opposition leaders, as France became the first nation to recognize the governing council fighting against Col. Moammar Gadhafi's regime.
The Obama administration stands ready to offer "any type of assistance" to Libyans seeking to oust Moammar Gadhafi, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday, adding a warning to other African nations not to let mercenaries go to the aid of the longtime dictator.