So which countries now officially recognize the Libyan rebels?

Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle announced today during a visit to Benghazi that his government would now recognize the Transitional National Council (TNC) as the official representatives of the Libyan people. Here's a breakdown of which major countries have officially recognized the Benghazi-based leadership and which countries haven't.


France was one of the first countries to recognize the rebels on March 10, some nine days before the NATO intervention began. Qaddafi broke off diplomatic relations with Paris the next day.

Qatar was the first Arab country to back the rebels, establishing diplomatic ties on March 28. Kuwait followed in April, Jordan in May, and the United Arab Emirates last week.

Despite a long-standing friendship between Qaddafi and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Italy backed the rebels as the "only legitimate interlocutor" in April.

In mid-May, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague recognized the TNC and invited them to open a mission in London.  Spain and Australia soon followed.


The United States.  Despite playing a leading role in the airstrikes against Qaddafi and his loyalist forces, Washington hasn't officially recognized the Transitional Council.  White House spokesman Jay Carney said last month the U.S. is "continuing to assess the capabilities of the TNC," but it was up to the Libyan people to decide their government, not foreign states.  

Regional power house Turkey has not completely renounced Qaddafi, despite lobbying efforts by Libyan rebel leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil, who visited Ankara late last month.

Russia and China. Both countries abstained in the Security Council vote authorizing a no-fly zone in Libya and have yet to cut off ties with Qaddafi. A Russian envoy might meet with him again this week in Tripoli.

Neighbor Egypt is allowing aid and medical material to cross its western border to resupply and aid the Libyan rebels, but it hasn't yet renounced Qaddafi's government. In fact, Jalil has alleged  that Qaddafi's associates are in Egypt, selling Libyan assets to get around international sanctions and recruiting mercenaries,  charges that Cairo denies.


Turkey turns its mass arrest strategy on hackers

With so much news coming out of Turkey and so many high-profile targets getting hacked, it was probably inevitable that something like this would happen this week: 

After hacker group Anonymous' apparently successful Operation Turkey to protest Internet censorship, the country's authorities have detained 32 people in connection with the attack on Turkish government Web sites.

After Friday's attack, Turkey's telecommunications authorities investigated and took the people into custody, according to a report today by Turkey's state news agency. Eight of those detained were under 18 years old, the report said.

It's not surprising that if Turkey were going to make hacker arrests, it would make 32 of them. The country's usual response to possible unrest is to arrest a lot of people at once. I looked into the reson for this trend for a piece last year:

It's probably not because Turkey has more massive criminal conspiracies per capita than anywhere else. Other countries manage to break up terrorist plots without resorting to mass arrests -- it was the Buffalo Six not the Buffalo 86, for instance. More likely, Ankarauses the public spectacle of mass arrests to send a message. Under Turkish law, an individual can be charged for simply belonging to a banned organization, even if he or she hasn't actually participated in any illegal activities.[...]

Despite its mass arrests, Turkey has a relatively low conviction rate -- around 50 percent. Out of the original 86 Ergenekon arrests, only 48 are still on trial. But because Turkish law allows suspects to be held in prison during their trial, the arrest and trial itself can often be punishment enough -- and a powerful deterrent for those who might think of instigating their own plots.

So while it wouldn't be surpising if not all those arrested are actually members of Anonymous -- to the extent that Anonymous even has members -- and it's certainly unlikely that all of them will be convicted, arrests like this one send a definite statement. 

Hat tip: Cyrus Farivar