Libya -- Government forces drove hundreds of rebels from a strategic oil port with a withering rain of rockets and tank shells on Thursday, significantly expanding Muammar Qaddafi's control of Libya as Western nations struggled to find a way to stop him. France became the first country to recognize the rebels' governing council, and an ally of President Nicolas Sarkozy said his government was planning "targeted operations" to defend civilians if the international community approves. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she would meet with opposition leaders in the U.S., Egypt and Tunisia. But there was no concrete sign of Western moves toward military assistance such as the no-fly zone that the rebels pleaded for as they retreated through the pancake-flat desert scrubland outside the port of Ras Lanouf, scanning the skies for government warplanes.