Weekly Roundup 5/28

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Yemen:
– Great timeline of the Yemeni revolution up until May 22nd, which was the anniversary of the 1990 unification of North and South Yemen.

– On May 22nd Saleh was supposed to sign the GCC agreement, which called for his transition from power. In a masterful theatrical performance pro-government demonstrators surrounded the embassy where the ceremony was to take place. Officials had to be airlifted to the Presidential Palace, where Saleh still refused to sign the deal.

– The next day, clashes broke out between Saleh’s forces and the Al-ahmar clan. The spark came when Saleh supposedly attacked the house of Sheikh Sadiq (Al-Ahmar’s oldest son) during an opposition mediation session.

– Violent clashes have continued all week. Greg Johnsen provides a detailed summary of events from May 22 -24.

– The US and its allies have been forced to revaluate their plan, but no clear path forward has emerged.

– Saleh’s stance has only hardened in the face of violence, which is reportedly spreading to areas outside the capital.

–  Much more to come on Yemen, but in the meantime, check out these blogs:
http://rajaalthaibani.wordpress.com/
http://iqadh.wordpress.com/
http://jebboone.wordpress.com/

Syria:
– Despite the regime’s statements that the uprising was over, and its use of deadly force, thousands came out again on May 20th calling for freedom and the departure of Assad. At least 26 have been killed, with many more injured and/or arrested.

– In response to the violence the EU issued sanctions against Bashar for the first time. Syria was quick to condemn this move.

– Two days later, the EU drafted a resolution asking the Security Council to condemn the violence in Syria.

– Predictably, Hezbollah in Lebanon has called on Syrians to support Bashar Assad. The group receives weapons from Iran via Syria; a trade route that would be in jeopardy if the regime were to fall.

– This Atlantic article, as well as a post on Syria comment, explores the economic implications of the uprising, and how long the country can continue in the current stalemate.

Wissam Tarif’s steady stream of tweets stopped for a couple days, sparking concern for his safety, but the issues were technology related, and he back up and running. He is the director of the Human Rights group Insan and a critical source for casualty and death reports.

– The violence continued this Friday, with 8 deaths originally reported. This number continues to rise, as do incidents of injury, arrest and torture. One particularly concerning practice, is the abuse that is aparantly taking place at military hospitals.

– One of the most notable reports this week was of the death of 13 year old Hamza al-Kitab at the hands of security forces in Daraa. The blog Egypt Chronicles has likened his death to that of Khalid Said’s in Egypt by using the phrase “We are all Hamaz al-Kitab.”

– Syrians around the world have started to mobilize in support of the opposition. Main opposition figures are set to meet in Antalya, Turkey from May 31-June 3, with the goal of presenting a viable alternative to Assad.

Libya:
– Great story of creative rebel tactics, including painting pigeons opposition colors.

– NATO forces continue air strikes on Tripoli, with the largest yet occurring on May 25. In a sign of escalation, day strikes have recently occurred and attack helicopters have been brought in.

The domestic pressure on President Obama to stop operations in Libya continues to grow. Critics say his is violating the 1973 war powers act.

– Russia changed its stance on Libya and Col. Gaddafi after President Medvedev met with rebel leaders in eastern Libya.

– Reporter James Foley spent 44 days in captivity in Libya, and is now telling his story.

Egypt:
– The Supreme Military Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) announces its intention to try Mubarak on murder charges. He faces the death penalty.

– SCAF announced that the Rafah border crossing would be permanently open (9am-9pm) starting Saturday May 28.

– Those involved viewed the “million-man march” scheduled for Tahrir Square on May 27 as a success. They cited a large turn out (tens of thousands) in spite of a Muslim Brotherhood boycott and the demonstration stayed peaceful despite the absence of security forces.

Arab-Israeli:
– The big news of the week was Israeli PM Netanyahu’s speech to the a joint session of the American congress, which drew mixed reactions.

During his stay in Britain President Obama tried to convince PM David Cameron to reject the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN that is scheduled for this September.  It could be a moot point, because the US can veto the application in the Security Council before the General Assembly gets to vote.

Morocco:
On Sunday May 22 authorities suppressed (fairly brutally) pro-democracy demonstrations.  Citizens are not calling for the overthrow on the King, but constitutional reform that will give the people democratic rights.

– To follow the Feb20 movement, and other calls for democracy in Morocco, check out Moroccans for Change.

This entry was posted in Egypt, Israel, Libya, Palestine, Syria, Uncategorized, Yemen. Bookmark the permalink.

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