Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Blog

The Arab Spring has experienced dramatic developments over the past few days which are worth highlighting:


Chaos has once again engulfed Tahrir Square, with dramatic footage emerging of clashes between police and tens of thousands of protesters over the past few days.  The demonstrators were expressing their frustration with the slow pace of the transition under military rule, and the authorities confirmed the legitimacy of their grievances by killing dozens of them in a needless violent crackdown to clear the square. Whether it’s SCAF or the interior ministry that is responsible for the bloody crackdown seems entirely secondary at this point, and the need to grant real democracy to Egyptians is more urgent than ever. In an apparent attempt to diffuse the situation, the head of the military council has pledged to transfer power to a civilian government by… July, 2012? This probably won’t cut it. All eyes on Tahrir Square to see how the ongoing (indeed, growing) protests will be handled from here on out.


Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has officially agreed to relinquish his hold on power, signing a power-transition deal brokered by the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC). According to Al-Jazeera, the deal “will see Saleh leave office in 30 days… in return for a promise of immunity from prosecution... [with new] presidential elections [to] take place within 90 days.” In a statement released moments ago, President Obama reacted approvingly to the deal, saying The United States will continue to stand by the Yemeni people as they embark on this historic transition.”


The UN General Assembly’s Human Rights Committee adopted overwhelmingly a resolution condemning Syria’s human rights violations and calling on it to halt its attacks on civilians, withdraw its tanks from the streets, and allow observers into the country. The resolution’s co-sponsors included Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Morocco, Bahrain Kuwait, and Turkey. Some Arab countries abstained from voting, but none voted against. This comes shortly after Turkey’s Erdogan warned Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad that his days in power are numbered. Will the regime’s increasing isolation lead to its capitulation? Or further escalation?


The Independent Commission of Inquiry investigating Bahrain’s crackdown has found thatBahraini security forces used ‘excessive force’ and tortured detainees during its crackdown in March on Shia Muslim-led protests demanding democratic change.” The commission also found no evidence of a link between Iran and the Bahraini uprising. On the other hand, the commission faulted the opposition for not accepting the crown prince’s initiative for a peaceful solution to the country’s unrest, and cleared the Peninsula Shield forces of any human rights violations. The Bahraini government said it accepted the report and pledged to hold those responsible for abuses accountable.

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