Latest Happenings in the Middle East
The Middle East saw a surprisingly quick civil unrest sweep across many countries in the early 2011. Here's a snapshot of what happened during these mass protests and where matters stand as of now:
Ignoring the people's demand for a better economy and governance, Muammar Gaddafi conducted a severe crackdown on the protestors. Reportedly, he had hired African mercenaries to quell the domestic unrest. As he pressed close to the important rebel city of Benghazi, the UN Security Council passed a resolution for armed strike on Libya, and now many nations are participating in the bombing operations.
The protests in Bahrain appear to have been silenced. The country requested military aid from the Gulf Cooperation Council, and pressed home anti-opposition action to bring an end to the unrest.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh has threatened the opposition with civil war if they do not end the protests and engage in a political dialogue. However, he has so far shown no intention of stepping down from power.
Intense anti-government protests were witnessed in the streets of Djibouti against the rule of President Ismail Omar Guelleh, demanding fairness in elections.
Five people were reported killed in the Moroccan protests against King Mohammed VI to give up power. The protests do appear to have settled down, but people are actively participating on the social media channels and voicing their anger.
The civil resistance movement against the longtime president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali resulted in his fleeing from the country in the last month. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi took over the government, but he had to step down in the face of fresh protests. Al-Baji Qa'ed Al-Sebsi was appointed as the new prime minister by the Tunisia's interim president.
Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, who faces an international arrest warrant for genocide and war crimes, has decided not to continue from the next presidential term. Recently, demonstrators clashed with government forces, expressing their resentment against election fraud and other problems afflicting the country. Several people were arrested after the clash, according to Human rights Watch.
King Abdullah II swore in a new government to start on the reforms demanded by the protesting populace. Another demand was to abolish the peace treaty with Israel, on which there is something yet to happen.
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika decided to put an end to the state of emergency imposed for about two decades. This move was seen as an attempt to appease the demonstrators who were protesting against rising food price, high rate of inflation and housing problems.
People of Iraq, including intellectuals and other groups, were planning to hold massive protest rallies in the capital and other cities. In response, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki gave 100 days to ministers to deliver results. About 13 people were killed during the protests.
The people of Iran came out to protest against the dubious elections of 2009. The security forces retaliated oppressively, and there were reports of possible executions of opposition leaders. But President Ahmadinejad stood his ground, backed by the religious leader Khamenei.