Arab Unrest: Middle East and North Africa, country by country
Syrian refugees make their way to the Turkish border. The U.N. said 10,000 Syrians have fled into neighboring countries.
June 15th, 2011
10:07 AM ET

Arab Unrest: Middle East and North Africa, country by country

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been swept up in protests against longtime rulers since the January revolt that ousted Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. In many cases, these demonstrations and movements have been met with brute force and escalated into seemingly unending violence.

Here are the latest developments from each country and information on the roots of the unrest.

SYRIA

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to huddle with a special Syrian envoy on Wednesday in an effort to help stem the growing tide of refugees racing into Turkey from conflict-wracked Syria. The number of Syrians who have crossed the border now stands at 8,421, according to Turkey's disaster and emergency management directorate.

CNN reporter, briefly in Syria, hears 'horror' stories

That flight has been spurred by violence and a military offensive in the conflict-scarred country, and Turkey is worried that the border crisis could deteriorate and destabilize the region.

Of the refugees, 4,368 are children and 73 Syrians are now being treated in Turkish hospitals, the emergency directorate said. More than 1,230 tents have been set up in a number of locations.

Actress Angelina Jolie, a longtime goodwill ambassador for the U.N. refugee agency, has submitted an application to visit the refugees in Turkey, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal confirmed to CNN by phone. He says the government is "evaluating" the request.

GPS: The consequences of Syrian refugees in Turkey

Roots of Unrest: More than 1,100 people may have died since the unrest began in mid-March after teens were arrested for writing anti-government graffiti in Daraa, according to Amnesty International. As the crackdown intensified, demonstrators changed their demands from calls for "freedom," "dignity" and an end to abuses by the security forces to calls for the regime's overthrow. On April 19, Syria's Cabinet lifted an emergency law, which had been in effect since 1963. But security forces then moved quickly to crack down. Government opponents allege massive human rights abuses.

Analysis: Why U.N. won't act against Syria

BAHRAIN

The trial of three Bahraini opposition journalists accused of fabricating news to disrupt peace during the civil unrest in the Gulf state adjourned after a few minutes Wednesday. Civilian High Court judges postponed proceedings until Sunday after the defense presented documents showing detailed communications between editors of the Al-Wasat newspaper, King Hamad and other top government officials.

Mansoor al-Jamri, former editor-in-chief of the publication, Walid Nouwaihidh, former managing editor and Aqeel Mirza, the former head of the local news department, are on trial after being forced to quit the publication in April. A fourth man, Ali al-Sharifi, is being tried in absentia.

Rights group urges Bahrain to stop military trials

Roots of Unrest: Protesters initially took to the streets of Manama to demand reform and the introduction of a constitutional monarchy. But some are now calling for the removal of the royal family, which has led the Persian Gulf state since the 18th century.

Young members of the country's Shiite Muslim majority have staged protests in recent years to complain about discrimination, unemployment and corruption, issues they say the country's Sunni rulers have done little to address. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights said authorities launched a clampdown on dissent in 2010. It accused the government of torturing some human rights activists.

LIBYA

South African President Jacob Zuma lashed out Tuesday at NATO's enforcement of the U.N. resolution authorizing the organization to act to protect innocent civilians threatened by Libya's civil war.

"We strongly believe that the resolution is being abused for regime change, political assassinations and foreign military occupation," Zuma said at a budget vote debate before the National Assembly in Cape Town. "These actions undermine the efforts of the African Union in finding solutions to the problems facing its member states," he said in an appeal that called on all parties to respect international humanitarian law and called further for reform of the U.N. Security Council.

Unlike some other world leaders, Zuma has not called for the longtime Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to step down. Neither has Zuma's African National Congress party nor the African Union, which Gadhafi once led. The AU also has criticized the NATO airstrikes.

Boehner warns of possible War Powers Resolution violation over Libya
McCain: Obama to make case for Libya mission

Roots of Unrest: Protests in Libya started in February when demonstrators, fed up with delays, broke into a housing project the government was building and occupied it. Gadhafi's government responded with a $24 billion fund for housing and development. A month later, more demonstrations were sparked when police detained relatives of those killed in an alleged 1996 massacre at Abu Salim prison, according to Human Rights Watch. High unemployment and demands for freedom have also fueled the protests.

YEMEN

A meeting was to be held on Wednesday between Yemeni Vice President Abdu Rabu Mansoor Hadi and members of the country's youth revolutionary movement, officials confirmed.

Hundreds of thousands of anti-regime protesters who want President Ali Abdullah Saleh to depart from office were gathering in front of Hadi's Sanaa residence and are calling on him to accept demands to form a presidential transitional council.

Along with Sanaa, protesters took to the streets on Wednesday in Tazi, Ibb, Hodieda, and Aden. Saleh is in a hospital in Saudi Arabia, where he is recovering from wounds following a June 3 attack on the presidential compound.

GPS: Saudi Arabia's Yemen dilemma
Yemeni VP, opposition meet; Saleh reportedly improving

Roots of Unrest: Protesters have called for the ouster of Saleh, who has ruled Yemen since 1978. The country has been wracked by a Shiite Muslim uprising, a U.S.-aided crackdown on al Qaeda operatives and a looming shortage of water. High unemployment fuels much of the anger among a growing young population suffering in poverty. The protesters also cite government corruption and a lack of political freedom. Saleh has promised not to run for president in the next round of elections.

soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. book69

    Shaul you sound like you would really enjoy a big jihad in your mouth!

    June 16, 2011 at 6:08 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. saywhat

    Those here who deny the brutal occupation of Palestinian land should have the spunk to visit Gaza and see for themselves the debasement of humanity at the hands of the Zionist Israeli regime. The plight of those 1.2 million refugees forced to live in camps in their own country. Brave Jews who stand on the side of true Judaism (not Zionism) Peace & Justice are now standing up to that far righ apartheid regime in Israel.
    The likes of Gush Shalom in Israel, JStreet , Jewish Voice for Peace, Rabbis of North America for Peace in USA and many others are corageously facing suppression from lobbies like AIPAC and those of our lawmakers who swear allegiance to Israel to bring the truth to Americans about Israeli occupation.

    June 16, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. DD

    "Arab" unrest? Don't you mean "citizen" unrest? Some of the people in that first picture are not Arabs at all, but I'm sure they are just as concerned about the state of their country.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse | Reply
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