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.


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


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.


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.


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. Ronen Newmark

    Sounds like "Arab Spring" became "Arab Winter" in a hurry... What a surprise...

    June 15, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Geoffrey

      FIRST and Foremost, the term "Arab Spring" comes from the media. Absolutely nobody in these protest groups refer to it as that. More typically, the call it Horya – Freedom movement, and that it still is. Once the protests spread to Syria, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain – nobody in their right mind would call it a "Spring" or a "Winter". Relatively speaking though, the protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco have been relatively peaceful. This will be an ongoing process and although someone as cynical and narrow minded as Mr. Newmark might not expect it ... it will be successful and it will end long standing despotism and corruption in the Middle East. The Dedication of these people will not bend.

      June 15, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Babak from LA

      @Geoffrey; Well said!

      June 15, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aces

      Wishful thinking Geoffrey – the "Arab Spring" is a joke, it's going to most likely end up as a Muslim Califate with the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood and other like minded Muslim Extremists involved.

      June 15, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • elections are rigged

      Geoffrey: This is one of those times I really hope I am wrong, but I just see this revolution ending in much the same way it has for so many others throughout history. Trading one oppressor for an even worse one.

      June 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      To be fair, the "Arab Spring" is a Western concoction based on our cultural history: namely, "Prague Spring" when civilians behind the Iron Curtain attempted to rise up against their Communist rulers. But this event in our history is largely irrelevant to the Arabs. One would similarly imagine, for example, that adding the suffix -gate behind political scandals would have little meaning in Arab and other non-Western cultures.

      June 15, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jorge washinsen

    If, and when they do, win never let their government be set up where only the military is armed. Without the first two Amendments that are in ours the sacrifice is useless.

    June 15, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. jorge washinsen

    If we arm either side we become the enemy. It is an Arab problem.We can not take on the worlds problems anymore.

    June 15, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  4. descarado

    "What We Need to Know" reads the headline. All we need to know is that we have nothing in common with these women-stoning neanderthals. Let them sort out their own garbage.

    June 15, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  5. JJ

    Descarado, I bet you'd like some neanderthal IN you.

    June 15, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. carl winslow

    Arabs throw acid on womens faces for not wearing a veil

    June 15, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • ignoranceneverceasestoamazeme

      This sounds like the same train of thought that white people had back before integration: black people eat babies. Or the logic that (some) conservatives have had towards gays in the past and have towards gays now: gays are out to recruit more gays and to molest your children. Grow up and stop making stupid generalizations against an entire group of people. While I don't argue that there are social issues in the Middle East (or any other part of the world, for that matter) making ridiculous statements like this aren't going to help your cause or make you seem like a rational person.

      June 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. camelurine

    the only happy arabs are the ones living in israel !

    June 15, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  8. captain camaro

    It is the religous duty of every muslim to spread islam by the sword, and as soon as they have the numbers here, they will begin their jihad in the U.S.

    June 15, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • shaul

      Hmm isn't that exactly what the "good Christians" did to the native americans? We insisted in imposing the christian beliefs on them ( pretty much as you did during the crusades and spanish inquisition) then when they resisted you massacred them my the hundreds of thousands. Not only stealing the land that was rightfully theirs but killing their women and children in the process. Then we have the "good christians" importing slaves from Africa into this country. Using the "new testament" as the source for such barbaric action. Then when the slaves revolted and "freed" that "good christian" organization the KKK seen to it that they were punished severely for being black. No need to point your finger at Islam, bloody christian. You have plenty of blood on your own door step to atone for.

      June 15, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • steveHayes

      Let's return to the the present Shaul. When the Jihadists come knocking on your door are you going to submit?

      June 15, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • shaul

      By all means lets discuss the present. Right wing christian coalition in this country is the source of bigotry and hatred against anyone that isn't white and christian. All of these missionaries going to other countries to shove jesus down others throats regardless of their culture or beliefs. How about all the oppressed ethnic groups in this country? Christianity is the biggest lie, con job and hypocrisy ever perpetrated on mankind. christians never will admit to the atrocities they have committed and continue to commit around the world. Christianity IS the abomination of desolation the prophet Daniel spoke of. It is the Anti-Messiah.

      June 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ed Sr

    The natives are restless.................

    June 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. shaul

    Hmm isn't that exactly what the "good Christians" did to the native americans? We insisted in imposing the christian beliefs on them ( pretty much as you did during the crusades and spanish inquisition) then when they resisted you massacred them my the hundreds of thousands. Not only stealing the land that was rightfully theirs but killing their women and children in the process. Then we have the "good christians" importing slaves from Africa into this country. Taking men by force as if they were animals to be hunted down.Using the "new testament" as the source for such barbaric action. Then when the slaves revolted and were eventually "freed" ,that "good christian" organization the KKK seen to it that they were punished severely for being black. The blacks were persecuted for several centuries by "good christians" . Hypocrites, No need to point your finger at Islam, bloody christian. You have plenty of blood on your own door step to atone for.

    June 15, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Roberts

      It has nothing to do with religion or race. Arabic and African peoples were also involved in the slave trade. They were actually the ones who captured their fellow countrymen. As to the Middle East situation, let them find their own destiny. Our only real interest there is the oil. If North Korea found a huge oil deposit, the Western world would be knocking on their door. Bring our troops home, start developing our own resourses and take care of our own. If the Muslin leadership wants to take their people back to the Middle Ages, fine. Without economic aid and oil money, they would be able to accomplish this in less than 5 years. Can they feed their people? Once the US is out of the Middle East, they will no longer have us to blame for their problems. Let them exist as they did a thousand years ago. They already have most of their people illiterate. Think about that. If you can't read, you have to depend on those who can. Sounds like the Middle Ages to me.

      June 15, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • shaul

      Has everything to do with you born again bigots. Keep your nose out of other peoples cultures and we will all be the better off. As for your satan spawn jesus, we don't need him and certainly don't want him so stop trying to shove him down everyone elses throat.

      June 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Carlton

    Jesus Christ is Lord and His Kingdom reigns FOREVER!!! That's what CNN and all other non-believers need to know!!!

    June 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • shaul

      Your messiah and savior is the biggest LIE ever perpetrated on mankind. The reason he spent 40 days in the desert was to confer with his father- Hashatan ( the adversary ) . What better way for satan to take the focus off the One and Only True G-D, the G-D of Avraham, Yitzak and Yakov, than to give the masses another god to worship ,y'shua. Even the christian clergy have little to no belief in the jesus myth. They do it simply for the money. How many billionaire evangelists and christian leaders are there? How many of them are child molestors? Have you EVER heard of a Rabbi or Emam molesting children and raping the females of their congregations? I think not. Christianity is the Anti-Messiach Ben David as spoken about in the prophesies of The Prophets.

      June 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. J.cohen

    Geoffery, you have demonstrated in your remark illiteracy in history and the Islam religion. There is no Muslim democratic
    country exist now or ever was, for 1400 years any changes in regime was changes from one dictator for another, if you read the Koran you will see that it is based on creating domination by Islamic religion and not by democracy. All they are going to achieve is another winter colder then the previous one.

    June 15, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. brad

    shaul the only religous group causing any problms is +he musilims and i like the majority of the american people could care less bout what is goin on in sum crap hole on the other side of the earth and think we have no bizness over their but unfortunatly our sorry excuse for a government thinks that we have somthing to gain for waistn our tax dollars and our young peoples lives and maken the world despize us . and to ur post on what the people of this country did in the past has absolutly nothing to do with us today . the hate spreading religious machine is islam .what better way to spread the word then strap on a bomb and blow up people . if u dont like it here +hen leave we wont be upset at all

    June 15, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • shaul

      I am not Muslim. I am Yisraeli. However, I would rather take my chances with the fundamentalist muslims than with your "born again bigots"

      June 15, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Shaul lives in denial. Poor Shaul. What a joke. What a waste.

      June 15, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bowchicawow

    June 15, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. A Christain

    Shaul is right. Look at all the bad things that have been done in the name of the Christain religion. We as Christains have no right to point at Islam and say they are wrong, because they are just doing what has been done in the past. True Christians would never permote vilance, murder, steeling, and slaughter the incocent. If one is to come to Salvation though Jesus Christ it must be of thier own freewill and not by threat or fear. Truely the "Christains" and the church of the past has a lot of old sins they must pay for, and I guess that time is now, because I am sure Islam will do the same, and the church will undergo persecuqustion like it went though when it first began.

    June 15, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
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