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. Fred

    What you need to know... The arab version of freedom and democracy are absolutely nothing like the West's version of freedom and democracy. What else you need to know.... none of these countries in question will have true freedom and democracy no matter what happens on the ground. Final thing to know... we're doing nothing more than throwing money into a slum at a time when we could sit back and simply enjoy the sight of vile arabs killing vile arabs.

    June 15, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Realistic85

      No, you're not racist. You're a patriot. Keep telling yourself that...

      June 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • shaul

      Yet another example of a "born again christian bigot" The nation of Islam and Judaism need no help from false G-D worshiping christian bigots. We don't need or want your satan spawned jesus so stop interfering with our cultures and quit trying to shove your heresy down the throats of the rest of the world.

      June 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vanilla Gorilla

      RIGHT ON FRED – our intellectually challenged friend has no concept of patriotism. If it doesn't lean to the left then he probably cannot understand it – probably still living at home – no job and a pile of student loans for that liberal arts degree.
      Not even qualified to be a WalMart greeter.
      Let the Arab world solve t heir own problems – at the core of the issue is Islam in one form or another.
      If they are actually understood and practiced what the real message of the Koran is then they would not have all their self inflicted problems. After all we are not at war with Islam – ironically Islam is at war with us.
      And until that changes not one dollar should be spent on any aid of any kind – tie the price of wheat to what they charge for oil.

      June 15, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Anti-Troll

      "Vile arabs killing vile arabs."

      You're a pathetic excuse for human, and I sincerely hope that you're not an American (which, by principle, you are NOT.)

      You're simply trying to fear monger on these boards in a futile attempt to try and create hate, but that won't work, because people have seen what protestors in Egypt, for example, have demanded: a secular democracy.

      By the way, Turkey is a functioning democracy that is secular, also.

      June 15, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Casual Observer

      Shaul why don't you have one of your friends who can read explain the role of Jesus in the Koran. Have him use really small words so that your little brain can take it all in. Not sure if you are a Muslim but one thing is for sure is that people like you are part of the problem in the Middle East. Most be a tough life when you wife and best friend are the same goat.
      Go get that vest, load it up with C4 and head out to kill some more innocents. Say hi to Allah for me .................

      June 15, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • shaul

      Casualobserver, No I am not muslim I am Jewish and I could care less about what the Koran says about your satan spawned jesus. And oh btw, I also have graduate degrees from The U of M. . So as for your little brain comment, If you are in search of one you probably only need to look in the mirror. You are a prime example of the "born again christian bigots" that plague the rest of the world.

      June 15, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meat Puupet

      wow!! two post grad degrees from the U of M – is that the University of Mecca??
      your family most be very proud as it appears that you are the first one to walk upright and master the use of fire

      June 15, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TowelHeadsAreMorons

    That's all you need to know.

    June 15, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Anandh

    Why no coverage of the tumult in Spain and Greece? Come on, this stems of partiality. People are literally fed up and on the streets there too!!! Asia is registering the highest growth percentages in recent times. No coverage of that either.

    June 15, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |

    (1) The Arabs are many subgroups, but none of them is capable of a republic. (2) Arab-on-Arab violence is the norm. (3) Blaming outsiders is the norm. (4) Blaming the Jews who've lived among them for thousands of years is the norm. (5) Blaming the Israelis for being Jews is the norm. (6a) The US and many other nations simply backs whoever can (6b) keep the violence to a minimum and (6c) not oppose American interests in the region. (7a) America's interests in the region are the oil (7b) because the US was among the nations that discovered the oil (7b) the Arabs are a feudal society who never had a need for oil (7) but when oil was valuable to others they stole it. (8) The US has sympathy for Israel because (8a) in that part of the world cheering for the guys who stole the oil is impossible (8b) the Christians in the US feel their own religion is related to the religion of the Jews (8c) but not related as much to the religion of the Muslims, who when in power have treated both Christians and Jews like garbage.

    June 15, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. KASBM

    Fred, the only vile thing about your comment is your complete disregard for human life and your totally disgusting ability to pigeon-hole an entire group of people based on what is undoubtedly a myopic, one-sided source of information. Your comment places you in the same category of "vile" people you so speak of- terrorists and others who do not value life.

    June 15, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JSB

    I have to admit that what Fred says sounds like reality!

    June 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. saywhat

    @ AChristian
    Right on the mark.I agree.
    Contrary to the general perception and propaganda, Christianity is closer to Islam than Judaism. The only people who believe in Jesus Christ besides Christians are muslims as a holy Prophet and Messenger of God. Their holy book The Koran mentions Jesus Christ 28 times and a whole chapter is devoted to Holy Mary declaring her to be the highest among women. The Koran (Read Professor Walker Wagner's "Opening the Qura'n") reaffirms the miracle of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Immaculate Conception, miracles of his child hood and later life and his Second Coming.
    The people @ Shaul mentions are a handful of oputlaws who are enemies of all including muslims. In fact more muslims have been killed at their hands than any other people.
    If you talk to muslims they consider these terrorists from AlQaeda and Taliban as their enemy.

    June 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • shaul

      stupid christian. I am a Jew. And you are correct about the fact that christianity is closer to Islam than Judaism. That fact could not make me happier. We DON'T claim christians as even remotely related to our culture or faith. They worship a false G-D. At least the Muslims worship the one and only TRUE G-D. Our fight with Islam goes back to Yitzak being the seed of the promise and yshmael, the son of the bond woman being cast out. It is our fight and most likely will be until time itself ceases to be. In short, keep your nose out of it. We neither need you or want you.

      June 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Casual Observer

      shaul – why sect of Judaism are you part of? Curious as I am studying Jewish history from 30ad to 100ad.
      point me towards something that supports you claims regarding Jesus. The rabbi sitting next to me is at a loss to explain your position as he states that it is a position usually taken by radical Jewish sects. And that is OK.
      Help me out here.

      June 15, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • shaul

      Orthodox Judaism. If the Rabbi beside you in any way supports y'shua being the Messiach or in any way supports your Triune G-D, then he must be one of the Messianic Rabbi's that are not considered Jews or Rabbi's by any of the Jewish community. In other words his opinion, as well as yours has no credibility at all

      June 15, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Z

    Let the middle east handle it themselves .we got to help our own country.with the recession .a lot our without jobs.the prisons are filling up .may god bless there leaders and guide them through these hard times.

    June 15, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Honestly?

    First of all, I have no control over the united states government, just as much as my Arab and African counterparts have no control over theirs. It is controlled by conglomerates with large amounts of money that pay no tax to do business in America, Africa or any Arab nation. They give money to the Cayman Islands or the Swiss. I wish I had some say in what the machine we call government does, but it seems I have something in common with my fellow 20 somethings in the Arab world right now. I am also fed up.
    But i am fed up more so with the discussion that I am seeing on this page, as I feel the logical among us should feel after centuries of hate and violence. How much feces need we fling till we're just a bunch of chimps? Too actually believe that one side of religious extremism has more validity than the next is too truly miss the point of a higher power. Some of what I have read, on both sides of this argument, have disgusted me.
    Look, SOME "Muslims" throw acid on women's faces. Just like SOME "Christians" blow up the Oklahoma City Federal building. It's time to evolve people. It's time to ask yourself, "Do I want to be on the side of the violent SOME? Or the side of the peaceful MANY?"

    June 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      You are an ignorant fool. The OK city bombing was NOT Christian terrorism. Tim McVeigh never claimed to be motivated by the Christian faith or by Biblical teaching. McVeigh never quoted bible verses or exclaimed his actions in Jesus name or in defense of "the faith". McVeigh is on record in post-bombing interviews as saying that he is "basically agnostic" and that he believes in science. He is on record as stating that the OK bombing was an act of revenge against the federal government for what McVeigh perceived as egregious crimes against Randy Weaver and the Branch Davidians. There was absolutely nothing "Christian" about his attack, in letter or spirit. Keep regurgitating the talking points that dissemblers feed you, moron.

      June 15, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Conan the Librarian

      please check you facts – the OK City was an act of political activism. Nothing more.

      June 15, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. david gold

    Quite honestly, and I hate to say this, we jews are the ones that started this all by stealing land from the palestinians and keeping them under a brutal occupation. Then the west supports corrupt arab leaders who side with israel and then all this happens. The torah does not teach us to be zionists. We need to give the palestinians their land back our there will never be true peace.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • ff

      Animals will be animals, this is why you can't give them nuclear weapons because ones a psycho country has one it means all the terror organizations will have one which means just like they could destroy the twin towers with air planes they could put a nuclear bomb anywhere on the US or for matter of fact any country they don't like at the moment.

      June 15, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Right?

      I totally agree with you, david gold. You are so right. Palestine should have its land back as it is stolen. Love your honesty.

      June 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Honestly?

    So Frank, you obviously missed the quotation marks. Sorry if I wasn't clear but there is absolutely nothing Christian about what good ol' Timmy did. Just as there is nothing Muslim about throwing acid of women's faces. I didn't say the bombing was motivated by Christian teachings. But the way you're refute of what was obviously a message of peace and understanding tells me everything I need to know about you. I'll be trying to avoid your kind of world Frank.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bigot christian

    shaul, it would probably behoove you to believe in Jesus because you are obviously full of anger and hate. I hope you find peace in G-D because i cant imagine you are following anything thats helping you be a loving peaceful contributor to humanity. you are joining the problem that exists in this world... the hate that exists from a lack of a true GOD

    June 15, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • shaul

      NO! Me and my house worship HASHEM, The G-D of Avraham, Yitzak and Yakov. Definitely not the Heretic jesus. You are free to worship who you will. Just stop trying to shove that spawn of satan down the rest of the worlds throat.

      June 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Hockeyn109

    All I need to know is that these people supported their tyrants for all these years. There is no voice telling me what it is they're looking for. They don't understand democracy, it's never been in their history or culture. They seem to just want their army to take care of things for them. We need to stop running interference, let them sort the mess out.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. AJew

    A brutal occupation? I disagree. The Jews took the land and cultivated it. Go to Israel, see for yourself. People are happy and prosperous there. Yes, even the Arabs. Don't speak of what you do not know.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Right?

      There is no such thing as Israel. it's Palestine. People can argue over this all they want. Once again, There is no such thing as Israel. it's Palestine.

      June 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • SomeGuy

      Actually, there has never been any such nation as Palestine. There was, however, an ancient nation called Israel. The land was stolen from the Jews by the Babylonians, then by the Persians, then by the Greeks, then by the Romans, then by the Mamluks, then by the Ottoman Empire (Turks), then by the British, who finally gave part of it back to the Jews, who are the rightful owners.

      June 15, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. PotFace

    "Arab Unrest: What you need to know"

    Wow – did the news just turn into a self-proclaimed encyclopedia? I wonder what their credentials are for scholarly work....

    June 15, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
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