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. dontconfuseus

    i love how everyone in the east thinks that just because someone lives in the west they 'must' be christians. it doesnt work like that. not here. please dont think like that.. youll get a very wrong and skewed perspective of christianity.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mohammad

      Or similarly not everybody who lives in the Middle East is a Muslim! In fact Muslims throughout history showed the most tolerant form of government compared to other religions. Example when crusaders slaughters Eastern Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Jerusalem and Muslims took it back Muslims allowed free religion practice for all. Mongols conquered Muslims and guess what? They became Muslims later on (all southern former Soviet Union countries today). Indonesia largest Muslim country never had a Muslim army step a foot there. Generally speaking many here in the west don't know the basics (sadly they are one click away in this internet age) and prefer to listen to Glen Beck where he never fails to find a weird nut case and make that the face of all Muslims.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. J. Duncan

    It is not Islam, Christianity, judism or any other religion that makes this all so vile. It is MAN. Man has always dictated his ways, good or evil on other cultures. Seeing as how we are all here to find our way, oppressing our people (The human race)has never worked in any culture. Yes there are those who use religion as a means to step on others but every dog has his day. And, that day of reckoning is upon us all. It is not our job as americans to dictate to other cultures because they choose to follow the beliefs of their cultures. Yes it is sad to see so many senseless deaths in the name of religion especially since this country hasn't attoned for it's own attrocities by way of the American Indians, Slavery and the oppression of anyone of color. It is man that is vile, pure and simple and we will all face judgement of our deeds.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. VPCAM50

    When are we to see much needed unrest in the U.S.? Forget Arab Spring. We need American Spring. Irrespective of autocratic or democratic forms of governments, competing human self-interest, greed and corruption have trumped National Interest. This is abundantly at display in our nations capital and state capitals all across the United States. What is the explanation for passing the laws to restrict voter registration in 21 states in the U.S.? Who are responsible for the defeat of a bill in the senate yesterday that would have eliminated ethanol subsidy, that would have saved $ 6 Billions per year. How about the defeat of a bill to eliminate subsidy to oil and gas companies that would have saved $100 billions per year?

    June 15, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheMovieFan

      How long have you been a communist?

      June 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. B A Todd

    You are all wrong. The world will only know peace when scientific enlightenment prevails 2 accomplish the goals of developing the highest quality of human life while also promoting & preserving the health of our Planet Earth, our Creator's sacred gift to us. We humans have all we need 2 begin building a far better world than we've ever known

    June 15, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pwnslap

      You're saying what I've aways dreamed about, unfortunately we'll all die in a fire before that day arrives.

      June 16, 2011 at 4:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. Carlton

    Jesus Christ is Lord!!!

    June 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • shaul

      A lord and minion of Satan perhaps but definitely not my lord. Me and my house will worship HASHEM, The G-D of our forefathers , Avraham, Yitzak and Yakov.

      June 15, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mohammed Hossain

    Peace comes through a price. Islam failed to progress with the changing world and it remained at least 100 years behind the western civilisation. Blaming Israel and America will not solve their internal struggle with mounting population and limited resources. So long they rely on oil to claim high ambition, probably the reason Osama is now floating on the Arabian Sea. Who wants to build a monument out there?

    June 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. descarado

    All we need to know is that America has nothing in common with any of these women-stoning neanderthals.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Casual Observer

    Shaul thank you for clarifying your position. The good rabbi is not Messianic – nor is he blinded by pure hate.
    As he says each will find his own road to God. There are parallels between Judaism, Christianity and Islam in their early stages and need to be put into the correct historical perspective. That is where faith comes into play – there is virtually no solid archeological or historical evidence to support that Solomon built a temple or that there was even a David.

    June 15, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. M. Powers

    This is all manipulation of Religion in service of realpolitik. We supported Saddam, Marcos, Noriega, Shah of Iran ect. when they were anti-Soviet. Not to say the Soviets didn't have their: Pol Pot, Kim Il Sung, FARC, Khomeni. It was a huge game of lining up puppets all over the world in favor of Capitalism or Communism. Neither side gave a care for the people under these dictators as long as the dictators were on their side. The US even managed to support both sides of the Iran/Iraq war. The soviets collapsed and lost. The US now is dealing with cleaning up the pieces but is making the same mistakes in the service of the war on terror. The US doesn't care about the people as long as the dictator is on the right side of the fence. These arabs haven't had the right to decide their own destiny due to the meddling of either or both the Soviets and the US. Let them decide their own destiny. The whole religion thing is a red herring used to manipulate and lay blame.

    To assume that the Arab is too backwards or stupid or violent to decide for themselves look to history: Mathematics, Medicine, Astronomy, Science, Architecture would not be the same if not for the preservation and expansion of Greek ideas by the Muslim people.

    June 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. B A Todd

    Univesal education, universal voting rights, univesal access 2 health care, clean water & food,& zero population growth are key. Add rejuvenation of the environment 2 create jobs & we could bring about peace & progress n less than 5 years. Remove all religions from governments forever.

    June 15, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. B A Todd

    Univesal education, universal voting rights, univesal access 2 health care, clean water & food,& ZERO population growth are key. Add rejuvenation of the environment 2 create jobs & we could bring about peace & progress n less than 5 years. Prevent war by creating world prosperity.

    June 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jon

    Spin a globe and stop it with one finger with your eyes closed....wherever it lands, you can almost guarantee that islam is making the place a backwater from the dark ages. When are the mainstream media like cnn, abc, cbs, nbc, new york times etc..when are they going to learn to drop the PC lies they keep forcing on the public. Is it that they helped vote in obama and now cant admit how his muslim outreach is a total joke, a cynical attempt at PR which has nothing to do with reality on the ground in these arab countries?

    When are they going to drop this liberal BS that seems hellbent on ignoring the danger that islam represents to the free world and all human beings of conscience? It is truly disgraceful how the media wants to live with its head buried in the sand. Its PRECISELY why FOX has come to DOMINATE the news, where REAL NEWS, REAL ISSUES, are fairly presented where viewers can decide, unlike the MSM which has been attempting to lead viewers to thinking only in one certain way. Isnt that the cardinal rule of how NOT to present journalism. What has happend to these organizations that have fallen so far from the original journalistic ethos.....When are the sheep going to wake up and realize they are being used, misled and thought of as dumb stupid gullible people. The mainstream media is in cahoots with the govt...isnt that what stalin and hitler did?

    June 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Z

    Just hoping america makes a good choice this time around .teach them good trade and to be prosperous.but we have no money to be over there .and the lives our troops are in the wrong culture.there coming home different.there families are falling apart.let the u.n.handle it.and the middle east .America has its own to deal with .we need to keep ours.before it becomes like theres

    June 15, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jeshurun

    Hi all and peace unto you. My name is Jeshurun. It has been given to me by God. The Lord has ordained me as one of two end of days witnesses (prophets). In Nov 2007 God called me. The Lord led me into the mountains of Washington state; before he was done with me I found myself walking down a body of water dragging the soles of my slippers along the stones; close to the end of this walk were two witnesses and their dogs; at the end of this walk I was instructed by the Holy Ghost to say this, "it is done". Those three words appear twice in the book of Revelation. I did not know that then. The walk lasted from sunrise until sunset. The walk is biblical. May 24 2011 the abomination of desolation was set up. On July 11 2011 blessing will be received. The beast spoken of in the book of Revelation will arise out of Iran. Folks this is the real deal. I have in fact been ordained by God and I am bearing testimony that he is a live and working God. People if you have Jesus Christ in your hearts you are going to fare this just fine; do not step off that rock; continue in your faith and press into the word. If you do not have Jesus in your life I beg of you seek him out. He is not far from any of us. He is quick to hear and quick to heal. If you refuse to believe in God and his Christ I am so very sorry, but you have been deceived. walk in Christ..I love you all, God loves you and pray always.our redemption is at the doors..


    June 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Why do I have to worship anybody?

    June 15, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
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