Arab Unrest: Middle East and North Africa, country by country
Syrian refugees in a camp on the Turkish border protest against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday.
June 16th, 2011
01:28 PM ET

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

[Updated 1:28 p.m.] 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.


The number of Syrian refugees now in Turkey stands at 8,904, Turkish emergency officials said on Thursday.

This increase comes as Turkish government officials, such as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, met with a special Syrian envoy to help stem the growing tide of refugees.

The U.N. human rights office called for "a thorough probe into the allegations of widespread abuses committed by Syrian authorities during their violent crackdown."

A preliminary report prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that as of mid-June, the number of those killed during such incidents is believed to have exceeded 1,100 persons, many of them unarmed civilians; among them were women and children." That's over a period of three months.

The OHCHR said reports indicate than up to 10,000 people have been detained over three months, and it has received information that security forces "have perpetrated acts of torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment against detainees, resulting in death in custody in some cases."

Syrian civilian: Why is our president killing us?

The report, which covers the period from March 15 to Wednesday, is based on data from U.N. agencies. human rights activists, a small number of victims and witnesses, and various groups. The OHCHR said it had to rely on these sources because it hasn't been able to get staffers "on the ground in Syria."

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.

Opinion: What could shake Syria's regime?


Elections watched by international observers could take place in Libya within three months, one of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's sons says in a published interview.

The European Union, the African Union, the United Nations or NATO could be present to ensure transparency, Saif Gadhafi told the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera.

He said the vote would be carried out "at the most at the end of the year."

Several explosions rattled Tripoli Thursday morning as Libyan state television reported bombardments in Sirte, east of Tripoli, and other areas.

Rebel forces said they have made progress in recent days in the fight against Gadhafi's forces. They've taken control of the mountainous Jebel Nafusa region southwest of Tripoli, said Ahmed Bani, an officer with the rebel forces. Rebels have also made gains in the western city of Zlitan, Bani said.

How will the Libya conflict play out?

U.S. lawmakers filed a suit Wednesday that challenges the nation's participation in the Libya mission, accusing President Barack Obama of failing to consult with Congress over the military effort in the North African country.

Capuano: U.S. action in Libya illegal

The White House denied that accusation, saying Obama has not violated the War Powers Resolution by intervening militarily for more than 60 days without seeking approval from Congress.

What does the Libya lawsuit mean?

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said Thursday that she believes Obama had the authority to engage U.S. forces in the 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.


Security forces battled armed Islamic militants in one town and reports surfaced of arrests and deaths in two other cities.

Fighting erupted for six hours in the Lahj province capital of Hawta on Wednesday when armed Islamic militants attacked government compounds, according to a security official - who asked not to be named because he's not authorized to speak to the media.

Three people died and at least 12 people were wounded in the Wednesday clashes, the official said. The fierce fighting between security personnel and insurgents resumed on Thursday, witnesses said.

Yemeni state TV also reported unrest in the southern towns of Zinjibar and Aden. It said al Qaeda militants in Zinjibar killed two residents and injured another in a mortar attack, and it reported the arrests of 10 al Qaeda members and five other people for firing at civilians and ransacking stores in Aden's Mansoura area.

On Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton classified al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula operative Othman al-Ghamdi as a "specially designated global terrorist" under an executive order that "targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism."

A senior administration official told CNN that Ghamdi was released from the Guantanamo detention facility in 2006 and had been one of well over 100 detainees the Bush administration sent to Saudi Arabia.

Al-Ghamdi "has been involved in raising funds for the organization's operations and activities in Yemen" and has "worked with other AQAP members to plan and stockpile weapons for future attacks," the State Department said in a news release.

He appeared in a video alongside Fahd al-Quso, an AQAP operative wanted for his role in the USS Cole bombing in October 2000, the department said.

GPS: Saudi Arabia's Yemen dilemma

Roots of Unrest: Protesters have called for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah 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 (78 Responses)
  1. PeterD

    Arab Unrest CNN Needs to Know.
    Did you know this about Libya?

    Some other facts (that mainstream media will never disclose) about "Gaddafi and Libya:

    Loans to Libyan citizens are given with NO interest.
    Students would get paid the average salary for the profession they are
    studying for.

    If you are unable to get employment the state would pay the full salary as if you were employed until you find employment.

    When you get married the couple gets an apartment or house for free from the Government.

    You could go to college anywhere in the world. The state pays 2,500 euros plus accommodation and car allowance.
    The cars are sold at factory cost.

    Libya does not owe money, (not a cent) to anyone. No creditors.
    Free education and health care for all citizens.
    25% of the population with a university degree.
    No beggers on the streets and nobody is homeless (until the recent
    Bread costs only $0.15 per loaf.

    No wonder the US and other capitalist countries do not like Libya. Gaddafi
    would not consent to taking loans from IMF or World Bank at high interest
    rates. In other words Libya was INDEPENDENT! That is the real reason for
    the war in Libya! He may be a dictator, but that is not the US problem. Also
    Gaddafi called on all Oil producing countries NOT to accept payment for
    oil in USD or Euros. He recommended that oil get paid for in GOLD and that
    would have bankrupted just about every Western Country as most of them do
    not have gold reserves to match the rate at which they print their useless

    Remember the last time someone had the "NERVE" to make a similar statement
    was when Saddam Hoosein advised all Opec countries not to accept payment
    for oil in US Dollars. Well, we all know what happened to him . Yes, they HUNG

    June 16, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • kyle

      Where do you get this info from?

      June 16, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DiBrit

    . My comment to day is about how well oiur news agencies all across this nation are doing a great job, and reporters are risking thier lives to bring the latest news to all of us.
    You all are doing Great Work!!!!!!!

    June 16, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JS

    The press is consistently wrong in their reporting on the Middle East and yet CNN presumes it can 'inform' the public what goes on there?

    June 16, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Frank

    People of the United States of America.President Obama and the World.
    When I was serving the United States in Vietnam from 1967 to 1971,I.remember reading and listening to the reports of Arab Terrorist Hiyjacking American commercial aircraft and the killing of Americans in general overseas by Arab Terrorists.Also seeing Arabs burning American Flags etc..I have no sympathy for any of the Arab peoples because I have and had become very Jaded against the Arab World due to their attidue and behavior toward the United States.I only feel sorry for the childern who have to endure the pain of all this conflict.God knows I saw enough pain and suffering for a 100 lifetimes when I was in Vietnam.

    June 16, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |

    I don't need to know nothing. They blow up each others mosque. No one wants to visit or do business with backward, aracic countries. Let them drink camel milk and stone women.

    June 16, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      Yeh you r rite. U sound like u dont kno a thing. R u glenn beck?

      June 16, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |

    The people in those countries are like red necks in the US.

    June 16, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ranterdon

      Like Weiner used to say "honey let me introduce you to my red neck Friend"

      June 16, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. HelenHull102951

    The government of the US needs to quit sticking their noses into every little thing that happens in other countries!!! We have enough of our own problems thanks to the US gov. What they should be focusing on is taking care of the people that could very well bring the same unrest to this country. From the blogs and e-mails I read everyday it's comming sooner than they think!! They can start by filtering out the unwanted and unwelcomed illeagals that have and still are flooding into our country via the mexican border!!! Then build a wall that cannot be penetrated in anyway, and post guards every hundred or so yards apart with orders the same as they are in Cuba "A WARNING SHOT THEN A KILL SHOT" these people will learn sooner or later to stay clear of the border fence.. If this gov can build cities and villages for other countries, then they should be able to secure our country from people that are destroying our way of life and our country. This country is in a mess and needs to be fixed before "WE THE PEOPLE" take things into our own hands and start cleaning up the gov mess... I am a Veteran of the Veit Nam War and disabled because of it, I as well as everyother veteran did not do what we did so the gov could give our country away to every nationality that crawls their way into our country. This gov better wake up before it's too late!!! I for one am sick of watching my country go to the dogs.. WAYNE 2ND RANGER BN./82ND AIRBORNE DIV.

    June 16, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      The problem with the United States is when we go to war and we blow our enemies to Hell we want to rebuild their country in our image.
      It does not work.Blow them to hell and leave them to pick up the pieces.
      America has shed to much blood and treasure over the last 100 years and gotten very little in return.

      June 16, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cesar


    June 16, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      Sorry folks, I never posted the above. I know that this troll has a right to his opinion, but does he have to post it under my name? I feel no animosity towards the Muslims and I wish to High Heaven that this country and Obama would leave them alone once and for all!!!

      June 16, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Trisha

    may God have mercy on us all

    June 16, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ranterdon

    Wow...this article proves that Glenn Beck has been right for a long time...

    June 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rabble..

      @Ranterdon: Yeah that picture of all the floral colored burkas and women holding up flowers looks terrifying.. He was spot on.. I'm not trusting a man's opinion of one religion when his started out from a kid looking into a hat and deciphering gold tablets that only he knew how to read that haven't been found... ever.. lol Religion has caused too many problems. It has divided us instead of uniting us. I'm sure god is shaking his head at us.

      June 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ron

    What we need to know is that america supported most of these tyrants for the last 30-40'years, and israel Seemed to reap alot of benefit from that.

    June 16, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. countryboy

    Open minds want to know http://WWW.CDBABY.COM/ALL/NUMONE buy now!

    June 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy


    Beautifully put, and I agree with every word you've posted.

    June 16, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. hih

    I don’t need to know this...There is a time and place to get involved in your neighbors’ concerns. We are not involved we have become obsessed and we do so with borrowed money. It is not philanthropy when you do it with borrowed money. We jeopardize our country and spilling American blood for little if no results.

    June 16, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cesar


    June 16, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Name

      oh, so thats why ceasar salad dressing looks like snot.

      June 17, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Name

      Act 1, Scene 2

      Act 1, Scene 3

      Act 1, Scene 4

      Act 1, Scene 5

      Act 2

      Act 2, Prologue

      Act 2, Scene 1

      Act 2, Scene 2

      Act 2, Scene 3

      Act 2, Scene 4

      Act 2, Scene 5

      Act 2, Scene 6

      Act 3

      Act 3, Scene 1

      Act 3, Scene 2

      Act 3, Scene 3

      Act 3, Scene 4

      Act 3, Scene 5

      Act 4

      Act 4, Scene 1

      Act 4, Scene 2

      Act 4, Scene 3

      Act 4, Scene 4

      Act 4, Scene 5

      Act 5

      Act 5, Scene 1

      Act 5, Scene 2

      Act 5, Scene 3


      How to Cite No Fear Romeo and Juliet

      June 17, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4