June 21st, 2011
11:05 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.


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad offered another general amnesty Tuesday for those accused of crimes, Syrian state TV reported. It's the second known amnesty overture from the embattled Syrian leader since protests erupted in the Middle Eastern country.

GPS: Another deeply disappointing speech by Bashar al-Assad

Ammar Qurabi, chairman of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, said Tuesday that dozens of protesters were arrested Monday during peaceful anti-government demonstrations in the city of Aleppo.

State TV showed images Tuesday of thousands joining pro-regime rallies in cities such as Daraa, Aleppo and Homs. Some in the crowds chanted, "With our blood, with our souls, we will sacrifice for you, Bashar" and "God, Syria and Bashar only."

At least 10,718 Syrian refugees, many of whom fled a military advance in and around the city of Jisr al-Shugur, have crossed the border into Turkey, the Turkish government said.

Diplomats, reporters and U.N. agencies visited northern Syria in a government-sponsored trip on Monday. The war-battered town of Jisr al-Shugur was virtually deserted.

The International Committee of the Red Cross says Syrian officials agreed to give the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent wider access to areas of unrest and that the government has "expressed its readiness" to discuss ICRC visits to detainees.

Opinion: Obama can't 'lead from behind' on 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.


In the first loss of equipment since NATO began airstrikes on Libya, an unmanned helicopter went down Tuesday in the central coastal area, though the alliance did not give any details on whether it was shot down or experienced mechanical problems.

The loss for NATO comes as the alliance faced pressure over a series of incidents over the weekend and into Monday that resulted in allegations of civilian casualties and strikes on Libyan opposition vehicles. Libya claimed that 15 people, including three children, were killed in Monday's incident, said Libyan government spokesman Musa Ibrahim, and included strikes from eight rockets.

White House: Internal legal opinions on war powers decision varied

Libyan rebel leader arrives in China to meet with Chinese officials

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. They quickly gained velocity and strength and the movement to oust Gadhafi after more than four decades in power exploded into civil war. NATO began conducting airstrikes in March after a United Nations Security Council mandate to protect civilians.


Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is being treated in Saudi Arabia after an attack on his compound, will return to Yemen on Friday, senior adviser Ahmed Al-Soufi told CNN. The country's ruling GPC party said that the president will be received by celebrations and will rule until the end of his term in 2013.

The return will likely be unwelcomed by anti-government demonstrators throughout the country. Opposition leaders called news of Saleh's return false rumors. "The ruling party are experts in lying and that is why we are not taking their comments seriously," said Hasan Zaid of the opposition Haq party.

Roots of unrest: Inspired by the revolution that overturned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, demonstrators on February 11 began protesting the 33-year-old regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. A month later, Saleh offered to draft a new constitution that would establish a parliamentary system, but protesters persisted in calling for his resignation, and numerous high-ranking political and military officials resigned or were dismissed. Saleh balked after making overtures to accept an agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council to step down, and fighting has escalated between security forces and opposition groups - primarily tribal forces and Islamic militants - since those efforts broke down in May.

Yemen's battle of the sons


Taher Edwan said he resigned his post as Jordan's information minister over proposed restrictions against the press. Such moves, he said, undermine his "positions" and "values" that he won't abandon. Edwan had been the editor of a daily newspaper.

Roots of unrest: Jordan's economy has been hit hard by the global economic downturn and rising commodity prices, and youth unemployment is high, as it is in Egypt. Officials close to the palace have told CNN that King Abdullah II is trying to turn a regional upheaval into an opportunity for reform. He swore in a new government following anti-government protests. The new government has a mandate for political reform and is headed by a former general, with opposition and media figures among its ranks.

soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. John

    People are talking about there being one God, and all the BS that goes along with religious concepts. The world took a dump when monotheism stepped into the picture. If these religious nuts believe their God wants them to kill their neighbor than God is a murderer. What a sweet heavenly story.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • 14Mickey

      Anyone who thinks atheists are more intelligent than religious people just has to look at their ever present comments on on-line sites like this. They have their own brand of fundamentalism.

      June 22, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Teresa*


    June 21, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clicky

      Capital letters always make people look smarter. Good job genious.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hryan

      Isn't Agenda 21 the so-called Global Warming/Green Energy conspiracy?

      June 21, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Teresa*


    June 21, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Shut up....you religious nuts are the worst. You annoy EVERYONE around you. Go listen to that fear monger alex jones.

      June 21, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Think about it

    If man would not of formed religion and kept a relationship with God.. Religion is a bondage to people. Denominations are a bondage to people... Once again it is about a relationship with God and not religion.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • 14Mickey

      I believe that too. However, the last time I heard that it was in an evangelical church (which I no longer go to) where their relationship was to the Republican party, rather than following the teachings of the New Testament.

      June 22, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. wendy5

    yea i bet i'd turn myself in; i;d have to say they wont ever be heard from again

    June 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cowboy Bob


    June 21, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Badeley-Bent


      June 22, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. George Patton

    I see that this cursed Ali Abdullah Saleh is returning to Yemen this Friday much to my chagrin. The right-wing thugs in Washington keep on preaching "freedom and democracy" but yet goes to war to save this creep as they attack his opponents with their godless drones. How revolting!!!

    June 21, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Dear nuke em,
    Well. That would be a plan, but we need the oil.
    I love being in Arab countries. I love the change of style for variety. The people are very nice.
    I know how to bargain in Arab markets. When they see me coming, if I've been there before, they skip the silliness and give me the expected price.
    I still find it hard to believe that the leaders of
    Syria could be as evil as they are being described. I think that our government wants more power for itself there.
    All of these religious arguments in that region are stupid. When I'm in that part of the world, I'm interested in real things.

    June 22, 2011 at 5:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    "...racist nazi" is redundant, but your complete phrase, "ignorant racist nazi," is interesting, as not every NAZI was or is ignorant.

    June 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ aadrew:
    I am "piece loving," to quote you, but I am not a "true believer" in anything but truth.
    Good post: food for thought.

    June 22, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Alejandro Dron

    'The Tent-ative Refugee'
    Graphic Commentaries on the Middle East

    June 23, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
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