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. Justthefacts

    And your point is?????

    June 21, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Okx

    Castrate all trolls to stop their breeding!

    June 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • 14Mickey

      Are you volunteering to be the first?

      June 22, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rivirivi

    I am very glad that not all Islamists are stupidly brainwashed. We are all humans in this world and the ways of Islam have always been against the growth of the rest of the world and these people have been lied to for the longest time. I am glad these group of humans are awakening to their demise, to the realization that after all the oil and all the gold sinks in palaces the only ones living in luxury are their abusive over rich men kings and hypocritical leaders and corrupted Imams, The real people live in holes in the dirt. If they protest they are tortured, their families killed. DOWN with all the Oil Kings and their Mafia all over the world. TIme for the Real people, the women and children and the young men to start living full of hope, love and compassion for all not the full of hate full of lies that God wants you to kill others which God also created. Wake up People of the Far East! Take a stand!

    June 21, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kashman

      Wow. refreshingly rational post, rather than knee-jerk islam bashing.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chas

      I am enheartened to hear one of the children of Islam speaking of cutting off the head of the snake that breeds hate and violence.
      Let the people of Islam rule themselves and bring the world back to peace in all nations.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • spyx

      haha do u know what you are saying ? islam does say to not be ignorant .... apperantly something you need to listen to.
      anyways islam has nothing to do with the uprisings in the middle east. blame who you want, if you want to convince yourself of these lies go ahead be stupid !
      people are asking for rights, perhaps you would like to go under the british rule ? yea i didnt think so. or maybe americans are agaisnt the way of life cuz they had a depression, and a civil war ?
      get ur facts straight, dont be ignorant, read about islam, read about this revolution, then you have the right to be stupid about this subject.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • karwan

      So, you think this is all Islam's fault? Guess who helped to put these tyrants in power? Guess who has been supporting them while they were in power? Islam ruled for over 13 centuries and justice flourished while dark ages was at its peak in Europe, Philosophy progressed while it was in Europe, new invesntions peaked will such tech was taking away from people in Europ... The Ottoman empire itself ruled for half a millinium with justice, peace, and human dignity in its core... So let's look back, who put these dictators in power and created such nations: the West (Brits, French, and US). Let's not thru stones at someone's window if our own house has plenty of windows...

      June 21, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • 14Mickey

      Wow, best comment I've read in weeks. Well said.

      June 22, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. hawaiiduude

    you are an ignorant racist nazi!

    June 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. hawaiiduude

    dont forget the israeli tribe of hate and death “The Jew cries in pain, as he strikes you”

    June 21, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Thelma Lu Brickmore

    How would you make the Middle East magically disapear if you were president? Do tell.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hawkeye1010

    I thought Clapton was god.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hank

      You are the only intelligent person on this post. Thank you.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jarbeau

    Wow, Brett. Your rant makes you sound ignorant and narrow minded. I feel sorry for you. How can you claim to be a Christian while spewing such hateful words?

    June 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mycology

    The israelis build, create, invent, and innovate. IT is the muslims who (proudly) have a culture of death worship and genocide. They make it quite clear in their many many speeches that they prefer life over death, murder over peace, and hate over love. Hate jews all you want, they keep living their lives and

    "living well is the best revenge" as they say.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JJ

    Brett, you love all people but you want to blow the middle east up. I guess you mean all white skin people. You are not the only one, though. Let me tell you something, I have been to Yemen and I know first hand that people there DO NOT hate christians. On the contrary, the radicals you see in the media account for a very small percentage of the population. What is going on in the middle east is a great awakining and we need to support their endeavors.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • BRETT

      I do not want to blow the Middle East up. Your right, I love all people. I was trying to make a point of how people are pretty much fed up. I would not ever want to destroy anybody. I should have explained my message a little better.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Syrian Wife

    Brett: "There is only one God. And that is Jesus." Ummmmm I'm really confused now, I could have sworn that Jeasus was the son of God, not God himself. Guess I better take back my Bible, must have bought the wrong edition...

    Dislike stupid people...if it wasn't for the fact that you can reproduce and pass down your backward way of thinking I might find your post humerous...

    June 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • BRETT

      Do you believe in the trinity? The father, son, holy spirit. I'm sure your bible is correct.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Syrian Wife

      1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus

      wow... and that's coming from the Christian wife of a Syrian Moslem man...what's the world coming to???

      Good day trolly Brett

      June 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tal

      Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.
      - Thomas Jefferson

      June 21, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • FormCritic

      You didn't read very well. That's the central message of the New Testament.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. LOL

    The ignorant fools of the world helping ISLAMISTS to takeover the ARAB WORLD. For the people it is from frying pan to fire.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jj

    I understand Brett. It is just that there are so many radicals here in the U.S. wishing death and destruction upon others, it makes me wonder if there was any difference between them and the terrorists. I see so much negativity and hate, way more than I ever saw in the middle east.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Al El Beasto

    Smug and arrogant Christians such as yourself have only contempt for people who are different from you. If heaven is filled with self righteous d-bags like you, I want no part of it. Respectable Christians are the ones who lead by example and follow Jesus' teachings and dont spout off on message boards, you pu$$y.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. grat4538

    whats funny is there are stupid people that would actually elect you president. farve should come out of retirement again and stop making ignorant stupid comments on CNN for the world to see.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
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