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Crisis of Democracy – Libya

The security forces of the two cities Benghazi and Dern has fled according to eyewitnesses on Friday night even though the information is impossible to verify because the countries strict control of media and communication. The rumors are many and twitter is flowing over with reports that the rebels have taken over control of the border with Egypt and that two of Gaddafi’s sons have fled the country. Also the lack of foreign and independent journalists in the country makes it hard to know what is true and what is not. According to a news agency AFP based on various local sources, a total of 84 people have been killed.

Even though people were protesting peacefully, according to HRW, security forces killed 20 people in Benghazi, 23 in Baida, three in Ajdabiya, and three in Derna in a matter of days. In addition, 35 people were killed in Benghazi on Friday, nearly all with live ammunition.

Demonstrators protesting against the government is also said to have killed two policemen in Al-Bayda by first being captured and then hanged. The situation is escalating and it is also said that Gaddafi released many prisoners from prison as they were paid and armed with knives and machetes to attack the protesters. It is a “lynching situation” going on as the police executes most of the demonstrators with bullets to the head as well according to reports from hospitals.

In many places the electricity has been shut down and many internet sites blocked as well.

The regime of Muammar Gaddafi is said to be behind the massacres, according to The Guardian, which reported that it also imposed a news blackout, similar to Iran’s crackdown on journalists in 2009.

The last few days have represented an unprecedented challenge to the 41-year rule of Gaddafi, the New York Times reported, in part inspired by the Egypt revolution.

Arab Leaders Take Strong Measures – Middle East Crisis

King of Bahrain handing out 2728$ per family after Mubarak was pressured to resign.

Many of Egypt and Tunisia’s neighbors have tried to adopt cautious reforms to stop similar protest movements in their own countries. On Thursday, the King of Jordan, King Abdullah, formed a new government with both an Islamist and five left-wing politicians among the 26 ministers after recent weeks where protesters in Amman demanded political and economic changes. Prime Minister Mohammed Abu Hammur has a difficult job as he needs to calm down the protesters who demand cheaper food and energy. At the same time he must reassure the World Bank and the United States, who fear that the economy is out of hand again with subsidies.

The little Gulf state Bahrain has a history with strong conflicts among Sunni and Shia Muslims and already last summer huge violent riots occurred. While Shiites form the majority, the Sunnis have the control. Although Bahrain has a parliamentary system, many Shiites feel that they have a harder time getting access to public benefits and jobs than sunnimuslims have. Monday is the 10th anniversary for the country’s constitution, and it has been notified of demonstrations. Precisely for close ties to the United States was one of the objections against the Mubarak regime in Egypt, and the same thing is been said about Bahrain. So as a solution, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, announced on Friday that all families will receive 2728$ to stop the planned protests.

U.S. allies in the Middle East have put hard pressure on Washington to keep a protective hand over Hosni Mubarak. Along with Jordan, countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE and Israel warned of the spread of contagion if Mubarak is expelled. Saudi Arabia is America’s other strong allies in the Arab countries.

In Kuwait, all demonstrations have been banned after yesterday’s Friday prayers in mosques.

This week it was suddenly possible to get in on Facebook and YouTube in Syria who follows after the neighbouring countries as these popular sites have been closed for three years.

Iranian television announced that Mubarak’s departure is a major victory for the Egyptian people but the opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi was placed under house arrest after he called for demonstrations on Monday. The aim of the demonstrations was to show support for the rebellion in Egypt and Tunisia.

In Yemen proclaimed President Ali Abdullah Saleh is already in early February that he will not seek re-election and that he did not want his son to take over power in the country. He has tried to calm the protests by promising half of the level of taxation and impose price controls on food.

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