Arab States, The Middle East
On 17 December 2010, a Tunisian street vendor operating in the city of Sidi Bouzid, around 200 miles south of the capital Tunis, was stopped by a municipal inspector and asked to produce the requisite permit enabling him to sell his fruit. In the absence of such a document, the man’s offer to pay a day’s wages by way of recompense – a fine often imposed in such circumstances – was refused and his goods and scales confiscated. Later attempts to recover these were in vain and, deprived of the means to support his family in a country racked by unemployment, the 26-year-old vendor – Muhammad Bouazizi – doused himself in lighter fluid and set himself on fire. Anti-government protests spread rapidly across Tunisia in the aftermath, as fellow nationals sympathised with the desperation of a man faced with the exercise of arbitrary authoritarian power preventing the earning of a modest living. The involvement of the country’s largest employee organisation, the General Tunisian Workers’ Union (UGTT), in both the strikes and in the government which came to replace the erstwhile President of 24 years – Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali – was to a large extent the guarantor of the revolution’s success.
The dubbing of this movement as the “Jasmine Revolution” by Western media outlets encapsulates to a certain extent the willful ignorance of these same bodies’ coverage of the protests which spread across the Arab world in the aftermath of Bouazizi’s death. This term had been recycled from the propaganda of the deposed President Ben Ali, who had used it to foster the hope of a democratic transition following the 1987 coup d’état which ushered in his protracted authoritarian rule. In any event, the coverage of this uprising was initially fairly muted, certainly relative to the outpouring of editorials across the political spectrum calling for military interventions when the protests spread to Libya and Syria. The long-standing support of Western governments for the dictatorship in Tunisia would refute their later claims that interference in these latter countries was motivated by support for democracy and opposition to tyrannical rule.
This cognitive dissonance, ahistoricism and over-simplified analysis explains to a great degree why the events beginning in late 2010 – dubbed the ‘Arab Spring’ – did not culminate in the utopian outcome anticipated by so many. Following the decline of Egyptian republican influence in the region in the wake of the Yemeni Civil War and the 1967 Six-Day War, the dominant powers had increasingly been the oil-rich gulf monarchies (backed universally by Western Powers) whose interests were largely threatened by the outpouring of pro-democracy sentiment. As such, many were silent when Saudi Arabia’s military helped to crush protests in neighbouring Bahrain following the successful muffling of their own anti-authoritarian demonstrations. This silence was similarly observed while the Saudis funded jihadist elements in the Syrian opposition and helped to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya. The gulf state’s continued involvement in the decimation of Yemen is similarly overlooked.
Consequent upon the above, what began as a genuine desire among the peoples of the Arab World to see the replacement of autocratic regimes with democratic systems of government was quickly hijacked by major powers in the pursuit of their own political goals. Tunisia remains the sole success story of the revolutions, having installed a democratic government in a peaceful transition. Libya, Syria and Yemen remain marred in disastrous civil wars while Bahrain and Egypt have more authoritarian governments than they did prior to the uprisings. The British media – at the forefront of the call for military action in Libya – has disgraced itself for its subsequent silence about the resultant civil war which continues in earnest. The legacy of the Arab Uprisings, or ‘Arab Spring’, has unfortunately not been one of the successes of democratic forces across the Middle East. Rather, it has served as another cautionary tale against foreign military interventions for alleged humanitarian purposes.
Hundreds of thousands
of People killed
From December 2010
to December 2012
Where: Throughout the Middle East (Started in Tunisia)
Countries involved: Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan
The Key Actors
Most of them condemned the protests and refused to step-down at first, often resorting to aggression against their own citizens.
Classification: Anti-Government / pro-democracy Uprising
- Coming soon
Similar Humanitarian Crises
- Coming soon
Protestors in Yemen also demand for the resignation of the president citing poor leadership
Sudanese citizens clash in Khartoum with police, demanding government’s resignation.
Egypt VP Omar Suleiman announces the resignation of Mubarak with the army council assuming control.
The Bahraini people also protests at the Pearl Roundabout citing poor governance as well.
Protests erupt in Benghazi, Libya which escalates into the Libyan Civil War. The protests began after a lawyer representing the relatives of the victims of the 1996 prison massacre was arrested.
Around 1000 military personnel dispatched to the Pearl Roundabout to quell protests. Hundreds hurt and 3 died.
Dozens die in demonstrations around Libya in areas like Benghazi, Zentan, and al-Baida.
Anti-government fighters take Benghazi with hundreds of Casualties.
Morocco protests begin again due to protestors citing bad governance and demanding constitutional reforms.
Protests against the hard-line government in Syria begin, which initiates the civil war that rages on up to this day.
NATO begins Libya bombing after UN resolution. The French began the bombing while others like the UK, the US, and others joining later.
Rebels defeat Gaddafi forces in Misrata which caused massive civilian deaths
President of Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh hurt in an assassination attempt. He fled to Saudi Arabia for treatment after sustaining burns.
Constitutional referendum held in Morocco to curb monarchical rule.
Yemeni president appears on TV after the failed assassination calling for dialogue.
The eight-day battle of Tripoli between the National Transitional Council and Government forces begins, in which nearly 2000 combatants were killed. This was codenamed “Operation Mermaid Dawn” by rebel forces.
Yemen have their own Million Man March after Saleh returns to Yemen from Saudi Arabia.
Maspero Massacre in Egypt after clashes between the army and Coptic Christians protesting against the destruction of a church.
Gaddafi is captured and killed by rebels in Sirte. The National Transition Council declares an end to the Libyan Civil War of 2011.
UN condemns Yemeni president after he dealt violently with peaceful protesters. The UN also endorsed a plan for President Saleh to step down and his family granted amnesty.
The first ever election of the Arab Spring is held in Tunisia to form an assembly from 80 political parties.
Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, arrested near Ubari in Libya.
50 people die in clashes between security forces and protestors at Mohamed Mahmoud Street in Cairo.
The Gulf Cooperation Council and Yemen’s Saleh broker a deal for Saleh to transfer power to Vice President Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi.
Egypt holds its first free elections after Mubarak.
Former dissident, Moncef Marzouki is elected Tunisia President with Hamadi Jebeli becoming PM.
Security forces attack the cabinet in Cairo triggering clashes. Shocking pictures of a woman being assaulted by police emerge.
Saleh resigns officially and transfers power to his VP, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Al-Hadi.
Egypt votes in search of a new president. The first round sees Mohamed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq emerge on top.
Syrian government forces attack villages in Homs Province killing more than 100 people, children included.
Mubarak sentenced to life in prison.
Sudan protest over government’s desire to cut on fuel subsidies.
Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood, declared new President of Egypt.
Ben Ali sentenced to life in prison (in absentia) by a Tunisian court for complicity in the murder of 43 protesters.
US consulate in Benghazi attacked. Chris Steven, US ambassador to Libya and three other US citizens die.
Morsi issues a constitutional decree making him all powerful which triggered protests again.
Mass protests against Morsi, culminating to violence for days.
Syria’s death toll increases to an excess of 70, 000 people.
Morsi deposed and Supreme Court Chief Justice Adly Mansour becomes interim president. Morsi supporters take to protests and Muslim Brotherhood leaders arrested.
Sit-ins disrupted by police in Cairo resulting in hundreds of deaths. The government declares a month long state of emergency. The VP, Mohamed ElBaradei, also resigns because of the clashes.
Sad day for Syria as activists claim the government carried out chemical attacks in Damascus, killing hundreds.
Morsi accused and charged with terrorism.
Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt declared a terrorist group.
ISIS and Syrian opposition fight over territory. In Tunisia, the first constitution since Ben Ali’s ousting is passed.
State of emergency lifted in Tunisia by the president. In Libya, the PM is sacked and a replacement found in Ahmed Maiteg.
Former Egyptian Minister of Defence, Adel Fattah el-Sisi, wins the Egyptian presidential election in an election widely seen as not free nor fair.
Libyan PM resigns after his appointment is deemed unlawful. Tripoli erupts in conflict as thousands are displaced.
Raqqa becomes the ISIS capital. An ISIS propaganda video also emerges showing the beheading of James Foley, an American journalist.
US and five Sunni Arab states (Bahrain, Joran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) launch airstrikes against ISIS in Raqqa and Aleppo.
Beji Caid Essebsi becomes Tunisia’s President.
Egyptian forces carry out airstrikes on ISIS in Libya after videos emerged of the ISIS killing 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt.
Morsi sentenced to death.
Russia sends fighter jets to hit ISIS territories. Outrage as some claim that the targeted people were anti-Assad. Meanwhile, in Libya, Gaddafi’s son, who was arrested in November 2011, is sentenced to death along with eight others.
ISIS claims responsibility for the downing of a Russian airliner in Sinai which killed all 224 people onboard.
Mubarak acquitted of all charges relating to deaths of protesters and is now unwell aged 89.
ISIS militants kill more than 300 people at a mosque in the Sinai Peninsula
Dozens of Tunisians protest in the streets in response to steep price increases across the country. More than 200 people have been arrested, and there has been at least one reported death.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi is re-elected after all other major competition pulled out of the race, either by force or arrest.
Mohammad Morsi, the first freely and democratically elected president of Egypt, that was overthrown by an army coup led by now current president el-Sisi, dies during a court appearance. His death comes after repeated allegation of torture, sleep depravation, starvation, and what human rights groups have for long called a slow, excruciating death sentence.
The death this week of Tunisia’s first democratically elected president accelerated the timetable for choosing his successor, placing new strain on a political system in which power is shared among several parties, many voters are disillusioned and leaders are confronting a struggling economy. But if the death on Thursday of President Béji Caïd Essebsi, at age 92, shook up the only surviving democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring, the system worked as planned.
Sudan’s pro-democracy movement signed a final power-sharing agreement with the ruling military council on Saturday at a ceremony in the capital, Khartoum. The deal paves the way for a transition to civilian-led government following the military overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in April.
Tunisians voted Sunday in their second-ever presidential elections, widely seen as a vital test for one of the world’s youngest democracies, the only one to emerge from the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.People across the North African nation dubbed the cradle of the Arab Spring streamed into polling stations throughout the day to choose from among 26 candidates who represent a wide spectrum of political, social and religious views.
Spontaneous protests erupted amid frustration over Iraq’s high youth unemployment rate, its dire public services and chronic corruption.
Over 150 people have been killed in the protests in Iraq, many by security forces who witnesses say were using snipers.
A conservative, Islamist-backed law professor looked set to assume Tunisia’s presidency after polling agencies suggested he overwhelmingly won Sunday’s runoff election in the country that unleashed the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings.
A Lebanese Christian party has announced it is quitting the government after a third day of protests across the country against tax increases and alleged official corruption. After tens of thousands took to the streets on Saturday, four ministers from the Lebanese Forces party, a traditional ally of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, resigned from his cabinet.
Protesters have continued to block roads across Lebanon on the seventh day of mass protests, refusing to leave the streets until the government steps down. Clashes broke out on Wednesday after the Lebanese army tried to forcibly open a key road at the Jal el-Dib bridge on the northern outskirts of the capital, Beirut. Two people were reportedly injured.
Kais Saied, a political outsider and retired law professor, was sworn in as Tunisian president on Wednesday after he won a landslide victory in this month’s election.
At least 40 people have died in Iraq during a fresh wave of anti-government protests that descended into violence. Reports say half of the victims were killed while trying to storm the offices of militia groups and the government.
Tunisia’s Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has sacked the country’s foreign and defence ministers after consultation with the newly elected President Kais Saied, the presidency said. Chahed has appointed Karim Jamoussi, the justice minister, as acting defence minister, and Sabri Bachtobji as acting foreign minister, a statement from the presidency said on Tuesday.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri has turned in his resignation to President Michel Aoun, satisfying one of the main demands of the country’s protest movement. The announcement on Tuesday came on the back of 13 days of mass protests demanding the departure of the country’s entire political elite amid growing anger over official corruption, poor public services and years of economic mismanagement.
Lebanon is on the verge of economic collapse unless an “immediate solution” can be found to end days of nationwide protests that have paralyzed the country, Central Bank Governor Riad Salame told CNN in an exclusive interview Monday.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has blamed the United States and its allies for spreading “insecurity and turmoil” in Iraq and Lebanon, urging anti-government protesters in both countries to seek changes in a lawful way.
The Trump administration has frozen all military aid to the Lebanese army, including a package worth $105 million that both the State Department and Congress approved in September, congressional officials said Friday.
Lebanon’s banks have reopened after two weeks of unprecedented protests that prompted the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri and saw waves of people take to the streets to express discontent with a political establishment that has failed to take the economy out of crisis mode.
Iraq’s president has promised to hold a snap parliamentary election once a new law is passed and said the country’s beleaguered Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has agreed to step down if a replacement was found.
It was the 37th such gathering since their pro-democracy movement began in February. Police are struggling to contain thousands of Algerian demonstrators surging through the streets of the capital, Algiers, to protest against plans for next month’s presidential election and celebrate the 65th anniversary of the start of the country’s war for independence from France.
Algeria’s electoral authority has said the country’s presidential election next month will be contested by five candidates – all part of the political establishment that has drawn the ire of months-long protests demanding the departure of the ruling elite.
The United Arab Emirates said it’s “studying” possible aid to Lebanon, raising the prospect of a lifeline to the beleaguered country as it tries to get public finances in order after two weeks of anti-government protests.
Lebanon’s grand mufti, the top cleric for Sunni Muslims, called on Saturday for the formation of a new emergency government of technical experts and for those in power to meet protesters’ demands.
A report by the United Nations has revealed that member states – the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Turkey and Jordan – have violated the arms embargo imposed on Libya.
At least 319 people have been killed in Iraq since the start of anti-government protests in October, according to the Iraqi Parliamentary Human Rights Committee.
Four protesters were killed in Baghdad on Saturday after Iraqi Security Forces pushed back hundreds of protesters and burnt several tents that were being used for an overnight sit-in, according to Iraqi activists.
Tunisia’s recently elected President Kais Saied has tasked agricultural engineer Habib Jemli with forming a government after the Ennahdha party nominated him for the prime minister’s job.
Lebanon’s parliament has been postponed after demonstrators blocked roads and prevented politicians from arriving for a first session since protests erupted across the country last month. Tuesday’s parliamentary session was delayed indefinitely “in light of the current extraordinary circumstances,” according to a statement by Adnan Daher, the Secretary-General of the House of Representatives.
The parliamentary meeting was scheduled to discuss a general amnesty law that several protest groups suspect could be exploited by the country’s political elite to absolve themselves of financial crimes.
Tens of thousands of Algerian protesters have rallied in the capital Algiers and cities across the country demanding that a presidential election scheduled for December be cancelled.
Lebanon’s top politicians made their first joint appearance since massive anti-government protests erupted last month, attending a military parade as the country marked 76 years of self-rule on Friday. Protesters staged their own celebrations to mark a first year of “real independence”.
Hezbollah accused the United States of meddling in the formation of a new Lebanese government on Friday, its strongest accusation yet of U.S. interference in Lebanon’s political and economic crisis.
United States Vice President Mike Pence has arrived in Iraq on an unannounced visit to US troops at the al-Asad airbase in Anbar province in the western part of the country rocked by weeks of anti-government protests.
Pence, on his first visit to Iraq, on Saturday also spoke on the phone with the embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and met the president of the autonomous Kurdistan region, Nerchirvan Barzani, in Erbil. According to a source at the premier’s office, the phone call involved a discussion around ways to strengthen bilateral relations between the US and Iraq, and possible solutions to the current crisis in the oil-rich country.
Security forces opened fire on protesters in Baghdad and several cities in southern Iraq on Sunday, killing at least nine people and wounding dozens of others, police and medical sources said, the latest violence in weeks of unrest.
Tunisia’s interior ministry said on Tuesday 11 people were arrested during clashes between protesters and security forces in the central Sidi Bouzid region.
Protests in the town of Jelma started on Saturday, a day after Abdelwaheb Hablani, 25, set himself on fire in the centre of the town in protest against poverty and poor living conditions. He later died in hospital.
The incident echoed the 2010 self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi whose death triggered the Arab Spring.
Algeria’s state-owned Sonatrach will block Occidental Petroleum’s deal to sell Anadarko assets in Algeria to Total.
Protesters who have been demonstrating in huge numbers since February for a change in the ruling hierarchy have also marched against the new energy law and chanted slogans opposing Total’s involvement in Algeria.
The United States and Sudan plan to begin exchanging ambassadors again after a 23-year gap, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Wednesday in the latest sign of warming relations between the two countries.
Lebanon’s central bank took emergency measures Wednesday in an attempt to ease the worst financial crisis the country has faced in decades.
The bank imposed a temporary interest-rate cap of 5% on dollar-denominated bank deposits and 8.5% on local-currency deposits received or renewed after Dec. 4. It said the decision must be reflected in the pricing of benchmark lending rates by local banks.
The central bank also said it would temporarily pay 50% of the interest it owed banks for dollar deposits and dollar-denominated certificates of deposits in Lebanese pounds. Banks will also be paying 50% of interest on foreign currency deposits in Lebanese pounds. The measures will be in place for six months.
Consultations to form a new government in Lebanon will formally begin on Monday, the presidency has announced, more than a month after a wave of protests led the prime minister, Saad Hariri, to resign.
Two former prime ministers in Algeria have gone on trial on corruption charges, in the most high-profile act of transparency and accountability since a pro-democracy movement pushed out the long-serving president.
The Algerian authorities have escalated their pre-election crackdown on protests carrying out waves of arbitrary arrests, forcibly dispersing peaceful demonstrations against presidential elections and prosecuting and imprisoning dozens of peaceful activists in recent weeks, said Amnesty International.
Presidential elections are scheduled to take place on 12 December but are widely opposed by demonstrators across Algeria, mostly from the Hirak protest movement.
Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) has reached an agreement with Baghdad on the budget and oil, which includes providing Baghdad 250,000 barrels of oil per day for the first time since 2014, said the region’s finance minister on Thursday in a conference.
Sudan’s former President Omar al-Bashir has been sentenced to two years in detention in a state-run reform centre over financial irregularity and corruption charges in the first of several cases against the leader who was removed after nearly 30 years in power.
Former minister Hassan Diab was named Lebanon’s new prime minister on Thursday with support from the Iran-backed group Hezbollah and its allies, a move that could complicate efforts to secure badly needed Western financial aid.
The nomination sets the stage for the formation of a cabinet that excludes allies of the United States and Sunni Gulf Arab countries while underlining the influence of Iran’s friends in Lebanon.
Diab, a little-known academic with a doctorate in computer engineering, vowed on Thursday to form a government quickly that works to pull the country out of economic crisis and reassures people who have protested against the political class for two months.
Sudan has opened an investigation into crimes committed in the Darfur region by members of the government of former president Omar al-Bashir.
The conflict between pro-government forces and ethnic minority rebels left around 300,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced, according to the United Nations.
Tunisia’s prime minister-designate Habib Jemli will form a government made up of independents who do not represent political parties, he said at a news conference.
Jemli, who was nominated as prime minister by the moderate Islamist Ennahda party after it took most seats in October’s parliamentary election, asked President Kais Saied for more time to form a government.
The EU has called on forces allied to rival Libyan governments to return to the negotiating table and end the conflict by political means after the entry of Russia and Turkey into the conflict complicated the chances of a resolution.
Iraq’s parliament approved on Tuesday a new electoral law, a key demand of protesters to make elections fairer, but political deadlock is still holding up the selection of an interim prime minister, threatening renewed unrest.
Iranian-backed bloc in Iraq’s parliament on Wednesday nominated Asaad al-Eidani, the governor of the southern province of Basra, as the new prime minister, a move rejected by many protesters who demand a complete overhaul of the political system.
Thousands of Sudanese Christians celebrated in the streets of the capital, where they were joined by activists sending a message of co-existence, as well elsewhere in the country, including rebel strongholds in the southern Nuba mountains.
The holiday was announced by Sudan’s civilian cabinet, which has spoken about improving religious equality after decades of a rule that sidelined minorities.
Turkey signed an accord with Libya’s internationally recognized government last month that seeks to create an exclusive economic zone from Turkey’s southern Mediterranean shore to Libya’s northeast coast.
Ankara says the deal aims to protect its rights under international law, and that it is open to signing similar deals with other states on the basis of “fair sharing” of resources.
Greece and Cyprus, which have long had maritime and territorial disputes with Turkey, say the accord is void and violates the international law of the sea. They see it as a cynical resource-grab designed to scupper the development of East Mediterranean gas and destabilize rivals.
The EU has called on forces allied to rival Libyan governments to return to the negotiating table and end the conflict by political means after the entry of Russia and Turkey into the conflict complicated the chances of a resolution.
The Turkish president has arrived in Tunisia on a surprise visit for talks with his Tunisian counterpart. The visit, the first by a head of state since the Tunisian presidential elections in the autumn, comes as Turkey has ramped up efforts to strike deals with nations on the Mediterranean, where Ankara has been at odds with Greece over resources off the coast of the divided island of Cyprus.
Iraqi President Barham Salid has refused to designate the nominee of an Iran-backed parliamentary bloc for prime minister, saying he would rather resign than appoint someone to the position who would be rejected by protesters.
Libya’s Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha said on Thursday that the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) will officially demand military aid from Turkey.
Turkey will send troops to Libya at the request of Tripoli as soon as next month, President Erdogan said on Thursday, putting the North African country’s conflict at the center of wider regional frictions.
Libya’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) has been struggling to fend off General Khalifa Haftar’s forces from eastern Libya, which have been supported by Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jordan.
US forces conducted airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against five facilities the Pentagon says are tied to an Iranian-backed militia blamed for a series of attacks on joint US-Iraq military facilities housing American forces.
Algeria appointed a new government, as the country faces its biggest political crisis in decades and a raft of economic problems caused by falling energy revenues. President Abdelmadjid Tebboune was elected last month and appointed Abdelaziz Djerad as prime minister. They have kept several important posts unchanged, seemingly signalling continuity in major state policies.
The Iraqi parliament passed a resolution calling for the government to expel foreign troops from the country in the wake of a US airstrike that killed a top Iranian general, raising questions about the future of the allied mission that has successfully fought the “Islamic State,” or ISIS, in recent years.
BMC, one of Turkey’s leading defence contractors, is set to produce armoured vehicles for Tunisia as part of a recent deal with the country’s Interior Ministry.
The contract was signed after the Turkish land vehicle manufacturer won the International Armored Vehicle Tender for the production of a total of nine 4×4 Medium Class Multi-Purpose Armored Vehicles (MPAVs).
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said troops have begun moving into Libya after Parliament approved the move.
He said their mission was to ensure stability for the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.
The US has no plans to pull out militarily from Iraq, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told Pentagon reporters, following reports of a US military letter about preparations for a withdrawal.
Libyan rebels have seized control of a key coastal city, the country’s beleaguered government conceded on Tuesday, amid new criticism that the growing role of foreign powers in the chaotic conflict has fueled a sudden escalation in fighting.
Iran launched more than a dozen missiles at Iraqi bases hosting US and coalition troops, declaring the strikes to be retaliation for the killing last week of the senior Iranian general Qassem Suleimani.
Al-Asad airbase in Iraq’s Anbar province was hit 17 times, including by two ballistic missiles that failed to detonate, according to the Iraqi government. A further five missiles were targeted at a base in the northern city of Erbil in the assault.
Tunisia’s parliament looked poised to reject a proposed new government after only one party said it would support it in a vote of confidence, meaning a complex coalition-building process may need to start again.
The Trump administration is preparing possible cuts of $250 million in military aid to Iraq, funds already approved by Congress, if the government expels U.S. troops, and is reconsidering a broad spectrum of other economic and military assistance that isn’t yet committed.
The U.S. military resumed joint operations with Iraq on Wednesday, military officials said, ending a 10-day pause that began after a U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian military commander in Baghdad.
Tunisia’s President Kais Saied has given Elyes Fakhfakh, a former tourism and finance minister, the difficult task of assembling the country’s next government.
Fakhfakh, a member of the centre-left Ettakatol party, has a 30-day period to form a coalition government. Failure to win parliamentary approval would force Saied to dissolve the House and call for a fresh election.
Lebanon formed a new government, the presidency announced after Shi’ite Hezbollah and its allies clinched a deal on a cabinet that must tackle the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.
Heavily indebted Lebanon has been without effective government since Saad al-Hariri resigned as premier in October under pressure from protests against state corruption and waste – root causes of the crisis.
Some protesters have taken out their ire on the banks, destroying ATMs, smashing bank windows and clashing with tellers behind the counter.
Dozens of protesters have held sit-ins at banks against the fiscal policies, forcing tellers on more than one occasion to give them more than the weekly limit.
Turkish military personnel being sent to Libya are supporting and training forces of the internationally recognized government of Fayez al-Sarraj, Turkey’s President has said.
Foreign ministers from nations bordering Libya have been meeting in Algeria to discuss ways of stopping the fighting there. Egypt, Sudan and Tunisia are among the countries that have been affected by the Libyan conflict.
Protesters in Beirut carried banners expressing their objections to the granting on Jan. 21 of a confidence vote on the government of Hassan Diab.
Sudan’s transitional government and a rebel group have signed a preliminary peace deal, paving the way for eventual reconciliation through ongoing talks.
Lebanon’s central bank said there would be no “haircut” on deposits at banks due to the country’s financial crisis, responding to concerns voiced by a prominent Arab billionaire about risks to foreign investments there.
Emirati businessman Khalaf Ahmad al-Habtoor, founder of the Al Habtoor Group that has two hotels in Beirut, posted a video of himself on his official Twitter account asking Lebanon’s central bank governor if there was any risk to dollar deposits of foreign investors and whether there could be any such haircut.
“The declared policy of the Central Bank of Lebanon is not to bankrupt any bank thus preserving the depositors. Also the law in Lebanon doesn’t allow haircut,” the Banque Du Liban (BDL) said in a Twitter post addressed to Habtoor, from Governor Riad Salameh.
Iraq’s largest political bloc – the Sadrists – have withdrawn their support for the anti-government protest movement.
The German military resumed training Iraqi troops in the country’s Kurdish north, about three weeks after it was suspended following the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general in Baghdad.
The military said the commander of the international operation fighting the Islamic State group lifted the suspension. Germany resumed training in Irbil on Sunday morning together with its partners. The Bundeswehr has about 90 soldiers in Irbil.
The US embassy in Baghdad’s heavily-fortified green zone came under attack from rocket fire.
Five rockets crashed into a riverbank near the embassy in the Iraqi capital without causing any injuries, the US Joint Operations Command said in a statement, but AFP news agency citing a security source said that three of the rockets “directly hit the US embassy”. One slammed into a cafeteria at dinner time, it added.
Twelve people were killed and 230 others injured in protests in Iraq, the Independent High Commission for Human Rights of Iraq said.
Nine protesters were killed in the capital Baghdad and three others in the southern city of Nasiriyah, about 350 km south of Baghdad, according to the statement.
More than 600 people have been killed in anti-government demonstrations that started in October, according to the IHCHR and Amnesty International.
Lebanon will need an $8.5 billion bailout package from the International Monetary Fund to break its economic impasse, meet future financing needs and restore growth, the Institute of International Finance said.
Lebanon will need an $8.5 billion bailout package from the International Monetary Fund to break its economic impasse, meet future financing needs and restore growth, the Institute of International Finance said.
Sudan’s capital Khartoum saw protests in front of the UAE’s embassy for Abu Dhabi’s recruitment of Sudanese nationals as mercenaries fighting in Libya and Yemen.
Lebanese security forces fired water cannons and tear gas at anti-government protesters trying to breach a security barricade outside government headquarters in central Beirut.
Some protesters among the hundreds who had gathered for a planned march managed to open a metal gate blocking their way but were pushed back.
Heavy fighting has broken out, killing at least three people and wounding two dozen others as troops from Libya’s two rival governments battle, further eroding a crumbling ceasefire.
Clashes erupted as renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces advanced 120 kilometres (75 miles) east of Misrata city and seized the town of Abugrein, which was under the control of the United Nations recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
Sudan has called upon international humanitarian aid organizations, including those expelled during the deposed Al Bashir regime, to return and carry out their humanitarian operations without restrictions.
In a press statement, the Sudan Humanitarian Aid Commissioner, Abbas Fadlallah confirmed that the commission issued a decision that “Sudan has opened the door wide for the return of all international humanitarian organizations that were expelled during the era of the former regime”. He pledged to remove all restrictions that may hinder the movements of the organizations.
A cease-fire in the Libyan civil war has collapsed and foreign shipments to the combatants have resumed, shredding the work of a conference of world leaders who convenered in Berlin just eight prior.
Representatives from Libya’s two warring parties began United Nations-led talks in Geneva. Five senior officers appointed by the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and five appointed by eastern-based renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar were participating in the talks, the UN said in a statement.
The UN negotiator leading talks in Geneva to secure an end to fighting in Libya said on Tuesday that high-ranking officials from both sides of the conflict have agreed on the need for a “permanent and lasting” ceasefire to replace an uncertain truce.
Sudan’s former president Omar al-Bashir will be handed over to the International Criminal Court to face war crimes charges. Bashir, who was ousted in April 2019 after months of nationwide protests, faces five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes at the ICC in The Hague. The crimes were allegedly committed during Sudan’s military
campaign in Darfur between 2003 and 2008.
Thousands of Algerians have rallied in the capital, Algiers, to commemorate one year since the beginning of a protest movement demanding the departure of an ailing leader and sweeping reforms, including an overhaul of the ruling elite. Protesters began staging weekly demonstrations in mid-February last year after the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) announced that former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, a wheelchair-bound octogenarian rarely seen in public, would seek a fifth term in office.
Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Saad Hariri has said he is charting a new political path from within his party after a 2016 deal with President Michel Aoun that brought him to power became “history”. “I’m here, I’m not going anywhere; I’m staying in my country, in my house among my family and in political work,” Hariri said on Friday, in his first public speech since resigning on October 29 amid widespread protests against a ruling elite blamed for corruption and steering the country into an acute financial crisis.
Iraq’s premier-designate Mohammad Allawi announced he would submit his cabinet to a parliamentary vote within days, promising it would be stacked with “independents,” a key demand of influential cleric Moqtada Sadr. The country’s capital and Shiite-majority south have been rocked by demonstrations since October demanding an end to corruption and a total overhaul of the ruling class.
Designated Tunisian Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh proposed the lineup of a new government and then said negotiations would continue after the Ennahdha party, the biggest in Parliament, rejected it. The proposed government must be approved by the deeply fragmented parliament in two weeks or there will be a new election.
Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of Libya’s internationally recognised government, has warned that the North African country will face a financial crisis and budget deficit in 2020 because of a blockade of oil terminals and oil fields by groups loyal to his rival, Khalifa Haftar. Libya’s oil output has fallen sharply since January 18 when the blockade started.
Several rockets landed near the embassy of the United States in Iraq’s capital early on Sunday, US and Iraqi military officials said, in the latest of a series of attacks against US assets in the country. The rockets struck an Iraqi base hosting US troops and other coalition forces in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, an area that is home to foreign embassies and government offices.
Lebanon may not survive if its new government fails, the powerful Hezbollah warned, urging the country’s divided politicians not to obstruct the cabinet as it seeks to address an unprecedented economic and financial crisis. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah also said there was no point in politicians trading blame over the causes of the crisis, after former prime minister
Saad al-Hariri accused his rivals of pushing the country to near-collapse.
Israeli commercial planes began overflying Sudan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, casting the new air corridor as a result of a breakthrough meeting with the African Muslim country’s de-facto leader this month. Khartoum said on February 5 it had given Israeli planes initial approval to fly over its territory, two days after Sudan’s military head of state, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, met Netanyahu in Uganda.
The Egyptian government’s chief prosecutor denies allegations that human rights activist Patrick George Zaki, a student based in Italy, was tortured in custody when he returned to Cairo.
Senior officials in Iran and Iraq have decided to establish a joint committee to prosecute the US officials involved in the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, Iranian IRNA Agency reported.
The EU has agreed to deploy warships to stop the flow of weapons into Libya, as the bloc wound down a military mission that had once rescued migrants and refugees from drowning in the Mediterranean. Josep Borrell, the EU’s chief diplomat, announced that 27 foreign ministers had agreed to launch a new operation with naval ships, planes and satellites in order to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya.
Lebanon is at risk of “implosion” unless it develops a new governance model that’s less corrupt and more transparent than today’s system, according to the
World Bank. “Politicians need to stop and listen,” Ferid Belhaj, the World Bank’s most senior official for the Middle East and North Africa, said in an interview. “You cannot continue doing what you’ve been doing for years when you see what the reaction on the street is and when you see what the state of the economy is.”
Large crowds take to the streets of Tripoli to mark the 9-year anniversary since the revolution which overthrew long-time dictator Muammar Gadaffi in 2011.
A UN commission finds that millions of dollars of state finances were siphoned off by profiteering government officials and accuses rival forces of “deliberately starving citizens”.
Meanwhile, the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, and rebel leader, Riek Machar, agree to form a unity government in a long-awaited step towards ending the country’s six-year civil war.
Elsewhere, a team from the International Monetary Fund visits Lebanon to help decide whether or not the country should default on its loan payments.
Thousands of people take to the streets of the Algerian capital, Algiers, to mark the one-year anniversary of the protests which led to the downfall of former president Abedlaziz Bouteflika.
Riek Machar is sworn in as deputy president to Salva Kiir in an attempt to bring an end to a civil war which has claimed nearly 400,000 lives.
Those representing the warring factions in Libya’s 10-month-old conflict suspend their participation in UN-sponsored peace talks taking place in Geneva.
The Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who ruled the country for 30 years from 1981 to 2011, dies in a Cairo hospital aged 91.
Meanwhile, in Lebanon, Hezbollah says it will oppose any management of the country’s finances by the IMF.
Lebanon closes its schools and universities in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Human rights activist Fodil Boumala, who was arrested in September 2019 for undermining the “territorial integrity” of the country, is released from prison.
The Prime Minister designate Mohammed Allawi withdraws his candidacy as political infighting sees his cabinet rejected for the second time in a week.
The Cairo Criminal Court sentences 37 people to death on charges related to terrorism. The defendants allegedly belonged to a local group affiliated with ISIS.
The NGO Physicians for Human Rights claims that a 2019 crackdown on citizens protesting against president Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum saw the massacre of 241 people.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab announces that the country will default on a Eurobond debt of $1.2bn. It is the first default in the country’s history.
A blast in Sudan’s capital Khartoum damages a vehicle but leaves prime minister Abdalla Hamdok unscathed.
Two American troops and one British soldier are killed in a series of rocket attacks on an Iraqi military base hosting coalition troops. A further 12 are injured.
The Hirak Movement, which had been taking to the streets weekly for 13 months to protest against government corruption, calls a halt to demonstrations to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
In Iraq, air strikes launched by the US in retaliation for the recent attack on a coalition base kill a civilian along with five security personnel. Iraqi president Barham Salih condemns the attacks as a violation of the country’s sovereignty.
A second rocket attack on Camp Taji in three days leaves three coalition soldiers injured.
All private and public institutions are closed by the Lebanese government with the exception of pharmacies, hospitals and bakeries.
In an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Libya and Lebanon close their airports and borders.
In Iraq, two more rocket attacks hit bases hosting soldiers from the US-led coalition. No casualties are reported. Meanwhile, president Barham Salih appoints Adnan al-Zurfi as the new prime minister-delegate.
The Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera calls on the Egyptian government to release Mahmoud Hussein, a journalist imprisoned in the country for over three years, citing the unhygienic conditions and the current coronavirus epidemic as mitigating factors.
Meanwhile, the press credentials of Guardian journalist Ruth Michaelson are removed by the Egyptian government. She is accused of promoting “incorrect data” about the coronavirus to “harm Egyptian interests”.
In Iraq, the US announces soldiers will be moved from small to larger bases to protect them from rocket attacks. The latest spat of fighting saw nine people killed and 16 wounded.
Four prominent activists, who called upon the government to release prisoners from unhygienic prisons in light of the coronavirus outbreak, are arrested and charged with spreading fake news.
Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi urges citizens to remain at home for two weeks to curb the spread of the coronavirus, denying his government has suppressed the true scale of the outbreak in the country.
The New York-based human rights group HRW accuses Egyptian state forces of arresting and torturing hundreds of children since 2013, with some of those tortured allegedly as young as 12.
Meanwhile, Lebanon deploys its army to enforce lockdown upon the country.
A two-week curfew from 7pm to 6am is imposed by the Egyptian government, in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A correspondent for Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is arrested in Algiers and charged with “assembly without a permit” and attacking “national unity”.
Ruth Michaelson, a Cairo-based reporter for the Guardian newspaper, is told by Egyptian security services to leave the country “immediately” after she published a report challenging official coronavirus figures.
The internationally-recognised government of Libya announces it will release 466 detainees in order to curb the spread of coronavirus in prisons.
In just two weeks of lockdown, the Lebanese pound plummets in value by 15%, leaving it around 47% weaker than the official government peg. Al Jazeera reports that nearly half of the country is now living below the poverty line.
The Iraqi government revokes the reporting licence of UK-based Reuters news agency after its reporting suggested that the government was understating the numbers of coronavirus cases in the country.
Mahmoud Jibril, the 68-year-old former leader of the Libyan rebel government which ousted Muammar Gadaffi in 2011, dies in Cairo after contracting coronavirus.
A US oil company site in southern Iraq is targeted by three rockets. No damage or casualties are reported.
Adnan al-Zurfi withdraws from contention for the role of Iraqi Prime Minister after failing to secure the support of pro-Iranian factions in the parliament. President Salih nominates the head of intelligence, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, as the new Prime Minister-delegate.
The capital of Sudan, Khartoum, is placed on lockdown after a sharp rise in cases recorded in the country.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian government adds 13 names to its list of “terrorists”, including Zyad Elaimy – a key figure in the popular uprisings which took place across the country in 2011.
The crash in global oil prices sees Algeria’s Saharan Blend fall to below $20 per barrel, scuppering the government’s austerity budget plans and threatening to foment further unrest.
In Lebanon, protestors take to the streets in their cars to demonstrate against the increasingly woeful economic and social conditions in the wake of the country’s continuing financial crisis.
Meanwhile, a protestor is shot dead near Baghdad’s Tahrir Square shortly after coronavirus lockdown measures are eased.
The Algerian parliament passes a bill outlawing the broadcast of “fake news” considered disruptive to “public order and state security”. The law is opposed by the Hirak protest movement.
The prisoners’ rights group CNLD accuses the Algerian government of exploiting recent lockdown measures, imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, to crack down on the Hirak protest movement. Protests against the recent arrest of journalist Khaled Drareni were unable to take place due to lockdown measures.
The EU’s top diplomat joins the foreign ministers of Italy, France and Germany in calling upon the warring factions in Libya’s ongoing conflict to agree to a ceasefire and resume the peace talks scheduled to take place in Geneva.
The Egyptian government requests financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund in order to bolster investor confidence amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Thousands of protestors take to the streets of Lebanon to demonstrate against the massive devaluation of the Lebanese pound. As banks are attacked, the Lebanese army fires on the protestors, leaving one dead and several more injured.
In Libya, the eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar promises that his forces would look to create a new government, declaring the 2015 peace deal brokered by the UN “a thing of the past”.
Meanwhile, in Egypt, the government of Abdel Fatah el-Sisi announces a further three-month extension to the country’s state of emergency, citing concern over the present coronavirus pandemic. This is the twelfth extension of a state of emergency in existence since April 2017.
Molotov cocktails are thrown at banks in cities across the country, as anger at harsh capital controls and the plummeting Lebanese pound rises.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab states that his government will seek a $10bn IMF loan together with $11bn of support previously pledged by the international community in a bid to recover from the country’s financial crisis.
In Libya, the leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, announces a unilateral ceasefire to coincide with the month of Ramadan. The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) rejects this ceasefire.
The Egyptian army releases a statement confirming that 10 soldiers have been killed in a blast in the city of Bir al-Abed, in northern Sinai.
In Lebanon, a request for substantial financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is signed by the government.
In Libya, the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) presses into territory occupied by the Khalifa Haftar’s LNA forces, rejecting the previous day’s calls for a ceasefire to coincide with the holy month of Ramadan.
An ISIL attack in the northern Salahaddin Governorate leaves 10 members of the Popular Mobilisation Forces, or Hash al-Shaabi, dead.
In Egypt, Shady Habash, a filmmaker who filmed a music video making fun of President el-Sisi, dies in Cairo’s Tora Prison. Habash had been in jail for two years having been locked-up without a trial. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) claims that “negligence and lack of justice” caused his demise.
A report released by Amnesty International alleges that journalism has effectively become a crime under el-Sisi’s rule in the past four years, calling upon the Egyptian government to loosen censorship.
The Lebanese military denies torturing demonstrators detained during the previous week’s protests. The prisoners in question claim they were electrocuted and beaten with sticks.
The UN-backed Government of National Accord continues its sustained pushback against Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army forces, reclaiming control of the al-Watiya airbase which Haftar had used as the base of his forces’ operations in the west of the country.
Hours before a parliamentary vote to approve the country’s new Prime Minster elect, three rockets land near Iraq’s Baghdad Airport. No group initially claims responsibility for the attack, in which no casualties are recorded.
After 6 months without a government, Iraq’s parliament approves the premiership of the country’s intelligence chief, Mustafa al-Khadimi. Despite the approval of the Prime Minister, numerous ministerial candidates were rejected.
Meanwhile, a leaked UN report alleges that the Wagner Group – a Russian private military contractor – has sent around 1,200 mercenaries to Libya to support LNA leader Khalifa Haftar.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi approves amendments to the country’s state of emergency, allowing him to suspend universities and schools, quarantine visitors from abroad, and ban public and private meetings, protests and celebrations.
In Libya, Khalifa Haftar’s LNA fires rockets at Tripoli, setting planes ablaze at Mitiga Airport and killing six civilians.
In Libya, the GNA responds to the previous day’s shelling of Mitiga Airport by attacking an LNA base in southern Tripoli. No casualties are recorded.
In Iraq, hundreds of protesters gather in the capital to demonstrate against the new government of Mustafa al-Khadimi and in favour of largescale reform. It is the most significant gathering in the capital’s Tahrir Square since the imposition of a curfew to curb the spread of coronavirus on March 17.
Mustafa al-Khadimi, the country’s new Prime Minister, ensures that the courts are ordered by the judiciary to release demonstrators arrested in the previous year’s anti-government protests.
In the south of the country, protesters in Basra demand the resignation of governor Assad al-Eidani following the alleged killing by security forces of a protestor on Sunday.
Having managed to lower the number of new coronavirus infections to single-digits and subsequently loosened measures, Lebanon sees a spike in new cases which prompts a four-day nationwide shutdown. There is so far a total of 870 confirmed cases in the country, with 26 deaths.
Damage done to Egypt’s economy by falling remittances, a decimated tourist industry and reduced international trade lead it to request nearly $9 billion of relief from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
There are at least 14 injuries reported after a missile strikes a hospital and causes a fire to break out in the Bab Bin Ghashir of Tripoli. The GNA blames the attack on Haftar’s forces.
The EU joins King Abdullah II of Jordan in criticising Israel’s plan to annex nearly a third of the West Bank, vowing to step up diplomatic efforts to oppose such a move.
The Higher Judicial Council in Iraq delays acting on new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi’s order to release all those arrested in the previous year’s anti-government protests. The order to release all of those who had not been involved in “bloodshed” was an attempt by the new leader to win back support from the protest movement which had reacted coolly to his premiership.
Meanwhile, in the north of the occupied West Bank, dozens of Palestinian demonstrators – protesting against Israeli plans to illegally annex large parts of the West Bank – are injured after the Israeli armed forces fire tear gas at them.
Seven more people are reportedly killed during shelling on the Libyan capital Tripoli. The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) blames the attacks, which also injured 17 civilians, on Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) forces.
Forces loyal to Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) capture the strategically important al-Watiya airbase from Khalifa Haftar’s troops. The base, close to the Tunisian border, had been under the control of Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) for more than five years.
In Egypt, the editor-in-chief of Madr Masr – a media outlet blocked by the Egyptian government – is arrested outside Cairo’s Tora Prison complex. Lina Attalah is later released when her bail fee of 2,000 Egyptian pounds is paid.
Troops fighting for the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya take the towns of Bader and Tiji, near the Tunisian border, from Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) troops. The offensive comes as UK and US representatives at the UN criticise Russia’s alleged role in supporting Haftar’s forces.
In Iraq, a missile strikes a house inside the Green Zone of the country’s capital. The rocket was apparently fired from the east of Baghdad and caused no casualties.
Three anti-government activists in Algeria are given sentences ranging between a year and 18 months, for publishing posts on Facebook which were deemed to be ‘damaging the national interest’.
Lebanon’s banking association rejects the government’s five-year rescue plan for the economy, accusing it of deliberately attempting to bankrupt the banking sector.
Protestors take to the streets of Beirut to protest against the government’s management of the country’s ongoing financial crisis while Prime Minister Hassan Diab delivers a speech to mark 100 days in office. The protestors fixed their efforts on the energy ministry, amid widespread power cuts in recent weeks.
In Iraq, state authorities arrest ISIL’s second-in-command, Nasser al-Qirdash, according to a statement made by the country’s intelligence agency.
Egyptian authorities confirm that 21 fighters were killed in the Sinai Peninsula during clashes with security forces. The clashes allegedly prevented terrorist operations designed to coincide with Eid al-Fitr.
In Libya, the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) makes further gains around Tripoli, capturing three military bases close to the capital in the wake of the recent retreat of Libyan National Army (LNA) forces from the area.
Over 3,000 prisoners are pardoned and released from Egyptian jails to coincide with the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of Ramadan. However, no political prisoners feature among those released.
Following the LNA’s retreat from fronts close to the country’s capital Tripoli, hundreds of Russian military contractors are flown out of the country. The retreat of Wagner Group mercenaries is the latest blow to a beleaguered Khalifa Haftar.
Meanwhile, during a public statement condemning the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Egypt’s medical union – the Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS) – warns of the health system’s “complete collapse”, citing shortages of testing kits, protective equipment and hospital beds for front-line medical staff. At least 19 doctors have died with the virus thus far.
The US military releases a statement accusing Russia of re-painting jets in Syria in order to conceal their Russian origin, before these aircraft made their way to Libya to assist Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA). The comments come after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called for a ceasefire on Tuesday.
The Algerian government recalls its ambassador to France following the airing of documentaries covering last year’s anti-government protests in the country. The documentary was seen as controversial in the North African country as it showed some of the demonstrators drinking alcohol and kissing.
In Lebanon, an aid package worth $300m intended for vital sectors of the economy and low-income workers is approved by the country’s parliament. The measure is intended to support those struggling amid the difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic and stave off the worst of the economic damage it is causing.
Thirty migrants are killed in Mezdah, 95 miles south of the Libyan capital Tripoli, in an apparent revenge attack. The assault were carried out against a number of migrants, 24 of whom were Bangladeshi nationals, who were crossing the country in search of work.
The Egyptian military claims to have killed 19 ‘terrorists’ in an operation in northern Sinai. The raids took place in the towns of Sheikh Zuweid, Bir al-Abed and Rafah.
A rocket attack on Libya’s capital city, Tripoli, leaves at least five civilians dead according the UN-backed GNA government. Rival forces loyal to rebel commander Khalifa Haftar are blamed for the attack in which 12 were also wounded.
Samir Benlarbi and Karim Tabbou, two opposition figures prominent in Algeria’s pro-democracy protest movement Hirak, are set to be released from jail. President Abdelmajid Tebboune will use his Presidential prerogative to secure the freedom of the pair.
Meanwhile, the UN confirms that rival factions in Libya’s ongoing conflict have agreed to resume talks about a potential ceasefire in the country, following heavy fighting in recent days. Talks between the UN-backed GNA and Khalifa Haftar’s rival LNA are set to take place by video-link due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mohamad Gnounou, military spokesman for the Government of National Accord (GNA), asserts that his troops have “fully liberated” Tripoli International Airport from Khalifa Haftar’s forces. The airport had been in the hands of the opposition Libyan National Army (LNA) since 2014.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Prime Minister of the GNA – Ahmed Maetig – arrives in Russia for talks about a potential ceasefire in the country.
The humanitarian International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warns that COVID-19 may “set in motion a vicious cycle of lost income, deepening poverty and hunger” across the world, calling upon people to act in order to prevent this. In Iraq, 77% of people interviewed by the ICRC indicated that they no longer had any savings left in order to enable them to cope with the crisis.
In Lebanon, Jamil Sayyed – an MP since 2018 – says that any protestors gathering outside of the homes of officials should be ‘shot’. He remains steadfast in standing by his comments, despite widespread backlash against them.
Meanwhile, the UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) claims to have regained full control of the areas surrounding Tripoli city’s administrative area.
The internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya retakes Tarhuna, the final stronghold of Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) forces in the west of the country. Just 50 miles east of Tripoli, it had been the major base for LNA offensives on the capital.
Iraq’s new Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Khadimi, completes his 22-member government by securing a vote of confidence to seven cabinet ministers. The completion of the government marks a rare moment of stability in a country which has been racked by uncertainty since anti-corruption protests erupted last October.
In Lebanon, thousands took to the streets of the capital Beirut to protest the slow pace of the government’s economic reforms. Thirty-seven protestors are left injured after clashes with security forces saw the use of tear gas. Stone-throwing and violent counter-protests lead to concerns that a sectarian element is resurfacing in what had hitherto been largely secular protests.
Meanwhile, the GNA captures the strategic town of Bani Walid in north-western Libya. The loss is the latest in a series of defeats for renegade commander Khalifa Haftar’s LNA forces.
Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) vows to retake the east of the country occupied by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) forces as it begins an offensive to retake the key northern city of Sirte. Seen as a gateway city to the country’s oil fields, Haftar’s forces seized control of the city in January.
Another attacked against US forces in Iraq is recorded as missiles strike Baghdad Airport. No significant damage or injuries are reported in what represents the 29th such attack in the last 8 months.
In Bahrain, prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab is released from jail following sustained international pressure on his sentence. Rajab was sentenced to a five year term in 2018 after criticising Saudi Arabia’s role in the war in Yemen and accusing authorities of abuses in prisons on social media. He had already been held captive on separate charges since 2016.
The top diplomat of the European Union, Josep Borrell, releases a joint statement with the foreign ministers of Italy, Germany and France, calling on all parties in the Libyan conflict to agree to an immediate ceasefire and withdraw all mercenaries from the country.
Meanwhile, the Tunisian parliament rejects a motion calling for an apology from France for crimes committed before and after their colonial rule over the North African country. There were 77 votes in favour, falling short of the 109 required for the bill to pass.
Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) forces slow down the advance of GNA forces in the strategically important northern city of Sirte. The GNA advance eastwards has reportedly uncovered mass grave sites close to the capital Tripoli.
As the Lebanese pound lost a further 25% of its value in just two days, protestors take to the streets across the country once again, with many calling for the downfall of Hassan Diab’s fledgling government.
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has offered his country’s services as mediators in the ongoing Libyan conflict, saying that Algeria rejects foreign military interventions in the war.
In Lebanon, anti-government protestors enter a second day with dozens of people left injured during the conflagrations.
The New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch calls on Iraqi authorities to make reforms to a body of laws which it accuses of being vaguely worded and deliberately manipulated to curb freedom of expression in the country. General defamation laws, such as a law against insulting “the Arab community”, are the main target of the group’s critique, as it encourages an alignment of the country’s legal code with international law as a means of restoring public trust in the government.
The UN recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya has accused rival Libyan National Army (LNA) forces of committing war crimes by planting landmines in residential areas.
Meanwhile, the European Union’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell calls on members of the EU to increase support for operation Irini. The operation is intended to enforce an arms embargo on war-torn Libya, focusing mainly on halting shipments across the Mediterranean.
In Egypt, a journalist is arrested after an appearance on the Qatar-based news network Al Jazeera. Mohamed Monir was openly critical of the government during his appearance and his arrest comes in a country which ranks third in the world in terms of its proclivity for jailing journalists.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu criticises the EU’s attempt to impose an arms embargo on Libya as one-sided and lacking objectivity. The operation, codenamed Irini after the Greek word for peace, operates mainly by intercepting arms shipments via the Mediterranean Sea.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi orders his country to prepare for potential combat outside or inside of the country, as tensions with Turkey rise over their support for rival factions in the ongoing Libyan conflict. The President also described any attempts by Government of National Accord (GNA) forces to cross the Sirte-Jufra front line as a “red line” for Egypt.
Meanwhile, the UN-recognised GNA announces it will boycott next week’s talks on the Libyan conflict between foreign ministers of Arab League states on the grounds that they will only deepen rifts between countries.
Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) refers to Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi’s comments of 2 days prior as “a declaration of war”. The Egyptian Premier had referred to the Sirte-Jufra front as a “red line” in the Libyan conflict and threatened a potential Egyptian invasion of the country should that line be crossed.
In Algeria, the prominent anti-government activist Amira Bouraoui is sentenced to one year in prison on various counts including violating coronavirus lockdown and insulting Islam. Bouraoui had been prominent in the Hirak movement which secured the resignation of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2019. Her lawyers plan to appeal her conviction.
Following the adoption by the UN Human Rights Council of a resolution condemning the violence in Libya’s ongoing conflict, a fact-finding mission is set to be sent to the country to investigate potential war crimes in the wake of the discovery of mass graves near Tarhuna last week.
In Tunisia, the southern city of Tataouine is mired in violence as demonstrators hurl stones at police. Tear gas is used to disperse the protestors who are unhappy at high rates of employment and a lack of opportunity in the region.
Algerian President Abdelmajid Tebboune reiterates his country’s offer to mediate between warring parties in the ongoing Libyan conflict. Algeria nominally supports the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the west of Libya. However, it has recently hosted the speaker of the House of Representatives in the country’s east, which is under the control of Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) forces. The offer comes in addition to a call from the Arab League for all parties to agree to a ceasefire in an emergency meeting organised by Egypt which GNA representatives refused to attend.
Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities arrest activist Sanaa Seif In Cairo. The sister of an imprisoned blogger, Alaa Abdel Fattah, is abducted by a minivan outside the Public Prosecutor’s office. This is the latest in a widespread crackdown on political dissidence in the country.
The leader of the eastern-based parliament in Libya, Aguila Saleh, calls on Egypt to intervene militarily in the country if the western based forces of the Government of National Accord (GNA) attack Sirte. The statement comes on the same day that Italy’s foreign minister Luigi Di Maio, visits Tripoli to discuss the conflict with the UN-recognised GNA.
Egyptian security forces reportedly storm into the offices of the al-Manassa news outlet, arresting its editor-in-chief Nora Younis. The publication’s website has been blocked in the country since 2017.
In Iraq, Kataib Hezbollah – an armed group backed in part by Iran – has its offices raided by Iraqi security forces, in response to alleged rocket fire aimed at American troops still stationed in the country. Fourteen militia members are detained by Iraqi forces following the raid.
In Lebanon, the pound’s value falls further as protests continue. The current rate of over 7,000 Lebanese pounds to $1 US means that the monthly minimum wage amounts to less than $100 US.
Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) accuses foreign mercenaries of entering the Sharara oilfield in western Libya. The Tripoli-based company has tried to resume production in recent weeks following battlefield successes for GNA forces, who have pushed the LNA back to the central-northern city of Sirte.
Libya’s representatives at the UN call upon the EU and the US to impose sanctions on countries supporting mercenaries fighting in the north African country’s ongoing conflict. The move comes amid accusations that Russian mercenaries are attempting to disrupt the country’s oil production.
The spokesman for the armed forces of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) has described the reclaiming of Sirte and Jufra from Libyan National Army (LNA) troops as “more urgent than ever”, due to the alleged deployment of foreign mercenaries in the country’s east.
In Egypt, Sama el-Masry – a famous Egyptian belly dancer – is sentenced to three years in jail and handed a hefty fine for “inciting debauchery and immorality”. The conviction is in relation to videos shared on the social media platform TikTok which were allegedly “sexually suggestive”. El-Masry claims that her phone was stolen and the videos shared without her consent. Her prosecution is part of an ongoing crackdown on social media platforms by state authorities.
Numerous convoys of foreign mercenaries are reportedly passing through towns near to Sirte in the areas of Libya held by the eastern forces of Khalifa Haftar. Russian, Chadian and Sudanese fighters are reportedly among the fighters moving to the frontline to fight on behalf of the Libyan National Army (LNA).
In Lebanon, the director of the finance ministry Alain Bifani resigns claiming that others are attempting to savage attempts at an economic recovery for the country. Bifani argues that he does not want to be associated with the process currently unfolding.
French President Emmanuel Macron criticises Turkey for its alleged role in importing troops from Syria to fight in Libya against the eastern-based forces of renegade commander Khalifa Haftar. Macron also spoke critically of Russia’s ambivalence towards mercenaries from the country fighting in the north African conflict.
One person is left dead after protests across Sudan. Demonstrators called for a faster transition towards democracy following last year’s successful removal of Omar al-Bashir from office. Police reportedly dispersed protestors across the country using tear gas.
In Turkey, President Erdogan threatens to bring in a new law regulating social media following alleged insults aimed at his daughter on Twitter. Erdogan proposed forcing social media companies to establish a legal presence in the country, in order that they could be held accountable for ‘immoral’ posts.
A key anti-government protest leader, Karim Tabbou, has been provisionally released by an Algerian court. The move comes a day after six other activists were released upon the orders of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, with the country’s Independence Day – marking their liberation from France on July 5, 1962 – just around the corner.
In Turkey, a trial of 20 Saudi officials allegedly linked to the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is set to being this week, with two of the accused operating as senior aides to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
France returns the skulls of 24 anti-imperial resistance fighters beheaded by the European country to Algeria, after an extended effort to recover them by historians in the north African state. The skulls had previously been stored in a Parisian museum.
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune calls on Emmanuel Macron to apologise for France’s colonial rule in Algeria. Describing the French President as an “honest man”, Tebboune expresses a desire for a further thawing in Franco-Algerian relations following the repatriation of 24 Algerian anti-imperial fighters’ skulls days earlier.
Meanwhile, Libya’s al-Watiya air force, recently recaptured from the Libyan National Army (LNA) forces by the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), suffers an overnight attack allegedly launched by a “foreign air force”. The GNA vows a response to the attack.
Hisham al-Hashemi, an Iraqi expert on the ISIS militant group, is killed in Baghdad after allegedly receiving threats from militias with connections to Iran. The 47-year-old security analyst had expressed fears in recent weeks that he was being targeted by such militias.
Meanwhile, the largest party in Tunisia’s Parliament, Ennahdha, has threatened to withdraw its seven ministers from the government and thereby undermine the fragile coalition operating at present. The move has come in response to allegations of corruption levelled at Prime Minister Fakhfakh.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warns of a new phase in the Libyan Civil War, whereby foreign interference in the country has reached unprecedented heights. The involvement takes the form of military equipment, personnel and expertise.
The eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) says that it will maintain a blockade on the country’s oil production which has been in place since January until certain of its demands are met – including the money entering a non-Libyan bank account before being distributed between regions and an audit of central bank accounts in order to assess previous spending. The National Oil Corporation has accused the UAE of being behind the move.
Death sentences given to two men convicted in 2014 of bombing a convoy and killing a police officer are upheld by Bahrain’s highest court. The sentences had previously been overturned in 2015 after evidence emerged that Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa may have been tortured in order for the authorities to obtain false confessions from them. However, the court of appeal overturned the ruling once again in January – a decision which has been upheld in the latest ruling.
In Libya, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) accuses the UAE of deliberately disrupting the country’s attempts to restore its oil industry to some semblance of normality. The output of oil in the country is at a level representing one-sixteenth of its production prior to the ousting of President Gaddafi by an alliance of Western forces.
In the west of the country, a ceasefire appears unlikely after Turkey dismissed the prospect of the Government of National Accord (GNA) agreeing to a cessation in hostilities which was not in its interests.
Tunisian Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh promised to reshuffle members of his cabinet as tension with coalition partners Ennahdha continues to grow. The tension follows revelations by an independent member of parliament that the PM owns shares in companies which had captured deals worth around $15m US from the state.
In Libya, the eastern-based parliament approves a motion enabling Egyptian military intervention in the country to act as a counterweight to Turkish support for the administration based in the west of the country.
The largest party in the Tunisian parliament, Ennahdha, confirms that it will withdraw support from Tunisian Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh as controversy surrounding his ownership of shares in companies linked to the state continues to undermine the stability of the coalition government.
Tunisian Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh resigns from office following a falling out with the largest party in parliament, Ennahdha. The party withdrew their support for the PM following accusations of a conflict, which Fakhfakh denies. He will operate in the role as caretaker until the President appoints a new minister to the post.
In Libya, 8 prisoners captured by the Government of National Accord (GNA) are exchanged for 8 taken by the Libyan National Army (LNA) in Misrata.
An oil production facility in southern Tunisia is shut down by protestors following weeks of demonstrations against the lack of investment in the south of the country. The El-Kamour site near the town of Tataouine saw production disrupted as part of ongoing protests about the high rate of unemployment in the marginalised south.
Tensions in Libya surrounding the key city of Sirte continue to intensify, as the Government of National Accord (GNA) reportedly sends a column of around 200 vehicles towards the city. The GNA has vowed to retake the city, seen as a gateway to the country’s eastern oil fields. The hostile atmosphere has been fuelled in recent days by provocative comments by Egyptian and Turkish officials.
The New York based right group Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports that at least 14 prisoners have died after contracting Covid-19 in Egypt, only days after journalist Mohamed Monir died after contracting the virus during detention on charges related to his appearance on the Qatar-based Al Jazeera media network.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s parliament approves the deployment of troops to Libya in response to alleged “threats faced by the state” from their western, desert border with the country. Such a move could bring Egyptian and Turkish forces into direct confrontation.
Turkish and Russian representatives agree to press for a ceasefire in the ongoing Libyan conflict, although Turkey adds the caveat that Libyan National Army (LNA) leader Khalifa Haftar is “illegitimate” and must withdraw from several strategic locations.
Security forces arrest Nasser Nawasreh, the head of the Jordanian Teachers Syndicate, charging him with incitement over a speech made last week criticising Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz. The union went on strike in 2019, securing a government agreement to increase members’ pay by 50% – a deal upon which they have since reneged in light of the economic hardship caused by the coronavirus crisis.
The former Interior Minister of Tunisia has been appointed to succeed Elyes Fakhfakh as the country’s next Prime Minister. The 46-year-old will attempt to form a new government amid a political crisis in the North African country.
Officials in plain clothes reportedly open fire on demonstrators in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, killing two and wounding several others, as anti-government protests return to the Iraqi capital. The demonstrators are protesting corruption, high levels of unemployment and electricity generators as temperatures soar.
In Egypt, five female social media influencers are sentenced to two years in jail for charges of violating public morals. The women are also fined the equivalent of nearly $19,000 each for content they published online.
Anti-government protests in Iraq continue into their second day following the deaths of two demonstrators in Baghdad. The deaths are the first since new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi took office. The PM has since released statements critical of the behaviour of the security forces.
In Egypt, Adel Sabri – the editor of an independent news website critical of the government – is released after spending two years in pre-trial detention. The Masr al-Arabia editor was allegedly arrested for operating a website without a licence, however, fellow journalists suspect the true reason was his publication’s criticisms of the government of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Ennahdha party and speaker of the Tunisian parliament, narrowly survives a vote of no confidence. Some 97 members of parliament voted against the veteran speaker, falling 12 short of the number required to remove him from his post.
41 prisoners captured by the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya are released on Eid al-Adha, with government officials describing them as “victims” of Khaliifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).
Lebanon’s foreign minister Nassif Hitti resigns, warning that the country risks turning into a “failed state”. The former director of political affairs at the foreign ministry, Charbel Wehbe, has been appointed as his replacement.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab is considering a state of emergency after an enormous explosion rocked the capital Beirut. Diab vows that those responsible for the blast will “pay the price”, as over 100 people are confirmed by the Red Cross to have died with a further 4,000 injured. The explosion has caused extensive damage to the port and its cause is as yet unknown – although there are suspicions it may have been caused by the ignition of 2,7000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate in a warehouse in the port facility.
The Lebanese government has declared a two-week state of emergency in the capital Beirut, as the death toll from an enormous explosion in the port facility increases to at least 135. The government also promises an investigative committee will establish those responsible and put them under immediate house arrest. Some 250,000 people are thought to have been left homeless by the blast.
Demonstrators have stormed government buildings in Beirut in a demonstration of fury against the ruling class, which is accused of negligence over the recent blast in the capital. Police dispersed the protestors using tear gas and rubber bullets, while the Prime Minister Hassan Diab promised to request an early parliamentary election in order to defuse tensions over the crisis.
Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein’s detention by Egyptian authorities is extended by a further 45 days. Hussein was arrested in December 2016 while visiting his family, with Egyptian authorities accusing him of “broadcasting false news with the aim of spreading chaos”.
Meanwhile, in Lebanon, pressure on the government continues to grow as large-scale protests continue to swamp the streets of Beirut.
Khaled Drareni, an Algerian journalist who gave extensive coverage to the country’s Hirak reform movement, is sentenced to three years in jail for “endangering national unity” after posting comments on Facebook which also allegedly incited an “unarmed gathering”. The journalist, who denies any wrongdoing, is also handed a fine equivalent to around $400 US.
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab announces his resignation in the wake of extensive pressure on his government following the devastating explosion in the capital last week. Around 200 people are believed to have died in the blast, which the former PM blamed on “endemic corruption” in the country’s political establishment. Health Minister Hamad Hassan had earlier told reporters that the government had already resigned in light of the crisis.
The UN Refugee Agency is attempting to verify reports claiming that at least 34 refugees, mostly Syrian, were killed in the Beirut port blast. The agency has so far confirmed that seven refugees have been reported missing in the wake of the blast, as the overall death toll is believed to stand at around 200.
The state of emergency in Lebanon – originally declared on the day of the deadly Beirut explosion, but subsequently extended by parliament – grants to the country’s army powers to curb freedom of speech, assembly, and of the press. Some Human Rights groups have expressed concerns that the powers will allow security forces to crack down on dissent in the wake of the explosion last week, which left at least 200 people dead and over 6,000 injured. The announcement arrives the same day that the US reveals the FBI will join in the Beirut explosion investigation.
Meanwhile, in Egypt, Essam el-Erian – a senior member of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood – dies in Tora Prison in Cairo. Official accounts say el-Erian died of a heart attack.
Allies of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya have reiterated their support for the western-based authority during a visit to the capital, Tripoli. Turkey and Qatar both re-stated their backing of the GNA, while the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned of a “deceptive calm” in the country at present.
A UN-backed tribunal finds that former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was killed during a suicide bombing attack in 2005, was murdered by a member of Hezbollah. The verdict arrives over 15 years after the attack, which left a further 21 people dead, and sees three other members of the group cleared of all charges.
Egypt seeks alliances with powerful tribes in Libya in order to attempt to build a stronger coalition against the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), which has made substantial territorial gains against Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) forces in recent months.
The UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) has announced a ceasefire across Libya, calling for presidential and parliamentary elections to take place in March next year. The announcement raises hopes of peace in the country, which has been devastated by nine years of conflict and has seen rising tensions near the strategic city of Sirte in recent months.
Protests in Basra see demonstrators set fire to the parliament office in the southern city, resulting in security forces firing live ammunition into the air in order to disperse the crowds. The outburst comes following perceived inaction by security forces following the murders of several people by unidentified gunmen in recent days.
Tensions grow in the southern Iraqi province of Basra after the 48-hour deadline given by protesters for the governor to resign is passed without any change. Demonstrators had previously set fire to the parliament office following the assassination of several political activists by unknown gunmen in recent days, prompting Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to visit the city in an attempt to quell the unrest.
Meanwhile, in Libya, the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) group Khalifa Haftar has dismissed the declaration of a ceasefire by the Government of National Accord (GNA) as propaganda, claiming that western-based forces have been mobilising near the central city of Sirte since the announcement was made.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) urges the Government of National Accord (GNA) to investigate the use of “excessive force” at a demonstration in the capital Tripoli. Hundreds had congregated in the capital to protest poor living conditions and corruption before being dispersed by the security forces firing into the air. Protests also occur in the country’s third largest city, Misrata.
In Algeria, President Abdelmajid Tebboune announces a date for a nationwide referendum on a new constitution purportedly designed to grant parliament a more significant role and boost democracy. The November 1 vote coincides with the beginning of Algeria’s war of independence from France.
Tunisia’s second government in just six months has been proposed by the prime minister-designate, Hichem Mechichi, who must now win a vote of confidence in Parliament to avoid another election.
In Iraq, civil servants in the north of the country protest salary arrears after having been denied pay for six months. As many as 50 activists are believed to have been arrested during the demonstrations.
The French President Emmanuel Macron sends an outline of financial and political reforms he deems it necessary for Lebanon to implement in order to unlock much needed international economic assistance. The so-called “concept paper” calls on the Levantine state to appoint an interim government, deliver early legislative elections and perform an audit of its central bank. More tellingly, the paper outlines plans for increased French involvement in the country through the rebuilding of Beirut’s port, the provision of financial advisors and healthcare, and the organisation of elections.
Following the abduction by armed men of six protestors in the Libyan capital Tripoli, Amnesty International has urged the Nawasi armed group – believed to have been behind the kidnapping – to release the captives. The militiamen are nominally allied to the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the west of the country. The protestors were taken during a protest against deteriorating economic conditions across Libya.
Egyptian authorities arrest top Muslim Brotherhood leader Mahmoud Ezzat, as the government’s crackdown on the group continues. The group’s acting leader has previously been given two death sentences in absentia and has served time in Prison under previous presidencies. The Egyptian government regards the group as a terrorist organisation.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously approves the renewal of the mandate of the UN peacekeeping forces stationed near Lebanon’s southern border. The mission is 42 years old and has been in place to curb tensions caused by cross-border skirmishes. The number of troops on the ground will reduce from a maximum of 15,000 to 13,000.
The interior minister of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), based in the west of Libya, has been suspended after a violent crackdown on protesters in Misrata and the capital, Tripoli. Armed men have often fired into the air to disperse protesters demonstrating against worsening economic conditions across the country in recent weeks.
Receiving 90 out of a possible 120 votes from parliamentarians, diplomat Mustapha Adib has been given the responsibility of forming a new Lebanese government. The vote follows the resignation of former Prime Minister Hassan Diab in the wake of the devastating explosion which rocked the capital Beirut last month.
Protestors gather around Lebanon’s parliament complex in Beirut on the 100-year anniversary of the creation of Greater Lebanon in 1920. Security forces used tear gas to disperse the crowds, who threw rocks at the walls surrounding parliament. Resentment remains following last month’s port blast which killed around 200 people.
The Tunisian parliament approves Prime Minister-designate Hichem Mechichi’s government with 134 out of a possible 217 votes. Mechichi will preside over the country’s third administration in less than a year following the resignation of former Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh over an apparent conflict of interest.
Despite facing over a year’s worth of protests in his own country, French President Emmanuel Macron deems it necessary to hand Lebanese officials a four-part proposal on how to govern theirs. The document includes provisions for dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, rebuilding in the aftermath of the Beirut explosion, a series of expected reforms, and a timetable for elections to the legislative assembly.
Health workers and medical school graduates are protesting in Iraq in the face of equipment shortages which are making it difficult to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. The country witnessed 5,000 new infections the day before, with the health ministry warning that hospitals are becoming overwhelmed with the numbers of patients.
In Tunisia, the coastal town of Sousse witnesses what appears to be another terrorist incident, as three assailants rammed their car into a security vehicle and attacked officers with knives. The assailants are shot dead by security forces after one of the officers is killed.
Meanwhile, in Morocco, representatives of the rival Libyan administrations – the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and the eastern-based Tobruk parliament backed by the Libyan National Army (LNA) – hold talks in Bouznika. The talks precede proposed discussions between the rival parties in Montreux in Switzerland next week.
The Islamic State group claims responsibility for a terrorist attack in the Tunisian coastal town of Sousse. One National Guard officer was killed and another wounded after three attackers rammed a patrol car with their vehicle before stabbing the officers. All three assailants were shot dead by police.
Palestinian representatives failed to convince the Arab League to officially condemn the UAE-Israel deal which seeks to normalise relations between the two states. Despite a renewed commitment by the Saudi regime to support Palestinian statehood, the draft resolution condemning the agreement was voted down.
Just two days after a smaller fire is put out at Beirut’s port, a towering inferno rocks the site of an enormous explosion that killed around 200 people last month. The fire began at a warehouse storing oil and tires and fears remain that further explosive materials may be stored nearby.
Talks hosted in Morrocco between representatives of the rival administrations based in the east and west of Libya – groups affiliated with the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) – culminate in an agreement to allocate positions in key institutions. Parallel talks between Libyan stakeholders and members of the UN support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) also continue while, in Benghazi, scores of protestors take to the streets to demonstrate against deteriorating living conditions and power cuts.
Meanwhile, in Jordan, a massive explosion rocks the city of Zarqa after unused mortar bombs were set off by an electrical short circuit at a military base. No casualties are reported following the incident.
Protestors demonstrating against poor living conditions, frequent power cuts and government corruption set fire to a government building in the north-eastern city of Benghazi. Protests – which have carried on for three consecutive days – also spread to Sabha, al-Bayda and al-Marj.
The eastern-based Libyan government aligned with Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) forces resigns following three days of protests against poor living conditions and corruption.
Khaled Drareni is given 2 years in jail after covering the country’s Hirak protest movements in 2019. The sentence is condemned by human rights groups, which view it as violating press freedoms.
Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya, announces that he wants to step down from his role by October 2020. His hope is that by this date, talks between the country’s rival factions will have produced a new executive authority presiding over unified institutions.
The months-long blockade imposed by the Libyan National Army (LNA) forces of Khalifa Haftar may be coming to an end, as the renegade military commander announces its conditional lifting. The blockade has seen the country lose nearly $10 billion in revenue and has seen widespread power shortages across the country. The blockade is being lifted on the twin conditions that the revenue from the oilfields will not be used to “support terrorism” and will be distributed fairly.
Anti-government protests erupt in Egypt’s Giza, as demonstrators hold banners calling on the President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi to step down and launch stones at security forces. The country has been on high alert since former army contractor Mohamed Ali called on people to take to the streets in commemoration of the anniversary of similar demonstrations against the government last year.
Turkey promises to continue supporting the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya, in spite of the Prime Minister Fayaz al-Sarraj announcing his intention to step down last week.
In a speech given to the UN, Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of Libya’s internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), warns that the ongoing ceasefire in the country is fragile and calls upon rival forces in the east of the country to cease hostilities in order to guarantee peace.
Renewed protests against Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi leave one dead, as thousands ignore a police crackdown on demonstrations to show their opposition to the President’s rule. People took to the streets in cities across the country in a movement which has been dubbed the “Friday of rage”.
During a speech on Sunday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi warns people against joining in recent anti-government protests, claiming that such actions amount to attempts to destabilise the
country. Recent small-scale demonstrations have arisen in response to government reforms to construction laws.
The Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah dies at the age of 91 following a near year-long illness. Known widely as the “Wise Man of the Region”, al-Sabah’s death has led to an outpouring of condolences across the Middle East.
In an effort to encourage a peaceful solution to the ongoing Libyan conflict, the EU removes eastern powerbroker Aguila Saleh from its sanctions blacklist. The leader of the eastern parliament based in Tripoli is seen as been central to any negotiated settlement to the civil war.
In spite of a ban on protests, hundreds of people take to the streets of Algerian capital Algiers to mark the thirty-second anniversary of the pro-democracy movement. Protestors call for government reforms and a reduced role for the army in political affairs.
Egyptian authorities have ordered the release of journalist Basma Mostafa after international human rights organisations criticised her arrest. She had been detained on the basis that she had been promoting “false news” via social media accounts.
Talks in Morocco lead to representatives from the two rival Libyan administrations agreeing to a mechanism for the appointment of sovereign positions in the country, as attempts to bring about an end to the 9-year conflict gather pace.
The shi’ite Iraq-based armed group Kataib Hezbollah agrees to a “conditional ceasefire” with US troops stationed in the country, provided that the country’s government sees about their withdrawl.
Bisher al-Khaswaneh is sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Jordan, as King Abdullah II looks to the new premier to revive a sluggish economy. The 51-year-old replaces Omar al-Razzaz, who had been in the post since 2018.
Algerian authorities prepare to hold a referendum on a new constitution which they have described as marking the beginning of a new era for the country. Opposition groups have denounced the vote, however, describing it as a means to validate the rule of the ruling class. The vote is scheduled to take place in early November.
Meanwhile, as part of ongoing efforts to secure strategic regional partnerships in the run-up to the Presidential election, the US urges Saudi Arabia to normalise ties with Israel. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the gulf country to recognise the Jewish state and, in doing so, join a growing regional alliance against Iran.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns of the largest economic contraction in 20 years across the Middle East pursuant to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The body warned of potential social unrest across the region in the wake of the damage done by the crisis.
Meanwhile, leaders of Libya’s rival factions resumed UN-sponsored talks aimed at achieving a permanent ceasefire to the near 9-year conflict. The talks, hosted in Geneva, are in their fourth round.
The UN’s Libya envoy Stephanie Williams says that she is relatively hopeful of a ceasefire deal being reached between Libya’s rival factions in the coming days, as talks continue.
The execution of 49 people in little over a week in Egypt has drawn condemnation from human rights groups, with Human Rights Watch describing the situation as “outrageous”.
According to the UN, an agreement is reached between rival factions fighting in Libya’s Civil War which ensures a “permanent ceasefire” in all regions. The EU hails the deal – which will see all foreign fighters leave the country within 3 months – as a success, while Turkey has cast doubt on its credibility.
On the one year anniversary of widesrpead anti-government rallies across Iraq in 2019, protestors gather in Tahrir Square in the capital to demonstrate that their demands have not been met. Tear gas was used to disperse the crowds.
Demonstrators take to the streets of Baghdad for the second consecutive day, following a rally to mark a year since the start of sweeping anti-government protests in October 2019. Security forces dispersed the crowds, who were seen burning tyres, with stun grenades and tear gas.
Saudi Arabia releases a statement condemning the French government’s support for the right to caricature the Prophet Muhammad, adding that it “rejects any attempt to link Islam with terrorism”.
Meanwhile, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune is taken to hospital after apparently contracting coronavirus. The country’s Premier is believed to be in a stable condition.
In the Tarhuna region of western Libya, from where Khalifa Haftar’s soldiers attempted to take the capital Tripoli in 2019, twelve bodies are found in newly located mass graves. This brings the total number of bodies found in such graves in the last 5 months to 98.
Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj withdraws his resignation, ensuring that he will stay in the post until the current political talks over the formation of a new government cease. The announcement arrives after the PM was urged to remain in the position by the head of the Government of National Accord (GNA).
Meanwhile, in Iraq, security forces cleared tents from the capital’s Tahrir Square which is at the centre of an anti-government protest movement.
A revised constitution for Algeria is approved in a national poll, although the result is undermined by an incredibly low voter turnout. The government’s intention was to move the country forward from a period of unrest fomented by the Hirak protest movement, however, the turnout of 23.7% casts doubt on the strength of the vote. Opponents have described the constitution as a “facade” of change.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Libya, rival military officers came together in the town of Ghadames for UN-mediated talks. The discussions will centre on the implemtation of a ceasefire agreement between the country’s rival factions.
Rival Libyan military factions come to an agreement for the implementation of an agreed nationwide ceasefire following face-to-face talks in Ghadames. The UN-mediated talks are hoped to bring a permanent end to the country’s 9-year civil war.
A legend of Algeria’s war of independence against France, Lakhdar Bouregaa, dies aged 87. The veteran was a key figure in the country’s Hirak protest movement against the government. He passed away after contracting coronavirus.
An anti-government demonstrator is killed after being hit by a bullet in Basra, as protesters clashed with riot police. Omar Fadhel’s death is the first at the hands of security forces during the tenure of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, which began in May this year.
Following the death of a protester in Basra at the hands of security forces, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi warns security forces against the use of live rounds on demonstrators. The Prime Minister warned that the state would show no leniency if live ammunition were used, insisting that the person responsibile for the protester’s death would be arrested and tried.
Meanwhile, in Libya, seventeen more bodies are uncovered from mass graves in the western Tarhuna region. The total exhumed in the last five months now stands at 112.
Eleven people are killed and a further eight wounded as unidentified gunmen launch an attach on an army post in the Iraqi capital. The attack took place in western Baghdad and the Iraqi military has blamed a terrorist group for perpetrating it.
Despite positive steps towards a lasting peace in Libya being taken in recent weeks, a prominent dissident is shot dead in the eastern city of Benghazi. Hanan al-Barassi had been a prominent critic of offences committed by the Libyan National Army (LNA), based in the east of the country.
The Prime Minister of Bahrain, Khalifa bin Salman al Khalifa, dies aged 84. He was one of the longest serving Prime Ministers in the world, having held office since 1971.
Meanwhile, the UN hails a breakthrough in Libyan peace talks as the two warring factions agree to hold elections within 18 months
Parliamentary elections in Jordan saw some opposition politicians lose out amid a low turnout of only 30%. Only the minimum number of women required to be elected by the constitution (15) were voted in, down from 20 in the previous parliament.
Mohammed Hosni filmed himself complaining about government corruption in Cairo’s Tahrir Square – where Egypt’s 2011 revolution began – before setting fire to his clothes. The video was broadcast live on Facebook. No official comment on the incident has been released.
In Libya, talks between rival factions in Libya’s drawn out civil war produce a proposed date for national parliamentary elections. The vote is set to take place on December 24, 2021, according to the UN envoy Stephanie Williams.
Talks between rival factions in Libya’s recently ended civil war have ended without the announcement of a transitional government to oversee elections scheduled for 2021. Nevertheless, the UN Libya envoy Stephanie Williams was pleased with the talks, which have led to the announcement of national elections at the end of next year and an agreement for the warring sides to cooperate in order to protect the country’s oil fields.
Following an announcement by the US of its intention to drop its troop levels in Iraq by 17%, four rockets strike the heavily fortified Green Zone – the area of the capital which plays host to foreign embassies. No casualties are initially reported.
Egyptian authorities arrest three members of a prominent human rights group within days of one another, drawing criticism from the UN for doing so. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) had been targeted by authorities, with members being held on terror related charges and accusations of “spreading false news”.
UN human rights experts have expressed concerns that some 50 Iraqi prisoners could face execution within the next few days following unfair trials for terrorism-related offences. A joint statement called upon Baghdad to call a halt to the mass executions.
Russia calls upon the UN Security Council to produce more evidence of the perpetrators’ guilt before blacklisting the Libyan armed group al-Kaniyat and its leader Mohammed al-Kani. An asset freeze and travel ban had been proposed by Germany and the US, after mass graves were discovered last month in areas formerly controlled by the group.
Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claims responsibility for a roadside bomb attack in Iraq’s Salahuddin province, which struck a civilian car. The bomb was part of a subsequent ambush in which six Iraqi security officers and four civilians were killed, as ISIL fighters opened fire on them. Three days of mourning have been announced in the province.
A second round of talks between the rival factions in Libyan politics is set to begin, mediated by the UN’s envoy for the country, Stephanie Williams. The parties will attempt to name an executive authority following their failure to do so during talks in Tunisia last week.
Violence erupted in the capital Baghdad and the southern city of Nasiriya, as thousands of supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr took to the streets. Sadrists clashed with anti-government demonstrators, apparently opening fire and killing six people while wounding several others.
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) armed group claims responsibility for a rocket attack which temporarily halted operations at a small oil refinery in northern Iraq. The attack was the second to hit Salahuddin province within a week, although no casualties are reported on this occasion.
Three members of a human rights organisation imprisoned by Egyptian authorities have been freed following a sustained international campaign aimed at securing their release. The members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) had been arrested on accusations of “spreading false news” and “joining a terror group” in early November.
Candidates either belonging to or having sympathy with the opposition increased their number of seats in the National Assembly from 16 to 24 in Kuwait’s national election. Such candidates now control nearly half of the 50-seat parliament amid calls for reform over high debt and corruption. Sheikh Sabah is reconfirmed as the country’s Prime Minister.
Libyan National Army (LNA) forces based in the east of the country have seized a Turkish cargo ship which apparently entered a banned area and did not respond to calls from LNA forces. The ship was heading to Misrata in the west of Libya, sparking fears that this could be a new flashpoint following weeks of truce between the country’s warring factions. Turkey has condemned the capture of its vessel and warned of reprisals.
Libyan National Army (LNA) forces release a captured Turkish cargo ship which was headed for Misrata in the country’s east. The move eases concerns that the country’s conflict may have been reignited by the seizing of the vessel.
Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djeras speaks out against foreign attempts to “destabilise” his country as the “Zionist entity [seeks] to come closer to our borders”. The comments come following the USA’s announcement that it will recognise Moroccan claims over Western Sahara in exchange for a deal to normalise relations with Israel. Algeria is the main backer of the Polisario Front, which campaigns for the independence of the territory from Morocco.
Ahmed al-Sharifi, an Iraqi university professor, is assassinated by unidentified gunmen in the southern Iraqi city of Amara. Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) condemns the killing, which has sparked fears of an impending series of high-profile murders.
Meanwhile, Libyan authorities free eighteen fisherman who had been held captive for three months. The mostly Italian group of sailors had been detained for allegedly sailing in Libyan territorial waters.
The European parliament passes a resolution which urges member states to impose restrictions on Egypt following its crackdown on human rights activists in recent months. The Parliament issued a statement condemning the government’s actions.
In the run-up to the one-year anniversary of the US assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, tension is increasing in bordering Iraq as a series of rockets is fired at the US embassy in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone. Nobody was injured in the attacks, which have led to fears of increased violence as the anniversary of the general’s killing approaches.
The rival factions in Libya’s recently concluded Civil War have begun exchanging prisoners in accordance with a UN-brokered deal reached some two months ago. Details are yet to emerge of how many captives were exchanged by each side.
Meanwhile, the Tunisian government announces the extension of a state of emergency that has been in place for five years. The state of emergency was put in place in 2015 following an attack on a presidential guard bus attributed to ISIS, and will be extended by a further six months.
The Turkish defence minister Hulusi Akar warns Khalifa Haftar – the military commander who heads the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) forces – that he and his troops will be seen as a “legitimate target” should they open fire on Turkish forces in the country. The comments come after Haftar vowed to “drive out” any occupying forces.
Meanwhile, an Egyptian delegation visits the Libyan capital Tripoli for the first time in years to hold talks with the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). It is the first visit of senior Egyptian officials to the country since 2014.
Ahmed Bassam Zaki, previously a student in the American University of Cairo, is sentenced to three years in an Egyptian prison for sexually harassing and blackmailing two women. Mainly classmates had testified that Zaki had assaulted them, with certain incidents allegedly involving girls as young as 14.
The proposed new Algerian constitution, which was approved by voters in a referendum in late 2020, is signed into law by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. The document is supposed to meet the demands of protesters who demanded substantial reforms to the country’s governance, however, critics have dismissed it as a mere gesture.
Ten years after uprisings, economic, and political setbacks, the legacy of the Arab Spring still follows the Middle Eastern and North African region through censorship and civil fragmentation.
The civilians of Yemen and the Houthi movement played a crucial role in the Arab Spring marking a shift from revolution to the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.
Recently in Tunisia, protesters and activists have taken to the streets to maintain pressure on the President, Kais Saied, to hold a referendum on the
Ten years after the Arab Spring uprisings and the dissolution of its dictatorship, Tunisia’s relatively young democracy is facing a reckoning. Popular dissatisfaction and protests
It has emerged that Shady Habash, an Egyptian artist and filmmaker, died in maximum security Tora prison in Egypt on 3 May. According to the
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