The Arab Spring


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Overview

The Arab Spring was and remains one of the most consequential and magnanimous geopolitical tectonic shifts in the Middle East region in recent memory. The Arab Spring began in 2011, and at the time that it began, the leaders of the states that comprise the Middle East region had either personally led the country for decades or had their family dynasty lead the country for decades.

Over those decades, frustration with the status quo was already high & tense and was made even worse by the lack of civil and political freedoms in the region. It was then put on display by the lack of transparency and accountability, as well as the centralization of wealth in the elite political class, corruption and nepotism that became normalized in the Middle East.

It wasn’t until Mohammed Bouazizi, a street vendor in Tunisia, set himself on fire out of desperation and frustration, that a spiralling series of events took place throughout the entire extended region and became known as the Arab Spring. 

The Spring started in Tunisia, with Bouazizi’s act of self-immolation sent a shockwave throughout the region, with ordinary citizens empathizing with that sense of desperation and frustration that he felt. The empathy turned into anger, and with anger came the demand for change. In Tunisia, the long-time leader, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, commonly known as Ben Ali, who had at that point ruled for 24 years, became the focus of that anger and fled the country as mass-protests gripped the state. Ben Ali continues to live in self-exile in Saudi Arabia for fear of prosecution for his corruption upon return to Tunisia. 

The protests from that point spread across the region like wildfire, reaching Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Bahrain. In Egypt, with the protestors numbering in the millions, led the 40-ruler authoritative ruler, Hosni Mobarak, to step down and be arrested for his crimes against the Egyptian people, including the initial attempted violent crackdown of the Arab Spring protesters.

After Mobarak stepped down, the sense of fear among the ruling political class in the Middle East each began to fear that they would be next and suffer similar fates. Soon after, the leader of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, suffering the same fate as Mubarak, with stability evading the country till this day and resulting in the Yemeni Civil War. Muammar Gaddafi, the long-time leader of Libya, resisted the will of the Libyan people for him to step down, which resulted in his forcible removal from power, as well as a NATO-led intervention in the country. The Libyan events also remain uncontained till this day, leading to the Libyan power struggle between competing governments in the East and West of the country.

In Syria, the fight to remove Bashar Al-Assad has not yet ended and is still in full force, with the Syrian Civil War now reaching its 8th year. Some countries avoided the full brunt of the Arab Spring, with protests slowly dissipating or being appease with compromises by their leaders, or even financial incentives to want to keep the status quo. Such outcomes occurred in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, and Morocco. 

Other countries experienced very little, if not at all, upheaval as part of the Arab Spring, in part due to two reasons, either having a long history of conflict and hoping to avoid future ones, such as in Lebanon and Iraq, or due to the high quality of life in some countries, such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

In Bahrain, a country that has a majority of shia muslim population and is led by a King from the minority sunni muslim sect, was on the verge of a change of leadership until Saudi Arabia interfered and provided the Bahraini King with 15,000 Saudi soldiers to stabilize the kingdom and crackdown on the protesters. This is largely due to the fact that the biggest losers of the Arab Spring would be the two countries in the region that staked their entire domestic governance structure as well as regional influence on the basis of authoritative rule – the kind of rule that directly led to the Arab Spring and the one that the protestors fought hard to remove from power.

Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, seeing their long-term ruling counterparts across the region slowly fall one by one, led to legitimate fears that they would be next in being deposed from power. The only way to hold on to their rule, other than the vast wealth that came associated to their natural resources, namely oil, was to show that the mass-protests do not lead to success or democracy. This started the second phase of the Arab Spring which is known as the counter-revolution. 

Led and financed by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, the counter-revolution convinced rulers, militaries and established special interest groups to hold their ground against these protestors and even fight back, brutally cracking down on the will of the people. The fear of repercussions from the international community was alleviated by the two regional powers because of the large influence they have amongst western states, as providers of investment and exporters of natural resources, thus giving them the ability to provide the necessary diplomatic cover to stay the course.

This can be seen in their interventions in Yemen, Libya, Egypt and most recently, Sudan. While the Arab Spring came like a force of nature that was long overdue, it has since underwent many different phases, and the region remains at a crossroads once again. The crossroads at question is whether or not to continue on the path of authoritative stability or to shift to the grassroots democratic unpredictability.

Facts

Where:
Throughout the Middle East (Started in Tunisia)
Deaths:
Hundreds of thousands
Injured:
Thousands hurt in protests (600o in Egypt in 2015) 
Countries involved:
Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan

Key Actors

Most of them condemned the protests and refused to step-down at first, often resorting to aggression against their own citizens.

Criticized the clashes and pressured the UN to act, failed to provide any effective assistance to reduce violence or improve stability

Organized and led the protests, in a fight for democracy and better governance

Provides assistance and advocates for peace during the protests and consequential wars

Condemned the violence of governments in the middle east, many of whom dealt violently with protesters

Timeline

Tunisia sparks the Arab Spring after a street vendor, Mohammed Bouazizi, set himself on fire protesting against local police who humiliated him.

Tunisian President, Ben Ali, resigns and flees to Saudi Arabia.

Egyptians demand resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

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.

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.

The leader of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar, confirms that his forces will withdraw around 2 miles from frontlines around Tripoli. The move is allegedly to ease conditions for residents of the country’s capital near the end of Ramadan, however, it follows the recent loss of key strategic sites close to the city.

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.

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