NSN Middle East Update

January 10, 2012

December’s trends continue as the region marks the one year anniversary of Tunisia’s revolution: violence continues in Syria, even with Arab League observers present. Protesters continue to question if Yemeni strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh will adhere to a November agreement ending his rule. In Egypt, the final phase of legislative elections started on Tuesday, with the Muslim Brotherhood appearing to win a major victory and working to avoid inflaming relations with the military and Western powers. Libyan authorities allocated $8 billion to reintegrate militia fighters into civilian life, while continued clashes among militias raise concerns about civil war.

Syria

Even with observers from the Arab League on the ground in Syria, violence continues with all sides pointing fingers over a recent bombing in Damascus. Meanwhile, President Bashar al Assad claims that opposition comes from international meddling and terrorists.

          News

Syrian Leader Vows ‘Iron Fist’ to Crush ‘Conspiracy’

New York Times, 1/10/12

Al Assad Blames ‘External Conspiracies’ for Syrian Violence

CNN, 1/10/12

Observers Appeal Again to Syria

New York Times, 1/6/12

Bomb Kills Dozens in Damascus, Stoking Suspicions

New York Times, 1/6/11

Commentary and Analysis

Don’t Write Off the Arab League in Syria … Yet

Richard Gowan, Foreign Policy, 1/6/12

Robertson: Syria Appears Divided

Nic Robertson, CNN, 1/9/12

Yemen

President Ali Abdullah Saleh remains in power despite a U.S.-backed November deal to leave power in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Yet questions persist about whether Saleh will step down, and protesters are unhappy with the immunity law.

News

Suspicions Rising that Yemen’s President Seeks to Scuttle Deal Meant to End His Rule

Associated Press, 1/5/12

Yemen Immunity Law Sparks Debates Over Past Crimes

Associated Press, 1/9/12

In a Shift, the President of Yemen Will Stay Put

New York Times, 1/4/11

Commentary and Analysis

Arab Spring Justice – But a Free Pass for Yemen’s Saleh

Christian Science Monitor Editorial Board, 1/9/12

Egypt

The Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing backed down from demands that Egypt’s new parliament should have the right to quickly replace the military-appointed government. The Brotherhood’s deference shows the group is being cautious about flexing its newfound muscle, so as not to spook Egypt’s military or Western powers wary of a hardline Islamist takeover. The final phase of voting began on Tuesday, with a secular party planning to boycott elections, a move likely to weaken the liberal bloc.

News

Egyptian Islamist Party Backs Down From Demand to Form Government

Washington Post, 1/9/12

Egypt’s Brotherhood Treads Carefully After Victory

Associated Press, 1/9/12

Islamists Ahead as Egypt Vote Enters Final Leg

Reuters, 1/10/12

Commentary and Analysis

Hating Democracy in the Middle East?

Steven Cook, CFR.org, 1/9/12

The Battle Brewing Over Egypt’s Constitution

Mara Revkin, The Atlantic Council, 1/6/12

Libya

Libyan authorities allocated $8 billion to reintegrate militia fighters into civilian life, as the head of the National Transition Council warned that clashes could create civil war in the country. The Libyan government asked the International Criminal Court for an extension on a deadline for answering questions about the treatment of Saif Qaddafi, son of the deposed leader. And more than 1 million Libyan students returned to school this week to start the first year in which the teachings and whims of Qaddafi will not drive the curriculum.

 News

Libya’s Government Allocating $8 Billion to Reintegrate Fighters Into Civil Life

Associated Press, 1/9/12

Libyan Leader Says Militia Clashes Could Create Civil War

New York Times, 1/4/12

Libya Seeks More Time to Answer Seif Questions

Associated Press, 1/10/12

Libyan Students Return to Schools While Officials Scramble to Develop Gadhafi-free Classes

Associated Press, 1/7/12

Commentary and Analysis

Libya’s Nasty New Friend

Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, 1/10/1

Holding Libya Together: Security Challenges After Qadhafi

International Crisis Group, 12/14/11

 

Around the Region

Iran’s Self-Destructive Gamble

Alireza Nader and James Dobbins, International Herald Tribune, 1/5/12

Military Action Isn’t the Only Solution to Iran

William H. Luers and Thomas R. Pickering, Washington Post, 12/30/11

Sustaining Mechanics of Arab Autocracies

Daniel Brumberg, Foreign Policy, 12/19/11

Bahrain’s Revolutionaries

Toby C. Jones, Foreign Policy, 1/2/12

The Leverage Problem

Andrew Exum, Abu Muqawama,12/17/11

Helping Complete the Arab Spring: 5 Ways to Promote ‘Just Jobs’ in the Middle East and North Africa

Sabina Dewan, Center for American Progress, 1/3/12

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