NSN Middle East Update

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NSN Middle East Update

As today’s Daily Update was completed, welcome news of progress in U.S.-North Korea talks to rein in that country’s nuclear program emerged – coverage here and early analysis here.

Recent days saw the departure of a fourth Arab dictator – Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh – but struggles continue there and across the region. From a steady toll of deaths and atrocities in Syria, to the uncertain aftermath of President Saleh’s departure from Yemen, to Egypt’s ongoing struggles with accountability and democracy, the second year of the “Arab Spring” will be marked by high-stakes internal struggles. The U.S. and the international community have significant, yet limited, power to effect these developments – exercising it will require patience, determination, and flexibility.


As the UN now tallies deaths related to the Syrian government crackdown at more than 7,500 Syrians, the international community is considering a variety of tools. The United States and France have drafted an outline for a new UN Security Council resolution demanding access for humanitarian aid workers in besieged Syrian towns and an end to the violence there. The UN Human Rights Council condemned Syria’s actions; the UN’s top human rights official Navi Pillay urged Syria’s referral to the International Criminal Court. The European Union imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on seven of Bashar al-Assad’s cabinet members in the latest effort to get the president to step down. Meanwhile, Tunisia’s president indicated the country’s willingness to grant Assad and his associates asylum to help end the violence.


Diplomats Warn Syria of Consequences for Violent Crackdown

New York Times, 2/28/12

New Resolution on Syria Drafted at UN Council to Focus on Humanitarian Angles

Al Arabiya, 2/29/12

UN: Syria Death Toll ‘Well Over’ 7,500

CNN, 2/28/12

EU Hits Assad’s Ministers With New Syria Sanctions

Reuters, 2/28/12

Report: Tunisian President Ready to Offer Asylum to Syria’s Assad to Help End Violence

Associated Press, 2/28/12

Commentary and Analysis

Pressure Not War: A Pragmatic and Principled Policy Towards Syria

Marc Lynch, Center for New American Security, 2/21/12

The Syria Crisis

Project on Middle East Political Science, 2/27/12

Arm Syria’s Rebels

Roger Cohen, New York Times, 2/27/12

Syria, the Case for Staying Out

Gideon Rachman, Financial Times, 2/27/12

A U.S.-Led Exit Strategy for Assad

Jane Harman, Wall Street Journal, 2/27/12

Can Syria’s Assad Fight His Way to Political Survival?

Tony Karon, TIME Magazine, 2/28/12

What Should the United States Do About Syria? A TNR Symposium

The New Republic, 2/9/12


Deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will learn his fate June 2 following his trial for complicity in the killing of protesters at the outset of the revolution last year. An Egyptian court postponed the trial of 43 people working for NGOs, including 16 Americans. U.S. officials have suggested the $1.3 billion in annual U.S. aid to Egypt could be at risk over the Americans’ trial. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party solidified its control of Egyptian parliament when the upper house selected its speaker.


Verdict in Trial of Egypt’s Mubarak Set for June 2

AP, 2/22/12

Egypt’s Press Still Feels The Power Of The Military

NPR, 2/23/12

U.S. and Egypt Lurch Into Risky Limbo on NGO Case

Reuters, 2/28/12

Egypt’s Newly Elected Upper House Votes Islamist as Speaker, Solidifying Islamic Control

Washington Post, 2/28/12

With Unrest in Egypt, Israel Faces Blackouts

Reuters, 2/28/12

Commentary and Analysis

Egypt’s Uncertain Revolution

Brian Katulis, Center for American Progress, 2/10/12

The Evolution within the Revolution

Nathan J. Brown, Foreign Policy, 2/28/12

Egypt’s Step Backward

Thomas Friedman, New York Times, 2/21/12

The Next Draft: What Happened When the Crowds Forced Hosni Mubarak From Power

The Economist, 2/25/12

Backgrounder: The Crackdown on NGOs in Egypt

Daphne McCurdy, Project on Middle East Democracy, 2/10/12


Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33 year rule ended last week as he stepped down in exchange for a blanket immunity from prosecution, part of a U.S.-backed deal brokered by Yemen’s Gulf neighbors. Yemenis voted in Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi – the only candidate on a ballot to replace Saleh. Many Yemenis remain unsatisfied while others hope that this deal will bring much needed stability to the country. Following Saleh’s ouster, aides to the former president indicated that he may seek refuge in Ethiopia.


Yemenis Vote to Rubber-Stamp VP as Nation’s New Leader to Steer Country Out of Crisis

Associated Press, 2/20/12

Protesters Set New Goal: Fixing Yemen’s Military

New York Times, 2/27/12

Aides: Yemen’s Saleh to Seek Exile in Ethiopia

Associated Press, 2/28/12

Commentary and Analysis

Yemen Election Hints at Arab Spring’s Deeper Meaning

Christian Science Monitor Editorial Board, 2/22/12

Yemen Loses a Dictator, But Not His Shadow

Andrew Reiter, Christian Science Monitor, 2/23/12

Will Saleh’s Exit Save Yemen From Chaos?

Washington Post Editorial Board, 2/27/12

Around the Region

Rights Activists Demand Libyan Militia Turn Over British Journalists

CNN, 2/26/12

Violence Ripples Across Iraq, Leaves 8 Dead

CNN, 2/28/12

As Libya Celebrates a Year of Freedom, Evidence Grows of its Disintegration

The Guardian, 2/18/12

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