March 21 to 25, 2011

– Syria braces for ‘day of dignity’ rallies
25/03/2011 – Al Jazeera

Syrian authorities prepared for more protests following a week of demonstrations that left dozens dead. Despite several proposals of reform from the Assad regime, including a possible end to emergency law and the institution of political parties, activists are calling for rallies at mosques after Friday prayers.

– Libya: Nato to take command of no-fly zone
25/03/2011 – BBC news

NATO officials agreed to assume command of the Libya no-fly zone from the United States, a handover that could come as soon as this weekend. All twenty-eight NATO members agreed to the shift, including Turkey, which had opposed coalition targeting of Libyan ground forces. According to NATO leadership, the mandate included only maintenance of the no-fly zone and not airstrikes on loyalist ground assets, which continue to be the charge of the United States, France, and the UK. Further talks are scheduled over the weekend to consider whether NATO should take on this expanded role. A decision is expected by Monday March 28, 2011.

– Increasingly isolated, President Saleh’s days as head of the country are counted (De plus en plus isolé, le président Saleh compte ses jours à la tête du pays)
23/03/2011 – France 24

Dropped by a part of the army, the majority tribes, ambassadors and the international community, the Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has only the support of his Republican Guard and a handful of followers. He is more isolated than ever and made approve the establishment of the state of emergency by the Parliament, a vote that was immediately contested by the opposition.

– Prominent Egypt Salafi proclaims victory for religion in referendum
22/03/2011 – Al Masry al youm

The Muslim Brotherhood and some Salafi groups had urged supporters before the referendum to support the changes, which leave untouched a part of the Constitution that names Islam as the primary source of legislation. More than 77 percent of voters voted in favor of the proposed amendments, but some groups wanted more changes made. Passing the amendments was widely perceived to be in the interests of the Brotherhood because they necessitate that parliamentary elections be held in six months. Informal opposition groups have complained that an early election will not give them sufficient time to organize. After the results have become public, some people expressed their concern that the future of democracy in Egypt will be at risk if religious groups continue to engage in politics along sectarian lines.

– Silence over Nakba Law encourages racism
25/03/2011 – Haaretz

The Israeli parliament passed a controversial law that penalizes organizations that commemorate the « Nakba », the Palestinian exodus that accompanied the creation of Israel May 15, 1948. The new law creates fines for organizations funded by public funds which would mark the commemoration of the « Nakba » or who support on this occasion activities deemed « contrary to the principles of the state » of Israel. The author believes that this legislation is primarily directed at Israel’s Arab minority, which contradicts the fundamental values ??of democracy and reflects a growing racism in Israel.