May 23 to 27, 2011


Egypt to open Rafah border permanently
25/05/2011 – Al Jazeera

Egypt announced it will permanently open its Rafah border crossing this Saturday, relaxing a four-year blockade on the Gaza Strip. Officials in Cairo said the gesture marked an effort « to end the status of the Palestinian division and achieve national reconciliation. »

– Arab democracies win G8 aid pledge
26/05/2011 – Financial Times

Leaders from the G8 countries agreed to provide a multibillion-dollar aid package to Egypt and Tunisia, the two vanguard states in Arab uprisings. In addition, Qatar began negotiations with other wealthy Gulf nations to establish a Middle East Development Bank to support Arab states in democratic transitions.

Yemen’s Saleh faces growing condemnation
27/05/2011 – Al Jazeera

Leaders from the G8 called on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to stick to his prior pledge to transfer power amid growing international fears of a Yemeni civil war. Overnight, fighters loyal to Yemen’s most powerful tribe clashed with government soldiers in the capital of Sanaa, killing forty.

EU sanctions Syria’s Assad for first time
23/05/2011 – Daily Star

Europe tightened the noose on President Bashar al-Assad Monday, sanctioning the Syrian leader for the first time as it responded to the change sweeping North Africa and the Middle East. As the death toll continued to climb in Syria, the EU-bloc agreed to add the president, along with several leading officials, to an earlier blacklist. An EU diplomat said the sanctions aimed “to stop the violence and press Assad to agree to a process of reform, but not to force him to step down.”

Saudi women are being driven to rebellion
23/05/2011 – The Guardian

Saudi authorities have arrested an activist who launched a campaign to challenge a ban on women driving in the conservative kingdom and posted a video on the internet of her behind the wheel, activists said. The YouTube video, posted on Thursday, has attracted more than 500,000 views and shows Manal Alsharif, who learned to drive in the US, driving her car in Khobar in the oil-producing Eastern Province.