October 10 to 14, 2011

–          Tunisia Salafists vs. ‘Persepolis’: Pressure generates apology – Middle East Online – 10/10/2011

The head of a private TV channel in Tunisia under fire from Islamists for airing part of a film they deemed blasphemous, apologised Tuesday amid fears of post-revolution Islamist upheaval.  « I apologise, » Nessma TV president Nebil Karoui said on Monastir radio about Friday’s broadcast of « Persepolis », a globally-acclaimed animated film on Iran’s 1979 revolution. Salafists — whose Tahrir party has not been legalised — are one of the most conservative and radical currents in political Islam, also in Tunisia which has hitherto followed a secular state model.

–         The outcome of Shalit’s affair disrupts the Palestinian political scene  ( Le dénouement de l’affaire Shalit bouleverse la scène politique palestinienne )- Le Monde – 12/10/2011

The agreement that will allow the French-Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit to regain it’s freedom is the most generous of the history of prisoners exchange between Israel and its Arab neighbours. If the terms of the agreement agreed upon this November 11th by Benyamin Netanyahou cabinet are respected, it would be the first time that Israel will release as much prisoners in exchange of no more than one soldier.  The Hamas will use this outcome to set itself back in the center of the political game.

–          Attack on Copts: How a Demonstration Turned into a Massacre– Alakhbar English – 12/10/2011

Copts demonstrating in central Cairo Sunday were met with lethal force that left over two dozen people dead. Military and Salafi gangs have been largely blamed, but media and clerical incitement were likely culprits as well. The crowd demanded that the Coptic community be given the right to build churches using the same regulations governing the construction of mosques and laws banning religious discrimination.

–          This Middle East power struggle could kill off the Arab spring– The Guardian – 13/10/2011

The drama of the Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington features four players who, whatever the substance of the allegations, are engaged in a series of proxy battles for control of their interests in the Middle East. Three of the four – Saudi Arabia, the US and Israel – are struggling to contain and deflect the tidal wave of democratic protest known as the Arab spring. The fourth, Iran, sees in the same events a challenge to its stewardship of the Shias and the loss of the regional influence.

–          Syria uprising: UN says protest death toll hits 3,000– BBC News – 14/10/2011

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has said the death toll in seven months of protests in Syria against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad has reached 3,000. A European-drafted UN resolution threatening « measures » against the Syrian regime if it did not end its repression of the protests was vetoed this month by China and Russia. But both Beijing and Moscow have also recently urged Damascus to adopt promised reforms swiftly – a sign, that they too may be losing patience with the Assad government.

–          Women and the Arab awakening. Now is the time– The Economist – 15/10/2011.

Amid the loud calls for democracy in the early days of the uprisings, little was said specifically about women’s rights. But now that constitutions are being rewritten, many women in Egypt and Tunisia, whose revolutions are most advanced, hope to push their own liberation.