October 17 to 21, 2011

–        Pro-Assad Rally Shows Syrian Government Can Still Command Support – The New York Times– 19/10/2011

Large crowds of Syrians rallied in the northern city of Aleppo on Wednesday in support of the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Mr. Assad and his government still command support from a substantial part of the population seven months after the uprising started. The United Nations issued new estimates last week of the crackdown’s toll: more than 3,000 people killed, including at least 187 children, with thousands more arrested, tortured or disappeared.

–          Death of Gaddafi boosts chances of unifying nation – The Financial Times – 20/10/2011

Now Libya must not only shake off the legacy of his dictatorship but recover from the bloodshed that has destabilised much of the country since protesters inspired by revolutions in neighbouring Tunisia and  Egypt took to the streets in mid-February. Forging a consensus among  Libya’s squabbling factions has proved difficult, and with Gaddafi out of the way there are even fewer rallying points for the collection of liberals, Islamists, industrialists and tribal and  regional groups that made up Gaddafi’s enemies.

–          Syria & the Arab League: a New Era – Dar Al Hayat– 20/10/2011

It was clear during the emergency meeting held by Arab foreign ministers to discuss the situation in Syria that the regime in Damascus was no longer able to cause a rift within the ranks of the Arab League as it has many times in the past. Indeed, there was no Pan-Arab “steed” for it to ride, nor a “Zionist enemy” for it to outbid others with. The Arab League’s resolution also calls on Damascus to quickly carry out reforms, put a stop to acts of violence and killing, put an end to its warlike deployment of troops, and abandon the security formula.

–          Arab world needs an economic revolution– The National– 20/10/2011

The momentum of the « Arab Spring » has been mesmerising, yet the future is uncertain. The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) lags behind other emerging markets in ease of doing business and in competitiveness, and it is undeniable that social change must go hand in hand with economic reform.

–          Tension rises in Tunisia ahead of first post-Ben Ali vote – Middle East Online – 20/10/2011

Tunisia’s frontrunning Islamists warned Wednesday that post-revolution elections risk being rigged, as tension rose with the Arab Spring’s first polls four days away and Washington urging against violence. »There is a risk of the election results being manipulated, » Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi told a press conference in Tunis.

–         Syria, Yemen opposition warn dictators: you’re nextCNN – 21/10/2011

Dictators around the Middle East should pay close attention to the fate of Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi, opposition activists from Syria and Yemen said Thursday as reports of Gadhafi’s death flashed across the world. « This is a lesson for all dictatorships: The clear fate of all who kill his people is to end up under the feet of the nation, » said Omar Al-Muqdad, a Syrian opposition activist in exile in Turkey.