October 24 to 28, 2011

–          Nahda to reach out to Tunisian secular rivals – The Financial Times – 25/10/2011

Tunisia’s Islamist party and the big winner in the country’s first democratic election has started reaching out to secular rivals as it vows to work on building a stable democratic state. Mr Ferjani said Nahda wants to secure the position of prime minister in the coalition government.  He said they would invite  the Congress for the Republic to join the coalition, led by Moncef Marzouki, a former dissident who was exiled in France, and the Ettakatol group, headed by Mustafa Ben Jaafar, a veteran opposition leader. Despite some suspicions, the Islamists insist these fears are groundless and that their main aim is to offer the world a model proving that democracy and Islam are compatible.

–          In Slap at Syria, Turkey Shelters Anti-Assad Fighters– The New York Times – 27/10/2011

Once one of Syria’s closest allies, Turkey is hosting an armed opposition group waging an insurgency against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, providing shelter to the commander and dozens of members of the group, the Free Syrian Army, and allowing them to orchestrate attacks across the border from inside a camp guarded by the Turkish military. The support for the insurgents comes amid a broader Turkish campaign to undermine Mr. Assad’s government. Turkey is expected to impose sanctions soon on Syria, and it has deepened its support for an umbrella political opposition group known as the Syrian National Council, which announced its formation in Istanbul.

–          Yemen women burn their veils to protest regime violence – Haaretz – 27/10/2011

Hundreds of Yemeni women on Wednesday set fire to traditional female veils to protest the government’s brutal crackdown against the country’s popular uprising, as overnight clashes in the capital and another city killed 25 people, officials said. The women in Yemen have taken a key role in the uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s authoritarian rule that erupted in March, inspired by other Arab revolutions. Their role came into the limelight earlier in October, when Yemeni woman activist Tawakkul Karman was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with two Liberian women, for their struggle for women’s rights.

–          The Sakharov Prize awarded to five Arab Spring activists ( Le prix Sakharov décerné à cinq militants du Printemps arabe)- Le Monde – 27/10/2011

The European Parliament awarded on Thursday Oct. 27, its prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to five militants  of the Arab Spring.The winners are the protestor Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi-honored posthumously – the Egyptian activist Asmaa Mahfouz, the Libyan dissident Ahmed Al-Zubair Ahmed Al-Sanusi, the lawyer Razan Zeitouneh Syrian and Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat.

–          Libya after Qaddafi. A new timetable – The Economist – 29/10/2011

When Libya’s new rulers declared on October 23rd that their country, with the fall of Sirte and the death of Muammar Qaddafi, had definitively been liberated, a constitutional-cum-electoral clock began to tick. First, within a month, the chairman of the current National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, is to appoint an interim government. Within three months it should pass preliminary electoral laws. And within eight months Libyans are to elect about 200 delegates to an assembly charged with drafting a constitution to be approved by a referendum within another year, meaning mid-2013. Once the constitution is endorsed, elections for a parliament and later for a president will follow. This should all take a couple of years.