Sunday 22 Jul 2018 | 03:12 | SYDNEY
Sunday 22 Jul 2018 | 03:12 | SYDNEY

Middle East uprising update


Rodger Shanahan


21 March 2011 17:53

With all the attention on — and excellent TV images from — Libya, it's difficult to get a feel for what is happening on all things revolutionary in the rest of the Arab world. But demonstrations are still going on and still and being resisted to varying degrees:


By any reasonable consideration, the presidency of Ali Abdullah Saleh should be over. But he has powerful backers, access to funds and a fractured opposition, as this good al-Jazeera piece outlines. On Friday, over forty protesters were reportedly killed by pro-Government forces in the capital Sana'a. President Saleh called a state of emergency, and today sacked his cabinet, although four ministers had already resigned over the past week.

This drama has a way to go yet, and Saleh's days are probably numbered. But he is certainly not going to go quietly and it is uncertain who will replace him or whether a new leader will be able to provide any stability.


'Nothing to see here folks, move along'. Yes, the Bahraini Government even demolished the iconic pearl statue (pictured) that had served as the focal point for anti-Government protesters, just to emphasise the point about who had won. For those interested in Shi'a history, there is a certain sense of deja vu about Sunni forces demolishing what had come to serve as a de facto Shi'a 'shrine' — Wahhabists have form in this regard. 

An interesting sideline to the GCC intervention has been the attitude of the Kuwaitis towards providing forces to assist the Bahraini Government put down largely Shi'a protesters.


One of the big unanswered questions to date has been why Syria has remained relatively unaffected by the regional agitation. To answer that would be a thesis in itself, but the first indications of isolated protest, along with security force over-reaction, has been reported in the southern town of Dera'a.

Other demonstrations have occurred in Syria, but there is no real united opposition to the Assad regime and in the normal course of events mediation and negotiation should be able to restore order.Then again, these are not normal times, and Damascus will want to ensure that these protests don't get out of hand. This piece provides some background to events in Syria.

 Photo by Flickr user Tuaussi.