Arab Spring Update

A summary of the status of the “Arab Spring” uprisings with links to news coverage and commentary.


The wave of protests in the Middle East and North Africa which began with the self-immolation of an unemployed man in Tunisia in December 2010 continue. In this post I will attempt to provide a quick update on what’s going on in the several countries of the region along with news reports and commentary. The constraints of the medium and the vastness of the region involved make this post necessarily terse.

Additional news items or links to pertinent commentary are welcome in the comments.


In the News

Head of Tunisian Election Board Seeks Delay
Tunisian Army Fires Tear Gas at Libyan Border
High Death Toll Challenges Claims of Smooth Transition
Le gouvernement tunisien maintient les élections au 24 juillet


Gulf News, “Re-emergence of Islamists in Tunisia”


Has Egypt removed the dictator and retained the dictatorship?

In the News

Mubarak to be Tried for Deaths of Protestors


Financial Times, “The Battle for Egypt’s Identity is Joined”
Mohammed ElBaradei on Egypt’s Future


It looks very much as though Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s long-time dictator, has no intention of following through on his promises for a transition from power.

In the News

Fighting intensifies in Sanaa; many hurt
US embassy in Yemen shuts consulate due to unrest‎
Yémen : les violences continuent entre police et partisans d’un chef tribal


Foreign Policy, “No Celebration of Yemen’s Unity Day”


Bahrain’s violent crackdown on protestors may have been successful.

In the News

Bahrain Releases More Than 500 Detainees
Bahrain Races to Restore Normality


Time, “Will Obama’s Speech Help the Reformists?”


With ongoing NATO air support the rebels continue to hold Benghazi as some countries slowly recognize their authority. The great question for Libya now is how far will Moammar Qaddafi go to retain power?

In the News

NATO Steps up Libya Air Strikes
Refugees, residents clash in southern Libya
Summary of the American and international press on the Libyan revolution
Libye : pour Juppé, l’intervention sera terminée dans quelques mois


Strategy Page, “The War in the Shadows”


The Syrian government’s violent crackdown on protestors continues.

In the News

Syrian Protestors Defy Crackdown
As night settles, defiant protestors take to the streets
EU Council condemns Syria’s “ongoing repression”

Saudi Arabia

In the News

Calls for political reform muted
Saudi Arabia Appoints Officials as Protests Sweep Through Region


As always our colleague, John Burgess’s blog, Crossroads Arabia, remains a fine source of news and commentary on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Jordan remains politically more stable than many countries in the region and the country’s King Abdullah appears to be attempting to get out in front of the current of history with his visit to Egypt and announcement of support for the Libyan rebel council.

In the News

Jordan pledges support for Libya rebel council
Jordan economy may flatline amid Arab Spring revolts


Protests in Algeria have been frequent and quashed by police. The opposition questions the government’s willingness to engage in genuine reform.

In the News

Algeria to hold reform talks, boycotted by opposition


In the News

Moroccan police beat up protesters


Los Angeles Times, “Protest violence could escalate, intelligence analyst says”

FILED UNDER: Africa, Middle East, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. michael reynolds says:


    The Libyan rebels do far more than “hold Benghazi.” They hold the country to the east of a line extending from Ajdibaya.

    They also hold Misrata — second largest city in the west. And they hold positions on the Libya-Tunisia border.

    Gaddafi — despite having what one might call the advantages of incumbency — has stalled on his efforts to advance on Benghazi, he’s stalled out at Misurata, and we are just 3 months into this thing.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Your analysis may be correct, Michael, but I think it’s a bit premature. There’s still shelling in Misrata.

  3. Nick says:

    Thanks for the links, Dave. As much as the Arab spring is still decidedly alive, political discourse has been focused elsewhere of late, so the update is much appreciated.

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    As much as the Arab spring is still decidedly alive, political discourse has been focused elsewhere of late, so the update is much appreciated.

    Thanks. That’s a very good statement of why I wrote this post.

  5. CB says:

    your alternative media at work. the reason i dont bother with cable news anymore.

  6. PD Shaw says:

    Perhaps not new news, but it might also be worth identifying owngoing U.S. nation-building efforts on the West Bank:

    As mentioned above, aid has been given to train, reform, advise, house, and provide non-lethal equipment for PA civil security forces in the West Bank loyal to President Abbas in an effort both to counter militants from organizations such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and to establish the rule of law for an expected Palestinian state. A small amount of training assistance also has been provided to strengthen and reform the PA criminal justice sector. This assistance has come from the INCLE account—to which a total of $395.4 million (including $100 million in FY2010 funding—see Table 2 above for a description) has been appropriated or reprogrammed for use in the West Bank since 2007. The Obama Administration has requested an additional $150 million in FY2011 INCLE funding.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    I second what Nick said: thanks.

  8. mannning says:


    Good work!

  9. ponce says:

    France is now sending n the attack helicopter to step up their slaughter.

    Nothing says military desperation like helicopters…

  10. michael reynolds says:


    I don’t see the logic for desperation.

    What helicopters says is that Gaddafi has no air, no serious anti-aircraft, and that NATO is down to killing trucks and jeeps and men rather than facilities and ships and jets and tanks. It means NATO thinks they have the likelihood of being able to run recovery operations in the event a helicopter gets shot down. It may also mean that they’ll be doing close air support of rebel ground troops.

  11. ponce says:


    It is an admission the rebels still aren’t getting the job done.

    Also an admission the bloodthirsty freaks running the Libyan campaign don’t want to commit ground forces.

    Most of the U.S. military’s biggest civilian kills came from attack helicopter, not jets, btw.

    And I’ll wager a few of those choppers are brought down over the next month or so, because you can take out attack helicopter with rather primitive arms.

  12. michael reynolds says:


    None of which equals “military desperation.”

  13. Southern Hoosier says:

    And when the dust settles, the people will be worse off than they were before. I can’t think of too many revolutions, I guess I should says springs, where the people came out better than they went in.

    Is spring now Orwellian NewSpeak for revolution or uprising?

  14. Franklin says:

    I hadn’t even known about a couple of those countries. Good roundup, I’ve got a bit of reading to do.

  15. michael reynolds says:

    I can’t think of too many revolutions, I guess I should says springs, where the people came out better than they went in.

    Off the top of my head, Spain, Portugal, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, “East” Germany, South Africa, Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, the USSR, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia. Actually “Springs” have been going rather well.

    The world is in so much better shape than it was when I was a kid.

  16. ponce says:

    None of which equals “military desperation.”

    Sure, Michael.

    Everything is going to plan in Libya.

    And the commitment of helicopters is in no way reminiscent of Vietnam and Afghanistan.

  17. michael reynolds says:

    Jesus, Ponce, try harder.

    You might as well say that “bullets” are reminiscent of Vietnam or Afghanistan.

    Your statement that helicopters signaled “military desperation” doesn’t hold up.

  18. Southern Hoosier says:

    I was thinking more along the lines of the 1968 Baath Revolution, the Iranian Revolution or the coup that brought the Taliban into power or the coups in Pakistan. The Muslim world doesn’t seem to have a very good track record.

  19. Southern Hooser says:

    Another Arab Spring story.

    South Sudan says 80,000 flee after north takes Abyei

  20. Southern Hoosier says:

    Another Arab Spring story

    Islamist militants take over southern Yemen city

    The takeover of Zinjibar is likely to bolster US concerns that the vacuum created by Yemen’s unrest is allowing militant groups like Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to gain strength.