National Security Network

Syria

Syria

Diplomacy

NSN Middle East Update

Report 15 December 2011

 

As Iraq and the United States mark the departure of American forces, this weekend marks one year since Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street vendor, set himself on fire, launching protests that took down dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and ignited the region-wide political movement known as the Arab Spring. After a year of tragedy, triumph, peaceful change and bloodshed, it seems the region's biggest changes may yet be to come. Egypt has begun its first post-Mubarak election and faces challenges in civil-military and sectarian relations and economic and political reform - even as Israel returned its ambassador, marking an improvement in relations.  Conflict in Syria, which has already claimed 5,000 civilian lives, continues. President Saleh is stepping down in Yemen, yet the situation on the ground remains tense.  Libya's new government is bringing oil production back online while dealing with the difficulty of transitioning and dismantling militias. One year later, the Middle East's transition is, perhaps, at the end of the beginning.

As Iraq and the United States mark the departure of American forces, this weekend marks one year since Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street vendor, set himself on fire, launching protests that took down dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and ignited the region-wide political movement known as the Arab Spring. After a year of tragedy, triumph, peaceful change and bloodshed, it seems the region's biggest changes may yet be to come. Egypt has begun its first post-Mubarak election and faces challenges in civil-military and sectarian relations and economic and political reform - even as Israel returned its ambassador, marking an improvement in relations.  Conflict in Syria, which has already claimed 5,000 civilian lives, continues. President Saleh is stepping down in Yemen, yet the situation on the ground remains tense.  Libya's new government is bringing oil production back online while dealing with the difficulty of transitioning and dismantling militias. One year later, the Middle East's transition is, perhaps, at the end of the beginning.

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Diplomacy

NSN Middle East Update

Report 23 November 2011
Last night's debaters gave the ongoing events in the Middle East short shrift. But major developments offer both testimony to citizens' desire for freedom and dignity and the need for strong, unified diplomacy in service of U.S. interests and values. In recent weeks, we've seen a violent military crackdown on demonstrations in Egypt, new censure of Syria's President Bashar Assad and a new report on violence in Bahrain. The Arab League, U.S. and other partners succeeded in passing a UN resolution calling for an end to violence in Syria. Regional player Turkey called for Assad to step down. In Egypt, the military government's pledge to step down next summer failed to quell protests in Tahrir Square, which raged into a fifth day. In Bahrain, clashes between protestors and security forces preceded a report on last year's violence. The report, written by the Bahrain Independent Commission, details torture and excessive force but tamps down claims about Iranian meddling. And in Yemen, longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to a plan negotiated by Gulf countries to step down from power.
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Diplomacy

NSN Middle East Update

Report 19 October 2011
As attention in the U.S. is focused on the alleged Iranian terror plot, Tunisia prepares to hold the first post-Arab spring elections this weekend - the fruits of its leading role and a bellwether for transition across the region. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid a surprise visit to Libya to pledge U.S. aid to the transitional government. Israel and Hamas completed the first part of their prisoner exchange, securing the release of Gilad Shalit and hundreds of Palestinians, and highlighting a new mediating role for Egypt. Elsewhere the news was less positive: the threat of open civil war between Syrian protestors and Assad forces is increasing daily; community relations are worsening in Egypt; and the violence in Yemen worsens.
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Diplomacy

Hurlburt: Ask One for The Gipper

News Washington Monthly 7 September 2011
Diplomacy

Middle East Update

Report 27 July 2011
Trials are starting in Egypt for its deposed leader; Tunisia faces the economic consequences of a transition from a dictatorship; the international community recognizes the opposition in Libya; Syria faces concerns over civil strife; and conditions for the Yemeni people worsen as President Saleh clings to power. These are just some of the complexities facing the region, emphasizing the need for a careful, nimble and calculated approach toward the region from American policy makers and the international community.
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Diplomacy

NSN Middle East Update

Report 20 July 2011
The uprisings in the Middle East, now in their seventh month, continue to produce major news: U.S. recognition of the Libyan opposition; Egyptian steps toward elections and civilian-military disagreements; heightened violence in Syria; and a wobbly opposition coalition facing an absent leader in Yemen who refuses to depart.
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Diplomacy

NSN Middle East Update

Report 29 June 2011
As the “Arab Spring” turns into the “Arab Summer,” recent developments range from debate in the United States Congress about America’s role in Libya, to clashes in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, to constitutional reforms in Morocco. Carnegie Endowment scholar and former Jordanian diplomat Marwan Muasher captures the reality when he writes, “The Arab Awakening is going to be measured in decades, not months or years.”
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Diplomacy

NSN Middle East Update

Report 9 June 2011
Headlines focus on the countries in the Middle East mired in violence. But elsewhere, institution building is underway in Tunisia and Egypt, where elections are slated for this fall. NATO representatives are meeting once again to discuss a post-Qaddafi Libya and how states can assist the opposition. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh remains in Saudi Arabia, furthering speculation over his well-being and a possible power transfer. Syrians in one northern town are fleeing to Turkey in the face of a military crackdown, as UN efforts intensify to condemn the Syrian regime and investigate Syria’s nuclear activities.
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Diplomacy

NSN Middle East Update

Report 11 April 2011
 

Whether ending a civil war, easing an autocrat from power or building a durable new political system, regional, national and international institutions are struggling to handle the range of unique challenges posed by change in the Middle East. James Baker and others remind us again that no one-size-fits-all solution will meet the need. Recent days have seen renewed activity by regional organizations to reach transitional deals in Yemen and Libya - rejected as grossly inadequate by opposition groups in both countries. Protests - and violent responses - continued in Syria. And in Egypt, renewed demonstrations led by young people calling for democracy and accountability for former officials from the regime of Hosni Mubarak resulted in the military government storming Tahrir Square and killing a protestor. Those actions came even as the government announced plans to investigate Mubarak and his family, and Mubarak spoke out for the first time.

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