Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV

Or, click to learn more



Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Conflict Moves Towards the Centre

Two videos of the thousands in the funeral procession in Ala'ali in Bahrain, for a man killed on Wednesday after an incident with a police jeep, before the march was dispersed by security forces:

See also Bahrain Special: The Commission of Inquiry's Report...& 14 Key Points About It
Egypt LiveBlog: The Fighting Resumes
Wednesday's Bahrain (and Beyond) LiveBlog: The Report of the Commission of Inquiry

2013 GMT: Claimed footage from Ala'ali in Bahrain of stone-throwing youth defying fire from security forces:

1613 GMT: Another video of protesters in Ala'ali in Bahrain after security forces dispersed a funeral march with tear gas --- note the smoke in the distance:

1610 GMT: Sources claim security forces fired tear gas and shot into the air to disperse thousands of protesters in Kasserine in west-central Tunisia on Wednesday.

Residents protested that the “martyrs” from the town who died in the revolution against the Ben Ali regime were being forgotten. A source said 66 people were admitted to hospital suffering from tear gas inhalation. The demonstrators reportedly hurled stones at the security forces and attempted to prise open the gates of a local prison.

1600 GMT: Videos testify to marches by students throughout Syria in protest against the Assad regime --- a clip from Midan in Damascus:

1500 GMT: Gunmen fire on marchers in the Yemeni capital Sana'a this morning, killing at least five people:

1455 GMT: Students protest in Zabadani in Syria:

1445 GMT: Associated Press summarises, "Moroccan elections challenged by voter mistrust", as Friday's vote approaches.

Blogger Ibn Kafka explains why he is not participating:

It’s not about the principle of elections: I do not believe in direct democracy, and am no fan of revolutionary violence. I believe in traditional parliamentary democracy, with balance of powers and rule of law. What I don’t believe in at all anymore is the ability of this regime to democratize without being forced by popular pressure. It must have been naiveté, but I have been convinced by the evidence that democratization in Morocco will not be granted; it will be taken.

1440 GMT: Traders and shipping data indicate that the Swiss-based trader AOT is supplying heating oil to Syria, easing possible shortages this winter.

Other European suppliers have cut trade with Damascus.

1435 GMT: The International Criminal Court has issued a statement denying reports that it accepted the request of Libya's National Transitional Council for Saif al-Islam Qaddafi to be tried in the country, rather than at the Hague.

During the visit of ICC prosecutor Luis Ocampo-Moreno to Tripoli this week, media claimed that the ICC accepted that the son of the former Libyan leader could go on trial in Libya, with the international body offering advice.

1420 GMT: Security forces in Bahrain have fired tear gas to disperse a funeral procession in Ala'ali, while they continue to close entrances to the village to prevents others from reaching the march.

Journalist Kelly Mcevers tweets, "Okay I'm starting to get used to being gassed," while activists report that people are hiding in houses to avoid the effects of the gas.

1400 GMT: A resident and activists claim Syrian tanks have bombarded hideouts of army defectors near the central town of Rastan.

About 50 tanks and armoured vehicles reportedly fired anti-aircraft guns and machineguns into farmland on the edge of the town, 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Homs.

1340 GMT: Video has been posted of the funeral procession of thousands of people in Ala'ali in Bahrain for a man killed on Wednesday after an incident with a police jeep:

There were reports that security forces were blocking mourners from getting to the funeral, but so far no violence has been reported.

1330 GMT: The International Crisis Group issues a report calling on people inside and outside Syria to "think through the dynamics" of the conflict:

Many in Syria and abroad are now banking on the regime’s imminent collapse and wagering that all then will be for the better. That is a luxury and an optimism they cannot afford. Instead, it is high time to squarely confront and address the difficulties before it is too late. In the “draft political program” it released on 20 November, the Syrian National Council ‒ an opposition umbrella group – presented the image of an entirely peaceful movement enduring savage repression. The regime and its allies regularly describe the crisis solely as the local manifestation of a vicious regional and international struggle. The two black-and-white narratives are in every way contradictory and mutually exclusive. Both miss a central point: that successful management of this increasingly internationalised crisis depends on a clear-eyed understanding of the grey zone that lies between.

1320 GMT: Brian Whitaker offers the view that Yemeni President Saleh's agreement on Wednesday to a plan for transition of power means little:

The upshot is that even without Saleh, Yemen still has a parliament in which Saleh's party, the General People's Congress, holds an overwhelming majority. It is a parliament with no real mandate and very little legitimacy, yet it is also the body charged by the constitution with the task of approving candidates for presidential elections.

Saleh may be on the way out but his regime – and everything it stands for – is still very much in place. That is basically what the GGC states were hoping for with their so-called transition plan: change at the top while preserving the status quo beneath.

1220 GMT: The funeral procession has begun in Ala'ali in Bahrain for Abdulnadi Qadhem, killed on Wednesday when his car crashed, reportedly after an incident with a police jeep as security forces tried to suppress protests in the village:

1210 GMT: The Bahraini Ambassador to the US, Houda Nonoo, replies to the finding of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry that there is no basis for the regime's claim of Iranian support of protests: “We don’t have that evidence, but it’s there. It’s not evidence you can touch or see physically, but we know it’s there.”

1020 GMT: Gunmen have opened fire on protesters in the Yemeni capital Sana'a, killing at least five people and wounding at least 50.

Journalist Tom Finn sends the messages:

Can see four corpses now. All shot in the head and chest. Doctors appealing for people to donate blood....Medic in field hospital says five killed and 50 injured. No tear gas or water cannons just live ammunition....Shooting has stopped. The [opposition party] Islah have reclaimed the stage....Children once again caught in the crossfire, 6 year-old boy just brought in bleeding from the head, hit by a rock."

1000 GMT: Mansoor al-Jamri, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Al-Wasat, Bahrain's only independent daily newspaper, is the 2011 International Press Freedom Awardee of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In March, armed men attacked and blockaded the daily's presses for a week, preventing employees from getting to and from work. The following month, the regime shut Al-Wasat and charged al-Jamri with "publishing false news" to incite unrest.

Al-Jamri resigned in the face of the intimidation and harassment, as did the newspaper's managing editor and news director. Al-Wasat was allowed to reopen under state control, but its board of directors voted to reinstate al-Jamri as editor-in-chief.

0705 GMT: It says something about the pace of events when Syria has only 4th place in our live coverage of the Middle East. That, however, should not obscure the importance of developments, as conflict continued to near the centre of the Assad regime. At the end of Wednesday, James Miller acutely summarised:

Egypt was so eventful that it merited its own LiveBlog. Two other major developments will make the history books. In Yemen, President Saleh signed the Gulf Cooperation Council deal, effectively agreeing to trade his rule for immunity. In Bahrain, the independent report on human rights, and the regime's reaction to it, will likely set the stage for the next phase of unrest there.

With these two stories, and Egypt's news, Syria was doomed to the bottom of the priority list today. And yet, we saw some massively important developments, an unseen amount of protest in Damascus and Aleppo, and signs that Europe may be contemplating an intervention in the crisis.

There are many parallels between Yemen and Egypt, as both countries may have removed a dictator but neither has achieved lasting change. In Bahrain, the opposition continues to struggle to be heard. But the developments in Syria may be the most important in the long run. With the news of protests reaching the reaching the two largest cities, the opposition appears stronger than it has ever been, and the Assad regime appears weaker. As Yemen and Egypt struggle to chart their next chapter, and the Bahraini opposition struggles to establish itself against a powerful regime, it appears that Syria could be the next domino to fall, perhaps the largest and most important domino yet.

Today we have a series of "What Next?" in and beyond Syria. In Egypt --- again covered in a separate live entry --- we will be looking for the signs of political breakthrough or bloody stalemate. In Bahrain, after the Commission of Inquiry's report damning the crackdown on protests, we will see if the regime's promise of redress and reform is more than superficial and if there is any pause in demonstrations. In Yemen, we will note whether President Saleh's signature of an agreement for a transition of power is followed by action.

And there is even more to consider. In Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia, a funeral for two men killed by police gunfire --- accidentally, according to activists and authorities, as security forces tried to disperse demonstrations --- turned into a mass protest against the monarchy.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

« The Latest from Iran (24 November): Corruption and Torture...From Tehran to Oxford | Main | Egypt LiveBlog: The Fighting Resumes »

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>