For all its seeming intractability, the situation in Bahrain is not entirely without hope. The regime is hardly monolithic in its hard line, there are reformist elements who could themselves be heartened, their own positions strengthened, by the award of the Peace Prize to a family of nonviolent oppositionist activists. In this context, the situation in Bahrain is not unlike that in Myanmar/Burma a few years back, and the introduction of a Nobel into the Bahraini environment might prove as salutary.
Entries in Maryam Alkhawaja (16)
1748 GMT:Tunisia. Hundreds of protesters demanding jobs and the reopening of a border crossing with Libya set fire to a police station and cars, as security forces used tear gas and fired shots into the air to disperse them.
Demonstrators in Ben Guerdane want the Ras Jedir crossing reopened so that trade with Libya, on which most of the population depend, can resume.
Tunisian and Libyan authorities opened the crossing briefly on Thursday but shut it when four days of protests in Ben Guerdane turned violent.
1818 GMT: Bahrain. Zainab AlKhawaja's reaction:
MY SISTER IS HOOOME!!!! #bahrain— angry arabiya (@angryarabiya) January 11, 2013
Maryam and Zainab Alkhawaja:
2136 GMT: Syria. The situation in Aleppo may feel like a stalemate to the residents of the city, but there is plenty of efforts being made by both sides to lift that stalemate. For the last week or so the FSA has been sieging the Air Force Intelligence building in Aleppo. Snipers have pinned down the building periodically, and the FSA has hit it with all sorts of RPGs, small arms fire, and recoilless rifles. Videos have even showed the FSA conducting improvised rocket attacks against the building.
But this video is interesting. It shows insurgents using some sort of small field artillery piece to target the building. An activist translates the talking, and suggests that the insurgents are using a radio to make sure that the shell hits the target, and also to make sure that they are not being targeted by snipers:
2120 GMT: Syria. The FSA is sacking bases around Aleppo, and has the city nearly completely cut off from the outside world. However, while the FSA is advancing in the east, sieging the last vestiges of the Assad regime in Idlib province, making inroads in Daraa, and turning up the heat on Damascus, Aleppo is in much the same position it was a month ago, and the conflict has seen little change in even longer than that. With some of the regime's strongest units still operating in Aleppo, it's clear that while the co0nflict is dynamic, and the the momentum clearly on the insurgents' side outside Aleppo, city itself could remain in this state for some time.
One of the claimed sites of Monday's explosions in Manama (Photo: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters)
The fear is that the regime will exploit the violence and tragic deaths to publicly --- and internationally --- justify its current path of repression, rather than reform, evading any accountability and obligations. Equally, regime factions will likely use the conflict to stoke up the loyalist base to ensure that any attempts at dialogue or reconciliation are undermined.
Ahmed Shihab-Eldin hosts a discussion on Huffington Post Live with guests Brian Dooley of Human Rights First; Fahad AlBinali of the Bahrain International Affairs Authority; Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists; Justin Elliott of ProPublica; Leah McElrath, a social media activist; Maryam Al-Khawaja, acting President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights; and Mohammed Al-Muharraqi, a surgeon who works for the Bahrain Defense Forces.
1938 GMT: Syria. The LCC's deathtoll is even higher than the CFDPC's. According to the Local Coordination Committees, 224 people have been killed nationwide by regime forces:
148 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its Suburbs (including 42 martyrs in Zamalka, 39 in a new massacre in Daraya, and 25 in Mouadamiyeh) 27 in Daraa (including 11 in Jiza; most of them are women and children), 12 in Idlib; most of them in Ariha, 10 in Aleppo, 8 in Deir Ezzor, 10 in Homs (including a person who was martyred in Tadamun neighborhood, Damascus), and 9 in Hama.
Dissecting the numbers, it's worth noting that Zamalka is on the other side of the capital as Darayya and Moudamyah.
1927 GMT: Syria. The CFDPC has posted this summary of events in Zamalka, an eastern suburb of Damascus, where battles and shelling have been reported since dawn:
Tanks and helicopters of regime forces began to shell the Zamalka suburb of Damascus early morning causing the collapse of entire buildings on their residents.
So far the number of dead is about 30, among them children, while about 150 people were injured (some of them are in critical condition).
1658 GMT: Bahrain. For the second time in four months, prominent activist Maryam Alkhawaja is being held at Cairo airport and denied entry. Alkhawaja, the international representative of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, has been providing a running report via Twitter:
Saying order is from intelligence and reson is "top secret" as to y im not allowed in— Maryam Alkhawaja (@MARYAMALKHAWAJA) August 26, 2012
Theyre putting me under observation with the police cuz im insisting on knowing y im not allowed into— Maryam Alkhawaja (@MARYAMALKHAWAJA) August 26, 2012
Nabeel Rajab gets arrested, imprisoned for periods [weeks] at a time, and yet nothing from the State Department; nothing from the US administration. The situation right now as it is is that Nabeel is in prison, possibly for a little more than two months; Zainab Alkhawaja, who is also one of the most active activists, is unable to walk without crutches for at least six weeks afer she was directly targeted and shot in the leg at close range, which not only shattered her thigh bone, but removed all skin and tore the muscle. Removing two of the most well-known activists from the streets at this time seems to be too convenient right before Ramadan to be a coincidence.
Friday's statement by the President of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Laura Dupuy Lasserre
1306 GMT: Claimed footage of police mobilising and using tear gas in Alma'ameer on Friday night, after a march of youth through the village:
1930 GMT: A march on Monday night rejecting union with Saudi Arabia:
1540 GMT: In another sign of the authorities' intent to crack down on expression in social media, Parliament has been considering legislation "to curb misuse of electronic means of communication as well as punish perpetrators using the platform to incite violence in the Kingdom".
The MPs are considering the formation of a committee with jurisdiction over offences allegedly committed via electronic and social media.