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Entries in Morocco (39)


Mali (and Beyond) Live: At Least 7 Killed in Timbuktu Fighting

See also Syria Live: The Deaths on Easter Sunday
Sunday's Mali (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Suicide Bombing in Timbuktu

1525 GMT: Morocco. Several thousand people marched through the capital Rabat on Sunday to protest against unemployment and the cost of living.

In a "national march of protest" for greater freedoms and rights, yellow-clad marchers moved through the streets of the city.

Protesters challenged government plans to reform laws dealing with labor unions, including docking the pay of strikers. Chanting "people want the fall of the government" and “Morocco is witnessing social regression", they called for the departure of Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane.

Other slogans denounced government policies, corruption, and the high cost of living.

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Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Activist Zainab AlKhawaja Writes from Prison

See also EA Video Special: Intelligence, the Iraq War, and What's Next --- Key Questions and Some Answers
Saudi Arabia Feature: Regime's Historic Decision "To Ban Everything"
Syria Live Coverage: Who Represents the Opposition?
Sunday's Israel, Palestine (and Beyond) Live Coverage: US Restarting Negotiations?

1950 GMT: Libya. Oman has granted the late leader Muammar Gaddafi’s widow and her family asylum on humanitarian grounds, an official at the Foreign Ministry has said.

The move was co-ordinated with Libya and Algeria, where the Qaddafis had lived after the fall of the Libyan ruler, following a pledge by the family that they will not use Oman as a base for political or media activity.

The group --- Qaddafi’s widow Safiyyah Farkash, daughter Aisha and sons Mohammad and Hannibal, as well as their children --- has been living in Oman since October 2012, and their expenses are being covered entirely by the Omani Government.

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Israel, Palestine (and Beyond) Live Coverage: US Criticises Israeli "Pattern of Provocation" Over Settlements

See also Bahrain Analysis: Does Al Wefaq Still Lead the Opposition to the Regime?
Syria Live Coverage: The Insurgents Close on Hama
Tuesday's Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Protests and Arrests for "Martyrs Day" in Manama

2125 GMT: UAE. Authorities have arrested at least four people after a tightening of the Internet law.

The four men, including former diplomat Naji al-Nuaimi, had sympathised with more than 60 Islamists detained since March, had called for reforms, or had criticised the security forces on-line, activists said.

2025 GMT: Yemen. President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi has abolished two major military units, including one commanded by the son of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.


"The army was restructured into four units, the land forces, the navy, the air force and the border forces," State television reported, as the Republican Guard and the First Armored Division were abolished.

Brigadier General Ahmed Saleh, the commander of the Republican Guard, had refused orders this to hand over long-range missiles to the Defense Ministry.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A New Diplomatic Initiative?

See also EA Video Analysis: How to Use American Deaths to Win a Presidential Election
Libya Report: Militias "Massacred" Qaddafi and His Loyalists
Tuesday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: UN Envoy Brahimi Moves Through the Region
The Latest from Israel-Palestine (16 October): Netanyahu's Threats That Will Dominate the Elections

1921 GMT: Syria. Another plane shot down? This video was reportedly filmed over Hanano, Aleppo. At least one parachute is clearly visible:

We'd like to see multiple angles, just so we can compare it to other videos of planes being shot down. However, if confirmed, this is another sign of how weak Assad's air forces are becoming.

The Guardian and C.J. Chivers think so too.

Last August, Chivers wrote that Syria’s fleet of Mi-25 Hind-D attack helicopters, which numbered 36 at the start of the conflict, was insufficient to hold back the rebels.

He also cited estimates that only half the regime's helicopter fleet may be operational at any given time – "maintenance technicians are struggling to keep the machines aloft" – and that some of the original 36 helicopters have been cannibalised for spare parts.

That was late August --- but Assad is now losing helicopters and airplanes at a rate of one to two per day.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: On a "Slow" Saturday, 105 Die

Refugees on the Syrian-Turkish border

Libya Event: Literature and Life After Qaddafi --- Three Authors at the Birmingham Book Festival
Jordan Video Discussion: An Escalation of Tension?
Syria Feature: A Movement Trying to Bridge the Sectarian Divide
Saturday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Renewed Shelling of Homs

2047 GMT: Libya. Prime Minister-elect Mustafa Abushagur failed a vote of confidence by an overwhelming margin on Sunday, removing him from office.

The Government may remain without permanent, democratically-elected leadership for some time, while a new Prime Minister assembles a Cabinet.

Abushagur was rejected by 125 of 200 members of the Libyan General National Congress, with 44 supporting him and the remainder abstentions or no-shows. Abushagur, criticised last week for proposing a Cabinet that critics said was filled with political unknowns, presented a new slate today.

“Your terms contradict my values and terms for forming my cabinet,” Abushagur told the legislature before the vote. “I’m not going to submit to your conditions.”

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Morocco Feature: The Rise and Fall of the February 20 Movement (Benchemsi)

Mass protest over unemployment, 20 January 2012

Seen from afar, Morocco’s 2011 events are the pitch-perfect tale of popular protests with a happy ending: after huge pro-democracy demonstrations broke out, the government complied without firing a bullet and a reformed Constitution was approved by popular referendum. Then the street movement gracefully faded, giving way to change in the polls: a few months later, free elections resulted in a severe defeat of the incumbent government and the spectacular rise of a fresh political party—one that was never associated to government before.

Yet this rosy narrative, though built on real facts, doesn’t quite reflect the reality. In truth, what happened in Morocco in 2011 was a war of position and speed involving underground activists, maverick political groups, and a subtly resilient royal administration. It was also a conflict of generations, pitting twenty-something wholehearted newcomers against old school, wily politicians. Finally, it was a case study of political tactics and stratagems—ones that made the national balance of powers shift twice in a year.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: After the Houla "Massacre", Another 60 Deaths

A rally in the Damascus suburb of Douma on Saturday night with a message about the Houla "masscare", "These are our martyrs, we will never forget them"

See also Bahrain Live Coverage: Regime on Human Rights "You Are Biased. P.S. We'll Sue You"
Saturday's Syria, Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: More than 50 Die in Houla; A Presidential Run-Off in Cairo

2200 GMT: Syria. The Local Co-ordination Committees of Syria say 51 people have died today, including 11 children, four women and six defected soldiers

The toll is likely to increase if the death toll from today's shelling of Hama is as high as feared --- so far the LCCS only claim 25 slain in Hama Province.

2034 GMT: Syria. Activists are reporting on social media tonight that at least thirty people have been killed in regime shelling of Hama.

Opposition sources said the shelling began in the morning on areas near the northern entrance of the city, after a series of insurgent attacks on army roadblocks in the city, and resumed in the evening on the southern al-Malaab district.

Footage has been posted of some of the victims (Warning: Graphic).

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: An Uneasy Frontline

A video from the Syrian frontline: a regime soldier defects in Armanaz in Idlib Province --- his surprised colleagues cannot attack him because of the presence of observers

See also Syria Snap Analysis: Who Is Behind Thursday's Damascus Bombs?
Bahrain Live Coverage: Marches and US Arms Sales
Syria Wired: The Latest from Social Media and EA's Readers
Friday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Uncertainties After the Damascus Bombs

1722 GMT: Syria. Human rights lawyer Anwar Bunni has said that a military court has released eight activists, including blogger Razan Ghazzawi, until their 29 May trial on charges of "possession of banned publications".

1720 GMT: Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah has dismissed a senior cleric, Sheikh Abdulmohsen al-Obeikan, who criticised a measure that allowed women to mix with unmarried men.

The firing of the royal advisor fits a pattern of recent years in which senior clerics who oppose limited reforms have been dismissed.

Earlier this year, the head of the religious police was replaced by a cleric who was seen to be more liberal, and in 2010 King Abdullah fired the judiciary head, Sheikh Saleh al-Lohaidan, for attacking a new university that was the centrepiece of government education reforms.

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Bahrain, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The "Terrorists" on the Streets

Friday's protest rally in Bahrain

See also Palestine Feature: Communications Minister Resigns Over Blocking of Websites
Jordan Feature: Troubled "Reform" as Prime Minister Resigns
Friday's Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Just Another Protest Friday?
Friday's Syria Wired: The Latest from Social Media and EA's Readers

2235 GMT: We're taking a Saturday night break --- back at 0600 GMT on Sunday with the latest news from North Africa and the Middle East.

1718 GMT: Iraq. A Bahraini activist is reporting that human rights defender Said Yousif and former MP Sayed Hadi Al Mosawi, detained earlier today during a march in Manama (see 1525 and 1607 GMT), have been released.

1700 GMT: Iraq. Wladimir van Wilgenburg passes on reports of closed-door meetings today in Erbil in Kurdistan between Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani, Iraqiyya Party leader Iyad Allawi, and leading Shia politician Moqtada al-Sadr to discuss political tension over the national government.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, embroiled in a number of disputes with other prominent politicians, was not present.

Van Wilgenburg evaluates that the session indicates that Talabani's opinion might not be that different from that of Barzani, despite earlier reports of points of disagreement. In contrast, Sadr met with al-Maliki in Iran before heading to Kurdistan, and a Sadrist spokesperson said they would not discuss withdrawing confidence from the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Iraqiyya list member Salih al-Mutlaq, despite his opposition to al-Maliki, criticized Barzani's call for a referendum in September for Kurdish independence.

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Morocco Analysis: Why Did the Moroccan Uprising Not Rise? (El Amrani)

Protest in Tétouan, 26 June 2011

There are cautionary tales in the Arab uprisings, as Syria has shown: not every revolution can be as successful as Tunisia's, not every aftermath is rosy. And then there are also questions raised about those places where revolution did not take place. Was it averted because there is wise and popular government, or has some kind of social shock merely been postponed?

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