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Entries in Morocco (39)


Middle East Special: Will the Monarchies Survive? (Al Qassemi)

Monarchs at the Gulf Co-operation CouncilThe transformation of Arab monarchies into constitutional systems is a matter ofwhen rather than if. The alternative may be less appealing to those in power today. On a recent visit to Boston in which I met a number of Arab Gulf states students, the debate veered, as it tends to do nowadays, towards Arab constitutional monarchies. To my surprise it was a Qatari, a citizen of by far the richest county on earth often accused of political apathy who remarked to a friend and I, “I don’t agree with constitutional monarchies,” he paused, “I want nothing less than a republic.”

Without urgent non-cosmetic reform the Arab monarchies will simply be kicking the reform ball forward.

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Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: So What Does Protest Mean?


Morocco Feature: Has the Arab Spring Come and Gone? (Daadaoui)

Casablanca, Morocco, 31 July 2011Several months after revolts toppled authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, the Arab Middle East continues to undergo seismic changes. Between Syria’s crackdown and Libya’s quagmire, the Arab Spring seems stalled and the momentum for further regime change diffused. However, not all the region’s Arab regimes have used abject violence to stem the growing demands for socio-economic and political reforms. Relying on the popular appeal of its monarchy, Morocco has dealt with its protest movement through a calibrated political strategy of sheepish reforms, while also benefitting from the fledgling opposition movement’s lack of coherence and organization.

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Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: The Night Protests Continue

People rally after evening prayers in the Midan section of Damascus --- note the masks and scarves worn by many to disguise identities

1855 GMT: This video, claiming to have been taken today in Sitra, Bahrain, shows a crowd of police arresting an unarmed man.

1841 GMT: Turkey has delivered the first shipment of oil to the Eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, part of a $10 million oil deal. This shipment will supply needed oil to the Libyan rebels, who have been unwilling to operate their oil infrastructure for fear of Gaddafi's forces targeting the resources.

1816 GMT: In southern Yemen, tribal forces have cooperated with the government to strike at Islamic militants in Zinjibar:

In the south, tribesmen on Monday said they routed militants from parts of the capital of the flashpoint Abyan province. Zinjibar lies east of a key shipping channel where some 3 million barrels of oil pass daily, and is one of several areas in Abyan seized by militants in recent months.

The tribes began backing a military operation to recapture Zinjibar in recent weeks, after accusing the army of being ineffective.

A tribal source said fierce clashes on Monday sent many militants fleeing north to Lawdar, where they were repelled again. Six militants were wounded and four others captured, he said.

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Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Meanwhile in Bahrain...

Two-part video of a march, followed by a security force patrol, in Abu Siba in Bahrain on Thursday night

See our separate video blogs, Syria Video Special: Friday's Protests Across the Country Set 1 and Set 2

2136 GMT: James Miller sums up the day.

July 22nd will be remembered by the world, because of a terrible act of terrorism in Norway, the bombing outside the Prime Minister's office in Oslo and the shootings in Utoeya. Many died, and the country was terrorized, but history might miss what may be a more important story, with larger implications.

In Syria, July 22nd may be remembered as a turning point. There were massive demonstrations in every major region, and in every major city, in the country.

In our first video blog, Scott Lucas documented protests in Idlib in the northwest, Artouz (Damascus province), Binnish (northwest), a truly massive protest in Hama (claims of 650,000+ protesters in the streets), Aleppo, Saraqab (Idlib province), Qamishili (northeast), Horan (south), Kobanî (Ain Arab) and Serê Kaniyê (Ras al-Ain) in the Kurdish area of Syria, Kafr Nabl in the northwest, and the Midan section at the heart of Damascus.

In our second video special, we see more massive protests in the Midan and Al-Qadam districts of Damascus, the suburbs of Damascus (Tal Rifaat, Harasta), huge crowds in Deir Ez Zor, northeast Syria, where as many as 550,000 gathered, Zabadani (north of Damascus), Idlib (northwest), Halfaya (Hama province), Jableh on the coast, Al-Raqqa, Lattakia, Homs, and the largest protest in Hama we've seen yet.

In one of the most important videos we've seen today, Syrian security bashes into the Amne Mosque in Aleppo, beating protesters. Perhaps even more important, the video we've posted below (1538) shows that military cadets joined the protesters in Aleppo, the second largest city in Syria, a city that has been unable to foster a sustained protest movement, but a city that erupted in protest today.

The security forces have fled Hama and Deir Ez Zor, they are trying to quell the protests in Homs and around Damascus and Aleppo, but they are not succeeding. It is hard to imagine that the regime has any strongholds of significance left. Through crackdowns, and threats of sectarian violence, the protests have only grown in both scale, scope, and reach. To repeat the rhetorical questions I asked earlier; Where AREN'T they protesting in Syria?

In Yemen, we also saw huge protests in several cities, where the protest movement also shows new signs of life (see videos at 1305).

We opened today's liveblog with Bahrain, so we'll close it with night protests in Bahrain.

1756 GMT: An activist translates this update from Shaam News:

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Bahrain, Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: The Start of a "National Dialogue"

2110 GMT: A demonstration today in Kafranbel in northwest Syria:

2105 GMT: Another clip of today's pro-reform protests in Morocco, this time from the capital Rabat:

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Yemen, Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: The Difficulty of Calm

1855 GMT: Varying reactions to the speech of Syrian President Assad....

Turkish President Abdullah Gul has said Assad's speech is "not enough", as the President should implement a multi-party-system; however, the deputy secretary-general of the Arab League, Ahmed bin Heli, said Syria is a "main factor of balance and stability in the region" and the League rejects any foreign intervention in its affairs.

1710 GMT: The journalists of the human rights organisation Avaaz claim the Damascus suburbs of Harasta and Arbeen the coastal city of Latakia have been locked down by security forces after protests today challenging the speech of President Assad.

The group asserts that security forces are currently conducting a random wave of arrests in Latakia, detaining dozens and chasing and attacking protesters through the side streets.

1705 GMT: Another protest in Syria reacting against President Assad's speech, this one in Binnish in Idlib Province in the northwest:

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Syria, Yemen (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Defiance and "Reforms"

1620 GMT: Claimed footage of a demonstration in Homs in Syria today:

See also Syria Video Special: The Latest from Friday's Protests

1510 GMT: Bahrain's Minister of Justice has said it has "taken the necessary legal procedures in order to lift the ban" on the Wa'ad Party after the opposition group "expressed keenness to promote security, stability, and national unity and take part in the comprehensive National Consensus Dialogue due to start on July 1".

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Yemen, Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Celebration Amidst Uncertainty

Sunday protest in Safi in Morocco --- the crowd mourned Kamal Amari, allegedly beaten to death by police on Thursday

2047 GMT: We're wrapping up for the day. Tomorrow we'll try to untangle the story, from Syria, that 120 policemen have been killed. We'll follow up on the air campaign against Tripoli and the rebel advances near Zintan. We'll figure out if Saleh is going to return to Yemen, and we'll see if there is more fallout in Bahrain.

Thanks for reading. We'll be back tomorrow morning. 

2030 GMT: A Damascus lesbian-blogger, Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari, has been kidnapped, potentially be security forces, according to her cousin who has updated her blog. Her father cannot find her, and her family is attempting to contact police stations in Damascus to discover her location. 

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Yemen (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Blaming Al Qa'eda, Killing the Protesters

2020 GMT: A series of claimed videos to close the evening:

A march following two funerals in the Souq al Jomaa district of Tripoli in Libya:

A candlelit march in Sanabis in Bahrain:

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