Arab Spring Weekly Update

March 23, 2012


King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa announced on March 20, 2012, that “significant progress” has been made in implementing democratic reforms demanded by protesters during the Bahraini uprising last year, though the Kingdom’s opposition parties doubt that the future holds justice for the thousand-plus protesters who were imprisoned over the course of the past year. Prior to the King’s announcement, a government prosecutor released a statement saying that charges, including “incitement to overthrow the government,” will be brought against only five of the twenty Bahraini doctors who remain imprisoned after last year’s protests. This week, officials within the government overturned the prosecutor’s statement and announced that all twenty doctors will stand trial. The government’s decision to prosecute the doctors, who treated injured protesters in a hospital, continues to draw international criticism.


The Kingdom of Jordan has witnessed its first all-female demonstration since the protests first began a year ago. Approximately 200 women rallied on March 17, 2012, to demand the release of six local pro-democracy activists and to ask for political reforms. In conservative Jordanian society, the protest movement has largely been dominated by men. One pro-democracy advocate, who has a son imprisoned for protesting, proclaimed: “Women have been left out of the protest movement because Jordan is a traditional society, but just as people want to reform the regime, we want to reform women’s role in political life.”



Libya’s Deputy Prime Minister announced on March 21, 2012, that Mauritania has agreed to extradite Abdullah al-Senussi, the late Muammar Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief who was arrested at Mauritania’s Nouakchott Airport on March 18, 2012. However, Mauritanian authorities declared that no decision to extradite Senussi has yet been made. Senussi, nicknamed “the butcher,” fled Libya last year when the Gaddafi regime began to crumble. Mohammed al-Harizy, spokesman for the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC), has stated that the NTC insists “that Senussi is extradited to Libya.” Senussi is also under investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, as well as by French authorities in connection with a bombing attack in 1989. A Mauritanian source close to the government told Reuters: "At this stage no commitment has been given by the Mauritanian side, it looks like wishful thinking by the Libyans."



Though Damascus, Syria’s capital, and Aleppo, its main commercial city, have largely been spared the violence that has plagued smaller cities like Homs, Hama and Deraa, the recent series of bombings in both cities has targeted government security buildings, bringing the conflict to the country’s political and economic heart. Syrian authorities hold Qatar and Saudi Arabia responsible for the attacks, while a spokesman from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) said they launched the attacks to “tell the regime that the FSA is able to reach any point in the heart of Damascus” after they were forced to withdraw from the cities of Homs and Idlib. The U.N. reports that over 8,000 people have been killed since the uprising began one year ago. Though the violence in Syria rages on, many netizens are turning to Twitter to express their optimism for the future under the hashtag #WhenAssadFalls.



On Friday, March 18, 2011, thousands of Yemenis took to the streets of Sanaa to protest against President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his government. More than 50 protesters were killed by snipers loyal to Saleh’s regime. Known as the “Friday of Karamah” or “Friday of Dignity,” this date is considered to be a major turning point in the Yemeni uprising. To commemorate this tragic day in Yemen’s history, a group of young Yemenis released a short documentary called Karamah Has No Walls to capture the events of that day. More than 2,000 people have been killed during the year-long uprising against the former president Saleh.

نون عربيه@NoonArabia
#March18 was a turning point in #Yemen's revolution, 52 people paid their lives for others to live a better life...not what is happening now