From the stirrings in Tunisia to start the year to the violence in Libya, the Middle East and North Africa have been a region in transition.
Created by voaweb on Feb 22, 2011
Last updated: 11/10/11 at 11:00 AM
Tags: Middle East protests Libya Egypt Morocco Tunisia Syria Iran Yemen Bahrain Oman
Syrian activists said government forces have killed at least 13 more civilians, the first post-Friday prayer protests since authorities agreed to an Arab League plan to stop the violence.
Syria said it has reached agreement with the Arab League on a plan to end its deadly crackdown against an anti-government uprising and began a dialogue between President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition.
Arab diplomats met with top Syrian officials in Doha, Qatar to try to de-escalate tensions between the Syrian government and the popular opposition as a bloody government crackdown drew more international condemnation.
Tunisia's newly elected Ennahda party began talks with rival parties on forming a coalition government, a day after winning the most seats in the country's first free elections.
Ennahda leader Rachid Ghannouchi said his Islamist party would work to form a new government in "friendliness" and "brotherhood."
Election results confirmed a first-place finish by the moderate Islamist party Ennahdha.
Tunisians began voting to select a so-called Constituent Assembly, tasked to draw up a new constitution and chart a political roadmap for the North African country.
It will be the first democratic election since Tunisia's independence in 1956.
More than 100 parties ran for a place in the 217-seat assembly, a sharp contrast from past elections when voters had not choice but to re-elect the ruling party.
Several National Transitional Council officials in Tripoli said NTC forces shot and killed Moammar Gadhafi and took custody of his body, during a final assault on his loyalists in Sirte. The circumstances of the shooting were not clear.
Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh said that he is committed to implementing a transfer of power initiative drafted by the Gulf Cooperation Council, he stopped short of agreeing to sign the plan.
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah granted Saudi women the right to vote and run in nationwide local elections, four years from now.
The king's announcement applied to elections set for 2015.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned to Yemen, after nearly a week of sporadic clashes between his opponents and Republican Guard forces, led by his son.
Saleh left the country for treatment in neighboring Saudi Arabia in early June after being injured in an attack on his presidential palace.
A group of opposition members gathered in Istanbul Thursday to announce a council of more than 130 members, half of them living in Syria and the rest exiled dissidents.
The Arab League called for "immediate change" in Syria, urging President Bashar al-Assad to end the government's violent crackdown on dissent and launch a comprehensive national dialogue.
Yemen's governing party agreed on a proposal that, if adopted, would give President Ali Abdullah Saleh more time to relinquish power.
The General People's Congress held a series of meetings to consider a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) plan that calls for Saleh to hand over power to a deputy and allow a coalition to form a national unity government.
A convoy of at least 200 vehicles carrying forces loyal to Libya's Moammar Gadhafi crossed into neighboring Niger.
Attorney General Adnan Bakkour in the central Syrian city of Hama said he was stepping down because security forces killed 72 prisoners in the city at the end of July and more than 400 others during a siege in August.
The United States imposed sanctions on Syria’s Foreign Minister and two other senior officials in connection with the Damascus government’s five-month crackdown on protesters. Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem was targeted for being a leading defender of the violent campaign.
The Algerian Foreign Ministry announced that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's wife Safiya, daughter Aisha, and two of his sons, Mohammad and Hannibal, had all crossed into the country by car. They said the spouses of the Libyan leader's children and their offspring also had arrived.
Opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad formed a "national council". They said it would coordinate efforts to oust the embattled leader.
Activists meeting in Turkey announced the group's formation, but they provided few details on the group's make-up.
The rebel fighters fought their way into Moammar Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound despite heavy gunfire from pro-Gadhafi forces. Hundreds of rebels could be seen firing their weapons in the air in celebration. Others waved flags and tore down posters of Gadhafi.
U.S. President Barack Obama issued a written statement saying the time had come for Bashar al-Assad to "step aside." The president released an executive order announcing "unprecedented sanctions" on Syria, in a bid to deepen the economic isolation of Assad's government.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh vowed to return to his country from Saudi Arabia, where he is recovering from an assassination attempt.
In a televised address from Riyadh to his supporters in Sana'a, Saleh accused his political opponents of stealing messages from the protesters who are calling for his removal from power.
Libyan Interior Minister Nassr al-Mabrouk Abdullah and his relatives arrived in Cairo on a private jet from the Tunisian resort island of Djerba. Egyptian airport officials say the minister entered Egypt on a tourist visa and was not greeted by any officials from Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's embassy in Cairo.
Judge Ahmed Refaat said that when former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's trial resumes in September, the proceedings would take place behind closed doors, a move he said was in the interest of the public.
Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh said he was studying how to implement a plan for a peaceful transition of power, while a government official warned that an opposition plan amounted to a war declaration.
The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council issued a statement calling for an immediate end to the violence and for the implementation of reforms.
The statement followed a pledge by the U.S., France and Germany to consider additional ways to support the Syrian people and bring pressure against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Syrian state media said President Bashar al-Assad issued a decree authorizing political parties other than the Ba'ath - the Assad-family dominated party that has ruled the country with an iron fist for decades.
Egypt began the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak, who was in the courtroom nearly six months after he was toppled in an 18-day revolution calling for democratic reforms.
Mubarak categorically denied all of the charges against him at the hearing in Cairo.
Human rights activists said Syrian security forces have continued their crackdown against anti-government protesters in the flashpoint city of Hama, as tanks rolled into the area and witnesses reported explosions.
The activists and residents also said communications to the city had been cut off.
Syrian activists said soldiers backed by tanks have fired on citizens during a raid in the flashpoint city of Hama, killing at least 80 people.
Witnesses said troops started their attack at dawn, firing randomly and breaking down roadblocks erected by civilians to keep troops out of the city.
Morocco's King Mohammed called for prompt parliamentary elections so that the country could create a new government, after months of pro-democracy demonstrations.
Government and opposition groups in Bahrain weighed recommendations from a controversial committee set up by the kingdom's Sunni rulers.
King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa approved the panel's recommendations which include giving more power to the lower house of parliament and making human rights improvements.
Opposition protest organizers in Yemen urged their supporters to persist during a rally in Sana'a as they continued to press for President Ali Abdullah Saleh's resignation.
Tens of thousands of angry Egyptians packed Cairo's main square, demanding a swifter pace of reform and justice.
The rallies came after officials announced that ousted President Hosni Mubarak would next week face trial on charges of corruption and ordering police to kill anti-government protesters.
A global activist group said nearly 3,000 people have "disappeared" in Syria since March during the government's crackdown on a political uprising.
The Avaaz organization announced its findings as it launched a campaign to pressure Syria to allow an international delegation to investigate the disappearances.
A Tunisian court sentenced former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, his daughter and son-in-law in absentia to serve prison terms and ordered them to pay $100 million in damages for illicit property deals. The court convicted Ben Ali of corruption and abuse of power.
Libya's rebel leadership council said its top military commander, Abdel Fattah Younes, and two of his aides have been shot dead by unknown assailants.
Transitional National Council head Mustafa Abdel Jalil said that Younes and his aides - both colonels - were killed before arriving for questioning at an opposition judicial committee hearing regarding a "military matter."
Britain granted diplomatic recognition to Libya's opposition ruling council while the group's leadership withdrew an offer for leader Moammar Gadhafi to stay in the country if he ceded power.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said his government had also expelled all of Libya's diplomats and invited the rebel Transitional National Council to replace them.
The swearing-in ceremony in Cairo changed 14 of the 27 members of the Cabinet, including the ministers of Foreign Affairs and Finance. The chief of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, witnessed the ceremony, and met with the new Cabinet afterwards.
Syria ordered the U.S. and French ambassadors not to travel outside Damascus without permission after they angered the government by visiting the flashpoint city of Hama this month.
Protesters in the southern city of Taiz waved black flags to mark the anniversary of Saleh's rise to power in 1978. Opposition activists also chanted anti-Saleh slogans in a main square of the capital, Sana'a, where they have been camping out for months to try force him out of office.
Bahrain's main Shi'ite opposition party said it was pulling out of a national dialogue with the Gulf state's minority Sunni rulers, accusing them of not being serious about political reforms.
Yemeni opposition figures said they have formed a transitional council that will lead efforts to end President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-year rule.
Opposition youth groups announced the 17-member council's formation in the capital, Sana'a.
Syrian opposition figures meeting in Turkey said they were exploring ways to topple President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Hundreds of dissidents gathered in Istanbul, a day after Syrian security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters, killing at least 32 people.
The United States joined 30 other countries in formally recognizing Libya’s opposition Transitional National Council as the “legitimate governing authority." The decision was announced at a meeting of the international Libya Contact Group in Turkey.
Egyptian media said former President Hosni Mubarak has told prosecutors that he did not order security forces to open fire on protesters during the 18-day uprising that forced him to resign in February.
Egypt announced the dismissals of about 600 police officers in an apparent bid to meet the demands of protesters who regrouped last week.
Separately, the interim government announced a delay of up to two months in parliamentary elections that were scheduled for September.
Egypt's ruling military council warned opposition protesters not to "deviate from peaceful means" as they staged sit-ins in Cairo and other cities to demand quicker political reforms.
Major General Mohsen el-Fangari read a statement on state television, urging Egyptians to "confront" anyone who causes disruptions and harms the public interest.
Crowds of Syrians loyal to President Bashar al-Assad surged into the U.S. embassy compound in Damascus and caused damage. The Associated Press reported that attackers broke windows, raised a Syrian flag on the U.S. grounds, and wrote anti-U.S. graffiti on walls.
Syria's Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa opened a national dialogue on political reforms with a call for a transition to democracy in response to months of opposition protests against the autocratic rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
U.S. counterterrorism chief John Brennan met with Yemen's wounded President Ali Abdullah Saleh to urge him to agree on a plan that requires him to step down as part of a transition to democratic rule.