Middle Eastern Countries By: Alyssa Teegarden
Tunisia • Tunisian Prime Minister HamadiJebali resigned on Febuary 19th, 2013. • He submitted his resignation after the failure of his initiative to form a technocratic government. Jebali told CNN last week he'd step down if the effort was not approved. • He said during a press conference that he was meeting with President MoncefMarzouki to "discuss with him all the possibilities," later adding that he might consider being appointed again under certain circumstances. Jebali did not elaborate.
Algeria • At least 37 hostages died in the terrorist seizure of a natural gas facility in eastern Algeria and the subsequent special forces assaults on it.Five other hostages are missing from the In Amenas complex. • Seven of the 37 confirmed dead haven't been identified yet. Those who have been identified include seven Japanese, six Filipinos, three Americans, three Britons and one Algerian, officials from those countries said. • Some 29 militants also died, while three were captured, according to the state-run Algerian Press Service. • The standoff ended January 19th, after four days, when Algerian special forces stormed the complex for the second time. The government said it did so because the militants were planning to blow up the installation and flee to neighboring Mali with hostages.
Egypt • President Mohamed Morsi on Febuary 21st, called parliamentary elections that will begin on April 27 and finish in late June. • Mr. Morsi, analysts say, hopes that the four-stage elections will help stabilize Egypt so the struggling economy can start to recover from spasms of unrest and violence that have punctuated the transition to democracy. • The new Parliament will convene on July 6, Mr. Morsi also announcedand under the new constitution adopted in December, Mr. Morsi must secure Parliament’s approval for his choice of prime minister, giving the chamber more power than it had under former President Hosni Mubarak.
Libya • On Sept. 11, 2012, heavily armed Islamist militants stormed and burned the American Consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, killing the United States ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, and three others. • It was the first time since 1979 that an American ambassador had died in a violent assault and the attack has raised questions about the radicalization of countries swept up in the Arab Spring and had become a significant issue in the presidential campaign.
Saudi Arabia • On January 5, in the heartland of Saudi Arabia, a small group of women held a demonstration calling for the release of detained family members. Their arrest, a short time later, caused great outrage and inspired even more people to take to the streets. • It was in the town of Buraida, where activists say mothers, daughters, sisters and wives -- many who brought children of their own, gathered outside the Board of Grievances building and demanded rights they say their loved ones have been denied for far too long. • Since Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, protests are prohibited. Activists say kingdom trying to silence them • Amnesty International said 18 women and 10 children were arrested and it quickly issued a statement calling for their release.
Jordan • The Jordanian government set the stage for landmark parliamentary elections by assigning 47,000 police officers to polling and vote-counting centers. • For the first time in the kingdom's history, the newly formed Independent Elections Commission will oversee elections as part of reforms designed to make the country more democratic, according to Petra and King Abdullah II. • A field of 1,425 candidates will be running for seats in the new 150-member House of Deputies. More than 2.27 million Jordanians are eligible to vote for the kingdom's 17th parliament, a vote that will be monitored by more than 7,000 local and outside observers, officials said.
Yemen • Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh will not seek re-election once his current term ends in 2013, he said, after more than three decades in office. • He won't install his son to replace him and he also has asked his political opponents "to re-engage in dialogue in hopes of reaching a sustainable and reconcilable political agreement," the Yemeni government stated.
Syria • Syria's president harshly criticized U.S. and British aid to rebels and set harsh terms for talking to his opponents in a newspaper interview published Sunday, as fighting raged across the country. • President Bashar Assad took a tough line against his opponents in the interview with London's Sunday Times, dialing back earlier hints of flexibility about talks. • He said he is ready for dialogue with armed rebels and militants, but only if they surrender their weapons. Recently his foreign minister offered such talks but left the question of laying down arms unanswered. Assad's regime often refers to rebels as "terrorists."
Further Interest • If the United States were to get involved with the Libyan War, it could possibly help the nation to end the war. President Barack Obama said that the United states worked with international partners to mobilize a broad coalition, secure an international mandate to protect civilians and establish a no-fly zone. He kept his pledge to keep the US role limited and not to put American troops on the ground.