Tunisia • For years, Tunisia was known mostly as the most European country of North Africa, with a relatively large middle class, liberal social norms, broad gender equality and welcoming Mediterranean beaches. But in January 2011, it took center stage as the launching pad of the wave of revolt that swept through the Arab world and beyond.
Algeria • Algeria’s government has operated under a state of emergency for nearly two decades. Its battle with Islamic militants reached a peak in a brutal civil war in the 1990s, in which more than 100,000 people were killed. That conflict began after the military-backed government canceled elections that an Islamist party appeared poised to win. Algeria remains an outlier in a region that was turned upside down by tumultuous political change set off by the revolution in neighboring Tunisia.
Egypt • As you may know, beginning last week, a highly complex and dangerous situation emerged in the streets of Egypt. Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, and other cities, to air an assortment of grievances with the Egyptian government. Complicating the situation, the Egyptian government used its emergency powers to restrict citizens’ access to phone service and the Internet. An escalation occurred on Friday, when in defiance of a government-imposed curfew, violence and chaos broke out in several major cities.
Libya • Libya now still lack complete organized and orderly public security forces. Even in the capital Tripoli, where the government has established army and police system, the security and order in many areas are still maintained by militias. Due to the lack of unified management, the different militia groups often clash with each other. Meanwhile, they all have heavy weapons. Once they take part in the illegal activities, they will pose severe threat to the public safety.
Saudi Arabia • Saudi Arabia is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and to a much lesser extent, forced prostitution; men and women from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, and many other countries voluntarily travel to Saudi Arabia as domestic servants or other low-skilled laborers, but some subsequently face conditions indicative of involuntary servitude; women, primarily from Asian and African countries, were believed to have been forced into prostitution in Saudi Arabia; others were reportedly kidnapped and forced into prostitution after running away from abusive employers.
Jordan • Jordan, one of America’s most important allies in the Middle East, was hit in late January 2011 by the waves of unrest that spread across the Arab world in the wake of the revolution in Tunisia. Protests were led by the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, but included leftists and trade unions. Demonstrators protested economic hardship and demanded the right to elect the prime minister, who is currently appointed by King Abdullah II.
Yemen • The Yemeni state has failed to regain control over key southern cities, creating a security and power vacuum in the south. Al Qaeda-linked militants have taken advantage of the current situation and may seek to expand their control of territory. The Yemeni military has been unable to regain control of key southern cities, despite claiming progress.
Syria • Syrian uprising began in March 2011 with anti-government protests in provincial areas. The government of President Bashar al-Assad responded with a bloody crackdown on initially peaceful gatherings, along with piecemeal concessions that stopped short of genuine political reform.
Syria • I was most impacted by Syria because there was a crackdown by the president on peaceful gatherings which I think isn’t right. I don’t think they would be happy with the United States getting involved. Some of the people may be happy that we helped but the president/leader wouldn’t be happy at all.