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Tunisian Revolution and the Middle East


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I personally think its pretty apparent that the lens through which our policy makers and pundits have been looking at the Middle East has been horribly broken for the past decade or so. Our responses to revolutions and the quick and easy jump to realist thought patterns are just further evidence of this in my mind. Realism is dying and this may be its last stand.

It's rather amazing how all these dictators have been trying to solve a new problem with old solutions that no longer work.

And it isn't just them. Much of the world is reeling from the revolutions because they don't fit into what they've believed for decades.

Too many in the world have been too slow to realize that the old ways that worked before, the old alliances, and old beliefs are no longer valid.

In some cases world leaders have been cagey enough to see what's happening and ride the waves, while others still cling to suddenly outdated methods of dealing with things, that now only make matters worse.

I think a lot of people, middle aged and older people in particular don't seem to realize what is happening outside their usual spheres of life as well.

Many also don't quite get the feeling of connection and empathy that goes across country lines on the internet on sites like facebook and twitter.

It's interesting to watch how united people all over the world are on twitter, and then go around and talk to others who don't have a clue what is going on outside their own little bubble of existence.

That isn't to blame anyone, but I think many people don't realize how rapidly the world is changing.

Edited by visionary
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http://english.aljazeera.net/video/asia-pacific/2011/03/2011322402237872.html

Plot to undermine Indonesian president

Ex-generals fomenting tensions to weaken 'reformist' leader, Al Jazeera learns.

Religious minorities often find themselves under attack in Indonesia. Experts say these attacks are well planned.

Al Jazeera has discovered that retired generals in the country are secretly backing groups involved in anti-Christian violence. They hope to weaken president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's government, which they feel is too reformist.

Step Vassen reports from Jakarta in this exclusive investigation.

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http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011321164113728994.html

Yemeni president offers to quit by year-end

Ali Abdullah Saleh offers to exit by the end of 2011, vowing not to hand power to the military.

Last Modified: 22 Mar 2011 01:21

Yemen's president has offered to step down from his post by the end of the year, a presidential spokesman has said.

Ahmed al-Sufi told the Associated Press news agency on Tuesday that Ali Abdullah Saleh told military leaders and government officials about his decision on Monday night.

Saleh pledged a "constitutional" transfer of power, and also said he would not hand over power to the military.

It is unclear whether Yemen's opposition would accept the offer. A similar proposal was the subject of discussions between Saleh and opposition groups earlier this month. Saleh has already promised not to run for another term when his current term expires in 2013.

Saleh has a history of breaking similar promises: In 2005, he vowed not to run for another term in office, only to run and win another term in 2006.

---------- Post added March-22nd-2011 at 09:44 AM ----------

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/live/middle-east/yemen-live-blog-march-22

4:10pm Reuters - A coalition of Yemeni opposition groups reject Saleh's offer an offer to leave office after organising parliamentary elections by January 2012.

"The opposition rejects the offer as the coming hours will be decisive," said Mohammed al-Sabry, spokesman for the main umbrella opposition group.

http://twitter.com/SultanAlQassemi

Watch out for news from Syria today. Al Arabiya reports that Imams called on citizens to rally around the Omari mosque as forces approach. about 1 hour ago via web

http://twitter.com/iyad_elbaghdadi

All eyes on #Syria ASAP. Security forces have surrounded the Omari Mosque in Daraa with protesters inside; fearing the worst. 37 minutes ago via web
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CNN on TV moments ago:

The Ministry of the Interior in Cairo is on fire. 7 floors are ablaze and several floors have started to collapse.

A thousand police officers are protesting in front of the building to ask for higher wages.

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YEMEN

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/live/middle-east/yemen-live-blog-march-22

10:00pm Reuters - Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh, invites young people to join what is described as a "transparent and open dialogue".

"President Ali Abdullah Saleh is truly sympathetic with the youth and is interested in their problems and causes," state media reports, citing an official source.

"The president calls the youth to a transparent, sincere and open dialogue."

7:09pm Al Jazeera receives reports of clashes in the southern Yemeni town of Hadida, between members of the presidential guard and a military battalion which defected to support anti-government protesters.

It is believed at least two people have been killed in the fighting.

SYRIA

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011322155925612161.html

UN calls for Syria probe as hundreds protest

UN human rights chief calls for investigation into weekend crackdown as protesters take to the streets for a fifth day.

Hundreds of protesters have gathered in the southern Syrian towns of Daraa and Nawa as the United Nations' human rights chief called for a probe into a weekend crackdown which left six people dead.

Daraa, the capital of Daraa governate, has been the site of unprecedented protests since Friday, with demonstrators demanding the end of the government of Bashar al-Assad, the president.

"Around 1,000 protesters gathered in and around the Omari mosque shouting anti-regime slogans, amid a heavy security and army presence," an activist in Daraa, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

The activist said the protesters in the town, a traditional home to large tribal families, had formed a human shield around the mosque on Tuesday to prevent security forces from approaching it.

Edited by visionary
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SYRIA

Apparently major **** is hitting the fan in Syria right now!

http://twitter.com/Tharwacolamus

Now in #Deraa, security forces storming Alomari Mosque currently being used as field hospital by protesters, heavy gunfire heard #March15 21 minutes ago via web
Deaths reported in attack on Alomari Mosque in #Deraa, the attack ongoing #March15 #Syria. 19 minutes ago via web
Massacre taking place in Alomari Mosque, many deaths reported. Imams calling ppl from loudspeakers 2 take up arms & come 2 rescue #March15 15 minutes ago via web
Reports of attacks on Alomari Mosque come from eyewitnesses, they are real, not exaggerated, many deaths, spread news #March15 #Deraa #Syria 13 minutes ago via web
In #Deraa, power down, as thousands of people take to the street #March15 #Syria 7 minutes ago via web

---------- Post added March-22nd-2011 at 08:07 PM ----------

http://twitter.com/SyrianJasmine

URGENT!Syrians troops enters the Syrian city of Daraa, and are shooting civilians of all ages!!A massacre is happening right NOW!#Syria 3 minutes ago via web

http://twitter.com/Citoyen_Danton

Other protesters tries to join form the north side of #Daraa to rescue those in the Omary mosque and army stopped them & shot at them #Syria 7 minutes ago via web
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http://twitter.com/JShahryar

#Syria: Number of dead in the army attack on Daraa's Omari Mosque now stands at 6 per reports. #mar15 14 minutes ago via web
#Syria: Breaking: Army forces are pulling back and start running after people in streets in #Daraa #mar15 (via @AbdullahAli7) 6 minutes ago via web
#Syria: Gov is cutting off and re-power electricity in #Daraa 2 allow army forces to find out where Ppl are gathering (via @Mohammad_Syria) 6 minutes ago via web
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http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011323125747532175.html#

Yemen protests planned for Friday

Opposition groups to march to president's palace in a bid to force him out.Last Modified: 23 Mar 2011 15:18

Opposition groups in Yemen have called on protesters to march on president Ali Abdullah Saleh's palace in the capital Sanaa on Friday as th country's parliament approved emergency powers which have been used by security forces to crack down on dissent.

"Friday will be the 'Friday of the March Forward', with hundreds of thousands of people... We will arrive where you are and we will remove you," opposition spokesman Mohamed Qahtan told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

The announcement also comes after thousands of protesters gathered in front of Sanaa University, as parliament approved a request by Saleh to impose emergency law for 30 days.

Nearly 3,000 demonstrators chanted outside the university, and some painted their body in the red, white and black colours of the national flag, as they voiced their opposition to the law.

The adoption of the emergency request was a virtual certainty because Saleh's ruling party dominates the 301-seat legislature. It also follows a violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrators, with security forces killing more than 40 protesters on Friday in Sanaa.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011323101416723875.html#

Saudi Arabia to hold municipal polls

Local bodies elections could be concession extended to protesters seeking political change in kingdom.

Saudi Arabia will hold municipal elections this month in a move seen to be a political concession to protesters who have called for major political changes in the kingdom.

"The first phase of the elections will start on Saturday, 19/5/1432 [a date in the Islamic calendar that is likely to fall on April 23]," the ministry of municipal and rural affairs said in a statement on Wednesday.

It did not, however, provide any more details on the elections, including if women would be able to take part.

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, held elections to half of the seats on municipal councils in 2005, the first such polls in 40 years.

Those elections were held in several stages, and excluded women from both voting or running as candidates.

A second round of polls was due in 2009, but the government announced a delay of two years at the time.

The ministry's statement said that it had begun preparations for the polls several months ago, in order to hold them before a final deadline in October.

Edited by visionary
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Lots of people dead in Daraa Syria after protests yesterday

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011323153056287399.html

'Many dead' in Syrian crackdown

At least 15 dead, human rights activists say, after security forces open fire on protesters in southern town of Daraa.

Last Modified: 23 Mar 2011 23:39

Human rights activists say at least 15 people have been killed in the Syrian town of Daraa, the focal

point of almost a week of anti-government protests.

Activists and residents said security forces opened fire on protesters outside the Omari mosque early on Wednesday, after hundreds of people had gathered overnight to prevent police from storming it, and that shooting had continued sporadically over the course of the day.

A rights activist also told AFP news agency that security forces had opened fire on mourners attending the funeral of those killed in Daraa.

Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, reporting from Damascus, said that fighting broke out when residents from other towns clashed with security forces as they tried to enter Daraa to help residents there.

A youth activist in the Syrian capital, who remains anonymous, told Al Jazeera that his contacts in Daraa said that "dozens of people" had died in clashes.

"Many there want to take down the government, and want more freedoms." he said.

Our correspondent said there was a heavy security presence in Daraa, with the army, anti-terror police and riot police all deployed in the city. Journalists are not being allowed to visit the city, and several of those who attempted to do so last night had their equipment confiscated by authorities.

Checkpoints have been set up by security forces at all entries to the city.

Syria's state-run television station reported that an "armed gang" attacked an ambulance at the Omari mosque, killing four people.

The victims were a doctor, a paramedic, a policeman and the ambulance driver, according to SANA

Some of these are gruesome videos, folks.

So watch at your own risk.

http://twitter.com/acarvin

Graphic video, reportedly from #daraa, of the largest hole I've ever seen in an arm. Amazing he's not screaming.
32 minutes ago via TweetDeck
Chaotic video reportedly of Syran protesters confronted by police with a hail of bullets. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJp7lKt1I3I 29 minutes ago via TweetDeck
Very graphic video of at least half a dozen protesters, dead or dying, mostly shot in the head. http://youtu.be/MXRBxtZHBtk #syria 26 minutes ago via TweetDeck
Is this protest at a mosque in Deraa, Damascus or elsewhere? What are they chanting?
26 minutes ago via TweetDeck
Same protest, probably a few mins before:
#syria 26 minutes ago via TweetDeck
Huge protest march in #daraa, appears to be a funeral for those killed earlier.
#syria 19 minutes ago via TweetDeck

Apparently the earlier mosque protest in a couple of those videos seems to have been from Damascus Syria, but a few days back on the 18th. Still...a sight to see.

Edited by visionary
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http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/03/23/yemen.protests/index.html?hpt=T2

(CNN) -- Yemen's embattled president has accepted opposition demands for constitutional reforms and holding parliamentary elections by the end of the year, according to a statement issued by his office.

The statement said President Ali Abdullah Saleh was "committed to undertaking all possible initiatives to reach a settlement" with the opposition JMP bloc and "prevent any future bloodshed of the Yemeni people."

According to the statement, Saleh "has accepted the five points submitted by the JMP, including formation of a government of national unity and a national committee to draft a new constitution, drafting a new electoral law, and holding a constitutional referendum, parliamentary elections and a presidential vote by the end of the year.

"These accepted proposals have been submitted to the mediating party on the basis that this would end the current state of political turmoil facing the nation and paving the way for a smooth, peaceful and democratic transition," the statement from Saleh's office said.

There was no immediate reaction from the opposition, which previously has demanded Saleh's immediate resignation.

On Tuesday, a JMP spokesman rejected a report that Saleh was offering to step down by early 2012.

"Any offer that does not include the president's immediate resignation is rejected," JMP spokesman Mohammed Qahtan said.

Saleh's statement came on the same day that Yemen's parliament approved a 30-day extension of emergency powers he declared last week in response to the protests. The emergency law expands the government's powers of arrest, detention, and censorship.

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Are you saying his presidency is in a vegetative state?

I believe the tipping point was weeks ago and there is no real turning back in those protests (especially after the massive crackdown resulted in a massive defection) and its just a matter of time before he goes the way of Mubarak and Ben Ali. The only thing that may be able to save him would be the hand of God (the Saudi's), but even that might not save him.

Hopefully another regime dropping will keep up the momentum for the protesters in Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the rest of the world.

Edited by jpyaks3
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I believe the tipping point was weeks ago and there is no real turning back in those protests (especially after the massive crackdown resulted in a massive defection) and its just a matter of time before he goes the way of Mubarak and Ben Ali. The only thing that may be able to save him would be the hand of God (the Saudi's), but even that might not save him.

Hopefully another regime dropping will keep up the momentum for the protesters in Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the rest of the world.

Many "experts" believe otherwise and suggest that Ghaddafi will not voluntarily relinquish power. If that's the case, I really don't see how this civil war is going to end well for the rebels. The coalition isn't willing to put "boots on the ground," isn't trying to oust Ghaddafi, and doesn't seem to be interested in a protracted campaign. The rebels are ill-equipped, mostly untrained, and disorganized.

With that in mind, I would like to know what the coalition's "end game" looks like. It appears that the coalition doesn't have an end game; it appears the coalition is just trying to "do something," even if it that "something" fails to produce a workable resolution to the crisis.

Edited by Madison Redskin
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I believe the tipping point was weeks ago and there is no real turning back in those protests (especially after the massive crackdown resulted in a massive defection) and its just a matter of time before he goes the way of Mubarak and Ben Ali. The only thing that may be able to save him would be the hand of God (the Saudi's), but even that might not save him.

Hopefully another regime dropping will keep up the momentum for the protesters in Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the rest of the world.

Do we really want people to be protesting in Lebanon though? I like their government, I just wish they'd get rid of the Hamas element.

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Many "experts" believe otherwise and suggest that Ghaddafi will not voluntarily relinquish power. If that's the case, I really don't see how this civil war is going to end well for the rebels. The coalition isn't willing to put "boots on the ground," isn't trying to oust Ghaddafi, and doesn't seem to be interested in a protracted campaign. The rebels are ill-equipped, mostly untrained, and disorganized.

With that in mind, I would like to know what the coalition's "end game" looks like. It appears that the coalition doesn't have an end game; it appears the coalition is just trying to "do something," even if it that "something" fails to produce a workable resolution to the crisis.

I am talking about Yemen not Libya. Libya is a mess.

---------- Post added March-24th-2011 at 11:09 AM ----------

Do we really want people to be protesting in Lebanon though? I like their government, I just wish they'd get rid of the Hamas element.

The protests are against sectarianism not against the specific government. I think its a legitimate complaint especially since the census is extremely outdated and screws over the Shi'ite because the census was taken in 1928 which means the populations of the Christians and the Shi'ite are pretty off. Lebanon is a weird case in how weak the central government tends to be, I don't think these protests will be successful but they are definitely there and have some support.

I think you mean Hezbollah, but Hezbollah is going to be a part of any government in Lebanon for a long time, they represent the Shi'ite who have a plurality and see Hezbollah as a guardian of sorts.

Edited by jpyaks3
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BAHRAIN

http://twitter.com/emoodz

Crowds gathering in Manama now.. #bahrain 17 minutes ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®
Friends taking part in rally in Manama say the rally was attacked by riot police.. Can't get more details.. #bahrain 10 minutes ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®
Large presence of riot police in Manama now, rumors spreading of a possible siege ahead of protest tomorrow.. #bahrain #lulu 8 minutes ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

SYRIA

http://twitter.com/Ghonim

Spokesperson of #Syria President is pathetic. Can't u come up with unique BS? We've heard same msg > 5 times already from other dictators. 21 minutes ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

http://twitter.com/acarvin

Syria official: gov will draft law to legalize political parties; explore how to end emergency rule; reduce corruption; raise salaries. AP 25 minutes ago via TweetDeck

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011324164740741279.html

Syria pledges reforms after protests

Government to consider ending emergency rule and licensing political parties in wake of deadly protests.

Last Modified: 24 Mar 2011 17:10

Syria will "study" ending an emergency rule in place since 1963 and look into licensing political parties, a presidential adviser has said, after a week of deadly protests in the country's south.

"I am happy to announce to you the decisions made today by the Arab Baath party under the auspices of President Bashar al-Assad ... which include ... studying the possibility of lifting the emergency law and licensing political parties," the president's media adviser Buthaina Shaaban said at a news conference on Thursday.

http://twitter.com/acarvin

Syrian opposition leaders reject govt's offer for reforms and committee as not meeting the aspirations of the Syrian people. -Reuters 2 minutes ago via TweetDeck

http://twitter.com/acarvin

Was wondering the same. Flash mob? Hashtag? FB admins? RT @blakehounshell: What Syrian opposition leaders, I wonder? There are none. less than a minute ago via TweetDeck
Edited by visionary
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Syrian Security Forces have withdrawn from the mosque in Daraa that they had surrounded and blocked off.

The protesters are now inside again cheering and celebrating.

State TV reports that the celebrations are in response to the newly promised reforms.

:ols:

http://twitter.com/BBCWorld

All people detained during recent events in #Syria have been released on orders of President Assad, according to #Syrian state television about 2 hours ago via TweetDeck.

http://twitter.com/Reuters

FLASH: Thousands at Syria's main Deraa mosque chant "revolution" despite president's pledge to look at granting more freedoms about 1 hour ago via Seesmic twhirl

http://twitter.com/Razaniyat

From Al-Omari Mosque:State TV says we're celebrating after President's grants for freedoms. #Deraa #Syria [1/2] 10 minutes ago via TweetDeck
From Al-Omar Mosque in #Deraa: State TV is lying, we're celebrating the liberation of the mosque. Via @ZainSyr [2/2] 6 minutes ago via TweetDeck

http://twitter.com/SyrianWoman

#BBC Arabic confirms now that security forces withdrew completely from #Omari mosque and people are celebrating that #Daraa #Syria about 1 hour ago via web
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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703784004576220712562139244.html?mod=wsj_share_twitter

Yemeni President Nears Deal to Resign

Agreement Being Forged With Opposing General Would Have Both Yield Power to Transition Council Within Days

Yemen's president and the country's top general are hashing out a settlement in which both men would resign within days, people familiar with the situation said, raising crucial questions of who will end up leading a key, though embattled, U.S. counterterrorism ally.

The outlines of a peaceful transition, to a civilian-led transitional government, emerged amid rising tension over the standoff between Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and pro-democracy protesters backed by Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar. The general this week broke ranks and declared his support for protesters demanding that the president resign immediately.

Opposing tanks from units loyal to Mr. Saleh and to Gen. Ahmar have faced off in the streets of San'a all week and tens of thousands of antigovernment demonstrators vowed to continue their protest Friday in the capital's Change Square.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/24/us-yemen-saleh-idUSTRE72N4RL20110324

Yemen's president says to transfer power peacefully

(Reuters) - Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh promised Thursday to transfer power peacefully, but gave no indication of the timing or conditions, according to a statement by him aired on the Al Jazeera news channel.

Facing mounting protests over his three decades in power and his top general siding with protesters demanding democracy, Saleh had offered a new presidential election by January 2012 instead of September 2013, when his term ends.

"There is no way by any means or circumstance for the political system to offer itself to the gallows," Saleh said. "By all means come for political dialogue and power can be transferred peacefully through constitutional institutions."

Protesters plan a rally dubbed "Friday of Departure." Presidential guards loyal to Saleh clashed Thursday with army units backing opposition groups demanding his ouster.

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YEMEN

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2011/03/201132513041139452.html

Yemen leader 'willing to step down'

Saleh says he will hand over power only "to capable hands" ahead of "day of departure" protests planned nationwide.

Last Modified: 25 Mar 2011 05:47

Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has offered to stand down - but only to hand over power "to capable, responsible hands," he says.

The longtime leader addressed crowds shown on state TV and said he was ready to meet with protesters, as tens of thousands gathered in a "day of departure" rally.

But he also said those demanding his resignation had been influenced by the Houthis - a powerful armed clan demanding greater autonomy in their region of the country - and drug dealers.

From what I'm hearing on Al Jazeera and seeing on Twitter it seems that discussions for him to step down between himself and the military haven fallen through for the time being.

He came out defiantly this morning and made it seem as if he has no intention of going anytime soon. There is much tension in Yemen this morning, especially in the capital of Sanaa, where many fear a serious battle could break out at any time.

http://twitter.com/Nefermaat

#Saleh doesnt seem ready to leave and warns protesters, meeting with #Mohsen failed, army shooting into air... so then what ? #Yemen #yf 27 minutes ago via web

http://twitter.com/NoonArabia

AFP President AliSaleh & top dissident General #AliMohsen failed 2 strike a deal in talks on #Yemen's political crisis said sources today 14 minutes ago via web

SYRIA

Protests being held across Syria

Protesters calling for freedom gathered in Damascus and other cities for "day of dignity".

Last Modified: 25 Mar 2011 12:14

20113241753335351_20.jpg

Protesters calling for freedom gathered in Damascus and other areas around Syria as security forces ordered journalists to leave a southern city where a brutal weeklong siege on demonstrations killed dozens of people.

At least 200 people marched in the centre of Damascus after Friday prayers in support of the people of Daraa, scene of protests against Baath Party rule, a Reuters news agency witness said.

"We sacrifice our blood, our soul, for you Daraa," they chanted as they were met by President Bashar al-Assad loyalists chanting in support of the Syrian leader.

Secret police broke the Damascus protest and arrested dozens, Reuters said.

A human rights activists, quoting witnesses, said thousands of people were gathering in the town of Douma outside the capital, pledging support for the people of Daraa. The activists asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.

In the capital itself, outside the famous Ummayad Mosque, scores of people were gathering.

Hundreds of villagers also marched to Daraa in support of the people there, chanting "Freedom is ringing", a witness said.

They set off from the village of Dael near Daraa.

After the Friday prayers in the village, men on motorcycles and cars honked their horns while a few hundred men marched, some of them carrying Syrian flags and chanting: "Dael and Daraa will not be humilitated!". Plainclothes security agents watched without interfering.

Daraa, the main city of southern Syria, has become a flashpoint for protests.

Officials have been on the defensive after protesters in the southern city were shot dead by police.

Security forces appeared to be trying to reduce tension in Daraa by dismantling checkpoints and ensuring there was no visible army presence on the streets for the first time since last Friday, when the protests began.

But journalists who tried to enter Daraa's old city -- where most of the violence took place -- were escorted out of town by two security vehicles.

"As you can see, everything is back to normal and it is over," an army major, standing in front of the ruling Baath party head office told journalists before they were escorted out of the city.

Activists had called for "Day of Dignity" rallies at mosques across Syria despite a reform pledge by the government.

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/live/middle-east/syria-live-blog-march-25

- At least 44 people are believed to have been shot and killed in Daraa by security forces backed by the military since last Friday, with scores more wounded, according to human rights activists and a city hospital official.
1:38pm There were other, smaller-scale protests held for the first time in Homs, Banias and Deir Ezzor, but they were not dealt with so violently, with demonstrators arrested rather than shot.

Al Jazeera's Rula Amin, reporting from the capital Damascus, said "it is a new Syria"

Edited by visionary
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More dead in Syria today after security forces fired on protesters in Daraa again.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12776418

#1343: Reuters are reporting that protests have erupted in the Syrian city of Hama - the scene of an infamous crackdown by the security forces in 1982, under the rule of current President Bashar al-Assad's father.

I think around 10,000 were reportedly killed by the Syrian government back then in Hama.

#1425: Back to Syria. Reuters is reporting heavy gunfire in the square in the southern town of Deraa where thousands of people had gathered. The report says people are fleeing and a statue of former President Hafez al-Assad has been burned.
#1429: AFP are quoting a human rights activist as saying that several people have been killed after a demonstration heading to Deraa was raked by gunfire. No independent confirmation of this report.
#1507: Al-Jazeera quotes a witness in Sanamein, near the Syrian town of Deraa, as saying that more than 20 people have been killed after the security forces opened fire there. AP also has reports of police opening fire there. It says people were preparing to march to Deraa, so seems this may be the same entry as mentioned at 1429.
Edited by visionary
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I think around 10,000 were reportedly killed by the Syrian government back then in Hama.

10,000 is probably a low number, I think the numbers are anywhere between 20,000 and 40,000 killed. Lets hope that nothing gets to that level ever again.

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http://twitter.com/AlanFisher

#Breaking - #France's UN envoy says he's asked UN Security council to impose sanctions on Cote D'Ivoire's Pres. Gbagbo & his inner circle. 7 minutes ago via web

The UN Refugee Agency spokesman on Al Jazeera seemed happy with the move.

---------- Post added March-25th-2011 at 12:00 PM ----------

http://twitter.com/tweetminster

AFP reporting that more than 60 people have been injured during clashes in #Jordan. 7 minutes ago via TweetDeck

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12776418

#1557: Reports of unrest in Jordan as well now, with pro- and anti-government groups pelting each other with stones in Amman and police dispersing them with water cannon. AP and AFP both reporting dozens of injuries.

Jordan should be smart and head these protests off with immediate reforms.

(And I don't mean immediate long term promises)

Edited by visionary
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http://twitter.com/acarvin

Turkey's Foreign Ministry said today Syria must apply political reforms "without losing time." -AP about 1 hour ago via TweetDeck
AP: witnesses say protesters injured in Daraa, Latakia, Damascus & other Syrian cities. 44 minutes ago via TweetDeck
Disturbing, graphic video of dead Syrian protesters, others wailing in grief:
Says Al Sanmeen: where is that? 6 minutes ago via TweetDeck

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12776418

#1604: What should the rest of the world do about the unrest in Yemen and Syria? On BBC World Have Your Say former Nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer says: "It would be wrong for the international community to start intervening all over the place in the Arab world. That would be a disaster."
#1606: French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin says: "We should send a very strong message to all of the leaders in these countries. Sanctions should be imposed."
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