Arabs Rise for Rights

Bahrainis Demand More Than Cosmetic Reforms

Months after an independent commission presented damning evidence of the Bahraini government's crackdown on pro- democracy demonstrators, thousands press on with a reinvigorated protest movement for genuine reform.

Presidential candidate Amr Moussa on the campaign trail. Credit: Khaled Moussa al-Omrani/IPS.

What the Egyptian Summer Might Bring

More than 800 Egyptians of varied backgrounds and political orientations have officially registered their candidacies for the country's first post- Mubarak presidential election. Although more candidates are expected to emerge before the registration process ends Apr. 8, most local analysts say the contest - slated for late May - will be dominated by a small handful of high-profile contenders.

Poll Shows Little U.S. Support for Syria Intervention

Despite strenuous efforts by prominent neo-conservatives and other hawks, a war-weary U.S. public is clearly very leery of any armed intervention in what many experts believe is rapidly becoming a civil war in Syria, according to recent polls.

Libyan Air Strike Victims Still Waiting for Redress

Amnesty International (AI) released a scathing report late last week calling for an investigation into civilian deaths from air strikes during the 2011 NATO-led military intervention in Libya, which began one year ago Monday.

No Settlement in Sight as Syria Violence Intensifies

As Western governments reexamine their options for ending the ongoing violence in Syria, Kofi Annan, U.N.-Arab League special envoy to Syria, briefed diplomats Friday at the U.N. Security Council, who remain divided over whether a negotiated ceasefire or direct intervention will be necessary, or even feasible.

Student union members in Tripoli. Credit: Rebecca Murray/IPS.

Libyan Youth Yearn for Normalcy

Young men and women socialise together at Tripoli University’s ‘campus B’ tarmac parking lot as they prepare to sit for examinations during this tumultuous school year.

Syria Mines Border Escape Routes, Rights Group Charges

The Syrian military has placed anti-personnel mines along its borders with Turkey and Lebanon, which have provided asylum for a large number of civilians fleeing the crackdown on year- long pro-democracy uprisings there, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Washington Struggles to Find a Path Forward on Syria

As the Syrian army has stepped up its attacks against opposition strongholds in Homs and elsewhere, the U.S. and its allies have achieved little consensus in choosing a course of action to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon (right) meets with Ahmet Üzümcü, director-general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, on Feb. 29. Credit: UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

Syria’s Chemical Weapons Trigger New Threats in War Zone

As the besieged government of President Bashar al-Assad continues to violently suppress the warring political opposition in Syria, the United Nations has expressed "concern" over reports "on the possible existence of chemical weapons" in the embattled Middle Eastern country.

Egyptian Ties with US on Civil Society Rocks

Egypt's legal campaign against a handful of foreign NGOs reached a crescendo last week with the repatriation of several U.S. nationals indicted on charges of engaging in unauthorised civil society activity. But many local analysts believe the latest developments - far from signifying the end of the crisis - portend nothing less than a seismic shift in Egypt's longstanding "strategic relationship" with the U.S.

Nadia El Fani. Credit: Daan Bauwens/IPS.

Arab Women Bring Spring to the Screen

Women have been at the forefront of each uprising in the Arab world. Last week, the ‘8 Arab Women Filmmakers’ festival offered a platform to Arab women directors to give their perspectives on the future of the region.

A rare moment of joy at a Nigerian wedding in a Tripoli church. Credit: Rebecca Murray/IPS.

Hard to Stay in Libya, Difficult to Return

At the battered terminal of Tripoli’s tiny Mitiga airport, over 150 young men and women jostle to be repatriated home to Nigeria on Libya’s Buraq airlines. This journey to Lagos is one of hundreds the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has facilitated since the start of the uprising against Gaddafi’s regime over a year ago.

U.S. Wins Release of NGO Workers, Aid to Egypt Still Vulnerable

After weeks of political pressure from the U.S., Egyptian officials announced Wednesday that the remaining employees of two U.S. government-supported organisations facing a criminal investigation would be permitted to leave the country.

CULTURE-ARAB SPRING: A Revolution Through the Lens

The Arab world is talking about a revolution; not just out on the streets but in films, in newspapers, in songs – using any means necessary to document events, expose the horrors of war and explore the struggles and possibilities that lie ahead as the Arab Spring feels the wintry chill of post-revolutionary democratic challenges.

Valerie Amos, under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, has repeatedly asked to meet with Syrian officials. Credit: UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

Syria Stalls Senior U.N. Official’s Visit to War Zone

The United Nations, which remains politically deadlocked over the drawn-out crisis in Syria, has hit another roadblock, this time over humanitarian assistance to the thousands of men, women and children caught up in the 11-month-old conflict.

Tunisia Summit Highlights Glaring Absence of Unity on the ‘Syria Question’

In the Friends of Syria meeting held in Tunis last week, Gulf Arab monarchies offered nearly unqualified support for the Syrian opposition, while the democratic states were more cautious.

Order Comes Slowly to Libyan Patchwork

A year after the Libyan uprising that overthrew dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the National Transitional Council (NTC) has yet to provide adequate security. Many armed groups are still calling the shots, as the NTC moves to restore normalcy.

Rights Groups Warn Against Diluted Arms Trade Treaty

After a week of tense negotiations, a United Nations preparatory committee concluded a final round of talks on Friday to define the rules of procedure for a global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which is expected to be finalised in July this year.

Has the U.N. Reached a Dead End in Syrian Crisis?

When the 193-member General Assembly adopted a resolution against Syria by an overwhelming majority Thursday, the U.N.'s highest policy making body was conscious of the fact that its rulings - unlike the dictates of the 15-member Security Council - are politically impotent because they have no enforcement power.

Exiles Return to Libya Contentiously

With the June deadline for congressional elections approaching, Libyans previously in exile are returning home to take part in the construction of a new political landscape. Political churning is well under way as Libya marks the first anniversary of the ouster of the Muammar Gaddafi regime Friday.

An Old Gaddafi Town Is Not All Celebrating

On the first anniversary of Libya’s revolution, Sirte brigade members lounge on leather couches in the lobby of the upscale Mahari Hotel, supervising its reconstruction. A base for the Misrata rebels during October’s fierce fighting, the hotel is notorious as the site where 65 alleged Gaddafi loyalists were executed on its seafront grounds.

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