Viewed from the ongoing pace of televised news, the tumult on Egypt's streets seems ready to engulf the entire Middle East. Indeed, only days after thousands of protestors filled downtown Cairo's main thoroughfare to demand an end to Hosni Mubarak's rule, Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced he would be stepping down at the end of his term, and his son would not run for office, while Jordan's King Abdullah II fired his cabinet, appointed a new Prime Minister, and vowed political reform. Rumblings of protest also echoed in Algeria, Oman and Morocco.
Undoubtedly, the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt have brought extraordinary change to Arab politics, challenging regimes to alter the way they govern, and providing new political freedoms for the people. But while many foreign investors have deemed the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region's new political uncertainty as a risk -- Moody's downgraded Egypt's credit ratings to Ba2 with a negative outlook, and other credit ratings agencies followed suit -- regional businesses and investors have taken a different approach. They believe that political changes that usher in more democratic governments in the region will pave the way for long-term stability and growth.Full Story
British Foreign Secretary William Hague voiced concern over possible conflict between Israel and Hizbullah following last month's collapse of the Lebanese government.
"The scale of any military conflict that may happen between Israel and Hizbullah is growing, because of the growth of armaments in the area," Hague told the London Times in comments published Wednesday.Full Story
Tunisia's interim government moved Sunday to ban the country's former ruling party as fresh violence left one youth dead in the country's south during protests against the remnants of the old regime.
In Tunis, the interior minister announced the suspension of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's Constitutional Democratic Assembly (RCD) as a first step towards its dissolution.Full Story
A wave of uprisings in Arab countries is a sign of an "Islamic awakening" which was envisaged when the 1979 Iranian revolution took place, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday.
"Today's events in North Africa, Egypt and Tunisia and some other countries have different meanings for us," Khamenei, the commander-in-chief and spiritual guide of Iran, said in a sermon at Tehran university during the Muslim weekly prayers.Full Story
Arsonists set fire to a synagogue in the southern Gabes region of Tunisia, a leader of the local Jewish community said Tuesday.
"Someone set fire to the synagogue on Monday night and the Torah scrolls were burned," Trabelsi Perez told Agence France Presse, criticizing the lack of action by the security services to stop the attack.Full Story
Europe's foreign ministers on Monday froze the assets of ousted Tunisian leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his wife in response to a request from the Tunisian authorities.
The sanctions against Ben Ali and Leila Trabelsi were decided at a meeting of the European Union's 27 ministers, diplomatic sources said.Full Story
Syrian President Bashar Assad said he was pleased with the “smooth transition” between the two Lebanese governments, unveiling that any conflict would have evolved into civil war in Lebanon.
"What pleases me is that this transition between the two governments happened smoothly, because we were worried," Assad told The Wall Street Journal in a rare interview published Monday.Full Story
Thousands of Jordanians demonstrated peacefully in Amman and other cities after weekly prayers on Friday to press for political and economic reform, and demanding that the government resign.
"Egypt, the Arab nation salutes you. We urge your men to get rid of (President Hosni) Mubarak," an estimated 3,000 people chanted as they marched in Amman city center holding national flags.Full Story
Some 1,000 demonstrators from rural central Tunisia, calling for the resignation of the transitional government, reached the capital on Sunday.
The marchers, from a poor farming region where an uprising against authoritarian rule began last month, called for the resignation of a government put in place after the ouster of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.Full Story
At least 35 people have been killed in the riots that erupted over the weekend in Tunisia, the president of the International Federation for Human Rights said Tuesday.
"We have a list of the names of the 35," Souhayr Belhassen told Agence France Presse. "The total figure is higher. It's somewhere around 50, but that's an estimate."Full Story