Governments throughout the Middle East are responding to pro-democracy protests with brutal crackdowns. Even in Egypt, so recently the site of so much public euphoria and jubilation, the military transition government has been slow to initiate agreed upon reforms and continues to arrest and punish protesters. Meanwhile, U.S. military involvement in Yemen and Libya has increased the public’s disdain for the U.S. government, as has the revelation of the U.S.’s ramped up military investment in Bahrain in 2010. It is increasingly clear that the Western narrative of an “Arab Spring” is too simplistic to responsibly capture events on the ground. Here is a round-up of some of the latest developments:
Syria: Syria tops the headlines today, and not because the so-called “gay girl blogger” allegedly abducted in Syria turns out to be turns out to be the work of a 40 year-old, male U.S. citizen enrolled in a graduate program at Edinburgh University. In fact, the most pressing news is that the government of Syria today deployed military troops to subdue protesters in Jisr al-Shughur. Just as 120 defecting troops were killed last week for refusing to fire on protesters, at least two more died today.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reports that a major refugee crisis is brewing, as at least 5,051 Syrians have fled across the border with Turkey to seek asylum. And human rights organizations claim that upwards of 1,300 people have been killed by Syrian security forces in the past three months. And the government is not allowing the International Committee for the Red Cross access, so it is impossible to guess the number of wounded. The US, France and Britain are calling for a UN resolution to enforce tougher economic sanctions, but Russia and China are reluctant to agree. No parties are pushing military action against the government at this time.