Mideast and North Africa

This item appears on page 20 of the August 2011 issue.
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• Legislative elections, with multiple new political parties, are planned for Oct. 23, 2011, in Tunisia. Travelers may expect some political gatherings in major urban centers, and these may impede travel.

• At press time, the civil war in Libya continued and Libyan forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi retained control of the capital, Tripoli. NATO has supported rebel forces with weapons and air strikes. Rebel forces gained ground in the western mountain region and began to push into the desert areas toward Tripoli.

The number of Libyan refugees in Tunisia has reached 22,000, and more have fled by boat to Europe. The naval blockade and international economic sanctions continue. On June 27 the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Gaddafi, his son and his security chief.

• Civil unrest continues in Cairo, Egypt, as political groups protest not only delays in prosecutions of former president Mubarak and other leaders of the deposed regime but delays in setting the elections; the continuing problems with crime; sectarian violence between Copts and Muslims, and commodity shortages (food, power, etc.). Elections currently are scheduled for September and may be accompanied by demonstrations.

There are reports of an increase in crime in Egypt. During the uprising in January-February, an estimated 24,000 prisoners escaped from jails. More than 8,000 are still at large, and more than 6,000 weapons have been stolen from government armories. Many police stations were destroyed, and forces are severely diminished.

• At press time, military forces in Syria continued suppressing antigovernment protests throughout the country, with international pressures on President Assad to stop the violence and negotiate with the activists.

Over 10,000 Syrians have fled to the border regions near Turkey and Lebanon. In June, Syrian troops and tanks moved into the villages and makeshift refugee camps at the border, causing many people to flee into Turkey and Turkey to strengthen its military presence in the area. Human rights organizations estimate that more than 1,300 people have been killed and about 10,000 detained since the protests began in April.

• In Bahrain, demonstrations by Shiite Muslim minorities in May and June have been quelled. In June, the martial law that was imposed in March was lifted. In July, Saudi Arabia was to begin withdrawing the troops it had sent in to assist in shutting down the uprising.

• In Yemen, demonstrators continued demanding that President Saleh turn over power to his deputy, who is governing while Saleh recuperates in Saudi Arabia from wounds sustained from a bomb attack on June 3. Power pylons and oil pipelines were bombed in June, resulting in countrywide fuel shortages. The separatist rebellion in the southern part of the country continued, gaining strength as more government troops defected and joined the rebels.

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

• Legislative elections, with multiple new political parties, are planned for Oct. 23, 2011, in Tunisia. Travelers may expect some political gatherings in major urban centers, and these may impede travel.

• At press time, the civil war in Libya continued and Libyan forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi retained control of the capital, Tripoli. NATO has supported rebel forces with weapons and air strikes. Rebel forces gained ground in the western mountain region and began to push into the desert areas toward Tripoli.

The number of Libyan refugees in Tunisia has reached 22,000, and more have fled by boat to Europe. The naval blockade and international economic sanctions continue. On June 27 the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Gaddafi, his son and his security chief.

• Civil unrest continues in Cairo, Egypt, as political groups protest not only delays in prosecutions of former president Mubarak and other leaders of the deposed regime but delays in setting the elections; the continuing problems with crime; sectarian violence between Copts and Muslims, and commodity shortages (food, power, etc.). Elections currently are scheduled for September and may be accompanied by demonstrations.

There are reports of an increase in crime in Egypt. During the uprising in January-February, an estimated 24,000 prisoners escaped from jails. More than 8,000 are still at large, and more than 6,000 weapons have been stolen from government armories. Many police stations were destroyed, and forces are severely diminished.

• At press time, military forces in Syria continued suppressing antigovernment protests throughout the country, with international pressures on President Assad to stop the violence and negotiate with the activists.

Over 10,000 Syrians have fled to the border regions near Turkey and Lebanon. In June, Syrian troops and tanks moved into the villages and makeshift refugee camps at the border, causing many people to flee into Turkey and Turkey to strengthen its military presence in the area. Human rights organizations estimate that more than 1,300 people have been killed and about 10,000 detained since the protests began in April.

• In Bahrain, demonstrations by Shiite Muslim minorities in May and June have been quelled. In June, the martial law that was imposed in March was lifted. In July, Saudi Arabia was to begin withdrawing the troops it had sent in to assist in shutting down the uprising.

• In Yemen, demonstrators continued demanding that President Saleh turn over power to his deputy, who is governing while Saleh recuperates in Saudi Arabia from wounds sustained from a bomb attack on June 3. Power pylons and oil pipelines were bombed in June, resulting in countrywide fuel shortages. The separatist rebellion in the southern part of the country continued, gaining strength as more government troops defected and joined the rebels.