What now for the Arab awakening?

The desperate fight for freedom goes on, but there are fearsome and unpredictable struggles ahead

London, Misrata

The Arab world is in the midst of a tumultuous weekend as the convulsions set in train last December by the suicide of a despairing fruit-seller accelerate into the unknown. Today, in Libya, as details are still quibbled over of how Muammar Gaddafi met his death, the new government will announce the liberation of the entire country, and the flag of rebellion will become the standard of state. In Tunisia, historic elections will be held – whatever the outcome, it is a remarkable memorial to poor Mohamed Bouazizi who set fire to himself in that obscure market just ten months ago.

Click HERE to view graphic (211k jpg)

Moves towards a more representative government are also imminent in Jordan and Morocco. And, yesterday, by the shores of the Dead Sea, more than 50 countries, including the US, met at a World Economic Forum gathering to discuss economic change and job creation across the Arab world. Jordan's King Abdullah said 85,000 jobs must be created; he also urged Israel and the Palestinians to use spring as the inspiration to restart peace talks.

Elsewhere, violence, obstruction, sectarianism and a stalling of progress are causes for concern. In Syria, where more than 3,000 are estimated to have died since protests against the Assad regime began in March, there were a reported two dozen more killings on Friday, and no indication that the death of another dictator had given pause for thought. In Yemen, the most chaotic state of the region and home to the most venomous branch of al-Qa'ida, President Ali Abdullah Saleh has so far declined to reply to Friday's UN Security Council resolution calling on him to go.

In Egypt, there are growing worries both inside and outside the country at the lack of free expression and economic opportunity under the military rulers.

Even in Saudi Arabia, the weekend brought unease, as the death of the heir to the throne was announced. His likely successor is Prince Nayef, head of the internal security forces, 77 years old, and a conservative even by Saudi standards. The world's top oil exporter will now rely on an untested system of succession set up by King Abdullah in 2006. A Saudi political analyst, Turad al-Amri, said: "The stability of Saudi Arabia is more important than ever. All the countries around it are crumbling. The balance of power is changing in the Middle East."

The genie of change is not going back inside the bottle.



Libya

Today, National Liberation Day will be declared in Benghazi, rather than the capital, Tripoli. Many of the National Transitional Council's members, especially the more religious ones, have stayed in Benghazi. On this happy day, then, there is friction between the leadership of the two cities.

Elections are meant to take place within eight months for an assembly to draw up a constitution. Parliamentary and presidential elections will be held a year after that. One downbeat note: the acting prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, who was expected officially to step down yesterday evening, said that, under Colonel Gaddafi, Libya had used 62 per cent of its oil resources.



Egypt

Elections for parliament are due to start on 28 November, for a staggered vote over four months for the upper and lower houses – the first multi-candidate vote since President Hosni Mubarak was toppled after 30 years in power. Yesterday, the closing date for parties to register for election was pushed back for a second time, after some politicians asked for more time to make their applications. Registration has been slow so far, seemingly because coalitions have broken down at the last minute and some parties have had trouble raising funds.

On the economic front, European governments are increasingly concerned that enthusiasm for democracy could dissipate if the economy fails to improve – opening the way for Islamification. International concerns over Egypt will be aired in December at a meeting in Lithuania of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Meanwhile, a prominent Egyptian political talk-show host, Yosri Fouda, has suspended his programme indefinitely to protest at what he said were efforts by the country's military rulers to stifle free expression. The council of generals have frozen new licences for private satellite TV stations and are moving against broadcasters they say are inciting violence or are violating their station's mandate.



Syria

President Bashar Assad's security forces opened fire on protesters, killing at least 24 people nationwide on Friday, according to activists.

The UN estimates the Syrian crackdown has resulted in the deaths of some 3,000 people since March. Syria's mass demonstrations, meanwhile, have shaken one of the region's most authoritarian regimes, but the opposition has made no major gains in recent months, holds no territory, and has no clear leadership. The regime has sealed off the country, making it difficult to verify events.



Yemen

Islamic militants have seized control of several cities and towns, raising US fears that militants may establish a firmer foothold in the country, which is close to vast oil fields and overlooks key shipping routes. Late on Friday, the UN Security Council called for President Saleh to accept a deal to step down in favour of his deputy. He has clung to power, despite massive protests that have seen around 500 killed, the defection to the opposition of key tribal and military allies, and mounting international pressure.



Morocco

A parliamentary poll brought forward from September 2012 will be held next month, and a liberal-led coalition of eight political parties is confident of winning. In March, King Mohammed was swift to promise constitutional changes after protests inspired by revolts in Tunisia and Egypt spread to Morocco. Under reforms approved in a July referendum, King Mohammed will hand over some powers to elected officials, but will retain a decisive say on strategic decisions. The government formed after the election will draft laws enshrining a new constitution.



Jordan

Jordan's new Prime Minister, Awn Khasawneh, was asked by King Abdullah last week to form a government to succeed the outgoing conservative former general, Marouf Bakhit. Mr Khasawneh, a judge at the International Court of Justice, said he hoped to include opposition Islamists in the government for the first time in two decades, as he sought to form a broad-based cabinet and ease months of street tensions.



Bahrain

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, an international commission investigating months of alleged abuses during Shia-led protests, was due to report today, but this will now not happen until 23 November. At least 35 people have been killed since February, when Bahrain's Shia majority began demanding greater rights in the tiny but strategically important Gulf nation that is the home of the US Navy's 5th Fleet. The panel has received more than 8,000 complaints, testimonies and documents, and interviewed more than 5,000 witnesses and alleged victims of the unrest, including detainees, police personnel, doctors and journalists. Bahrain imposed martial law in March and invited 1,500 troops from neighbouring states to help quell dissent.

IoS ahead of the rest: More coverage, more readers

Since the uprising in Tunisia began, The Independent on Sunday has devoted more space – and more front pages – to the Arab Spring, reporting and analysing it, than any of our competitors. We were the first to anticipate the dangers for Colonel Gaddafi, and the first newspaper to ask the question on its front page: What now for Libya's dictator? That was back in February, before David Cameron called for international intervention.

Perhaps that's one reason only one quality Sunday newspaper is showing a rise in full-price sales year on year, as the market shows a double-digit fall – The Independent on Sunday, of course, the best-value Sunday quality newspaper there is.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn