FACTBOX-Arab Spring momentum in Middle East, North Africa

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Here are the latest details of the revolts in the Middle East and North Africa and their aftermath:

SYRIA: An Algerian observer, part of an Arab League mission in Syria monitoring the government’s agreement to halt its crackdown on protesters, has left, accusing the authorities of committing war crimes and turning the mission into a “farce”.
– The League, which has suspended Syria, said on Jan. 8 Syria had only partly kept to its agreements with the Arab body, which included pulling troops from towns, freeing political prisoners and starting talking to dissidents but also decided to keep monitors in place until its next report on Jan. 19.
– The United Nations said on Tuesday an estimated 400 additional people have been killed since the monitors arrived last month. The United Nations has said more than 5,000 civilians have been killed in the largely peaceful protests against President Bashar al-Assad, while he says Islamist militants have killed 2,000 members of his security forces, Reuters reports.
– Assad, making his fourth appearance on television on Tuesday since the protests began, derided the efforts of monitors and vowed to strike “terrorists” with an iron fist.
– Assad also offered a referendum on a new constitution in March before a multi-party parliamentary election that has been frequently postponed. He made a rare appearance in public on Wednesday in Damascus in front of a crowd of supporters.

EGYPT: A final phase of voting began on Tuesday in elections to the lower house, with Islamists emerging as major winners.
– Banned under ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood has said Egyptians of all persuasions will have their say. They say the ruling military council must stick to the timetable for ceding power but also indicated it would not immediately seek to replace a council-appointed government.
– Some presidential powers were handed to prime minister, Kamal al-Ganzouri, whose cabinet was sworn in on Dec. 7.
– Mubarak is still on trial, accused of conspiring to kill protesters; 850 people were killed in the uprising that ended on Feb. 11 with Mubarak stepping down. A judge on Tuesday gave lawyers until Feb. 16 to make their cases in the trial.

YEMEN: Yemen’s cabinet proposed a immunity law on Jan. 8 to speed President’s Ali Abdullah Saleh exit from office in line with a Gulf-brokered plan to end protests that paralysed the country for most of 2011.
– Saleh signed the deal in November, having backed out of it three times before, but questions remain over the intentions of the veteran leader, who last week said he would stay in Yemen, reversing a pledge to travel to the United States.
– Vice-President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi issued a decree on Dec. 7, paving the way for a unity government to be sworn in to prepare for the presidential election set for Feb. 21, 2012.
– Gunmen, believed to be militants linked to al Qaeda, attacked a minibus carrying intelligence officers in southern Yemen on Wednesday, an official and medics said, killing at least one person before fleeing.
– Washington and Riyadh are keen for the power transfer deal to work, fearing that a power vacuum may give militants space to thrive near key oil and cargo shipping lanes in the Red Sea.

BAHRAIN: A Bahraini appeal court has ordered the retrial of two men sentenced to death for running over and killing two policemen during the 2011 pro-democracy protests.
– Bahrain remains in crisis after the Sunni Muslim monarchy repressed the protests led by majority Shi’ites by force. Demonstrators continue to clash daily with police in small protests in the Gulf island state.
– The government has now proposed giving more powers to the elected chamber and allowing it to question ministers, as part of constitutional reforms following the protests.
– The proposed reforms were the result of talks between some of Bahrain’s opposition and pro-government groups which began in July, aimed at healing the rifts opened the protests and the government response. Bahrain’s largest Shi’ite opposition group Wefaq withdraw from the “national dialogue”.

LIBYA: Libya risks sliding into civil war unless it cracks down on the rival militias which filled the vacuum left by Muammar Gaddafi’s downfall, the head of the interim administration said after an outbreak of violence in Tripoli.
– Months after the anti-Gaddafi fighters captured and killed the former dictator, Libya’s new rulers are still struggling to exert their authority as rival militia leaders refuse to cede control of their fighters and hand in their arms.



TUNISIA: An uprising in January 2011 forced Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to leave Tunisia after almost 24 years in power, sparking the “Arab Spring” revolts that swept the Middle East.
– But the protests and strikes that followed forced some businesses to close and drove away foreign tourists, on whom Tunisia relies for much of its revenue.